La respiration agréable

Une amie m’a appelée. Elle respirait extrêmement vite et de manière agitée et ne pouvait prononcer que quelques mots à la fois. Sa voix avait un drôle de son. Elle raconta que sa fille venait d’avoir un accident de voiture avec son bébé sur le siège arrière. Le bébé n’avait rien eu mais le SAMU avait transporté sa fille à l’hôpital car ils craignaient une fracture de la base du crâne. Elle-même avait dû rester où elle était ; elle devait garder le bébé et n’arrivait pas à savoir ce qui se passait avec sa fille. J’ai alors commencé à respirer et à parler de la même façon qu’elle et au bout d’un certain temps j’ai changé de rythme et ai ralenti peu à peu ma respiration et ma façon de parler. J’ai remarqué qu’elle me suivait instinctivement dans mon comportement et qu’elle se calmait. Sa voix sonnait claire et forte et ce qu’elle racontait maintenant sonnait plus positif qu’au début de la conversation. « Je te remercie de la façon dont tu m’as parlé », ont été ses mots quand elle termina la conversation.

Des pieds engourdis

Un jour d’hiver alors que tu as fait une longue randonnée, il peut arriver que tu ne sentes plus tes pieds. Et au début quand tu arrives au chaud tes pieds sont encore engourdis. Peut-être les poses-tu sur un radiateur – ce qui est bizarre c’est qu’ils commencent juste à faire mal une fois que le froid est passé et non avant dans la glace et la neige. Un fou pourrait dire : je ne décongèle pas mes pieds alors ils ne font pas mal. Pourtant celui qui a de l’expérience sait : La chaleur endolorit les pieds froids seulement un moment. Il faut dépasser cette phase. Une fois la douleur surmontée on passe à un moment de chaleur agréable.

Everything Else

In a land in our time there lived a man, who read a book and found lots of wonderful stories therein. There were true and invented stories, experienced and pensive, enjoyable and painful stories. There were stories which contained stories, and such which were actually not stories. For every story he read, there occurred to him nearly five which he had either experienced or thought up himself. So the thought came to him, that a lot in the world was a story which could be healing for himself and others; he only needed to absorb the healing stories well and to forget the terrible ones immediately. Then he would learn which story he had used when and for what. So he organised his own stories which he knew, and which had become a help to himself and others, or could become so. Sometimes he noted it down when a new story came to his ears and sometimes when a helpful story occurred to him, he memorised it.

Then he saw before him in a picture the storystories of this life arranged in long shelves, as in a large pharmacy. And behind the counter there sat a man who had learnt to listen to himself and others. He was a master of his subjectspecialty. His talent was that he understood how to tell the right thing at the right time to himself and to those who visited him.

The Bliss of Excessive Labour

Often I have asked myself why some people seem restlessly occupied, have a densely filled agenda and desk, and talk about their stressful work, but at the end of the day have no better results than others who still have spare time for finding rest and recreation.

It might seem that excessive labour offers good security. First of all it creates an impression of this person as being utterly important. Whoever works unceasingly must be indispensable. A person who has done so much and complains of the burden of his work will more easily be forgiven if he commits some error. He may hope to be envied or even pitied. If it is noticed that his work is never finished, some of his tasks may be delegated to somebody else. He can at least avoid receiving further tasks too early. In the course of time, his spectrum of work will be defined more narrowly but at least there should not be too many new challenges awaiting him. On the other hand, he will not want too many jobs to be taken away from him, lest he lose the great advantages of his work overload. When other colleagues are made redundant, the sheer amount of work he has to do is seen at first glance, and he will be considered indispensable. Even those who are self-employed or work as civil servants can enjoy the good conscience of having done all that they could by having filled the available time completely with industrious activity.

How disadvantageous would it be, indeed, if he succeeded in being finished with all his tasks in shorter time! Or, if he even took a break or thought about some concept in which he could work in a far more relaxed yet more effective manner! This would surely cause him to suffer the envy and animosity of others. But worse would be the struggle with that inner voice of conscience with its remark: “The man who takes a rest is lazy.” I am convinced: Whoever wants to achieve much while being relaxed and be successful with little effort will need to have a strong personality.

Margaret and Lucy

There once lived two lizards in a little gap between the stones of a wall. Their names were Margaret and Lucy. Lucy lay on the wall all day sunbathing. Margaret spent most of her time hunting insects for herself and her children. She felt annoyed when she saw Lucy on the wall. “How you are wasting your time! If you were a decent lizard, you would be taking care of your children. What on earth are you doing up there all day long?” Lucy’s eyes twinkled and she said: “I am collecting energy. You see, I am doing something for my children.” “I see it differently”, Margaret grumbled. “And besides, I will not be surprised if one day some buzzard or falcon snatches you from that wall.” “We will see”, Lucy responded, and stretched out in the sun. Margaret preferred to spend her time chasing ants. She appeared exhausted in recent days. Sometimes her life was endangered: She lacked the agility necessary to escape a weasel or a cat. Lucy’s children, however, became strong and quick, like herself. They soon caught the largest spiders, the quickest running beetles, and even huge dragonflies. But their favourite pastime was to lie on the wall and to stretch out in the sunshine.