Après la vague

Quelqu’un m’a écrit : »J’ai été chargé de préparer un séminaire d’aide à soi-même ayant pour sujet « l’angoisse ». Tous les participants souffrent d’une épilepsie. Auriez-vous quelques idées sur les histoires que je pourrais y raconter ayant pour sujet l’imprévisibilité des crises et la détresse qui y est liée ? »

Ma réponse fut la suivante : »Je propose que vous racontiez quelque chose sur les habitants de quelques villages sur la côte ayant survécu au grand tsunami il y a quelques années. Ils ont été pour ainsi dire des témoins qui s’en sont sortis avec plus de peur que de mal. Les habitants d’un village ont toujours regardé la mer avec les nerfs à vif en attendant la grande vague suivante. Ils ont organisé toute leur vie de manière à y être préparés. On pourrait dire aussi qu’ils ont gâché toute leur vie avec cette préparation. Et la mer était presque toujours calme… Les habitants d’un village voisin y ont vécu presque comme si rien ne s’était passé. En abordant les dangers de la mer ils disaient : « Si nous partons, nous partons. Mais maintenant nous sommes là, complètement. » Et il y avait d’autres villages … Vous pouvez dessiner une carte sur un tableau à feuilles mobiles sur lequel ces villages sont représentés. Demandez aux participants de vous dire dans lequel des deux villages ils veulent vivre, ou comment vivent les habitants dans un troisième et quatrième village, ou alors où les participants du séminaire si ça se trouve aimeraient mieux vivre. Demandez aux participants ce que signifie ce contact souhaitable avec la mer, à quoi on le reconnait et à quoi est dû le fait que les villageois mènent une vie d’assez bonne qualité malgré l’ancien tsunami. Vous pouvez demander aux participants de dessiner d’autres villages pour d’autres comportements avec la mer qui est rarement sauvage et dans la plus part des cas calme. Vous pouvez demander aux participants de dessiner le comportement avec la mer sur la carte ou, si la carte est placée au sol, de le marquer avec des maisons de Monopoly. Il serait aussi possible de marquer le site actuel avec le comportement d’une mer qui est rarement sauvage et la plus part du temps calme et de marquer le site souhaité et de réfléchir pour savoir qui et quoi peuvent les aider à déménager du domicile A vers B. »

The Librarian

The story “The Librarian” shows a metaphor for the cooperation of conscious and unconscious thinking and represents a useful viewpoint of how memory functions. It is useful in any context where learning and gaining access to memories and capacities plays a role…

Do you sometimes try and think of somebody’s name and it just doesn’t come? And then you do something else and don’t even think about it any more and then suddenly – hey presto! – the name pops up! Isn’t it strange that you sometimes don’t find the solution while you are looking for it, but indeed and very so often, afterwards? How is this possible? There is only one answer…
A friendly librarian works in the brain that manages the stockpile of your knowledge. He sits in the service area on the ground floor near the lobby. The most frequently used books and folders he has nicely to hand and clearly presented in this zone. He has well ordered long shelves in the basement for the material that is rarely required. Sometimes when a book is out of place or your request does not meet the specifications of the registry, he needs more time to research. Because you’re not used to waiting, you are likely to think that he has forgotten you. But as the librarians are not like that, they are in fact very service-oriented and extremely meticulous! With your request in his hand off he goes through all of the basement rooms. He hunts and searches and finally: “Aha! I’ve got it!” With the book in hand, he comes up the stairs. He brings you what you need.


This is a little case example on what you can experience after a stroke… someone told it to me as an experience he made. The details are changed, but the core is true.

“After my stroke” he said, “people knew me that I no longer knew. ‘I am Peter’, one said. ‘Which Peter?’ I asked. ‘Don’t you remember? I went to school with you, we did an apprenticeship together and we have stood side by side at the workbench… ‘ ‘No Idea. I can’t remember’, I said. ‘We’ve been on holiday together’ he continued, ‘and you gave my daughter Julia that funny teapot as a present.’ ‘Are you Julia’s father then?’ I asked. His name was Peter and he went to school with me. And you are him?’ “

Le gramophone

J’ai un phonographe à la maison. J’y fais passer des chansons comme « Nur nicht aus Liebe weinen » – Seulement ne pas pleurer à cause de l’amour et « Ich weiß, es wird einmal ein Wunder gescheh’n » – Je sais qu’il y aura un miracle un jour. Zarah Leander chante ça avec sa voix basse – c’est magnifique ! Puis j’écoute la voix de corbeau de Louis Armstrong, et pour moi c’est une rencontre avec lui-même, avec lui tout personnellement. J’écoute Caruso, il chante avec son vibrato depuis la nuit des temps : « O sole mio… ». Leurs voix volent vers moi des rainures du disque, sans électricité. Elles arrivent vers moi comme les voix de ces personnes même. Quand leurs voix retentissent du pavillon, les chanteurs sont des hôtes dans mon temps. Je les rencontre dans la même pièce. Puis le gramophone se tait, leurs voix retournent dans cet autre monde séparé du notre, là où habitent les anciens possesseurs de ces voix.


I’m using this story to support people who have suffered a stroke to recover their memories. Of course it can be used with any kind of amnesia or neurological loss of abilities, like with a person waking up after bein in coma for a long time. The story can also be used with students who are afraid of exams or with self inconfidence problems.

Was it a dream? Was it reality? I walked through the building. To my right and to my left were many doors. I turned the handles but not a door opened. The rooms were closed to me. I sat down and wept. “Why are you crying?” asked someone. I pointed to the locked doors. “Do you not know… ” he said and pointed to the pockets of my coat. “You have the keys!” I reached into my pockets and indeed pulled out two massive bunches of keys, two key rings with hundreds and hundreds of different shaped keys, large and small. How was I to know which key fit the lock of many rooms? “You have to try it,” said my encourager. “In your own time. You have all the time in the world. Try all the doors and try all the keys. Gradually you will open more and more doors. Never give up. Your freedom will grow with every open room and one day you will know the door to every key and the key to every door.”

Après la tempête

Pour cette histoire (l’une d’avant-hier) j’ai aussi la traduction Française…

La tempête a fait son œuvre. Dans la forêt il y a des arbres dans tous les sens. Ses troncs encombrent les chemins et les routes. Aucun voyageur ne peut y avancer. Mais une fois que la tempête est passée, le temps pour les ouvriers forestiers est arrivé. Ils dégagent les chemins avec leurs scies, enlèvent les barrières et libèrent toutes les routes, du bord extrême de la forêt jusqu’à son intime intérieur.


After a while of pausing I would like to continue with some stories…
However, I would like to change the format a little bit and take turns between different languages. So, in addition to therapeutic stories in English there will be some in French and Spanish, as well. But, first of all, let’s continue in English . Here’s one which I have personwitnessed in our local hospital.

“Good morning. My name is … ” he began his speech. “She can’t speak,” explained the nurse. “Stroke… ” The helpless gestures of the young lady patient let him know that she did not understand his words, except for a few, for which he managed to coax from her a nod or a shake of the head. How can you still communicate with such a person? With gestures he painted in the air a steep staircase for her with high steps. But alas he sighed “Too steep!” He shook his head in disappointment. Then he drew with his hands a staircase with long low steps. With his fingers, he went along the whole staircase.
The woman looked attentively and nodded. With his hands he painted a high mountain in the air. A man of two fingers wanted to climb it. But he fell again. Then he found a path with a gradual slope, a zigzag, with many turns. He went this way. The woman’s eyes began to shine. And so the pantomime took its course. “Keep your eye on the goal” and “passion” followed as the next images. The movements of a marathon runner and an upwardly clenched fist; they inspired to perseverance and a fighting spirit.
The turning hands of a clock showed that it would take time. He continued the charade with his hands together on the side of his inclined head. “Sleep” and “wake”, “sleep” and “wake”, and many many times they would have to “sleep ” and “wake” until they would be at the peak, which he kept looking upwards at with his eyes and pointing to with his outstretched forefinger. With hands and feet, with his whole body, he portrayed the picture of how her children would hook into her left elbow, and her parents the right and how they would all go together with her, all the way.
Once again he stretched out his fist to the sky. She would have to fight for all she was worth. Three days later, he again visited the woman. “You know,” said the lady in the bed next to her, “she has been here for four weeks and nothing really happened but in the last three days she has made amazing progress”. He spoke with the patient again and this time she understood every sentence. Then he took his leave. “Goodbye” she said. It was her first recovered word.