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?’ “

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.


We talked about music. “The ear is merciful”, she said. “It hears what is meant, and not what is actually played.” The woman who said this was a piano teacher. She had taught pupils for decades and had thought about how ear and brain process the music. “The ear is merciful”, I repeated. “How do you mean that?” She said: “When we hear music as an audience, then we blot out the mistakes. We hear what is meant. What arrives in our consciousness is the complete melody. The artists and teachers pay attention to the mistakes, but the audience hears the music.”

Three weeks ago I was on the Festival of Nonviolent Communication in Bialobrzegy near Warsaw, Poland.
There I got to know Ike Lasater, a renowned teacher of Nonviolent Communication. Ike has been doing a lot of Reconciliation and Mediation work. Once he even worked with Romeo and Juliette and their families… look at this video and enjoy to see him work!

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The Gift of Life

I had a dream. I saw a farmer walking over his field, scattering seeds on the ground, a great many. And I saw the same man some time later. He went to the same field, and he had a scythe with him, and the field was white and stood full of the finest wheat. And he said: “Not all the seeds have borne fruit, but the harvest is rich.” And he praised the gift of life.

Then I went home. It was in the evening, and it was getting dark. The windows were lit up and I could look behind them. In the first house I saw a teacher with her school class. She sowed knowledge and understanding. And I saw the same woman some years later, as she talked to the same pupils who had since grown up. And she said: “Not all the seeds have borne fruit, but the harvest is rich.” And she praised the gift of life.

In a second window I saw a mother who taught her son to walk. She took him by his hands, praised him on every step, and encouraged him to take another. And I saw the same mother twenty years later at the wedding ceremony of her boy, who was not a boy any more. And she said: “Not all the seeds have borne fruit, but the harvest is rich.” And she praised the gift of life.

In the third window I saw a jobless man, who helped his mother care for his father, and he went shopping for his sick neighbour, and he went to his sister’s house in the evening to look after the children while she was at a parent-teacher conference. And I saw the same man a few years later. Surprisingly he had found some work, and tomorrow was his first working day. He looked back at the past years. And he said: “Not all the seeds have borne fruit, but the harvest is rich.” And he praised the gift of life.

In the fourth window I saw someone who sowed smiles. He sowed friendly inquiries: “Is your wife better?” He sowed birthday greetings and invitations to delicious suppers.

In the fifth window I saw someone who sowed listening-to-children and telling-them-stories and wetting-them-with-the-lawn-sprinkler-in-summer and rustling-with-them-through-the-fallen-leaves-in-autumn. He sowed throwing-snowballs-in-winter and hunting-easter-eggs-in-spring.

Last of all I looked into a window, and I believe this must have been heaven. Again I saw the sower, and with him were all these people whom I had seen in my dream. And on the field the fruit had grown. There grew the happiness of a child in the middle of a pillow fight. There grew the consolation for a widow, who had good friends. The field bore the relief of a pupil who, for the first time, had a C instead of an F in maths. There grew the patience of adults and the helpfulness of children. And I heard someone say: “Not all the seeds have borne fruit, but the harvest is rich.” And he praised the gift of life.

The Lost Face

In Japan, there once lived a man whom this really had happened to: He woke up one morning and had really and truly lost his face! This matter was extremely embarrassing for him. He could not possibly show himself to another person in this state. First of all, he searched for it by touch alone. He checked his bed, and the floor under the bed, and finally also the whole room he was in. He tried to help himself this way for a long time until he realized: he who has lost his face, will hardly find it alone. He can neither see nor hear! How could this man be saved? He only succeeded with the help of his friends. They searched everywhere for him and indeed finally found it. It was in the bathroom, in his mirror, where he had lost it during a nightly visit. Lucky is he who has such friends!