The Crooked Bird

Another contribution by Katharina Lamprecht who will also be at the Festival in October

Sometimes there is a little sparrow sitting on the clothesline in front of my kitchen window. I like to observe him, he is quite funny and quite different than the other birds. Somehow he always looks as if he was a little tipsy. He dithers a bit on the line and you can see that it takes an effort to keep his balance because he sticks out one leg and flaps his wings. He generally makes the impression of being quite dizzy. But it doesn’t seem to bother him at all, on the contrary, I get the feeling that he enjoys his slanting position very much.

A friend of mine, who is an ornithologist, said that this phenomenon goes by the name of “crooked bird”, common knowledge amongst experts. He explained, that there are indeed many birds, who love to frolic through storms and high winds. Back and forth, up and down, left and right they let themselves dash around by the wind until they don´t know anymore where they are, don´t know up from down or back from forth. And it is obvious that they have so much fun with it, that they keep the dizziness even when there is no wind at all. Just like the sparrow on my clothesline.

Scientists suspect that these crooked birds have a kind of inner anchor. Somewhere in their bodies has to be a place that gives them the needed security to be able to always find their way and relate to a stable, secure, safe and unshakeable point, no matter what. In this way they can relax, be calm and at ease, at least internally. They can feel straight and upright even if they have no orientation in the outer world. The scientists cannot determine where this inner anchor is but they are quite sure, it´s there. Perhaps one can compare it to the radar that bats use. This we can´t see either but there is no doubt it´s there.

“We don´t really know how all of this functions, but it has to be somehow like that”, my friend said and grinned. To be honest, I´m not quite sure if I can believe his story or if he wanted to pull my leg. But watching my little sparrow, reeling and rocking with obvious delight on my clothesline, I keep thinking that he surely must have such an inner anchor. Even if he has not the slightest idea, where it is or that it even exists. But it´s got to be in there somewhere, an area within him that gives him the absolute certainty to be safe and sound in all of these dizzying situations. An anchor that keeps him upright and gives him balance.

So seeing him on the line, I imagine that, the more he careens, the bigger and stronger the anchor in him gets and he is even more centered. With stormy winds outside and the feeling of security and safety inside, the little sparrow can enjoy his crookedness as much as he likes. And I wonder, where my inner anchor might be…

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.

Africa

This therapeutic story can be used for supporting learning in general, as well as re-learning abilities after a health problem. For example, it can be applied quite beautifully with stroke patients. Obviously, it is also indicated as a story supporting change and developement with anyone who has got a strong biographical link to Africa. Of course, instead of Africa, other continents or regions of the world can be used, in order to adapt the story to individual needs. The reason why I chose the mapping of Africa as the key focus of this story is, that on maps Africa has the shape of a head or scull and thus points to brain functions.

Maps have existed for millennia but there a big differences between modern maps and those from dating from earlier centuries. For example, three hundred years ago, if a publisher printed a map of Africa, it had big white patches on it. ‚Terra incognita’ was marked on it; unknown territory. The coasts were then largely free of such white spots, but the interior of the continent was still a single, large white patch. However, many researchers undertook trips into the heart of Africa and what they learned there, they reported to the cartographers who diligently recorded everything. Land and water routes were discovered. The turns of each river were researched and drawn. The names of the settlements were recorded and the names of the tribes written down. The white patches on the map became smaller and smaller. The parts of the country that were explored and known steadily grew. Finally, the white spots disappeared completely. The whole of Africa was mapped.

La brizna de pasto en el desierto

Un hombre estaba atravesando el desierto. Al rededor de él no había nada más que arena, piedras y rocas, el cielo azul reluciente y el sol ardiente. En la mitad de su camino se le ocurrió descansar y buscó un lugar adecuado. Un poco lejos del camino encontró un peñón que le podía ofrecer sombra durante su descanso. El hombre se acercó. Al llegar vió algo raro: En la sombra de le roca crecía una brizna de pasto, de hecho.
“¡Qué sorpresa! ¿De dónde vienes tú?”, le preguntó el hombre. Después se rió de si mismo:
“Estoy tan solo que empiezo hablar con la hierba. Será mejor examinar de donde viene ella.”
Excavó la plantita de la arena y la puso al lado cuidadosamente. Después empezó a cavar más y más profundamente. Aunque no tropezara con un manantial brotante, en ese lugar el suelo estaba verdaderamente mojado. Cuando el hombre de nuevo se puso en camino no olvidó de reponer la brizna en la tierra mojada. Con unas piedras construyó un pequeño muro para proteger la planta contra la desecación por el viento caliente del desierto. Después siguió caminando.
Al regresar pasó por el mismo lugar. Por supuesto miró si su pequeña planta estaba viva. Se alegró mucho: La brizna se había vuelto en un verdadero pequeño manojo de hierba. El hombre cavó un poco más profundamente y llegó a una parte aun más mojada de la tierra. Con un pañuelo, dos palos y unas piezas de cuerda, que había traído para el regreso, mejoró la protección de su planta contra el viento.
Muchos años después un amigo del hombre tuvo que atravesar el mismo desierto. Entonces le pidió a su amigo: “Pues mira qué fue de mi planta – si todavía existe.” El amigo se lo promitió. Cuando éste volvió del viaje le contó: “Tu manojo de hierba se ha vuelto en una pequeña pieza de prado. Otros viajeros han encontrado el lugar. Han subido el muro y puesto más palos con pañuelos. Alguién ha cavado un pozo y lo ha cubierto con una pieza de cuero. Al lado del pozo crece una hermosa higuera . En sus hojas canta un grillo.”

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.

Horse and Rider

I watched a rider training a horse. The lady was short and dainty. The gelding she rode was full of energy. He could have thrown her off his back any time, but this was not what it was about. Two souls were wrestling with each other. “Who is in the lead?” This question filled the air. The woman took her time with the horse. She wanted to tame the horse yet not break its spirit. She wanted its respect and trust. In the end she won the wrestling match and I believe they were both happy.

The Path to Silence

A teacher came into an unruly class. “It will be difficult to get them to be quiet”, he thought to himself. Then he imagined that all pupils were small atoms caught up in a turbulent vibration. He brought himself into the same vibration, fidgeted a little bit with the arms, swayed from one leg to the other, and murmured something to himself. When he reached the same vibration as his pupils, he gradually became slower and quieter. The class also became calmer and quieter. He had to be careful not to calm himself too quickly – better to fidget for one moment more, and then become quiet again. He needed about three minutes. Then the class was completely still.

Later the same day, these same pupils were loud again. “Don’t be so loud!”, he shouted. And they remained loud. “We can’t work like this”, he yelled. “Please work without noise on your task!”, he called. And they remained loud. “Mark, be quiet! Julia, close your mouth! John, be still! Frank, quiet!”, he ordered. Then they became quieter. “Even quieter!”, he murmured, and it became even quieter. “I’m listening to ascertain where it is the quietest”, he whispered. “Whoever is quiet the fastest and stays quiet the longest, has won”, he whispered. And it became very quiet. “Absolute silence”, he breathed. Not a sound was to be heard. “Stay exactly like this”, he said, and continued with the lesson.

The Landfill Harmonic Orchestra

Sometimes clients who come to therapy describe themselves or each other as broken, as rubbish, as worthless… and sometimes they may not use such words but treat themselves and others like rubbish. Some injure themselves, some try to suicide. And possibly all of this is happening because they didn’t learn to discover that they are valuable themselves. I believe that everything in life can become valuable and can be seen as a value. Anything, even the most unuseful things in life can be utilized for making life precious. I don’t mean that this were an easy task. The contrary is true: “To turn shit into roses” (Virginia Satir) is what the Germans call “Lebenskunst”, meaning, the high art of living a fulfilled life.
This short documentary is telling a story on this art, a story on how to turn rubbish into music and rubbish lives intoproud, happy beautiful lives!
Have a wonderful day, all of you!

The Storyteller

Many years ago, there lived an old man in our country who knew how to tell so many tales that the people said about him: This man is an inexhaustible source. Yet more notably he had the gift of telling each tale in such a way that it became the story of the listener. Often the storyteller had many listeners, and sometimes, after one of his tales, he could hear them having a dispute, for each person felt deeply that the words had been chosen exclusively for him, while someone else claimed the same for himself.

People came to the storyteller with multifarious concerns. There was a mother who accused her son of being dull and inactive. And her son replied that, since she was always wandering restlessly about, he could not work. There was a woman who complained that she constantly had to admonish her husband not to drink so much. And her husband said, only when he was drinking could he bear her habit of complaining. There were children who ate too much or too little, there were the sick who wished to recover, and those who were suffering and hoped to be freed from pain. There were couples, who wanted to come together, and others who wished to separate, and many other people who addressed him with their needs. He was able to help all of them in one way or another.

One day a young man stepped up towards him saying: “I want to learn this art of yours.” The old man looked in his eyes. Those eyes told him about the desire of this young man, to be able to tell stories to free people from their sufferings. They also spoke of the young man’s fear that his wish could be denied, and that he would never have the opportunity to learn this art from its master. The old man nodded. “You can live with me as long as you are learning, and you can pay later if you are content with what you have learned. The young man was happy to hear this reply, and thus began his apprenticeship.

“First you need to learn to pay reverence to the stories”, the old man said to him. “Only he who can tremble from the power of a story can receive it with its full effect. You need to find within yourself the yearning for the word of release, for the word that frees, for the word which opens the doors and sends your listeners on a voyage. And you need to learn to be silent. The moment when your tale has its greatest force is the moment when it moves your listener and yourself with the greatest speed. This is when it must end, so you gain momentum and are flung on the path that it shows. – This is not true of all the stories”, he added wisely after a pause.

“You need to learn to feel the power of the words” he stated on another occasion. “One sentence does not have the same power as another. For mostly it is like this: Any word that is too much is taking away some of the story’s power. The contrary may be true for people who talk a lot without saying much: Their speech robs their listeners’ strength.”

“There are different powers within words” he once said. “Threatening and strengthening powers, and power that guides you on your search. All three are good. But you must know, which of the powers is contained in the story that you are telling.” All this the young man heard with curiosity and wonder. Yet he felt grieved to find that the old man did not tell him any stories. It even seemed as if his master hid his tales from him, and only told them when he was absent. At first he did not dare ask the old man about this. But with every day that passed by, his disappointment grew, and finally he decided to address this question. He had not yet opened his mouth when his master began to speak: