J’ai demandé à un client : « Si vous voulez, imaginez-vous une fois votre vie comme un village de montagne, dans lequel le fleuve a débordé et a amené beaucoup de boue et d’éboulis. Après ce malheur le conseil municipal se réunit avec les villageois, les pompiers et la protection civile et ils discutent de ce qui est à faire. Il arrive tout d’abord des gens avec des pelleteuses, des bulldozers et des camions pour enlever le plus gros des éboulis. Pouvez-vous vous imaginer cela ? » « Oui. » « Vous pouvez voir comment ils déblaient tout ça. Après l’équipe de rangement il arrive des gens avec des tuyaux et des balais. Ils enlèvent toute la boue et le sable du village, toute cette saleté qui est venue de l’arrière-pays. Vous pouvez voir comment ils font tout couler vers le bas dans la vallée. Vient ensuite l’équipe des artisans. Il y a des maçons, des plâtriers, des peintres, peut-être aussi des électriciens, des installateurs, des stucateurs, des restaurateurs. « Que font-ils d’après vous ? » « Ils peuvent plafonner ou cloisonner. » « Exact. Quoi d’autre ? » « Poser une moquette. Câbler. Placer des tringles à rideau. » « Exact. Après les artisans arrivent les jardiniers. Ils aménagent de nouveau les parcs et les jardins. On rajoute peut-être un puits au village ou un tilleul au village pour améliorer encore plus le village, pour qu’il soit mieux qu’avant. Et un monument commémoratif. Peut-on imaginer cela ? » « Pas très bien. » « Eh bien, vous n’avez pas besoin de vous imaginer tout ça. Dites bonjour à votre âme, pour qu’elle fasse ça pour vous, comme ça vous n’avez pas à vous en occuper. Après il y a des personnes très importantes qui arrivent. C’est l’équipe de prévention. Ce sont eux qui veillent à ce que cela n’arrive plus. Ils peuvent planter la pente au-dessus du village par exemple, pour que les racines des arbres fixent la terre. Ils peuvent construire des murs et des grillages dans le style d’un paravalanche. Ils peuvent creuser un lit plus profond pour le ruisseau, peuvent construire des marches de barrage et des bassins de retenue ou même une déviation pour l’eau du ruisseau qui est de trop. »
Cuando era niño, a menudo ayudaba a mis padres en el jardín. Me acuerdo de como mi padre me instruyó a cosechar zarzamoras: “Toma una mora en la mano y tira un poco de ella. No fuertemente, solo un poco. Si está madura, cae en tu mano por sí misma. Si no se suelta por sí misma, déjala. Todavía tiene un sabor agrio.”
I’m using this story with stroke patients, with those who suffer from Multiple Sclerosis and with traumatised persons, including certain situations of separation and berievement. Most of all, it can be useful to support persons who want to recover their memory and access to their abilities.
The storm has done its work. The trees lay criss-cross in the forest. Their trunks block paths and streets. No traveller can make progress here. But when the storm is over, then comes the time of the lumberjacks. With their saws they cut free the paths, lift away the barriers and clear all the streets, starting with the outermost edge of the forest all the way to its innermost core.
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.
“Excuse me, please”, I asked, “can you tell me where Mrs Arnold lives?” “That’s easy. Go up to the top behind the byre. She lives in the last house. “Sorry?” “Oh, you’re not from here and you don’t know what a byer is, right?” “Exactly.” “A byre is the same as a bower.”
“… and some people simply don’t want to understand each other …”
I was still a child. But even if I had been older, I would not have been able to say how the carp might have explained his peculiar journey. Some friends of mine had played a trick on him. They secretly fished him out of his pond by night with a net. They carried him in a bucket for kilometers through forest and field. The swimming pool in my parents’ garden was supposed to be his new home. I must admit: we were pretty astonished when we saw him swimming his rounds in the pool water.
It was in September. The water was no longer chlorinated. There was no longer much competition between fish and man, and so Ludwig, as we named him, was allowed to stay for the time being. Winter came, and with it a thick layer of ice. But with the coming of spring it was time to change the water. Ludwig had survived the winter well. The family council decided to bring him home. Once again, Ludwig was loaded into a bucket. An empty paint bucket was the biggest suitable container we found. We brought him through the forest and fields back to his friends and family. Ludwig turned his circles in the bucket. Pretty small circles, because Ludwig had grown over the winter, and an old paint bucket is no mansion for such a carp. Aside from that, he sloshed out more than half the water along the way. But finally we were there. A swing of the bucket and Ludwig landed again in his pond with his old acquaintances. What he did then surprised us: Ludwig swam his rounds there, indeed so, as if he found himself not in his pond, but in a small bucket. He swam six or seven circles, with a circumference of not even half a metre. Then the circles became a spiral, first narrow, then wider and wider. Finally Ludwig realised where he was. In one long, straight line, he shot out of his bucket carousel.
I went into an inn. It was somewhere in the Scottish highlands. “Greetings! Do you serve warm porridge for breakfast?” The woman behind the counter told me the right Scottish expression: “You mean: crowdie?” “Yes …” – “No.”
“… one does not need even words to make oneself understood, or indeed misunderstood…”
In my village there is an old man, who again and again tells of how he fled with nothing more than the shirt on his back, because the occupying Russian troops had taken everything he owned and his house and yard in order to give it to others. He said: “I cannot forgive the Russians.” The man lives in a beautiful house with a balcony and a large garden. His favourite pastime is watching his great-grandchildren play.