Looking back at my childhood, the only person I have always been true to was myself, which was not always easy and not always understood. It also means I have sometimes been alone. I grew up in a small Bavarian town in an old farmhouse. We were five children working from an early age on, making hay on steep hills, and raising a few cows, sheep, pigs and chickens. My strong connection to nature and the earth may have arisen from those times of helping out in the fields and in the flower and vegetable gardens.
My parents supplemented their income by installing running water, adding bedrooms and remodeling other rooms in our house so as rent out space to visitors. My mom created a flourishing B&B business, sharing our home and family with strangers. It was described on postcards as a “Fremdenheim” (stranger’s home). Although I was not always happy when our kitchen and living room were ruled by strangers, and I had to be quiet while the guest kids could trample up and down the stairs, I learned through the interaction with the guests that there was a big-wide world out there with infinite possibilities waiting. Although our mom needed the physical help of myself and my siblings to run the farm and the B&B, she also made sure we took school seriously. She was denied access to higher education by her parents; since she was a farmer’s daughter, what would she need an education for?
Death came far too early into my life when my mom died and I was just 19 years old. I just had left for college and was studying Education and Early Child Development. I interrupted my studies for one year to return home to help my father run the business and to take care of my two younger siblings. Although I had no problem stepping into my mother’s shoes, it wasn’t the life I wanted to live. I also learned it was truly the energy of my mother who built this special holiday place where our guests had a break from their work and everyday lives. My father could not take my mom’s place. Something in me said, ‘This is not the life I am meant to live’. It wasn’t an easy decision, and was difficult to explain, but I went back to school. It was painful to watch how our home lost its soul, yet I also knew I would lose my soul if I stayed. Every weekend I came home to help out and to encourage my younger siblings to stay focused on high school. I went on to study child development, though I dreamed of studying psychology. After taking a few psychology courses at the university, I came to the conclusion that the subject was not being taught in a way that I liked.
So, after graduation I instead started a hand-weaving apprenticeship with a master weaver and ended up running a textile department in an Arts and Craft Center for the American Forces living and visiting in Europe. Little did I know that I was providing therapy to Vietnam-war soldiers and their spouses, who were on leave. The work fulfilled both the need to create with my hands and with my heart, while being in my hometown and able to see my younger siblings finish high school.
I met my husband while he was passing through my hometown on his search for purpose in life. I joined him and we traveled together for a year in a Volkswagen camper-van. I was inspired by all the guests in my parent’s home who had seen more of the world, as my heart wished too to see the world. Even after we came to the United States and got married, we took off again for a year of backpacking-travels around the world. Everything on a shoe-string budget. As you can see, I didn’t follow the conventional route of the Bavarian nor American dream. I followed my soul, or essence. Not everyone has understood me and I am not a millionaire, nor famous. Yet, I learned that there is lots of beauty, and ugliness, all over the world. I learned something which couldn’t be measured in dollars or fame. I started to understand that every human being has the same wish: to live a safe, free, happy and purposeful life. And that deep down we have all much more in common then we have differences, no matter where in the world we call home.
Meanwhile, I raised my own family of two boys in the U.S. Grief and sorrow reached me again when two of my brothers passed away suddenly, neither having reached age 50. Yes, I am very familiar with birth and death and what it means to be alive. Truly alive, to live the only life, or as Mary Oliver says so well: “determined to save the only life that you could save”. (From the poem, The Journey).
Like all of us, I’ve had my ups and my downs. I’ve learned some lessons, while some others I am still learning. Yet, I am still my very own best friend and trust my inner teacher. I am constantly checking in with my inner teacher, and with my true self. After two near-death experiences, I feel more alive then ever. Treasuring every day. Starting with Thich Nathan’s gata: “ Waking up I smile, twenty-four brand new hours are before me; I vow to live fully in each moment and to look at all beings with eyes of compassion”.
I think it is time to share the wisdom, which I have gained throughout my life–how to overcome and transform and grow. In the last 10 years I have learned to express that deeply rooted trust; I have sought education and counsel. I have had the good fortune to meet very wise teachers along the way, who pointed me in different, though appropriate, directions. I studied intensely and have opened a small studio space in my home where I direct a body-mind balanced, mindful-movement therapy, which brings people in touch with their subtle energies. The body never lies and is always present.
Since our two sons are now in college, I took this summer off to go into silence, to take workshops, to listen and to integrate. This website is my first step to let all of you know I am here. I have created a safe space for exploring your deep sources of wisdom and intuition. I am here to coach and assist you on your journey to yourself. It takes courage to feel alive, to act and to bring that precious self of yours into the world. I invite you to shine a light on your conditioning, belief systems and old patterns. Starting with one breath at a time. Just consider the alternative!