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The Year - a teaser

The air is humid and hot after a heavy downpour. Only few cars are driving down Soi Langsuan in central Bangkok as I exit Hotel Muse and cross the road in the wee hours of the morning to go and buy a Pad Ka-Prao in the nearby 7Eleven. Bangkok never sleeps, but in the early hours of the morning the pace is slower, gentler. I greet the rubbish collectors and buy them a beer as I enjoy the well spiced dish on the sidewalk.  

I am awakening after a ten-hour intense pain phase which had me bound to bed. The pain waves caused nausea, cramping in my legs, arms and I felt heat patches in my hands and feet, pinning me to bed for many hours. Dehydration and exhaustion accompany me as I walk unsteadily down the road. During periods of pain I discipline myself not to think because pain often tends to bring out my most hopeless and gloomy thoughts.

“The year” doesn’t really start here in Bangkok. The storm swells in my life started crashing down on me in such an intensity that they can no longer be overheard.

I could start by telling you the story of who I am and of those people in my life that swim the oceans with me. Or I can share about my professional engagements, the travels and working in many nations and cultures, which have enriched my life. And then there is the story of pain and illness, which weaves into all recesses of my life. 

 I invite you to board this train and travel through a year with us. On this journey, you will get a glimpse of what it means to life with excruciating pain and how I chose to live with what I didn’t chose to have. In “This year” I regain influence over my life and find freedom. This book is as much about preparing to die as it is about getting ready to live.  


Learning from fear

I had another strong 6-7h pain attack from Friday to Saturday. During most of Saturday I was trying to recover, to start eating and drinking. I was alone in Bangkok. I tried to walk and do what I had to as I was changing hotels but I was incredibly weak and could harldy pack my stuff and even less to walk or carry lugage.

I felt fear creeping into my thoughts. “Will the pain surge again today” “Will I have energy to eat or do I fall into a cycle of weakness and strong medication crippling me?” “What do I do if I’m alone and I can’t stand up from bed again?” Fear of just facing more pain of this intensity. 

In such moments – and again over this weekend – I ask myself what I can learn from the fear. What does the fear tell me about what is real? I imagined sitting with my fear in a beautiful coffee shop drinking the finest espresso and having an appreciative, consultative talk exploring each others desires and needs. This helped me hear the important message fear had but also to “be-friend” my fears and to unify myself with them whilst empowering myself to embrace hope. This helps me find peace and to breath and to reconcile myself with forces beyond my controll. 




Going Nowhere

I have been reading three to four books per week lately. That is what I call a treat.

One of the pearls which was recommended to me by a close friend in London is „The Art of Stillness – Adventures in going nowhere“, by Pico Lyer. He underlines the importance of finding balance in motion and stillness so we become more aware of the now and our current surroundings.

In the age of speed we learn to rediscover slowness. In an age of distraction, we learn to appreciate attention. In the reality of huge amounts of information, we engage with we are invited to relearn the art of emptiness. This all corresponds very much with my life’s reality.

Sometimes I feared aloneness and emptiness. But we don’t get rid of our shadows by trying to jump over them. And so I learn to slow down and to stand or sit and watch my shadow. More and more I love... going nowhere.  

Jikan refers to the silence between two thoughts. Hidden in Jikan is a beautiful pearl. One of awareness and of being alive. 

I like to travel. And the more I travel and enjoy being in motion the more I enjoy travelling to nowhere and then discovering the beauty of being anywhere. Here. Now.

Contemplation, Meditation and stillness doesn’t guarantee satisfaction and pleasure. But it helps me become more in touch with reality in and around me. I become more authentic and real by allowing my soul and emotions to find a space and voice.  

„If I ever go looking for my heart’s desire again, I won’t look any further than my own backyard. Because i fit isn’t there, I never really lost it to begin with.“ Dorothy, The Wizard of Oz


Crossing Oceans

What the caterpillar calls the end 

the rest of the world calls a butterfly. Lao Tzu 


Beginnings and water are inter-wined.


Submersion into water in baptism is a symbol of dying to the old and being born into the new. Sprinkling water over somebody stands for powerful blessing as one embarks on a journey.


We had to cross many oceans to get to my new home in Dauli, PNG. I was just a few weeks old when we embarked on this long journey. Since that first trip I have spent months in the air crossing our magnificent planet earth. I marvel and continue to be fascinated by modern travel and the ability to cover large distances in such short time.


Yet, the greatest challenge is to take a step off shore and into the water. Leaving the secure firm ground, starting to walk on sand, feeling the first ripples of water on our feet and then slowly emerging into the cold.


New beginnings always start in our mind. We are blessed with the power to think beyond the known, the usual, regular patterns and to use our imagination to create a new arena in which we move and live. It's not always possible to put this plan into action - that is right. But if we don't start imagining and thinking of the journey to take, it most likely will not happen either.


Our soul needs the drop of water to remember the journey we haven’t embarked on yet.

The greatest limitation to experiencing pleasure in my life is fear hindering me from thinking of what starts when we bury the seed in the ground and that first phase of waiting, thinking we have been foolish to put our hope into the soil and cover it up. Waiting day by day, watering, pulling out weeds, anxiously hoping for something meaningful to become visible and grow. 

I am often scared that my life is just pulling out weeds. But when I plant seeds and pull out weeds then I am gardening my life and being scared has a meaning. It shows I’m daring to do something brave.



Pain managment and (conflict) transformation

My ongoing experience of pain taught me to see suffering as an invaluable form transformation. Suffering begins when I am not at peace with the pains. When I fear them or when I lose control and have no or very limited response options. I see pain as an energy and state which conveys different messages. Sometimes it’s a warning that I should change behavior. Other times it's a warning and reminder of a deficiency. Some pain has an encouraging message to be more loving and gentle towards myself. Pain messages can be alerts to trigger a different response pattern. It can be a whispering hint of a storm to come giving me time to prepare. Whatever the message, pains are not the central aspect of the story of pain, it’s having options to choose how I respond.

As William Ernst Henley beautifully phrases it in his famous poem “Invictus”.
Out of the night that covers me
Black as the pit from pole to pole,
I thank whatever gods may be
For my unconquerable soul.

In the fell clutch of circumstance
I have not winced nor cried aloud.
Under the bludgeonings of chance
My head is bloody, but unbowed.

Beyond this place of wrath and tears
Looms but the Horror of the shade,
And yet the menace of the years
Finds and shall find me unafraid.

It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate
I am the captain of my soul.

I have chosen to see pain as a trigger, a motivation, a source of inspiration, a challenge, sometimes a nuisance but always an opportunity to grow in love and humility and power to learn to be the “captain of my soul”. Yes, I wish I had less physical pain. Of course I would rather not have these chronic, life-changing and life-threatening pains. But I can’t change that. What I can do is change my attitude, perspective and integrate the pains into the reality of having many stories in my life all shaping this ever evolving version of “Mark Moser”.

When I a power-less and pain has a grip of my body, instead of “fighting” pain I try and go into the pain even deeper trying to understand both the reality and message but then also to go into the energy of the pain in which I often find a less dark place. I sometimes get a glimpse of a source in this energy which I believe is a source of love and life. I’m not saying that pain is love. But if I follow it’s path and go beyond what I perceive as “something gone wrong” making this energy so destructive … I can sometimes find peace and see somewhere in the far distance a place of love and wholeness.

The path of suffering is the fastest one to transformation. We don't do shadow work well, because struggling with our dark side is humiliating. We've been trained to compete and to win. When winning is the only goal, we can't admit to anything that looks like failure, or even allow basic vulnerability. (Richard Rohr, Daily thoughts, 24.5.2016).

In order to not be destroyed by pain and inner conflict I need to be vulnerable. For only in this state does the transformative power of pain reach my inner places and not turn myself into hardness. It’s an ongoing process which I compare to the work of a potter working the clay. Once the clay is hard one loses the ability of forming it. Once my pain turns hard – is not touched and acknowledged, not processed and understood – then it turns into hardness and this is suffering in it’s worst degree. The suffering turns cold and hard. Edging it’s way into my heart and being causing damage (collateral damage). And so I work pain, massaging it, breathing life into it. Being gentle to the pain and letting it flow through and out of me. Permeating every part of me and not resisting.

I see our wounds and places of pain as a hiding place of the divine or the creator. She holds her presence like a drop of water in our most vulnerable places giving us “water of life” into which we may tap.

When I compare this to outer conflicts I have encountered I see many parallels. Conflicts should be assessed and acknowledged so we can understand the meaning behind them … or to acknowledge the lack of meaning. Many conflicts turn destructive and damaging because the early signs and messages were not understood. I am not saying all conflicts demand an intervention except that many should be seen and noticed in order to be able to classify and appraise whether a response of some kind may be necessary.

The experience of pain and learning from this has helped me change my perception on conflicts. I used to fear conflict and see them as something “bad” and mostly dangerous. Therefore my response was to flee from them or then to respond with an activist approach of trying to “solve” them.

To close my paper let me quote Leonard Cohen who says so beautifully in his song, Anthem:
"There is a crack in everything. That's how the light gets in."

Our wounds are the only things humbling enough to break our attachment to our false self and make us yearn for our True Self. (Richard Rohr, Life is hard, 2016).


A heart whispering "love - today"

We are all dying. Some of us more conciously than others. And we are all alive, well most of us :-)!

In the last months I realised that I need a new framework by which I live. Or said as a friend said nicely today: I need a new answer to "why I live?" and "why do I do what I do?"  

How much do I accept that my body is on a downward spiral? How much energy, time and effort shall I invest into slowing down this process of dying? Is it ok to accept treatment which helps increase my quality of life on the short term but reduces my life-span? Shall I go for more quality of life or quantity of time?

My focus has shifted from preparing to die and to embrace a positive attitude to the big unknown final transition to "What do I want to live?". What do I want to experience yet in the time I have? In which friendships and relationships do I want to invest time and energy and go deeper or further? How much life do I have in me yet? 

As I balanced these and other questions I decided to aim for a "365" perspective. My goal is to live at least one more year and perhaps more... A good year. A full year. A year of laughter, depth, weeping, happiness, sadness, letting go and holding on. Over the mourning of realising the shortness of life a joy arises. The thankfullness to have the opportunity to enjoy a good coffee, deep sharing, a groovy jazz tune, a beautiful spring day and much more. 

This reflection helped me to accept the reality of being weak and tired. It helped me see how I have been pushing myself hard and far to keep working full-time whilst hearing and feeling my body say "I am tired and in pain and need a rest!".

As I begin to slow down and rest I am overwhelmed by the reaction of friends who are supporting us on so many levels. Some are challenged by the explicitness and directness of my decision and feel overwhelmed. Some express that it creates pain to walk with me through fields of shadow. Some chose to hold my hand and walk with me. This situation is a priviledge as it lets me experience these intense months together with loved ones. So again it's pain and pleasure which dance in the moonlight.  

I hear a heart whisper "go - love - today".  



From the ashes to the sky

The moralistic and dualistic upbringing and many years of indoctrination in a church setting had a deep influence on my mind. I was taught (and let myself believe) that deep down I am unworthy and sin-full. Literally meaning that the deeper I dig and reflect, the more areas I would discover in me which are unworthy of being touched, that are dangerous and to be questioned and gotten rid of.  There was a lot of preaching of forgiveness and of healing but all this just intensified my self-rejection and fear.

A consequence of this was that I feared being alone. I was afraid of what “dark inner forces” may surface when I am alone and give room to silence. One of the most important (and scary) roads I took was to say a short four letter word to the inner moralistic voices clouding my mind and to start facing aloneness. I started giving space to silence, nothingness. I started to do listen more to my heart and soul and desires not letting my head run the show. I started to give space to all of me. To the reality of who I am and not so much the person I was taught I want to be. 

And then in accepting my brokenness, I discover beauty and hidden strengths. I discovered that yes there are sides in me I don't want to live out and give room to me but they must not be hidden. Even those sides have beauty and are worthy of being touched and acknowledged! 

 So many strengths I have were born in moments of rain and pain.

I remember many years of my life in which I feared really being alone. I thought that in aloneness some hidden truth of me might be revealed and this scared me.

Through my illness and travels I have had to learn to spend 4-5 months per year alone. Alone on beautiful beaches surrounded by lovers, family and beer drinking partying folks.   

I've been alone in shabby hotels in Madagascar, a hammock in Koh Samui, small airport hotel rooms in Heathrow, Finland, lodges in Namibia, dark hotels in Lesotho and stunning temples of luxury in Dubai and Thailand. But through all the nights, the meals, the twilight I am able to make choices of who I am and how my activities reflect my values and longings.

I have learnt not to fear my true self but to trust! My soul is trust-worthy and worthy to be loved. Deep in I am not a sinner as I was taught. I am a beloved man wanting to be loved and to love. I believe in an original blessing which overcame original sin. And in all this I learn to see others in the same light of compassion and care. 


The longest Journey

One of the longest journeys of my life has been (and continues to be) to learn to move my self-awareness from what we are thinking in our head to what we know, think and feel in my heart.

Consciousness is learning to accept the reality of mystery and everything. Learning to see with my inner eye which isn’t seeing things as I see them but as they are. But it’s actually more than seeing. Consciousness is about being seen. Knowing that we are known. 
To be fully conscious in it’s deepest consequence means accepting and loving everything. Loving the beauty and the dark. The pain and the pleasure. Loving the unknown and finding comfort in the known. 
I am far from living a conscious life. But I am on a journey to learn to go beyond thinking. Contemplation or quiet prayer helps move my awareness from my dualistic thinking and understanding to a deeper - heart level - of knowing. My longing to belong and to embrace life and then now is much stronger than my desire to understand. It’s not about one or the other - not about either understanding or belonging - but they go together. 
To love means to accept being seen, to fall into full consciousness. It's about fallng... to lose control. 
Contemplation is an alternative processing system. Attempting to “think without thinking”. To be and to be still. To let the connection with breath, the present, the moment, the source of life bring us into a level of being where our opinion, our experience doesn’t shape our being known. 



Pleasure this pain

 All of me. I exist, feel, touch, hope, fear, enjoy, desire. I am one being.

Every part of my reality is a part of me.

For many years I experience pleasure as “me” and pain as “it”. I referred to pain in the third person.
If I want to be care-full, be generous, be loving with myself then there is no way around learning to love my pains. The emotional despair, the brokenness, the fears, the physical pain and discomforts.


But pain is part of me. It’s an energy. One of discomfort, but it’s authentic, revealing truth and worthy of love because it is connected to life.

Pain warns, heals and informs.

I don’t love what causes pain but that is a different matter.

When I act unloving and hard towards pain I inflict more suffering. Numbing the pain often makes it all the more powerful when it re-awakes.

Touching pain gently, cautiously, respectfully opens a path to see the light in dark night of suffering.

Pain seems to be attached to pleasure. Sometimes the rope is long till one finds the pleasure in pain.

 Kwamie Liv sings so beautifully:

“Can you love me. Can you love me despite the cracks?

Oh-oh baby, this pleasure, this pain.

Sometimes it hurts, sometimes it hurts

pleasure this pain…” 

My journey of learning to love pain has led me to a deeper, far more intense experience and sensation of pleasure. Intimacy has a new meaning. I have experience moments of deep physical pleasure in the midst of intense pain. Both feelings being a part of my reality. Complimenting each other. Dancing together – sometimes against each other but leading all the more to a passionate dance.

The energy in pain can destroy, it can burn me up but it can also set a passion on fire. 

Dare to explore it together with a person you love and trust! 
It’s not an easy path but one of great mystery and depth that will change you in wonderful ways. 



For many years I looked at the dark sides of life as something threatening. I looked at pains as something different than me ... a kind of third party which intrudes in my life. But I have learnt (the hard way) that pain is as much part of me as is sensuality and lust. Pain is as much me as is passion and pleasure. In sexuality this shows in a powerful way. The boundries of pleasure, pain, orgasmic experiences blend when we let go and let our soul and body to melt together. 

This experience of acknowledging pain has brought me closer to truely loving myself. Obviously, I do not appreciate pain but I do love them. Because they show I am alive. Pain shows there is energy in me. There is life in me. I rather pleasure and work hard to find ways to transform pain into pleasure but I no longer "fight" pain. 


There is a deeper meaning for me to this. The pain in the world. The suffering I cause. The suffering I experience or observe. It is in a circle (Kreislauf) of beauty. I do not mean this in a cynical way and it never justifies suffering. 

Being mindful to beauty in the midst of pain has opened my heart and soul to new experiences. In persons who are mean and hateful I decide to look for something to love.

Again sexuality teaches us alot in this area. Few dare to let go and experience sexuality in it's more beautiful form - that is where the boundries of right and wrong, pain and pleasure, me and you are lost. Some of my most spiritual experiences have been in such moments. A tremendous gift I cannot explain in words that do it justice.


What I am getting at; Being whole has received a new meaning. All of me. Truely all needs and wants to be acknowledged, touched, loved, acepted and transformed.




Wounded but loved

(Foto: Laurence Moser)
“What a big boy your are!”. “Be strong!”. Such and many other messages are conveyed to babies, kids and sometimes even to grown-ups. Many of us have been raised to be strong, to be resilient and to be tough. Early on I tried to convey (I don’t know if I was successful…) messages of positiv affirmation and love to my kids. I don’t tell my grandson that he should be big and strong. I’d rather him to grow up to be loving and enduring! Aware of our weakness yet embracing the seeds of healing growing in the very pain that we wish to erradicate.  
St. Francis said he wore a patched robe because he wanted to appear to others exactly as he was on the inside—wounded and weak—as we all are if we are honest. He had faced his broken self and it was precisely there that he met the most unconditional of loves. (R. Rohr)

When I try to be strong, I see my pain and wounds as a hinderance or a deficit. But my wounds do not stop me from being more loving! One can be wounded and loved wounded and loving. My wounds (without enjoying or glorifying them) are an opportunity to embrace healing. 
Whilst it’s true that we are all dying, I desire to also embrace the process of eternal healing! 
It’s amazing what human connections occur when we act our of love and start seeing in others persons on a journey of healing. 
I had to go and have my hair shaved on Saturday as I was loosing more and more due to medication I am taking. The hairdresser was so sad when he realised why that he gave me a big discount and wrote me a get-well card. I felt very vulnerable as I walked out of the salon feeling naked but chose to be open about it - not to cover my head with a cap and to embrace my vulnerability. 




The more I see the cruelty, pain, injustice and suffering, the more I search for beauty, love, compassion and goodness.


Pushing limits

Those who push limits know that these sometimes push back. I have felt some of this push back in the past weeks running on reserve battery. But I am also aware that I'm not a victim of these set-back. Being alive implies that I'm ready to put a moment before the consequences this moment may have. Yes, that is risky and sometimes straightout silly but it allows me to live, to give it my all and to learn from reality rather than from the fear of action or inaction. 


A challenge I am currently accutely aware of is to build up and lightly hold courage and love to live today, knowing and facing tomorrow. My tendency is to take the courage to face the next bout of pain by functioning, being dutiful, being diligent. But more powerful is finding courage by allowing myself to love and be love and to connect with myself in such a way that it is respectful and enabling.

To explore this is my path I tenderly tread on. Falling and getting up, falling and getting up. 



A person in distress

I had a very saddening experince yesterday on my trip from Phnom Penh to Bangkok. Sitting next to me was a young Cambodian or Laotian girl. She had never flown and I realised she was very scared and nervous the moment we started taxiing. When the food tray came she had no idea how to eat the packaged snacks and foods. I helped her and when we landed I showed how to unbuckle the seatbelt. She then held my arm and looked terrified. I asked where she was going and she said she doesn't know. Then I saw a man two rows behind me observing me angrily. The young girl (I guess she wasn't older than 15years of age) kept looking at him. On the bus to the terminal she asked me to help her as she didn't know where to go. Her english was very poor but I am quite sure she was being traffiked on. She mentioned that she has to take a bus to Pattaya. At immigration I asked the officer to call the police. By the time they came and I had alerted her the man following the girl was through immigrations and had disappeard with the girl. It was difficult trying to persuade the Thai police what my suspicion was but they said they see this happen often. It has haunted me today thinking of the plight of this young girl and my heart and prayers go out to her and the millions of children and adults who are being held captive and are un-free! 



Not only healthy, but also

For 40 years I have been living with a genetic disorder which causes ongoing inflammations and leads to ongoing, constant pain. There are very very few days where the absence of pain breaks through the normal pain-full days. On these days it seems as if the air is more fresh, the colours more vivid and the days shorter. 

It has been years since I last wished to be only healthy because I am mostly very thankful for the life I may live. Of course not suffering pains would be awesome. But then I might not experience the peace and love I often do. What would I have been able to accomplish if I used less time and energy to manage pain? Would it have been something meaningful and loving? 

Roughly 10 years ago I decided to leave the church and religion. I have struggled, enjoyed, searched and sometimes - for short moments - re-found believe in a God who enters into our world. I found expressions of life (some may say, spirituality) which I can embrace. Not being part of a closed group and religious system has been most liberating. It’s lead me to re-discover, to embark on journeys with a less judgemental mind which is open to explore, accept and embrace. So much of my identity and beliefe in the church system was based on principles lf exclusion and inclusion. It was dualistic - what is right and wrong. I am continuing to learn to embrace the now and be more present. Breathing and being connected with creation and the created around me and with me makes me be more alert to their needs, their fears, their hopes and desires. 

My goal for the next months and years is to let go more and more of fix expectations in order to experience each day as gift. No matter whether this day brings pain and fear of tomorrow or whether I can move and breath without fearing the next stabbing pains.


About cows and goats

Those who know me are aware that I like people much more than animals (except if they are marinated and seasoned well...). 

This weekend two big religious festivities, Eid-ul Adha and Puja are celebrated in Bangladesh. There are more than a million and many more goats on the streets of Dhaka. 

Most families buy a animal. Religious leaders will cut the animals starting tomorrow Monday. The animal is shared in three equal parts. With their own family, a third is for relatives and a third is shared with the poor.

I had a facinating experience as I was invited to the home of a Bangla family and spoilt with 20 or so dishes for a mouthwatering dinner. The hospitality experienced touches me.

During the time here I was driven around by Narzra who is a devout Muslim. It was a privilege to experience his kindness, gentleness and albeit his skillful driving in the crazy traffic of Dhaka.



Back on the road

After long 6 months in Switzerland with one 2 short international trips I am back in Asia again. 

The past months in Switzerland have been a challenge on many levels, especially healthwise. However I did very much enjoy being together with my great family and friends. 


Last Monday and Tuesday I wrapped up a project and started a new mandate with a federal office in Switzerland by facilitating a two day retreat. From the smooth and sophisticated (and partially spoilt) world of federal workers I flew to Bangladesh to work in a slum close to Dhaka where our NGO is funding a maternity clinic. Tomorrow I go on to Dubai, then on Monday to Bangkok then to Phnom Penh. 

The culture differences of the work contexts I am in a huge and sometimes it's challenging to switch. But I am extremely thankful for my work and enjoy it!


Dhaka is fascinating and sometimes overwhelming with the sheer masses of people, scarcity of space and smells and sounds. As it's Eid ul-Aldh and the biggest hindi holiday there are thousands of cows ready to be slaughtered on the streets. 




Worthy lives - worthy persons

Today 500 person drowned when their boat was rammed by smugglers in the Mediterranean. What a tragedy. 

In the past weeks the number of persons who died in boat accidents enroute to Europe exceeded 700. It is heartbreakening that this ongoing tragedy is silently accepted. I could point at the media, polititians or somebody else. But I ask myself what my response is.

If three Swiss planes would crash in the perod of one or two weeks I would be more shaken, more distressed and more saddened by the loss of life and human suffering. But migrants crossing over illegally to Europe? 

This tragedy can be avoided. We can create safe crossing to Europe for refuggees. We could open registration offices on the african continent and cut off the dirty business of smugglers. But politically this in obviously not a valid approach. 

This is the heartbreaking truth. We don't care as much about the lives of persons who don't hav a swiss bank account or who aren't so called "talent". 



Back again

After a period of not posting I will continue posting thoughts, experiences, travel strories and fotos here. Comments and contributions are warmly welcome! 




I had a wonderful time in Thailand with my son in January. We travelled to Bangkok, Chiang Mai and Koh Chang and enjoyed work and relaxation together! What a privilege to have the opportunity of spending 3 weeks with the best son in the world :-)!


Back in Switzerland I'm working hard on a large project with a federal office coaching and consulting the 250 persons involved in a change project. So I'm commuting frequently to Zürich and back. At the same time we're starting new projects with up! international and Dynamic Share where I am strongly involved. 

Ruben Ung ( made some portraits and I'm very happy with the results! Thanks to you Ruben!