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Tuesday
Apr162013

The quiet human tragedy

Yesterday an appalling bomb killed several persons and injured many severely in Boston. Yesterday more than 100 girls died because they were girls. Today another 100 will die of the same "mis-fortune". 

Between 40 to 80 million women are missing according to research by Amartya Sen. Every year 2 million girls disappear because of gender discrimination. In India, China and Bangladesh the sex-ratio is such that there are more men then women. The more gender equal the country - the more balanced the the sex-ratio is. 

3 million children are in slavery. They cannot choose over the most basic rights. They are forced into sex and prostitution. 3 million! And that is one of the estimates on the lower side looking at the research. 

600'000 to 800'000 persons are trafficed into the US annually. 80% of those persons are woman and girls, mostly for the sex trade. Trading human beings is one of the most acknowleded and accepted forms of illegal business. In many countries it's regarded as a greater offence to trade a illegal DVD or software than a girl, boy or young woman. 

 

The global slave trade is larger in absolute terms today than the Atlantic sex slavery in the eighteenth and nineteenth century. (Forein Affairs journal, 85, no 6). 

It is appalling to realize that although serious efforts are undertaken this is an huge huge issue for which our generation will be known for and many of us remain silent or look away. We may be concerned but we don't act. Either because we are too much focused on our own little lives, pleasures and struggles or because we don't know how. Being "betroffen", moved or concerned isn't enough.  

Thankfully there are great initiatives we can support and we can use the internet to research means to help, we can contact NGO's with a solid track-record and approach to donate time or money or both!

Thursday
Mar142013

Myths about aid

I found this website and like their response to aid and some myths related to aid. I have been reading the stimulating and challenging book by Dambisa Moyo "Dead Aid". I share astonishingly many of her findings but lack a helpful and positive outlook on what one can do ot overcome some of the challenges she raises. 

http://www.dambisamoyo.com/books-and-publications/book/dead-aid

 

One of the main challenges I see for international aid is the plague called corruption and the lack of quality control for those funding and delivering aid.

http://www.givingwhatwecan.org/why-give/myths-about-aid

 

Saturday
Mar092013

Für den Leib

Mann soll dem Leib etwas Gutes bieten, damit die Seele Lust hat, 
darin zu wohnen“

Sir Winston Churchill

Friday
Jan252013

In awe of human beings

Reading in varous publications on human change and development I came across the following quote by Carl Rogers: 
"One of the most satisfying feelings I know ... comes from my appreciating (an) individual in the same way that I appreciate a sunset. People are just as wonderful as sunsets if I can let them be. In fact, perhaps the reason we can truly appreciate a sunset is that we cannot control it. When I look at a sunset as I did the other evening I don't find myself saying, "Soften the organge a little on the right hand corner, and put a bit more purple along the base, and use a little more pink in the cloud color. " I don't do that. I don't try to control a sunset. I watch it with awe as it unfolds."

 

This touched me as I am so familiar with the disire to keep nudging people to change. Wanting to see development, correction, progress and change of some kind in order to fill my expectations.

 True acceptance comes when loving as a verb is linked to my ongoing commitment to see the other individual. The Bantu people in Africa say "I See You", meaning, "I acknowledge your unique individuality. It's another way of saying my humanity is caught up and unified in yours. We breath the same air, we walk the same ground, we are of flesh and blood. 

Tuesday
Jan222013

Impressions Bangkok

Bangkok makes me come alive. The smells, the breeze, the food, the friendly people! 

I definitively realize I've landed in Bangkok when...

 

- when I discover a key indegrient in my noodle soup is pigs blood although I asked for a vegetarian dish

- when the "Spaghetti with chili and garlic" should better be described as "Garlic and Chili with a few spaghetti"

- when the 2,5km drive from Asok to Chit Lom takes 30min in a cab and I'd be faster to walk 

- when I enjoy a evening run in Lumpini park with hundreds of others

 

 

Tuesday
Jan222013

Holding tension

I am back in Thailand for a few weeks and have time to reflect and have some personal reflection time. One Learning to deal with unresolved issues, tension, unknown, not-clear, questions of value and injustice are amongst the bigger challenges of life. One coping strategy may be to quickly jump to an opinion or position or reality in order to "force quit" the tension. Another may be to flee from situations or dilemnas which create inner tension. My personal tendency is to take extreme positions and by doing so to create an inner anger or "anti"-feeling to validate and strengthen my resolve. Obviously this isn't a very healthy pattern and it takes hard work to learn to struggle with the reality of conflicting messages and experiences, the reality of injustice in a gentle and compassionate way. 

Richard Rohr says: 

Religious texts and rituals are not a substitute for human experience. They are meant to invite you into a helpful struggle, and in a certain way, they actually create a conflict or dissonance for you! If you resolve that tension too quickly by glib belief, you actually learn nothing new and go to no new place.

 

My committment is to stay on this learning path of knowing and not-knowing and of searching for experiences of love and forgivness which enable me to break through unhelpful patterns of humanity which have become a part of my life. 

Monday
Jan142013

Intercultural Competence - Leadership and Negotiation

I coach and consulting managers, professionals and private persons to reach their goals, cope with transitions and to become better at what they do. I specialize on intercultural settings and competences and help people and organisations be successful. This includes raising your intercultural leadership skills such as increasing your effectiveness as you negotiate in the international arena. 

My key services include coaching, consulting and providing training. 

 

You find more information on my professional website: 

http://twentyfivedegrees.ch/home/


Monday
Jan072013

Erev Yom Kippur

 

Yom Kippur is the holiest day of the year for the Jewish people. It’s the day of atonement. The “Sabbath of Sabbaths”. On this day Jews seek forgiveness of God for sins commited.

 

Erev Yom Kippur is celebrated one day earlier.  Sins committed against another person cannot be atoned for until one has first sought forgiveness from the person he/she has wronged.  It is customary to go visit or at least call friends, family, associates and any person whom one may have somehow wronged or spoken ill of in the past year and ask forgiveness. 

 

What a powerful tradition! This is one I aim to include in my personal spiritual practice. 

 

Friday
Dec072012

Support up! and a good cause

As some of you know I am working on a NGO start-up called up! international. We focus on helping persons affected by direct violence. 

You can find out more about this initiative and cause on our facebook (https://www.facebook.com/UpInternational?ref=hl) or website.

 

We have a new project to raise funds. Buy a cheese a support us by eating (more) cheese!

http://www.up-international.org/support-the-work-of-up-by-eating-more-cheese.html

 

 

Wednesday
Dec052012

The power of love

Here's a beautiful small video about the power of love on a small and big scale: 

 

Tuesday
Nov272012

Non Dual Thinking

Non-dual thinking is a way of seeing that refuses to eliminate the negative, the problematic, the threatening parts of everything. Non-dual thinking does not divide the field of the naked now, but receives it all. This demands some degree of real detachment from the self. The non-dual/contemplative mind holds truth humbly, knowing that if it is true, it is its own best argument.

Non-polarity thinking (if you prefer that phrase) teaches you how to hold creative tensions, how to live with paradox and contradictions, how not to run from mystery, and therefore how to practice what all religions teach as necessary: compassion, mercy, loving kindness, patience, forgiveness, and humility. You cannot really be present to the naked now except with some degree of non-dualistic seeing and thinking. Otherwise, you just write commentaries on everything, for or against.

Partly from The Naked Now: Learning to See as the Mystics See, pp. 131, 132

Wednesday
Nov212012

Aid for Norway

What this video!

Imagine if every person in Africa saw the “Africa for Norway” video and this was the only information they ever got about Norway. What would they think about Norway?

If we say Africa, what do you think about? Hunger, poverty, crime or AIDS? No wonder, because in fundraising campaigns and media that’s mainly what you hear about.

The pictures we usually see in fundraisers are of poor African children. Hunger and poverty is ugly, and it calls for action. But while these images can engage people in the short term, we are concerned that many people simply give up because it seems like nothing is getting better. Africa should not just be something that people either give to, or give up on.

The truth is that there are many positive developments in African countries, and we want these to become known. We need to change the simplistic explanations of problems in Africa. We need to educate ourselves on the complex issues and get more focus on how western countries have a negative impact on Africa’s development. If we want to address the problems the world is facing we need to do it based on knowledge and respect.

 

 

Tuesday
Nov062012

Bern

I'm back in Bern since two weeks. What a difference to Bangkok! One cannot see the air one breaths and the smell of fish oil is missing. The roads are not congested. Meetings are on time as are also the trains in which one mostly finds a seat or then certainly space to stand. 

A big difference is the quiet or the lack of noise. Obviously I miss the culture of eating small portions of spicy food during the day as is common in Thailand. 

But most of all I recognise again how structured many people are in Bern. One must make appointments well in advance even to meet colleagues and friends. Life works. Life is to a large extent work. Working defines sub-cultures and creates modern casts. 

I have to relearn how to deal with the effects climate has on me. After 5 weeks of very little pain it takes alot of energy to face ongoing pains again. Being home with my wonderful family and friends makes up for this to a certain extent but the challenge remains.

 

Working back in an office with colleagues at Sieber&Partners is wonderful. It's so much more fun and productive for me to be in such a working environment with motivated and so competent folks!

 

Here a few pictures which illustrate my journey of the past 10 days. 

 

 

Sunday
Oct212012

Bangkok

I have spent just about 5 weeks in Bangkok. Wild, crazy, inspiring and fascinating Bangkok with it's many facades and corners. 

Here are a few sniplets of hightlights, scares and what caught my attention:

- a visit to a horse race and the kind and patient explanations from Mr Hoo who helped me understand the fun in horse betting 

- watching Muay thai during a scary thunderstorm and seeing fighter after fighter being punched and kicked out of concoiusness isn't my idea of a fun Friday night 

- meal after meal of excellent and absolutely delicious food: the 30 baht soup to the 500 baht deep fried crab on coriander and mint. What I did in Bangkok? I ate... 

- the friendly hotel staff of The Muse who did everything to make my stay as much fun and pleasant as possible 

- walking for hours and getting lost in Bangkok till I find the next motorbike-taxi who drives me as far as 40 baht will get me, then walking again and doing the same till I find a Dean and DeLuca or other nice coffee or foot massage shop 

- making myself as slim and thin as possible so the crazy and probably drugged moto-taxi driver can squeze and zigzag us through Bangkok traffic jams without me banging my knees against cars and other daredevils. 

- having a good tasting soup to find out that it's enriched with pigs blood  

- going out to find beggars and spend some time sitting trying to get them a meal 

- endless loops of music in the hotel lobby, lift, malls, restaurants, taxis... 

- jogging in Lumpini park till the heat paralyses me and I sit and watch the dancing groups, tai chi, aerobics, lovers, food stall owners, police and many others

- the kind restaurant owners running a small business off langsuan who treat me with their big smile, delicious sticky rice and mango and grilled chicken many many times 

- sitting up at the Hotel rooftop bar looking down over this huge city which really never sleeps and feeling alive, small and free

- the kind ticket lady on the chao prayo local ferry who helps me find my stop although I have no clue where I'm trying to go :-)

- the police man who takes my by my hand and helps me over a 5 lane street when I'm feeling dizzy and have double vision

- the many many meals alone missing my wonderful family! 

 

Monday
Oct012012

Change

Martin Luther King Jr "We must rapidly begin the shift from a "thing-oriented" society to a "person-oriented" society"

 

Saturday
Sep292012

Bangkok life

My day started with my alarm clock waking me from my jet-lagged sleep at 6.30am. Opening the draws I see pouring rain fall against the room high windows as I look down the 15 floors to Lang Suan Road. I enjoy a morning espresso (thanks to the hotel staff who provide me with a complimentary espresso machine in the room). The outdoor shower is pleasant in the 28C warm air as I jog down to Lumpini park to do my round. I'd like to write rounds but after one round of 3km on a broad tarmac wider than most streets for cars in Bern, I was exhausted. But I love the early morning in Lumpini park with Thai joggers stopping for a soup on the way, the Tai Chi, the bikers and walkers. 

 

After a big breakfast and shower I go over to the Royal Bangkok Boxing Stadium closeby. I am one of the very few farang amonst hundreds of Thai's spending the day punting. A kind gentleman explains the punting and specifics of horse racing. I must say that I was was quite lost. But I joined the crowed and cheered for the horses and jockey I'd betted my few baht on. 

 

I'm not sure whether the motorbike taxi which drives me through congested roads to Paragon Siam Mall is suicidal or just trying to kill me as he weaves between the cars causing me to knock my knees against them as we are so close. I give him a small tip and walk the remaing distance choosing sweat over death. 

 

One of many things I like in Bangkok is the accessability of great food at virtually every corner. And the fast-food served here is tasty, fresh and spicy. 

 

More to follow...

Friday
Aug312012

New beginnings and stuckness

This phase of my life is marked by new beginnings and stuckness. I am stuck in some health challenges whilst going head on into the waves to swim away from known shores.


We are full-on with up! international and I'm working a bigger mandate in an IT consultancy and business strategy company. During all this I'm writing a business plan for a start-up "25°" where I offer intercultural training and coaching.

 

While embracing the new I face ongoing physical challeges which really bring me to the edge. What a paradox! So I feel both excitment and anxiety as I move on. 

A paradox is something that appears to be a contradiction, but from another perspective is not a contradiction at all. It doesn't exclude black and white, old and new, good or bad... Paradox admits that every profound truth is countered by another, and usually less flattering, profound truth.

Wednesday
Aug292012

Paradoxes

I don’t think the important thing is to be certain about answers nearly as much as being serious about the questions.

When we hold spiritual questions, we meet and reckon with our contradictions, with our own dilemmas; and we invariably arrive at a turning point where we either evade God or meet God. Mere answers close down the necessary struggle too quickly, too glibly, and too easily.

 

The same applies to other areas of life. I have worked with consultants and advisors who were so quick to have the answer that i distrusted and any answer they gave because they didn't engage to understand the problem or even try to hold it. 


Paradoxes need to be held and engaged with - not solved!

Saturday
Aug112012

Buskers go 2012

An expected 25'000 people will enjoy the last night of the buskers festival tonight in Bern. There are more food and drink stalls than ever and a wonderful and peaceful atmosphere as the town goes out to chill. 

 

I loved the performance of The Destroyers from Birmingham who just entertained, amused, played and lured the audience into their music. 

 

 

I love it when Bern comes out of their houses, out of restaurants with closed doors and onto the streets. 

Saturday
Aug112012

Meet the Superhumans

Channel 4 has produced one of my favorite ads for the para-olympics.