Enjoy your Work or make a Change! – 2 Oct 16

I explained yesterday that we are very busy these days – but you know what, we are loving it! It is of course a lot to do and I am sure there are always things that remain undone but we are happy about all these changes in life and the work we can do in this way.

I had a longer talk with Ramona about this topic the other day. Obviously there are many people who work less than we do and they are happy, too. There are however a lot of people who work less than us or just as much and are just miserable! People in their offices working from morning to afternoon, coming home and feeling exhausted from their work.

It is a very sad situation actually, because you do spend a big part of your time at work. I know, for many it is only a means of earning a living but you should do every effort to find a work that can earn your living and at the same time is something you enjoy!

I tell you that I have several friends and know an increasing number of travelers to India, too, who reduce the time they work because they realize life is not all about work and earning money! They voluntarily decide that it is alright to have a little less money – but enjoy the daily life more instead!

For a lot of people, this is not only something they can dream. You may shout ‘Impossible for me!’ but is it really so? Realistically, how much money do you spend on new gadgets and technology? Could you not do with less than the latest version of your phone, computer or tablet? What about clothes and shoes? What about eating out every day at lunch? Surely you could cut down on some of that, then cut down on the work which you don’t like and spend the time just relaxing, reading or out in nature? And, at some point, find a work you enjoy!

There are of course those who now tell that they are very careful with their spending and cannot find a better job – I believe you! Yes, I know, there are also those who do not spend a penny more than necessary but still have to work longtime. Try to make it enjoyable, make the best of it and keep your eyes open for another chance.

If you don’t enjoy, find a way to enjoy it – or make a change and find work you like!

Hab Freude an deiner Arbeit oder ändere etwas! – 2 Okt 16

Gestern habe ich euch erklärt, dass wir zur Zeit sehr beschäftigt sind – aber wisst ihr was, wir lieben es! Natürlich ist viel zu tun und es gibt sicher auch immer Dinge, die nicht erledigt werden, aber wir freuen uns über all diese Veränderungen im Leben und das, was wir mit unserer Arbeit erreichen.

Ich hatte neulich mit Ramona ein längeres Gespräch über dieses Thema. Natürlich gibt es viele Leute, die weniger arbeiten als wir und die auch glücklich sind. Es gibt jedoch auch viele Leute, die weniger arbeiten als wir oder genauso viel und einfach nur unglücklich sind! Leute in ihren Büros, die von Morgen bis Abend arbeiten, heimkommen und sich von der Arbeit total ausgelaugt fühlen.

Das ist eigentlich eine sehr traurige Situation, weil man einen großen Teil seiner Zeit bei der Arbeit verbringt. Ich weiß, für viele ist das nur ein Weg, seinen Lebensunterhalt zu verdienen, aber man sollte sich sehr bemühen, eine Arbeit zu finden, mit der man etwas verdient und die man gleichzeitig genießt!

Ich sage euch, ich habe mehrere Freunde und kenne eine immer größer werdende Anzahl Indien-Reisender, die ihre Arbeitszeit reduzieren, weil sie erkennen, dass es im Leben nicht nur um Arbeit und Geld geht! Sie beschließen freiwillig, dass es in Ordnung ist, etwas weniger Geld zu haben – doch stattdessen den Alltag zu verdienen!

Für viele Leute ist das nichts, wovon sie nur träumen können. Du rufst vielleicht ‚Für mich unmöglich!‘, aber ist das wirklich so? Wie viel Geld gibst du realistisch für neue technische Geräte aus? Könntest du nicht auch mit weniger als der letzten Version deines Handys, Computers oder Tablets auskommen? Was ist mit Kleidung und Schuhen? Was ist mit dem täglichen Mittagessen auswärts? Sicherlich könntest du doch etwas von all dem etwas zurückschrauben, dann die Arbeit, die du nicht magst, etwas zurückschrauben und die extra Zeit zum Entspannen, Lesen oder einfach in der Natur verbringen? Und irgendwann eine Arbeit finden, die dir Freude macht!

Es gibt natürlich diejenigen, die dir nun sagen, dass sie mit ihren Ausgaben sehr vorsichtig sind und keine bessere Arbeitsstelle finden können – und ich glaube euch! Ja, ich weiß, es gibt auch diejenigen, die keinen Pfennig mehr ausgeben, als sie müssen und trotzdem lange Arbeitsstunden haben. Versuche, es zu genießen, das Beste draus zu machen und deine Augen für eine weitere Chance offen zu halten.

Wenn du keine Freude an deiner Arbeit hast, finde einen Weg, sie zu genießen – oder verändere etwas und finde Arbeit, die dir gefällt!

Apra getting used to School Routine – 14 Sep 16

I told you that I already had some stories for you resulting from the fact that Apra now goes to school. She is mastering this big change of her life very well – and loves going to school!

Obviously, the first day was simply exciting for her! After the summer holidays, she was one of two new children in her class. The sessions now already start in April, a few weeks before the big summer holidays – but as we had only decided to send her to this school in June, she was a newcomer. Most of the other kids were not even new to school in this year but already had started their academic career one or two years before! Apra had of course been to our school but I already told you that she had the freedom to leave whenever she wanted – and we were never far away!

So it was a big thing for her to leave us and go to the classroom on her own. On the first day, everything was so new and exciting that she didn’t even get to think of us until we were already back to pick her up. The days that followed however showed us the process of letting go – which obviously has to happen from both sides! Here, however, I again see how great of a choice we have made: the teachers were so professional, lovely and kind with her that it really did not take long for Apra to adjust. Saying goodbye remained difficult for a while but as soon as she was in the classroom, she played, laughed and enjoyed!

By now, Apra marches off towards her classroom happily and waves back with a joyous smile, looking forward to the many fun things she will get to do in school, together with her new friends! They work with clay, they paint, they go to the playground and in between they also learn – English, Hindi and Mathematics.

She comes home with homework and we take out time to do it with her – and the other kids of the Ashram. One table at the restaurant then belongs to this little study group for an hour or two! This has also become a time that our volunteers started sharing with the kids. Young travelers on a budget who want to take part in our retreats and explore India can help us at the restaurant in the evening – and do homework and play with the Ashram boys, Apra and whoever joins them from the kids of our staff. Obviously, after work, there is also fun – and lots of it!

It is lovely to see this development and this new routine. It also means that Apra now has a fixed bedtime – because she has to get out in the morning! Of course that works better on some days than on others but Apra definitely has got used to her routine. And she loves it!

We can see that very clearly when we hear, just like day before yesterday: “Do I have school tomorrow?” “No, it is a holiday.” “Oh noooooooo!” 🙂

Joy of meeting virtual Facebook Friends in real Life – 9 Jun 16

I already told you several times how incredibly our life has changed. I saw this yesterday and today again: in earlier times, I was best available in the evening time. During the day, I was very busy working on the computer, this website, on social media, replying requests, emails, messages and more. Now – well, I am too busy in the evening for doing anything but assigning tables, serving and helping at the restaurant!

Yesterday, a facebook friend came to visit who has been connected online for a really long time already: Ashutosh Kumar, professor at Delhi University. He came together with his wife and I was really very happy about their visit. It is great to see someone finally in person whom you have been communicating with online for several years!

They arrived in the late afternoon, so that we showed them their room and then they had dinner at the restaurant. By the time they were finished, the restaurant was full and we were enjoying serving and hosting our guests. We only had a small talk before they went to sleep.

In the morning however, we met for breakfast and had a long talk. I showed them around the Ashram, school and restaurant, showed them our projects and progress and enjoyed sharing with them.

Isn’t it funny how life changes? But don’t you worry, if you come to visit me, I may be quite busy in the evenings and also during daytime, I obviously have things to manage – but I will always find time to spend with friends, to talk and of course also help if my advice is needed anywhere!

Irregularity in my Blog – Change is the Reason! – 22 May 16

You may have noticed that I have lately not been sticking to my usual rhythm of posting a child’s home video on Fridays, a recipe on Saturdays and a post about my life on Sundays. In between, I have even skipped some blog entries or they came late, so that you couldn’t read a new one every day. Obviously, that is an effect of the recent changes in our life.

With the opening of our restaurant, there have come a lot of new responsibilities for all of us. We are now running two businesses which support our charity – which of course needs our attention as well.

That’s how my daily involvement in social media has reduced drastically but I try to keep you updated here on my blog about all the things that are happening and which are going on in our minds and lives.

I am sure there will again be times when I will write more but for now, my blog entries may become a bit less regular. I do enjoy your feedback however and will also reply to any questions at any time! And of course the best way to be in touch is to come here and see for yourself – I would love to show you all the change that is happening here!

Talking to Restaurant Guests – another Dimension of Conversation – 25 Apr 16

I yesterday started telling you about our days at the restaurant and in the next days, I thought I would give you some more insights into our new life as owners and waiters at Ammaji’s Ayurvedic Restaurant. Today I would like to write a bit more about how different this work is.

Previously, I have worked in several different ways. I was the performer on stage in front of thousands of people. I gave individual sessions and consultations. I performed workshops and led meditations. I worked at the computer. I still welcome guests in our home for retreats. And now I welcome them in our restaurant. This work brings a fully different relationship to people than I had before!

I always made a quite deep relationship with the people I met and worked with. A lot of these people became friends. They often came to meet me and we had long talks as well. Now I still meet a lot of people – but they come for a different purpose and that’s how the relationship I develop with them is quite different as well.

My conversations with people these days are shorter. They have come for food, are hungry and want to choose what they will eat. They want to sit in a nice place and eat well, which is why they have come to our place. And they are interested in our concept, our ideas and our food. So to most people I explain about the Ayurvedic values of meals and how we have placed signs for each dosha with the dishes in our menu card. They appreciate the concept of eating healthy and something which will be good for their belly as well, aside of tasting great.

When I am asked how we got the idea for this concept, I tell them about my past work in Europe, America and Australia. Well, as much as I can in the limited time. It is like a five-minute summary of the past sixteen years of my life!

Of course people also get interested in our retreats at the Ashram as well as our cooking workshops – who wouldn’t after eating such delicious food? Finally, when I tell about our charity work, everybody appreciates it a lot! Their meal at our restaurant supports the education and food of our children as well!

In the end, people take along a card and leave theirs, take our phone number and tell us they would come again for a meal, they would call or sometimes that they would come for a longer talk and meeting in the next days. That is however not a serious commitment. They were here for food, not for making friends. Maybe they come, maybe they don’t. I remember or maybe I don’t.

One thing however I know for sure: they enjoyed their time here, their meal and their talk with me. That makes me happy and is finally something this work has in common with all previous ones: I am fully happy because I can help people and satisfy a need while supporting children in need!

Get active and don’t let Hate rule the World – 1 Feb 16

Today I would like to write about a topic that I don’t usually write a lot about: politics. Well, the point is that politics actually affects us all and finally, if we don’t get involved in politics at all, if we stay at home and don’t vote, we allow politicians to run the country without our voice. And that is something we should not do, as it is up to us to prevent madmen from reaching positions of power!

I am actually confident that we have enough sensible people in democratic countries that we could avoid having hateful people in top positions. Those kind of people who stir fire for conflicts, who give strength to ideas of racist, sexist and homophobic nature. Who give others the false moral excuse for violence. I believe we could stop them from reaching power.

If we take a look around the world however, we see that exactly such people are slowly advancing!

In India, we have current Prime Minister Modi with the background of a nationalist party, promoting Hinduism and with that fueling conflicts in between Hindus and Moslems, creating fear in non-Hindu minorities.

In France their old right-wing party, the ‘Front National’ with Marine Le Pen at its head, could celebrate huge success in the recent past. A party favouring the white population of France, opposing immigrants from Africa and previous French colonies, disregarding the fact that some of the ‘dark-skinned’ population of France has already been living there for generations!

In Germany, a relatively new right-wing party has been established, called the AfD, ‘Alternative for Germany’, actively supporting ideals which one can remember from history lessons about World War II and the Nazi time in Germany! Their party’s head even mentioned that policemen have the right to shoot refugees at the border if they try to cross illegally – and they should use it as well!

Finally, in the US we are today looking on the first votes on whether Donald Trump will run for president or not. If Modi made it here, why would it be impossible for this man to win, even though you sometimes feel he looks like a comic figure. With his hate against Mexicans, Moslems and basically immigrants, you feel it is ridiculous to even try in a country which is based on immigration, whose population has all roots in countries across the world! But no, he has come this far and is leading in most surveys for becoming the candidate for the Republican Party!

Here is however what I believe we can do: there are enough of us to find these people crazy, scary and dangerous. Who don’t want them to reach the power they are aiming for or already got. We do have a voice and we have to use it! With the internet, we have media to express ourselves and to show that we don’t support such people.

Modi is already losing supporters here in India. A lot of people are protesting against his government and even those who were convinced that he would bring a change start seeing things differently. In France, voters realized that they could not stay at home and let the Front National get so many votes – and they could strengthen other parties!

This shows that we all have to get up and take our right in our hand to vote, to raise our voices, to speak our mind and show that we are here to live together, not against each other. To find solutions for conflicts which will further humanity, not selected individuals. To spread peace, however cheesy that may sound!

How Monika’s Surgery was postponed – and we can only accept it as it is – 25 Jan 16

Today I am writing to you from a hotel room in Gurgaon. How come? We came here yesterday, after having admitted Monika to the hospital. I actually intended to send you today the message that her surgery was successfully completed. Unfortunately I cannot – but not because there were complications during the surgery but because it didn’t take place! Monika had fever in night, coughed and showed all signs of a big cold. The doctors decided that they could not operate on her today.

I told you last week that we were getting ready for the surgery, making plans with the doctors and so on. We had then placed the date of the surgery right before Ramona and my flight to Eastern India, so that we would already be in Delhi. That was cancelled first, as I told you yesterday, and now the surgery was cancelled as well. In fact, the whole journey to Delhi did actually not make sense but you know what? I don’t really mind.

I do mind those delays by people who don’t keep their word and I don’t like having to change my plans due to them being unreliable. In cases like Monika’s however, I am very flexible. When we were at the pre-surgery consultation last week, Monika had a slight cough and the doctor prescribed medicine against it. Reema, Monika’s mother had also told me that the cough was fine by now. Yesterday evening however, maybe due to her nervousness or a new virus or something, the coughing got worse and she had fever. In the late evening, I got a call by Reema that the doctors had decided to postpone the surgery.

Well, that’s how I went to the hospital this morning, not to take Monika to the Operation Theatre but to take care of the discharge papers and formalities. The anesthetist explained that he could not take the risk to go in a surgery with a chest infection and the immune system being down. He would like her to get completely and 100% fine before she goes into surgery. We thus talked about coming back in about a month, when it won’t be as cold anymore here either!

So even if we could have skipped the complete trip to Delhi, we decided to just accept things as they are and have fun as we go along with it!