Dance Star Apra gives spontaneous performance – 9 Nov 15

Once a year, there is a fair in our town which people started organizing when I was a teenager. It is called ‘Bal Mela’ and schools of the whole town participate to have art competitions, performances of dance and theater and more things which make a beautiful show.

When I was in school, we also participated and I remember that I have several times performed on that stage. Adolescents were also encouraged to make stalls at the side of the grounds. One year I sold chai and snacks which my mother had prepared at home. Another year, I had my camera with me, took photos of people against an advance and sold them, bringing them by their homes once they were developed.

As I mentioned, our friend Melanie from France is here at the Ashram as well and she has come to stay for a long time. In the evenings, she has been contributing to the entertainment of our guests and us by performing her fire dance, with burning poi that she swings all around her. It is spectacular to watch and knowing that the Bal Mela was coming up, Purnendu talked to one of his friends who happens to be the organizer to this event. Wouldn’t it be a great start for the evening program?

Additionally, we have our group here and wanted to show them a bit something of our town! So Purnendu went and took them all along – Melanie, our guests and of course the Ashram children including Apra.

Once there, everybody had a great time! As usual in India, the dance program started much later than previously announced but the audience was rewarded for their patience with Melanie’s amazing fire dance on the big stage. When she saw this, Apra immediately also wanted to come on stage and perform as well!

Spontaneously, Purnendu talked to his friend once more and soon it was time: the anchor announced our little dance star! She came out onto the stage and danced to one of her favourite songs which she had already learned a dance for this summer. She got enourmous applause and came home proudly with a medal and a cup which she had won by participation!

Before they left, the organizers asked all of our guests to come to the stage as well. We had a lot of fun still this morning at the breakfast table when they told how they all walked up the stage as honour guests of the event!

Oh, and now here we are, two proud parents who cannot help but admire their daughter who gets up on a stage in front of hundreds of strangers, performing a dance without previous preparation for this occasion, in the clothes her mother had quickly dressed her in before leaving! She had great fun and I am proud to say she is my daughter, the daughter of a performer as I have myself already been in young age.

Ramona’s Birthday Celebration – 20 Mar 14

Yesterday we had a wonderful celebration of Ramona’s birthday! We all still feel like having a hangover from dancing, eating and enjoying! It was a fantastic evening and do you know what was so great about it – apart from my wife of course? It was the joy of the children which I noticed yesterday once more.

We have a very big advantage whenever we have a party: our school children are always invited. We don’t need to worry about the amount of guests. We have our school children. Our parties are never boring and always full of life and joy. Because of our school children.

We invited them already a day before and that’s how on Ramona’s birthday, they requested their teachers to give them some time for drawing, writing and painting birthday cards. They got their papers, colour pens and time for doing it and when they arrived in the afternoon, of course way before the time we had told them to come, they gifted Ramona the most beautiful handmade cards!

When the first children were coming, the Ashram family and our guests were still fully busy decorating the Ashram. My beautiful wife decided to get into her birthday present by the family: a wonderful new dress which had a few of our friends look at her in surprise, as it was so different from her usual clothing! We took some pictures and enjoyed watching the children coming excitedly into the Ashram.

Then the music started. And oh, you don’t need to ask children twice to join you at the dance floor! They opened up, they got wild and they danced in such a great manner, you could think most of them came straight out of dance classes!

Our friends who were staying with us at the Ashram got ready as well and the first guests from outside the Ashram arrived as well. The children, happy and open as they are, started talking to them, pulled them to the dance floor and played and danced with everyone. Who would not enjoy being asked for a dance by a ten-year-old girl in a glittery dress?

Yes, these children are poor but all of them have one set of clothes which they wear on festive occasions. We know these dresses, it is the same one on each of our birthday parties but it makes them feel special and beautiful to wear them. And it looks wonderful!

The dance was followed by a great dinner prepared by the Ashram kitchen. After that, a must on every birthday party: the cutting of the cake. And just when everyone had put their last piece of cake in their mouths, it started raining flower petals! The children had volunteered to help picking flower petals off seventy kilos of differently coloured flowers – and then we all enjoyed throwing the flowers on each other!

Everyone had a blast! Our guests, we ourselves, all our friends from near and far and of course the children! And again, what I enjoy the most at this is once again this thought: for our children, this is a very special event. A party of a kind that they don’t get to experience often. Not even their wedding may have so many guests or so great food. But we will always celebrate our events with them – because it makes all of us happy!

 

Apra’s current favourite Activity: Dancing – 18 Mar 14

It has been a long time since I last gave you an update about how our baby girl is doing. She is not so much a baby anymore – she is growing physically and mentally so quickly that we often wonder where this little bundle is that we held in our arms two years ago.

These days, Apra enjoys dancing so much that she is practically dancing the whole day long. She has her small music system which she holds in one hand while she turns, makes Indian dance moves with her free hand, spins around, waves her hips and sings along. She can hear three or four songs again and again for hours and we just have to take care to charge the battery of her music system in between.

Children are all happy dancers and love music but I think what made this love in her even greater was two events in the past weeks: the time with our musical friend Thomas here who daily took out the guitar and sang children songs with the kids and the visit of another friend, a facebook-friend, who performed a semi-traditional dance on a nice evening together. Watching this gracious dance made Apra ask us to put on those same songs in the next days and had her watch dance clips online with much interest. She now imitates all those movements in a very cute way!

Oh yes, and she learned jumping a few days ago! She had been doing much effort to get both feet off the ground and one day she was so happy: it suddenly really worked!

This all came in handy when we prepared for our Holi celebrations! It was the kids who enjoyed the preparations the most! Whenever there was colour, they had their hands in it. Whenever there was water, you could be sure that their clothes would be wet the next minute!

In the big party however, Apra first started playing with the mud which we rub on our bodies to protect them from the colour but then it became too much. She felt dirty and asked us to shower her, to get it all off.

So she showered and then watched all of us from a safe distance how we threw the colours on each other. She danced where it was dry and clean and only when the madness had subsided a bit and we sat down to clean ourselves with another round of mud and a mixture of chickpea flour and yoghurt that she entered the coloured garden. There she sat down, started rubbing the mud on Ramona’s arms and face to help her clean and finally put both hands into the bowl of yoghurt, throwing it on us. This was her very own Holi party!

Now she is already in anticipation of the next party: tomorrow is Ramonas birthday. Of course we have told her and this is how she now talks nearly only about this: we will cut a cake, we will eat it, she will wear her new dress – one of the beautiful clothes she got on her own birthday as a present – and of course we will all dance to her favourite songs!

It is so wonderful, if we could just all be more like her and live our lives like children!

When a Pole Dancer did a sexy Dance just for me alone – 18 Aug 13

I told you last week how I found myself sitting in a spiritual center in Australia in 2005 where my organizer had just told me that she actually gave lots of sexually loaded Tantra workshops and massages in those rooms where she had organized my workshops and individual sessions for the coming week.

Of course, while she told me about the details of her work, she also asked me what my attitude towards sex was. I was already feeling that she had developed some interest for me, which did not surprise me – experience with people who are interested in Tantra taught me that they were often very quick in finding partners for non-committing sexual relations. I wanted to prevent any advances from her side and thus answered that I liked sex but that it was always a matter of mutual understanding and love for me. I told her about my bad experiences with people who had expectations that I could not fulfill. I realized soon that this attempt to show her my lack of interest was not very successful.

Our conversation carried on and she started telling me her life story. She had not always lived in Australia. Taking out a photo album, she showed me pictures of herself, 15 to 20 years ago, when she was living in Europe. The pictures showed very clearly what she had been earning her money with: she had been a pole dancer!

She showed the pictures, told me that this had been her profession and the next minute she jumped up and ran out of the room, shouting ‘I would love to do this for you!’ leaving me fully bewildered, wondering what would follow this announcement.

Two minutes later, she entered the room, scantily-clad in what looked like glittering undergarment and a big mask on her head, covering the upper half of her face. It was the same kind of outfit that she had been wearing on the pictures and I guess it was supposed to look sexy but the whole situation was just so bizarre: I had met this woman for the first time, I had no experience with such dances, she turned on the music and in that big hall there was only I, sitting there, getting a private dance show by a former pole dancer to whom I felt not sexually attracted at all!

She danced for some minutes, taking a chair and a table for help in absence of a pole that she could wrap herself around. In the meantime I just wondered what I should do. She would obviously not be happy if I rejected her now obvious attempt in attracting me but we had the whole week of program ahead. On the other hand I would never have come if I had known what kind of workshops she normally offered! I decided to try and stay calm and nicely try to handle the situation in this friendly way even if our work did not really fit together.

She finished her dance performance and asked me how I had liked it. I replied with a short ‘Nice’ and a non-committed smile. Then I yawned and told her that I really had to go to bed now to be fit for the next day for which a few individual sessions and a meditation were planned.

I thought I could avoid a further escalation of the situation. How wrong I was is what you will read about next Sunday.

Impressions of the West – First Visit to Germany – 30 Jan 11

I had taken flights frequently from one place to another in India, too, but this was the longest flight that I had taken until then. I went from Delhi via London to Hamburg and already the hour that I spent at the airport in London was full of amazing new things for me. Arriving in Hamburg, again, I was taking in my surrounding with interest and sometimes astonishment.

My friend came to pick me up, as he had promised, and as he had no car, we went by bus, train and taxi until we finally arrived in his apartment.

I spent one week there in Itzehoe and although I have surely forgotten thousands of things that were new and interesting in that time, I want to tell you some of those things that remained in my mind. Of course simply the fact of being surrounded by German people all the time and wherever you go was something new and exciting. My friend himself had been in Germany only for a few months and so he was the perfect person to take me around and show me all the wonders that amazed him in this new country.

He took me to go shopping at the supermarket and we filled the shopping cart with vegetables and things to cook with. When we left, he told me how nice it was, you could take the cart with you up to your house and bring it back later! I found this a very nice idea and we really rolled the cart down the street and across it to the apartment house, through the entry doors and into the elevator until just in front of his door. There we emptied it and he brought it back to get the coin out of the cart which was stuck in there as a token.

Somehow my friend had reached to the conclusion that one of his neighbours, a woman living alone in her flat, was doing prostitution in her flat. He told me you could see customers coming and going but apart from that she was just a normal person! Just like you and me, you see her in the morning in the elevator, you say good morning and good evening, she is just like a normal person!

One day we went on a street festival which they called wine festival. This, too, was an experience I remember well. It was the first time that I saw people drinking alcohol just so close by me. In India, it was a matter of respect for people not to drink anywhere close to me, as alcohol is socially still inacceptable and drinking is considered bad manners. Here however I saw how people went from one little tent to the other and tried wine here, there, another glass over there and really, some people got drunk from this. They started dancing to the music, singing and talking loudly and in my eyes some were definitely misbehaving.

So these all were new impressions to me but there were elements in my time in Europe which were also just as they used to be in India.

New Year Eve and New Year Celebration – 1 Jan 11

So today is the first January of the year two thousand and eleven, 1.1.11. We had a wonderful end of the year 2010 and a great start into 2011. Yesterday one of my very old friends had come to the Ashram surprisingly. He is tabla player, player of an Indian drum, and he already played in my programs more than fifteen years ago. When Murli was standing at the doorstep yesterday, we spontaneously invited him to join our New Year’s Eve celebration with a performance. He was happy to do so and this is how we started our program after a delicious dinner at the Ashram by watching Murli’s amazing musical performance.

We then moved to sit outside around a big fire and the girls who had been doing shopping did a fashion show by showing all of their newly purchased dresses. They proudly showed dresses which all were a mix of Indian and western fashion. It was nice to see them so happy and everybody enjoyed.

The next point on our little New Year’s Eve program was a game. We call it the chair game and last year we played it on Christmas. Everybody walks around a group of chairs and when the music stops has to find a place. There is however always one chair less and this is how the group becomes smaller and smaller. The last two people walking around the chairs yesterday were Annick and Chandan, one of our staff members. Chandan won the game in the end with a glorious Indian-style victory: Annick was closer to the chair but he just grabbed it, flipped it around and sat down on it, accompanied by much cheering and applause by the crowd.

After some more dancing it finally was time for the countdown to welcome the New Year. Everybody hugged each other and wished each other a wonderful year 2011. It was simply a great start and what made this start even better was the huge chocolate cake that Yashendu had baked and presented at midnight.

What could be better than to start the year at home with wonderful friends, much love and a big chocolate cake?

Birthday Celebration of Sophie at the Ashram in India – 27 Dec 10

Today is Sophie’s birthday. She is visiting us here with her siblings Konsti and Lotti and of course her parents HC and Annick. This is her 16th birthday and when I got to know that she would come and celebrate it here with us in India, I was already very happy. It is an important birthday for teenagers and from the beginning we wanted to make it an unforgettable experience for her, so that she won’t regret her decision to celebrate her birthday at the Ashram. This is how everybody contributed today in their way to make this day a unique celebration.

We designed and printed invitation cards which we sent to some local schools to invite children of her age group. Yesterday evening already the cooks started preparing delicious food which was our start of the celebration. In the festively decorated Ashram the children of our school, the children of other schools and of course the whole Ashram family and friends had a great meal together.

When everybody’s belly was filled, we sat down to watch the performance of the children who had prepared speeches and dance as presents for Sophie. Thomas and Iris also participated and made everybody laugh with wonderful acting. They dressed as clowns, made jokes and wonderful nonsense. In the end of the program, everybody gave Sophie birthday cards and wishes.

In the evening now we will cut and eat her birthday cake. And then finally she will receive her presents. We will have a lot of fun in that time, too, as there are a few jokes wrapped in birthday paper, too. We will finish the evening with another big dance party, the grand finale of an unforgettable birthday.

See more pictures of Sophie's birthday party

Forever Young with a Young Attitude – 14 Oct 10

Today is my birthday. With the flood in Vrindavan the school children did not have much time to prepare a program but they wanted to show something and this is how they spontaneously danced for two songs. The dance teachers could not stop themselves and joined in. It was really nice and fun, just spontaneous and informal.

As I told you before, we also distributed medicine today to those children for whom the ultrasound gave results. Their parents had come and we explained them all how to take their medicine and when they have to go to the doctor again to check if it helped already.

So we distributed medicine and it was really a nice celebration in this way.

So I am another year older and a friend sent me birthday wishes asking ‘How do you feel, one year older? I am sure you don’t feel old!’ I had to laugh about this mail. Of course my friend knows my attitude, my ideas and my feeling and that’s why he already knows that I do not really give much importance to age and numbers. I really feel that it does not matter at all.

It all depends on your attitude and feeling. If you feel young, why would you not be young, too? If you think that at a certain age your life is nearly over, you are already old and will soon get diseases, then you behave in this way and your body will soon start making you feel this pain of the age you imagine. If you don’t think of your age as something that has a certain bad effect, then it doesn’t matter how old you are!

Today I talked with my grandmother who must be ninety soon. Nobody really knows how old she is. She now daily walks up to the gate of the Ashram and back and she is getting fitter and faster each day. If you exercise, if you stay active, if you laugh and dance, then you will stay young.
 

Physical Closeness is Key for Successful Relationships – 11 May 10

Today we left Copenhagen. We are now sitting in the train, writing the diary. It is a 12 hour journey back to Wiesbaden, so we have a lot of time to think of our short but very nice stay in Copenhagen.

As I have been there many times over the last years, I know many people and have many friends there. And it is a very nice city, very multicultural and very open. We were talking a little bit about the Chakra Dance Party and noticed that people were really quick in opening and expressing. That can be culture, it can be because there were many people, it can be because in Copenhagen they are more used to this kind of alternative party. Well, definitely we had a great time with many open people.

I had a healing session with a couple, with one of them yesterday and with the other one today. They had some confusion and misunderstanding in between each other which came from their modern lifestyles and their jobs which did not give them enough time together. They did not have enough time to create the comfort to open their heart and share. But they both have love for each other. I told both of them how necessary it is to have physical closeness. A relationship doesn’t work over internet or chat or phone. Many people try, that is why some dating sites are among the most popular sites on the internet. Flirting over chat might be fine, you can have some fun also with a webcam or you can fix a time and place for meeting but in the end you need to physically meet, you need to be there in person. And if you want a well-functioning relationship you need to give time and be there. This is why I said to the couple: you need to find time to really be together. I will be very happy if their love can grow and they can find happiness with each other.
 

Chakra Dance Party in Copenhagen – 9 May 10

Yesterday we had a great Chakra Dance Party. We left from here around six o’clock to prepare the music and do the sound-check and at eight o’clock the party started. Just like last time we were just at the bank of the river with big glass windows from which we could see the river. There were many people and we just enjoyed dancing and moving our bodies.

I told you that our friends Linda, Annick, Regina, Jens and Celina had also come from Germany to experience the Chakra Dance Party here in Copenhagen and we did not promise them too much. There was a big group of very nice people, open-minded and open-hearted, who enjoyed laughing, dancing, rolling on the floor and on a human carpet, looking into each other’s eyes and hugging each other.

So after this wonderful dance party yesterday we have today something that we call chakra dance hangover – a new experience for some people how you can have a hangover without drinking alcohol. You feel a bit tired but very good! We had to laugh about this at the breakfast table before our friends left us again to go back to Germany. We will be here until Tuesday and I will give healing sessions.

You can see pictures of the chakra dance party and also enjoy dancing at your own home by downloading the music from the internet.