Britta's Letters from (and sometimes about) Berlin
Showing posts with label Tao. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Tao. Show all posts

Sunday, 20 October 2013

For Hard-Boiled Taoists Only

Britta Hill

Sitting on a wooden teak bench, aged to silver, which is put into a balcony on the long pier of Heiligendamm, I look at the turquoise waves flowing deep under me. The ripples make me a bit giddy, and the Universal Dinner Lady, the Tao, asks me to dance.
The waves roll onto the white sand of the shore, the evening sun glistens on the salty water, a direct stream of silvery light is flowing towards me. I'm coming, my love, eternity, Tao, I'm here.
                                                                                   Many years I got it wrong:
I thought of what I wanted, tried to force it, planned and pushed - eagerly and impatient, single-minded and focussing all my will-power into one direction.
Now I still have a special dream, a very concrete aim - but I give it up to her, the Universal Dinner Lady. I tell her what I want to have on my plate - but then, after I have turned it over to her (we shoot the arrow diligently, the rest is not in our power) - I start to look at HER:
She is here. Now.
Her silk robe of Baltic Sea Water, dark blue at the horizon, changing into forget-me-not blue, periwinkle, turquoise, very light blue again and then dark green. The silver of the sun is gleaming at her throat, she murmurs, open her arms - the dance begins.
Waves are our orchestra, cormorans open their wings in bizzare rectangles -- black shadows crotcheting black lace at the seam of her dress. The beeches, her burning copper blond hair - ebb and tide - the dance go on.
I learn:
The DANCE with her is the important part - not the aim that I strive for -- (though I believe she will offer it to me, being in such a splendid mood now).
But wether she does or not: it really doesn't matter.
It really doesn't matter (in the end).

What really matters is to DANCE with her. 

Britta Hill

Saturday, 14 September 2013

The Tao of Wishes

Brigitta Huegel

One of the books my dearest English friend, Stephen Russell, The Barefoot Doctor, has written is called: 'Manifesto. How to get what you want without trying.
Had I but thought about it a bit longer! 
But no - carelessly I told Husband that I would appreciate to live on a houseboat. Very much. (I had seen some nice exemplars like that above on the Spree). 
"You?", asked Husband. "On a boat? Living on a damp, narrow, moving boat?
I felt piqued. Said: "Pshaw - I have many undiscovered facets you don't know!"  
The Tao listened. And laughed. 
And so a few days ago I got a surprising offer. 
A friend - and friends of him - will make a trip on a narrowboat from Bradford-on-Avon to Bath, direction Bristol, and back again. 
From the "(2 x) Three Men in a Boat" two had resigned - so Husband and I were asked. He, deep in writing an essay on "Luxury", has no time - but I..? 
For a second I hesitated. Then, without batting an eyelid I stared into Husband's eyes (did I imagine that I saw deep laughter in them?) "Of course I go", I said. "Such a big chance!
Which it is. I hope that the weather will be fine. 
But not being THAT starry-eyed anymore, I bought a dream-shiny-fuchsia Max Mara-down-vest - beautiful,slim and snuggly warm under my Burberry-Jacket. Then I rummaged through my winter wardrobe and pulled out the long black woolen-silk wool-pants with frills around the ankle. 
Yes! I know chapter 3 of Tove Jansson's 'Comet in Moominland' by heart, headline:  'Which is how to manage crocodiles' .  
So: come what may: Be prepared! 

P.S. For those who don't  know Tove's book (which is a fault!): Moomin's mother unnerves the young adventurers before their trip to take wool-pants with them (that's how mothers are) - and later, when they have to fight off crocodiles in a water tunnel they throw the heavy wool-pants into the wide open claws of the crocodiles. Saved! 

Saturday, 6 July 2013


"Was du liebst, lass frei. Kommt es zurück, gehört es dir - für immer."  "If you love, let it go. If it returns, it belongs to you - forever." Confucius
I would love to see the original text (and be able to read and understand it). 
The meaning of "let it go" is clear - it doesn't make sense (and doesn't help at all - on the contrary) to try to "keep" someone who decided to go. (I even would put it narrower: when you live with someone, he/she needs this freedom too - "What do you think in this moment? Won't you put on your jacket, it looks like rain" or "I hate that bloke you go to a pub with" gives only one sort of example). You have to trust. I look with mixed feelings of pity, understanding and contempt at the  selfishness of those mothers who bind their sons forever to themselves - poor things, both.  
Freedom enables a person to grow. Find his/her own path in life. You get love and trust back from them - voluntarily. 
A lover you have to let go in full trust if it is over, and if you let them go in peace, you'll have a friend for a lifetime. (My experience, ever). 
Even a friend you have to let go sometimes - suddenly there might be a pause of some years between you - one is having a career, the other raises children, or whatsoever - and then, suddenly, they are back again. 
So - this part of the quote I think I understand well, and try to live up to it. (I didn't say it is easy). 
I have problems with the other part of the quote:  "gehört/belongs" - in my sense of values no human being 'belongs' to somebody else. And to believe that Confucius wrote "forever" - when the 'mantra' of the Tao is all change - is not understandable to me. 
Maybe the German translation is wrong. (The English above is only the mirrored translation by me - maybe there are official  English translations with different content? I didn't find them.) 
But I'm not in the mood to surf further through the world wide web now. The sun shines on my balcony, the swallows cut the sky screeching shrilly, the scent of my lilies is almost deafening  - I drink my cup of tea - 
and let it go. 

Monday, 26 November 2012

Return of the Drama Queen

Dear You
Honestly, I had thought that she had disappeared some time ago - of course with a bang, not with a whimper. Oh no: no early retirement for my Drama Queen.
Yes, I'm speaking of my Alter Ego. (You might blot out 'alter').
Like all those old rockbands she gives a revival tour, promising it will be her last (you bet!).
I shall get wary when words rise in my mind like: "Awful! Catastrophe! Core melt accident!"
I heard them, last week, when I discovered that Google on Blogspot (which is the same) flatly refused to print even one more photo of mine. First I thought it only concerned "Britta's Happiness of the Day."
"Awful!", I thought, but then, being of a Pollyanna-nature, I tried to see the hand of the Tao in it (no later than that I should have become Very Wary). "You were thinking about giving it up already", I told myself with what sounded like my grown-up voice. "So what?"
Then I tried to load up a photo on Britta's Letters from Berlin: Red Card. Finish. ("It is so UNFAIR!", howled my Drama Queen, "they didn't even warn you!")
I sat down and wrote a post - here - and DQ dictated the title: "I NEED YOUR HELP!" (she seldom uses other than capital letters). An hour after posting it I had cooled down. I remembered that I am no longer 17. I thought of a quote from adorable Sophia Loren: "For me - and I think for many other women too - the 30th birthday was the most problematic. At this age Youth lies definitely behind you. You can do the most wonderful things, but never again somebody will say about you: "Yes, and yet she is still so young!" 
Oops! So I rushed to my computer and deleted my dramatic message. I told me with a stern parental voice that I can google on my own - and look up myself how to enter Picasa.
And I found two things I had completely overlooked in my dramatic haze:
1. no need to get excited about Google breaking my data protection. Or better: too late - from the moment I used blogger I had given my consent that they might surf through my hardware disk (HOWL!) and - though I still own the copyright - they might give my pictures to others, advertisement and so on.(Only FBI does need a search warrant - Google doesn't. And that is in their terms "irrevocable".).
2. and I had seen everything blurred: when I read that after using up your free 1GB, you have to buy the next 25 GB, I 'saw' that it will cost me about 25 Dollars a month ("NeverI already pay for my website!") - but looking closely there stood: it will cost a little bit over 2 Dollars per month - I think I can manage that :-)
       Drama Queen doesn't give up easily: "Think of the SCANDAL with the shop window mannequins!" (the newspaper wrote that they have now cameras inside to watch the customers). I thought about it - hope I look my best in their pics and wonder into which age-group they will assort me :-)
So DQ left, sulking. Not without giving me a beautiful poetic image (see: Drama Queen is very imaginative, full of ideas, a master of putting things into the spotlight, and of the art of timing - we had the last Sunday before Advent commemorating the dead). So she said:
"Might be a good metaphor for your death."
"Well: think of your life as a photo-blog like Happiness. Beautiful. And then, without a forewarning, God says: "You have used up your 1 Gigabyte." And you might howl as you like: Life is over."
She lowered her voice and whispered in the raunchy voice of Mae West:
"Hope you had a lot of  fun before!"