12 Dates of Christmas

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I watched a movie last night, 12 Dates of Christmas. It was one of those “relive-a-day-until-you-get-it-right” movies. A young woman on Christmas Eve is doing someone a favor by going on a blind date while in the same evening trying to get her ex-boyfriend back. She gets “spritzed” at the department store, passes out and repeats waking up 12 times. She goes from a selfish bitch to caring about the people that she comes in contact with during those fateful hours that repeat and repeat and repeat …

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Realizing she gets a do-over, she starts experimenting with her approach to life and to people. She learns things about herself and about others, about having choices in how she treats people and how it affects the outcome. She is experimenting with life and enjoying the process. Over the course of 12 Christmas Eves she transforms from a woman absorbed in her own reality to noticing the people around her and beginning to get to know and care about them. She changes that day, those repeating hours, and discovers a new self. She becomes more open and joyful and caring, and starts living her life more like it matters, with intention.

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After the movie I was thinking about this and how our life is kind of like that. Granted, we don’t get to relive the same day as in the same date, but for a lot of people many of their days are pretty similar. We wake up, go to school or work, see the same people every day. Yet more often than not we don’t realize the opportunities we have to be creative with our days, or even adventurous. Instead we let ourselves get lulled into routines that repeat and repeat and repeat ... and one day we wonder where our time, our lives, have gone.  And wish we had lived more, tried more, had taken more chances or gotten to know the people around us better, had created more connection, lived with more purpose.

... and wish we had lived more, tried more, had taken more chances or gotten to know the people around us better, had created more connection, lived with more purpose.
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What a great time to reflect on this, the end of a year, a new beginning ahead. As I was watching the movie, it was just another happy/sappy Christmas love story, predictable, relaxing, easy to watch, not much depth to it. But then again, maybe you can find depth and meaning anywhere if you just look.

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I wish you a wonderful Christmas and a Happy New Year. I will start mine with more presence and passion and intent for my life and my decisions. How about you?
Merry Christmas
& Happy New Year!
I'd love to hear from you or meet for coffee. Here are my travel plans.

Ich bin ein Berliner!

28 years ago I had one of the best nights of my life - and it has nothing to do with the topic of this book project :-). November 9th marks a special anniversary, in my life, and millions of other  peoples' lives.  28 years ago today the course of history was changed forever and I was part of it. Let me take you back in time a little ...

“Ich bin ein Berliner!”
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"I am a Berliner" is a quotation from a June 26, 1963, speech by US President John F. Kennedy in West-Berlin. He was underlining the support of the United States for West-Germany 22 months after Soviet-supported East-Germany erected the Berlin Wall to prevent mass emigration to the West. The message was aimed as much at the Soviets as it was at Berliners and was a clear statement of U.S. policy in the wake of the construction of the Berlin Wall.

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I was born in West-Berlin just three months after that speech. Two years after the Berlin Wall was built. I grew up with it. It was part of my reality.

In 1989 I was based in Frankfurt as a flight attendant for Lufthansa. One inconspicuous November day I returned from a trip to Africa when my mom called and excitedly exclaimed “The Wall just fell!”

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I couldn’t comprehend what she meant at first, couldn’t understand what she was talking about. The Berlin Wall? The Wall that had surrounded me like prison walls all my growing-up years? It’s presence always intimidating, scary, limiting all of us in our desire to travel and many other ways … I didn’t think I would EVER see The Wall come down! It was that much part of my reality.

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I think if you haven’t lived it it’s hard to imagine what it was like. There was a wall  through the middle of my hometown. Houses on one side of a road you couldn’t cross to go to the houses on the opposite side because The Wall was there. We couldn’t just drive out of the city to the countryside. Because there it was, a big wall surrounding our beautiful city, guarded by sharpshooters in watchtowers, patrolled by guard dogs, a strip of minefields along the length of it. On the other side, East-Berlin, mind you, I was the lucky one. I grew up on the west side of The Wall, in the American sector, thanks to decisions my maternal grandmother and my father made just before The Wall was built.

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So when my mother told me this unbelievable news, “The Wall just fell”, my roommates and I jumped in the car and started driving from Frankfurt to Berlin. On the Autobahn we started seeing "Trabis" (East-German cars) driving in the opposite direction, an odd sight that didn’t fit our picture of the world as we knew it because we didn’t have those cars in West-Germany.

It was around 11pm, a dark & cold night in November, when we reached the border-crossing checkpoint in Helmstedt. What we drove up to was a BIG PARTY, a party like no other!! There were cars parked on both sides of the Autobahn, which on any normal day is illegal. An incredible atmosphere of exuberant joy, happy laughter and cheers as Trabis from East-Germany, loaded to the max with people, where pouring through the checkpoint, crossing the old border. A border they had not been allowed to pass through since 1961. A border separating a country and its' people.  The East-Germans were being welcomed by West-Germans with open arms and thermos cans of hot chocolate and tea. It had taken the Trabis 16 hours to make the 2-hour journey from Berlin.

There was dancing and rejoicing and hugging strangers as we became one people again.

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We continued on to Berlin later that night, connected with family and headed straight to the Brandenburg Gate, which had been  the symbol of Berlin and German division during the Cold War. It was no-man’s-land. Neither West-Berliners nor East-Berliners could walk through it. On this night we did. In disbelief and awe!

I will never forget that the days and weeks that followed. Over time, our lives readjusted to being one unified nation again. It had its challenges, for sure, considering the differences between the two political systems and ideologies. It all worked out in the end, though. 

I did not like growing up with a wall around my city. But looking back on it now, it was amazing to experience this time in history up close.  To this day, watching reports from the day The Wall fell and the days, weeks and months that followed, gives me goosebumps and brings tears to my eyes ...

So, today, whenever I feel like things are just the way they are and seem impossible to change, I remind myself of those days. Of my reality crumbling, the course of history changing right before my eyes, an a new reality evolving. And I know anything is possible!

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Tear down this Wall!
Ronald Reagan

Big Rocks for 2017

Big Rocks for 2017

One day this expert was speaking to a group of business students and, to drive home a point, used an illustration I’m sure those students will never forget. After I share it with you, you’ll never forget it either.

As this man stood in front of the group of high-powered over-achievers he said, "Okay, time for a quiz." Then he pulled out a one-gallon, wide-mouthed mason jar and set it on a table in front of him. Then he produced about a dozen fist-sized rocks and carefully placed them, one at a time, into the jar.

What is Tantra?

What is Tantra?

I decided to write about my first Tantra massage I received about a year ago. Before publishing it as a blog I gave it to a couple of friends to read for feedback. They pointed out that they didn't know anything about Tantra and suggested I give some background information about Tantra and Tantric sex as many people only have a vague idea about what it is all about. The Kama Sutra or images of Indian Temples with erotic carvings and Tantric sexual poses come to mind for many people when they hear the word Tantra.