My mother died unexpectedly

Recently I started a new job at a new place. The very first day was super exciting and in the evening my brain was still organising the new data when I suddenly got a phone call. The police officer was telling me — my mother died unexpectedly.

No more possibilities to have a conversation, a phone call or even a quarrel. Now people are different. Some have a good relation to their parents, some have various variations of it… In my case — it was difficult. With the simplified model we have of the world, we say things like “my mom never really understood me”. In other words — the relationship was problematic. This is the moment, when relativity totally kicks in. Time stretches like a rubber band and your whole world stops for a second. She. Is. Dead.

With the years we gain knowledge and hopefully also some wisdom. In my younger years, I would have said: me vs. problem vs. mom.

my mother died unexpectedly

These days I know it was: me and mom vs. problem.

We stood on the same side together and the problem was shouting at us like the echo of history. Yes, we can get angry and complain “but why did she not do this or that and why did she not love me more?”

When my mother died unexpectedly, I finally understood, she already did the best she could.

Born in 1941, when people thought we can solve problems using weapons, her relation to her mother was difficult, too. Something is chained or conditioned here — imprinted in genetics and such nifty inventions of nature. Rarely I have seen her in a care-free mood. Relations in general were difficult for her and keeping the house tidy was not one of her super powers. Growing up with an “astronaut dad” made things even worse. It’s when you know you have a dad but you rarely or close to never see him. It was very complicated. It took me years — actually decades to find out, why she never really had an interest to keep the house, especially her rooms tidy. One day she mentioned, that she grew up in a huge house with many rooms, some where rented to students, workers and maids. She was very talented in art and architecture.

It was one of her super powers to create fine rooms and interior design.

Each time she renovated her room to level “super-lovely” — her mom (my grandma) came and said something like “this room looks very good, we can rent it now” and gave my mom another old, dusty and boring room. My insight was, maybe she stopped making her surrounding looking great, so nobody will come along and throw her out of her lovely place.

In her later years, it was obvious that she got mentally ill — diagnosis compulsive hoarding. After many years trying to help her, I finally gave up and asked for professional support from the city council. Things got silent and I had high hopes the situation finally gets into a good direction. Since communication was a real challenge, I did not hear much from her recently. After she passed away, I found out, officials did not see any need to help her. Summary: for weeks, we have been cleaning the house. So sad. In the past months, when I told people my mother died unexpectedly, I got mainly two reactions:

“That is so sad. I am really sorry” or just — nothing.

People.

Sure you can get mad about a nothing-happened-reaction but remember: it’s just the best some people have. They are simply not prepared for death. Jorge Bucay wrote an excellent book called “The road of tears” — it’s my go-to book for any situation causing grief. It’s not only about death, more about loss in general…

Finally make peace with your parents. Let go anger, grief and sorrow. Such feelings cost you so much energy with no return of “investment”. Mom and dad did the best they could — and I am very aware of little humans having nightmares in their childhood. Very.

Hopefully the fact that my mother died unexpectedly, creates also something good for us all:

  • Live consciously.
  • Use your time wisely.
  • Clear the vibes.

If you can’t talk to you parents anymore in person, you still can take responsibility for yourself — meditation helps. Rest in peace, mom. Om shanti — namaste.

Wise Guy Kawasaki – Swiss army life knife

Featured - Wise Guy by Guy Kawasaki.

Wise Guy is not just another book, it’s a Swiss army knife for your life. Guy Kawasaki shares his wisdom about life, love, Apple, tech, startups, Jackie Chan, surfing and so much more. Steve Jobs’ quote about “denting the universe” will forever float through our universe and Wise Guy could be the manual for it — the “how-to dent lives with value”.

Yes, one person can make a difference and Guy definitely is one of them. I did not expect to learn so many personal things about him through Wise Guy. We travel with him on a journey from his ancestors changing home from Japan to Hawaii, funny, sad and inspiring stories about his youth, education and the Silicon Valley. Change was — and still is — a constant element in his life. I mean — who starts surfing in his sixties? Respect!

“When you surf Mavericks with a grin, it’s time to give back” from Wise Guy.

Book cover of Wise Guy by Guy Kawasaki.

While reading Wise Guy, I slowly got the picture, what Guy Kawasaki wants to share with us in his new book. It’s the love for life and being brave enough to shape Yourself until you surf the tides of life in balance — with a smile. You’ll need a lot of training, be curious, listen to advice, the right tools and invest in your education. But it does not stop there.

Create opportunities for others, help people, be generous and stay humble. Of course we can find out most things on our own but why not use compressed and proven wisdom to shorten our learning curve? Think more data is better than less and embrace people who want to help you. Think Yin and Yang —  the world isn’t black and white only — giving and getting help is the engine to keep the circle moving.

It’s hard to believe Guy Kawasaki made it already to his v.6.x — his eyes still have this Bruce Lee “laser-like focus”. “Never consider yourself a victim because then you’ll start acting like a victim.” — an insight Guy got from Condoleezza Rice. What do you think if you hear “victim”? What about all those emails, meetings and packing of tasks we must cope with at work these days?

“So what?”

… is one of the numerous tools Guy provides in his Swiss army knife-book Wise Guy. The question creates a gap in your mind to reflect and put the “crisis” into perspective. For the email dilemma, Guy developed a (morbid) pattern which saves him lots of (surfing) time. How? Read chapter #06 — Values.

Talking about values — one of my favourite wisdom in Wise Guy is

Thank the people who helped you achieve results before they are gone.

Guy Kawasaki

I have seen way too many people pass away too early, family, friends, teachers, advisors, colleagues. Eat when served, thank when due.

Finally — do what’s right — and remember: making everyone happy is impossible.

Namaste

Lessons learned 2018 – life beyond clouds

Lessons learned in 2018

2018 was a special year.

Einstein knew that time and space are relative. Some years have more impact on your life than others. For me, 2018 was very special. Why? Well, I am writing this on the last day of 2018 and it seems to me, the lessons learned 2018 were like three years compressed into a single one. So many things happened, so many changes, so much stuff to learn — stunned.

  • Health: thanks to my personal trainer I really managed to show up in the gym frequently — 5,87 a month.
  • Work: after a long journey from a monastery to cardiac irregularities, I came to the conclusion, some grass does not get greener — even if you paint it.
  • Friends: hey, they are still the foundation of everyday life, even if you don’t see them on a daily basis. Thank you!
  • Human beings: even though I know, that everybody is a supporter for you, I got an extra lesson this year. Some people really manage to hide a professional confused soul in a beautiful shell. And some still do not understand the principles of Karma — or whatever you call it.
  • Wisdom: I did not know, how extremely lovely it is, to stand above the clouds, have a drink and see the sun dive into the clouds. What a sunset. Wow.
  • Inspiration: best keynote I have seen in 2018 was by Christian Wehner. Thanks man!
  • Books: best books I have read in 2018 are from Noah Yuval Harari. Thank you!
  • Movie: best movie I have watched in 2018 is Ready Player One. What a ride 😀
  • Social Media: thanks to Jaron Lanier, I did finally quit most of it and actually focus more on shit that really matters. Merci, Jaron – I owe you some beers!

My lessons learned 2018

The shortest distance between two points might be a straight line. Which is basically 1D — one dimension. Flat. And so is the knowledge you gain. But life is so much more than endless scrolling and tapping on a heartless device. Read more books. Start more real life conversations. Make mistakes. Learn. Help your friends. Surprise people with random acts of kindness. Surprise your-self, eg. make a trip to India. Namaste!

Holding back in Love

holding back in love picture for the blog post by Chris Remspecher
You were the lucky one in the past, something happened and now you are holding back in love. Why? Did you burn your fingers at the oven and now you know that it’s hot? Some say, we learn faster through pain. Let’s see…

Recently I met a friend who is going through a weird divorce after being together with that other human being for almost 14 years. Many questions suddenly pop up:

  • What did go wrong?
  • Was it my fault?
  • Will it happen again?
  • Can I love again?
  • Am I still worthy, sexy and loveable?

We talked a lot, had a cocktail or two and finally bought some new running shoes. Sure, I heard “but my old ones are still good!” … but really? Still good and good enough is just not the same like new. Sometimes symbols help us to understand, that we are on our new path now.

Holding back in love is totally understandable but not wise in the long run.

The predictive analytics were quite obvious, life will go on and a new partner will soon be visible at the horizon. A little quantum jump into the future and today is a few months later. Again, we meet, have a cup of chai tea, talk and it is very obvious something changed. The smile was SO BRIGHT on the face 😀

What happened? The new partner did show up, like a perfect delivery from the cosmos. And suddenly the smile vanished from the face and some wrinkles of sorrow did show up.

“It’s too good to be true! Currently I am holding back in love. It could be quickly over again. Again!”

Driving back home, I was pondering about the pattern how we are holding back in love. It was a busy day on the highway. From one traffic jam, I made it to the next. And another…, one more…, and again… oh look, one more! Basically the whole way back was a mixture of driving fast if possible and stop-and-go in the jams.

If you think about it: have you seen anybody driving at 3mph on a free highway? Just because there is the possibility that in a few hundred miles there will be another traffic jam? Have you? To me, it sounds like the pattern of holding back in love. Better move around in life at snail-speed, so you are always super prepared for the next hypothetical traffic jam. Sounds wise?

Off course, it is human, wise and very healthy to slow down after a dramatic change in life. Relax, look around, make sure, you are back in your middle but then pick up speed and stop holding back in love ❤️

Fish can Fly – SleepyOne Ayurveda Beach Resort Day 5

fish can fly - blog post in the SleepyOne Ayurveda Beach Resort series by Chris Remspecher in 2017.SleepyOne Ayurveda Beach Resort Day 5 – fish can fly

Fish can fly!! Imagine you sit totally chillaxed on the veranda after two hours of Ayurveda treatment. The world is good. Out of nowhere, a fish falls from the sky and lands in front of you with a big, fat’n’wet SPLAT!!! The near to realtime Big Data analysis of this unstructured data revealed the obvious: the fish did not survive the rough landing.
Since the cosmos sometimes is very funny, it did wait a few seconds more to present his miracle. A bunch of crows were showing up and debating who owns the fish. For a moment they seemed to be unsure, if the fish now belongs to me. A quick check of the poor fish made it clear – definitely for the crows.
Half an hour later, their fast food was still in the entrance area enriching the flavour of pure Indian air. Picked up the phone, pressed #9 and I talked to the guy at the reception:

Guy: …… ??? …. (did not understand) … how can I help you?
Me: Hello, this is room #201. First of all, this is NO joke! There is a fish on the veranda.
Guy: (WTF)??? A WHAT?
Me: A fish.
Guy: A fish.
Me: Yes, a fish. Some crows dropped it.
Guy: Aaaaaaah! Housekeeping will remove it.
Me: Thank you.

Hey! I warned him, that its no joke. Oh well.

Today I noticed a strange looking mark on my left ankle.

It looked like a mini vampire bite. Or a snake bite (not the drink). My 10-fingers Ayurveda doctor examined it in detail. Brave me asks “is it a snake bite?” Doctor “no, they look different”. And then comes the strange part: Doctor “did you see an ANIMAL?” A what?
Finally I got a detoxicating Ayurveda medicine. So far, I feel OK. Knock, knock, knock. On wood.

Alaa from Kuwait proposed it might have been a tiny dragon. Maybe. It’s India and coming back from dinner, a crab crossed my path. A crab.

Today I got my slimming water in a pink (?) thermos can. The waiter had this invisible smirk in his face. Hm. Since my diet doctor “proposed” me to drink slimming water, I eat two plates for lunch. And maybe dinner. Ayurveda is about balance, right?

Talking about food – in Ayurveda the general rule for a meal is:

  • 2/4 solid food (potatoes, rice, …)
  • 1/4 fluid food (soup, warm tea, …)
  • 1/4 empty (space, nothing, nada, …)

If you ate too much, like me in the past, you feel like a balloon after the meals. In addition BE with the meal. Look at it, chew slowly. Why? Your stomach has NO idea what you fill in unless you scan your food/ meal. At least half of your eating time.

To help your body system, it would be great if you can implement 3 eating time windows. For example:

  • 6-9am: breakfast
  • 11am-2pm: lunch
  • 6-8pm: dinner

No snacking in between. It was, and still is, hard for me. Depending on what time you get up in the morning, try to finish dinner early like before 8pm. Hi to all the French and Spanish guys! 🙂

So why? Because your stomach needs some time to digest and then needs rest. If you eat too late, digestion and sleep will overlap. Often resulting in low quality sleep. Reminds me of somebody…
Let’s say digestion is done by 10pm, the body can rest, or fast, until 6am. Time to break the fasting with… breakfast! When you wake up, can you immediately hold your best presentation of the year? Maybe not. Same for the stomach. A slow start with, e.g. an oatmeal and an apple would be delightful. Oh, I forgot, start breakfast with a glas of warm water. Yes, I did laugh, too. In the past.

Being tired – SleepyOne Ayurveda Beach Resort Day 4

Being tired picture by Chris Remspecher in India 2016.SleepyOne Ayurveda Beach Resort Day 4 – being tired

Today I was SO tired. My UP-Coach tells me I reached my sleeping goal by 109%! Still, I feel tired. At breakfast, the waiter asked me “How are you, sir?”, I always answer with the truth. People who answer with “all fine” or “thank you, how are you?” are suspicious to me.

Some years ago, a good friend of mine started to answer “all is super great!” and smiled. It was obvious, that it wasn’t a true smile. He got divorced 12 months later. From later, back to the waiter.

So I told him, how tired I am. Surprisingly he said, he did not sleep well the last two days. He felt tired, too. Good man.
At the Ayurveda center, I am still tired. My cosmic doctor with 11 fingers asks me “how do you feel today?”, you guess the answer. Finally she reveals the explanation “yes, powder massages are very tiring”.

Sometimes, it’s refreshing when you know WHY you feel so tired.

Did you know the roots of Ayurveda are traced back to the Himalaya where some Aryan dudes came over with horses from… ? I was quite baffled when the guide talked about it. Also, it totally surprised me that he seemed to like a “German connection”, too. His eyes were glowing when he showed us an OLD Grundig pocket radio: “It still works!”
Anil is a great curator, enchanting and his heart beats for Ayurveda. It makes my heart jump when I see such lovely beings 🙂 When in Kerala, make sure to stop by the www.ayurvedamuseum.com. Bring 3 hours of time with you. And remember, only drink bottled water, originally sealed. And your feet will get wet. Or washed.

And there is even another sort of basil. Amazing – I wonder if the Italians are aware of so many different sorts. Will have to ask Massimo.

Finding Happiness – SleepyOne Ayurveda Beach Resort Day 3

Picture by Chris Remspecher in 2016 on the way finding happiness.SleepyOne Ayurveda Beach Resort Day 3 – finding happiness

A rainy day, filled with finding happiness and even more frogs 🙂 In the past, rain has never been my best friend. That changed when I got to know Ala’aa from Kuwait. She loves rain! Since I send her clouds and rain, oh and snow, videos whenever possible, my perception of rain changed drastically. In Europe we tend to complain when it rains. If you think about it, every plant needs rain and the sun. We breathe in and out. All the time only sun is… well – Kuwait 🙂 Today was a very rainy day and surprisingly, it made at least 3 people happy.

This brings us directly to the Ayurveda center.

Today the information sign had the following message:

“The answer lies within ourselves. If we can’t find peace and happiness then it’s not going to come from outside…”

Take rain. It made me sad in the past. Rain these days is still wet but makes me smile now. The rain did not change. Experience and knowledge changed my pre-programmed reaction towards rain. How can we change our coding? Let’s keep it easy and have a look at our routine “Rain”:

Rain {
       mood=okay;

       weather = what_is_the_weather_outside?

       if weather=rain
           then
              mood=sad
           else
              mood=happy
           endif
     }

The trick and problem we have is our bandwidth for mood$. Horrible, desperate, sad, bored, yeah, ok-ish, okey, good, great, supergreat, awesome, terrific, bombastic and YUM! A lot of choices. If you want to sell marmalade don’t present the customer more than 5 different flavours. If you present more, they will be confused, too much information, and finally the brain will lock-down and start the escape routine – they run away.

A ZEN proposal: can we reduce the code variables for mood$, say down to 3?

sad – smile – happy

Next time it rains, you might still be sad. Around the 3rd time you notice the new code still has a bug. That’s OK. Our brains need some time to compile the new code. You reached the next level when you suddenly notice yourself watching or standing in the rain and you smile 🙂 When you are happy with your new rain routine, you can move on with the next one on your path finding happiness.

SleepyOne Ayurveda Beach Resort Day 2

 SleepyOne Ayurveda Beach Resort Day 2 picture by Chris Remspecher in 2016.SleepyOne Ayurveda Beach Resort, Day #2.

A frog attacked me! Guess I was in his way. Before you ask, no I did not kiss him to check if he is a prince. For me it was the other way round. His wet touch woke me up from unnecessary lost in thinking. The cosmos has some creative ways to get you back into the NOW.
Lots of trucks in India have a sign at their back “use horn” or so. In Germany it would be impolite to use your car horn unless it’s an emergency. In India it’s more the “please wake me up” kinda character. So everybody is using their horns, trucks, busses, cars, bikes(-motor) and tuk-tuks. It’s like a symphony of NOW.

Which brings us directly to the question: how many sorts of basil do you know?

Today I got to taste 3 different sorts of many more. It made me feel stupid and ignorant knowing only one. Is it important to know more than one? Maybe not, but for me, it was a clear sign, I am too happy in my comfort zone. There are sooo many herbs and awesome medical plants in an Ayurveda herbal garden – it’s a shame I only knew maybe 0.5% …

The good thing about it is, these days we are only limited by our choices.

To learn more about something, at least the start is only one click away. Brings us back to the topic, how do we make choices? Kiss or cook the frog? Let’s see what is the recipe of me. A colourful mixture of DNA puzzled around the world via my parents, grand-parents, my grand-grand parents, their parents and their grand-grand-grand parents… in short from various jumping or crawling beings on this planet. I still like the idea, that some of my atoms in my heart once belonged to a dinosaur.

Happy, or not-so-happy, conditioning happens via family, friends and skool. Teachers, professors, your worst enemy at school, and of course – the facility manager! Our brain compiles that code on a daily basis, with none or only rare adjustments.

Me, version v.2.1 started working or “welcome to the sharks!”. Missed your teachers or professors? No worries, you get colleagues and bosses to teach you more about YOU.

Years back I was lucky enough to attend a buddhists teaching. The summary was everybody is your supporter!”. Did sound great until meeting my boss on the next Monday. Don’t worry – it took me SOME years to fully understand this. I know there are extreme cases, e.g. car accidents, murder, child abuse … … and again, I am lucky to know a few splendid humans with a horrible past. Some of the greatest flowers stick out their head through mud.

So decisions, decisions but how?

DNA ME family goals

The question here is: are your goals your goals? Or do you think they are yours but instead you are just fulfilling the ones of your DNA and family?

Recently I asked a student, “how can you be sure?”. He was pondering for quite some time until he came up with a very clever answer: “Well, it looks like I only know the goals of my family and society so far!” Hopefully his girlfriend won’t kill me one day, when she finds out, I kicked him out of his comfort zone. At least for a while…

Why I changed from Jawbone UP3 to Fitbit Charge 2

Picture for the blog post "why I changed from jawbone up3 to fitbit charge 2" by Chris Remspecher.Why I changed from jawbone UP3 to fitbit Charge 2? Total CX fail.

In early 2013 some geeks including me bought 8 jawbone UP2 directly from the U.S. because they were not available in Germany at that time. Time did teach us, that the jawbone UP2 (or jawbone UP3) was not build to last. Some of the fitness trackers died right after a few months, others lasted 12-15 months. Back then we experienced customer support quality from very good to disappointing.

When the jawbone UP3 did hit the market, some of us gave it a new chance, some already changed the brand. Since I am generally a loyal customer and have understanding for early adaptors glitches, I did order an jawbone UP3. Most of the time I was happy with it. Based on my recommendations, friends and family bought 10+ UP3. People even asked me at the Emirates airline airport check-in about the band and my experiences.

Around 9 months later, the battery of my jawbone UP3 was bored and decided to change its capacity to only one day. Recharging the jawbone UP3 EVERY SINGLE DAY. I have better things to do… November 25th 2016 I opened a ticket at the jawbone customer support. The automatic reply already shocked me with “it will take about 4 weeks” until I get a reaction. I mean: what?

Being a ZEN person, I took it as an exercise in patience.

December 17th or 22nd still no reaction from jawbone via twitter or Email. Ok, maybe the holidays. Between Christmas and New Year, I called the customer support hotline in the UK I had from former incidences. The voice on the tape did say, all jawbone customer support requests have to be addressed via the jawbone website. YES! I did that already 25th of November 2016. Digging around in the web for information about jawbone, quickly showed it looks like jawbone is history. Read about it on my twitter if you like. So I exported my data from jawbone, logged out the app and deleted it. End of a fitness tracker episode.

My research showed the best fitness tracker for me would be the fitbit Charge 2. First challenge was to find the right size. Yes, there is a sizing guide from fitbit, but to me it was rather confusing than helpful. In the picture you see me wearing the fitbit Charge 2 in size LARGE, 20 cm = 7.9 in, which is perfect with plenty extension possibility.

What I like so far with the fitbit Charge 2:

  • solid quality and security for the fitness tracker
  • no piece of metal hitting the MacBook Pro
  • works precise for my needs
  • the app does a good job in configuration and customisation
  • battery life, so far, is very good for me. I don’t use notifications or quick view

What I miss so far with the fitbit Charge 2:

  • definition of deep sleep and REM in the sleeping data
  • the constant fear to loose the jawbone UP3

Hopefully this information is useful for you. Remember, a happy soul needs a healthy body to live in. Your health is really your true and only wealth!

SleepyOne Ayurveda Beach Resort Day 1

SleepyOne Ayurveda Beach Resort picture by Chris Remspecher in 2016.SleepyOne Ayurveda Beach Resort, Day #1.

My Ayurveda doctor has 6 fingers but only on her left hand. When I first saw it, better, when my eyes first saw it, I did not see it. It took my brain some time to find something similar to bring it to my attention. Suddenly a scene from the movie GATTACA popped into my mind. A genetically „optimised“ piano player had 6 fingers but on both of his hands. There were special piano concerts for two hands with 6 fingers. Is she a better doctor with 11 fingers? Why am I here?

Today I was wondering when we stop to ask important questions, why are bananas yellow, why is the sky blue, are red chilies spicier than the green ones, why is the upload of this wifi connection so slow? Today I ate a green banana! And yes, it was 100% ready and super yummy! There are green bananas on earth!

So when and why do we stop?

Why do we settle for mediocre knowledge and TV-wisdom? Guess we, include me, got lazy. No more standing up to switch a TV-channel. If you read this later than 2030… well a TV was something like Youtube. But only with 3 channels. Fixed. In content and time. The future was very predictive, two weeks ahead, no surprises. Is surprise a negative or positive feeling for you… and why?

In the evolution of mankind surprises could mean: a tiger jumps into your cave and eats your BAE for dinner. Not funny, unless you are the tiger. Building fences helped to minimise surprises. Oh! And a gate, we need a great GATE.

Can you see a connection between the evolution of remotes and the rise of fast food? With only 3 channels, the marketing departments would have had a hard time to explain the use of the buttons 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9, 0. So we got more TV-channels. When we passed around 30+ channels, the print media got a bit nervous. The TV-future became more and more less predictive. TV-shows and movies on demand changed the way we lived, how we shop and when. The fixed plan to prepare meals got corrupted and et voilà, fast food is here!

Why waste time for cooking? Just plug in something, pizza, chips… even eatable in the dark.

These days, 2016, the remotes – we call them „smart“-phones now – can also display the content. In other words, we eliminated the way from the couch to the TV. Less steps, great! That’s why we need fitness trackers now to tell us if we reached our goals. Smart.

In an Ayurveda lesson today, a 10-finger doctor spoke about several rules or daily routines. One was about sweating. His point was: people hop from one AC to the next. Automatic climate controlled spaces everywhere. Home, car, work. If you live in Iceland, well, think about something else.

Our skin is like a firewall, or a security system. If we don’t sweat on a regular basis, daily…, we don’t get rid of stinky stuff. Nature designed our temple, the body, very intelligently but we are smart a$$es these days. Maybe that’s why we don’t like surprises. The „everything under control“ feeling is much more powerful. I guess, that is why we get some illnesses from time to time. To teach us modesty.