The Keymaker of Pont des Arts

Picture for "The Keymaker of Pont des Arts" by Chris Remspecher in 2014.The Keymaker of Pont des Arts

What do all the love locks at Pont des Arts and a Tibetan sand mandala have in common? They both disappear very soon. Just a few weeks back a railing finally collapsed under the weight of thousands of love locks.

While I took some pictures at Pont des Arts, an old gentleman was passing by. Let us call him, Claus. Claus did cross the bridge in a slow, but efficient speed. He did not have to stop, because of all the tourist like some fast sportive runners had to. Reminds me of the Tibetan saying:

„Sometimes you have to walk slower to reach your goal faster.“

Did he think about the narrow-mindedness of the humans species trying to grab a glimpse of infinity? Or did he wonder about those coming back and searching the traces of the past, checking if their love (lock) is still there… Some say

„all wisdom is useless without work. And work is senseless without love“.

Can we carry any load?
Maybe Claus is the Keymaker of Pont des Arts. Sure, all the heart locks attract Photoshop lovers from around the world, too. Can a piece of rusting, heavy-metal be something like a promise?

„If I’m knocking on heavens door, do I have to unlock all these locks?“

Again, the problem with external, material symbols is: they soon fade away. You might be quite happily while you are at Pont des Arts and kinda locked down your love (…) via a love lock. You jump for joy and think „I’m glad my key is in my pocket“! Years later you come back searching your love (lock) and be like „Oh god!! Where is mine??“

Claus has been crossing the Pont des Arts already for decades. He knows a lot about the burden of locks, love and liberty. After all those years, he knows the perfect place for a love lock and its key: a loving heart and a smile.

A big Merci! goes to: Eu Genie, Leon H., Roman Tiker, Gisela H., Nicole M., Simon S., Steven K., Gwenette S., Uwe S., lesewunder, supercalifragelistik, insidemyorbit, hexepimmie and diamor3.

Embrace the Sun

Embrace the Sun picture by Chris Remspecher in 2011.Embrace the Sun

Let us all stand still for a little while, breathe in – breathe out and embrace the sun. There are so many things we tend to forget or take for granted. The sun shines for you, day in – day out, ok, sometimes it hides behind some clouds, but it’s still there, like a really good friend.

We love the illusions of a mesmerizing sunset and our hearts jump for joy with every fresh sunrise. Hey, remember, the sun itself never gets to feel these amazing memories!

When was your last chillaxing sunset or sunrise? Go out and embrace the sun!

Travelling to Paris

Picture for Travelling to Paris by Chris Remspecher in 2014.What happens if you are travelling to Paris?

1. You leave your comfort zone.
Yes, my couch loves and understands me too. But your sofa will not kick you up the Montmartre to the most loveliest view over Paris.

2. You have to move your butt.
When you made it up to the top at Sacre Coeur, you will most probably miss your couch already… but(t) remember(s), that our body was made for exploring, walking around, dancing , or running in the rain!

3. You have to adapt to unforeseen situations.
The sign might clearly tell you, the train will leave from the left track, but there’s already a train to the right of the platform. In Germany, we would expect the train to leave precisely from the left side. In France it’s possible that, for no understandable reason, the train on the left, today, leaves from the right side. Open your mind… 😉

4. You might see things you don’t like.
In the area of the 18th arrondissement and generally in Paris, you might see homeless, beggars, guys who want to give you stuff for „free“ (never-ever take something in your hand, unless you really want to buy it) and others might sell you „top-new“ mobile phones. Without a receipt for sure. If you feel like you want to help, focus and do it in an organized way, for example via mycharitywater. And from the ZEN side, it might sound harsh but it’s not your business.

5. You might see things that make you smile bright.
You can’t plan or buy to meet a very old French couple in the streets of Montmartre giving you tips and insider info you’ll find nowhere else. Unforgettable are their smiles when you *listen* to them and just be thankful and give them a smile and a „Merci!“ for goodbye.

6. You could visit friends or find new ones.
Life is a journey. It’s up to you, who you let go or keep by your side. Yes, you can travel all alone, but it’s more fun to make another face smile and have enlightening conversations along the way 🙂 In my case: merci, Klaus! Hope to meet you soon again – here or there…

7. You might find inner peace.
I’m writing this on the TGV on my way back home. You never get again, again this life. Traveling can help you to re-evaluate your life from a distance. Are all those things you have to do really that important to you, really? Even the shortest trip, 1-2 days, can bring you back on the right (or left) track.

Happy travelling to Paris!

Lessons learned in 2013

Picture for lessons learned in 2013. Picture and blog post by Chris Remspecher in 2013.Wow, here we go! Hello 2014, thank you 2013 – what a ride.

So what were the lessons learned in 2013?

  • Relax or die trying.
  • Focus or get lost.
  • Smile, even when no one is watching.
  • Calm your mind or monkeys will be your boss.
  • Hug a friend. And then do it again. Repeat.

Since I lose track of my own lessons learned in 2013 from time to time, I made a desktop wallpaper for you and me. Download the picture in full size (2048 x 1365 px) if you like. I hope it is useful for you, too. Namaste 🙂

Lessons learned in 2013, iPhone iOS7 parallax wallpaper by Chris Remspecher in 2014.

/edit: By public (an my own) request, I made an iPhone iOS7 parallax wallpaper. Yes, looks great on Android, too 😉 Click it for full size and download it for your daily reminder..

So She Died

Lost tree picture by Chris Remspecher in 2012.So She Died.

About a year ago I wrote about „your problems“. It’s been a year with many ups and downs. And a few weeks back, she died at the age of 34. One of her last sentences was “Please,  don’t forget me”.

Every time some buddy (somebody…) you know checks out unexpectedly, you have another chance to reflect about your own life:

“The past is gone, the future is uncertain. What do you do with your remaining time?” Buddhist saying

At that time she died, my life was very busy and I had to postpone my reflections about her early check-out. One thing though, was very clear to me: I wanted to buy a hourglass to constantly remind me of the floating nature of time. And to make sure I really get one, I told several good people about it. Jen from Moscow told me, she even has one which works upside down, what is really ZEN to me for various reasons.

Time flies and 7 weeks later, I still haven’t bought a sand glass. Sounds like a mission for karma: first day at work in my new position, sitting at my desk, looking around and there it is. A hourglass, with red “sand”, floating from bottom to top. Me being speechless, staring at it, my colleague tells me: “Oh, somebody brought it as a promotional gift.” Clever cosmos…

What lessons did I learn so far:

  • We waste way too much time on low priority topics in our lives.
  • We complain way too much about things we don’t even remember after 3-4 weeks.
  • We often act like we have an infinite amount of time left in our lives.

Be kind. Use your time wisely. Smile.

One Way Stress

Uphill in Porvoo for the blog post "One way Stress" by Chris Remspecher.One Way Stress.

Stress seems to work like a one way street. From somewhere outside yourself the rivers of stress flow directly to your central nervous system just to make you, well, nervous. Some might stress now, that there are SO MANY people who radiate stress. Correct. But have you ever seen a peaceful, meditating monk creating a stressful situation for others?

Now what to do with all this incoming stress? Instead of complaining – move. Walk uphill, find the origin of your stress. Yes, this can be quite a hike! The reward of climbing up that hill can be a better overview over your current situation. Maybe the source of your stress is super supportive to you but you just don’t get the link of an unfriendly boss and your freedom of choice to upgrade to a new workplace.

Imagine you are traveling in a very fast train. If you stand up and walk around slowly, all seems fine and pleasing to you, unless you look out of the window and try to focus on a very near spot besides the train. Some of us ride in a hyper stress train, without even noticing it. Suddenly, out of nowhere it’s Christmas again, again! Do yourself a favor and check speed and destiny of your current voyage from time to time. Godspeed!

Try it trice

"Red life savers" picture by Chris Remspecher in 2013.Try it trice!

Sometimes you try something once and if you don’t succeed right at the first time, you label it as a „fail“. On my last voyage to Finland I heard a lovely and motivating story (thanks Antti!).

Imagine a clever guy from India living in Amsterdam discussing with a friend about important things in life and how to achieve your final goals. The conversation goes like this:

Mr. AT: “This thing didn’t just work out.”

Mr. India: “Well, if it is something really important to you, first you try once, then twice and if it still doesn’t work out, you have to try it trice!”

Mr. AT: “You can’t say trice!”

Mr. India: “Why not? IF something is really important to me, I will do it trice!!!”

Hopefully this tiny story keeps you going on next time something looks like a fail. Go for it – trice!

Balance Mind Body Soul

Sitting on a Spring. Picture by Chris Remspecher.Balance Mind Body Soul.

Sometimes life delivers so many challenges and changes in a very short time. Maybe you know the feeling of being drowned in information, tons of stuff to do and still, nobody refilled the fridge for you.

Then you read about to balance mind body soul but you don’t have time for it. The guys of the Lift app came up with the idea of creating groups to join a bunch of Jedis, who face the same struggles. So we have set up the body.speech.mind group which will sign you up for the habits of Exercise, Tell a story and Meditate.

If you feel stressed and run on a 24/7 schedule of your (business) life, joining the group might be something for you. Namaste

Be a friend

Be a friend. Picture by Chris Remspecher.Sometimes you need many words to grasp a topic. Sometimes 3+4+4 are enough.

The only way to have a friend is to be one. Ralph Waldo Emerson

Best friends with your mind

Picture of Lama Kelzang.Lucky me, just yesterday I could attend a teaching by Lama Kelzang. “How to train your mind?” and “How to get a good friendship with the mind?” were his initial questions. According to Lama Kelzang, our mind is funny or even interesting. It’s like a camera, it takes many pictures. Maybe, it’s even like a CCTV, always active on a subtle level, even in our sleep.

If our mind takes nice pictures, we are in peace. If our mind is overloaded we get crazy and suffer. Craziness or harmony, peace or bullshit; it’s the mind which picks between suicide or Buddha.

How can we be more stabilized? How do we become best friends with our mind? First, it’s about compassion. Second, we need wisdom. When we are more balanced, we transform ourselves in a more relaxed person. So how do we get there?

Through formal and informal meditation, we give a full education to our mind. Yes, there are many methods. Think of a potato. You can cook it, make French fries, salad or chips from it. But at the end, it’s a potato. When you are more relaxed, you have more compassion with you, your surroundings and even with your sickness. Oh and don’t smile, when you don’t feel like it!

Compassion is no theory. Remember: “Anger is really painful!” If you transform your angry mind, which is most probably full of fears, into compassion, something can change. “This anger is really important for me right now!” Sounds strange? Maybe, but this can also be a starting point for your journey of compassion, your very own compassion project.

Imagine yourself like a network hub of compassion. The more you open, the more you can send out. “When you are stronger, your lines get stronger!” When we suffer, everybody else suffers; our partner, our friends and family. How can we recharge our compassion battery?

“How many people work for one potato to get it on your plate?” Everybody is contributing a lot. Think like; everybody wants to support you! Everybody? What do you do with the person who throws bad words at you? Ask yourself: what’s my weak point?

If you manage to remove the borders around you, the more you become like at home. And you relax, when you are home.

Compassion alone is already a fine thing. If you team it up with wisdom, you rock! With wisdom, you have compassion at the right moment which is very effective. “Wisdom we need. And clarity.” Remember: everybody wants to benefit to you. So how do we apply wisdom?

“No judgment, no expectations, no conception.”

Remember the shouting person? After the loud acoustic waves did hit you, go into your room, sit down, relax and say “wow”. Hint from Lama Kelzang; if you can’t go into “your room”, e.g. at work, go to the toilet and lock the door. Wisdom is knowing clearly. If you are right into an emotional discussion, it’s very hard to say, who is right or wrong. Remember: “Only you go with YOUR ideas.” Try to give up anything and just see what is happening (at least for a moment).

Here’s a tiny summary, how to rest your mind:

  • Compassion: Everybody is a supporter for you.
  • Wisdom: Don’t take them for too real.
  • Network: nothing is separate from me. It’s a connected network.

“When it’s all so easy, why do we do it wrong all the time?” The answer is: Habit. Meditation on the one side and everyday life on the other side have to come together. We fail, that’s normal. If we start with 1% meditation in our everyday life and slowly increase it to 2, 3, 4, 5% – we experience more peace and more harmony. Nobody can steal it!

Why are there so many meditation techniques?” Having only one meditation technique would make us crazy. Imagine: one doctor would have the same patient for 10 hours a day. Crazy! Finally, become a deeper explorer. If meditation techniques 1, 2, 3, 4 did not work, go out and get some fresh air!

Thanks Lama Kelzang. Namaste!