Home used to be Geesthacht, a little town in northern Germany. Since 1980 home is in Gracia, my Barcelona neighborhood. Let me tell you about the banners of Geesthacht and Gracia and what they mean to me. Geesthacht’s banner is white above and red below and in the middle it features an emblem with a sailboat on the river and a willow tree growing on the land. Gracia’s banner is blue with a stem of white lilies.
Another is Eberhart, the steersman of the ferry across the river. I was five years old when I fell in love with him. He was tall, handsome, with weathered skin and reddish blond hair. I basked in the huge smile that used to light up his face, when he saw me.
World War II had been over for fifteen years. It was the cold war. All through my childhood, adolescence and young adulthood, a silence weighing tons was threatening to crush me under its weight. At the time I wouldn’t have been able to name it. I thought it was something in me. All I could feel was a constant discomfort. I thought it was because I was not enough… not smart enough, not pretty enough, not good enough…or too much, too angry… because I was angry as hell.
As I grew up, I did my best to get over not feeling enough. As for the anger, I tried activism in various political groups, but that didn’t work out, because it made my anger only bigger. We kept reproducing the very same patterns we proclaimed we wanted to change. Therefore I decided that my means of political action was going to be my life, the way I make money and spend it and the way I relate to my fellow human beings, myself, and nature as a whole.
I became a translator because I thought that I would be able to help people understand each other and live together in peace. In 1980, I moved to Barcelona because there was a young democracy to be built and I wanted to be part of the process. But I found work mostly in industry and ended up helping to exploit and pollute nature. Thus, as a translator I was part of the problem, when I wanted to be part of the solution.
It was clear that the only place in the world where I really have a certain amount of power to decide what goes and what doesn't is the part that I occupy with my body. I had to really understand how it works. I reinvested the money I made as a translator and studied different things, until I found a method that allows me to work exactly the way I had envisioned. In 1988 I was certified as a practitioner of the Duggan/French Approach to Somatic Pattern Recognition and have worked as a DFA practitioner ever since. At that time I also began to practice as a member of what is now called the Yun Hwa Denomination of World Social Buddhism.
This is what these banners mean to me.
Barcelona, September 15, 2014
Spanish translation and comment about the speech