Those faces of Berlin


All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Berlin. And therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words “ Ich bin ein Berliner!”      John F. Kennedy, June 1963

 This is really a refresh of a piece I had written a few years back. My motivation to do this is from the plethora of visions and thoughts which overwhelmed me during a recent re-vist…….

It started as most things do. With a simple mail requesting my presence at ITB Berlin, requiring me to lug my lazy bones across the seas to that wintry land. My flight was sustained by some pleasing prospects of meeting several business associates and the even more welcome thoughts of doffing a few German pilseners in a Pfeffersteak Haus.

 What is it about Berlin that envelops me every time I am there? I try to find out.

 ***

Walking on Friedrichstrasse, I spot a bunch of excited tourists waiting to be photographed and facebook uploaded with the ‘US marines’ at Checkpoint Charlie. A makeshift cabin and protective sand bags, stands forlornly in the midst of a modern office district. As I walk past, my mind goes back to an incident which happened here more than half a century back.

Checkpoint Charlie

It was October 1961. Allan Lightner, a US diplomat based in Berlin and his wife were great connoisseurs of the Opera in East Berlin. But one evening, while driving across Checkpoint Charlie, Allan was accosted by the East German guards who insisted on verifying his travel documents. This inspite of his diplomatic immunity. A standoff which snowballed into Soviet and American tanks facing each other across the checkpoint. A tale of how one man’s love of opera nearly pushed John Kennedy and Nikita Kruschev towards World War III a year earlier to the Cuban missile crisis.

As I look back at the incongruity of that checkpoint today, I sense societal evolution. What would it have taken to break the divisiveness between the erstwhile West and the East? What would it have taken to shift away from the WW II implanted belief of separation and hatred?

Does Berlin symbolise the promise of a choice made while negotiating the tectonic fault lines of political and societal beliefs?

 ***

Driving through one of the many avenues radiating outwards from the Siegessäule (Victory Column), I cannot help but notice the unbelievably serene “islands in Humanity’s stream” that Tiergarten, that famous parkland of the city, consists of. Built by the Prussian emperors Fredrich I and Fredrich II a few hundred years back, Tiergarten holds both a Baroque feel as also an English garden environment.

tiergarten-siegessaule[1]

Passing through Tiergarten in the evening, amidst the stark and leafless trees standing like sentinels in the dusk, I can well imagine stories of those hunting sprees by the Electors of Brandenburg, ,of shootings and murders,  of the Reichstag fire of 1933, of the devastation by air raids in the forties……

Does Berlin symbolise nature’s serenity and permanence through Mankind’s follies?

 ***

I get invited to a traditional German evening at the Zur letzten Instanz, arguably the oldest surviving restaurant in the German capital. Built in 1621, this remains one of the very few buildings from the medieval times to have miraculously come out unscathed from the carpet bombings of World War II. As I go up the original spiral staircase to the upper floor, marveling at the old wooden panels, I can almost envision Napolean Bonaparte sitting by the oven yonder and warming himself during his occupation of Berlin those many years back.

Zur letzten Instanz 1

Zur letzten Instanz 2

Does Berlin’s spirit embrace foes and friends alike?

 ***

I fast forward a few centuries to a non-descript old building block close to Schweizerhof Budapester Strabe 25. Bendlerblock, as this building is named, happens to be of enormous historical significance. In July 1944, this building became the focal point of German military resistance to the Nazi regime. The “Valkyrie” operation, as it came to be known, was a plan for a coup d’etat against Hitler hatched by senior military officers when it became quite clear that Germany was not going to win the war. The plan led to bombing of Hitler’s eastern headquarters, the “Wolf’s lair” in East   Prussia. Unfortunately for the conspirators, Hitler survived the day and members of the uprising were executed by a firing squad in the courtyard of Bendlerblock.

bendlerblock[1]

While the Valkyrie plot is well known and in fact formed the basis for the 2008 Tom Cruise starrer movie of the same name, what is little known but more interesting is the fact that famed field marshal Rommel, the “desert fox”, lent support to the plot since he felt he had to “come to the rescue of Germany.”

Is Berlin about the whisperings of History gone astray?

***

Finally moving to Internationale Tourismus-Börse (ITB)  at Messe Berlin, the mother of all Travel and Tourism Shows on the planet. Spread over twenty six interconnected halls, more than ten thousand exhibitors from 188 countries and regions, ITB symbolises Berlin’s hosting of  the first industrial exhibition almost two hundred years back and the  ordinary German’s propensity to travel and discover.

ITB 1

ITB 2

Does Berlin ultimately showcase both the German solidity and passion?

 ***

 As my flight takes off on the way back, looking down at the endless vista of building blocks and roads, I ponder again over what it is about Berlin that resonates.

Is it about reexamination and refresh of our beliefs?

Is it about acceptance and sustenance of an environment that serves?

Is it about the heightened consciousness of a past that no longer serves?

Is it about a mindset that appreciates and embraces?

Is it about being where our passion is?

Or is it about a mix of all this?

I wish I could be certain…..

In Learning………..                                                                         Shakti Ghosal

Advertisements

91 thoughts on “Those faces of Berlin

  1. Checkpoint Charlie was really disappointing, any gravitas it may have held has been ruined by the rampant commercialism but to think back to how it almost brought the world to war again, that is something best appreciated away from the site I think.

    I loved wandering the Tiergarten too and seem to have walked in your footsteps up the same road, such a peaceful place and happily devoid of bicyles, it was nice to enjoy peace in the city.

    My three days were not enough to get a sense of the city but reading your post I’m left with the thought that one can never truly understand a city that has its history. Thoughts and times change, the city moves on but is also anchored to its past, still it is a good excuse to go back and sit and think and appreciate this enigma.

    • Thank you for visiting my post.

      I have had the opportunity to visit Berlin several times and I suppose that is when one starts sensing the spirit within. To be able to have this sense, one needs to bring forth the qualities of Curiosity and Wonder.

      Regards

      Shakti

  2. Hi webmaster do you need unlimited content for your site ?
    What if you could copy post from other sites, make it unique and publish on your page – i know the right tool for you, just search in google:

    loimqua’s article tool

  3. I think this is a tour de force. Berlin holds a unique mystery that is impossible for me to define. I can feel it, but not describe it. You did a exemplary job of both. Kudos~

    • Thank you Cindy for your kind acknowledgement.I truly appreciate. Somehow Berlin has this way of getting under my skin every time I visit and that is the genesis of this post.

      Cheers

      Shakti

  4. I love your thoughts and how you lay them down, Shakti. I really enjoy your writing. Thank you.

  5. Shakti, I’m sorry I’ve missed so many of your posts, which generally I so look foward to. I am away from home, visiting family and my dying mother. I’ve only managed to post a couple of poems myself, inside of almost three weeks away

    In reading this piece, I wonder if this place (Berlin) represents a ‘trigger’ place for you where the questions at the end of the post simply naturally emerged. Perhaps it’s not Berlin itself, rather it was a time and place that stimulated your own deep reflective self to ask these fundamental questions many of us ponder at one time or another, or often as the case may be.

    Great reading you again, and now I must get some sleep! Take care.

    • Dear Bela,

      I feel saddened to hear about your mother.The fact that you can be with her at this time is a blessing.I do hope that the time you can spend with her brings joy to her. She and you would be in my prayers.

      Your comment on the Berlin post is profound and your seeing Berlin as a “trigger” to stimulate and bring forth my inner questions truly resonates.

      Thank you and With Blessings.

      Shakti

  6. I am a student of the Cold War and this post was quite refreshing. That JFK quote is well known, but not that literal translation offered by one of your commenters – LOL

  7. I read recently that Berliners, while flattered by JFK, were also amused because a literal translation of ‘Ich bin ein Berliner’ could be ‘I am a jelly doughnut’. They appreciated the sentiment, however.

  8. I loved this piece. First, the quote from JFK isn’t one that I am familiar with. And he is so often quoted that missing this one until now makes it special. Your pictures are wonderful and the ‘musing’ that you speak of based on events of the past/present and leading to future are well presented. Now I’m wishing I would have had more time in Germany.

  9. Thank you for the photos and story. I was station in Germany from 1977-1980. Best people and good food and beer. My German friends made me begin to write. Art, music and writing is important to the culture of the country. I like the description of Berlin. I saw her in the dark days. She was still controlled by the Russians. I want to go back to Germany one day. Re-visit the old cities and enjoy a May Festival one more time.

  10. so funny.. i was at the ITB as well earlier this year and had just a few hours to see berlin, so decided to go back for another visit… 3 days this time.. it’s an awesome city and i also wonder what it is that grabs me so

    • Hi Claudia,

      Great to know you were at ITB. How did you find the fair this year? So as you think back to your subsequent visit to the city, what was it that grabbed you?

      Shakti

  11. You are a good writer, presents the actual news that is accurate, complete and
    blog worthy role model for other writers agi,
    thank you because you want to visit the place of my
    friendly greetings, calligraphy archipelago

  12. “Does Berlin symbolise nature’s serenity and permanence through Mankind’s follies?” I like this quote, Shakti, and I enjoyed your pictures. Lovely and thoughtful post.

    Blessings ~ Wendy

  13. Thank you for the trip to Berlin. As a student of history, I know a bit about its past, but your impressions and reflections breath life into an otherwise sterile appreciation of a great city.

  14. Great post Shakti, I really enjoyed the history and pictures. Your pondering questions are intriguing as we face the changing conditions that make up the human experience. Nicely done!

    • Thank you.

      I believe in being open to the learning which each waking moment holds the potential to bring. As we ponder and ask the questions that surface, we come to the crossroads of multiple avenues of learning and possibility. Is this not the greatest gift that life brings us?

      Shakti

  15. Oh, my Lord.
    What a wonderful post! Berlin is a wonderfull and massive place to be! And there’s a huge history hidden in its streets. Not only Berlin Wall, but everything. Such a beautiful iconic city!

    • Hi Anna,

      Indeed Berlin is one of those great cities with “history hidden in the streets” as you say.It is left to each one of us to discover it in the way we choose.

      Thank you for your kind acknowledgement, I appreciate you.

      Shakti

  16. Wonderful post! I was in Berlin for the first time this past July and I was in awe of the city. So vibrant and yes there’s an energy there and yet it’s hard to forget it’s past. The wars, checkpoints, and fear.

  17. Ironic, isn’t it, how our desire for certainty is so very human—as is our want to question?

    My husband’s father was born in Berlin in 1936. His most fond memory is of the “candy that fell from the sky.” Other memories only bring him sadness.

    Although my husband and I have traveled to many countries, Germany has not yet crossed our passports. My husband’s brother, an architect, loves Berlin. Your overview brings the city into attractive focus and fills the reader with a type of longing not unlike nostalgia. Thank you.

    • Hi Jillanne,

      I remain delighted to see your comment.So when do you intend to visit Berlin to meet your brother-in-law, see Berlin in upfront and satiate your longing?

      Cheers

      Shakti

      • My husband and I (and our son) are considering driving around Europe next summer, something he and his family did when he was growing up, They lived in Germany and Italy until my husband was 16. There are so many places in the world calling to us. Friends in Singapore. We adore Southern Africa. Too many options and so little time–a cliche, yes. But oh, so true.

  18. Great post. My wife and I were in Berlin just a few days before you wrote this. We found Berlin to be a city very much at ease with itself and brimming with confidence. Much more so than say London which although more diverse than Berlin does not sit so comfortably with itself.

  19. Thank you for stopping by my blog! I look forward to spending time visiting yours as well, especially after this post about one of my favorite European cities. Visiting Berlin felt like being caught in a riot of past, present, and future; it was exciting, it was complicated, and it wasn’t easy. And when it prompts so many questions and musings, such as filled my travel journals and your lovely post above, it is beautifully provocative, as well.

    • Indeed, in Berlin one does seem to get caught between the past, present and the future. I have found this aspect true for some of the other great European cities like Paris and Rome.

      Thank you for your kind acknowledgement.

      Shakti

  20. Great post on Berlin, Shakti. Although Germany is a neighbor, I’ve never been to Berlin. I know of colleagues who troop there attracted by the party scene but I would love to one day explore the city and get to know its history for real. 😉

  21. Dear Shakti,
    It is always fascinating to read your musings.
    I spent lot of time from mid-eighties thru late nineties in East & West Germany and subsequently Unified Germany. My first Berlin visit started in East Berlin and then to West after passing through Checkpoint Charlie.Last one started in West Berlin and then to East a month after the Wall came down. I still have a couple of ‘Wall’ pieces somewhere treasured.My friends in East and West are still in contact.Situation is way better than those days but it is superficial. Human undercurrents in Germany/Berlin are so extreme that lets me to think ‘Is this freedom’?

    • Hi Goutam,

      It is always such a pleasure seeing you here.

      I was not really aware of being in Germany over so many years. You sure must be treasuring the memories just as you feel about the “Wall” pieces.Last month, I happened to see this photo exhibition close to Checkpoint Charlie. It was so fascinating, I spent a couple of hours gazing at the photographs totally oblivious to the biting cold!

      I remain curious to hear your perspective about ” Human undercurrents in Germany/Berlin are so extreme that lets me to think ‘Is this freedom’?”

      Thank you, I appreciate your presence.

      Shakti

  22. I want to ask you the same thing you ask me…where is your energy now ?
    now that you posted this, it was about learning and the past.

    My experience with Germany was great the people were so nice to me, and did do some tourist things, but my friend live there so got to see the other side of Germany…the human side. Like the post very interesting, and though provoking, good post.

    • Hi Doris,

      For quite a while now, my energy has been in learning and musing. I realise I do this best when I am in a space of gratitude. Thank you for asking, it improves one’s reiteration of this aspect.

      I appreciate your comment on the post.

      Cheers

      Shakti

  23. Shakti, I wondered what it would be like to have sat beside you while you asked all these questions. Could I have offered any meaningful response?

    I was so young and silly when I was in Berlin.

    In 1966, another Cdn gal and I went into East Berlin. By mistake, we went through the Russian Border Stop. We were naive…were taking nylons, coffee and newspapers into a German family who were friends of Canadians. For some reason, the border guards hardly looked at our bags and waved us through. We were on foot and a few cars were lined up to be inspected. Perhaps that’s why.

    We found the family who nearly fell over in shock at the sight of us. They’d been owners of a prestigious jewellery which was taken from them. The father became a clock repairman.

    We had no idea there was a curfew so, after supper – when everyone shared a very thin slice of ONE tomato (!), the father put us on the floor of the backseat of his car and told us we’d have to jump out the second he stopped the car and head straight for Checkpoint Charlie. I noticed one streetlight per block. The daughter told us there were guards in doorways with German Shepard dogs.

    Thankfully, we went through the crossing without incident . Hopefully the father and daughter were able to get home without problems. The Canadian family never heard of anything untoward, but communication was very poor. I don’t remember the name of the family (I could get that info) but I’d love to know what became of them.

    I feel embarrassed for having been so insensitive! We thought we were doing this big favour when we were putting their lives in danger!

    Yes, Berlin still has a fragment of my soul. It was my first and only encounter with REAL war-like conditions – hate, suspicion, fear – with not one degree of tolerance. I couldn’t believe that humans could hate other humans so adamantly – in the name of what? Dominance? Superiority? Economics. Fear? Or in one word – EGO?

    It was transforming for this Canadian!

    • Hi Amy,

      You always bring so much of value with your comments. Your tale in fact is fit to form the basis of a lovely post by itself and I would urge you to do that.

      What indeed is at the core of hatred and suspicions between humans? Berlin and the Wall remain an intriguing testimony to this.But as you have yourself written, you only discovered love and togetherness when you visited that family in East Berlin. To the extent that they were completely willing to put themselves into danger.What did that indicate?

      Berlin truly has changed beyond recognition from those days. Healing seamlessly and quietly through the years.What does this indicate?

      I appreciate you for bringing up such questions for deliberation.

      Blessings

      Shakti

  24. I love the questions you have posed Shakti.. and the one that stands out for me the most is~
    “” Is it about the heightened consciousness of a past that no longer serves?””
    I think it is… as well as several other of the Questions you have raised.. I think it is about ALL of them

    This one sentence jumped out at me, as a British Citizen I grew up with the History books the films, the parental influences as my own Grandfather served and was wounded in the war..

    Consciousness is the collective vibration which surrounds us, and for such a long while that vibration connected with Berlin has been negative..

    I have in my possession a piece of the Berlin Wall which was demolished as a friend of mine was in Germany working at the time and brought me a fragment pebble size which on one side holds the graffiti painted there…

    To me it symbolized ‘Freedom’ Freedom of people once again being able to move from one part of the city to another .. The East and West united again instead of divided.. It reminded me of those killed trying to scale the Berlin Wall.. and it held at the time that this was another Landmark in our History as Barriers came down as families were now no longer divided.

    It gave me Hope that at last we could mend our bridges of anger, distrust, and our differences.

    I have been through Germany several times staying at various places as I travelled through Europe, But I have never been to Berlin..
    Berlin suffered too, lets not forget that… Lets not forget ALL the innocents who suffer as those in positions of power wield their might from safe distance shores…

    I hope as we evolve we can bridge the gap even further between East and West, and learn that nothing is gained throughout History from War… ‘A war to end all wars’ .. and yet so many wars are still being fought… And I Question for what purpose? What is gained? Who is victorious?
    And I would say No one is the Winner… We are all losers … Instead we should all bring our hearts together as we let go of the past and we should understand the Past is gone, to be learnt from yes, but we cannot live holding onto grudges, resentments, anger, and hatred. For if we do, we are doomed never to move on and change..

    Mankind is an aggressive species and warlike in nature – we need to address the reasons why is she/he so violent and destructive of themselves and their environment .. These are the Questions I would like answers too Shakti my friend, Why are we hell-bent on destruction!?

    Loved your entry and my visit around Berlin via your photos – and thank you for allowing my thoughts to ramble once again 🙂

    Blessings Sue

    • Hi Sue,

      As always your comment is so profound and embracing that I took awhile to mull over it before I could respond.

      You have written that for a long time, the vibrations of Berlin remained negative for you. I would suppose this would have been true for large sections of the world. A perception of Berlin having initiated something wrong against humanity. But how many of us retained the wisdom to be able to differentiate between a society which suffered greatly ( as you have so beautifully acknowledged too) and a delusional dictator holding political and military powers? Which of them was the real Berlin? And as we failed to differentiate, did we not end up hurting the ordinary German folks even more?

      Indeed Man is an aggressive species. But so is all life. It all depends on how how one is willing to perceive the actions emanating from perpetuation and survival instincts.As I muse some more, I seem to realise that Man’s intelligence, rather than bringing in sane and peaceful behaviour, in fact might be queering the pitch in the opposite direction. And the evidence of continuing violence, discrimination and disparity is there for all to see. So what could be a way forward, where do we go from here?

      Wisdom flows….. Connectivity….. eliminating economic disparity……..Awareness…….. Maybe all of these together?

      Dear Sue, I appreciate you for your presence here.

      Blessings

      Shakti

      • I have always found the Germans a most welcoming nation to their foreign visitors and being British I have never experienced anything other than kindness from them. The German people have suffered, they suffered in fact I feel even more so, for their nation’s dictator turned upon them and segregated them into class..
        Man’s inhumanity to man seems at the face of the Media News to continue to be as violent as ever, As the news portrays the many violent acts still being committed around our globe.. Some of it so sickening it makes me ashamed of being part of this species we call Mankind the Human Race. Because he has lost much of his ability to be Kind in many instances reported..

        But again that is only our perception as we are given these News Items, Negativity is being fed to the human mind constantly via the stream of Media News either by TV or News papers..
        And yet is this the majority proportion of society? This Negative Portrayal ?
        I would argue for every Bad deed recorded there are 10 good ones that go un-noticed…

        While Man will fight like our animal kingdom for survival, Is he not also being programmed via the Media to expect violence, Could he not be influenced in this day of Modern communication devices, watching repeated violent films, cartoons even from early childhood, that he/she grows thinking aggression, anger, and violent responses are the normal things we do..
        Have we let our children grow up with too much too soon, as they expect things to go their way..
        Have we not allowed them to grow up with less disciplined homes and schools where by if they can not get what they want they threaten and bully, And the education systems fall into another trap of Lack of discipline as the Do-Gooders have gone one step too far perhaps in taking that away..
        And do not get me wrong, I do not condone hitting children or any form of abuse, but I know in my day at school, We learnt ‘Respect’ and that is so lacking in our societies today..
        We as Nations and societies have made this world a more violent place.. and we are now reaping what we have sown these last few decades… And I can only see it getting worse unfortunately..

        I don’t know the answers- I still ask the questions- I am still searching to find ways of helping heal our world… But all I can do is heal and try and live my own life in harmony- respecting others, and teaching my grandchild as those Native American Indians Elders taught their grandchildren the principles of living in harmony with Nature and each other..

        We each at the end of the day dear Shakti have only one ‘Face’ to face.. and that is our own…

        Lovely chatting along with you today 🙂 Sue

      • Indeed is it not a blessing to be chatting about our perceptions, hopes and desires?

        We need to ask, Why is negativity being fed to us like this? Could it be that this is what many of us hanker for and react to? A while back, I had written a post titled, “My Bad is stronger than my Good”. I take the liberty of quoting the concluding lines here.

        “As I go through life, do I see a Bad Good asymmetry? A negative bias towards Bad. Be it in the reports in media and in everyday events as above…

        I look inwards and sense that I too am more motivated to avoid bad self perceptions than to pursue good ones.I muse and wonder why this is so. Could this be because ‘Bad’ signals that I need to change? And does my ‘Bad’ intuitively push me to adapt and change myself in line with a situation or environment? So does ‘Bad’ condition me to become more flexible and adaptive to an ever-changing world? Is this why my Bad is stronger and thus more relevant than my Good? ”

        Ultimately we do have a choice. We can resolve to stop shifting the responsibility of our own behaviours viz. allowing media to impact us and choose to follow our own inner compass. Dear Sue, as we are debating this here, I guess this is what we are doing. As we grow our own consciousness in this manner, interconnect and intertwine our thoughts, we gain the ability to reach the critical mass to succeed.

        I appreciate you.

        Shakti

  25. Have rushed through Germany as part of a whirlwind Europe tour decades ago and much before we started traveling independently. Never made it to Berlin though. It is on the cards, and your post made welcome reading 🙂

  26. Shakti, to your question: “What is it about Berlin that envelops me every time I am there?” I believe its complexity, its mystery, its depth … is what draws you in. It sounds like a wonderful city and I can understand your attraction.

    • Thank you Judy, I believe you are right. As I reflect, I can see how the mix of mystery, complexity and depth gives Berlin its unique identity. I realise looking for a single aspect can really not provide the right awareness.

      I appreciate you.

      Shakti

  27. This is a great post, Shakti. I don’t know a lot about Berlin and have never been there, but I feel like I’ve done a ‘mini-travel’ there now through you 😀

  28. Shakti,
    What a wonderful post. Interesting and followed with poignant and important questions that are relevant to and about the entire world today.

    My father fought in WWII in England, Germany and France. My mother working for the OWI (a US propaganda agency) in London saw and experienced the bombing of London. My in-laws are Jews whose families were murdered by the Nazis. Only their parents made it out of both Russia and Poland to the US. We have very good Swiss friends that are German Swiss. My entire family on both sides comes from Germany. I am basically German.

    In 1990 it was time for a new car for me. I drove a Mercedes but simply couldn’t bring myself to buy it and opted instead for a Swedish Volvo. Funny for since 99 I have been driving my Honda and anticipate that it will last 20 years. Yes, Japan attacked Pearl Harbor, but somehow it is different.

    I realize that I hang on to old feelings. I do not nurture them but I cannot forget them either. What I found most interesting about this article was the photo of Israel’s participation in the great hall after these words” ” Internationale Tourismus-Börse (ITB).” This really was a nice read! Thank you, Shakti.

    • Hi Raven,

      Reading your comment I realise that I can never be complete in my appreciation of a place like Berlin if I do not have a personal perspective such as yours. So thank you, Raven, I need to acknowledge you for your comment which adds immeasurably to my post.And I guess that is also why it resonated with you.

      What jumped out at me from your comment was this aspect of your inner self blocking you from owning a Mercedes. As you unpeel the layers within you, what do you really see at the core of this mindset? Do you notice a belief of somehow having being wronged? Something inside you unwilling to forgive? But as you think of this, do you realise that all that your family witnessed and endured really had nothing to do with you? And if that be so, where do you still hold an attachment?

      Your comment has made be think and muse……. I appreciate you Raven.

      Shakti

      • Hi Shakti,
        Please accept my humble apology for responding so late. Thank you for your astute and wonderful comments.

        The Mercedes ah, a story of 23 years ago. So I really only remember the story at the time and my love for my in-laws and my husband and therefore “at that time” and place in my spirit could not conceive of owning one. I did not want one – it was a repugnant idea at the time to me. I was not wronged by anyone, I was not in the war. I was experiencing deep sympathy for what the Holocaust did to so many. This is what drove my actions and thoughts at the time.

        I tend to be given a great love for a people. It then develops and I become action oriented and either work in or volunteer within that community that I care for. This happened to me in two other situations. One with the gay community during the AIDS/HIV Crisis in the early to mid 80s. I worked and or volunteered in this community for 13 meaningful years. Extremely rewarding work, initially spurred on within me by the terrible withholding of services and the discrimination and hatred directed at those who had AIDS/HIV. Yes. I believe that I had to feel that discrimination for that is what creates within deep compassion and love for the one being wronged.

        Then again in 2005 I had a significant spiritual experience that gave to me a deep love and compassion combat veterans of war. I studies war, and worked with veterans for a few years as a volunteer.

        This has been a wonderful thread. you bring together always such interesting people with wonderful things to say. Thank you, Liz

      • Hi Liz,

        I remain fascinated by your comment. You are clearly blessed to have evolved into a space of awareness and compassion. I would love to hear more about this evolution.

        Thank you and God bless.

        Shakti

      • Hello my friend. Thank you yet again for your kind words. It has been a painful trip. Well, it is over now. But I was told by my creator that I was to be willing to “feel deeply.” Ha! I thought that I knew how. That willingness to say yes took me to amazing places. Funny, I am deeply and actively spiritual for a time. Then it is as if I have had enough activity and “I am out of here” so to speak. Or, I have dry, recuperative periods. 😉 I am in one of those now.

      • Hi Raven,

        What I hear you speak of is a helical upward movement. As one moves thus, going into and coming out of different phases is natural.

        Blessings

        Shakti

  29. Love your ending, Shakti – you wish you could be certain in learning.

    Rest assured, this whole piece was an education to me. It does make me want to visit Berlin, too. This is a great piece – & love the pictures. I had heard of Checkpoint Charlie some time some place but never knew it was so real.

    • Thank you for your kind words.

      I have noticed that as we muse, we absorb aspects from the environment. As our learning goes up, so does our perspective and questions relating to that. I appreciate you.

      Shakti

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s