Chapter One


I declare my Independence from the War within -  and choose Peace

‘Like a willow in the wind, bend to love. And life will bend along with you.’

    I do not know physical war. I know it through my grandparents and my parents, who have lived through World War II in Germany as children. Yet I know the war inside of me. The war, in which I starve myself from food or affection. I know the war, where I fight myself and my wishes. I know the war, where I do not accept myself as I am. And when I fight others, acceptance is very hard to come by. 

    On a Tuesday morning, when my gardener came to me and said: “What have you done with your roses?” I was not sure what he meant, so I asked for clarification about which roses he meant and the meaning of “what have you done with them?”. He replied: “The roses out front? Did you plant them somewhere else?” I replied in a very hurried manner, while quickly walking to the front of the house: “Why? They are not there?” “No”, he replied, “they are gone.” 

    Wow. Someone had dug up these beautiful, orange roses and stolen them. The roses of which I had thought the day before: “Wow, these roses are really growing in strong, getting tall and seemingly glowing with full, beautiful orange flowers.” All that was left now were holes in the ground. 

    I cried over the effort of my son and his friend planting these roses a few months before. I cried over the unfairness of the world: “These are not yours”, I wished to put on a big poster and hang it up in front of my house. I wanted to write big signs saying: “I will never stop beautifying this street. No matter who you think you are!” I wished to write another sign and say in huge letters: “The police will get you! I have you on tape!”, which could not have been further from the truth.    

    When I was done struggling inside with anger and resentment, after I had grieved these beautiful flowers, I decided that someone else was now enjoying them and that is good too, and possibly they would always been reminded of what they had done. I accepted the loss. I accepted that they were gone. The grief was painful and real, and I needed that. We all do. Grief is there to realize a tremendous change, look at life and know that we have lost something precious. Beyond the roses, I had lost a part of my innocence. Sometimes,   we lose a part of us inside, or a part of our lives, a loved one or a beloved pet. Sometimes, we lose our wallet or phone. Sometimes we lose our faith and we struggle. And every time, it is pivotal to grieve and mourn the loss. And once we have done that, we can let in the light, bring forward the new possibilities (maybe purple roses this time?), and we can bring joy back to ourselves and the world. WE can find peace And we can declare that we know how to live peace. We can learn to get there. We can declare: I am peaceful.


    The war inside us is being fought on quite a few fronts. How often do we say that we “beat ourselves up” for something we have said. How very often do we say “I could kill myself” for an action we regret. I know how often we all and in a very matter of fact and comfortable manner exclaim: “I am such an idiot.” and we are very serious about it too. People say: “How could I do that?” and “I suck”. We call ourselves names inside of us, such as dummy, stupid, weird, crazy, lazy and much more, while we have probably explained to our children they should not call other children names. Yet we do it to ourselves. 

    Oftentimes, we judge others by the clothes they wear and call them sluts or hippies or just ugly, while we do not recognize how much we judge ourselves at the same time. If we call someone by those names, we do judge ourselves as well, and somewhere within we know that it hurts and dismantles love. The truth is that once we say that and we declare war on someone else, we also declare war on ourselves. Suddenly, we have to take sides. Suddenly, we are asked to clarify. Suddenly, we are confused and we cannot be free anymore. Sometimes, we have to make up a story to justify what we said. At that point we become lost. We cannot love what we love anymore. We do not even know what we love. 

    In those moments, confusion as well as taking on someone else’s ideas and opinions becomes the norm. We forget how to be ourselves, and as an example just wear what we wish to wear, because the outer voices from family or friends or even strangers are too difficult to bear, for we know what they can sound like: They can sound just like us. And that can be very painful and so very hurtful. 

    At that juncture we cut ourselves off from the connection to everyone around us as well as everything inside, and we decide to stay ‘safe’. We choose the same clothes, the same friends, the same surroundings and the same old life. We pretend all is good, until the fear around people, our home, ourselves and even this world grows so big that we cannot escape facing it anymore. We hit, as people say, rock bottom.  

    On that day, only when we realize that we have found our war zone within, we can shine a light and let it be illuminated. We look at the battlefield with all its craters and rugged soil, where fights against others and ourselves have destroyed a big part of our sweet flowery gardens, our fields of growth have been cut down and our blue skies are tinted with fog. Yet that open field has infinite possibilities as it holds fertile ground for new ideas and little seedlings of life, joy and freedom, which have already begun to sprout. 

    In that powerful moment we can experience relief, a letting go of the grip of judgment, and exultation of an inner liberty towards a new life has the potential to make us laugh. We can move forward and heal and know that we can nourish this new beautiful, open and spacious field within. On this healing journey, we have the opportunity to say out loud: ‘I am beautiful. I am worthy. I am enough. I am loved.’ Declare and live those qualities, and the war will stop. Because this place within you is filled with love, everyone who loves you will be there right along with you. You can trust that people are pulled in by the light of your changed consciousness, and that they will stay and come along on your journey. The path you make for yourself is power-full and wonder-full and can be very peaceful indeed. 

    Here is an exercise that helps me in a triggering situation, in which I feel attacked, when my peace is interrupted. It only takes 10 Seconds and can change your world.



The 10 Second Tip:

When something occurs in your life, which sounds like an attack or someone might be saying something, which creates an emotional response within your body and a thought of resentment, you can follow these easy steps:

Step            1 Take a physical step back. This helps tremendously to move the energy away from the place you are in. 

Look        2 Look very lovingly at the other person’s face and determine the pain they are in, which is represented by anger. Under anger is hurt, and under hurt we find love.

Listen to Love    3 Think of a fun, love filled or joyful moment you had with them or you had that day or any time in your life. Bringing love to yourself, while you feel in upset, is enhanced if you can think of something that represents unconditional love to you, such as a baby or a pet. Breathe in that love. Visualize filling your heart with that love. Let it flow and breath it in, imagine you fill your body with beautiful white    or pink light of loving, surround yourself with that love. And only then respond to the other’s approach.


    The physical step back will help you shift the energy from the given space quickly and slightly to a different space. That can be very effective to create space and help both sides to breathe.

    To keep your eyes courageously looking at someone, helps you open your heart as you can see the other person’s true loving spirit while you have the opportunity to find a softer place inside. It is a powerful manifestation of love and compassion. A side effect of this can be a deeper listening to the other’s words. By ‘deeper’ I am referring to a listening from a different place, which might change the way you hear the words being spoken as well as instantly shift the other’s perception of the situation and therefore the intensity of what they wish to say or express. 

    This takes about 10 seconds and possibly even less the more you utilize this. Do you think you have those seconds before you respond? Please say yes, because you do.


    It is sometimes difficult to understand that this kind of openness and honesty, that idea of an open and strong heart, which shows the presence of vulnerability, will really bring peace. I get that. People oftentimes think: “I think this love inside and being kind to myself is just weakness.” Oftentimes they say: “I need to push myself and others to achieve anything. If I am too kind to myself, I will not be able to get things done and be successful.” Those are valid remarks. Remarks of fear. Ask yourself this: Have I ever watched someone being truly vulnerable and open, sharing their failure or their loss and speaking from their heart? If so, did they seem weak? Isn’t it that they showed tremendous strength and courage and power? 

    Have you seen someone being with someone in need? Have you ever seen someone console a person who might have just lost their child? Or maybe you have witnessed a human being with someone who is dying? Is that person, who gives of themselves in those ways weak? I think vulnerability shows much more strength and courage than weakness. And do you truly believe that people who are kind to themselves and others get nothing done? 

    It is a common misunderstanding in our society that vulnerability is weakness. On our way to inner peace, we need to find the steps away from ‘shooting ourselves’ by finding our compassion. Understanding and sensing one’s own as well as another’s struggles is not weakness. On the contrary, it is the only way to peace. Relating to gentleness is an enormous quality. Studies have shown that the lack of knowing that one is vulnerable, makes people actually more vulnerable to influences from the outside. Their idea of vulnerability has nothing to do with their ‘actual’ vulnerability. 

    I will say this in other words: If you are one of those people, who believe that they have to be strong and not show their soft side in order to achieve things in life, you are actually more vulnerable to be manipulated by the media, e.g. than those who show their heart freely. People who know and live their vulnerability have strength to discern their boundaries and their needs more clearly. They gain the ability to live their boundaries peacefully.  

    Vulnerability is a lived sensation. It is taking off your mask and putting it down. The mask of what you believe has to be in order to be safe. It is the mask of what you think is right. It is the shield to the outside world that says: “This is what I believe and therefore I am safe within those limits.” It is the idea that you and only you know how something is done and what is ‘right’. I ma certain that we have all been tempted to say: ’I know’ although we did not know. We misunderstand this moment as strength, yet it is simply pretending. Yet truly, strength is to say; ‘I don’t know; tell me.’ As my friend says: ‘Indulge me. Enlighten me.’ I love that so much. It truly does enlighten to be taught something we do not know. And there are so many things we do not know. It truly is infinite. Daily, I can speak with a large amount of people, and most of them have things to tell me I have never heard before, and all have stories I cannot know anything about because they are theirs. This specific mix of experiences and knowledge makes them uniquely who they are as a human being on this planet. Beautifully and individually who they are. Brilliantly so. There is newness and beauty all around us if that is what we wish and choose to see. 

    Let’s face it. You can find fault and negative things in everything you see and hear and just battle on. And you can also find positive things and wonderful ideas in everything you see and experience. What do you wish to focus on is the only question. As you look into this wonderment, you can also look at the psychological truth within. We all have an Ego, which consists of the mental, emotional and physical levels. So everything we experience as a thought, as a feeling and a physical sensation is considered the Ego. And then we are a Soul. We are Souls having a human experience, not humans with a Soul. The Soul is what we experience as compassion, acceptance, joy, love and peace. It is always there. It never changes. And it does not fight. 

    However, our mind fights with it regularly. Whenever we think we need to punish someone for what they have said or done ‘to us’, that is an example of the fight. When we admire something and the ego says: “Oh, s/he is just showing off”, our mind fights. The war is on. Our Soul however knows that we are love, we are wonderful exactly as we are. Our Ego believes that anything someone else says to us, ‘means’ something about us. It changes us within, and we suddenly doubt that we can ‘sing’ or we can ‘have this job’ or we can be ‘whatever we wish to be’. “No, not I”, the Ego says, “that is for everyone else who is better and more talented.” And there we go. The part within that doubts and fears has won. Truly, our lives depend on which part we give the strength to live from. It is important to understand that being human means to have these two parts inside. Yet they do not need to fight. We do have our biggest freedom: choice. 


    There is a wonderful story from the Nanticoke Indian Tribe. It goes like this: 

One evening, an elderly Cherokee Brave told his Grandson about a battle that goes on inside people. 

He said “My son, the battle is between two ‘wolves’ inside us all. 

One is evil. It is anger, envy, jealousy, sorrow, regret, greed, arrogance, self-pity, guilt, resentment, inferiority, lies, false pride, superiority and ego. 

 The other is good. It is joy, peace, love, hope, serenity, humility, kindness, benevolence, empathy, generosity, truth, compassion and faith.”

The Grandson thought about it for a minute and then asked his Grandfather: “Which wolf wins?”

The old Cherokee simply replied, “The one that you feed.”


    If you give your energetic food to the soul within, to your heart, then your mind can support it with its intelligence and strength, its capability of speech and movement of the body. And blessed we are for having our beautiful minds. Regarding the outer world, we can ask ourselves the same question: “Which wolf wins?” In other words: “Which part of the world is it that you wish to see?” You might say that there is a lot of war everywhere, and that is very hard not to see or get away from, that is very true. And true is also that there is a lot of peace and beauty, helpful people who choose to bring goodness to all they do. Isn’t it extraordinary that what you focus on will grow? If you focus on peace, peace will grow in your consciousness. If you focus on war, you will see it everywhere and it grows. You decide what you believe in and therefore what you live. You decide whether you find yourself beautiful and worthy or not. 

    A wonderful thing to do for yourself is to look at yourself in the mirror every day and say honoring, kind and loving words to yourself. It could sound like this: ‘I love you. I am beautiful. I am enough simply because I was born. I am so joyful and so much fun. I have a great sense of humor. I love the way I speak with people. I love my hair, it has this beautiful amber color. I am so blessed that I am here today. I am alive. Thank you. Thank you. Thank you.’ Thank you is the deepest prayer. To find gratitude means to find peace. You always have a choice in thought. You can hold the attitude that life is just what it is, that it is in control of you and that people will always fight, which leaves you very powerless and most certainly a victim to your own idea and to life. And guess what? You will probably fight a lot. 

    In order to get to a deeper sense of peace, write down at least five things every night you are grateful for. It can be things you know, thoughts you have, moments that occurred in the day or things you have. If you do this for only three weeks, you will sense a shift inside you. A deeper sense of calm and positivity will come over you, and life will look brighter. 

    Hold the thought and the knowing in every moment that although unfortunate situations might be happening around you, you decide to live peace, to be peace. You can decide that no matter what is occurring around you, it does not mean anything about you. This practice of loving yourself will support you in a peaceful and conclusively joyful life. It is a practice of honoring and proactive healing of yourself and others. 

    Start with you! You are the messenger of peace. You are the lover of loves. Declare your truth. You are peaceful. 


“You have escaped the cage.

Your wings are stretched out.

Now fly.”

- Rumi