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  • 1.
    It is nothing but a square room made out of concrete. I have had it painted all white, including the floor and ceiling. Half of the roof is really low as it happens in an attic that is why I hardly have any furniture in there except of two seats. Whatever we do in here we do it sitting on the grey plastic carpets, which I bought in the local supermarket to cover the floor. There are many, many colorful cushions, warm blankets and by now two electric heaters, which fill the cold winter air with warmth. It seems to get colder every winter, or maybe that is because I get older.

    Half the roof was open to the elements when I came here, so I had it covered by fiber glass plates, which allow the sun to make the room light and warm. Sometimes when I lie looking up at the fiber glass from lying on the carpet I can make out the elegant shadow of a gecko. At other moments the whole thing: fiberglass and carrying wooden beam – structure trembles and crackles: neighbor’s cat is making her way up or down. Before she used to pee on my cushions, but now I close the entrance door always before I leave for the day. Before also once we had suddenly a street dog in the midst of our therapy group. He stared around at the candles and the people with tears in their eyes.

    Along the walls there are many of my paintings or those by artists I know. There are photographs of my two dead girl – friends, they are both laughing. Beside one of the electrical heaters are African wooden dolls mingled in between Siberian ones. There is a small table with candles and incense, a few books, writing and drawing paper and an old cookie jar that now holds pencils and pens. On top of the whole thing sits a Buddha made out of plaster. Many years ago an Indian man sent it to me from NY. I had barely received it when its head fell off. I had been really stressed out that day – my husband had been drinking heavily – and caused a minor car accident. The Buddha sat on the seat beside me and crashed down. But I glued the head back on. Since then he sits there releasing calmness and equanimity into the room or so it seems to me.
    Our secretary dusts him regularly and sometimes I do that myself. I sat him back on the fine Mayan textile he is placed on, which one of my dead girl – friends gave to me one of my last birthday – parties she attended. Always dead flies and wasps gather together there. I still own a glass – paper – weight, which my very first boy – friend gave to me one Christmas. I place that on the right spot beside the Buddha statue and often it takes me a while to find that right spot, it depends on how the sunlight enters the fiber – glass. In his lap – which also had to be fixed with some glue after that car accident – I place a wooden broche, which an artist friend painted all in blues and greens. It looks like a miniature impressionist painting. Beside is a glass bowl with shells and a beautiful turquoise inside a red heart – shaped box from my niece.

    On the wall behind the Buddha are colorful drawings by my grand – children. For the longest time there hung a heart out of dried flowers. A young psychotic patient had made it for me shortly before she shot herself. Recently it has disintegrated, though.

    There are several Japanese paper – lamps for enough light in the evenings.

    Sometimes I come here just to sit or lie down. I look up and wait for a gecko or the cat, but usually then they do not appear. Instead I hear the gas – truck rumbling along the streets or the loudspeaker of the water truck. Recently I succeeded in listening to the most amazing song of this small unexceptional – looking bird. I discovered him sitting on top of a tree, when I peeked through the small window which reveals a view towards the mountains.

    Often I walk to and fro in my room and change the places of things: this painting gets over there, the clay statue on the tiny chair, the photograph of the volcano beside the lamp….. Until it finally feels harmonious.
    Now I feel still inside and slowly grow curious for my next patient.
    Many, who enter for the first time, sigh,” What a beautiful space!”

    2.
    My 8 -year - old grandson Milo took this photo of me in my office - My Room - a few months ago. I was waiting for my next patient and he had to wait for the psychiatrist downstairs to be ready for him. Milo, Emilio, had recently witnessed a schizophrenic crisis of his mother and had suddenly started to stutter. His father, my son, was talking to the psychiatrist and Emilio and I played around with the camera of my cell phone. (You can see him tiny in the mirror).

    I like myself on this photo.

    Like this any of my patients sees me: attentive, my poor eyes intently fixed on the person in front of me, trying to catch the tiniest change of mimic in his or her face, the slightest movement of or inside the eyes. My ears are wide open, curious to listen to anyone´s story and finding the connection to my own one. What I most desire is connecting your and my heart in our common search for what is good and true at the base of our human lives.

    Come, open your heart, tell me your story!
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