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December 2001 - Nr. 12
The best of Seasons from Echo Germanica
Sybille Forster-Rentmeister2000


Dear Reader

While I write this it is snowing in Augsburg, Germany, and here in Toronto we have sunshine and 12 degrees Celsius. Hard to get into the Christmas mood, if you ask me. But then I was told that every one of us is capable of influencing, nee, even creating our own emotions.

Four Christmas trees...So, feeling blue, or angry? Donít like it? Well, letís see! This is what I always did as a child, and please do not call me an escape artist, and do not bother to consult a shrink about it, they have no idea what you and I are talking about. When I was unhappy with the world or the people in it or what they did or did not do, I would go to my room and make myself comfortable. Then I would close my eyes and start to paint in my mind my own world, one that I could control, where I was not at the whim of others or influences unknown to me.

...from the...My favourite painting would be one of a mountain meadow. High and close to the clouds I would hover and "see" the mountain range, one I had never seen before in real life. Then I would decide were I wanted a lake and I simply painted it in. It was a glacier lake, a pale and milky blue green in colour, turquoise you could say. Then I started to paint in the flowers of my choice in between the very green grasses. First came the wild daisies, Margaritas I called them. Then I added cornflowers, knowing that they did not naturally belong there, but I needed blue in my meadow. Then I added poppy, red, really red! When I felt that there were too many of one kind I simply changed it around until it looked totally ideal to me, pleased me like nothing else. That accomplished I could drop my body right in the middle of it and look into the sky, watch the clouds go by.

A few minutes of this and my sad mood or my anger or other upset would vanish. Even headaches would disappear. And it worked every time I did it. This was my universe, I was king in it, and nobody and nothing could influence it. Only much later in life, right here in Canada did I discover the lake of my dreams. It was in fact Lake Louise.

...exhibition at...What did I learn from this experience? When I was given this datum about self-created emotions I realised that it was true, because I had already done it, just not thought about it that way, as an actual function. And believe me it is an art one must practise, not only because it is useful, but also because like anything else, if ability is not used, it will get rusty. Since life has a way of throwing us all sorts of curb balls I find this piece of information and my old practise a simply marvellous way to relax. But there is an even more important bit: It lets me be cause, when everything else simply wants to cause an effect on me, like getting me down. You know, you meet people like that all the time, colleagues, business partners, even friends and family members sometimes have a way of making you believe that you are not to think of yourself as invincible and wonderful and able and beautiful and whatever you want to be like.

We do not need major disasters in our lives to make life tough. The every day stuff is already quite something to deal with. Keeping ourselves safe from too much undue other influences is important. Rather than dwelling on lifeís unpleasantness we should turn away from it and take control of our emotions.

...the Gardiner Museum, TorontoWe at Echo Germanica believe that you are being bombarded by every publication you read, all the TV you watch, news and so on, with mostly items that are designed to upset you. That is why we have chosen to either look at a problem straightforward without mincing words, or we turn to satire or humour to dispel the harm in it. Otherwise we simply concentrate on those things that bring us pleasure and make life more beautiful and therefore much more bearable.

The next time there is a bully and you feel there is nothing you can do about him, tune him out in a universe of your own, the one you create yourself, where he has no business existing. If one should show up, you could take your invisible eraser and simply make him disappear and paint in some flowers instead. You will quickly remember that the world is still full of a lot of people of good will. We are not all villains, but unfortunately, some are. To be able to spot those is another art we must learn.

This season is fraught with opportunities to dwell on the most beautiful side of life. There are all the Christmas Markets, where I hope to see you. Kitchener only has 4 days, but Toronto almost 3 weeks of real Christmas atmosphere. Go often, take some of the spirit home and spread it to your family and friends. These two Christkindl Markets were created from the best European examples, namely German Christmas Markets, were they have a very long tradition. So what if some people think we cannot mention that they are another German "invention" like the Christmas tree! You and I know that this is so and anyone learning his or her history will acknowledge the truth in this. Perhaps we must give the lesson often until it goes down very easily and naturally and until everyone has learned that there is no harm in having it around.

So I see you at the Christmas Markets to store up some of that unique Christmas cheer, the one we need so very much, especially this year, again!

Advent is a time of waiting and preparing. Princess, the lovely cat in our front-page window, knew all about that while she was with us. If you have forgotten go out and get it back. Create your own emotions!

Sybille Forster-Rentmeister





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As the editor of Echo Germanica Sybille reflects on cultural, artistic, political and daily events within the German-Canadian landscape.
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Sybille Forster-Rentmeister, editor, editor-in-chief of Echo Germanica, comments, cultural, artistic, political, daily events, German-Canadian, Toronto, Ontario, Canada,

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