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About Black Spots

A professor walked into the class and gave his students a test. The test was a blank page with one little black spot in the middle.
He advised his students to write about what they were seeing on this sheet.

All of the students wrote about one thing. They wrote about the black spot.

No one wrote about all the white on the page and what can be done with all of this beautiful not defined space.
No one talked about the possibilities, the freedom, the creativity that could be realized on the blank part of the paper.
No one talked about how the black spot could be developed into something bigger, meaningful and harmonious.
No one talked about the perfection of the white color and the smooth texture of the paper.

No one said they are grateful for the opportunity to do something useful with all the white space on the page.
No one said, thank you for the invitation to dream and invent on this almost empty sheet.


His conclusion was that basically all of his students failed the test.

The main part was missed by everyone. But he decided they would not be graded on this test. Though, they would keep the memory of it. That is what’s crucial.

When I read about this story two concepts came to my mind.
First: This teacher truly understood human nature.
– We are pure creative potential. But this potential has to be woken up.

It sleeps when we only see black spots.

Second: All the important lessons in life are
– not the ones we get graded on at school.


Without memory there is no learning. I have almost no remembrance of all the German lessons that I endured for 12 years. Except for one, where we put a poem into motion and had to move to the words. The other lessons comprised of sitting at a desk doing stuff not relevant for me. No memory, no learning, time stolen.

Education, for the most part, is based on narrowing down who we are and the content of our thinking. We are not lead to be dreamers, inventors, explorers.

We are not taught to think. But to repeat correctly.
We are trained to fill in forms, to obey rules against life, do mindless paperwork, please robots, feed hungry algorithms with our data and pass multiple choice tests.


What if all choices in those tests are wrong?
What if we are not made to satisfy AI?
What if life is meant to be something totally different?


What would happen to us when we stop staring at black spots but see all the white space?

All the best and
with so much love,

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The Dog’s Way

Dale Carnegie told the story that dogs have mastered one great skill: The art of making friends.
You can be many meters away and they start waging their tales. A sign without words, that they like you are there. When you approach them and take the time to pet them, they show happiness, jump up and down. They are excited about your presence.

What does the dog do?
The dog is interested in people in a genuine way.
Not slimy, not sleezy – just open and natural.




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Just This One Project

If you are anything like me, you are interested in a substantial amount of things.
And this causes severe troubles. SEVERE. TROUBLES! But let me explain.

You have your professional life going on, whatever that brings for you.
For a bassoonist it’s usually: concerts, lessons, practicing, reed making, searching for sheet music (hopefully on!), caring about students and fellow musicians.

You have parallel to professional stuff going on like improving your knowledge and capabilities, learning about better posture and poise, better mental skills, performing better on stage, being a better teacher and such.


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Made of Wood – Pinocchio

One of the most interesting stories that I have ever read is the original Adventures of Pinocchio by Carlo Collodi from 1881 based on a folk tale from Tuscany, Italy. It’s deepness and meaning can easily be overlooked and is not part of the Disney version, so it keeps to be mostly unknown.
While the most famous part of the Pinocchio story is the one with his truth telling nose, the most intriguing part in my view is the brilliance in the narrative itself.

Pinocchio is a wooden puppet made by a cabinetmaker named Gepetto. This old master of his craft formed with love and care this little doll and is part of the old Italian tradition of making burattinos (puppet in Italian). Wooden marionettes are made in Northern Italy for centuries and it is a special craft of its own, involving carving, chiselling, sawing and tying.



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The Not Lived Life

Michael Endes “Neverending Story” is one of the five books I would take to the island. I already shared this passion with you right here in this column.
It is a prism of colorful narrative levels, a woven story in a story in a story. It starts at an antiquarian bookstore and it ends there. In between the covers the author so brilliantly takes us to deep truths about being human and life itself.

I have read this book several times and the core concept presented there so masterfully keeps circling back.
At the core of the saga stands the fundamental danger, presented as the Nothing that keeps eating up Fantastica and the Childlike Empress.



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Mysterious Bacteria Life

When Teruo Higa, professor for agriculture and gardening out of Japan, researched the life of bacteria, he found something astounding.

There are three types of microbes:
– some that help life and contribute to growth and health,
– some that destroy life and make it deteriorate and
– some – and this is the vast majority – that just follow the dominant trend.

And here comes the intriguing part. It only takes 15% positive microbes to build a flourishing and life affirming setting. In other words: only a small crowd is necessary to create a strong and vibrant surrounding. Good will attract more good and override the bad.


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Music In The Rain

What would you say, if someone asks:
“What impresses you the most about Europe?”

The fantastic Architecture!
The amazing History!
The great Culture!
The unprecedented Collections of Fine Art!
Savoir vivre!
The astounding unity in utmost cultural diversity!
The cradel of humanity’s most valuable treasure: Classical Music.


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Easy Stress Medicin

Do you remember those days when stress was something only super highpayed managers would have?
Do you remember the phone answering machine? At first, our grandmas had this job until we bought this very modern little black boxes.
When the first of my friends showed up at our house with a cell phone in his hand, we girls laughed at him and said teasingly: “You feel pretty important, don’t you?”

Today everyone is overwhelmed and available 24/7.
Most people I know say this is because of the kids: “They need to reach me.”
When we were little, there were no cell phones around – not even an answering machine and in many cases no grandma, too.

And still we managed to grow up.
How did that happen? A true miracle!!


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Thoughts And Dust Bunnies

What do thoughts and dust bunnies have in common?

(Dust bunnies are these little creatures behind your door that have a secret life on their own. They magically appear without anybody doing anything. A truly mystical genesis! Unfortunately they don’t disappear the same way. Only when someone takes heart and vacuums them away.)

So, what do they have in common?
You can take them personally – or not.


Dust bunnies just appear.
We can all experience this.
Everyone who lives in some sort of a rectangular shelter – not in a yurt or a tepee! – has at some point seen those guys.
(Men usually tend to see them later, I don’t know why.)


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Perspective Makes Unique

When Einstein was asked to explain his theory of relativity in simple terms he said: “An hour sitting with a pretty girl on a park bench passes like a minute, but a minute sitting on a hot stove seems like an hour.”

I love this quote, because it applies to just about every walk of life. We tend to think our perspective is the truth. But what it actually is, is just our perspective.