Monday, October 19, 2020

The end of self-centredness

Have you watched the French series THE COLLAPSE? It's an end of the world scenario – panic buying in supermarkets, riots at petrol stations, European refugees, and nuclear power stations without cooling systems. The other day I talked to my daughter about it.

In the series, there are some rich people who've acquired a rare and very expensive space on an island where they escape to once the chaos starts. I told my daughter that this is really happening – people are buying land in New Zealand and even whole Pacific Islands in case things are getting very bad. She wondered, 'what could happen?', to which I replied, 'anything can happen.' Nuclear war. Crash of the economic system. Ecological Armageddon. A lethal virus.

We kept talking and I said it's difficult to imagine that things could go seriously wrong, but just because we haven't experienced any major crisis in the “Western civilization” in the last decades, it doesn't mean it can't happen. 'Who knows', I said, 'maybe at some point Europe will become uninhabitable and we'll need to flee to Africa. And maybe the people there would do the same we are doing now: close borders and look away.' Silence. Then my daughter turned her head to me and said, 'or maybe they will let us in.' Me: 'Why should they do that?' She: 'Because they know what it feels like to not get help.'

It was a beautiful thought my daughter had. Some might criticise it was innocent and naïve, but if we're honest, she actually pointed out one of humanity's biggest problems: our lack of empathy. Because unless we improve our ability to put ourselves in the situation of others, I don't think there's much hope of anything getting better. And so to make things better, we need to train our empathetic muscle. A little bit every day. Fortunately, there are plenty of opportunities:

Feel the fear of an old person who's scared of getting Covid.
Feel the fear of a bar owner when new Corona restrictions are announced.
Feel the fear of those who fear losing their freedom.
Feel the fear of Millions having no food to eat.

Feel the worry of climate activists looking at melting ice shields.
Feel the worry of Islanders confronted with rising sea level.
Feel the worry of Indigenous tribes seeing their rivers being polluted.
Feel the worry of a child who might not have a future.

Feel the pain of a man losing his home to bombs.
Feel the pain of a woman being raped by soldiers.
Feel the pain of a girl who suffers from sickness on a refugee boat.
Feel the pain of a boy who sees his best friend drown.

Feel the despair of 20,000 people who are ignored in a refugee camp on a Greek Island while many Europeans start panic-buying toilet paper again.
Feel the despair of farmers who lose their land and livelihood because consumers don't want to pay a fair price for their products.
Feel the despair of a mother who can't feed her child when one third of all food in the world is being wasted.
Feel the despair of those dying alone. Of the trees that are cut down and the animals kept in tiny cages.

Feel all of it, the fear, the worry, the pain, the despair. Because only if we feel it, we might change what we think and how we act. Only if we feel the other, our self-centred obsession might end.

Tuesday, September 22, 2020

New World Order

On a Monday morning in September, 19 years ago, I received a package from a friend. I opened it and took out a big pile of copied pages. It was a book, but no ordinary one – it was an illegal book, supposedly talking about what's really going on in the world. About the Rothschild family and other elites, freemasons, invented diseases and wars and hidden symbols. Intrigued, I started reading that same afternoon and didn't stop until I finished the last page the following morning. It was a fascinating and also unsettling read, leaving me wondering how much of it might actually be true. At 9am, Tuesday morning, I went to my neighbour‘s for a grounding tea and conversation. His TV was running and as soon as I sat down, the news came on. My eyes widened at once – the second plane was just crashing into the South Tower of the WTC in New York City. It was 9/11 and I had just spent the whole night reading a summary of all the conspiracies in the world. My heart raced – was this really a terrorist attack?

Since then, I've read many more books on conspiracies, I watched films like Zeitgeist and had countless conversations about 9/11, chemtrails, media manipulation and evil Bilderberg meetings. At some point, however, I stopped. I got really tired of all the wild theories, mainly because they don't inspire positive action. But this doesn't mean that I think it's all made up – there are very powerful people out there who get hooked on power and want more and more of it. Human nature I guess. I totally believe they misuse their power to create false stories, seeing the world as a big board game and are willing to do barbaric things just to control most of the game. You don't even need to read illegal books to come to this conclusion, it's enough to look at the work of lobbyists. Why do we still use coal to generate electricity, and petrol cars to move around, when clean and sustainable alternatives have long been available? Makes no sense whatsoever. Hence, I don't feel like a conspiracy theorist when I say that, yes, we are being mislead and fooled.

This year, 2020, conspiracy theories have been taken to another level though. Bill Gates is blamed for a virus and at the same time most who blame him think the virus doesn't even exist; Polititians are blamed for killing children and drinking their blood, and only Trump, Q and very high walls can save us from the worst people of all, the refugees. Climate change is a hoax invented by green parties who want to turn the world into an eco-dictatorship and the images of overcrowded hospitals were all shot in a Hollywood studio – it's a plandemic, of course!

Everyone is free to believe whatever they want. But here's a question: What good has blaming ever done? It seems so easy – if it's THEIR fault, THEY need to be eliminated and then the whole world will be a peaceful paradise. But in reality it's not easy at all.

Over the last months there has been a lot of talk about freedom, that our freedom is threatened. So let's talk about freedom:

  • You are free to you choose whichever bank you want – why do most of you still have your money in banks that invest in wars and pharmaceutical companies? Are you aware that you're actually financing the vaccines you're so scared of?
  • You are free to choose where you do your shopping – why do most of us still buy on Amazon, giving the richest man in the world even more money?
  • You are free to choose what you want to eat – why don't we all buy local and organic food? And no, price is no excuse, because the same people who use this excuse usually have a huge TV at home and spend fortunes on drinks and clothes and stuff from Ikea they never needed in the first place.
  • You are free to be loving and kind – why do you keep calling people stupid sheep?
  • You are free to talk about whatever you want – why do you choose to spread fear of evil elites when you could spread hope and compassion?

It's so easy to blame others – and so difficult to accept responsibilty and change yourself. Yet the latter is the only sane option we have. We need radical political change, no doubt about it, but first we need to acknowledge that each one of us plays an important role in this game. After all, Polititians and the Rich aren't aliens – they are people like you and me. If we keep being selfish and aggressive and corrupt, they will do the same. For THEY are US.

I dread to think what will happen when we are faced with a more serious problem than a little virus. When the climate goes crazy – iceage or heatwaves, take your pick – and there will be millions, not thousands, of people trying to survive by heading North. Are we going to let them drown and starve (as we do already), or perhaps shoot them right away?

Possibly the favourite three letters of the conspiracy community are NWO – New World Order. It's said that there's a big globalist agenda going on with the aim of establishing a totalitarian world government. Personally I actually think we need some kind of global authority, given that individual states aren't capable of tackling challenges such as the climate crisis and the ethics around artificial intelligence. But before we get lost in an endless discussion, here's a simple suggestion for a new world order: change the way you look at the map! Because as long as we continue to regard US at the top and THEM at the bottom, global peace and happiness ain't gonna happen. For this is the real elite terrorist attack, our perspective!

Thursday, August 20, 2020

Life in the desert

At the beginning of August I went to the desert. I met up with a friend who lives there, he took me walking in the wildness he calls home. We talked about change, lack of water, love and survival. I made a little film of it. Here it is.

Wednesday, July 8, 2020

Missing the silence

The road was empty. No cars, no tourists, no noise. Just me and the silent concrete.

I had just arrived at Málaga airport. I had been stranded in Germany for four months, far from my daughter, my girlfriend and the sea. It was June 21st, the beginning of summer, and I had come on one of the first flights after the Corona lockdown. I was greeted by a poster of a crucified Jesus with a colourful phrase asking me whether I was ready to have fun, then my temperature was taken and finally I exited the airport where I was interviewed by a local newspaper. Then a 10-minute walk to my car. On normal days, you can hardly cross the road, it's so busy – and always! That day, however, I walked right in the middle of the three lanes. It felt like I had landed in a post-apocalyptic world, the last survivor on planet Earth. All alone. The end.

Humankind has gone through far worse times than 2020. If you were to tell the people who lived through the black plague of the Middle Ages about Covid-19 they'd laugh at you! But considering that most of Europe has enjoyed several decades of peace and prosperity, the Corona crisis has been the biggest crisis most of us have experienced so far. Many voices were heard saying that nothing will be the same anymore. 'Life is now changed. Forever. What was is not coming back.' (Chris Martenson). A potential glimpse of hope for a world that has been getting sicker and sicker over the years. But is there really any reason to be hopeful?

Since I first came to the South of Spain, back in 2002, the whole area has become more and more dependent on tourism. When I returned after four months of lockdown, just a couple of weeks ago, I was met with two extremes: The airport was literally deserted, and the beaches were more packed than ever. No tourists from abroad meant there was no work and so most hotel and restaurant staff seized the opportunity and got comfortable in the sun. A deserved rest from the pandemic, why not. But you'd think people in charge would realize that it's not a good idea to remain so dependent on only one industry, in this case tourism. Having only one leg to stand on doesn't provide much resilience. And yet, since I got back, I’ve read about plans to convert more natural land into artificial resorts, to build more holiday homes for rich foreigners and to attract even more tourists than before Corona. Life is now changed? Doesn't look like it.

And then there are the masks. And gloves. And individual portions of olive oil in plastic packaging. And plastic cups and forks and knifes and plates and a zillion empty bottles of disinfectant. Forget 5G and Bill Gates, it seems the new Coronavirus was created by Mr and Mrs Plastic!

I'm not against masks. I think some people are going slightly over the top, like that guy my daughter told me about who was swimming with a mask on, fearing he might catch Covid-19 in the sea. But in general, wearing a mask in situations where you can't maintain a distance, like in shops, to me that makes sense. However, why can't we all get reusable masks? And possibly the most important question of all: why do so many people throw their single-use masks and gloves onto the street, onto the beach and into the woods? It makes me wonder whether we, as a human species, are actually still worthy of salvation. Most bacteria seem to have more consciousness and ethics than us lot.

I could continue by mentioning the woman I met the other day, who said she's a great Trump lover and thinks it's a crime that statues of cruel racist colonialists are being torn down. If I erected a three-metre monument of Adolf H. on my terrace in 2020, would I receive angry screams or applause?

So many reasons to get depressed. So many reasons to hide in a hole and forget about salvation.

There's a line in a song by STAY HOMAS, a group that was born during the recent confinement in Barcelona, that really stuck in my head. 'What will happen with the silence once the bells of freedom ring?' Whether you are Pro-Covid or Contra-Covid, perhaps the world would be a better place if we all stayed in lockdown.

I miss the silence.

Thursday, June 4, 2020


Corona crisis. Lockdown. Stranded with my parents, unable to return home. Possibly the worst moment EVER to quit smoking! But that's exactly what I did. And I made a video of it!

When I considered different title options, BREATHLESS was the one I liked best. For a little while I was wondering whether it might be disrespectful to all those people suffering in the ICUs at the moment. But I figured there are far more people who lose their breath through smoking than through a coronavirus, so in the end I stuck with it. Then, two days before I published the video, George Floyd said his last words: I can't breathe.

The year 2020 – BREATHLESS indeed!

And in case that a pandemic and full blown racism don't convince you yet, check out the news (here and here) from the Amazon where record amounts of rainforest are torn down, destroying the lungs of the planet. You might survive Covid-19, you might survive racist violence and you might even survive smoking. But will you survive a world without trees?

What a mess! Let's just hope that our wisdom will grow faster than our destructive madness. In the meantime, here's my little documentary: BREATHLESS - quitting smoking in lockdown

Tuesday, May 12, 2020

The answer

So many theories and opinions. So much confusion, conflict and doubt. Who's right, who's wrong? Who can we trust? Where can we find relief and help and perhaps even a little bit of truth?

The answer is simple. It's the most obvious and most logical advice for any type of crisis, be it a relationship crisis or a work crisis, the climate crisis or, in this case, the corona crisis. The words were sent to me by a friend and they're by far the best thing I've read during the last months:

written by Katie LaMonte

If you believe this virus is spread human to human, the antidote is building the immune system with eating plants & natural medicines and sitting in nature alone or with your immediate family, soaking up vitamin D & sunshine.

If you believe that this virus is symptoms of 5G exposure, then the antidote is sitting in nature, connecting to Mother Earth, building your immunity with eating plants and natural medicines - submerge yourself in water & dirt.

If you believe that this is all a hoax and you just need to sit back while Q saves us all, then the answer is sitting in nature, build a garden for the new earth, commune with God, eat plants & natural medicines that strengthen your connection and open your channel to the new earth frequency ~ ascend with her.

If you believe the economy is collapsing, and authoritarian dictatorship is imminent, the most radical thing you can do in protest is build a garden, releasing dependency on the system.

If you believe that Mother Earth is mad at us and purging the human race, the answer is go outside and listen, build a garden, align with her.

The answer is always nature. Always.

We do not have to argue about the why. The antidote is obvious. Alignment with the mother, with our source of nurturance. Remembering everything we use and need comes from her. Give thanks. Humble. Slow down. Observe. Listen.

The answer is always nature.
Nothing more to add.

Wednesday, April 8, 2020

The story of Miss God

Many people around the globe are struggling with the current lockdown situation. For a writer, however, lots of time spent in quarantine is part of normal life. I hardly go to bars and restaurants anyway; I'm used to being at home for days on end, it kind of comes with the job. But this doesn't mean I can or want to live without having contact to others. Quite contrary, even though it's usually one person who writes a book, most books depend on the input of many others.

Four years ago I stumbled across the ten commandments and wondered why they've never been updated. At the core, they are actually quite useful, but they're hopelessly trapped under a thick layer of dust. 'Thou shalt not...', who speaks in such a weird way today? And besides, why so negative? A bunch of well-meant guidelines that have become rotten rules, totally inappropriate for the modern world. So I thought of a story where God and a young girl meet on a beach and rewrite those old wisdoms.

Three years ago I told my girlfriend Rocío about this idea. She loved it, we talked about it for a while and then life went on and the idea disappeared in my folder of buried possibilities.

Two years ago I contemplated options for a new writing project when my girlfriend brought up the new ten commandments again. 'Why don't you do something with that? I really think it has potential.' I gave it some thought and agreed with her. Yes, it was an idea worth digging out and working on. And so that's what I did.
Back then I was living in a shared house with one of my best friends, Charlotte. One day I was sitting at my desk, pondering on God and Moses, when she came in for a cup of tea. I told her about the basic idea of the book: God is tired of seeing humans screwing up the planet and each other, and so he asks 11-year old Olivia to help him rewrite the ten commandments. 'Why he?' Charlotte asked. 'Why can't God be a woman?'

One year ago I was disillusioned because I couldn't find a publisher for MISS GOD. In Germany, where most of my works are published, I only got rejections. Many publishers liked it, but either it was too religious for them, or too critical of the church. I've never fully understood these reasons, because MISS GOD is neither about religion nor about blame. It's an invitation to believe. In something.

One day ago MISS GOD was released by my English publisher, Ammonite Press. Like me, they felt it's a perfect story for our times. A story about changing old habits and exploring new perceptions. And like me, they just loved the title. Who on Earth wouldn't publish a book called MISS GOD? I'd buy it at first sight!

On page seven, the book is dedicated to Charlotte and Rocío. Without them, MISS GOD wouldn't exist. But there are many others who helped as well: My daughter Paloma, who played the role of real-life Olivia; Roxanne, who did a brilliant job at proofreading my English translation; Jason, who convinced his boss at the publishing house that this could be something special; Kate, whose illustrations have transformed the book beyond special. Plus all the team at Ammonite Press and of course Jane, who, some years ago, had met the owner of the UK publishing house on a plane trip, chatting away and mentioning casually, 'hey, I know a writer...'

I wrote MISS GOD in a self-imposed, solitary lockdown. But underneath the lockdown, invisible to most people's eyes, there was a tight web of meaningful connections. It happens with each writing experience: From the outside, I might seem like an antisocial nerd at times, but on the inside, vital exchanges are happening all the time.

Now you're in lockdown too. A challenging situation, no doubt about it, but also a chance to reflect. A chance to pause, listen and wonder. Why do we fight and destroy so much? Why do we suffer? And why are we here in the first place?

Maybe it's the perfect moment to question your beliefs, while at the same time finding a way to connect to the divine. Maybe it's the perfect moment for an inspiring story. Maybe it's the perfect moment to meet MISS GOD...

Out now as a beautiful hardback and Corona-proof ebook.