Mind over Matter – a Personal Story

No matter what the challenge (health, job, money, relationship, family, matters of the heart and soul – in short, the whole nine yards!), we can turn things around in a relatively short period of time – all we have to master is our mind and learn how to play this most intricate and expensive violin ever built. What we have to figure out is the balance between high voltage (knowing what we want) and ampere (‘feeling’ the end result and being passionate about achieving it). With this combination, we will be able to achieve seemingly unachievable goals and results from the small to the very big.

I would like to share with you a personal story and by doing so offering you an intimate proof of my philosophies and teachings:

My dad passed away on October 12th, 2009 and his funeral was scheduled for October 22nd. I flew to Vienna as soon as I could to be with my family and as his oldest son I felt the duty to deliver a speech. My challenge was how on earth to deliver my father’s eulogy in front of the gathered audience without choking up, losing my voice, or crying too hard, in short, not being able to deliver this speech in a way that would have made my father proud – to use his very own words: “speak with a strong voice”. I am used to speaking in front of people, so that was not my challenge, my challenges were my own emotions: 1) how to dance with them harmoniously so that I could deliver my speech and 2) what to say about my father – which angle should I take? Smaller challenges were which language? (My father was Persian, so should I speak in Farsi? He lived in Austria, so in German? Or, as an alternative language, English?) Small issues became big and paralyzed me. Every time I thought of my upcoming speech, I choked up on one hand due to my emotions and on the other hand due to the fact that I had no idea what to say – after all, now I had become the head of the family and I was ‘expected’ to say something ‘profound’…

From the get-go and despite my stress and confusion that I would never ever be able to ‘get the job done’ – I was convinced that I would not be able to deliver my father’s eulogy in a coherent and worthy way – a picture formed in my mind which I, over time, made more and more vivid and added as many details to as I possibly could imagine: wearing a slick black suit, black tie with a French cuff shirt, standing tall in front of my father’s coffin and addressing the assembled crowed from center stage with a firm voice. That is all I saw – I did not have the suit, shirt, speech, and above all, every time I thought of the funeral, I choked up…

Four days before the funeral we found the perfect suits, but I still no idea what to say about my dad – which angle should I take? Should the speech be about his achievements? My relationship with him? My current pain? No idea…

But every night when I went to bed, I visualized myself addressing the gathered mourners with a firm voice from center stage…

The morning of the funeral came – I had my outfit, just as I had envisioned, ready to be worn – but still no idea about the speech…and I had to have my hair cut as well…after all, I wanted to look perfect for my dad’s final journey…

When I woke up, I grabbed a pen and a paper, left the apartment for a cup of coffee at a nearby Café before going to the barber. I sat down, ordered a cup of coffee, took the pen and started writing…it simply poured out of me…incredible…within 8 minutes, from the time of ordering my coffee until paying for it, I had written 90% of the eulogy – not even a page long and in English. Perfect.

At 2:00 p.m. was the funeral – so we gathered at a café across the entrance to the cemetery at 1:15 p.m. While people had a coffee I sat down and read through the eulogy again, asking for the perfect closing words…and they came, just like that…

Well, now I had the eulogy, my suit, my hair done and welcomed friends and family at the chapel of rest. I could not hold back the tears and told myself every 2 minutes that I would simply forfeit my right as the oldest son to deliver the eulogy…

The ceremony started at 2:00 p.m. sharp and I was staring at the coffin and in the back of my mind the picture popped up again: looking at the crowd, standing tall and addressing them with a firm voice, even though I was sobbing and felt terrible pain in the inside…

A small (large?!) miracle happened: when the MC looked at me indicating that it was my time to speak, my sole opportunity to share my emotions about my dad with the assembled crowed, I got up, walked center stage, looked at everyone, took a deep breath and started to speak with a firm and commanding voice, but still full of emotions and love for my dad…no sobbing, no tears, no choking up…
It was one of the most beautiful moments in my life – I felt so connected and so alive and so present and so sad and filled with pain – all at once…

As you can see, everything is possible and everything can be achieved – big and small. May this recap of my personal challenge help you overcome yours…

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7 Responses to “Mind over Matter – a Personal Story”  

  1. 1 Jason

    Hallo Q,

    My condolensces on your father’s passing and thanks a lot for sharing your story. I don’t have to face my father’s funeral, but there are other things in my life right now I am really nervous about and seeing how you could overcome your fears and doubts by just believing in being able to makes me feel really confident about me being able as well. I’ll try to follow your example and envision myself doing just great!

  2. 2 Gerda Merwald

    who ever reads this, dear Q, dear reader:
    if you allow demons take over, you shrivel, your voice becomes a thin, helpless stream, victim to vultures;
    what happened to you, Q, was your inner strength guiding you, you shift gears, with a roaring engine,reaching the goal,
    yes, I have experienced that kind of power too;
    thank you Q

  3. 3 Elodie Jones

    Lovely and encouraging story! Hope you enjoyed your holidays at home!

  4. 4 Meaghan

    Dear Q,

    Thank you for sharing this story with us! I believe, that every one of us sometimes has to face situations when we simply don´t know what to do, how to start, a task seems to difficult, and after all we have to cope with it!
    Stories like the one you shared help to give confidence and belief that it is possible!

  5. 5 Karin Witzig Rozell

    Hi Q,

    That’s a great blog post and thank you for sharing your story and triumph during a difficult time.

    It does make all the small and even big challenges seem more malleable.

    My condolences to you and your family,


  6. 6 Jason


    I absolutely agree with you.

    Thanks a lot for your words! :)

  7. 7 Caity

    What a touching story! I am so sorry your father passed away but it’s so good to hear that you draw strength from it at last.
    Thanks a lot for sharing this with us!

    @Gerda, Meahgan and all the others:
    You really are right – we all have to face difficult situations in ours lives and it’s important to always try and make the best of them. And it’s so good to hear about how people manage to and draw hope and strength from that yourself!

    Have a Happy New Year 2010, everyone, and may you all overcome the obstacles on your way!!

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