Happy New Year – or “The one who knows the Destination will find the Path!”

As this past year just came to a conclusion many of us ended up recalling the year. What was “good”? What was “bad”? What did we enjoy and what not so much? What are we proud of, and what not so much? What would we like to do better in the new year or even avoid altogether?

We start weighing our “successes” and our “failures”. But then we might have a problem determining what to see as a success and what as a failure? What might seem like a failure could indeed end up being a success in the future and vice versa.

No matter where we are at this point in time, all we need to know is where we would want the journey to take us. What is my destination? Once we can answer this question then a path will reveal itself to us and the journey as such will become the destination.

It makes no difference if you are about to embark on a major journey or simply would want a small project finalized. With the end in mind the journey to the destination will be a, a journey, and all potential challenges will become a mere stepping-stone toward the completion of this journey. With a destination in mind, the journey itself will become your destination – with all of its ups and downs, highs and lows, successes and potential failures.

To give you an idea what I mean, I would like to share with you, very briefly, a journey of an entire country. A country of 80 plus million inhabitants. A country that was divided for decades and has been trying to heal its wounds for 25 years: Germany!

Germany is a country I have a lot of respect for. Hard working people. Organized. Determined. All the while levelheaded and giving.

On November 9th, 1989, for the first time since the end of WWII, East Berliners were allowed to officially and legally cross into West Berlin. What a monumental and history changing day that was!

Westerners (so called “Wessis”) welcomed their long lost cousins from the east (the so called “Ossis”) with open arms. In the early days it was common practice to leave physical gifts on the hood of a visiting car from the east. The 2 most symbolic gifts were:

1) 10 German marks rolled up and stuck in the windshield of cars. Wow! A total stranger leaving money for you to find when you come back to your car?!
2) A bundle of bananas. Can you imagine coming back to your car and there is a bundle of bananas on your hood? Why bananas you might ask? Well, because this was the exotic fruit that the “Ossis” couldn’t buy during communism and only knew from pictures. Thus practically overnight Germany became the biggest banana-consuming nation in the world.

Once it became clear that Germany was heading toward a reunification, the West German government had to decide what to do with the East German Mark; a currency not worth the paper printed on. First, the government aimed for a conversion rate of 10 East German Marks to 1 West German Mark.

But as the months went on the conversion rate became a 4:1 and right before reunification happened, the West German chancellor pushed for an exchange rate of 1:1 stating that Germans take care of Germans. Period! Simply incredible!

In the meantime Germany competed in the FIFA World Cup and won their 3rd title in the summer of 1990. Can you picture the pride and joy the about to be reunified nation was feeling? An entire nation on drugs, that’s how to best describe how things were then.

In the meantime, though the West German government looked closer into the books of the East Germans and had to realize that nothing, absolutely nothing, that the East Germans produced had West German standard and could be used. Also the entire infrastructure, which means not only highways, but also roads, train tracks, power lines, the sewer system, pipelines, etc., had to be rebuilt from scratch.

The government estimated that it would cost about 1 trillion German Marks (or ½ trillion euros) spent over a period of 20 years to get East Germany, with a population of 16 million people, on par with West Germany, which had a population of 64 million at that time.

And who had (and still has) to foot this bill you might ask? Correct, the taxpayer! So the so-called Solidarity Tax was introduced which added a whopping 7.5% tax onto each and every taxpayers’ taxes.

Wow!

Overnight folks, overnight, there was no more singing and dancing between the West and the East. There were no more gifts left on car hoods. From that moment on it was the bloody “Ossis” who cost the “Wessis” their hard earned money, and the wall, this time an invisible wall, went right back up again.

25 years on, the cost of reunification has been not a “mere” ½ trillion, but north of 1.5 trillion euros (that is about 2 trillion U$). And the east today is still not on par with the west. And needless to say, that the invisible wall is still up.

But despite all of their challenges and the ups and downs on their road to reunification, when looking back, the nation can truly be proud of itself. Knowing where the journey was going, the country and its people, were able to overcome tremendous challenges and obstacles. And not only that the two parts of Germany are closer today than they have been in the past 70 odd years, but the nation as such has grown into being a better and bigger country, not only for the people who live in it but also for its neighbors and partners. For example, while all the internal struggles of reunification are going on, the country quasi single-handedly saved the euro from its collapse just a few years back and continued to be the driving force behind the growth and improvement of the European Union in every possible aspect. And all of this without ever playing the “big country card”, at least the way some other well-known big countries do on a regular basis.

Don’t you think that if a nation as big as Germany with all of its challenges and problems can do it, namely defining a destination and then going for it, you, with your significantly smaller challenges (and I am not disregarding your challenges here!), can do it, too?!

But you might say, that there is no way that you can relate to the challenges of a powerful and wealthy nation with its seemingly limitless resources and manpower.

Well then, how about me sharing with you one of my struggles and how I am overcoming it?

Nearly two years ago a nasty virus almost got the better of me. But I survived. So I consider myself really very lucky. But there are still quite a few health obstacles that I have to overcome. One of them being my frozen up muscles and stiff joints and the pain that goes with it – a souvenir from the virus and the treatment I received getting rid of it. Two years ago I could not walk even walk a hundred yards without getting completely out of breath. I couldn’t even lie down on the floor without major back in my back. Nor could I move my arm more than 2-3 inches away from my body.

My destination is pretty clear: getting rid of my pain and stiffness and being able to move my body the way I used to before my sickness. I had no clue how to get there though: all I knew was that allopathic medicine and regular physiotherapy won’t get me there. So a long and painful road of (self-)healing, and a journey of persistence and determination started: acupressure, acupuncture, myofascial treatment, TCM, herbs, Bikram yoga, swimming, and “semi-jogging”, just to name a few of my experiences, started.

To cut a long, long story short, it was during my yoga class on December 31st that I realized that I was experiencing my very first temporarily pain free practice. Wow! What a realization that was! What a class that was: I was grinning from ear to ear. And what an end to a year of self-healing that was!

Have I reached my destination yet? By far not! I still feel considerable pain and some of my muscles and joints are still fairly stiff. But compared to a few years back, I already feel like a spring chicken. I am so confident about my recovery that I am bold enough to say that I will completely get healed – with a bit of luck already by the end of this year.

I know my destination, so all the challenges that have been thrown at me while working on regaining my health, were simply stepping-stones on my journey to health.

If the big story of the big country of Germany wasn’t able to motivate you to set your aim on a destination and simply have faith that the road to your goal with reveal itself in due time, then hopefully my little story of self-healing was.

May this coming year be your year to shine!

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