“Go forth my heart …”

By Eva Wörner, September 2021

“... and seek joy ...” - how the great hall shook when the school community sang this song on the last day before the summer holidays; full of anticipation for a time without the routine of school and full of curiosity for adventures near and far. Then, when I was home, on that day I literally let everything fall away from me. Threw my satchel into the corner – holidays at last!

Even today, I know the longing tug in my heart when something is completed, when a goal is reached, when a break is near, when there is the prospect of freedom in my head. It’s not so easy to clear the head. Because all sorts of things have accumulated there and the heart is always involved. In the last few months, with hardly any prospect of the famous change of scenery, it became more and more important to give one’s heart joy and to discover the positive, even if that sounds trite. And above all, to allow a change of perspective, even if only in the smallest of spaces. Because simply changing chairs, looking through a different window, going to the other end of the room, means opening up new perspectives. The heart immediately increases its rhythm, the view widens.

It is the same in the case of conflict. The fronts are hardened. There are clear opposing positions. The heart becomes constricted. A conflict brews over a long period of time and there is no break in sight, as there is in everyday life when a project is brought to conclusion. On the contrary, the view becomes narrower and narrower. Why can’t one take a break from a conflict? Or as my little niece asks, whether the quarrel with Anton will be gone after the summer holidays. Most definitely, because the two of them will have so many incredible adventures. But conflicts among adults are still there after the summer break. Perhaps something has become entrenched in our head or other building blocks have been added that exacerbate the conflict further. But maybe one or the other heart has been able to recover after all and take a breather, and a new view of the matter emerges.

People keep asking me why I get into conflicts when I am a mediator. Well, because I’m just a human being whose heart sometimes gets constricted and who then no longer has any joy. But I can assure you that it is absolutely worthwhile to open your heart and try for a change of perspective – we just have to remember to do it. And summertime is perfect for that.

I step outside the house, take a deep breath and hum to myself “Go forth my heart and seek joy”. I wish you moments when you step out of the house, literally without baggage and with a song on your lips. When the head becomes freed, the heart opens all by itself. All the best for the summer break near and far and perhaps you can tell me on occasion which song serenades the beginning of the summer holidays at your school.

Eva Wörner is a mediator, lecturer and director of the teacher training seminar in Frankfurt, as well as a board member of the German Association of Waldorf Schools.

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