‘Out beyond ideas of wrong and rightdoing, there is a field. I’ll meet you there.’

“My mother suffered a lot of depressions and therefore was not always able to give me a solid and safe home that I needed. I never really had somebody telling me what is true or good in life. Or when I should be careful or pay attention. I had to find out many things on my own – and I made mistakes.

When I was about 16 my mother kicked me out of the house. I was on the street with my pyjama. She had done that many times before, but I would just wait until she’d open the door. But this time, I decided not to take it anymore. This time I thought “That’s enough, I’m leaving” and I went to a friend and stayed there for some time. I would spend my days at the library to check out books on philosophy and art. That’s basically where I found the poetry of Rumi for the first time.

When I started reading his work it felt like it lifted me out of the situation that I was in, kind of realizing you are only a small part of the universe and there is something bigger.

I remember this time last year, I was volunteering in a camp in Southern Greece with mostly people from Syria. There was one family coming with a baby and a 3 year-old son. As volunteers, we were instructed to welcome them, give blankets and share food. We had been told that their tent was burnt down in another camp and their baby was really injured and in a hospital because of the fire. At the same time it turned out this man had been working for the Syrian army, the people recognized him and got really angry. They tried to kill him, so he was moved to another camp.

We heard the story but it wasn’t really clear what exactly happened. We had to welcome this family and there was absolutely no question that we were not as open as possible to welcome them. We gathered stuff to make their small house, got blankets and made coffee and tea. At moments like this Rumi pops up in my mind, like his leaving judgement behind with a loving, welcoming attitude to anyone that comes to your path. I thought we were doing just that. Welcoming somebody who maybe did something really bad, but is desperately in need of help. I realized that moment, that’s really what Rumi gave me as a guideline: always try to be as open and caring as possible for the other.”