Essay

A German Man

An invitation to life to dance again

 

A letter on the holiday for the unification of Germany 2018

 

Dear life,

 

you wanted me in this world as a man being born in Germany. Since I was a boy, I ask you a question:

how can I be both?

 

A German man.

 

It's 2018, and I have decided. I made the decision already long ago when I was a teenager and saw the pictures of the Holocaust for the first time.

 

As a German man, I face the abyss of the deeds that have happened. I give myself to you as a witness to the unfinished energies of the events from 1939 to 1945 and before that.

 

I do this in order that the icy layer of trauma that still works in my family, in society and in myself to this very day leading to isolation and numbness can melt.

 

At the gorge of the trauma, I stand on the side of the perpetrators, because I was born into a family that has mentally and/or physically prepared and supported the rule and destruction system of the National Socialists.

 

My great-grandfather Karl served the Kaiser, the emperor. His bright blue uniform jacket from 1911 hangs with me at the closet. My two grandfathers Rudolf and Bruno went to war for the Wehrmacht and were members of the National Socialist Workers' Party of Germany (NSDAP).

 

I myself am not a perpetrator from this time. I was born in 1967, 22 years after the end of World War II. But through my family and my culture, I am part of the German nervous system. So I am connected to every cell of the shadow and the light of Germany.

I make myself accountable for that.

 

German men from the imperial period and the Weimar period have, together with German women, emphatically built up the system of power that led to the oppression and killing of millions of people.

 

As a German man of the 21st century, I put my nervous system and sense of perception at my disposal to compassionately testify to the unfounded deeds of the past in this day and age. I connect with other men and women who also go for that.

 

I cannot undo events. I can only help to bring tangibly into consciousness what is, eventually to redeem it.

 

The souls of my ancestors long that I do this work. They support me with all their love in it.

They also help me to see my own shadows, just like my friends do.

 

Through research work in groups and in a therapeutic context, I perceive my own ability to love and violate and to stand for courage or destruction and claim both.

 

The growing awareness of my own options for love and violence, which I can also exercise energetically, helps me to humbly look at my ancestors. It helps me to say yes to my ancestors and to love them.

 

The more I perceive my own shadow and my own light, the freer I become. Because only when I recognize the shadow and my light can I decide for either of it.

 

In this freedom of heart and action, I go beyond the collective shadow that has arisen from past actions and omissions. I am free to act with my own shadow and light while connected to the collective shadow and light. I bow to the freedom in life and the bond with my ancestors.

 

The connections to my heart, the Divine, and to my friends and my partner help me to find my Yes to my roots and my No to the injurious acts of my ancestors.

 

As a German man of the present, I decide between Yes and No and between light and shadow.

 

I connect with other people, also from other countries of the world, in the common intention to heal the collective trauma in which we all stand. Through the bond, I get the strength to be in the here and now in Germany and to create together a bigger vessel of awareness.

 

The larger vessel is not just created by each and every one of us. In us and in our midst we invite the higher wisdom to work between us and within us in order to be guided by it.

 

In this awareness of the space within me and with others, in the clarity of my being and acting, I make myself available as a compassionate witness.

 

I do not need to take the feelings and events that arise from the past to myself. That harms me and may not change anything. Instead, I perceive the unredeemed feelings and events of the past in the space of consciousness that feels like a vessel in me and in the space between us and witness them there.

 

I let this happen in silence or give it a voice.

 

The shared conscious space creates enough space to create new movements in the frozen layers of trauma. With the energy of each individual and the Higher Wisdom, the movements that were previously stuck can flow again.

 

Dear life,

as a German man, as a psychotherapist working with the collective in Berlin, as a wild and vulnerable Mensch, I hear an invitation from you: "Let's dance in the shade and light!" I'm in. You are on my dance card. As a German man, I am an invitation to life to dance again.

 

So yours,

Joachim Christoph Wehnelt, Berlin, in October 2018

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