Inspirations from Kerstin Hack

Month: October 2013

Discovering Life – Now More than Ever

Image038Was I alive today?


What new thing did I learn about life?

Nothing new, really: Life can sometimes be really strenuous and full of fighting. You win some, you lose some. Again, nothing new. And when you (seemingly) lose a fight, it”s painful. This month, I have really suffered and prayed with a friend whose grandson came into the world seriously ill. Today, he took his leave of life in this world. As I was walking earlier through the garden and praying for his parents and grandmother, I felt like God was saying to me, “The fight was not for nothing.” I don”t know what that means. And I”m not trying to comfort anyone with cheap words. However, this was what I felt.  I really believe that it”s never for nothing to do everything that is in our power to fight for life, even when it doesn”t bring the result that we”d hoped for… that they could share a long life with others here on the Earth.

What new thing did I learn about myself?

This phase right now is really stressful. There has been illness and failure in the team. Delays. Lower back pain that has increased again in the last few days. Worry about Bernd. 1000 decisions about the ship that are building up and that intertwine. Having all of the details in mind at once is definitely not my strength – so far. During the weekend, two people with this strength blessed me that it would also develop in me. As a person created in God”s image, I possess the ability, at least rudimentarily. And it could still develop.

Nevertheless: All these things stretch me to my limits. There are phases when I find everything to be terrible, and I suffer in silence. Or aloud. And then there are moments when a switch is flipped. This happened on Sunday evening. I saw difficulties and challenges without end. And instead of being sad about them and allowing myself to become discouraged, I thought to myself: now more than ever!

Now more than ever

  • – I want to tackle this
  • – I want to believe that God is with me
  • – I want to trust that there is a way
  • – I want to hope, believe, pray
  • – I want to keep going.

Now more than ever – not because it”s easy. That”s not it. But because it”s right. And it”s worth it. Even in the face of difficulties.

Now more than ever!

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Discovering Life – Words, Tone, and Drops

Was I alive today?

Yes!!! (Even when I was occasionally weary, exhausted, and dawdling).

What new thing did I learn about life?

Tone of voice gives the meaning. Today, as I rode my bicycle home from a lovely birthday party, I saw a young man on the side of the road sitting in a pile of leaves. Because people don’t do this regularly, I called, “Is everything ok?” He called back, “No,” but his voice sounded very clear and friendly. And I was going downhill and had momentum. I stopped at the next streetlight – and he came running after me (a third of a mile!!) and asked, “Did you mean that question seriously?” and I said, “Yes!” He asked why I didn’t stop. I explained it to him and then told him, “You can run very fast!” He said, “One has to, to keep up with you!” Then he asked where I was from and what I had planned for the rest of the day…

I found it exciting that I could intuitively sense that he was ok even though he yelled something else. Things can’t be too bad for a man who can run a few hundred yards after an (in my opinion) attractive woman on a bicycle. I was relieved that my assessment was apparently right; I trusted the tone more than the words.

And: Penguins have a highly effective heat exchange in their feet (people learn all kinds of things when they are occupied with domestic engineering and heating technology for ships).

What new thing did I learn about life?

2013-10-26 13.35.19I can get really happy about small things. And a little drop can have a huge impact – depending on where it falls. Today, I received a care package from a previous seminar participant (Thank you H.!) which contained really cool ear muffs, chocolate, tissues, and a nice hand lotion. In comparison to the huge bills of the last week (and those that are still coming), this is just a drop in the ocean. Hardly noticeable. Yet, at the same time, the drop has fallen in my thankfulness-barrel and brought it to overflowing. The gift and the esteem and care that it expresses made me happy and thankful for the entire day. A good drop really has value!

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Discovering Life – It Doesn’t Hurt to Ask

IMG_0137Was I alive today?


It is simply wonderful to walk through autumn leaves and whirl them up with your feet.

What new thing did I learn about life?

It doesn’t hurt to ask. My theory: people almost always want to help when they have the ability and opportunity to support another person in making their life better. They just sometimes don’t know how they can help. And they don’t dare to ask.

In the last few days, I have asked a lot:

1. The cool online-shop Avocadostore for fair and pretty things: if they would like to promote our 2014 calendar during the holidays.

– The answer:  We’d love to. And they put it on their start page right away.

2. A friend: if he would lend me his welder for a couple of days until I can find my own that functions well (the monster that I have on-board doesn’t have a plug that’s compatible, and I have to consider whether I want to learn welding on a dinosaur-welder…no, don’t worry…at first, I am just watching… then perhaps I will practice carefully outside on the deck)…

– Answer: Yep.

3. A seller of hand-held welding equipment: if I can get a discount.

– Answer: Yes! 

4. A waste-water specialist (a contact of a friend): if he would help me plan the water disposal on the ship.

– Answer: Sure. I am a specialist for seeping water, but I would happily look at it, and if I don’t know what to do, I can recommend someone who does.

5. My dentist: If he can repair a broken mouthguard that I improvisationally patched with superglue.

– Answer: Bring the mouthguard over on Friday, and I will do it over the weekend.

6. A friend in Hamburg: if he could pick up and bring an affordable, used fireplace for my ship from Hamburg… so that it will be cozy.

– Answer: Of course.

7. A brilliant professor and architect for environmentally responsible building: if he and his students would like to help with the planning.

– Answer of his assistant: The tasks for this semester are already assigned – I sent your request to him anyway. (I also sent a request to my God about this and told Him I would find it really cool if there was a way that I could get support from the top professionals!)

8. A friend: if I could borrow her car for a transport.

– Answer: No, I’d prefer not. The car is brand new, and we haven’t paid it off yet.

Surprisingly another friend, who didn’t know anything about this, sent me a note: “I would love to help you more, but my time is very limited. It would be impossible for me to commit a half or whole day. But I could happily procure things for you or make drives, bring lunch by or things like that, or even pick up visitors…anything that I can squeeze in – one or two hours can always be found…” 

9. A shoe-maker: if he could make a hole in a belt that had become too large for me.

– Answer: ok 

I am surprised how much people enjoy helping. Surely it also plays a role in wanting to help that the ship will become a place on which other people will be helped. Still: it is a huge gift. And I am sooo thankful for all of the big and little helps.

What did I learn about myself?

It makes life so much more relaxed and nice that I can casually and openly ask today. I didn’t used to be able to. I sometimes expected that others already knew or suspected what I needed. Only: they usually didn’t. Or I worried that I would become a burden to them, and I thought too much about what they might think, what might burden them, what might stress them – without, of course, knowing whether it was true. For this reason, I didn’t dare to express my requests.

Today, I usually assume that people are adults and can make their own decisions. I try to express the background of my request clearly and comprehensibly, to make it understandable why I need help and why I am asking them. And then I allow the other person to decide whether they want to fulfill my request or not. And when they say “no” – like my friend with the car – it’s totally fine with me. They are making a decision for themselves, not against me. This unwinds.

Asking is nice. 

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Discovering Life – Giving Enriches

2013-10-19 20.27.36Was I alive today?


Hard (De-rusting in a room that is 3.3 ft wide, 492 ft deep and 2.6 ft high is not enjoyable…) and easy work on-board in the shining sun. And it’s moving forward… a part of the insulation tiles that came from the previous owner and have been lying around in the way for the last 18 months are finally being used and are doing that which they should – they are insulating a wall.

And in the evening, a wonderful, inspiring concert by Christiane Döring – to leave your cares behind…. she has a great voice and has taken a lot out of the songs of Schumann, Schubert, and co… very nuanced, romantic, deep, and in some places, very humorous.

But the funniest moment without a doubt was afterwards. I reacted anxiously when I suddenly saw two police cars in front of the venue – exactly where I had parked my borrowed car… not exactly proper distance from the corner. “No reason to get flustered,” commented a friend of a friend who had previously said that nothing really upsets him, “They wouldn’t bring two police cars just for a wrongly-parked car.” He was right.

What did I discover about life?

One receives the most when he gives. In the middle of working, I recieved a text message from a friend who needed advice and support. I took the time for her – while I preserved battens… coating and thinking at the same time works. In the middle of the conversation, I heard myself say, “The situations that occupy us the most are the ones in which we don’t understand what’s going on. Our brain wants to categorize and understand things and when it can’t, it plows on and keeps working, because it wants to find an explanation!”

I said this to her and, at the same time, it became clear to me that this was also an answer for me. I am currently confronted with the behavior of a person that I just can’t sort, and my brain is working overtime in order to understand what is going on. But until now, it’s been a puzzle where some pieces are missing…

The solution? I waver between two options:

– Simply choose a working hypothesis (Person X is behaving this way because…) and come to peace with it.

– To decide for myself that it’s not solvable (who can really understand another person?)… and come to peace with it.

What did I learn about myself?

I won’t come up short. Whoever gives will always be rewarded in the end. A friend made the offer that her father, who is a professional electrician, would be able to help me with the electrical work on the ship. I do have to think through a lot of things that are new to me, and I need not only people who can lend a hand – of course, I am thankful for every hand that helps. But I have a huge lack of planning help. I need conversations with people who know things and can think through things with me. Someone who is experienced and patiently takes a couple of hours to explain things to me is a huge gift for me. That I specifically prayed for an electrician who could advise me and support me made it doubly nice.

This morning, I sat on the sofa and cried with emotion because I can’t hardly understand why I am so blessed. Suddenly, the thought came to me, “You have – with the projects that you’ve initiated and promoted – contributed to getting a roof over the heads of and clean drinking water for hundreds of people in Afghanistan… you helped them… now others are helping you to build your house/boat!”

I am double-rewarded: First, it made me happy to be able to help. It is simply nice to be able to give people a home. And second, I am rewarded through the gifts that come back to me in the form of help for me.




Benefits calendar, “Begegnung 2014,” for the benefit of women in Afghanistan.






Apropos Afghanistan: My publishing team and I have produced another benefits calendar for 2014. All proceeds will go towards an agricultural schooling program for women in Afghanistan that teaches them how they can feed themselves and their families. The calendars are available for purchase in our Shop. Only available in German.

Please buy several – the calendar makes a great Christmas present – and in addition, you will be doing something good for people who need support!

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Discovering Life – Hard and Soft

Was I alive today?


– What new thing did I learn about life?

People always quarrel about strategies – seldom about goals. Yesterday, I saw the lovely film, The Butler, (worth watching!) that describes the life of a butler in the White House from the 1960s through today. Especially moving: He and his son both wanted to improve the living conditions for people of color. But they had very different ideas about how this should happen. The father wanted to wait; the son became politically active. Although they had the same goal, their strategies were different. This lead to conflict and estrangement.

Non-violent communication stresses the importance of making the need under the strategies transparent. Like here, the need for being respected and valued. When the need is deeply understood and accepted, cooperative strategies can sometimes be found to meet it. And sometimes not.

2013-09-27 16.37.52-1– What new thing did I learn about myself?

I need softness as balance for hardness….  The last couple of weeks were hard. Sick co-workers, hard work, hard misunderstandings, hard calculations, hard decisions, hard work on the taxes, hard, tight muscles. Even the materials on the ship are steel-hard and you can only work with them with hardness. Last night, I dreamt that someone told me that I need softness.

So, I have pronounced this week to be a soft week. I will wear soft clothes, observe autumn flowers and leaves, let the wind blow on my face and the sun warm it, work less hard when the sun is shining, listen to warm, cello music, take warm showers, drink coffee with soft milk foam and eat Schokoküsse (wonderful soft marshmallow coated in chocolate!)… and, as much as I can, be soft with myself – in thoughts and actions.

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Discovering Life – Shaping Courageous People

2013-10-11 09.41.40Was I alive today?


I especially enjoyed the mild autumn air and the bold-colored leaves on the trees. Simply wonderful.

– What new thing have I discovered about life?

I’m still in shock: muscle tissue turns into fat in less than three weeks. I caught a cold three weeks ago and haven’t been able to move around as much as I normally do in the last few weeks. It especially affected my lower back and bottom. It didn’t want to get better, and I was awake every night (how parents survive this when they have little children, I don’t understand) in pain, so the doctor cautiously ordered an MRI. All-clear. No problems with my spinal discs. Thank God! But the MRI showed something else appalling. In less than three weeks, my body had classified a whole bunch of tightly-wound muscle tissue as “inactive” and therefore “worthless” and broke it down from muscle (which is dark in an MRI) into (light) fat cells that use less energy. In only three weeks! I find this very intense!

– What new thing have I learned about myself?

I can rejoice in the happiness of others – especially when I have somehow contributed to it. Yesterday, I received a letter from a woman whom I first met through seminars and coaching and would now consider a friend. She wrote to me that she had gotten a boyfriend and was now engaged. This does happen. This morning, I remembered a coaching discussion we had a few years ago. It was about her future. She had to give up her absolute dream job because the employer was not able to continue her position.
First, we spoke about her dreams and her wish to shape young people, and then later discussed which possibilities were open to her at that time. Finally, she admitted, “I already have a position. As an administrator for a residence project for older people. I think it’s the right thing; I can gain administrative experience, and

Suggests careful years down will work summer and this reach afternoon:.

the people there really want me.” She continued to tell me all of the benefits of the new position. I became more and more uneasy. It seemed as though she wanted to convince herself and me that it was the right thing.

At some point, I gathered my courage and gave her honest feedback, “Your eyes are saying something different than your mouth. You say that it’s the right thing, but I don’t see any excitement.”
My feedback led to her admittance that she didn’t actually want the position but had just talked it up to herself. She declined the position and dared to become self-employed offering the support for young people that had always been her dream. It was not easy, but she succeeded. In the end, she moved to a place where she found suitable premises and – coaching happy end – also the man with whom she will share her life.
Of course this is a dream-like coaching story. It’s not always so dramatic, but I often experience that I can help people discover what they actually want – not what they should want. And when they dare to follow their dreams, I beam for joy.
And you – were you alive today?

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Discovering Life – Perceiving Deepness

2013-05-04 12.06.52– Was I alive today?


The nicest moment was when my father (a widow) called me and asked, “Kerstin, what do I put in the salad?”
“I did already.”
“Olive oil”
“It’s empty. Can I use sunflower oil?”
“Yes. And then you need salt and pepper.”
“Yes – can I also put in tuna and tomatoes?”
“Yes!” He has not EVER made salad for himself in his entire life. I found it nice to be able to accompany him.

– What new thing did I learn about life?

The things that move us deeply often have to do with deep experiences. Yesterday, I heard a worship song by Don Moen on YouTube. His song “God will make a way” touches me every time I hear it. At a concert, he told the story of the song. He had just found out that his sister and brother-in-law were in an automobile accident. A young man drove into the side of their car. Their youngest son died immediately and the others were seriously injured.

In his confusion, helplessness, and pain, the words of Isaiah 43 came into his mind: “God will make a way, where there seems to be no way…” God will make a way there where there is no way.

The song was born out of deepness. I sensed this every time I heard it… I am thankful now to know its story.

– What new thing did I learn about myself?

How I begin the day shapes the whole day. Yesterday morning (it was a holiday) I messed around, and for the rest of the day, I couldn’t really get into the swing of things. It wasn’t bad, I rummaged around… but it was clear to me: how I begin the day shapes the following hours.

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Discovering Life – Perceiving Needs

IMG_0351– Was I alive today?


– What new thing have I learned about life?

Gifts “lurk” in places where one doesn’t expect them. In a coaching session, I was richly blessed. The coaching theme was “work” and my job was to help him gain some clarity regarding whether and how he can further a specific project. Yet, during the discussion, our topic wandered from work to another plane: “What I really long for I would like to express in the words that I once heard a counselor say: “To help people to stand upright and to develop under God!”

This sentence was/is a gift for me. Because he also expressed my own longing. This is the reason I write books, coach people, build the ship: because I would like to help people to stand upright and develop under God.

And yea: The first person that I would like to help with that is myself.

– What new thing have I learned about myself?

Like before, I’ve been occupied with the theme “needs.” It’s good for me to become clear about what I need. Sometimes I feel sad because some of my needs are not being met very well. Yet, most of the time I find it very helpful. When I know what I need the most, I can ask for it from myself, my God, and people who like me.

My Current Top 6 Needs

– Encouragement: Not generally “You can do it!” but rather specific and concrete: “Look what you have already accomplished… and how far you are… you can also do the next step…”

– Bodily Relaxation: Warmth, massages, reduction of tension for the back.

– Advice: Planning help: How in the world should I do this with the entrance and the machine room? Room layout and the right furnishings.

– Practical Help: Still about 18 hours of painting and cleaning that needs to be done by next weekend so that we can build the windows. Help with procuring things – buying on Ebay, picking things up in Berlin…

– Financial Support: Taking over one or the other items on the ship – whether big or small.

– To be Spoiled: A little indulgence… flowers, massages, body care, candles, good food…a pretty dress ;-) ….

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Discovering Life – Lady Time

2013-10-01 16.11.56– Was I alive today?


On the first day of every month, I always take the whole day to reflect, plan, and pray. This is very important for me as an anchor for my life. I often go to Potsdam and spend time in cafes and in the Sanssouci Park.

This morning, I was exhausted. A root canal, 10 days of bad sleep because of lower back pain, two sick coworkers on the team, which means more work for me, challenges on the ship, some worries about friends… everything had exhausted me to the point that I was pretty emotionally stretched too thin.

Suddenly, as I was praying, I felt like Jesus was saying to me, “Buy yourself something to wear today. That will be good for you.” He definitely understands women! I definitely don’t belong to the category of women who are always buying things. I actually find that stressful. But I love it when I find a piece of clothing that really suits me. Other than clothing that I’ve bought with gift certificates, I haven’t bought myself clothing in a really long time – all of the money that I currently have is going into the ship instead. That’s where it’s really needed.

Today – with the idea from the morning in the back of my head – I discovered a dress in a store along the way that looked like it was created just for me. I went it and tried it on. I was right – exactly mine – as though it was made for me! And affordable. 16 Euros! The only thing that annoyed me was a slit that crossed over the top of the dress. As the vendor explained that it was a nursing dress, I discovered that I was in a second-hand store for maternity and nursing clothing. The slit was there for making the milk-sources quickly available for hungry babies. The vendor had a sewing machine on the table and the right-colored thread already loaded, so I asked her to close the slit (I don’t need it right now), and now I have a perfect dress in which I feel great. This is really good for me. Jesus was right! This is good for me!

2013-10-01 19.49.29

– What new thing did I learn about life?

Design makes people happy and creative. In the store, a woman was working on a lampshade. I admired it, and then she began to talk. “I love this lamp because it has a special history. My grandparents lived in the ex-GDR and my grandmother saw this lamp in a magazine, and she thought it was beautiful. (Which doesn’t mean that anyone would actually be able to find it anywhere in the existing socialistic society). My grandfather and she went one day to look for carpet for their apartment. And the lamp was standing in the entrance to the store. They bought it.

But now they didn’t have enough money for the entire carpet. So they considered which corner of the apartment could do without. And so it came to pass that they had no carpet under the built-in cupboard or under the couches… but they had the lamp!

– What new thing did I learn about myself?

In the last couple of years, I have developed a good sense for the things that do me good. Earlier, I didn’t really think much about it, but it’s something I’ve consciously practiced over the last couple of years. And it doesn’t matter if someone believes that Jesus really spoke directly to me (which I believe, since we are actually friends) or if I just felt the need to do something good for myself – either way, the thought came to me. And it was good for me.

Now, sleep would be good for me. I hope it will be long, without disturbances, and deep.

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