Treasures of Iseltwald
Iseltwald offers the wonderful setting for a treasure hunt. Discover forgotten treasures you already carry within you. Exercises motivate you to turn inside, search for ‘dig out’ gifts that have nearly perished in our hectic performance society. Let yourself be drawn to the conscious experience of slowness, gratitude and reflection, thereby discovering what really matters to you in life!
At a few selected, inspiring locations you will find some of the hidden treasures. The end of the treasure hunt has not been defined, there is no fixed sequence and one cannot make any mistakes. If you only manage half of it, and instead enjoy the moment, the goal will have been achieved! You can always come back and continue the search. Found treasures are yours to be taken home with you.
Mindfulness: Fahrnihubel rock
Living in the here and now - we all know that this would be healthy. But how to do it? Mindfulness is a method that helps you to get totally involved in the moment. Consciously perceiving what is happening with all your senses. Allowing all feelings, both positive and negative, to arrive and vanish again. Thoughts are like clouds that come and go by themselves.
It can be helpful to do something that is inefficient, and that might even seem meaningless. This creates peace, creativity and relaxation. Try not to plan or to have any expectations of the result for once. To be fully focused on the current task. Do not ask yourself, “Why am I doing this? Should I do this at all?” Do just this one thing with dedication. There is nothing more important at this very moment.
Mindfulness - an exercise: Take a small object from the forest in your hand and look at it. Collect different things. Sort the items on the ground by colour, shape, beauty or whatever. Make an effort and concentrate! Maybe you have another idea? What would you rather do with the objects? Implement the idea. Don't judge, put the objects back in their surrounding again. Be satisfied with yourself because the process matters, not the result. Enjoy!
Purpose: March, stone quarry, Isch
There is always something urgent to do. Task follows task and there is a risk of getting bogged down. Time goes by so quickly and we always have too little of it. Yet again another week, a month, and a year has passed. Does that sound familiar to you? You want to live instead of being lived? The antidote to this rat race is called reflection. Get out of everyday life and take some distance from worries and stress. You will regain your freedom because you decide for yourself what is important to you.
Purpose - an exercise: Decide on a quarter of an hour reflection. Turn off your cell phone. Ignore distractions. The moment is important, everything else can wait. That too is freedom, this decision. Ask yourself the following questions: Does what I do today correspond with the way I want to live? What kind of person do I want to be? What is the meaning of life to me?
Do these questions make you feel uncomfortable? No problem, nothing can happen to you. Stay focused. Why do I feel this way now? Hold on. Don't let yourself choose the easier way, which is distraction. Return to the questions. Resist the impulse to do something, anything, just to avoid thinking. Difficult? Then this is exactly the right exercise for you. Many people feel this way nowadays; their thoughts jump from one to another. But you always have the choice to incorporate such islands of reflection. The saying also applies here: Practice makes perfect.
Gratitude: Mülibach waterfall
You have probably heard that gratitude can make you happy. When we remember all the good things that happened during the day, we go to sleep with a completely different feeling. And there is always something good! Do you have a bed? Is it warm, dry and soft? Then you have three reasons to be grateful, because you know not everybody has this luxury. In the morning we can practise telling ourselves it is not self-evident to experience another day. Saying thank you - to life, yourself, God or the universe – does not cost anything, but accomplishes amazing things. Try it!
Gratitude - an exercise: Sit down and take a deep breath. Think of something precious in your life. It can be something material or immaterial. Now imagine what your life would be like if this element were missing. Imagine the impact. Fortunately, it is still there. Not so obvious at all, right? How does it make you feel now, knowing that this important part of your life is still there? Take your time to be aware of the feeling of gratitude. Repeat the exercise if necessary.
Acceptance: Schwerzgaden, barbecue area
Things always turn out differently than we think! Have you ever noticed that? We make plans, we have ideas, wishes and expectations. But if life turns out differently, we are disappointed. The flow of life takes you along, but our expectations make us believe it should be different. Only where there was an expectation there can be a disappointment. This frustration can be avoided by becoming aware of our expectations and letting them go.
Acceptance - an exercise: Internally answer the following questions. When have you experienced disappointments in the past that, in retrospect, took a positive turn? Were you able to accept it and become engaged? What if we had no more plans and could accept life as it is?
Stand at the lakeshore and choose an expectation you have of life. Maybe an expectation concerning the weather or your work? Now, symbolically, throw the expectation into Lake Brienz. Say: “It is what it is.” Next, take an expectation you have of another person. And another one. You throw them away too. He is what he is. She is what she is. Now we come to the expectations you have of yourself. Get rid of them! Just declare: "I am who I am." And last but not least you say to yourself: “Things will happen just the way they will, and that’s fine!“ Feel the openness to life. Be full of acceptance and look forward to whatever may come.
In this day and age we can own a lot of material things or buy them when necessary. Most of us have more than enough of everything. We can also do almost anything we want. The choices are enormous and can overwhelm us. Are we really richer with this abundance or does the value of things tend to decrease with quantity? In truth we already know: faster and faster, more and more will hardly satisfy us. Being moderate, humble and moving slower are good alternatives, but we have to get used to them first. If detours are chosen on a hike and the pace is slowed down a bit, the most beautiful discoveries can be made. Time is never lost and every experience, every encounter is valuable! Even in daily life, a proverbial detour will often offer the most beautiful views. Deliberately settling for less can paradoxically be a path to more fulfilment.
Humility - an exercise: When you go back in a minute, consciously walk a little more calmly than usual. You literally move your body more slowly. It is not that easy because we are not used to it. Practice makes perfect, remember? It is worth it, because you will perceive the world and yourself differently. Too easy? Then additionally, take a different route at two or three intersections, than the usual, obvious one. Allow yourself to be tempted by new possibilities. Take your time for the unexpected and surprising. Be humble; focus your attention on the small things, on the "unimportant" things. Modesty in this sense is a gift that you can give yourself.
Servitude: Lakeshore path, connecting path to the hiking trail
Interestingly, people who care for and help others say they are more satisfied or even happier. They are less preoccupied with themselves and as a result their thoughts revolve less around their own problems. To be empathetic, to help, to see how someone is better off afterwards are very fulfilling experiences. No extra reward or pay back is necessary then. Otherwise we are trading, which will get in the way of our own happiness. The social exchange itself is enough of a reward. Anyone who opens their eyes to it will notice the many small signs of helpfulness that come back anyway.
Servitude - an exercise: Make a resolution for today to be aware of every little moment of social interaction. Give a smile where you can and do not expect anything in return. Is there an opportunity to do another person a favour? Do it. You can perhaps give someone the right of way in traffic or let another customer pass at the register or simply waive the right in a discussion. How does that feel? Could this motto be something for you? “When I have the choice between being right and being kind, I choose being kind, because then I'm always right.”