Immer da

I’ve been living in Bonn, Germany for 9 weeks.

My German is functional but far from fluent. As a result my brain is more often than not in some state of confusion.

I’ve found a small trick to cope with the cognitive dissonance.

Immer da.

It means “always here” in German. To me it means much more.

The phrase is a reminder that wherever I am — no matter the degree of confusion I’m experiencing — that’s where I am. There’s no point fleeing because that doesn’t solve anything. The only things that I can control are all right here.

They are always right here.

So, it’s always better to stand up straight, take a deep breath and start conversing or translating or whatever might need to be done to alleviate the confusion.

The metaphor extends upward to another level too. In life we all encounter people, places and obstacles that scare us. If we remain, steadfast in our courage to overcome them, we’re stretched into better versions of the person we used to be.

We’re only able to experience that sensation of personal growth if we are Immer da. Unfortunately our world is mostly populated with people who aren’t Immer da.

That’s okay though, more room for you and me to stretch — and shine.

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