April Club Meeting in Review: Jamie Mueller and Mindfulness

sunset_through_winter_tree_branches-190x190 Photos Public DomainMany of our members say they are too busy, stressed out and need a way to become more balanced.  We had the pleasure of hearing an insightful presentation from member, Jamie Mueller, “Busy and Balanced through Mindfulness,” at our April evening club meeting.  After her presentation, members were invited to stay for a meditation exercise.

What is Mindfulness?  One definition presented by Jamie is, “Mindfulness means paying attention in a particular way:  on purpose, in the present moment, and non-judgmentally.”

From Jon Kabat-Zinn: “The self- regulation of attention. Awareness. ‘Just’ Awareness.”

For those of you who were unable to attend, Jamie has provided us with a copy of her presentation and an abundance of resources , including the following:

The Breathing Meditation we did as a group (2nd one on the list)

Wisdom 2.0 Conference

Book recommendation for those thinking about starting a mindfulness practice:
Mindfulness for Beginners: Reclaiming the Present Moment–and Your Life 

From Mindful Magazine and their website: For each of these thorny workplace problems, try the recommended practice, enjoy the benefit—and keep this chart handy.

Jamie will also be hosting a read-along of the book Mindfulness: An 8-week Plan for Finding Peace in a Frantic World starting on April 29th on her blog, Culture Bumps. Sign-up at the blog and you will receive the week-by-week discussions and exercises.

Lisa Cvejn
IWCS Communication Chairperson

March Club Meeting in Review: The Poetry of Netty Abraminko

Dove free image 123rf.com 11972562_sThose of you who weren’t at last month’s club meeting missed out on a delightful two hours with our speaker, Netty Abraminko.

Netty is a British citizen living in Germany who recently found herself writing poetry and recording it with music onto an audio CD. During our club meeting, Netty played several pieces from that recording and explained how this unusual process came to be.

A friend of Netty’s had asked her to be the English voice of some German meditation poems on a CD recording. Samples of some of this work can be found on NewEraMeditation’s You Tube page.

After hearing how powerful poems could be when set to a musical background, Netty started writing poems of her own. She self-published a book of those poems, calledWords On Wings” and then recorded selected poems with music written by two of her friends.

Many of her poems are dedicated to specific friends or family members. Netty gives her poems to those people as gifts and then asks permission to use their poems on her CD. One of her poems was written about a cleaning woman she saw frequently at a supermarket back home in the UK and the woman was thrilled when Netty presented it to her.

Netty reports that her soothing voice and the accompanying music works well to calm both pets and children and those who have bought her CD very often use it for a grounding meditation session daily. Those of us in attendance left the meeting refreshed, focused and eager to hear more about mediation (don’t miss our April club meeting on this very topic). Thank you Netty, for sharing your special words and your interesting stories with us this month!

Anyone interested in purchasing a copy of either her book or CD should contact Netty directly via email.

The Globalisation of Love

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Author Wendy Williams

by Lisa Cvejn, IWCS Communications Chairperson

We were honored to have author Wendy Williams give a book reading at our January Monthly Meeting.  Wendy Williams is the author of The Globalisation of Love.  She is Canadian and lives in Vienna with her Austrian husband and Austro-Canadian daughter.  She has lived in six different countries and worked internationally for 18 years.  She stated that she has had lots of multicultural relationships, but jokingly wouldn’t go into any details.  Wendy’s book’s back cover copy reads, “One of the most profound influences of globalisation is that people from everywhere are falling in love with people from everywhere else.  The Globalisation of Love is about the whirls and twirls, the quirks and perks, the frustrations and the fun of a multicultural marriage.

Wendy has painstakingly interviewed many couples and individuals from all around the world to try to uncover what a multicultural relationship really is.  The book is full of interesting and funny anecdotes from her own life experiences and these willing participants.  Wendy uses the term “GloLo” throughout her book to paraphrase globalization of love, meaning a multicultural relationship.

Members sat in an intimate setting to discuss individual concerns and share funny stories.  Wendy was an excellent speaker and has a wonderful sense of humor (Which I think is a must for all “GloLos!”)  She read anecdotes from her book and shared personal stories from her own life experiences.  It was inspiring to have Wendy join our meeting to help us “GloLos” understand that our choice was not just by chance, but there is something about us that brought us and our partners together.  Intrigued?  Read the book.

I have read the first three chapters and I can conclude for myself that I feel less alone.  I can now find more humor in my own mistakes and frustrations.  I can again remember why I fell in love.  Wendy is hesitant to make a one paragraph conclusion for such a profound issue, but her book illustrates that those of us lucky enough to get to have this experience will also have to deal with at least ten additional cultural issues.  After all, if you can get through all that, isn’t this love worth fighting for?

If you missed Wendy’s visit, be sure to visit her website for more information.

IWCS December 2012 Club Meeting and International Brunch

Copyright (c) <a href='http://www.123rf.com'>123RF Stock Photos</a>Wednesday, December 5, 2012 at 10:00
Location: Cafe Merlin,  Augustenstrasse 72, 70178 Stuttgart-West
Prospective members welcome!

Every year at our December club meeting, we host a morning of food and love.

Participants are asked  to bring a dish to share from their home country  for our International Brunch buffet table and members will have the opportunity to bring a gift chosen from a giving tree for the children at the Frauenhaus.

Here is some information about the giving tree program which includes a way to contact the coordinator, Tracey Stevenson if you would like to participate:
Giving Tree Program for Children of the Frauenhaus.
You do not need to participate in the giving tree program to attend the monthly meeting.

There will be a babysitter available for those of you with toddlers at no extra charge.

For more information about our morning club meetings, please see this blog post.

If you have any questions about the meeting or the brunch, please contact Emily using the form below or via the Facebook Event page.

October Club Meeting in Review – SPECIAL MEMBER DISCOUNT

by Debbie Strauss

“Poise rather than posture” was the essence of Heidi Winderl-Schanz’s explanation of the Alexander Technique at our club meeting last month.

We were a large group interested to find out more about a subject many of us had never heard of. Heidi has spent many years in Australia becoming a qualified instructor of the Alexander Technique, a form of movement therapy that originated in that country.

She outlined for us the various applications of this method, including neck strain that can occur with PC use; other kinds of physical pain; confidence in public speaking; improving your singing voice; and awareness of movements that affect physical well-being.

With the help of two brave volunteers, Heidi demonstrated how the way you lie on your back on the floor or get up from a chair can easily be improved with slight adjustments such as placing books under your head or by observation to counteract movement that has become habitual but is detrimental to posture. She emphasised that correcting harmful posture habits and releasing tension has a positive effect on the mind making you move and perform better and is also a way to prevent injury.

Starting November 13th, Heidi is offering IWC members a discount on her evening course titled “Alexander Technique Meets Pilates in Movement.” It will meet for 10 sessions at a non-member cost of 220 euros and a member cost of 198 euros.

If you are interested learning more about the Alexander Technique or registering for her discounted class or other courses, please visit her website page “How the Alexander Technique Can Support You” or contact her directly using the form below.

June Club Meeting in Review – Bilingual Gymnasiums in Stuttgart

Janina Seltzer

At our June club meeting we had a lively discussion about the bilingual Gymnasium system in Stuttgart. We were joined for the morning by Janina Seltzer, a recent graduate of Königin Olga Stift (KOST) in Stuttgart-West.

In a normal Gymnasium, all subjects are taught in German. Janina explained to us how at her school, certain subjects are taught exclusively in English, including geography, biology, and history. In addition, students are required to attend extra hours in the subject of English itself from the fifth class onwards.

In addition to the class work, English support is given in the form of short exchange programs to English-speaking countries in the younger classes and a month-long trip to the US in the 11th class. Her school also has an debating society where the students can learn a lot of extra vocabulary and sharpen their quick thinking and argument formation skills in English.

Janina also took advantage of the year abroad program in the 10th class by spending a year in Australia that not only helped bring her English language skills up to a very high level, but exposed her to a very different kind of high school experience than the standard German model. (Note: one does not have to attend a bilingual school to participate in the year abroad program.)

Probably the biggest surprise to those of us with bilingual children was that the bilingual Gymnasium program is not intended to support children who already know another language. Janina had only monolingual German students in her classes with the exception of exchange students. The program is directed at highly-motivated students, not bilingual students. As Janina explained, success in her school didn’t come from knowing English well, but rather from being a good student in general.

We thank Janina for her excellent presentation and wish her well at Cambridge University in the fall!

IWCS Evening Club Meetings

Because of of the great diversity in our membership, we routinely schedule some of our monthly club meetings in the morning and some in the evening. If you will be attending one of our evening meetings, here is all you need to know:

Location:
The meeting will take place at the offices of KPMG Auditing in downtown Stuttgart. We owe a huge debt of gratitude to membership coordinator Billie Schoeler for arranging the use of KPMG’s beautiful meeting facilities.

For security reasons, we have been asked to provide an advance list of attendees to KPMG and we will be checked in as we arrive. Please send your name for the list no later than the day before the event.

Time and agenda
The meeting will start at 20:00. After we’ve had a chance to greet each other and grab something to drink, our speaker for the evening will being his/her presentation between 20:15 and 20:30 and speak for 45 minutes to an hour.

We have the room until 22:00 and can use the time after the speaker finishes to socialize and network.

Dinner beforehand:
Those of you coming directly from work or anyone else needing a bite to eat before the meeting are welcome to join us from 18:00 onwards at the monthly Happy Hour focus group for an early dinner. Because of this special event, Happy Hour will be open to all who are attending the meeting. Please see your monthly newsletter for more details.

Refreshments:
Water, coffee and juice will be available for us to enjoy at no charge.

Children:
Due to the late hour, there will be no babysitter for young children, so please leave them at home. New mothers are welcome to bring infants along in strollers.

Prospective members:
Those interested in learning more about our club are welcome to attend this meeting to meet some of our members. You are welcome to join us for up to two meetings as a non-member to see if we are right for you.

Registration forms will be available to those of you wishing to join that evening. Please RSVP in advance to get your name on the security list.

If you have any questions about the evening club meeting, please do not hesitate to contact Emily Born using the contact form below. See you there!