Lily Merklin is a Tellington TTouch Instructor for horses, bodywork therapist, psychologist, author and translator. She is passionate about anatomy and her chosen homeland Switzerland and enjoys running every morning for at least one hour. Lily's lessons are so remarkable not only because of her broad knowledge, but because of her sparkling joviality, no matter if she is handling real horse bones to explain those a-ma-zing connections in our bodies or living horses.
I am not sure whether there is something that makes me happy. I remember wanting to change the world as a child. I wanted, at the very least, to make a difference and I thought that I had to suffer to do so. I finally figured out that I am firstly, not very good at being miserable and secondly, that I was actually much more helpful when I was happy. So I allowed myself to be happy. For this reason, I think that happiness is also a decision. And of course I feel it more when I am in the mountains, or when I go running in the morning than when I do computer stuff, but in everything you can find something that makes you happy.
What does home mean to me...Where I was born, where my parents lived, I somehow knew that this was home. The first time I had the feeling of being home, however, was in Switzerland. I can still clearly remember where and when I first experienced this feeling. I was walking two dogs around a lake. It was late and there was a full moon, suddenly I was filled with the feeling: I'm home.
Not long ago, I moved house and I somehow noticed how much I had felt at home where I had lived before - and I figured out that you also somehow have to create a home to feel at home. A strategy for this might be, to first make ones direct living space comfortable, but also discover ones external surroundings, find out all the things like where do you like to get your food from, beautiful places to be.
What shaped my life...First of all, without doubt, my parents. Or rather, my whole family. I was lucky enough to be loved and looked after by my whole family, parents; grandparents; aunties and uncles. So I had an easy start in life. I probably learned that the world is a friendly place and that people are nice before even being born.
My mother has an imperturbable optimistic character, some of which I have inherited. And my father loves to think. I think that through him I learned to love thought, argumentation and logic.
I have also had many great teachers over the years who have influenced my life substantially. One of the most influential teachers was my Latin and Philosophy teacher in school, Barbara Selz. I always say, the school subject, in which I learned most about life, was Latin. I loved it!
In class, she would ask us questions like: How can you have an influence on other people? And the answers were always like: Write a book, have a child, build a house, plant a tree and start a war. ...Maybe the question even was: What do you have to do in life to be remembered after death? ...I can't remember the exact formulation anymore, but what she was inviting us to understand, is that within every conversation or social interaction we change something. We leave a footprint; An impression. And I really, really liked that idea. And I am still thinking about it a lot, that in any given moment, no matter if I am with a friend, a client, a student, a colleague – no matter what I do, I always change something. I suppose it would be different if I had a different profession.
A second person who had a big impact was Doris Süess. I met her where I did my horse training, and she really helped me to realize my love for teaching. I think this was very important! And I don't know, whether without her I would be a teacher today. Finally, the first therapist (psychologist) with whom I worked really shaped my conception of how therapy can be. And there are many other teachers too, but to name three of them, that would be these...
Coming to Switzerland was probably also very important for me. I didn't really decide to go to Switzerland. When I was younger, I passionately wanted to become a vet. Later I worked with several vets and realized: This is not what I want to do. I then started human medicine. Shortly after starting, I decided this is definitely not what I want to do. After this I went through a period of... disorientation... I didn't know what I wanted to do or become. I was interested in healing arts and wanted to do something with my hands. Doris Süess, at Mascot, offered a physiotherapy training for horses. And that was something I wanted to learn, so I went to her place without really noticing or caring that this was in Switzerland. But very soon I fall in love with this country – I love the mountains, I love the dialect, but there is also something else which I can't explain. I can't explain why I love Switzerland more than I ever loved germany. And why I feel more at home here. So that also changed my life.
But I still want to name another person, and that's Stefan, my partner. Together with him I have learned how easy loving and being loved can be... which is simply wonderful.
John's question: How do you respond to unexpected conflicts/difficult situations?
It depends... strangely enough this is something I've been trying to figure out for a while. I often observe myself in different situations, and I have noticed that I have two juxtaposing responses to conflict. Sometimes I really enjoy an argument; An argument or even a real fight makes me feeling alive and I want to discuss things and challenge my opponent. And sometimes I am really trying to avoid a conflict, I myself get all nervous, I try to calm whoever is angry and make sure that everyone else is happy! And I find myself feeling very uncomfortable and feeling that I need to change the situation and the way he or she feels, so that I kind of forget about myself. And I can't really tell what my response depends on though.
John's second question: And how do you feel about being on the planet earth in the middle of nowhere in the universe?
Wow! I remember that – quite early – I asked myself: Where does the universe ends and what's behind? Or, if it doesn't end: How far does it go? And this questions reminds me of that... When I think about it too hard, I feel really lost; but then I get so lost in my thoughts that I become centered again. I mean, the universe is so infinite, that you have to start somewhere. So why not seeing where we are as the centre of the universe. And then – right place, right time, right being... that's what springs to mind in response to the question. And I like to – that's probably not an answer to this question, but if I were only asked the first part of the question: How do you feel about being on the earth? My answer is: I LIKE IT! And I don't really care whether it's in the middle of the universe or somewhere else...
Lily's question: What do you do to honor the gift of life?