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our journey

As we, Maria-Lucrezia and Frank began to work on the concept for this retreat, we both thought of that quote from the Sufi mystic Rumi:

"Yesterday I was clever, so I wanted to change the world. Today I am wise, so I am changing myself."

That was exactly our experience: we wanted to achieve change "in the outer world" - until we understood that real change can only be achieved within ourselves and in our relationship to “what is there” - reality.

And so, we continued to poetise Rumi's lines:

Yesterday I thought I had a problem. - Today I realize I face a challenge.

Yesterday I made mistakes. - Today I get new opportunities to learn.

Yesterday I wanted to be perfect. - Today I wish to be complete and authentic.
 

Yesterday I was stressed about doing all the ordinary things. - Today I see in them the space in which I can discover the extraordinary.

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You have already discovered that the joint project #BeyondRecipes is particularly close to our hearts:
How did it all start?

I, Frank, found Maria Lucrezia on a meditation app. We had both been familiar with meditative practice for some time...and something magically drew me to Maria Lucrezia's photo - the universe had decided and made me find the woman of my life. There were so many parallels - and so many mutual complementarities. I, Maria Lucrezia, was surprised to find so many similarities and the ability to understand each other so well and easily, despite the difficulty of not speaking the same mother tongue, with someone so far from "my world". The "common language" for me was the inner work we had both done up to that point. Now I realize that it is this deep looking and listening inside that really allowed me to open up to this wonderful and so unexpected adventure that I feel the relationship with Frank is. Since we met, we have not only started meditating together and explored new practices; we have also shared a lot about our respective experiences: We feel how our yin and yang aspects complement each other fertilely.... I, Maria Lucrezia, bring things into the body and onto the earth. I, Frank, bring things onto the point. I, Maria Lucrezia, bring clarity with emotions. I, Frank, bring clarity with words. I, Maria Lucrezia, love the formless beginning of every making - creation. I feel at home in the darkness of the depths. I, Frank, love the precision of formulation. I feel at home in the light of the heights.

But let's go back even further...


I, Maria-Lucrezia, was born in Apulia and spent 20 years of my life in northern Italy, in Bologna, where I studied and worked in the world of contemporary art.

 

In my early thirties, a deep personal crisis led me to completely turn my life upside down and move to Berlin.

I rented a flat for three months, and that was the only plan I had at the time.

 

At that time I knew no German and hardly any English, but for the first time I listened to my inner voice telling me to change my life and move to a foreign country.

 

For the first time I had found the courage to trust my intuition, which follows the laws of the heart and is so often unintelligible to the mind. And I began to no longer fixate on the future, but to concentrate as best I could on the small challenges of the present.

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once upon a time in italy...

Since then, my life has been filled with constant change, growth and many wonderful surprises.

In 2015 I started the Pastamadre project, a small seed that became a successful business. Over the years, the many positive developments have alternated with constant efforts and challenges.

 

One morning at the beginning of 2019, I accidentally discovered something suspicious about my body's health that needed urgent analysis. That day began a "period of medical examinations and waiting" that brought me to the brink of collapse. In search of help, I followed the advice of a good friend and started daily meditation: I have not stopped this practice since that time.

In meditation I found a powerful tool to train my ability to be present to what is going on inside of me moment by moment.

Thanks to these patient and loving practices, I am learning that life is neither in the past nor in the future, but only in the present, HERE and NOW.
Day by day I learn to deal with what is at the very moment. I am learning to look inside myself with increasing awareness, to bring my dark side to light and to remain true to my inner truth.
Today I no longer believe the thought that I should become perfect. I have replaced it with the wish: to be whole and authentic.

 

Through mindfulness practices, I recognize how I relate first to myself and then to the world outside of me with increasing calm, understanding, kindness and compassion. And day by day I experience anew that challenges and difficulties are what life offers us as an opportunity to go beyond our comfort zone and grow.

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In 2020, what we all know as the Corona Pandemic has begun. A long period of isolation during which I was not allowed to run the classes at Pastamadre Cooking School. A time of waiting that I turned into another opportunity to deepen various meditative practices.

 

Now I am following my intuition and the voice of the heart again and trust that the time is ready to share these profound and transformative experiences with all of you.

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once upon a time in germany...

I, Frank, am an original-born Berliner - and a "wanderer between the worlds". I have made it my mission to make differences fruitful for each other.

Cooking and baking attracted me at an early age - I baked my first sponge cake roll when I was 16. I had no idea what I was getting myself into! I still approach my whole life that way today: I take recipes as inspiration, not as a prescription. I love new recipes - and deviating from them...not only in cooking and baking.

As a trained electrician, trade union secretary, management consultant and employee in the kubus science shop at the TU Berlin, I am "at home in many worlds". For over 30 years I have been designing and conducting seminars and workshops on sustainable development, self-awareness and communication skills. Often I did not make a difference between work and private life, loved my work ...and lost myself in it.

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I suffered the first big blow of my life in my mid-30s: overnight my left vestibular organ had failed, I had worked night over  night - the world went on a “merry-go-round” around me. For the first few days in hospital, I was dependent on a wheelchair. I spontaneously realised "my life was out of balance and I needed a new balance". It was probably something like "the last call" at the airport before the plane leaves without you.

Since then, the little spinning dizzy in my head has become my "safety advisor", popping up when I overdo myself again and telling me, "Frank, it's too much now, you need to downshift!"

In the course of my life, I have discovered intense moments of silence as a great treasure for me. I began to explore meditation and tantra intensively.

Without this meditation practice, I probably would not have been able to cope with the next stroke of fate in my life the way I did: in 2017, one of my sons began to go through a deep crisis - and bottomless panic surfaced in me!

 

Without my previous experiences, I probably wouldn't have realized what a great teacher my son was to me at that moment. And I would not have been able to be the father to him that he desperately needed at that moment.

Today, my morning meditation in silence has become a regular part of my daily routine. At some point I realized that making jam, baking bread - preparing food in general - relaxes me when I'm too much in my head again, when the days get too "dense". That was the step towards my "meditating without a meditation cushion": processing seasonal fruit and vegetables, for me that also means consciously experiencing the course of the seasons. This awareness is the essence of meditation for me.

In 2021, I followed the universe and I met Maria Lucrezia. In her I found the woman of my life. Many things are falling into place as if they were always meant to be. 

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What attracts me to #BeyondRecipes is the combination of a meditative attitude, healthy food and sustainable life practice. The last one also exists for me in the Repair Café I founded.

"Love is the answer - Now"

Maria-Lucrezia & Frank

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