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Dieser Inhalt ist einzig in Englisch verfügbar.

I am early at a restaurant where I have placed a reservation for two. While I wait for my friend to arrive the waiter asks me if I will be dining on my own and if he can take my order. I tell him that someone will join me soon.

It makes me grin: in my native language Urdu we’d typically say something like “the friend is arriving now”, whereas the term ‘now’ is used in a generously stretched way. Small wonder when we use one word for both yesterday and tomorrow: kal. For ‘the day before yesterday’ and ‘the day after tomorrow’ we use one word only: parson.

As I wait and sip my drink, I hear George Michael from the sound system reminding himself that he’s gotta have faith. And I laugh at the thought that growing up in Switzerland has swissified me so much that I have made punctuality my religion.

A waitress arrives and asks me if I am waiting for someone or else ready to order? I repeat myself which she, of course, doesn’t know. She leaves with a smile that shows on her lips only, but not on the rest of her face. I can’t decipher it. Does she feel rejected and dejected? Did I embarrass her, disappoint? Of course, I hope for good customer service.

Meanwhile, at the table on the opposite side two young women are exchanging news about their recent close encounters with men. One of the women is wearing  the aspiring manager‘s two-piece business suit and seems to have a crush on a guy called Robin: „Gosh, why can’t he just call? Or at least send a text! I mean…”, to which the other woman nods vividly and raises a hand as if to say: “I know exactly what you mean!”

My friend arrives. We have known each other for many, many years so our conversation begins almost before he has had the time to settle in his chair. Before long we are in the middle of talking about things like mindfulness, slowing down and - hold your breath - positive neuroplasticity. My friend never seizes to surprise me with fresh inspiration for my ever-thirsty mind.

In short: programmed to survive, the human brain learned quickly from bad experience, such as being attacked by a bear, lion or Komodo dragon. We learn from good experience as well, but that happens slowly. Positive neuroplasticity posits that our brain can be retrained to learn quicker and better from positive experience. Like this, happiness, love, confidence, and peace are given more space in our everyday life.

We finish our dinner and walk to Moods to listen to the Youn Sun Nah quartet. At the end of their magnificent concert (that, just by the way, included a great cover version of Tom Waits’ song Jockey Full of Bourbon) the Korean singer and her virtuosic band play a song that perfectly befits this evening. It is called: It’s OK.

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