Therapeutic goals: support in healing your inner child, self-acceptance, processing childhood memories and healing memories, supporting relationships
Recommended age group: 13+, adults
Secondary target group: adults
Form of work: individual, group
Brief content of the work:
Windmills / About happiness (p. 23):
Many years ago
we went to buy happiness
for a crown
to the toy shop on the corner
of the square.
It was a small bag
from which she then spilled out:
sometimes colored slides
sometimes just clay balls.
With great luck, even a ring
or a heart on a chain.
And imagine, I always
experienced great disappointment.
I thought to myself: what can be done
and saved pennies for another.
Today it’s in me every time
something moves when
I remember on glass shards
and clay balls.
The poetry of Daniel Raus (b. 1957) can touch you already because he dedicated the book Windmills to “everyone who discovers that it is also about him.” It is not a phrase. Perhaps you have also noticed the paradox of life, according to which the greatest things are actually very small things and the most precious treasures are often completely free – I present the annotation from the back of the book. The entire book is made up of glass shards of memories of the author’s childhood experiences in the circle of his original uncles and aunts. Most of the poems were written in the early 1980s, during the totalitarian regime, when Raus often ran away from the garrison in the fields of southern Slovakia during his mandatory military service, and thus “the contrast of freedom and the barracks’ enclosure became an inspiration for various reflections and memories”.
Description of the possibilities of professional pedagogical/therapeutic work:
“Happiness for a crown” was once sold to old generations in the villages by traveling tinkers and door-to-door salesmen. It probably had its origin in pilgrimage and fair attractions, where a trained parrot could even draw for you a ring,* or a slip of paper with fortune-telling… in the bag”. The point doesn’t change. It was a small, nice, cheap surprise, a trinket for children. (A far cry from today’s endless collectible series or chocolate eggs from chain stores starting with overpriced collectibles and cards from toy stores and fan clubs ending.)
Regarding Raus’s poem On Happiness, I suggest (whether individually or in a group) during the pedagogical and therapeutic work itself:
- To focus first on our own “cats in the bag” from childhood (just very specific memories: rings, beads, etc.)** What do these memories evoke in us? Have we also experienced disappointment over such a gift, just like the author of the poem Raus? And overall: what do our childhood memories evoke now? Nostalgia? Other feelings? What kind?
Through these questions, we will also get to work on healing our inner child. Because it doesn’t have to be just “wounded”, even a person growing up in a relatively problem-free family can have problems, e.g. with self-acceptance. (There are even many such people!) Our abandoned and neglected inner child calls for help – the author Ladislav Dvořák states from the literature used (p. 29). We feel parched and sore inside. We do not know how to deal with our fear, uncertainty, sadness and dissatisfaction, and we are hungry for pleasant feelings. We do not realize that the feelings we experience are those of the inner child who longs for love and acceptance (p. 29). And the solution is relatively simple – pay attention to the inner child: attention, acceptance and fulfillment of its desires and needs, Dvořák specifies (p. 19, 22). We learned this same conditional acceptance from our parents and we teach it to our children and it causes us problems all our lives (p. 20).
- Focus on: What would please us today in such a small gift of unknown content? (I guess everyone likes surprises…) What would we like to find there? From whom would we like to receive such a trifle?
- And at the end focus on: Who would we like to please and gift with such a small thing? What would you put in there? (Participants in the group can also talk about very specific little things with personal meaning. Painted pebbles from children, etc. It doesn’t have to be general.) If you consider it appropriate for your clients, at the very end you can include the question of what they would prepare for a small gift to someone they can no longer meet in person…
- And in general: What does happiness mean to us? As suggested by Dvořák (p. 26): Try to remember at least three situations in which you felt really happy.
*I know, when I was little, my mother used to sing me the Polish song Złoty pierścionek at bedtime, which ended: “I would give 100 others for that child’s copper ring.” What I would give today for that song from my mother at night before bed. …
**When I was a child, I lived about 200 meters from a toy store. I was never disappointed by the contents of the “cat in the bag”, whether it was for 1 CZK or the rings were lost, I still have the beaded animal on the wires today. Compared to Raus, I had an advantage: I didn’t have to save for “cats in the bag”. Sometimes my grandfather bought them for me. It stroked my soul when, while preparing this text, I found a note from my grandfather in an older edition of Windmills. At least I know you read my favorite book. (Shortly before he left.)
Description of experience from own work with a literary work:
It can be said that Raus’s unrhymed poems have affected me the most (so far) from poetry in my life. Moreover, it happened at the right time of adolescent personality formation… In fact, the book also wrote about me… I liked it so much that I bought maybe a dozen copies of it and gave them away for years to people I really cared about. It cost me a few crowns at the time, but I wanted to please them with it. The book cost – from today’s point of view – a ridiculous 1 euro. And so, unknowingly, I was actually giving out “happiness for a crown” to my friends and loved ones, that is, actually “happiness for 1 euro”, although it was not packed in a box or a bag, but as an ordinary little book in paper… When I was preparing to write a reference of this literary work, I was very pleased that Raus’s Windmills was published in a new edition, which is still available in book form and on CD. And I still have something to look forward to: compared to the original paperback edition, the current hardback book is more extensive with half of the poems from the authentic period of their creation. Maybe they will please you too, so maybe start…
Raus, D. 2018. Větrné mlýny [Windmills.] 2nd ed. Bratislava: Porta libri družstvo, 2018. 185 p. ISBN: 978-80-8156-128-3 (Book and CD.)
Raus, D. 1992. Větrné mlýny [Windmills.] 1st ed. Bratislava: D3, Edition Kontext, 1992. Unpaged, no ISBN
Dvořák, L. 2004. Embrace your inner child. 1st ed. Prague: Portal, 2004. 192 p. ISBN: 80-7178-880-5.
Rena Rolska: “Złoty pierścionek”, music: Jerzy Wasowski, text: Roman Sadowski: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mrG7E_XVIMk (cited 28/02/2023)
It didn’t pass language editing!
The recommended work card was created by:
Mgr. Iva Paštrnáková Dejová, PhD. et PhD.,Workplace: previously university teacher (PdF UK and VŠVU), currently on parental leave (Slovakia), Last update: Bratislava, February 28, 2023
The recommendation from Slovak to English translated by: Mária Trechová, Workplace: PRO SKIZP – Association for support of Slovak Chamber of Physicists, Laboratory Diagnosticians, Language Speech Therapists and Therapeutic Educators, c. a. Bratislava, Slovakia
Recommended citation procedure:
Paštrnáková Dejová, Iva. 2023. Professional reference of the literary work Daniel Raus Windmills / About happiness. In Kotrbová, K. et al: Biblioterapia.sk. Bratislava: PRO SKIZP – Association to support the development of the Slovak Chamber of Clinical Physics, Laboratory Diagnosticians, Language Speech Therapists and Therapeutic Pedagogues, 2023. ISBN 978-80-974667-0-1 Available on: https://www.biblioterapia.sk/en/publikacia/prefessional-reference-of-a-literary-work-windmills-about-happiness/
The contribution was created thanks to support from the European Union Erasmus+ program, Key action 2 – Cooperation between organizations and institutions, KA210 – Small partnerships for cooperation in the field of education and training. Project name “Prototype of online teaching aid for bibliotherapy”, project number 2022-1-SK01-KA210-VET-000082483. It represents the opinion of the author and the European Commission is not responsible for any use of the information contained therein.