Mindfulness in Munich

By Susanne Taylor

True to Spring in southern Germany, we had a day of warm sunshine and cool shade. Seven street adventurers from all over the Europe (Armenia, Sweden, Italy, Germany and France) gathered under the Bavarian Maypole. We even could have done the event in French, as everyone spoke French – too bad it’s one language I haven’t mastered yet.

The group quickly found connections through the warm-up and then we began wandering the elegant streets of the neighborhood. It was especially fun to hear what others’ recognized or saw that the rest of us just passed by – like 3 different kinds of street lights on 3 different streets. The greatest challenge for many was slowing down. For some it was painful because they had to hold themselves back. For others it became a mindful movement – focusing on balance and going “inside”.

Eventually we split up and went on our individual street quests. One brave and adventurous soul headed out without a mobile phone, determined to ask directions to find the meet up point when it was time. Funny enough, several had a “serendipitous” arrival at the café. Opening their small piece of paper with the name and address only to discover they were next to or across the street from their destination!

Everyone had stories to share while we sat outside in the sunshine and enjoyed something to drink. One of the most surprising was someone who had gone on a street quest to quit smoking. He found himself in a tiny, hidden cemetery – something quite unusual in Munich. He sat down to take a little rest and just be still, when he discovered a grave stone with his family name. Again, not common to find an Italian family name on a grave stone in a German cemetery. For him, this was a very clear answer to his question!

eggs nest by susanne taylor

Luckily, the rest of us didn’t have such a shock. In the end, one participant summed it up like this:

“It’s really just taking a leap of faith. The question keeps coming back slightly different – it’s just words going around in your head. But the answer is consistent. It’s a feeling. I became aware of sound and colors…but ultimately you have to move away from the rational and let yourself go.”

To me, that’s an invitation to be more mindful. Not stuck in our thoughts, but allowing ourselves to be present and guided by what emerges. It’s a muscle we could learn to use more often.

Susanne Taylor