The Summer of Love

Little did I know that our Sunday tour in Munich coincided with an annual event of commemoration of the church, so that in various nieghborhoods, including the one we wandered in, roads were closed in order to accommodate processions of priests, musicians, and people. Though none of us were religious, it left each of us with the message that, even though we live in times of change and upheaval, there is hope that we can grow.

It was a perfect reminder as to why I originally began to do Street Wisdom events in Munich. In a city known as the “safest city in Germany” 5 or more years in a row – a shooting at a large shopping center 2 years ago caused a huge shock and lots of fear. I felt my small part could be to host events that brought strangers together, helped them to slow down and be mindful, and perhaps benefit themselves and each other simultaneously. This lovely group of international women (the men must have had a collective mind meld and didn’t show!) somehow all had similar themes of healing, love, self-care, and expanding to include more joy.

I, of course, always bring my own question to wander around with, and this time I asked the streets, “So, what will this be the-summer-of?” I thought it would be fun to get an idea of how the next few months might evolve and looked forward to what would be revealed. And I wasn’t disappointed.

Every turn was painted with a heart, and I even found the word “lovely” – which is significant when you live in a German speaking country. I saw stickers with hands in the shape of a heart, and art and creativity everywhere. Bells were ringing in the church, birds singing in the trees – am I in a Disney movie?!

When we all gathered at the biergarten – because that’s what one does in Bavaria in the summer – the church procession went right by us singing songs of peace, love and hope. One wanderer said that she even ended up in the procession at some point and received a tiny mustard seed, which the priest said was a metaphor for hope. Mustard seeds are tiny, but they grow into large and helpful plants – which is a lot like hope.

Another wanderer shared how she’d been wondering if it one had to be less self-centered to care about the community a bit more, or if that meant giving up too much of herself. She’d just finished high school in the U.S. and was traveling Europe with her friend (both came and joined us – brave girls!). One of her insights went something like, “Being a student is easy. There’s a route, a path, laid out for you and you just follow it. But becoming a person is hard. Constructing yourself takes effort!”

Now that was some wisdom we could all agree on!

I never know who I am going to meet, or what the result will be from my street quests, but they NEVER disappoint. If you have a chance to experience one or host one and you’re on the fence – jump off and jump in. The world needs more connection and love right now. (And if it helps, just start singing a Beatles song…)

Pre-holiday Quest in Haidhausen


It was the perfect Sunday afternoon in November for a quest. Sunny, crisp air, and lots of curiosity.

In preparation for the up-coming time of pre-holiday hectic we gathered in the lovely neighborhood of Haidhausen in Munich. After sharing our favourite streets and where we got inspiration (lots of people mentioned “the shower!” and “outside in nature”) – we took our first stretch and tune-in while wandering through one of the many Christmas markets being set up all over town.

By the time we all met up again, people were noticing that they either completely ignored other people, being so intent on “seeing” their surroundings, or they were attracted to patterns. This was a perfect step for the next tune-in exercise. Since it was a chilly afternoon, and people looked eager to keep moving, everyone could either choose to slow down or look for patterns. Some people even combined them!

The results of this exercise revealed how hard it can be to slow down, but once you do, what you notice is so different. And the meaning you make from what you see can become very philosophical. Someone later remarked, “It’s just about ‘being’ – becoming more aware. Slowing down forces you to not get distracted.”

Another participant also commented on the pattern of the bare branches. “The pattern of the tree branches made me think about my body, the veins that are like that, and how it’s all connected. I’m connected.”

By the time everyone took off on their own quest the sun was slowly setting. Luckily everyone found the little café, tucked back in a cozy and somewhat hidden corner of Munich that few people discover, unless they stumble upon it (like I did!).

German Alpine Foundation in Munich by Susanne Taylor

What the explorers shared was very rewarding:

“My question had 2 options – and I kept seeing things that re-assured me because it pulled me in a certain direction.”

“Not having a destination helped me to get ride of the noise.”

“Seeing the beauty is so ‘simple’ but how to look at life in general. You already have the answers inside.”

“It’s comforting that you can reach that quiet place in you, wherever you are – even walking.”

“I noticed I used to do this with my dog – and I was really productive when I was in that state-of-mind. I even slept better.”

Group photo by susannetaylor

Ultimately people left looking refreshed, centered, thoughtful. Was it the fresh air? The new personal insights? Meeting some new like-minded souls? Whatever it was, the feeling of appreciation and calm seemed to be carried out the door – on towards the new week ahead.