Nibbles of Mindfulness

On my way to the bus stop yesterday I had the ultimate pleasure of enjoying the first frosty morning of the spring equinox. In India I would have been celebrating Holi, the festival of colours that I absolutely adore, not just for the fun, but for very personal reasons. You see, 21 years ago on Holi I lay in the hospital in the midst of excruciating contractions. The surgeons (it was a caesarian birth) decided to have a little fun in the operating theatre, since partying outdoors with the rest of the world was out of the question, they did what they could and painted my belly in yellows and pinks (the disinfectants). My pet geese at the time (Bill and Hillary) were immaculately white for 360 days a year. On Holi they got sprayed with colours by all and sundry and I ended up with pink or blue geese for the next five days!

Holi Geese – Hillary (L) & Bill (R) ©MTHerzog

I haven’t had the privilege and honour of celebrating Holi the Indian way since 2014, and I truly miss it. Sure, there are Holi festivals all over the world, including Berlin, but celebrating outside of India just isn’t the same. The closest wacky festival to Holi I experienced was Songkran in Thailand, which is almost the same but without the colours. Either way, you need old clothes that you are perfectly willing to part with afterwards!

Morning Mindfulness ©MTHerzog

So it was quite a contrast to wake up this year in Berlin to the spring equinox amidst the silence of the river in front of my home, and almost tiptoe through the path I so cherish. The water buffaloes are not out in the fields yet, nor are the rams, but I had endless birds to keep me company, and a host of happy dogs eager to dig and chase.

Part of my therapy is to do mindfulness exercises, either sight or sound, sometimes, wherever possible, smells, but I don’t really enjoy that one because I end up nauseous afterwards (e.g. deodorants that have let their wearer down, jackets that have never been washed, socks that are volunteering to walk to the laundry basket on their own, half a bottle of cologne on one person instead of just a few drops, and the worst, any kind of food in public transportation – Döner and fries are the absolute nightmare, followed by any time of burger). So the meditative and mindful walk is something I look forward to every day, always eager to see what shadows the sun will cast through the trees and on the pond, or what cloud formations will welcome me. Yesterday, however, it was frost on the grass and the leaves. I was grateful and at peace.

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