15 May Moin Moin
It was the Saturday morning of our annual fall weekend courses in Hamburg, Germany and we were experiencing a bit of “schmuddle weather.” Properly spelled in German that is “schmuddelwetter” which means drizzly and chilly with enough moisture in the air to make you feel like searching out a big log fire, a cup of cocoa and settling down with a good book on a cozy couch. Yet here Ariel and I were with 90 participants investigating the theme of a life full of joy where every moment counts.
The seminar was taking place in a beautiful room, a dojo with high ceilings and shoji screens all in white and we were sitting up front on a raised platform with Stefanie, who had volunteered to translate what we all were saying into German so that everyone could hear it in a language that they understood. There were folks from as far away as Hong Kong and as the morning got underway, Holly from New York stood up to talk about the adventures she and her husband Eric had on their honeymoon as they traveled through Germany and Switzerland and visited with friends, culminating at this weekend seminar.
Holly is a gracious woman in her mid 50s, with auburn hair that gently curves to touch her neck just below the chin. She has a ready smile and smile she did as she described her most recent adventures in the Hamburg underground. She had asked someone to help her with the ticket machine so that she and Eric could pay to take the train to the Alster, a lake in the middle of the city.
“I approached a man who came into the station to ask if he knew how the machine worked.” She said. “I said Moin Moin, because even though I didn’t know how to buy my ticket at least I knew how to say Moin Moin.”
“What’s Moin Moin?” I asked.
“We have never heard of it.” Ariel said.
Folks chuckled as Holly explained it was a German term that means good morning. Someone spoke up and said you can say Moin Moin all day long in greeting, too, as it’s also used to simply say, “hello.”
“Really? We’ve never heard of it.” I said again and Ariel concurred.
“Oh yes!” Someone said.
“This term is very common.” Another concluded.
We have been traveling to Germany for more than 20 years to lead seminars and although we don’t speak the German language, by this time we can understand quite a bit. We have picked up words and phrases that have tickled our fancy, particularly words that sound interesting to the ear such as “genau” (sounds like g’now) – which means “exactly.” But this was the first time we’d heard Moin Moin and I could clearly see from the smiles and bobbing of heads in front of me that this term was well known.
Smiling, Holly went on to talk about her trip, how she got help buying her ticket and how being willing to speak up and ask a question of a stranger had allowed getting from point A to point B to be just as rewarding as arriving at the destination itself.
The morning progressed and soon it was time for a tea and bathroom break. Ariel and I donned our jackets and stepped outside to walk to Big Dito, the coffee shop around the corner. Although the rain had stopped, the sidewalk between the dojo and Big Dito was not paved, so we carefully stepped over and around the puddles, pausing to let a man who was walking his dog go by.
“Moin Moin!” He said in passing.
“Moin Moin!” We replied in unison as Ariel and I looked at each other in disbelief.
“I wonder how many times someone has greeted us with Moin Moin but we didn’t recognize it since we didn’t know the word? Surely this can’t be the first time!” Ariel said.
“This is just like transformation and the well being that exists when you are living in the moment.” I replied. “It’s there all along but you don’t recognize it a moment before you do.”
Later that day, we saw a billboard that said “Moin,” standing big and tall, something we had passed before but not knowing the word it had been in the background, unread and unrecognized. Suddenly Moin Moin was everywhere – even at the studios where we lead our Hamburg evening seminars, there it was again, in large metal letters, cheerfully greeting us at the entrance.
Moin Moin was there all along, we just didn’t have the ears or eyes to hear it or see it – until we did. So it is with Transformation. When you access the moment, new possibilities instantaneously appear that have been hidden from you before and suddenly a whole new world opens. Moin Moin!