As I traveled alone through Malaga, Spain–the vast majority of my time in solitary hours among the throngs of people–I had a dawning realization: each step was so similar to the “mindful walks” of the spiritual retreat I had gone on last year–silent progress through the labyrinth paying attention to the sights, sounds and smells that surrounded me. As I strolled the Parque de Paseo I was aware of the crunch of gravel in the garden paths beneath my feet.
I lifted my face to the breezes cooling my sweat soaked forehead when I finally reached the top of the Alcazaba. I drank in the snippets of conversation of passing groups of fellow tourists: German, Russian, Dutch and the ears perked up when I chanced upon English. I had somehow managed to pass my elementary years of spiritual awareness and realized I had progressed a level: to finding opportunities for mindfulness in the mundane. No special occasion was now required to refill the waters of the reservoir. Even upon return from Europe, I acknowledged the strength of sitting on my porch with my coffee, of whiling away an hour at a downtown cafe with a glass of wine. My peace was finally self-generating.