Milandering: meandering through Milan; purposely avoiding the tourist attractions instead wandering through the streets of Milan allowing chance to take its course. Enjoying the experience of self-discovery unencumbered by a fixed plan. Sauntering and revelling in the slow unwinding that wandering brings.
Day Of Rest
Today was our day off from walking. It has become a sacred day for us pilgrims walking from London to Jerusalem. It is a day of rest and recovery. Yet for many of us the opportunity of being less than 50km away from Milan on our sabbath was tempting.
A group of us caught the train from Garlasco and after a change at Pavia and then a metro to Duomo we walked up the subway stairs to the magnificence of the Milan Cathedral.
After making our way through the elegant four storey Galleria Vittorio Emanuel II, an arcade housing luxury cafes and shops we found a cafe to formulate our day.
After a coffee we decided to split into two groups. One that wanted a more structured tourist experience and the other a more ‘loose’ unstructured meander. Being in need of a rest, I opted for the second group. We left the cafe, randomly picked a direction and headed that way.
The Art of Allowing
As we sauntered through the streets it was incredibly freeing to not have an agenda, to allow instinct and chance to lead us forward. I felt my child-like curiosity kick in as my eyes wandered in all directions – left, right, upwards, downwards. Wherever I looked there was something of interest.
That Somethingness In Nothingness
Allowing oneself the luxury of simply ‘being’ can be quite joyous. In my ‘real’ life I rarely knew idleness. Every moment needed to have purpose. Slowing down was OK but doing nothing for nothing’s sake, well that was almost unthinkable!
The act of not filling every moment with activity is in itself important for our health. Spending time idling gives our bodies and minds time for recovery, for rejuvenation. It isn’t being lazy, it is being respectful to one’s self.
There is an important ‘somethingness’ that is achieved from taking a rest from doing. This somethingness fills every cell in our body with renewed energy and vigour. A recharging and new zest for life.
The Zen of Idling
There is an deep sense of peace and tranquility that can be reached through idleness. It allows time for reflection. Time for sore feet and heaviness to be replaced with lightness and peace.
Meandering through the streets of Milan with no real direction, turning down a side street into the Brera district, stopping to marvel at the strange chimera oddities mounted on a wall in a shop window display, venturing into a gelateria and marvelling at the mountains of gelato, stopping to admire the fine fretwork on a gate or the intricate incised patterns on a church wall, peering into fashion stores with minimalist design featuring expensive high-end products, stumbling through an archway and discovering an idealised statue of Napoleon that turned this squat Corsican into an Adonis and then finding out that we had entered the courtyard of the Academy of Fine Arts, which then allowed us to wander halls and rooms displaying artwork of the fine arts students. Just like the sentence above, it became a meandering journey, one filled with enchantment at every turn.
We only wanted to be in Milan for a few hours so we began to make our way back to the train station. Before getting there we sat in a cafe enjoying lunch. Simply milling in Milan. Soaking up the atmosphere. People watching. Getting a feel for the place. Watching as well-dressed Milanese (as one would expect in fashionable Milan) ordered their lunch. Simply sitting, watching, listening, taking it all in.
The Art of Milandering
The temptation to visit the beautiful city of Milan was richly rewarding and taught me that milandering is important. Total rest is great, yet milandering, wandering with no great purpose, leisurely taking in the beauty that surrounds you can create great joy and peace.
Back now in Garlasco and I feel relaxed, so relaxed in fact that I think it is time for an early evening siesta before dinner. Milandering is an art that I hope to take with me when I return back home. No doubt, being very hyper-active this will be a quality that my wife will be grateful for!
Schedule In Milandering In Each Day
Maybe it is time if you don’t already do it to schedule in some milandering time into your day. It may be time that you lose yourself in a book or go for a stroll in the evening. It can be a way to wind down. Ensure that there is an element of discovery in your milandering and that you aren’t doing something with a purpose in mind, otherwise it isn’t milandering.
Milandering is about being idle for no particular reason. It isn’t about going to the gym to lose weight and get fit, it is about slowing down and experiencing the joy of discovery and the tranquility it can bring.
Your Seventh Sense
Milandering will recharge your batteries. You may describe it as a walking, maybe a wandering meditation. Through wandering we invite discovery and wonder.
Our sixth sense is intuition and our seventh sense is wonder.
We hone our seventh sense through milandering.
Wandering Through Ideas
For me writing this blog involves blissful milandering. As I write I meander through thoughts. There are alleyways that pique my curiosity and lead me down. I stop to admire a thought in detail, then continue and one idea, one thought, one sentence leads me onto another.
Writing is my milling. It excites me as through milandering I mill down an idea to its essence and from seemingly nothing it allows me to make connections and weave together a story, a journey.
Time for my siesta before dinner. May you discover and revel in the art of milandering. May you milander and find your peace.