ana muenzner

Welcome! Quando o tema é a vida, o trabalho, o humano… ——– Bem-vinda(o)! When it is about life, work and humanity…

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Syncronicity – Event 2: What a meaningful coincidence! This is the piece of information I was looking for!

Continuing with what happened before I met Kitty and the others who I mentioned in my last post: I went to town to certify a document from the university that I would need for a certain bureaucratic process. I thought I had brought from Germany all documents I would need here in Brazil but, specifically that one, I forgot. I called Steffen, my husband, who was by that time still in Germany, to ask him to scan it and send to me via email, what he immediately did. When I wanted to print it, I opened my email box to find the document and found myself suddenly talking on the phone while deleting a row of emails using “shift-del” and… oh no! Too late… In the same row I clicked unintended in the email with the document I most needed in that morning. It was irrevocably deleted. (This is the opposite of presence! – See previous post about presence and synchronicity). I called Steffen but he was not at home anymore and therefore unable to send the document to me again before noon. I went ahead with my plans for the day. Maybe I could go on with the process and hand over only that missing document later. But nothing turned out the way I wanted. At least nothing related to that bureaucratic process.

When things do not work out as I expect, I have a tendency to be upset. But this was not the case in that day.

As I was forced to change my plans for the day, I had more time until the meeting with Kitty and the others, and decided to look for a restaurant that would be new for me to try. I took my mobile phone and typed “vegetarian Curitiba”. Mobile internet is something that still impresses me. I am looking forward to the time my children will ask me “How was life possible before internet?” I found a list of restaurants nearby and decided to have a look at the “Super Vegetariano” which was just some blocks away. Something was strange about that place and I did not stay. I looked for another one. I decided to pick the next one on the list which was almost exactly where I was standing when I decided to go to the first restaurant. If I just had looked around more carefully, I would have noticed that I was already standing in front of the restaurant I was looking for! I went back there and the place convinced me immediately. What is this invisible manifestation of a place that makes it inviting or uninviting? What made me feel better in one place and not in the other? In the ladies room I suddenly met Celia, a good friend of my mom, who was there having lunch with her two daughters. We meet “by chance” looking at the mirror in the ladies room. We looked surprised at each other and she asked: “Ana? Are you already living in Curitiba? – Please come and meet my daughters.” We started chatting and eventually had lunch together. In that fantastic one hour we spent together I felt like being in a conversation that was planned for me to be in. The girls, hopefully new friends I have gained now, provided me with some pieces of information that I really needed and did not know where to find yet. That was exactly what I was looking for. What a meaningful coincidence! Is this how synchronicity plays out? I learned later that it was a very rare event to meet the mother and the two daughters together, since one of them lives in São Paulo and was just visiting her mom and the other one is usually very busy.

If things had worked out as I had planned, I would probably not have met Celia and had that incredible lunch time together with her daughters! Lesson learnt: If things have not worked out as you planned, there might be better plans for you!


Não sou vegetariana, mas recomendo um prato vegetariano!

Syncronicity – Event 1: Meeting old and new friends

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It has been a while since I started observing a series of “magical” events coming together in an almost unbelievable way. A series of events I could not predict, neither control, happened as if I was being guided along my path. Some things went beyond the probability of chance for that to happen. I am extremely intrigued by them and thought it would be worth writing and sharing them on this platform. I invite you to take this journey with me in the attempt to search for answers about how they occurred.

I will start going back to 2005 when I did my master studies in Karlsruhe, a beautiful university town in the South of Germany. A friend of mine introduced me to Rainer, a consultant who works with environmental questions, communication and social marketing[1]. I went to a presentation of his work in a Brazilian-German cooperation program. He greeted me shortly in Portuguese and we had a small talk just before the presentation started. The presentation was in German and I was very impressed by his fluent German. At the end I asked him “Where did you learn to speak German so well?” It turned out that he was German and only a Brazil-lover, but it was actually Portuguese that he learned so well. I never met Rainer again until today, 8 years later – “by chance”.

The way I met him was remarkable. I am back to Brazil. It is been almost 9 years living abroad. A friend of mine from Germany, Jule, came to visit Brazil. It had been only one week since my return and I was happy that she somehow found out that I was living here again. We met quickly in Curitiba and she introduced me to a friend of her, Christoph, who contributes passionately to a nature project which reintroduces extinct bird species in a wonderful stretch of the Mata Atlântica in Guaratuba, close to Curitiba. I did not know Christoph but we immediately found many things in common, including…. Rainer. He suggested introducing me to Rainer, who lives in Curitiba. What a magic surprise! “Do you know him too? Is he in Curitiba?”

Today was the second time I was introduced to Rainer. And his German is still great!

In our conversation we started talking about things we do personally and professionally and discovered suddenly that we work in fields that are totally different in content but are attuned with one another. I believe that we have a lot to contribute to each other. But I guess what really connected us was the sense of being engaged in something that is deeply meaningful to each one of us. I came out of that conversation very energized and was wondering about the difference between coincidence (this is a random series of events) and synchronicity (nothing in the universe happens by chance – there is a reason and a deeper meaning behind everything – see some definitions of synchronicity below[2]).

I may not forget to mention another brilliant person who was also in that meeting. Christoph brought his lovely life partner and great artist Kitty who impressed me by her presence and integrity. I don’t know exactly how to describe when you meet a person who has these qualities, but something exceptional happened. Some words that I relate to that moment are: connection, authenticity and something very powerful. Maybe this is what artists are naturally capable to develop and project to the outer world. By the way, just by checking out her work you may feel inspired and understand through her work expression what I mean:

When I say that “a person as presence”, what immediately comes to your mind? How would your definition for presence be? Have you ever met a person with “presence”? What was different and special about Kitty that made me feel this kind of presence I am talking about? What is this invisible manifestation from within that permeates on the other person (or maybe animal or any other being) before we even talk or listen to each other? – This is an appeal to my readers to share their thoughts.

In talking with a great facilitator for leadership processes whose quality of presence is also remarkable, I concluded that presence, in an holistic way, is the ability of deep listening, of being open beyond one’s perception, of being consciously participating in a larger context for change to happen and of serving the evolution of life.

In that particular meeting I felt this sense of presence and I had a feeling that the time had stopped for a moment. The Café staff announced that they were about to close and we had to leave, otherwise we might have chatted even longer. We said goodbye to each other and I felt as if this was the beginning of a good friendship. The sunset view that was waiting for me outside I took as a gift and a celebration of the sky to that unforgettable moment.

Museu Oscar Niemeyer, Curitiba – reflection of sunset on the “eye” of the museum

Museu Oscar Niemeyer, Curitiba – reflection of sunset on the “eye” of the museum

Sky above, Earth bellow – sunset somewhere

Sky above, Earth bellow – sunset somewhere

Thank you Christoph, Kitty and Rainer! Thank you Jule who, maybe unconsciously, made that meeting possible!

Note: If you are interested in learning more about the concept of presence according to Joseph Jaworski, Adam Kahane and Otto Scharmer based on extensive research and years of experience with collective change, check out this workbook:

The Presence Workbook

The Presence Workbook

[1] If you want to learn more about one of Rainer’s  work, here a sample:

[2] Some definitions of the concept of synchronicity:

* Synchronicity is the capacity we have to sense and actualize emerging futures and to shape the future instead of simply responding to the forces at large. It is the source of capacity to access the knowledge for action we need in the moment. (Joseph Jaworski, fellow and board member for the MIT Center for Organizational Learning, and cofounder of the Society for Organizational Learning. He is also author of Synchronicity and co-author of Presence)

*There is an underlying intelligence within the universe that is capable of guiding and preparing us for the future we must create. (Peter Senge, American scientist and director of the Center for Organizational Learning at the MIT Sloan School of Management)

* Synchronicities are more likely to increase during transitional times (Carl Jung, Swiss psychiatrist and psychotherapist who founded analytical psychology).

* Synchronicity is the act of the universe conspiring to help you create your own reality based on your thoughts, emotions and reactions. It is the act of unseen forces in the metaphysical – a collective unconscious – room that are acting in your life, that are working with you and that are reflecting reality back to you (Gabriel Morris)

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