A dancing river, a wholehearthed woman, a guide of wild journeys.
Majka Baur, who are you?
“Who am I?” That’s such a big question! Knowing who we are is a mystery. I like to think that I’m a dynamic knot of awareness in a fluid environment, of which I only perceive a minuscule fraction.
And still, there is more to it. There is a Knowing of who we are, in our core, that is specific to each of us, but mostly difficult to access. Deciphering that line written in the center of our being and which provides a sense of direction and meaning to our existence is part of the exciting journey of becoming (fully) human and living out of our purpose.
The line which presently makes my heart sing of excitement and in the meantime tremble is: “I’m a wholehearted woman, guiding wild soul journies. My life flows like a dancing river.” It comes with the image of a deep rooted tree, growing, shining, and sharing its fruits abundantly with the beings of the forest while exchanging nutrients and informations with other trees through a rich subterranean mycelia. This is my present mythopoetic identity, which calls me back to my essence, helps me to set priorities and walk in beauty.
Besides the philosophical answer about who I am, I’ve compiled a short ‘official bio’ to provide you with a grasp of the outer dimension of my life. It is a tiny fraction of who I am.
The events that shaped me the most are the challenges, the ups and downs, that forced me to evolve and transform, adapt, and discover my authentic self. I share with you a few snapshots of such transformative moments so that you can perceive some landmarks of my inner dimension.
I would love these snapshots to serve as an invitation to get in touch and share with me a few experiences that marked your path, who you are becoming, and the questions you are “walking with” at the moment.
Majka Baur's mini résumé
Majka Baur guides wild personal development journeys as a coach and facilitator of transformative workshops and trainings.
She supports people to “come home” to themselves and brings movement to their blocked areas. At her workshops people develop competences through which they remember how to express their innate wholeness, as indigenous inhabitants of Earth.
From that place of belonging, the desire to express oneself in unique generous ways can arise. Majka walks as a companion with one through dark inner realms, holding a candle, welcoming shadows, and having curious ears attentive to the melody of one’s heart.
Majka works as a freelancer with various partners in Germany, Switzerland and Austria. She collaborates with organizations as Pioneers of Change (Leadership Training Women Re.Member, Hosting for cultural change online training, RISE! intensive leadership training), Leadership3 (Festival of perspectives), IMU Augsburg (Integral Organisational Development) and scaling4good (where as a behaviour change expert she wrote the book “A Changemaker’s Guide to Designing for Behaviour Change”).
Are you interested in a collaboration?
Before becoming a freelancer Majka co-founded the social business WeAct, an award-winning ETH spin-off with the objective of engaging employees, citizens and students for sustainability through team challenges on a gamified platform. At WeAct she gained precious entrepreneurial experience in management, fundraising, product development, marketing, B2B business development and impact evaluation.
Majka holds a Master degree from the Swiss Federal Institute of Technology (ETHZ) in environmental sciences with a specialization in human-environmental systems and speaks 7 languages (English, German, Swiss German, French, Italian, Spanish and Polish).
More details: LinkedIn
- 2022: Wilderness and rite of passage Guide, Monthlong Training at the School of Lost Borders with Betsy Perluss, Angelo Joseph Lazenka, Petra Lentz-Snow, Meredith Little, Larry Hobbs, Will Scott
- 2022: Visionquest assistant with Ursula Wältring und Angela Schmid
- 2021: Way of Council and Mirroring Seminars at Eschwege Institut with Holger Heiten and Heike Esch
- 2021: Women Visionquest assistant at Creavista with Helen Schulz and Silke Schulze-Gattermann
- 2020: Warm Data Lab Host Training, International Bateson Institute, Transcontextual Reasearch on Living Systems with Nora Bateson
- 2017 – 2018: Yearlong training as Integrative-systemic Coach Biniasz and Partner
Snapshots of transformative moments
I was born in Switzerland in 1986 to a Polish teacher and a Swiss-german “hippy artist”. My parents divorced early on and I grew up with my mom and my sister in Ticino, the Italian speaking region of Switzerland. Since I can remember, I loved the beautiful nature I grew up in. Nature gave me strength in difficult situations, especially during the many times my mom was hospitalized to treat her bipolar depression.
Trying to make a difference
I deepened my knowledge about the natural and human systems during my travels and studies as an environmental scientist and engineer at EPFL & ETHZ. Especially during the exchange year I spent in India, I felt frustrated from witnessing environmental damages caused by human activities and the passivity of so many people. This motivated me to initiate a student association called ‘WeAct’ while finishing my studies.
Being a social entrepreneur
WeAct quickly grew from a project into a startup. I went through the thrilling process of, founding and growing a social business together with a team. We were proud to have reached over 15’000 participants with our gamified sustainability engagement programs while working with some of Switzerland’s largest employers, such as Swisscom, SBB, Axa Winterthur, EPFL, etc.
Searching for balance
Both of my parents became ill while I navigated the uncertainties of building a startup. My weeks were filled with business calls and hospital visits. I recharged my batteries in nature on hiking, mountaineering and snow-tour trips with friends on the weekends. I was constantly at the edge: either on a mountain ridge or almost drowning in work-tasks.
Just trying harder doesn't work
I relentlessly pushed myself to do more and started losing the connection to my emotions and body. Twice I almost had a burnout: I had no energy, was unmotivated, unable to take decisions and felt overwhelmed by little tasks as if they were mountains to climb It was during a calm Christmas break that I realised I had lost passion for my work. I was high functioning but felt empty. I started seeing that I was working myself to death to have a positive impact on the World.
My life did not make sense anymore. I was lost. Luckily, at this point I was supported by a psychologist and a personal coach. They helped me to come down and find clarity on my next steps. I decided to leave WeAct and take a sabbatical. It was a difficult decision as I did not want to let my team down, and did not know what else to do and had few savings on the side.
The only thing that kept me motivated was kitesurfing. I followed that thread and in 2017 I spent time kiting in South Africa and Spain, meeting new people and living as a digital nomad. That’s how, little by little, I found myself and my joy for life again.
The joy of life came with the gifts of death. As I surfed waves, my dad was diagnosed with a terminal cancer. I was very close to him until he passed away. It was a both painful and wonderful experience, during which I got to know him much better and learned from the wisdom of his “old soul”. As he approached death, he let go of everything he had and thought himself to be, he made peace with his past. Witnessing his departure was like an entry door for my spiritual development.
A few months after my dad’s death, I participated in a visionquest, a rite of passage supporting the transition from one life phase to another, during which one spends four days and nights in the forest while fasting. The rite helped me to let go of my identity as a “world saving” social entrepreneur and environmental scientist. My old self died in a sense. I then entered a time during which I had plenty of questions about who I was and what I was supposed to do, and very few answers.
Despite feeling very lost after the visionquest, I had two hunches: I love to accompany people to “grow deep roots, shine and share their fruits” and was ready for a stable loving relationship. I followed the threads and moved to Berlin, where I started a new chapter with my life partner and I trained as a systemic-integrative coach.
I tried to find a job to gain money and function “normally” in society. But doors in my sector seemed to be closed despite everything I tried. Existential fears, triggered by my empty bank account, pushed me to take any job I could find. I started working in a smoothie bar part time while coaching social entrepreneurs. Yes, I can prepare gorgeous smoothies!
My body’s painful message
However through a painful foot inflammation my body forced me to stop and question my path. I was stuck, again. I already had tried changing everything I came up with around me, so I started looking more carefully “inside”. I realized that the fear of not having enough clients and money was driving my actions and also my results. I worked on developing a mindset grounded in trust, letting go of mind-made expectations and develop intentions for which I had a full-body “Hell yes!”. It took me a lot of patience until, at last, out of nowhere my pains disappeared and I got some great opportunities for consulting projects.
Making peace with my femininity
Life was flowing nicely until a “Zunami” in the relationship with my life partner properly shaked me. I realized that I I struggled to face conflicts, as I trained to share only “positive emotions”, I still judged myself and my body harshly and was not feeling fully at ease in my sexuality. Through a new visionquest and other practices I learned to reintegrate parts of myself, like my natural wild femininity, that I had censured and become more whole. Breath after breath, I came “back home” to my own body.
Belonging to a collective body
For many years I could not find “my people”. I was like a chameleon, blending in with everyone, but still feeling different. It was during a weeklong research lab organized by Sensing the Change that I experienced for the first time what it feels like to be fully at home in my own body and at the same time feel part of a “group body”. It made me realize that when I’m fully present in myself, aware of my body sensations, emotions and thoughts, and other people are too, we automatically connect and feel that “I belong”.
Saying yes to living my vision
“What is the shape waiting in the seed of me to grow and spread its branches towards a future sky?” That shape comes in the form of symbols, images, song, movement or poetry. It is a line written in our own depths and when we pass close to it with a candle light it tells us who we truly are. Once we open to it, an uncompromising clarity about our own life’s course comes through. We smell an ocean of patience. Hear the sound of the next footstep as we walk it. Trust the landscape, while humbly walking in the darkness of night.
After having heard that line it took me four years to strip away layers of beliefs and integrate parts of myself I had repressed. By becoming more whole, I became ready to live it. One way I share the gifts of my melody with others is by guiding rites of passage in form of visionquests as well as other experience in which we relate authentically to our nature.