Happy New Year
Hi everyone, I hope you have had a good start into 2019. I feel like a little recap is in order (I know you know that I can’t keep things short but I will try). My last post on here was pictures and thoughts from the light festival at Amritabha in the beginning of June. That was the first time I came back to visit since my stay as a short term resident last year (that was in the beginning of my trip around the world that ended sooner than I had anticipated – I wrote about that here on the blog). In September I returned to Amritabha, this time for a little longer.
Boy, as I am writing this I am beginning to understand how much I have not been sharing on here, and how it seems kind of complicated to write about it – those of you who follow me on Instagram (@sarineturhede) may have noticed that I have been sharing a little more of my daily life in the stories. I am getting used to talking in front of the camera, and it feels like it may actually be easier to tell you the story of my past year. Why I ended the trip around the world (I can see now that I was being a little cryptic in the blog post), why I ended up in Stade, why I am back in Amritabha now although I still feel in my heart that Sweden is home …
It’s funny, re-opening the blog was what I needed to be able to share anything on any channel – and at the same time it’s also making me realize that I feel like trying something new, like vlogging. It feels so good to be writing here again but it also feels liberating to give myself permission to look at things differently, to consider other forms of expression.
If there is one thing I am understanding about myself better and better it’s that I love change, that I am best when I am free and open to approach things as if I were doing them for the first time.
The consistency is not the form of expression but the fact that I want to express myself, share my story, share my perspective, and to inspire you to express yourself, share your story.
That is the constant in my life, and whenever I have draught periods where I don’t do that, it’s probably because I was holding on to an idea of how I should be doing it, or what I should and should not be sharing. If I have learned anything is that I want to free myself from these constraints, I want to keep allowing myself to explore new media of expression, and also: I want to not take things so seriously that I feel like „Oh, but I can’t share this“/“I don’t want the world to see me like that“/“I need to be better at this before I can show anything“.
Sorry if this is a total rant and maybe this doesn’t make sense to you at all but when I have these phases where I don’t share, it’s like something in me bottles up and when I finally open up again, there is so much that wants out. And that’s ok. I think this is exactly the point: to give ourselves permission to show up and share what we have to bring to the table, whatever it is at that point.
Not everything is going to be our greatest work ever but the greatest work comes as much from inspired action as it does from being persistent, from keeping at it, from writing/painting/filming ourselves through all the other days.
I am aware that chances are there will be more days/phases in my life where I will want to take a break from sharing my story because I won’t feel like there’s a point. But I know that so far I have never regretted anything I have shared, and that I have often wished that I had continued even when I didn’t see the point.
Ok, this is getting super long, but I just want to get into why I took down Road to Walden and the decided to re-open it again (I don’t even know if any of you are wondering about that but I am telling you anyway :-D). I think it all really started when my blog – well: I – was getting more attention, during my time here at Amritabha.
Suddenly there was this possibility in the air that I would go into business for myself (which I did and which was the best decision of my life), and I think I started having this idea that my online presence should be more centered around my person, not some blog title that nobody really seemed to get anyway. Also it felt a little strange starting to mix business posts into this blog that up until then had been simply personal.
So I got the domain sarineturhede.com and started building a more business-focused website. I thought I would just share my personal story on Instagram and Facebook, and I guess I thought it would be a good way for me to practice writing shorter texts. Plus the fact that I was going through a pretty tough time after my return to Germany, where things felt very out of focus, and sometimes plain wrong. I simply had a hard time wanting to show myself to the world that way.
For a while I even thought I would make eBooks from my old blog posts as a symbol of self-appreciation, and then delete the blog completely and not share my personal story anymore at all. I can’t remember what exactly it was that made me change my mind but eventually I just realized that yes, I do believe in creating great content for my business site. I love giving practical tips on different technical issues. I love exploring all these great tools that are out there for us to share our message, and I am happy to help others discover them.
But I realized that I don’t work well when my focus is on this very straight-forward business-mindedness. Like, this idea that I need to produce something with that has to be of direct/obvious value to anyone. I think it was Agni who said
„Follow the money and you will lose your passion, follow your passion and money will follow you.“
That is so true for me and it really shows in my business. Whenever I step into that trap of thinking I need to approach things from a focus on money, that’s when things get really tough. And whenever I allow myself to do what I feel like (even or especially when I can’t immediately see how that could lead to any financial gain), money finds it’s way to me with so much ease.
It was when I started observing what inspires me, who I love to follow, that I understood what I really value. And yes, I am grateful for all the tutorials that are out there that have helped me figure out how to do tech stuff. But what really gets me excited is people sharing their stories and their passion. Like Yoga Girl. Like the Dervaes family. Like Kristie Wolfe. Like Laura Hollick. The person that has been the biggest inspiration over the past days has been Jonna Jinton (and yes, it probably has a lot to do with my longing for Sweden that I think will not end until I move back there).
It became so obvious to me that I would never be happy with just a business site, and just sharing business related content. After all, the way I work, my life and my work are very connected. At a former work place I learned that „people buy from people“. And that is so true! It never takes long for me to recognize myself in the peron who is hiring me for a photo gig. There are a bunch of great photographers out there – so obviously there has to be a reason why anyone would choose me in particular.
We are drawn to kindred spirits. And what a great way to recognize one another through our stories.
This is maybe a paradox but as much as I love how business is personal for me these days, and the lines do get very blurry, it still felt right to re-open Road to Walden instead of just deciding to share personal stories on my business website. Actually, no, I do think it makes a lot of sense even from a business perspective. Because I do want to share my story with you regardless of whether you are interested in working with me. I don’t want my story to be some sort of „gimmick“ that is part of a marketing strategy. I want it to be free. I want us to be connected in freedom. It’s the deepest kind of connection.
Looking forward to breathing life back into this space, and to re-connect with you.
Change out of contentment
I read a great article (German) about how important it is to let go of the „in order to“. Meaning, letting go of doing things that we think are necessary to achieve something. It’s a chase for the right job / partner / city that will finally allow us to be happy / be different / focus on what we really want to do.
We „have to“ switch city/job/partner so that the life we really want can finally begin. It’s so easy to fall into this line of thinking that we mustn’t be content what actually is just because it doesn’t really match our idea of how things should be.
I caught myself a while ago thinking that if I allowed myself to accept my situation then that would mean it couldn’t change. This place I chose was only supposed to be a temporary thing from the start! What if I allow myself to find anything good here, and get so content that I won’t want to leave anymore?! That would be terrible because I wanted something else, right!?
Somehow I was still attached to that notion that change can only be born out of dissatisfaction. That is not true. In reality, we receive what we send out into the world. From my experience we’re usually just not very conscious of what it is that we’re actually sending out. It’s not so much the words or actions but the energy/intentions behind them. Loving change is great, life is change! However, if we initiate change out of a sense of discontentment, then the result will be more discontentment.
And vice versa: when we allow ourselves to find the gold in what we have in front of us, allow ourselves to see how this is exactly what we need, while also allowing ourselves to dream and wish for things, then change will come on its own accord. In the meantime we get to enjoy a rich and fulfilling life.
When my trip around the world turned out to be something different from what I had imagined, it took me a while to understand that what was going on was simply that my underlying quest (finding out what I really wanted to do with my life, finding the home within and out there) had been answered a lot faster than I had anticipated. Continuing the trip would only have meant holding on to the form I had started out with.
And still things turned out differently. All of the three places that feel like home to me suddenly seemed impossible. When I came to my grandpa’s house – to get the rest of my stuff, as I thought – this place seemed like a very doable quick fix. An empty house where I could focus on my business. Doesn’t get any faster and easier, right!? I was really sick of living out of a suitcase by that time, so I went for it.
As you know, things went differently. I was suddenly facing a reality that had nothing to do with my preconception. Nothing was easy. I was devastated, thinking „The only reason I came here was because I wanted to make things easy for myself! If I had known, that things would be hard anywhere I turn because it’s my inner barriers, I never would have chosen this place!“
I had somehow managed to make choices out of my wishes while at the same time still chasing ideas of how things were supposed to be in order for me to allow myself to be content. Ever since I understood that everything hasn’t been easy but I’ve been able to meet my own resistance with more compassion.
And that makes all the difference. It’s really all it takes to make a new flow possible. It’s because I don’t feel attached to anything around here, I am suddenly able to make decisions without the pressure of expectations regarding the outcome. For instance, when I saw that my favorite café in town was hiring, I just went and introduced myself. Just like that. Now I work there.
Not too long ago I would have let myself be stopped by the thought that it’s pointless to apply for a job in a place where I have no intention of staying. Let alone something I am overqualified for! And wasn’t I done with employment anyway? Wasn’t I supposed to just focus on my business? That, my friends, is discontentment at its finest. It makes life here and now miserable and almost impossible.
What I would have missed out on, if I had let myself be stopped by this line of thinking: balancing my own work with something where I don’t spend any time in front of the computer screen is a blessing! The time I am spending at the café is not time that I don’t have for my business. Honestly, when I have an entire day to myself, I don’t spend 100% of it being productive or creative. Most of the time goes towards worrying and procrastinating (amazing how in reality the time for being productive is always way less than I want yet always perfectly sufficient). I get to meet people, nice ones, too! I get to make use of my ability to make others feel seen and taken care of. I get to learn new things. That is contentment. Here and now. Not one fine day in tomorrowland.
And since there is my wish for other places, I can’t even fall for the illusion that this is The Job I need to „make sacrifices“ for. So I tried something I haven’t before: negotiating. I expressed that a different form of employment would be a better combo with my own work. I also decided to be honest about my concern: That I enjoyed the work but that I was still thinking about moving because I felt that home was somewhere else. I never would have done that in the past but it was so worth it. And guess what: no problems.
While I don’t need to convince myself or anyone else that I am intending to stay for very long, I still get to unpack my inner boxes so to say, and accept the fact that I am here now. And it’s ok to nest a little on the outside, too. I went to IKEA a few days ago and got some office supplies, throow pillows and picture frames. Up until now I’ve been telling myself „No, don’t start piling up stuff that you need to move, you’re not staying!“. But the fact is that that only made me feel more out of place than I already did. If I already don’t feel at home, it’s all the more important to have a little oasis that is me, and that is home!
And when it comes to what to fill our lives with: the things we really want to do with our life are very rarely tied to a specific place. Or any other prerequisites. No „in order to“, either. Photography, writing, drawing, being creative, healing – those are the things I want to fill my life and this world with. Just because. Of course, I am focusing on making my heart’s desires my business. The trick is just not to fall for the illusion that joy is only worth living when we’re being paid for it. That’s bs, it’s the „in order to“ illusion.
Just like making it dependent on one’s mood, fears or other emotions. I can’t, I don’t want to, It’s impossible – those three will always be there. They are truly the beginning of everything we desire from the depths of our heart.
The right life is not the perfect life (= the one where circumstances are ideal). The right life is the one where we opt for our heart’s desires – and the circumstances that come with it (or, as Elisabeth Gilbert puts is in Big Magic the „shit sandwich“ that comes with it). Simply the one, that makes us face all the can’ts, don’twanttos, impossibles. Again and again.
Under my umbrella| When nothing’s easy
I am slowly coming out from underneath that rock I’d withdrawn to. I came back to Germany with my head full of ideas, and I was so excited to register my business here. It was a very special day for me. And all just to undo everything a few days later, plus deactivate everything I had put up on my etsy shop. That was hard.
And yes, there is this part of me that would like to see itself as the victim of circumstances, that would like to tell you a story of all the injustice I have endured, a story of who is to blame for what, and why I it’s not my fault that life ist just not going the way I want it to right now.
And there is this part that doesn’t want to say anything at all. That wants to just pretend nothing happened, and wait this one out until I have a sunnier story to tell.
Fortunately there’s also this part of me that knows that I am really not interested in either of those two alternatives. The part that knows that I am really interested in being myself and sharing that with you. Not justifying but not hiding either.
The world out there is not to blame – it’s just a mirror
That is also the part that calls bullshit when I feel abused by others. The part that knows that life can throw some nasty stuff our way but that the truth remains: all that stuff comes from our inside. The world out there is just mirroring what’s going on in here. When I remember that, life suddenly becomes a different game.
You can’t choose the weather but you can choose whether you go outside or stay in
That is also the part of me that wants to continue to share my story after a period of withdrawing from it. The part that feels that you don’t need to pretend that it’s not raining but that you don’t need to leave the house without your umbrella, just to prove that the weather is terrible.
That’s the point, right? We don’t control the weather (or the circumstances) but we get to decide whether we want to leave the house or not. Whether we spend our energy insisting that rain is terrible or whether we spend it figuring out what to do with what life is offering us at that moment,
Ignoring barriers is more painful than acknowledging them
My inner barriers that revealed themselves over the past couple of weeks are reminding me that sometimes there is no easy way. Sometimes all we can do is acknowledge that. Ignoring this fact is more painful and also less meaningful than embracing the situation. Instead we should be patting ourselves on our bruised little head, telling ourselves „It is what it is. I am having a hard time with this, and that’s ok.“ Being kind to ourselves often takes down huge parts of the barrier. It’s the umbrella in the rain so to say.
I know I am not alone with this. When I scroll down my social media feeds (which I have to admit I don’t do very much these days), I see that many of you are dealing with something similar. It’s comforting reminder: we’re all in this together. That’s the umbrella we hold for each other – when we share what we’re going through.
Sending you hugs and lots of LOVE,
PS: Photo credit to the lovely La who took this winter fairy pic of me. That’s a pretty good umbrella, too: just go out into the woods with your bestie and act like the fairy (and/or elf) you really are.
Four years ago around this time of year I was standing in the backyard of a friend, crying my eyes out because it was just so beautiful. She was living the country life I wanted to have for myself – house on the countryside, growing her own veggies, a pantry stuffed with dried herbs, a fireplace, and nature all around.
Peter and I were living in an apartment in Gothenburg at that time, not one of the worst areas, but not one of the nicest ones, either. I had been working as a personal assistant for almost two years, and although it could have been worse, it could definitely have been better.
I was crying that day because I knew I wanted this so badly – but I just could not see it happening. I couldn’t see how we’d get there. Peter’s health was getting worse, so in a way I knew we’d have to move to somewhere with less electro smog. Still, there was not a fiber in my body that believed we would get there.
Two months later we found our house. August 23 2013 we bought that house. We got a loan, even though we were both unemployed at that time. We moved in on my birthday, September 1. Two months later I got a job.
It’s only been two months (that seems to be a significant time frame) since I moved out of that house, that dream. I am still grateful for the life I got to live there. It was not easy in many ways, and there were disappointments, hopes that were not fulfilled. But there were oh so many lovely things about it, too. I think appreciated a lot of them at the time, and I definitely do now.
The house itself had so much charm.
I spent the last few weeks on the couch in front of the fire place soaking in the warmth, knowing that this was really special.
I had a favorite spot in the woods, up on the mountains, with a breathtaking view. I don’t remember the last time I was there, because it’s not accessible during the winter (and before that I didn’t know I was going to be leaving so soon).
There was a small lake nearby, and a bigger lake, with a sandy beach that was about 30 minutes away by bike. I loved both.
In the summer we would eat our dinners by the barn that was rotting away on the inside but still a beauty on the outside.
I gathered Meadow’s Sweet and made syrup from it.
I thought two apple trees wasn’t all that much but even during the „bad“ season, there were more apples than I could take care of.
I tried to approach the whole growing our own veggies thing the same way I started on our balcony in Gothenburg with two tomato plants: if I get two tomatoes, I’ll be happy. If anything comes out of this, I’ll be happy.
I’m not going to lie: I was a lot less enthusiastic about the gardening part than I’d hoped I’d be. Then again, I have a record of having expectations that are too high. That is also something I learned: you get a new chance every year. Things are constantly changing but there is also a cycle that is comforting.
And yes, we did get the hang of it a little more each year. The first year we had moldy fire wood and a broke fire place – and we didn’t even know it.
The second year we had a nice fire place and good wood. Also, we added a second green house, and more space to the vegetable patch.
We’ve had wonderful Midsummer celebrations, and last year our wedding. We’ve had Christmases with snow and real Christmas trees from the woods. We’ve had more friends visit us than we had at our apartment in Gothenburg.
Like I said: it was a dream. I have been having other dreams since last fall. At first I had visions of them, then I was in a transitioning period where I had left the old dream but the new hadn’t really arrived yet. And suddenly I found myself in a similar situation like I was those four years ago. Not crying this time but doubting that the trip around the world that I had been thinking about would come about. I just couldn’t see it anymore. I was even considering moving to Frankfurt and trying to start a business (I was having some pretty good ideas, too). That was two weeks ago. Then a friend came to visit, and everything came into focus again. I am booking my tickets on Monday.
How to play Monopoly with a chess board
Lots of epiphanies these past few days. Things that have been a great source of frustration suddenly stopped bothering me, and all that is left is a sense of peace and freedom. Talking things over has helped. Sometimes. And sometimes it helps more to press the mute button and just look at what actually is happening.
It’s like playing a game. With other players. We all agree that we are playing Monopoly. After a while, something feels off. We talk about it. We resume our game. But after a while we notice, things are still the same. Off. We talk some more. We are really going to make an effort this time to get things right! Repeat.
How do we handle this situation? We could keep going anyway, either in the hopes of locating our error or because it’s just what we do: Keep going. We could quit. Or we could stop for a minute to focus on our discussion, and take a good look at our game. We might just realize that we’ve been trying to apply the rules of Monopoly to a chess board all along.
Yesterday was one of those rare occasions where Peter and I went in to town together. We had an appointment at the homeopath we’ve been seeing for little over a year now. I always feel hopeful after these visits, despite the fact that Peter’s health – for various reasons – so far hasn’t improved since we first started going. Not one bit. What makes me optimistic is that we personally know people with the same issues (electromagnetic sensitivity) who are completely symptom-free today, thanks to this doctor.
We try to make these outings pleasant by doing something „normal“ like eating out, which used to be something we’d enjoy doing (like most couples, I guess). I know that it’s hard for Peter sitting through a meal when the environment is far from ideal with fluorescent lights, wi-fi and people talking and surfing on their cell phones all around. I appreciate that he does it anyway, largely for my benefit.
Yesterday, when we sat there, I thought about what the doctor had said: that he had discovered a mal-function he hadn’t been able to spot before, and that the new treatment should make a difference. That, if he was right, Peter should be able to notice that difference right away. Our next apointment for check-up is in March.
Thinking about the possibility of Peter, if not of being back to „completely healthy“ at least to being better, it made me realized how used I’ve gotten to the craziness we’ve been living with. The concept of us being able to do „regular stuff“ we never used to think about twice (going to the movies! going out for dinner! meeting freinds in town!) seems so out of this world now. It feels unreal that we might get back to that type of normal at all, let alone in the near future.
Peter, as always, managed to point out the most important issue at hand: „What if all this expensive equipment I’m buying today will be completely useless because I’ve gotten well?!“
Yeah, because if you really are going to be well again by March, our biggest priority will be regretting how much money went down the drain on 19 January …
I guess it’s like the doctor said: When we’re ill, we prioritize our health, are willing to put time, effort and money into regaining it. When we’re well, things are just supposed to run smoothely on their own accord.
Here’s to hoping, and to Peter regaining his health. And to remembering the things we do have that are good. Right here, right now.
How to win the battle against yourself (and everyone you know)
I’ve been reading Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now again. It was much needed but it also sent me off right onto an emotional roller coaster. I think it’s the ego feeling threatened and trying to trick you into feeding it. And it’s also the ego that’s telling you „No, no, this time you’ll be fine. No need to worry about any drama because you’re self-aware now.“ Well, guilty as charged – I walked right into that one.
Although there is tons of wisdom in The Power of Now, and much quote-worthy material, there was one paragraph that spoke to me especially when reading it this past weekend. Its content was this:
When there’s an inner conflict between your thoughts and your feelings, it’s your thoughts that are the (relative) lie, and your feelings that are true – also relatively speaking. True in the sense that they are the body’s reaction to a situation, telling you how you really feel about something at a given moment.
Naturally, I read that paragraph after I let myself get into that major argument with my fiancé. It was as if I’d followed the instructions for How To Be Unaware And Completely Identified With The Ego to the letter.
Afterwards I could backtrace the detonation of the emotional firecracker to this: we were having a conversation, and Peter questioned something that we in my mind already had agreed on. That happens. A lot. Unfortunately, the next thing also happens. Everytime Peter is having second thoughts about something that is already set in stone in my mind. What does happen is, that I freak out, and if I’m being completely honest, the feeling that surfaces is this:
This man is ruining my life with his constant doubt. All he sees is obstacles, and if I let him say no to everything, it will literally be ball and chain when (if?!) we do get married. I’ll be the prisoner of his fears, not his partner. I can’t allow him to do that to me!
But the whole thing would just be too easy if I allowed that feeling to exist, right? So what do I do? Right. I let my mind speak its, well, mind. And that line of thinking goes something like this:
You know that that is not true. That is only your view of Peter, which is tainted by your own fears. Your lack of faith in the fact that no one else can control your fate but yourself. It’s stupid to believe that he could have that kind of power. Feeling this way is unfair to him.
And you know what? My mind is 100% right. That’s where this whole thing gets messy though. For what am I supposed to do with that? I choose, as I more often than not do, to agree with my logic (since it is true), which effectively means that I forbid myself to feel the way I do. The outcome this Sunday was me standing in the kitchen, alternating between yelling at Peter and crying into the waffle batter. Because, you know, it was Sunday and I like fancy breakfast on the weekend, so the part of me that had decided to not feel what I was feeling decided it was a good idea just to go ahead and do that waffle breakfast.
But (as I would read later): when your own thoughts and feelings are in conflict with each other, the thought is the lie, and the feeling is the truth. So, no matter how logical my thinking was, no matter how right and „above“ the childishness of my fear it was – my feeling did not care.
When things where at their worst then and there, I suddenly saw myself in the situation, and saw that it was exactly the kind of drama I didn’t want anymore, and that I even had thought I wasn’t capable anymore because, you know, I knew. I thought „How the hell do I get out of this?“ I got two answers. My ego said this:
You have to win this thing. The only way to end this is to make Peter acknowledge that you are right. Then, and only then are you done with this. You cannot back down now that you’ve gone this far.
That is pretty much me in a nutshell in any kind of argument or even discussion or debate. That’s one of the reasons I don’t enjoy arguments or discussions or debates. I find it exhausting to feel like I have to be right, yet I inevitably get this feeling when I’m in a discussion/debate/argument. It’s like you tell yourself, „ok I’m playing this game but I can only let myself play it if I remember the whole time that it’s a game“. Of course, once you start you want to win, and then you’re already in the game.
I have fallen for this trap many times. I have seen the destructive outcome. Every time. There is no „win“ because that is not really what this is about. Because it’s not me against Peter (or him against me). Sure, you can destroy someone with hurtful words. But that doesn’t mean you win. Maybe it was having consciously thought about this, having observed myself, having read about it, maybe it was something completely different. Whatever it was, something opened me to the truth this time, when I was standing there, crying, and wanting to get out of this, and feeling my ego’s craving to win this argument at any cost. The truth was – is – this:
There is a way out. It is there at any moment for you. You can leave this situation by acknowldging that that is what it is: your situation. This is not you. There is nothing that says you cannot admit to Peter, and more importantly: to yourself, that you’ve just now realized that. You don’t need to follow through on this argument. And you’re right, it could last forever. Because it’s not about what Peter said or did. It’s about you feeling threatened by something he said, and resenting that feeling. And that won’t go away, it wouldn’t even if you did make Peter admit everything was his fault.
So I did that. The relief of exiting the drama came instantly, and that to me is the beauty and the truth of The Power of Now: no matter where we are in life, how deep we’ve gone into the narrative that our ego/ our intellect has fabricated to persuade us to do their bidding – it is never too late or too complicated to leave. There is no repercussion for admitting that we’ve made mistakes, even huge ones. We are allowed to and capable of freeing ourselves if we want to.
Later, I asked Peter what he thought I should have done. How I should handle a situation like this (and trust me, there will be more), so that things don’t go so wrong from the get go. His suggestion:
Say how you feel. Honestly.
He was right. As soon as we realize that we’ve gotten lost in the story, identified with a thought or a feeling, we are shining a light on them, seeing them and exposing them for what they are. And we realize that they are not us. By admitting to ourselves how we do feel, and maybe even confiding in someone we trust, we are accepting the truth of what is at that moment. It is the only alternative, if we don’t want to fight a battle we can’t win: us against ourselves. It is love.
Endings & beginnings … and everything in between
Aaand there’s more. I think this post will just be an attempt to recap this summer so far.
We celebrated the summer solstice with a bunch of friends (old ones and new ones) at our house. Since most of them came from Gothenburg and Stockholm, they stayed for several days and we had a little bit of a collective thing going, which was cool. Lots of barbecuing, talking, hiking, even swimming in the lake (the Swedish summer has been more of a „summer“ this year, but that weekend was great). Plus we made flower wreaths, which I am mentioning because it somehow was really important to me to follow this Swedish tradition. As it turned out, my friend La who was coming felt the same way. Maybe it’s because we’re German … Anyway, as we were standing in a ditch that day, picking flowers for our wreaths, a farmer drove by and held up seven fingers. Luckily we’d read The Six Bullerby Children, otherwise we might not have understood that he was trying to tell us that we’re supposed to pick seven flowers and put under our pillows that night to dream of our future husbands. I don’t know if La dreamed of him, but she seemed to have found the guy alright. 🙂
A few weeks later I went to Stockholm to buy a car. Peter’s uncle is really into cars, but when he bought his third, his wife insisted that he had to get rid of one. Lucky for us, who were looking for one. One that might be better for someone as sensitive to magnetic fields and electrosmog as Peter. The trip felt like a mini-vacation. It might have something to do with Peter’s aunt and uncle having a jacuzzi in their backyard … Plus the stop on my way home at some friends‘ „house“. I say „house“ because they actually live in a church, and a pretty cool one, too.
And then, the big one: after several weeks of feeling like my days at my job are nearing their end, everything happened really fast. Last week I suddenly had the impulse to quit talking about that I need to move on but start looking. I usually don’t even look at job postings. I believe that most of them are usually already given away within an organization and they just put them out as a necessary formality. But the task of trying to figure out where I’d want to go seemed to daunting at that moment, so I decided I’d at least see if one particular institution had anything interesting up (I really have been wanting to work at this place ever since I moved here). Well, they did. No big deal, it was ONLY MY DREAM JOB???!!! Friday I had a talk with by bosses, and they confirmed my feeling that we’d come to the end of the road (the reason being lack of money, not lack of work). I don’t know how many partings go this cordially – but I can recommend it. All three of us shared the feeling that the saddest part about this would be not working together anymore. (I will really miss all of my colleagues.) They too thought I would be perfect for the job I saw (I told them about the ad), and that this somehow was not an ending but a beginning.
I spent most of Monday afternoon writing my application for said DREAM JOB. The hardest part for me in the process of applying for work is usually letting go once I’ve sent them, not fretting over how I maybe should have wrote this instead, what if I left out something important, should I have told the recruiter more about myself when I called to ask about the job … Not quite there yet, I need to proof-read (and have someone proof-read). Still, whether this job is meant to be or not – something new WILL come – and I am excited about that.
Love what you love
I have been thinking a lot about the meaning of life lately. Probably because the The Path Into The Light seminar is coming up soon. While a part of me says, „You’ll find out there, so why even bother now“, another part knows that I am already on my way, have been for a while, and that the seminar won’t be THE answer to everything (we already know it’s 42 anyway, right 😉 ). So I do wonder, not just about the meaning of life in general, but obviously about the meaning of my life.
Here’s some random notes on what I’ve come up with so far:
1. The meaning of life in general is to be happy. Not all the time, obviously, but I do believe that deep down inside, that’s what we’re all striving for – happiness. That part seems fairly banal. The trick, I guess, is the next step. Believing that it is possible to be happy. That seems to be the part where things go wrong when they do.
2. I have been denying myself a lot of happiness because I can be very judgmental. (See my Yoga Girl book review.) I am trying to change that by promising myself to allow myself to like the things I do. That means becoming aware of the inner censor, the voice that tells you why the things you feel are wrong. Do you have a voice like that? For me working on this inner censor means becoming aware of the fact that there is a conflict – that I like one thing but also have feelings of guilt about liking it. Usually, my feelings of guilt come from some set of beliefs that aren’t originally my own but that I’ve adopted/inherited from others. And 100% of the times I like something I also feel guilty about, I have good reason for liking it.
3. An good example of how my inner censor is holding me back is that I am the kind of person who really enjoys a lot of different things, and I can be interested in many things, and yes: I can be good at most of the things I set my mind to. I don’t just have one thing I am passionate about and devote all my (spare) time to, nor is there one thing that I naturally excel at, so that it would be obvious that this is my calling. But somewhere along the road I got the idea that that is how things work: you get to be good at one thing, and you get to really like one thing. You have to decide, let everything else go, and focus on this one thing. I could get really worked up over how I seemed to be all over the place, not being able to make up my mind and dedicate myself to one thing. Until the other day it never even occurred to me that I am allowed to enjoy AS MANY THINGS AS I DO – writing, baking, photography, sewing, dancing, gardening, meditating, cooking, yoga, knitting, embroidery, film-making, … If the point is to master a craft, then I will obviously not be able to do that the same way a person could who puts all their time and effort into one craft. But if the point is to do things that make me happy, then why not simply be happy – and be grateful that I have the gift of having many things in my life that make me happy?! It seems so obvious now, but as long as my mind was limited by this belief set that you can only have one passion, one talent, I never even looked at it that way.
Getting down to business with this inner censor seems to be key to this whole happiness thing. And those of you who are into mindfulness and/or spiritual teachings are probably familiar with this concept – that we are not our thoughts and feelings but really the observers of them but that we are often unaware, and act as if we were identical with our thoughts, feelings, etc. For those of you who aren’t already into this „stuff“, I can highly recommend Eckhart Tolle (and I think I’ve done that before here on the blog). I find it makes life a lot easier = happier.
So for now I’m working on (gosh, that sounds hard but it’s work AND it’s not hard – another contradiction in terms according to my inner censor/know-it-all) just doing what I love as much as possible – whatever that may be. I will share as much of it here as I can.
Have a great Sunday, everyone!
Living the country life
I am back from another trip. More inspired than ever! I do apologize, though, to certain friends (Lisa, you know who you are) who worried my offline-ness might translate to „something bad happened“.
Note to self: in the time and age of „There is no offline, there is only away from keyboard“, announce any awol from the virtual life (technically, is it „awl“ then?). At least for as long as there is no way to virtually transmit the bad smell coming from your apartment that might alarm your neighbors – who might not even care since you live in one of those anonymous big city shoe boxes – but not the ones who do care but don’t live close by. Another note to self: keep notes to self short…ish.
Anyway. Peter and I were visiting a friend who lives the way we hope to do one day – somewhere on the Swedish countryside, growing lots of her own food, with no stupid electro smog. There was no internet. It was beautiful. Not because or despite that fact. It just was. Although we were only there from Thursday through Tuesday, this trip was a real learning and healing experience – most of all, unsurprisingly, about myself; my current state (physically, mentally, emotionally, spiritually, … in any way) as well as my wishes for my future.
I realized that …
- … a life closer to nature and more self-sufficient is not only what I imagine I want. It is what I do want.
- … the difference between life in the city and on the countryside is not to be underestimated. My body had a hard time adjusting to physical labor (which does not always allow for ergonomic execution), my mind had a hard time accepting that I/we took so many breaks. I felt very unproductive, although our host did not express any such complaints – or any complaints at all. Here at home I want to get through with everything I have to do as quickly as possible, there you spread out the (more physically exhausting) work over the entire days, take it slow, take time for conversations, contemplation, simply being.
- … I am especially unhappy with my job here at home.
- … the difference between the life I am currently leading, and the life I want is huge. I had an episode of deep depression the second day when I realized that gap. I had no idea how I should get from one to the other, and this uncertainty scared and frustrated me. I still don’t know but I am hopeful now.
When we came home I was excited to see if any of the seeds I had sown had grown anything during our absence. The score: two tomato plants are sprouting and I can see the beginning of morning glory.