In the days between the years I like to look back on the past year. I go over what I am grateful for, what challenges I encountered, what I am proud of, and what I would like to get better at in the future. And then I dream and think freely about what I want to experience next year.
A rich year full of unexpected answers that were there all along
2017 was an incredibly rich year – rich in experiences, meeting wonderful people, great views into the distance from mountain tops, and insights into the depth of my own being. In short: it was everything I wanted, because that’s what I live for. I decided to travel. For one thing, because I simply like to travel, but also because at the beginning of the year I did not feel at home anywhere. I wanted to use the trip as an opportunity to get to know myself better, find out what I wanted to do and find my new home.
I received the answers to my questions during the trip, much earlier than I had anticipated. And they were both unexpected and at the same time always there, deep down in my heart.
The biggest challenge
I discovered that I am both bolder and more sensitive than I thought. That I enjoy being visible, and that I can easily see the good in others. That I have so much to give, and that I can give the most when I follow the flow of the moment. That these are good qualities as a photographer, crystal healer and artist. That these are also good qualities as an employee. That I feel comfortable in all of these roles. That I like closeness and at the same time like to spend a lot of time with myself. That I can face great challenges. That I never run away from them, that I always want to master them. That, too, I think is a great quality. It gives me confidence to know that I can do that. But I also really enjoyed going the other way. The one on which everything flows with ease and joy. The path that makes my heart sing. The challenge here is to trust that all the practical details will be solved once we dare to commit to this path, even if we can not yet see how in the beginning. And that they can be solved with ease.
2018 – Focus on the path that makes your heart sing
Next year, I want to focus even more on this challenge. I want to do more of what makes my heart sing. Listen even more to the voice in me that say „Oh yes!“. With or without explanation. This is the way home on the inside.
The way home on the outer level has revealed itself to be part of this inner journey. Again, the answer was unexpected and yet it was there all along. There is a place that makes my heart sing when I think of it. It is a small town on the east coast of Sweden. Life is wonderful that way, isn’t it? I am very curious to see how everything will pan out in the new year.
If you have tips for me, which work place in Sundsvall and surroundings might appreciate my above named qualities, I would be very happy to hear from you.
When I decided to let go of Road to Walden as the title of this blog, it was not because I thought the search had ended. I will always be on that road, which is the road to the home within, while also aware that that destination is right here, right now, on this road.
I decided to change the title because apart from the many wonderful things that Thoreau’s Walden represents to me, it also represents a notion which I am leaving behind at this stage in my life: the notion that the quest for happiness (= home) is about finding out how little you need to be content with. I still agree that happiness isn’t in „stuff“, and yes, it is true that so much of what we do in order to afford a lifestyle we think is necessary to make us happy leads us to the exact opposite („lives of quiet desperation“ anyone?).
Yet at this point I feel the question of how little I can live with isn’t all that interesting to me anymore, even though some part of my mind is still playing that game („Will I run out of money on this trip before I can access new sources of steady income?“ is one of those classics on repeat in my head some days). The way I see it now, the two don’t have to be connected, although my brain is still pretty wired that way. I am not interested in tying finical wealth and worldly possessions to judgement anymore. It’s possible to have very little „stuff“ and money and be happy. It’s possible to have very little and be unhappy. It’s possible to have a lot and be happy, and it’s possible to have a lot and be unhappy. At this point I feel like an experiment on how little it takes for one to be happy is not really the interesting question.
I know that might sound strange because it is exactly what I am living right now, not owning more than I can fit into my backpack, proving to myself everyday that yes, it’s very possible to be happy with very little stuff (and yes, some days: not so happy, for all kinds of reasons). As always, it’s the intention behind it that counts. I do believe that while it’s true, happiness isn’t in material objects, rejecting them for that reason is not changing the game – you’re just playing on the other team. Chasing wealth and objects just for the sake of it is just as uninteresting to me as it is rejecting them just because you know they won’t make you happy. Because guess what: joyless asceticism isn’t the road to happiness, either. I imagine that if you feel empowered by experiencing how little you can make do with, then that can be a joyful and thus valuable experience, and that is definitely part of this journey, too.
At this point however I am most interested in the notion of non-attachment. I am interested in enjoying all that life has to offer, including material wealth, without making it my golden calf. I know that is something very „now“ (The Secret/the Law of Attraction), and that just really wasn’t on the menu for Thoreau*. It felt like Road to Walden wasn’t really including this aspect which has become a focus for me in all areas of my life.
The idea to change the title to www.sarineturhede.com was triggered by the process of revamping the site overall in order to showcase my work better but the actual reason behind it was that I wanted to mark for myself that this is my path now, the one that’s still inspired by others but where I am the pioneer after all.
* Although who knows – he only lived at Walden Pond for about a year and not his whole life, so I maybe the question of how little you could live with wasn’t a lifelong quest for Thoreau, either …