How does your heart sound?

sommerfugl med gresstråI was having an ultra sound of my heart last week. As I biked down to the hospital and were feeling well, I did not expect anything to be the matter. Just a follow-up to search for scars of the adventures of last fall. Even so, being examined, on a table, with all kinds of equipments attached to my body, makes me attentive. What if there is something to find, and they overlook it?

I felt myself stretching my mind and ears to listen, to know. I did not hear anything, at least not the pitter-patter of a tiny heart. Then I realized, for the first time I had an ultrasound where I was not supposed to listen for a baby’s heartbeat. Only then did I hear that my own heart had been swishing and swooshing healthily along all the time. For the first time in my life I literally listened to my heart.

If that took some getting used to, what with the heartbeat of our souls? As I biked on into town I wondered, how do we make ourselves attentive, to listen, and to alter the course when the core of our being is not in rhythm? Most of our life, it is, sometimes though we are so busy listening for, adjusting to, and taking care of the hearts of everybody else, that nobody is left to listen for us, and why should they? If we can take care of others, should we not be able to take care of ourselves?

Ultimately, to me happiness is found in community, in serving, in togetherness. I also know that my responsibility is to serve where I do not make myself a martyr, but where the joy of my heart wells forth. Swishing and swooshing. I’ll be listening for that.

gjemt bak engel

The happy blues of new worries

bjørkeskogI am exceptionally good at spotting a worry. I am not a master of letting go of my worries though.

Last Sunday we were hiking the mountains around our cabin. The intense sunshine made the Monkshood flowers sparkle like agate on the hillside. As I walked on I wondered, as they are so beautiful, so plentiful, and totally dominating the alpine meadows, how could I not have dozens of photos of them?

sau og lamThen an ewe stopped in the middle of the path, her little lamb hiding ( and having some milk) behind her, and suddenly I knew. As the monkshood, or wolf’s bane, are extremely poisonous, I have eyed them as potential dangers, protecting my children, worrying.

I almost laughed as I realized how many years I have been walking these woods since our kids needed that kind of guidance. Still, I had not taken time to de-clutter my bag of worries!

Tyrihjlm og gjevilvatnetAs cliffs, as waves, as dark woods and lonely walks – not my worry any more, they can handle it.

Which sets me free to marvel at the colors, to be amazed at the canyons, to be impressed by the force of the ocean, to enjoy the enchanted dark forests, all for my self.

KorsknappOur Sunday walk became a treasure hunt for the other happy dots of blues coloring the woods, my Sunday pondering made me think, what other outdated worries or problems keep me from seeing the blessings and beauty in my everyday walk?

And then of course, the son who does not run after a ball into the street anymore, now rides a Harley..

Someone said that worries grow with the children. I’d better not carry any useless worries around then. Come to think of it, perhaps they all are?



What did you love?

Renndølsetra 7There comes a time to most of us, at forty five? Fifty? We seem bewildered in our own lifes, and do not seem to recognize the landscape we are in as the one we set out to find.

Which could be good, life is full of surprises. Even immovable and unsurpassable mountains turn out to have secret doors.

If you find yourself hammering at this mountain trying all the sesam-sesams you are able to imagine while no one works, you might see a coach or read a “Your dream will become true” book.

They will both ask you to remember: “what did you love to do as a kid, what do this love tell you about who you are?”

liten solveig med kanneMost of us are not able to pinpoint the passion of our youth though, we loved a lot of things. I, for instance, loved to sit in the windowsill of my room, watch the roaming fields and read, as well as building playhouses in the woods and running tracks. I would not want to make either into a living.

Perhaps we are blind to the truth all around us? I need to turn this question upside down. Instead of starting the hunt for loves and likes and happiness, I stop now and then and see what I have been doing, even if I had no time for it. What my soul is drawn to and need to do, then I make room for thatstjerneskjerm

Then I take a step back now and then and consider the output of what I have done and what I haven’t done, what did I learn to do it better next time? I have found that the answer to middle age confusion is not necessarily to do something else, but to know the essence of what you do and why.

hvit peonI think the road to middle age wisdom is to learn the lessons from the road we have travelled, and know how to apply our understanding and wisdom to every task, every challenge, every opportunity  life gives us. Mostly.  If we are on the wrong road, no amount of putting mind and soul to the task will set us right. It would be bad though if we actually are on track, but so busy comparing gear and GPS readings that we never get around to enjoy it.

hvit alliumI tried this exercise in my garden today. I already know I need to be there, though I was not really aware of what I have been doing all these years.

Now I know. I have been planting white plants. I have taken care that the sunlight gets to play through the petalshvit rose I have given every flower room to grow and thrive. I have been steadily and unvaryingly watering, tending and working to create place for joy asolveig med vannkannand peace. Hopefully that is what I do wherever else I am too.

And yes I love it, still.

Instant Bliss- planned for years

billedholmen 1On the highway from the airport one may get a glimpse of the sea and a tiny island, often bathed in exceptional light, the reflexes from the high sky and the wide expanse of water.

I always look out for it, expecting beauty. When in a taxi, I always remark on it, and mostly we start talking of the lovely views from the airport and into town.

When driving I stop, and get a quick shot out of the window, almost every time.

billedholmen 2I did not know until this summer that the island had a name, Billedholmen, ( the Picture Island) that you could go there, and that this is a special habitat for several plants and birds.

Last night, on our way back from my fathers birthday party, we found the parking lot, the almost hidden pathway under the highway and walked the rocky path along the ocean.

Every turn on the road revealed magic. Almost there, we had to stop, the rocks were to big to climb. ( or our party shoes were not up to the task). We sat for a while though, a moment of peace, bliss and beauty.

We will be back – with other shoes.

Billedholmen 4

The little garden in the mountains

start innerdalenMy daughters and my husband went for a hike, and came back totally enthralled with their day. “You simply have to go, you will love it!”, they said.

And so a year went by.

Then Kristin visited from the US and we needed I nice place to go, why don’t we go where you went last year? I suggested, and so we did.

InnerdalstårnetInnerdalen has been a hub for mountaineering for more than a hundred years. Even to us, who only hiked the trails, it was breathtaking, beautiful, amazing.

We found a lodge, had lunch, poked around, took pictures, and went back. Then I found my love!

renndølsetra klesvaskAt first, I saw an old mountain farm, Renndølsetra. Cows grassing, hens walking in the tall grass, clothes on the line, a charming place where you may stay for the night, rent boats, have a meal.

Renndølsetra 6 hageWe took deep breaths, and oohed and awed as we strolled the meadows. Then I turned a corner and came upon the perfect garden. Tiny, 5×5 meters, fenced to keep the cow out, a door leading into the kitchen, a small table, a book on the table, a cat sleeping on the doorstep. No lawn, of course, vegetables, salads, herbs in raised wooden beds.

Renndølsetra 5 hageI just ached to jump the fence, pick some leaves and go help getting dinner ready….or even weed a little!

Why did I wait a year to go there?

Renndølsetra 10

Weeding like a viking or for a king?

irisMy favorite way of weeding is to dig everything up, sifting the soil and replanting the plants I want. I call it the viking way. No dithering, no delicate fingers carefully picking tender unwanted shoots.

My favorite way of cleaning a room is to take as much as possible our of it, scrubbing every nook and cranny, and sort thoroughly through what comes back in side.

My favorite way of improving myself is grand plans, I will never… I will always….from now on. As a kid I ate no sugar for a year, just to prove I could, you get the picture?

peonknoppThen I heard the King’s gardener giving advice on how he weeded the king’s gardens. His main rule was, green things need light to grow. Or: if weeds do not get light, they will not grow. The second rule was, focus on what your favorites need to grow, and give them that. That could be to remove weeds, it could be to mulch, to support or to cut down, to divide and to renew.

If you look for weeds to weed, weeds is what you see. You could stay in your garden the whole day and see nothing but weeds.

Perhaps that is true for life too? Do we look at what is wrong? Do we concentrate on what should be changed or on what we have power to strengthen and let grow? Could my life’s garden be more enjoyable if I just cut away the weeds above ground, and start looking for flowers and fruit, even while I weed?

kobberkjelI tried that when cleaning at the cabin this weekend. Instead of grumbling about to few cupboards, muttering about plans for an annex or another room, I looked around for the things I really liked. Then I made them shine and look their best. The old copper coffee pot, the huge copper pan that we use for firewood, all the candlesticks. For an hour I polished cherished memories incorporated in lovely things, at night I could se the flames from the fireside reflected all over our lovely, perfectly clean, just big enough, little cabin.

Our vacation will soon be over, I am tempted to make rigorous plans for all the things I am to achieve this term. Until now my normal approach would be to do all chores on my list, try to make everyone happy, and then hope for some time for my own projects. Weeding away every disturbance, before I enjoy the flowers.

My new plan is to be so absorbed by the blooms that I neither see the weeds or hear the complains.

From now on, I will be weeding as for a king!


Two things to remember and one to forget

på sykkelturFinally, a sunny day, a saturday, a lovely day!

“What’s your plans?”, my husband asks.

“To bike to town and buy some buttons, and another errand”, I answer. The button shop is truly special, more than a hundred years old and filled with every ribbon, button, notion and frill you may possibly think of.

“I’ll come too!” he surprises me by saying, and so he does, and so does his best friend.

After a record braking cold and wet summer, the rose buds at last dare to open. The rugosas scent the air, the road to town is like a summer dream as we bike along. First my husband, at his side, Ruffy is bouncing, jumping, running and barking for joy, attached to the bike with his special dog spring. Now and then he looks up at his friend, just to confirm that they are together. Then I come, cruising on my comfy California bike, enjoying the day.

Ruffy hviler i gressetWe buy the buttons, we talk to an travelling student and a Nobel prize winner. We have coffee, Ruffy has water, we do the steep climb past the fortress to go home. Trondheim is at its loveliest best. We sit down to savor the view. I grab my camera to share my town, I take three pictures, and then I remember the one thing I had forgotten, to buy a memory card.

As I store my pictures on the cards, as well as on a spare hard disc, these  pictures are all I got. No funny dog ears flapping while he runs, no cathedral, no friends.

No memory card, just memories, truly worth remembering. Truly worth storing in my own memory. This summer has taken us through some heart breaking experiences and stories, even if they are not mine to tell, it has not been a happy summer. We needed a happy, relaxed day. We got the chance to have one, and we took it. That is what I will remember, both that there will be times of rest, there will be pockets of joy, and that I just have to remember to receive them. I could have stayed at home, waiting for another rainy day to buy buttons. I could have taken the car, and of course I could have remembered my memory card. I did not, and I got a happy day.