The story without a moral

Searching for the cafe at Ringsaker

Searching for the cafe at Ringsaker

Sometimes we have a point to share when sharing our journey through life. At other times, writing is just the joy of remembering, of living through joy and adventure once more. To be shared, of course, but with no moral to it, no indexing, sorting, couching, or any wisdom at all included, just joy.

So this is how the pointless story without any message goes:

” I am going to visit Kristin this summer”, I told Stig in May,” are you coming too?”

“Of course, I’d love that” he says, picturing hikes in the mountains, on the glaciers and in the woods, which is one of the things our friend loves to do.

Some weeks later, he probably feels there has been to little checking on equipment, comparing routes and discussing alternatives. ” Actually, what are the plans for our visit?” he asks.

No tough girl activities planned at all, I can see that he is not happy, and simultaneously we arrive to the same conclusion. He’ll bring the Harley, I’ll bring the dog, and that’s how we went.

Going down to the lake Mjøsa from Hovinsholm

Going down to the lake Mjøsa from Hovinsholm

His stories about the rides in the fierce thunderstorm, at the highest altitudes and the worst roads, the most glorious views and the warmest day ever, are his to tell. Happy trails!

We, Kristin and me, went for rides that would have driven anybody but us crazy. It goes like this: “there should be a lovely cafe here, really? let’s turn around! Oh it’s not here, it’s over there,can we go there? I am not sure, let’s try, oops that was not the right place…did you see those colors!” And then we stop, park the car at the roadside, and takes pictures, stroll along a curvy lane or get soaked in a shower while picking sunflowers.

Stopping for pictures at Helgøya

Stopping for pictures at Helgøya

Then we have coffee, and of course more coffee if another nice place turns up, and then there are honesty stalls with raspberries, interesting people to chat with and the most amazing stories to be told.

Sunflowers to pick, the sign reads "knife on the box"

Sunflowers to pick, the sign reads “knife on the box”

Then we set off searching for a cute store selling exceptional dresses, and we find it! Except it is closed…but we do find the store selling pure linen dish rags, and are happy buying them!

Perfect break at Skafferiet

Perfect break at Skafferiet

Another day we do the lovely ride and short hike to an old restored small-holding high in the hills, the gallery, cafe and home of Egil Thorin Næsheim.

The "outdoor" kitchen at Snekkerstua

The “outdoor” kitchen at Snekkerstua

Pancakes with rhubarb jam in a mountain garden, the dog curled at our feet, the sun smiling.

Snekkerstua, the Næsheim gallery

Snekkerstua, the Næsheim gallery

Later that day we go to another mountain farm, called Ro, or Peace.
No words can catch the buzzing bees, the smell of thyme, the soft grey green of the apples ripeneing on the wall. Then there was coffee served from a copper kettle, with hot cinnamon rolls to go with it.

Coffee, served the peaceful way at "Ro"

Coffee, served the peaceful way at “Ro”

Even so, the best treat, Lina, the creator of the garden pulled up a chair and sat down with us, telling us about her visions, dreams and work.

Kristin and Lina at Kulturstua Ro

Kristin and Lina at Kulturstua Ro

Days do not often come better than these! And then we went home, to Kristin and her mother at the charming, old, small farm, and made the day even better, with nice long meals, raspberries and cream, more talking, more sharing.
Just a couple of days, and Kristin went back to work, we loaded the bike and went back home, full of adventures and pictures to share with each other, and shared memories of a treasured visit with a dear friend.

The living room at Snekkerstua

The living room at Snekkerstua

 

 

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Viking ways

IMG_5834 (1280x853)This is how I felt today, crowded. By things I should do, by things I would have loved to be doing, by things I have to do, by things I never will come around to do. In short, from where I stand the only calm person to be seen is the viking surveying his town, sword in hand. I have to admit, if a slashing, sword-swinging bout of action could clear my lists, I would do it. As you can see, I am not in a position to do that. I took the picture while wheeling my heavy laden bike through the market of my town Trondheim, the only way to get going was by carefully weaving my way, stopping, waiting, smiling, not hurrying. I had one item to buy at the market, my summer breakfast favorite, honey cake, and kept going.

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But wait, I had the best clutter-clearing, worry-killing, task-quitting weapon at my side. Invisible to you, I was walking with a dear, wise and kind friend, Anita. We were heading home after coffee in town. Slowly we worked and talked, shared and sorted through big and small. Halfway we stopped for another coffee with waffles, kept talking, kept laughing, and suddenly we were home. I was ready to tackle my crowd.

IMG_5842 (1280x853)Then I saw it, the crowd was not an illusion. I had tried to make lists like some of my friends do, I even had bought a sweet blue notebook for it. They just add everything as they think of it, and handle it when they get to it, one item at the time. It did not work for me at all, the tasks felt like a swarm of bees or a crowd of vendors crying for my attention.

IMG_5841 (1280x853)I had to sort, not only by talking and sharing. I still and forever is the indexy type. Admitting for the long lists, I found four bigger index cards, still honouring my thought that what I do should be the four cornerstones of my life. Still knowing  the fact that more than that is simply too much. I sorted my tasks, divided them on the cards and are on my way to conquer them. Grouped like that I see what I do as part of a bigger picture and an ongoing life, not as irritating tasks that keep me from living.

No viking way of getting it done, no way to conquer and subdue for ever. As in life, if its is worth doing, keep at it. If not, let it go! And by all means, have some waffles with a friend while deciding! By the way, I did not find my cake, so instead I’ll find my grandmothers recipe book and make one myself, even if it is not on any card.

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Thirst by Mary Oliver

Pat always shares poems or quotes that gives me a new insight, while also resonating with something in my soul. Is that not always so, we can only understand the answer if the question already lives in our heart.

OPreach

The pond God has given us The pond God has given us


Another morning and I wake with thirst

for the goodness I do not have.
I walk
out to the pond and all the way God has


given us such beautiful lessons.
Oh Lord,
I was never a quick scholar but sulked


and hunched over my books past the hour

and the bell; grant me, in your mercy,
a little more time.

Love for the earth
and love for you are having such a long


conversation in my heart.
Who knows what
will finally happen or where I will be sent,


yet already I have given a great many things

away, expecting to be told to pack nothing,

except the prayers which, with this thirst,

I am slowy learning.



— Mary Oliver, Thirst,
  Beacon Press, Boston, 2006, pp. 1, 52, 69

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The crooked path to truth

IMG_3781We arrive at the mall, and head for the entrance.

For some reason I am always there first, my friend last, and every time she is just as surprised as last time. And no, it is not because I want to go there most. The secret is that I am easily distracted by small things, though never from my goal. She is never distracted by anything, she just waits for it to pass. So I dart here and there, avoid cars and people and weave my way towards my goal. While she stops and waits when somebody gets in her way, never wavering a yard from her true path.

It does not really matter of course, who comes first to a mall. I do try to apply my whimsical walks to other paths of life though.

What if I, discussing truth, life, death, the big questions, am so sure of the right path and just forces my way to my chosen solution?

What if I, not heeding any hinders, just insists on what the best course is?

Or, what happens in real life, when we stop the considering other people as hindering us from our set path, and see each other as our only way of discovering our true path?

 

How ten makes three

IMG_3032I do lists, that is no secret.
The secret trick to my lists is that I don’t write a “to do” list, it normally turns out as a “do not do” list.

I make a list of all and every thought that bothers me and cries for attention, like: remember, call, fetch, buy, arrange, cancel, repair this and that and who and where.

Then I look at my list, regroup, cross out and rethink and cut it down to what really has to be done. Not to get through the day, but in a longer perspective. Suzy Welch  uses the 10-10-10 rule when cutting. What happens in 10 minutes, 10 months, 10 years, if I do this or if I don’t do that? It calms me down and help me focus. I thought there was an insurmountable pile of tasks that had to be done, and then, it really wasn’t.

Then I got another idea from reading Deborah’s blog, write only three things on your list, the three things you have to do that day. All three methods end up with a short, to the point list, that has to be done. Perhaps a mixture of the three approaches is best?

What do you think?

By the way, check Deborahs homepage and her awardwinning book, Into the wilderness!

December 7th – homemade with stress…or love?

IMG_1905 garn“Why don’t you just knit some socks for my kids for Christmas?” I will not tell you who said this, he probably thought he was making it simple for me. He caught me in the middle of gift making and did not meet a jolly elf, he met a fuming one. “Of course I can, then you can give each of our children what you earn in 8 hours, I retorted”. Not an answer to be proud of, I know, but it made me think. When did I allow it to become a question of money?

At times it is, with good ideas, time on your hand and free materials, making gifts could be cheap. It normally isn’t. The Alpacca wool mittens I am working on now, takes 25 Dollars worth of yarn and at least 10 hours work. The strange thing is, I have been giving self-made gifts since I was five years old, and I should know by now that quite a few people do not really appreciate a home made gift, so why so I keep doing it?

It took me years to shift my mind from having to make gifts, to wanting to make gifts, to being allowed to make gifts, to enjoying to make gifts, to craving to make gifts. Which is where I am now.

I realized it was not so much about giving as it was about being.
It was not about money, it was all about values.
It was actually not about the product, it was about the process.

I have to be a person who makes things, that is the simple truth.
I love the way my house looks with a basket of knitting next to my chair.
I love the way I feel when thoughts are allowed to come and go, dusk is slowly falling, the fire is roaring, the music is playing and soft yarn runs through my fingers.

To be honest, making gifts is about who I am, not about what I do. When I finally saw that truth I was able to let go of all the hassle of gift making and keep the love of making gifts.

For some weeks in fall and early winter I have a project waiting for me in my knitting basket. I steal moments of pure joy with those bundles of softness and color. Sometimes there will be results too, which I am thrilled to share with friends and family.

At all times the result is a happy me, which around the 15th of december congratulate myself with work well done, clears away all craft supplies and knitting, and ventures out to buy my dear ones what I can truly afford, with love. Next year perhaps a new person will be the one who get’s something crafted straight from my heart, who knows. They all get peace and gifts with no hassle or stress attached, and with no hours counted.

IMG_1907 knitting

Believe me, I know better than most how frantic and exhausting it is possible to make the season of peace and goodwill. The main story on Indexyourlife in December will be my way to a Christmas free of tangles.

In December my brother and I write an advent calendar blog together in norwegian.You may visit at  JULEFRYD or Christmas Joy. This year we will be writing or sharing thoughts and joys of gifts, giving and sharing. We will post there every day, and I will share some of that blog here on indexyourlife too.

All pictures at Indexyourlife are mine, if not otherwise stated.

To start, start

IMG_4056 sleep

I said: “do nothing”, I did not say “do not ever do anything”. In a real crisis, we need to consider, to stop and think, before we do anything, as the next step is crucial.

On the other hand, to keep doing nothing, will not only keep you in the middle of the mess, it will also make you a victim, not a responsible adult.

To keep doing nothing will also make most people depressed and tired. Even to keep mulling over your situation, to keep organizing and sorting, to keep asking and praying, to keep walking and talking it over, will not take you anywhere. It will point you in a direction, but to go there, you have to start going. One day we have to stop practicing for life, to rest to be able to handle life, to discuss how it all could be, and just start living.

Even if it means backtracking a couple of steps. Even if it means admitting we were wrong. Even if it means starting afresh. If you just realized you were going in the wrong direction, you will actually get closer to where you want to be if you turn around and go back.

And by all means, remember to sleep, but start going.

In November I take part in the NaBloPoMo,  in the BlogHer network. I post every day on “The Untangling Tens” what women do when life gets tangled. These are the ten tools that worked for those I have asked, what are yours?

All pictures in this blog are taken by me, Solveig Mjolsnes. This cute sleeping koala lives in the San Fransisco Zoo.