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.

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!

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How to look at weeds..

flyttefotI weed.
Weeds of course, dandelions mostly.
Flowers even, forget-me-nots mainly.

I weed clutter too, things crowding  my life.
I weed my lists every day, by crossing out all the tasks done, by deleting and adding.

I weed my mind too. By making lists of the most mundane details, just so I do not have to remember them.

I keep weeding to make room for the life I want to live, the work I want to do, the love and the values I want to cherish, I may weed and weed, and then the day will be gone, I will go to bed with a clean desk and mind and wake to a new day that presents itself readily cluttered and I might start weeding again.

blå blomstOn that track a whole life could be spent getting ready to live. Even if every thing was in it’s place, there is everything else. Our bodies, careers, relationships, we could always find something that is weaker than it should be, worse than our friends, far from our wishes.Willing or not, most of us weed, we even encourage and admire each other for it. Until we see only weeds, habits to be changed and goals to be reached. Why have flowers at all, isn’t it much easier to weed without them?

There are of course weeds that we should not allow in our lifes. The secret of gardening though is to plant and nourish what will thrive in the given circumstances. The plants that will grow stronger than the weeds.

Or, could it be that my garden would flourish if I turned all the energy spent on weeding, to mulching, tending, digging, nourishing and being amazed and grateful for the beauty, colors, smells and wonders of all my flowers in the middle of the weeds?

Could it even be that my life would suit me more, if the energy spent on getting ready to do, finding time to go, decluttering to find space to be, organizing to make room to create, were turned into just living, reading, writing, creating?

We visited Sofia this spring, guess what, the flowerbeds, the lawns, the woods, were full of dandelions and forget-me-nots, making the perfect backdrop for myriads of tulips.

I might try that!

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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

 

 

Content of being content

IMG_6499 (1280x853)There’s a fountain in our garden, the drops form a triad of continuous music, one drop that hits the water, one that hits the grass and one that hits the paving stones keep playing together.

There’s a wind-chime in our copper-beech. Six carefully baritone tuned pipes sounds softly, one after another.

There’s a dog under the birch-tree. Snoring the midday heat away.

IMG_6467 (1280x853)There’s a charming husband high in our cherry tree, collecting everything out of my reach.

There’s a pick up truck in our yard as our oldest son arrives with more sugar for the cherry jam.

In the middle of this am I. Standing at a garden table, tanning my back in the sun, pitting cherries. Bucket after bucket.

I am content. I am happy.

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Saving for a rainy day

IMG_5627 (1280x765)Being inside, with an open window, listening to the patter of raindrops on green summery leaves.

Walking outside, like passing through layers of soft silk, feeling the warm rain drenching  and reviving my whole body.

Digging the garden, sensing the energy of every seed stretching to make the most of the moisture.

No need to save anything for rainy days, which are so full of their own blessings, even so I had done that. I had saved one task for the first rainy day, that was also a day off, and yesterday was it.

IMG_5701 (1280x853)As a true clutter quitter, organizer and striving to get orderly person, some of my treasures brought back from the States was red and green fabric boxes for my Christmas stuff. For ornaments, for wreaths, for strings of light, for wrappings.

I carried the old boxes, bags and what nots up from the basement and had the most lovely, sentimental, tearful, joyful, de-cluttering day, with the window open, the leaves rustling and the rain falling.

The rest of the family thought I was overdoing it, could it not wait until packing away the ornaments in january? It could not. My sorting days are my way of getting grounded, getting back on track, getting ready. Now, I am ready for summer, knowing that Christmas is ready to be taken down from the shelves in all its orderly glory, hopefully not on a rainy day. But if it rains….I’ll have another favorite task to handle that day in the coming December, and that’s my secret, making the most of any day, especially the rainy ones.

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A nap in time, saves nine?

IMG_4618 (1280x418)So here’s the thing, norwegians go skiing or sailing or hiking or visiting at Easter. And then they go to church, to conserts, to exhibits. In between they do crosswords or sudoko or read ( crime novels, mostly) watch tv or eat. Except me.

Since coming home from California I have been so happy doing all kinds of things to get my business started, and did not want to slow down. First a cold, then bronchitis, then pneumonia, so instead of slowing down I had to spend the last week at full stop. IMG_4600 (1280x853)

No reading, no writing, just moping at the coach waiting for some air to get down into my lungs.

Is that not often the case? I do tell my friends to take care, I do tell others that rest is essential.

I once gave a client the task of trying to do to herself what she would do for her best friend. She knew what herself in the role as her best friend needed, she felt guilty for giving it.

IMG_4610 (1280x853)What did she need? Someone to tell her to put her feet up, while fetching her a cup of soup. Why is it, that what we give without thinking to others is so hard to give ourselves?

IMG_4625 (1280x853)Today is Easter day. My big excursion was going out in the garden, considering if I should sit on the bench, taking the  pictures for this blog, and then going inside for another nap.

IMG_4622 (1280x853)And you know? Since I was in my garden last the whole world had awakened, teeming with energy and beauty, without me writing a single list, or making even a tiny plan for it to happen. To me, an allegory of the Easter Miracle, as well a reminder, nap in time!

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