Breath in, breath out

IMG_3290What if?

A lady, well I have to admit she was a blonde, as I am, walked into the hair dresser’s wearing big ear phones. The stylist told her, politely of course, to take them off.
“I am so sorry, but I can not cut your hair while you are wearing those.”He said.
“Well, I have to keep them on, you see I die if I remove them!” She answered.
The stylist just laughed,” That’s a good one, of course you have to take them off!”

She kept insisting that she would die, and he kept insisting she was fooling him. In the end  the stylist lost his temper and tore the headphones off her.

And as she had said, she fell lifeless to the floor.

Filled with fear and curiosity the stylist put the headphone to his own ear and heard the crucial message:

“Breath In, breath out”

I have much fun and fresh thoughts reading D:s blog on her way to perfection  

Check her blog and read what she says about a simple life! To me, that is the point with lists and organizing. Not to remember all the details, but to get an overview and to remove the details and focus on the really basic all important stuff.

Walk in the light

IMG_3295 walk in light 8 januarOn New Year’s Eve I was sitting on the bluff in Goleta, looking out at the Pacific, taking a deep breath and knowing that this, the ocean, is what I will miss most. Just to be there, be silent, to realign, re-prioritize. Just then I saw another new year’s wanderer step into the light of the setting sun, and I was reminded of my everlasting life resolution and the most untangling tool of them all.On our wedding day my grandmother said; my only advice for a happy and peaceful marriage is to walk in the light, that is she said :

to never let the sun set on your anger
to be willing to ask for forgiveness
to live openly and truthfully

To allow the light of God and your fellow beings enlighten you

Happy light wanderings!

Ninehundred and twenty, a sobering thought on stuff

Los Angeles stuff

Los Angeles stuff

I hate to drive, in traffic that is. I love to drive on tranquil mountain roads, with no one about and where I can turn over and take pictures wherever I want to.

I hate noise too. I love to sit peacefully in my car and have hours for thinking, singing, praying and talking to myself. So if there was a way to go from Santa Barbara to Los Angeles without seeing other cars, without hearing other noises, in peace, I would do it, at once. As it is, it isn’t.

So I drove down to Gardena yesterday to pick up my husband who was taking his motorcycle down to have it shipped to Norway. As I was there I handed in the papers for our household goods too, and sat down with my diary while waiting for him.

I guess it was the time and place that induced these sobering thoughts in my mind. I was going to ship 20 boxes, what we had accumulated this year. When we lived in Indiana it was 32, from the Netherlands it was also more than thirty.

When we married 32 years ago, we had next to nothing, well perhaps 10 boxes each. I remember sitting on one of them looking around in our empty apartment when the doorbell rang. Our first-floor neighbor had seen what we carried into the house and told us there was a stove we could have in the basement, if we wanted to. It worked fine, then we got an old sofa and we were good. For a while. We are not spendthrifts, but things keep being needed. Allowing for 10 boxes for the four children and ten each for Stig and me, it would add up to 920 boxes over these years, at this pace. Of course neither cars, motorcycles,beds,stoves nor sofas stay in their boxes, but you get the picture, a continuous stream of stuff.

To be taken care of, washed, polished, mended, looked after, moved and replaced, and to be used, 920 boxes or thereabout. Even worse, if I literrally boxed it all, and placed it on a big floor, the air would be filled with items fluttering and flying from box to box or just playing around. As we kept the big stuff out of this equation, one could easily say that each 6 cubic feet box had 50 things in it. Which in short would say that we are trying to find our way among 4600 items moving more or less aimlessly about.

The truth is still some boxes apart from this nightmare, and yet…even if I keep recycling, reusing, giving away and take care, it all boils down to this:
I hate to drive as the traffic is so heavy, and I pay people to add to the traffic by moving my boxes, by buying, by having it made.
I love silence, but make somebody else suffer traffic noises and add to them so that I can have my stuff.
Somewhere and somehow this does not add up.

Seems there are room for many new year’s resolutions, I just need some peace to think it through. Perhaps I should go for a drive?

life without stuff?

life without stuff?

Who’s there?

These last weeks have been weeks of extreme tides, King Tides. It happens when the orbit of the moon, the pull of the water, the equinox of the sun, the tilt of the earth all work together at their most extreme. Thanks to Linda, who told me about this, I have been wandering and marveling in the low tides for days.

At the average tides, I can sit on the shore and watch dolphins, whales, seals and pelicans. Now, they are further out, but I get to see why they love to roam close to shore. Teeming myriads of sea anemones, sea urchins, cliffs covered in shell and schools of tiny fish. But only at the extreme stress of king tides.

Perhaps it is like that for humans too? At times of extreme stress, the tiny, but vital and real motivators come out in the light. We are on the edge of a tide now, with moving overseas, with me establishing my new firm, with my husband getting back to work, and all other obligations that needs to be handled.

We are doing fine though. I think part of it is because we have learned through 30 years together that these periods of transition is just that. Not who we are, or want to be, but who we are when we are vulnerable, exposed and really out of our element. As with the tide pools. What we see are not meant to be seen, what we see are life forms struggling for their life, gasping in the air, longing for water. Fascinating, yet to be treated with utmost care.

The lesson of the tide pool will be my New Year Resolution this year. Not only to go with the flow, but to look for who we are when  we are at our best, to forgive, to understand. But most of all, to marvel at the resilience and the amount of stress we are able to go through…..as long as the water will flow back, life returns to normal, and the tide will stay within its limits, one day.

IMG_3354 tidepool wide 7januar

On the third day of Christmas

IMG_320429.desember

Peace on earth and mercy mild
God and sinners reconciled

Sissel sings “Hark the Herald angels sing” with the Trondheim Soloists.

Over Christmas I will share the words of my favorite Christmas songs and my favorite winter pictures.
All pictures at Indexyourlife are mine, if not otherwise stated.

On the first day of Christmas

IMG_2804 mistletoe2

Joy to the world

The Lord is come

Let earth receive her King!

Let every heart prepare Him room

and heaven and nature sing.

Over Christmas I share my favorite Christmas carols and some winter pictures I love.
All pictures at Indexyourlife are mine, if not otherwise stated.

December 24th- the everyday saints

Creche from Provence, picture by ThyThy on Wikipedia Commons

Years ago I stumbled upon a book about the Christmas tree at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York. Loretta Hines amazing collection of santos and angels from 17th century Italy. It is one of the things I really long to see. For it’s beauty, yes. For the size and scope, yes, that too. For the artisanship that went into creating them, oh yes, I want to see that. But most of all I’d love to see the display of ordinariness around the nativity. Italian and french nativities are not describing something out of this world, but an event just in the middle of our ordinary, everyday world.

Each figure is called a santos, a saint. More often than not the small doll is an ordinary person, going about her day to day business, and then the miracle happens. I wondered why God did not choose more fancy surroundings when he came to earth. Would it not have helped his case to be born among the well connected, those with money, influence and power? I am quite sure some of them knew the Lord, and would have been eager to help. For him as God I think he wants to make sure no human will be able to take credit for what only God can do. For him as man, for us as men, I think he wants to show us that being human is glory enough. Nothing can be added to make human life more valuable, except life itself, nothing can be taken away. He came to restore the possibility and promise in being human, not to make us angels or gods, just humans. Saints of every day.

IMG_2647 julestjerneWishing you a Christmas of joy and blessing, the next twelve days will be posts with my favorite winter pictures and Christmas songs.
All pictures at Indexyourlife are mine, if not otherwise stated.

December 23rd – the Christmas martyrs

IMG_2382 17.des lysBut Martha was busy with all the things that had to be done. She came to Jesus and said,
Lord, my sister had left ME to do ALL the work by myself.
Don’t you care?
Tell her to help me!

Martha, Martha, the Lord answered.
You are worried and upset about many things.
But only one thing is needed. Mary has chosen what is better.
And it will not be taken away from her.

No matter what you believe, the reading for today should be this one from Luke 10:40-42.

You see we have a choice.
You are probably kinder and milder than me, I on the other hand tend to act like Martha, especially around Christmas. “Hey, I do all this to make it the best holiday ever, for everybody, and yes, I do remember why we celebrate Christmas! Come on, appreciate it, get everybody to help!”

I am sure Jesus wants us to help each other. What is more uncomfortable is that he pokes our self-made halos. Do  we dare to be quiet long enough to question our motives? Could there be just a tiny hint of self deserving martyrdom in all the busy housewifery? Are we sure what we do has any thing to do with the one thing needed? Do we dare to make new choices or do we hide behind other people’s choices and demand validation because we doubt the worth of these acts?

If what I do is worth doing I would do it no matter who recognized it, wouldn’t I?

Just asking.

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.

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

December 22nd – the perfect Christmas

At least the tree is up!

At least the tree is up!

Have you ever seen monks creating a rice mandala or an african village preparing a pattern in the dust? Intense concentration and effort, everyone at work. Then, when it is finished the mandala is swept away and the village dances in the middle of the dirt.  The result of days of work disappears with the wind. The quality of the art is not determined by the product, but by the process.

Then try this; next time you wait in line at the grocery store, read the headlines on all the holiday magazines. Quick fix this, super easy that, ten minute this and instant heirloom that. We live in a culture that accepts to be fooled by lookalike products as long as the long, tiresome and costly process can be skipped. We even expect something handmade to be a little lopsided and whimsical, which of course neither Faberge or Michelangelo would have considered an option.

Why do we think we have to hurry?

What if preparing for Christmas was not about products, looks and things, but all about the process of preparing ourselves for Christmas? How would it feel to make a wreath to remind your nostrils about the smell of evergreens and your soul about eternity instead of hanging something to decorate? What if the time leading up to Christmas was not about doing things to get them done, but doing them because doing it was meaningful?

My preparations have changed that way. I used to have lots of things I had to do. Actually too many things. All to making it look, feel and smell like Christmas in every nook and cranny. As I never was able to do all I had planned,  as people are just as ( well, more) tired, different, happy or angry at Christmas as they usually are, Christmas never got to perfect.

Then I turned it around. Christmas is perfect, Christmas just is, we do not have to do anything to make it happen. What I have to do is to do things that helps me be there, amazed and in wonder when it happens.

I still do things. Most take time and effort, while the end product will not always last. My process of receiving, savoring, enjoying, listening, smelling, tasting, the wonder of Christmas stays with me forever, perfect.

Not necessarily perfect...

Not necessarily perfect…

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.

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

December 21st- facing the light

IMG_2691 turning pointIn Norway tonight is the longest night of the year, which of course means that the days will be getting longer. An old norse saying is ” face the sun, and the shadows will stay behind you.” I am an optimist, and tend to do that always. Except when I get too tired. Except when I loose focus. Except when I do too much. Except when I forget the “why” and just concentrate on the “how.” Which, I guess, is when I need it most. So, even if I do not celebrate winter solstice, but Christmas, I do celebrate light.

Perhaps the most untangling tool of them all. Just to remember, to prepare for Christmas is just that, facing the light, making room for light. Today there even is a promise of spring.

IMG_2792 spring 2

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.