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!

forglemegei 27.04

 

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Finse on the 8th of May

I had planned to sleep in today. Having a late breakfast, taking my time deciding what to do. Then, at six thirty, I happened to look out of our bedroom window. The blinds were up, and the window was open, the whole world was there to see, from my bed. And what a world! Covered in white, only   some rocks showing through the snow. Steely grey skies, except from a single beam from the morning sun, hitting the side of the mountain just as three small avalanches rolled down towards the lake.

Indexyourlife Finse2I grabbed my camera and got some pictures while still in my nightie. Not perfect from a technical view, but gorgeous for me being in the middle of it. The beauty made me wide awake, and as soon as the sun was hidden again I was out of bed and ready for the day. You see, we are at Finse.

Finse, that is where Schackleton, Nansen and Scott trained for their expeditions.
Finse, that is where snow kiters, glacier walkers, mountain skiers and terrain bikers form all the world love to challenge themselves.
Finse, that is where film crews find solitude, ice and snow. As in Star wars, as just now with “Nobody wants the night” with Juliet Binoche and Gabriel Byrd, cast as Robert Peary and his love.
Finse, the highest point on the Oslo-Bergen railway at 1222 m. above sea level, with an historic hotel from 1909, teeming with life and energy.

IMG_5213 Finse skitur1At Finse where we are this week it is still winter, still enough winter to pretend it is Greenland in winter. I have spent the week visiting with friends from Santa Barbara. My husband and 30 other of his kind have been sharing insights and wisdom on computer security and coding.

Today I rented mountain skis and went out in the white. even when overcast, the glare makes you wear sunglasses.  Just now I am blogging as somebody else is preparing a delicious meal. Today have been happy trails, indeed.

 

Roots in a bottle

IMG_4026I was on my way to a meeting in the charming old part of Bergen. Even as I was running late, I had my camera. Coming towards me was this old woman. Leaning heavily on her cane, labouring her way uphill.

We met midway. She paused, and of course I stopped, to see if there was anything I could do for her. Was she exhausted, was she ill?

She barely threw me a glance and bent down, poked her cane in the bushes and found a hamburger wrapping and a squashed bottle. She picked them up, went over to the trash-can outside the nearest house and threw it in.

Then she walked on.

I once had great grandparents and grandparents like that. They all taught by example how the tiny deeds always adds up to more that big thoughts. I just had forgotten. With my head in the clouds and my mind in my plans I had walked straight by a chance to keep this tiny street beautiful.

I trust I will be given more chances, and I know it is not only about trash in the bushes, but in all our doings. The one step taken is more important than the thousands just planned.

What about you? What is your tiny step today?

To sleep or not to sleep

IMG_0877 (1024x768)I did not sleep like a log, as logs sometimes move.
I did not sleep like a rock, as rocks sometimes roll.
I slept like an alpine village in a january night.
Totally silent, still and peaceful, as if snow was softly falling outside my window.

That was two nights ago.

Last night I fell asleep, only to wake an hour later.

I know why, I am jet lagged. Even so I know I have to sleep to be awake for tomorrow. Of course I do not listen to reason. I toss, I turn, I just can not sleep.

Then I tell myself, you can “notsleep”! So I do!

I do some stretches on the floor, I take a hot shower, I put on body lotion.

IMG_9401 (1024x683)I crawl back into bed and luxuriate in the stillness of the night. No one needs me just now, I am free to let my thoughts play and wander, just for fun. At times like these I have some favorite walks to relive. I meander slowly between the legs of tall pine trees in the evening sun, I walk where the surf breaks along the beach or I ski over snow-clad fields in the blue winter light.

IMG_9281 (1024x683)Strangely enough, even if I may not sleep I usually do, eventually.

At times it is not physical changes or travel that keep me awake. I have had my share of nights filled with illness, pain, sorrow, waiting or worries. I know all the tricks to help people sleep.
I guess they help others, they do not help me.

I do not read, I think sleeplessness is a gift of time to have a look at what’s already in my head.

I do not go and do something else until I am tired, I do allow my body to have its rest, even if my mind is busy.

IMG_0587 (1024x768)I just accept the fact that I am not sleeping, well, most of the time.
Tonight I just have to go to bed, before I go to sleep at my desk, and even I can not find a positive take on sleeping in a keyboard.

To go and to be – a daily post on going

IMG_2407 lonely treeI get to travel a lot. Both through work and for leisure. Even when we technically already are on a travel, we go somewhere else, to see, to explore, to understand and to take photos  of course. Even so there are more places I have not visited, than places I’ve been, which is totally OK. I do not really have an urge to travel.

IMG_2652 mapsWhat I would love to do though is getting even braver at talking to people where I go. When we are driving, even on roads at home which I know so well, I catch myself looking into windows, wondering how it is to live just here, and there and what about here? How are our lives influenced by geography, history, beliefs, health,political and economical limitations and possibilities? What longings do we share, what dreams do we want to make real together?

IMG_2433 really fallI do love the in-between travels, some times I have had the opportunity to go places where my husband will work, and I will have no responsibilities. I walk at my leisure, almost meditating, through parks, woods, libraries, galleries and museums. I take photos, talk to people, have long lunches where I write and think, and then we will meet up for dinner or have some days together after the conference or whatever.

IMG_2481 the colours of St.PetersburgThis way I get to see the sights, have fun with my husband, and savour the place and the people in my own pace. I do not know anybody who is so slow in taking in a new place like me, and who actually wants to sit on a bench pondering over life, when there are shops or sights everywhere. But I do, and I love it.

IMG_1754 spilt bloodEven more I treasure the years we have been living abroad, in the Netherlands, in Indiana and now in California. To live in a different culture and get to understand more, to take part in charities, community life, making new friends, really makes my life richer. Even in traveling I believe that we see “through a glass darkly” and need to tell each other about our lives to be able to understand more of the total picture called LIFE.

IMG_2490 hiddel cathedralThen of course, there is no need to go anywhere, I do not know everyone in my own home town or even in my own street, so no: I go, learn and reflect and love it. But, I do not need to go or long to go anywhere.

The pictures in this post is from solitary and wonderful walks through Saint Petersburg last October.

No matter where you go, there you are

Botanic Garden Cambridge UK april 2012

Botanic Garden Cambridge UK april 2012

On my first trip to England (30 years ago) I was seated next to  a woman who held on to her hold-all, as if her life depended on it. Which it actually did. I could of course not help myself and had to ask, what on earth do you carry in that bag? She was more than willing to show and tell, as this was the kit her father had told her would take her anywhere and through every situation. Band Aid, sweater, books – I could have guessed those. Then came a big serious looking knife. I edged away but had to see the rest, out came an enormous coil of heavy-duty rope. Your hotel could catch fire you know, she said. I sort of left her alone after that.

Old street, Cambridge UK, april 2012

Old street, Cambridge UK, april 2012

She comes back to me every time I pack for traveling though, as a reminder of the words of Confucius. You can not escape from yourself. Not that I want to. It is just that it easy to forget our part in what we are going away from. Everything will not turn out OK somewhere else, the lessons I still have to learn in life will pop up again and again. The wonderful thing with going away is that even if we are given the same lessons, it is as if they are reframed. Life is a wise teacher, when the student does not understand the task or the lesson, she does not repeat the lesson just as she framed it the first time. She gives another example, another way of putting it, another hint of what it is all about.

Biking at Nantucket, June 2012

Biking at Nantucket, June 2012

And then, like in school, even if I do understand the task, even if I know I have to do it, I just need a break, to look at it all from a distance. I am still there though. Even if I carry less and less physical stuff as the years go by, I now and then stop and ask myself what emotional luggage I carry. I know some are essential and allows me to engage with the people I meet. I also know some of my hangups that keeps me back from relying to much of others. If I do not trust at home, I will be even more distrustful abroad, if I am not able to make friends at home, there is no reason why I should do it anywhere else.

Stone steps, Oppdal, Norway september 2012

Stone steps, Oppdal, Norway september 2012

There could be added extracurricular lessons abroad, the challenges and hardships I never meet at home, it will still be me who have to face it though. It is like a scientific experiment, trying to isolate the different factors to know what really reacts on what. As to travel, I am the constant, the essence of life’s challenges are the same, the environment the big X. Come to think of it, that’s what I love about traveling, no matter where I go, I am still there.

Indiana, October 2012

Indiana, October 2012

The one place wherein everything is contained – an icon

January

January

To me, the problem is not finding something to write about. To me, there is never nothing to take pictures of. To me, there is always something to do, to explore, to create. The challenge is to stay focused. There is this picture in the Bible of man being an earthen vessel, while God is the potter. I keep being reminded of my struggles in pottery class when I read that, the whole point was getting the clay centered. If not, everything became a mess.

March

March

To me that is a true fact of life too, when I am centered on what matters most, everything else fall into place. This is perhaps the most important organizing principle of them all, know your values, know your core. Then make that decide the what, the where, the hows and with whom in your life.

May

May

This week’s writing challenge is about icons. Icons is of course first of all a holy picture, made to remind the viewer of a bigger truth that can not be contained in words or a normal image.

July

July

In a larger meaning an icon is the center of the potter’s wheel, a picture of the place in my world that combines soul and wisdom, energy and effort into something far bigger than what the picture itself shows. As the potter makes both everyday and extraordinary pieces, not everything I am or do is glorious, wonderful, special or even what we could call iconic adventures. As the potter knows, I know that everything has to have the same center though.

August

August

A big baking bowl for everyday bread, a tiny pot for the most precious oil, the same center.  It is not the center on an exact wheel that makes it special, but the fact of  it being the center, the point where every thing connects. I travel a lot, and I would be lost if I had to do everything the  same way no matter where I am. I would be equally lost if I did not carry my core with me.

Old boathouses at the shore

Old boathouses at the shore

Perhaps that is how some pictures, some places and some persons become icons? They do not carry only what we see, but also an echo of something that resounds in our soul, an essence only to be seen with our heart, reflected through the core of our being.

Ruffy playing

Ruffy playing

To be true to that, I went through my pictures to see if there was a recurring theme, a place that was the backdrop to my life, somewhere that always had more to show, while always being the same. To me, if a location could show that, it would be iconic. I did not have to look long. All the pictures in this post is from the norwegian mountain valley, Gjevillvassdalen, or rather the big lake in the center of this valley.

September

September

It is an iconic place in the common sense, as it adores postcard and calendars as a typical norwegian scene. It is iconic in the historic sense, as it still farmed as mountain farmland, telling a story of the toil and labour that made Norway into what it is today. To me and my family it is iconic as it is where we have our cabin, it is the place of our children’s childhood and our marriage. It is the place where we have walked in joy and sorrow, awe and wonder. It is the geographical place which symbols love, friendship, family and growth. No matter where we go, it is always in our hearts.

December

December