Reflections from Greece

john-william-waterhouse-miranda-and-the-tempestI feel a little sad that my adventure is over, for now. I’m back home after traveling alone to Greece, finding my way to the island where my friend was staying with her family. I felt nervous about going, knowing that I would be out of my comfort zone for more than two weeks. But my spirit felt happy, it felt like I was expanding and that I was being guided to take this journey alone, my husband being unable to join me.

I like my comforts. I like the known, yet I feel I’m being taught to be more outgoing, a little more daring. On my trip I found a strength that I haven’t felt in a long, long time.

Sometimes in the evenings I would write. I was on my own then and my thoughts flowed more freely. There’s something about the night that inspires creativity. I’m sure you have felt it as well.

Anyway, I felt too vulnerable to publish what I had written. I’m not exactly sure what makes me so afraid. I carry a strange feeling of having done something wrong, even when nothing has happened. I feel guilty all the time.

But here it is, a little something I wrote while being alone in a small cabin I had just moved to.

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I did not bring a camera, so people won’t be able to see the beauties I’ve seen. They won’t see the view from my bedroom window, the moonlight on the ocean. They won’t see the flowers, the wind in the trees, magnificent sunrises and sunsets.

I did not remember to bring the camera, though I think I forgot it on purpose. Somehow it gets in the way. I don’t like it. Yet I do want to brag to friends and family by showing pictures from distant, exotic places. But that’s not very deep is it? Do you know what my favorite part of the Bible is? It’s only a sentence, and I don’t remember it word for word. Let me look it up…Ah, here it is:

 But Mary treasured up all these things and pondered them in her heart.

That part stayed with me more than anything else. I feel that’s what I want to do, to treasure up all my impressions and ponder them in my heart. When night comes I long to be alone so that I can reflect, and feel what the day has taught me. Sometimes I listen to music with headphones on and just feel myself sway to the beauty of it. Other times I write, or look at the stars. 

My Heart Tells Me to Write

naissance_de_venus-largeI have such a strong desire to write. I’m not sure what to do except to…write, even though I don’t feel great at it. English is not my first language, and yet it’s in English I want to express myself.

I’m not sure where to start. Everything is jumbled together. I write something and stop, and then start on something entirely different instead, often inspired by what I feel in the moment.

I’m also not sure who I’m writing for. Writing for myself is helpful and yet I want more. I’m terrified of what people will think of what I create, and at the same time I want to share it with others.

Whenever I write I keep judging it, strangling my creativity, but I want to do it anyway. I write little stories that start and stop abruptly, not sure if I will ever finish them, all the time feeling in the midst of chaos, and yet hopeful because it truly feels like I’m following my heart.

To write just for fun is hard for me. I feel I need to spend my time well, like a good girl, make money, clean the house. It feels like my heart is breaking. I have to write! Even if it’s not very good, I just have to allow this creativity to flow through me. I’ve been clenched tight for years, holding everything in, and now I’m exhausted.

Below is a little something I wrote after returning from my trip abroad.

 

“She heard the sound of trees, soft rustling of leaves. The sky was dark again, always changing with the wind, one moment rays of sunlight would illuminate the world and the next it was gone, replaced by the grey whisper of a coming storm.

She was used to this and knew the storm rarely made it over the mountains. She had been to other places, countries where the ocean was a crystal blue and the sun was a constant ball of fire in the sky. The beauty of those places always dazzled her, though it felt strange, unfamiliar and a little unfriendly, like she did not belong there and the place and her both knew it.

Home was different. Home was part of her soul. She felt every part of it intimately and it gave her strength. When the light hit the dark waves of the lake she felt it deeply. She had dived into those waters and knew it to be pitch black beneath the surface, so unlike the clear ocean she had seen on her travels.”  

 

 

My Birthday

AL treeIt seems it will always rain on my birthday, but that’s Ok. As I went for a walk this morning I knew it would rain from the dark, threatening clouds in the distance. But I don’t always prefer sunny days. They are beautiful, but sometimes I like that special feeling that comes with heavy rain, dark stormy skies and glimpses of brilliant sunlight inbetween.

The weather in Norway is so different from what I experienced in California. Sometimes I miss being able to wear t-shirts all summer long, but I won’t miss the sky that remained a steady blue for weeks at the time.

I like the changing weather in Norway. I like the power of it. I’m not sure what other words to use than power….energy. The sky is alive. It changes all the time, from rolling clouds to dazzling sunlight.

Today I wish for thunder, loud cracks of it. I’ve been waiting for it, it feels like its supposed to be thundering today, yet nothing happens.

My mom used to tell me that Thor was riding across the sky in his chariot whenever there was thunder. I knew it was made up, but I still loved the magic of it.

So today is my birthday. I haven’t truly celebrated it since I was a child. I made chocolate banana bread yesterday and I ate it all up today, giving myself a stomach ache. For breakfast I ate a small plateful of violet flowers. Fairy food!

I knew there would be magic though. My husband and I traveled to the retreat place and I just knew it would be a life changing visit. I knew I would love the lady who owns it. A true kindred spirit that I could open myself up to instantly.

The place has a Christian feel it, yet feels very open, free. There is no pressure to follow any belief system and there is a focus on going within to find peace, love, connection to God. I’m not Christian but I’m drawn to prayer and to people who are searching for something deeply spiritual.

She invited us into her home and I was happy to be offered peppermint tea. That in itself is unusual and Norwegians usually only drink coffee, and sometimes black tea. I don’t like caffein as it makes me spacey.

I felt I loved this woman. We spoke for a while and shared experiences of grief and love. She invited us back and I hope it won’t be too long until I can return there.

I’m a little embarrassed over how truly starved I am for friends, kindred spirits that I can connect with. I haven’t found any since I returned to Norway, and I’m a little lonely.

A lot of the time I feel there’s something wrong with me when I’m around family and just ‘normal’ people. I can’t open up. Spirituality is such a huge part of my life, and if people are not interested, well then they won’t truly know me.

What is most wonderful is that I feel I’m being guided. I’m beginning to trust what I feel, my intuition, that inner voice. I knew I needed to go to this place and it felt right to be there.

My birthday present is a trip to Greece to visit a dear friend of mine. I feel a glow inside when I think about going, even though I’m scared of traveling alone and meeting new people. I’m still shy. But it feels like I need to go. Perhaps there is something to learn there. I feel I’m being guided.

 

 

 

 

Perhaps it was providence

listening_to_his_sweet_pipings-largeToday was a mysterious day. The train into the city was delayed by 30 minutes and I ended up talking with a beautiful Canadian lady, who mentioned a retreat place not far from where I live. She said she loved it there.

I didn’t even know such a place existed, and I was curious. I’m always looking for more kindred spirits in my life, and truth be told I’ve been feeling rather lonely lately. The Canadian woman was a kindred spirit for sure, though I might never see her again.

Turns out this place has events happening throughout the year, and you can even show up there uninvited to spend some time in silence and beauty.

Time will tell if this means something. It just seemed like such an odd coincidence. Perhaps the divine is shaping my life into something wonderful.

I did however feel very sick towards the end of my city trip. No, it was not a bad cold, instead I had a nice case of menstrual cramps. I felt clammy, naseous and desperate to lie down. I felt like fainting at one point and it was horrible to think I had over an hour of travel time before I could collapse on my coach.

The good thing about cramps however, is that when they’re finally gone life becomes simple wonderful. I fully appreciate the beauty of not being in pain and I usually fall asleep, happily relaxed and smiling.

 

Being here. Just here.

le_ravissement_de_psyche-largeWhen I’m tired, when I feel drained I go outside and put my bare feet on the ground. I sit and look at the trees, watch them move in the wind, listen to the rustling of leaves. It feels like something inside of me is swaying with them, dancing beautifully.

The sounds of nature goes into me, heals me. I used to be so tired of the city. I’m glad we moved to the country.

During the meditation retreats that I used to attend, we would go for long walks and then sit a few moments in the forest. I wanted to stay there forever. I wanted to cry in relief at hearing only nature again. No cars, no shouting, no mechanical sounds of machines working.

I wanted to lie down and hug the earth, to feel it seep into my soul, nourish me, ground me. But I was too shy to do so, and remained sitting until we had to leave.

Now nature is at my doorstep, yet I don’t visit it often enough. There is so much to do and I measure a successful day in how many tasks I have completed.

And yet as I drank my tea this afternoon, my mind and nerves still buzzing with activity, I looked out the window at the trees and everything suddenly fell into perspective. It was as though I had forgotten there was a world beyond my own thoughts and worries.

Going deeper than my anxiety, the need to stay busy and get things accomplished, I was struck with the yearning to keep looking. What if I did that all day? What if all I did was to look at things, notice them fully, take in their beauty?

I knew I would feel guilty for not finishing my list of tasks, at the same time I was moved with the understanding of how valuable it was to take time to look at things, notice life.

And the more I look the more interesting things become. What if I could have the same enjoyment chopping vegetables for dinner?  Just being there, having nothing on my mind, nor being interesting in anything but chopping vegetables. Being present in life, my life, the one that will pass me by if I’m not truly here.

There is a simple peace in being here, right now. What a relief it is to just be here.

Wild Heart

 

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She had things to do, and thought she better stay inside and finish them, but the evening sun beckoned her to come out.

When she looked up from her work she gasped, dazzled by the brilliant golden light that lit up the grass, the trees, the empty white house next door.

Behind her the water glittered silently, and she quickly slipped on her jacket, her shoes before disappearing out the door , telling herself it would only be for a few minutes.

The air was fresh and she breathed deeply, remembering that it had just been raining. It was late but the evenings were long now, stretching almost to midnight and she knew the sun would be out for some time still, even after its rays had disappeared behind the mountain.

She walked, not sure where she was going. She drew closer to the empty white house, wondering who once lived there, if they had been happy. She longed for her own home one day. The house looked lonely, yet cosy, its garden still asleep after the snow, though she could see little weeds appearing everywhere.

She stopped, unable to return back inside for the beauty of the place had captivated her. She stood as frozen to the ground beneath her, and was filled with a yearning to return to her roots, to communion with the earth, to embrace that starved, wild part of herself. She thought of herself kicking off her shoes and run quickly through the fields, into the forest, leap over little brooks and streams. Strong. Free.

The thought made her smile, joy bubbled up inside of her but she found herself unable to do it. She felt tense still, stiff as though still touched by the frost of her past, painful memories that would not let her relax.

She realized she didn’t mind so much anymore. She had been brought to this place to heal, everything that had happened until this moment had been for her learning so that she could embrace a new way of being, or rather embrace who she truly was.

 It was time to stop pretending, stop trying to be more than what she was. It was time to let go, to rest. It was Ok. She would give it time.

Slowly she began moving back to the little place where she lived, to a cup of hot tea and sweet cheese. The fresh air made her hungry. Often she would hunch down among small green things, talking to them softly and seeing if she recognized them. Then finally, with strange new leaves in her pocket, she drew back inside and returned to her work.

 

Passing Into the Mist

IMG_1856Something happens when it rains. The air gets a freshness to it that clears my mind, brightens my spirit. The last couple of days have been rainy, misty and quite magical. It’s been sunny almost every day since I moved to my new apartment and now I welcome the rain. I like to watch the little raindrops on the branches, being warm and cozy at home while hearing the wind and the torrent of rain in the distance.

Last night I was drawn into the mist. I brought my camera as I wanted to practice taking pictures for Photo Meditations that started last week. There were a lot of moments I wanted to capture. Magic was all around me.

There is something especially mysterious about a misty evening, perhaps because of all the stories about strange, enchanted creatures that hides in the fog. My mom would jokingly warn me to watch out for Tussene (Norwegian name for beings living underground) that would come out at dusk. I don’t think she knew just how wild my imagination got from her saying that. While playing outdoors I would imagine all kinds of creatures in eyeing me from the shadows.

Being outside I quickly got lost in the mist, the rain. My husband came out with me, but returned back home as I continue my journey down the road with camera in hand. Soon it got too dark to take pictures and I found myself just standing still, listening, feeling. Images from my childhood came to me, of playing outside late into the evening, sometimes with friends and having a blast. I remember being happy, careless. I did not question my right to experience joy, it was just the way things were. I remembered days and nights of rain, and deep puddles that I loved to play in. I had forgotten all about that part of my life.

I began to watch my thoughts, all those doubts and chaotic chatter. I focused in on my heart instead, trying to feel its guidance, asking it what to do. I turned my head upwards towards the rain, feeling the drops on my skin, on my lips. The air felt alive. I felt alive. I considered going home and I started to turn back, only to stop again, unable to leave that wonderful feeling that the night, rain and mist gave me. I wanted to sink into it all the way.

A car came towards me. It was my husband coming to look for me. It’s late he said as I opened the car door, you went out to take pictures and now it’s dark and it’s raining. What were you doing all this time? Feeling the rain I said, smiling and apologizing for making him worry.

 

 

 

Why Do We Fear Joy?

lamour_au_papillon-largeI don’t remember when I started being afraid of joy. But it’s true. Whenever I’m happy I tense up and I worry that it will be taken away, that something horrible will happen that I’m not prepared for.

But I’m starting to realize that those moments of joy give me strength. They give my life meaning. I think it’s about facing life with open arms, no matter what it brings us, and to feel deeply, both the love and the pain.

I’m sitting here with my cup of dandelion coffee while gazing out the window. The spring sun on the trees fills my heart with such beauty it makes me want to sing. I’m making bone broth on the stove and the sound of simmering water is beautiful as well.

Roasted dandelion root in the oven makes the whole room smell amazing. Dark and fragrant. Using my senses, feeling alive that gives me joy. I will sink into it. I won’t be afraid. No more fear. I don’t want to look back at my life and see myself in a cage of fear that I could have broken out of if only I had dared harder.

Being near my divine mother, the goddess (she has many names) gives me a feeling of great beauty. Sensing her helps me remember who I want to be. She loves me unconditionally and it makes me want to cry because I do so many things that hurt her. I feel she is teaching me how to live better, how to allow joy by not being afraid of pain.

What about you dear reader? When joy comes knocking, do you welcome it with an open heart?

 

 

Listen With your Heart

IMG_1793There are some stories we find especially inspiring. Perhaps because they speak to something deep within us, something yearning to come out, to be remembered.

I remember watching certain scenes of Pocahontas over and over again one late night when I should be working on a paper for school. I was drawn to this Indian princess who would talk to trees, listen to the spirits of nature and run as fast as the wind to save the man she loved. Of course Disney makes everything seem romantic, but I deeply wanted to have her strength, to be free and connected to nature the way she was.

 

 

I especially love the scene where she rushes to save John Smith.

 

Eagle help my feet to fly

Mountain help my heart be great

Spirits of the earth and sky please don’t let it be too late…

 

What is it about calling upon the spirit of animals and mountains that draws me so?

 

There is that magic I can’t put into words. Trees, birds, animals…perhaps they all have a meaning beyond what we see. That’s what draws me to plants and herbal medicine as well, that hidden something that can only be sensed with the heart.

 

I feel nature has a lot to teach us. Nature revives me. Being outside helps me get out of my head, helps me not feel so trapped within myself.

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Lately I’ve been walking into the forest, crossing a small stream and sitting down under some trees where the ground is free from snow. There I let go of all my frustration. I pray. I look at the sky, the moving clouds and the wind in the trees. I take pictures, I journal. Insights come to me like drops of water and I begin to feel better. I smile.

 

Today I daringly kicked off my heavy winter boots and felt the wet, cold moss under my feet. I’ve always been told to not go barefoot until summer, when the earth is warm once more, but I just couldn’t help myself. There is something so grounding about having my bare feet against the earth, it feels so good. I can’t wait for the time when I can leave my feet naked all the time. I think we’ve lost a great deal of happiness through our disconnection with the earth.

 

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Being in this new place, so intimate with nature, it’s changing me. I loved being in California, I miss parts of it, but I began to feel tired, my spirit worn from being in the city so many years. This place is so quiet. I can rest here. I’m beginning to remember who I am.

As I go deeper into nature I sink deeper into myself. I feel there is a whole new world I’m about to discover, a whole different way of being and though I’m afraid to leave the comfort of my old ways, I also feel I’m being guided.

I think I like Pocahontas so much because she is taught to use intuition. Listen with your heart. Going with that inner voice has changed my life completely for the better. I do have my doubts, but I’m surprised to feel a strange sense of knowing in my bones, when I stop to listen I know what to do.

 

 

 

 

Spring brings changes

Icy road

Icy road

Spring is coming. Can you feel it?

I went for a walk today down that icy road outside my house. The world is still covered in snow but I swear I can sense the changes in the air as well as my own body. It’s time for changes, for new things to take place.

I felt bliss while walking and would stop a lot to just take in the beauty of nature. I loved watching the sun fighting to break through the white winter sky, seeing the ice covered water and trees standing bare against the cold, the silence penetrated by the sweet music of a nearby stream (as well as a nearby construction site, but that is not nearly as poetic). It’s all so wonderful. People sometimes walk past me at lightning speed. They’ve walked this road many times before and I suspect they walk to exercise, not to behold the awesomeness that is all around them. Being able to sense the changes in myself as well as the earth, that is magic. I long for my dandelion root coffee with chicory.

My husband and I have been staying at this house for almost 6 months now. This is where we ended up after the big move from California. It belongs to family and usually stands empty, and we feel so grateful to have been allowed to stay here. Now

Our house overlooking mountains

it’s time to move, to find a place of our own. We found a cute apartment more south in the country, close to the water and overlooking trees. I’m very eager to settle down in my own little place and explore the nature and herbs there. I’m planning to go on lots of walks. I will post pictures once I get settled in, we won’t be moving until early March.