I caught myself living almost exclusively in the present tense and enjoying practically every single moment…
Last week I traveled to the west coast archipelago, for the first time in my life, for some days of insular yoga – the kind of yoga practiced on a piece of land surrounded by sea.
I did not plan it long in advance, as things are a bit fluid right now. It bad been at the back of my mind for a while though and I am very content with my decision. The thing about taking up an interest is that it takes you places; mentally, physically and even geographically.
We spent our days doing yoga twice daily and exploring the constellation of three islands connected by bridges. I mainly on foot, and my yogi friend by bike. The days were sunny and windy. The kind of windy that is so special about Sweden and which means having the recurrent sound of leaves trembling in the breeze, rustling like sheer silk paper in your ears constantly.
And believe me, there is a lot of space for wind in these latitudes, because skies are very high here in the North – it’s an undisputed fact. When I look up to the skies it is like peering into a dome raised by its creator to meet the infinite…
After I got back from the island, which our rbnb hosts jokingly referred to as Hono-lulu letting the umlauts of Hönö disperse in the wind, I have been getting some things done at home, such as tending to the wuthering heights of my balcony and the plants that live on it. I have also been on a series of daily excursions for “business” and pleasure alike.
Juicing summer, resting, ticking off a list of things to do, that is where I am at right now. The feeling of total release, of holiday, of just being in the moment is a mental state. For it to materialise, I know I will have to make a conscious effort and let my self soak in it until it impregnates my cells. Once there, I do not want it to be lost to the days of dark and cold that are not that far away…
It is been a long time since my latest post, and the absence has been totally unplanned. It is not that my pen has totally dried out – I have been leaving a verbal imprint on different platforms – or that there are not things that I would like to vent; it has rather been a matter of a shifting focus. I have been leading a quite robotic life with daily commuting and yoga practice. I thought I should oil the blogging machine and see where it takes me, so I will reboot by writing a general update, just as a way of think I need it myself, to see where I am at…
When do you start your day?
Early. I am in between jobs, so technically I could sleep in, but I usually wake up sometime around 05:00 am. I make myself a big cup of cocoa, park myself on my bed and work on something or read for a while. It has become a moment a look forward to. I am lucky I can rest a bit before I officially kick start my day and eventually get on my yoga mat…
Any good reads lately?
I love a good book. I have always been an avid reader. Some years ago I had a reading break that lasted for quite a while, but luckily I resumed reading and haven’t stopped since. I have always had an ability to pick interesting books, judging them by the cover and the title, picking up the vibes, and I have almost never made a literary choice that I have been disappointed in. Lately however, my choices have been mediocre. I cannot seem to find a book that will really captivate me.The best book I have read lately is All Inclusive, by Swedish author Hans Gunarsson; a quite intriguing piece of fiction. Now I am reading Measuring time by Helon Habila. So far, so good.
What have you been cooking?
I have been experimenting with my vegetarian and gluten-free cooking as usual and food-blogging. I have been creating new things and re-visiting old recipes. Staple food right now are sourdough bread and waffles. There is always a sourdough starter in the fridge which I am feeding, if not daily, then on an every second day basis. Of course, there are a lot of vegetables involved and I am trying to make the best out of everything seasonal. I hate food-waste and I am at my most creative when taking care of leftovers.
For the past two months at least, my kitchen has been partly converted to a plant nursery. I have been watching seeds turn into seedlings, growing into promising little plants and then witnessing some of them getting sick and wither. I have always had respect for mother nature, but being an amateur urban gardener is really making me all the more humble. I am discovering diseases that I did not know existed. Unfortunately plants fall prey to all sorts of different parasites that feed of their amazing life-force. It is a learning progress laced with disappointment and joy and I have spent lots of hours tending to my green friends. The most time-consuming phase of growing your own food is that of preparation and that is where you have to be a step ahead. Weeding and digging are probably my favourite gardening activities, because despite a complaining lower back, results are immediately visible. The journey from seed to harvest is long and full of unforeseen events, but I am telling myself that it is a lesson of patience and also a learning process…
Job-seeking is an ongoing element of course, but other than that my plans include lots of yoga, long walks, being out in the forest, listening to the absolute silence, going on some trips, spending time with family, meeting up with friends and completing the project I have named as “harmony in every corner“. I moved into my apartment last autumn, but I have not had the time to really think about how I want to organise my space in detail. So now that I have some time on my hands I am going through cupboards and closets, sorting things, reorganising them, deciding what I want to keep and what I want to give away. It’s a very nice way of take care of any mental clutter at the same time as caring for your habitat – recommended.
Time has been spinning in ultra rapid mode. I honestly feel I am stuck in a wheel that is taking me from Monday to Tuesday, to Wednesday, to the weekend and so on and so forth. Not that I am not happy with my life, but I really feel that for my routines to be optimised, I need to become good at efficiently breaking them.
Last weekend, already, I had a bunch of lovely people coming over for my birthday. I threw an invitation out and 6 people decided to fly in. Imagine how blessed I felt. The preparations of course did inflict a certain amount of stress as I do take the hostess business quite seriously. But when we finally all gathered at the same place, it was pure enjoyment.
On Saturday I even enjoyed my birthday breakfast in solitude after a session of yoga and general housekeeping.
My guests got lost taking selfies and froze their backs off making snow-angels.
They ate huge amounts of sushi, infused my apartment with loads of positive energy and left with the promise of visiting again.
I like change and variety but I am also fond of continuity. Difficult equation? Let’s see…
The best thing I have done recently is changing my train routines. Departing some minutes earlier or later changes the traveling experience quite significantly.
Next challenge: utilising my commuting time to save time spent by my desk. Like blogging standing up on a train I boarded because the regular option was cancelled.
The first week of January was low key but things are quickly picking up!
The long weekend was too short and this week is quite full.
I decided to call today a little sabbath and recharge. The plan has not yet crystallised but I am thinking yoga, minimal or no cooking – got things prepped- and minimal dishes. Maybe do some projecting and planning, maybe not. The keyword is relaxation.
Epiphany. A day of revelations.
The first thing I realised today was that one pair of woolen socks does not suffice when the temperature drops down to -15 degrees Celsius. This was made quite clear on my 40-min walk from the central station to the yoga studio this morning to attend a workshop.
I passed by a Roma woman who was sitting on the snow, her legs covered with a layer of plastic for some well-needed insulation. As my toes were going numb, my heart went out to her. If begging for alms seated on a thick layer of ice is considered an option, there can’t be that many good alternatives to fall back on.
My toes eventually thawed and the yoga session felt great; on the train back home, I was watching the white landscape unfold before my eyes and felt uplifted and content; not much beats a post-yoga train-ride through a crisp winter scenery. I was sipping on my tea, reveling at the experience, there and then.
I got home in the early afternoon and started cooking for five grown-ups and a baby girl. As usual, my niece took my apartment by storm. A little hurricane of joy and toddler energy, she tirelessly entertained us and herself for several hours.
We finally managed to have the dinner we had had to postpone due to sickness and my guests all seemed happy with the meal. My youngest invitee asked for a second and third serving of desert and drank red tea out of a big cup.
Speaking of epiphanies, she sure is one. It is quite amazing to watch her learn and grow into a little person with whom you can converse.
Her vocabulary grows by the day with new verbs, substantives, adjectives and mini phrases constantly surfacing. Call, clean, wave, sleep, bang, clap, cheer, shower, jump, sit, thank you, eye, mouth, nose, ear, belly, hair, doll, ball, chair, teddy-bear, (pony)tail, bangle, ear-ring, watch, flower, lamp, cheese, egg, sausage, ice-cream, water, milk, pain, desert, all kinds of animals and animal sounds – the list is long…
Her eighteen-month big hug is the sweetest of all things sweet. She points her finger and touches my eyes, nose, mouth, ears and hair as she verbalises what she sees. She plays with my ponytail and laughs. She plays hide and seek. She feeds her stuffed animals. She makes them read books, puts them to sleep, tucks them in. She climbs up and down my armchairs and sofa and makes herself comfortable on my pillows.
Children really do remind us of the essence of life and that’s a cliche worth saying aloud, because it’s true. Quantum leaps, time capsules and baby nieces. The Universe moves in mysterious ways and winks at us as it manifests through the seemingly mundane.
And now, the weekend…