31 May 2012

Consume Less, Live More

Yesterday, my consuming behaviours were put to the test: a beautiful shop with a huge range of teas (black, green, rooibos, herbal, you name it), spices, herbs, and many other tempting things.
I noticed that I'm still in the "if there's anything I want and I can afford it, I buy it" behaviour. A number of little bags, boxes and pots were in my hand, heading towards the basket...
... but my attempts to curb consumption start to show results! I am proud that I succeeded in NOT adding that lovely mix of Indian spices, the nice little purple sage plant or the Milk & Honey soap to the few items that actually were on my shopping list. It feels so good to walk the talk!
If I can make a lasting change in my attitude towards consuming, and diminsih the contents of my cupboards, closets and warderobes, then I have reached on of my important goals: Less Consumption Leaves Time & Space for More Life.

29 May 2012

Summer On My Skin

Having grown up in Scandinavia I am a huge Sun and Summer lover. Already the first warm rays of sun in spring fill me with elation, and when temperatures rise to 25°C and it's finally summer I'm just - happy! The light and the warmth fill me with energy and are wonderfully relaxing, but what exactly makes me love summer so much...?
I think it's the physical feeling of warm air against my skin. I love exposing arms and legs to a light summer breeze, my skin breathing through every little pore. It makes me feel very alive, and superbly happy for being so.
The ultimate summer feeling is of course being barefoot. On fresh grass. On warm sand. Or in the cool water of the sea.
I'm simply taking in summer via my skin.

Summer loving feet

26 May 2012

Morning Mist

At breakfast I could see the morning mist rolling in. It was like a soft grey blanket, covering my world. As I walked to the station, it slowly dissolved, leaving space for a shining summer morning. By the time my train left, a bright new day had begun.
An emotion can be like that: rolling in over you, chilling you off in to the bones and leaving you to see nothing but greyness. When in the midst of it, you might despair; it feels so all-encompassing, so hopelessly dense.
Then it's good to remember: nothing remains the same. Everything eventually dissolves, like morning mist.
You will be shining again.

25 May 2012

Merci, Delphine!

Always ...

Straighten your Back
Empty your Self

Listen to the World
and Smile with your Heart

... and see the World

22 May 2012

Die Vorfreude

Everybody who has worked with translations, knows that there very often are subtle differences in the meaning of words that are supposed to mean the same. An example is the German "Vorfreude", anticipation in English. The German version has a much stronger touch of joy (since "Freude" is joy) and I just love the word - and what it stands for.
The Germans even go as far as to say "Vorfreude ist die beste Freude" - Anticipation is the greatest joy. I might not agree on that, but I really like to look forward to nice events :o)
Today I feel "Vorfreude" when I think of the two dear visitors, arriving tomorrow. I imagine hugging them when they the come through the gates at the airport and how much fun we're going to have together.
So the "Vorfreude" almost doubles my joy!

20 May 2012

Visit of a Friend

My friend has left, after a couple of lovely days together. So many laughs, and some serious talk. Nice meals shared with mutual "mmmhs" and "aaaaahs", and some glasses of excellent wine. We always inspire each other, and together we walk unusual paths.
We are different, but have common interests. We share memories and history, but most important of all is our true heart connection. It's the tissue that real friendship is made of; the tissue that keeps you warm when you are cold, and that you can wrap up in when you feel lonely or life is difficult.
My friend, I miss you.

We both love photography

18 May 2012

Eating Nature

I have a book that describes 200 edible plants that you can find in parks, on meadows, in roadsides or forests - just around the corner where you live. Yesterday we took a walk by the river with our noses in this book. To our great surprise, we found some 10 different plants of which either the leaves or the flowers (or both!) could be used in salads.
So for a starter at dinner we had a lovely, colorful salad right from Mother Nature. What a feeling to put pink clover flowers, and mugwort leaves, with just some good olive oil and drops of balsamico added on the fork. Like having a mouthful of nature!

Nature on the Plate

16 May 2012

Spring Set-back

Spring has taken a step back, and it's cold again. Really cold, woolen sweater cold. It's always such a disappointment: we've waited for the warm season for a long winter and then these set-backs!
I have to take in my hibiscuses from the balcony again, and even more important: I have to take out my warm sweaters again. Luckily I have realized that that's a better option than insisting in light, cool dresses now. Freezing just bogs me down me and I don't want to catch a cold - that just makes things worse.
So with a sigh I put on the cashmere cardigan, the gloves and a warm shawl - and enjoy going out again.
Spring will return, sooner or later.

Hibiscus No. 1, back on the balcony

14 May 2012

Beauty of the Detail

In our culture we often celebrate the Big, the Loud, and the Excess.  We live that way too, always wanting "more" and "newer" of everything.
But there is another way to go. Turn to the simple, the quiet, and the detail. Go closer and observe every shade, every nuance, every subtle sound and delicate taste. Refine your senses. Be content with less, but enjoy it with your full attention.
The Art is not to devour as much as possible - quite the contrary: to savour every little detail, to be content with one sweet, homegrown apple instead of a bowl of exotic fruit salad.

You see more when you go close...

11 May 2012

Patience, Plain Patience

Certain truths can be realized intellectually, but they don't really reach my core until I hear them from somebody else. For some time I've been struggling with a specific situation, trying hard to find a way out. A friend confirmed what I already knew: I have to let go, and practice patience.
I will not find the solution by searching intensely - the solution will find me. Until then I can take small steps in the wished direction, but the most important thing is to relax and let go of the wish for immediate change. I have expressed this wish, and it has been heard. I need to settle down now, let things take their course, and - be patient.
Patience is an underestimated virtue, difficult to practice in our rushed world, but oh, so helpful.

8 May 2012

Less is More

Sometimes I feel that ecology is a kind of fake problem. Here I quote Dominique Loreau, blessed French "minimalist" and writer:  "If we would consume less, the problems of recycling, waste, non organic products and saving energy would not even exist."
That is exactly how I see it: it is not about getting an environmental friendly car, and then still drive as much as you always did, or buy tons of organic groceries and then throw away big parts of it, because your eyes were bigger than your stomach. How many different food products do you need in your pantry and refrigerator? And what about clothing items? Books? DVDs and CDs?  Or technical gadgets?
We will soon drown in our own waste, while people in other parts of the world don't even have food for the day, so it's not only about ecology... And, in the end, all our possessions weigh us down and stress us - and make us scared to loose them.
I have made a resolution: I will cut my consumption (which is not really big) by 1/3 as of this month, and see if I can cut it even more, to show myself that I am really serious about this. Less is definitely more.

All things that a man owns hold him far more than he holds them.  Sigrid Undset

6 May 2012

Lungs Opening Up

On a rainy spring day in the forest the air is full of smells and heavy with humidity. I imagine how all the new green beech leaves are busy releasing oxygen. This almost palpable energy surrounds me.
It feels as if my lungs are opening wide up, absorbing freshness and life force.
In the end I'm all lungs
All air
Part of the trees
Of the rain
No more me
Only waves of breath
Only life

Breathing with the trees

4 May 2012

Like Beads Rolling on a Tray

This is too beautiful not to be shared...

You and Wisdom are essentially the same,
Like beads rolling on a tray, light, random, uninhibited.

                                        Hakuin Zenji (Hakuin Ekaku)
                                               Father of modern Rinzai Zen

3 May 2012

This Too Shall Pass

Yesterday was heavy. I felt drained of energy and my thoughts moved in hopeless spirals. Luckily I knew that "this too shall pass".
Everything that happens will pass. Every situation, object, or living being is constantly changing, and will eventually pass (away). Perhaps that is not what we want to happen to what we like, but it is very consoling when we are facing difficult times or situations.
But why should we like impermanence, or dislike it? Life goes on anyway, and it does not care about our opinions. They only complicate our experience.
And this too passed. Next morning, life was smiling at me again :-)

1 May 2012

Rediscover Myself

Can I start with a clean sheet, drawing up myself from zero? No, obviously I cannot; there's history and there are commitments.
But I can rediscover myself. Perhaps some old likes, dislikes, and habits can be dropped? I can question what I believe are given facts, examine the way I live my life - and adapt it to the "me" where it is now.
So I actually do start with a clean sheet in front of me, to find out how I can make my life reflect my values more, and if I spend enough time on what is essential.
If I were to die tomorrow, I want to be   satisfied with a life that has not been wasted.