arrows

the lesson of the arrow

if i am honest with you, then lately i feel as if i have been completely unfocused. and, by lately, i mean about a year and a half. yes, i have been doing things that i have loved and living from my soul: writing, photography, blogging. and i have been doing it all with the hopes of making it my full-time way of making money. though, i haven’t been successful in that, nor have i known exactly how to make that happen.

the bottom line is, i have been doing things i love, but it feels like it has been without a clear focus.

what i have been lacking is a sense of purpose. that underlying, foundational thing that connects and gives meaning to everything i do. something that ties it all together. i haven’t felt that with me in a while… because everything i have been doing, i have been doing and enjoying and exploring and discovering, and yet, there has been a certain sense of emptiness under it all. i want my life to be a connected journey. not just flipping from one fun thing to the next without purpose.

i am not sure if i am explaining myself well, or if this makes any sense to you, but it is exactly how i have felt since moving to the states in the summer of 2013. it’s like being a little lost and unattached. like experiencing and trying so much, that i am going in a thousand different (fun) directions.

what i need is a theme.

you know, like on a blog, or in a paper that you have to write. what is that one thread, that universal thing that runs through everything that you write in that paper? or what is the image or focus that you want to have on your blog that determines your layout, design, colors, and content? i need something like that.

so, i’ve been bee-bopping around in life, exploring the things that i love, and now that i am in sweden it has become clear to me that i have been missing my thread, that somewhere i forgot my truth, even if i have been living it.

now, the thing is, i haven’t actually lost my thread or my theme or my truth. i just have ignored or forgotten it. it’s been there all along. and, as i perused through my journal recently and looked back over the past year and half, i began to see my truth, that red thread, weaving itself in and out of everything that i do and am.

and you know how i found my way back to my truth? my purpose? my “thing”? through updating my resume/cv, of all things. 

yep, in that most mundane and boring chore, i translated my resume from swedish to english, and thought about the fact that i seem to make myself fit into every job that i am applying for, instead of letting me be the center. and i realized that i need to shift my focus. to say “this is who i am and what i have to offer” instead of ” you have this to offer and i am going to prove to you that i can do this.” it’s really hard to explain. but, it returns the power to myself, as the one who will seek out something that matches who i am, instead of letting all of the employers out there have all of the power and i’m just little old me trying to squeeze myself into their place.

anyway, as i worked on my resume, i spontaneously decided to add a little introduction to the top of it. only 3-4 sentences. just an opening, stating my mission basically. i had no idea what i was going to say, but just clicked away on the computer keys and out popped my very own purpose statement – complete with a red thread that has run all through my life. and it felt suddenly like everything was connected. that even the past year and half made sense to me, and i saw clearly, once again, the thread that has been running through my life from the beginning. i just had to be reminded of it all.

it’s my destiny. my calling. my personal legend.

so, what this all means to me is that i feel calm inside. way calmer than i have in a long time. especially since moving. this process of rediscovering my truth has given me focus and clarity. it’s made me feel like i haven’t lost touch with who i am, and who i have been, but i have only evolved.

and now it’s time to spring forward. but, with a very grounded, clear sense of purpose.

and that purpose affects everything that i do. including this website. as i get a clearer sense of how i might be of use in the world at this point in my life, i have this deep feeling that i want to lay down belovelive. that i want to move forward from it. what that means or how that looks, i have no idea. but, i will just sit with those feelings and see what comes of it. just like i will see what comes of my active job search. trusting that everything will be grounded in my sense of purpose… my desire to inspire + educate.

arrows

like a arrow , pulled taught, and ready to be thrust forward, i, too, am aimed + focused + ready to be let loose.

you know, many nature-loving spiritual traditions see the drawing and releasing of an arrow is a spiritual, ritualistic practice. the bow, from which the arrow is released is the place where dreams, thoughts, and creativity gathers. it is where we harness our potential by filling our quiver with all of our talent, knowledge and passion. and, you can guess, what the releasing of the arrow indicates: the perfectly aimed, focused release of all of those goals, dreams, creativity, and purpose towards its target. it is the archer’s will being released.

some people went a step further and marked their arrowheads with their intentions. the ancient celts of ireland wrote spells, and the sioux indians painted symbolic geometric designs on theirs.

the symbol of the arrow is something powerful for me right now. it gets at the heart how i feel. intent, determined, focused. but, there is more to it than just releasing and hitting the target.

there is work to be done with the drawing of the arrow too. it’s the focus that is in pulling the arrow back. this must be a calm act. a place where we quietly, intentionally draw all of our creative +intellectual inspiration together. it requires patience, cunning wit, intuition, openness, and a completely relaxed, yet steady,  state of being.

and then, we breathe deeply + release our arrow. and our spirit takes flight towards its goal.

happy weekend, lovely people! draw your arrow back and gather all of your thoughts and dreams and desires, and then let your soul soar straight to it’s goal!

onwards + upwards! xoxo

the arrows in my photo are two cherokee indian arrows that my love and i bought in the great smoky mountains national park in north carolina. they’re the real shit! 

kitchen table morning

meditation mondays: have i forgotten who i am? have you?

You are not what you do. You are not what you don’t do.
You are not the job title. You are not a labeled societal sub group.
You are not your personality;
You are not a happy person, a depressed person or an angry person.
You are not a definition of your own qualities.
Who are you?
You are not who your mother says you are.
You are not who your best friend says you are.
You are not your own descriptions of yourself.
Drop all the labels, titles, designations, descriptions, accomplishments and even failures.
Below the labels, beneath the layers, on the most subtle level…
What do you feel?
What is left?
What is there?
Who are you?
If you are not what you do,
If you are not what other say you are,
If you are not a set of descriptions,
Who are you?
Lets move a little deeper.
You are not defined or confined by the limits of your physical body.
You are not your beating your heart, you are not your breath.
You are not your mind, emotions or thoughts.
If you are not all these “things”…
Who are you?
A better question may be not who are you, but what are you?
Take a deep breath into every cell of your being. As you exhale release all the labels, all the descriptors, titles, both other and self created. Bask in this space.
What are you?
Close your eyes and feel your way to it. Don’t define it, don’t put it into words, but feel it completely.
Do you feel a sense of spaciousness, of limitlessness, of infinite potential?
If you are not all or any of these things, if you can not be defined or put into words, but only felt.
What are you?
Remember who, or better yet, what you really are.
Remember your potential, remember your limitless possibility.
Remember that you can not be defined, by self or other.
Remember what you are, where you come from and why you’re here.
Remember your knowingness, your awareness, remember your truth.
What are you?
You are the awareness of all these things.
You are embedded deep within yet extend far beyond.
You are the driving force of all these things.
You are both the wave and the ocean.
You are both the dance and the dancer.
You are both the creator and the container.
You are me as I am you.

Author: Alexa Torontow

onwards + upwards, loves! xoxo

uppsala-me

all of life is an adventure

“I do not accept any absolute formulas for living. No preconceived code can see ahead to everything that can happen in a man’s life. As we live, we grow and our beliefs change. They must change. So I think we should live with this constant discovery. We should be open to this adventure in heightened awareness of living. We should stake our whole existence on our willingness to explore and experience. ”
― Martin Buber

coffee sofa morning

i think that this is just beautiful. to see all of life as an adventure, an opportunity to explore + discover every single second of every day. to live mindfully, intentionally, and with the expectation that miracles and amazing things are happening.  in a world such as ours, we need this vision. we need this way of living completely in the moment, accepting who we are + where we are, and completely willing to bend and flex with the flow with the universe… to allow ourselves to deepen + widen + heighten. to become enlightened and evolve.

what an incredible way to experience life!

happy weekend, lovely readers. thank you for inspiring me, hanging with me, supporting me, and teaching me how to learn how to live from my spirit. wishing you a weekend filled with explorations, discoveries, and adventures – no matter where you are!

onwards + upwards! xoxo

baltic-cruise-sea

meditation mondays: the girl + the sea

“In still moments by the sea life seems large-drawn and simple. It is there we can see into ourselves.” ― Rolf Edberg

what is it about the sea? that mysterious, powerful, peaceful, ferocious, wild sea? is it because it is a perfect balance of untamed freedom + calming stillness? what is it about the sea that makes me feel so alive and connected and in complete speechless awe? why do i always stand by the sea and feel so huge + so tiny, so important + so insignificant, so connected + so alone all at the the same time?

it simply must be that mystical, magical, ancient connection that we have to it. that sense of living life truly as it is meant to be: a journey through ups + downs, rough times + peaceful times. and it’s constant presence. the feeling that the sea has been around since the beginning. there’s history and spirit and power and life in her waters. and what a privilege it is so simply gaze across her to the horizon far away. what comfort + adventure she provides all at the same time.

yes, i cannot live without being able to feel her waters. or sail on her waves. and breathe her fresh, salty air. i don not live right beside her, but when i can, i visit her shores or ride her waves and i remember who i am. i give thanks for her life-giving qualities. for her range of emotions. and for the balance that she brings to my life + the entire planet.

baltic-sea

my family grew up by the sea. my ancestors were the first to land + live in the US, after crossing her mighty atlantic waters in 1620. more ancestors lived on her coastline, loving her beauty + warning coming sailors of her rough + dangerous north carolina shore in the mid 1800s. i myself have returned to her again + again with my family throughout my entire so that i might be inspired to continue the life of adventure + journey that my ancestors began.

the sea is in my soul. a symbol of sailors + seamen sits permanently on my left ring finger reminding me to sail on. to journey on. to adventure on. to let my life + my family’s life become a life inspired + sustained + balanced + anchored by the sea.

i have many places in nature that inspire me + make me feel connected… where do you find inspiration in nature? what places are powerful to you? share with me!

onwards + upwards! xoxo

mug

mini blog challenge | post 1: BE

it’s day one of the belovelive mini blog challenge! and today’s theme is being. what keeps you grounded? do you have any practices, disciplines, rituals that you do?

for me, being is the foundation of life. it is first + foremost the thing that i seek to “do” every single day… whether it is meditating, reading, praying, practicing yoga or simply soaking up nature. taking time to simply be is critical for staying connected + attached. it’s a tough thing to do, making us feel guilty for taking the time to slow down and just be with ourselves. society teaches us to speed up, do more, and stay busy. otherwise we are lazy and self-centered.

of course, i totally disagree. though i fight those guilty society feelings every single day. but, deep down, i know that creating my own inner peace is what is most important. for, only when i create that still, quiet space within… only when i am attached to my source, my soul, the divine light within, am i able to know who i am. only by going within can i find the courage to simply be me, to feel inspired, and open myself to the ways that i can be used in the world.

it all must begin with being.

my goal for these first three posts in the mini blog challenge is to go back through my blog and find quotes that i have shared related to being, loving, and living. so, today, i am going to share with you some quotes that i have posted in the past that continue to inspire me today. in fact, i’ll let you in on another little secret as well: the quotes i am gathering will be used in my upcoming book that i am writing: from death to peace . so, i am doing “research” and work for my book as well as posting this post. (and i am proud of my effectiveness! hehe!).

some of my favorite quotes on being

“THE MOON DOES NOT FIGHT. IT ATTACKS NO ONE. IT DOES NOT WORRY. IT DOES NOT TRY TO CRUSH OTHERS. IT KEEPS TO ITS COURSE, BUT BY ITS VERY NATURE, IT GENTLY INFLUENCES. WHAT OTHER BODY COULD PULL AN ENTIRE OCEAN FROM SHORE TO SHORE? THE MOON IS FAITHFUL TO ITS NATURE AND ITS POWER IS NEVER DIMINISHED.” ― DENG MING-DAOEVERYDAY TAO: LIVING WITH BALANCE AND HARMONY

“THOUSANDS OF TIRED, NERVE-SHAKEN, OVER-CIVILIZED PEOPLE ARE BEGINNING TO FIND OUT GOING TO THE MOUNTAINS IS GOING HOME; THAT WILDERNESS IS A NECESSITY…” – JOHN MUIR

“THEY BOTH LISTENED SILENTLY TO THE WATER, WHICH TO THEM WAS NOT JUST WATER, BUT THE VOICE OF LIFE, THE VOICE OF BEING, THE VOICE OF PERPETUAL BECOMING.”  – HERMANN HESSESIDDHARTHA

“You must know nothing before you can learn something, and be empty before you can be filled. Is not the emptiness of the bowl what makes it useful? As for laws, a parrot can repeat them word for word. Their spirit is something else again. As for governing, one must first be lowest before being highest.” ― Lloyd AlexanderThe Remarkable Journey of Prince Jen

“HOW CAN I ACCEPT A LIMITED DEFINABLE SELF, WHEN I FEEL, IN ME, ALL POSSIBILITIES?” -ANAÏS NIN

“when you work you are a flute through whose heart the whispering of the hours turns to music. which of you would be a reed, dumb and silent, when all else sings together in unison? BUT I SAY TO YOU THAT WHEN YOU WORK YOU FULFILL A PART OF THE EARTH’S FURTHEST DREAM, ASSIGNED TO YOU WHEN THAT DREAM WAS BORN, AND IN KEEPING YOURSELF WITH LABOUR YOU ARE IN TRUTH LOVING LIFE, AND TO LOVE LIFE THROUGH LABOUR IS TO BE INTIMATE WITH LIFE’S INMOST SECRET…AND WHEN YOU WORK WITH LOVE YOU BIND YOURSELF TO YOURSELF, AND TO ONE ANOTHER, AND TO GOD” –  KAHLIL GIBRAN’S “THE PROPHET”

“if you wish to be a mine of jewels, open the deep ocean within your heart.” ~rumi

“the universe is not going to see someone like you again in the entire history of creation”. ~ vartan gregorian

“the most important kind of freedom is to be what you really are. you trade in your reality for a role. you trade in your sense for an act. you give up your ability to feel, and in exchange, put on a mask. there can’t be any large-scale revolution until there’s a personal revolution, on an individual level. it’s got to happen inside first.” ~ jim morrison

“your work is to discover your work & then with all your heart give yourself to it.” ~ buddha

“by living deeply in the present moment we can understand the past better and prepare for a better future.” – Thich Nhat Hanh

“AT THE CENTER OF YOUR BEING, YOU HAVE THE ANSWER. YOU KNOW WHO YOU ARE AND YOU KNOW WHAT YOU WANT.” ~ LAO TZU

“THERE IS NO NEED TO RUN OUTSIDE FOR BETTER SEEING NOR TO PEER FROM A WINDOW. RATHER ABIDE AT THE CENTER OF YOUR BEING. THE MORE YOU LEAVE IT THE LESS YOU LEARN. SEARCH YOUR HEART AND SEE, FOR IF SHE IS WISE WHO TAKES EACH TURN THE WAY TO DO IS TO BE” ― LAO TZU, THE TAO TE CHING IN TRANSLATION: FIVE TRANSLATIONS WITH CHINESE TEXT

‘the way of the tao teaches that “without the center, the surface means nothing… what we are brings meaning and purpose. beneath the restless surface of our lives lies a deep source of peace, power, and inspiration. we find that deep center in reflection or meditation.”  the way of the tAO

i found this back in the archives of my blog, and i decided that it was exactly how i wanted to end this post. it is something i wrote on the 7th of may 2012, and it still speaks to me + reflects how i feel today. so, here you go:

“my dear friends & family, one of the greatest gifts and greatest challenges in life is to simply be who you are. to discover the voice within that comes from your soul, and then to listen to it. to live life from that voice, embracing all of your quirks, unique qualities, talents, shortcomings, dreams, and everything in between. it’s hard to do that. i know. i am still learning, even though i’ve come a long way.

it’s true, it’s a long journey, but no one said we had to have it figured out by a certain age, or at a certain time. it takes a lifetime. but, perhaps that’s part of what this life is all about. the idea is just to keep discovering… uncovering & freeing yourself more & more every day.

and you are worth it. you are so worth it. you are worth everything. you deserve to be free & to seek inner peace. this self-discovery thing isn’t just about you, though, i believe. you are here for a reason. there’s a purpose to this crazy, wandering, life full of both suffering and joy. we need you. this world needs you, needs all of us… to simply be who we are. and then, together, from all different lands & experiences, with different thoughts, opinions, perspectives, dreams… yes, together, we will make beautiful music. for what connects us, our similarities, our humanness; well, that is much stronger than our differences. imagine all that we can do and be together.

so, just be you. commit to letting your inner voice lead you. follow your instinct, your heart, your soul. be you – exactly who you were created to be. because you are beautiful and you are loved. just as you are.” 

onwards + upwards! xoxo

 

feathers-features-image

meditation mondays: it feels like everything can begin now

I had this feeling of letting go.

On Saturday, I sat on the floor, meditating, and I felt that it was time to let go of Asheville. Not that Asheville is not still the place where my heart feels full, because it is. But, to let go of the ways that I am trying to hold onto my life there. It is time to let go of all of the moments that I spend here, in Sweden, imagining what is going on there, in Asheville. That time has passed. That old life is over and a new life, a new way of living is beginning.

As I meditated, my mind was filled with revelations that I was following the Easter weekend pattern in my own life. I ended my life in Asheville. I have mourned the loss and live in the uncertainty of limbo + confusion, and suddenly, without knowing what was happening, realized that a new opportunity, a new life was truly waiting for me to grab it and begin.

And with that realization of Good Friday’s loss, Holy Saturday’s confusion + solemness, and Easter Sunday’s good news of a crazy, amazing new life. I felt a shift inside of me. A ending of the wandering and a preparedness to move on. I felt like everything can begin now.

What happened during my meditation was acceptance. Acceptance that the most powerful moment is the present moment – especially when we are aware + paying attention to it. And that acceptance has helped me move from mourning to life. A completely unknown life, but a way of knowing that this is exactly where I am supposed to be.

full moon

And right now actually is all about the unknown. It’s about leaping in to a way of living that cannot even be imagined yet. It cannot be planned, and must be allowed to simply unfold. And all of that stuff from the past? All of the old ways of being + living + relating + thinking + believing… it’s time to leave all of that behind as well.

Going back to Easter… think about those disciples who suddenly realized that Jesus was not actually dead. That he was living, though he was leaving, and he was giving them – the men + the women – a mission. All was not lost as the followers had believed + felt. As the had dwelling in the past, dazed + confused, they now understood that they had a chance at a whole new life, with a whole new purpose. Something that they could have never, ever dreamed would happen. They had no idea what this new, amazing future looked like, but that didn’t matter. They knew, in that moment when they encountered Jesus, that something was different. So, now, it was time to get a move on! Newly inspired + energized – the past was behind them, and from now on, it was time to look ahead.

It is the same for us… it is the same for me, now, as I consider leaving my past behind + accepting the unknown future that lies ahead of me. It is time to live in the present moment, anticipating a bright, new shiny opportunities + possibilities. Now, that does not mean throwing away all that has happened in the past. No, not at all. It means, pulling it all together in our souls, holding it there, cherishing it all, knowing that all of the past makes us who we are right in the moment. But, it’s time to step forward. Keeping the old ways part of our history and our story. And with the comfort of the memories and feelings and thoughts and lessons and loves, look ahead with courage + empowerment. What lies ahead is not something that is within our comfort zone, but a life that is bigger + better than we could ever imagine. Deeper. Higher.

Of course, all of this can feel amazing + scary at the same time. Like… “Wow! What an opportunity! I feel totally blessed, as if I am overflowing with inspiration and energy.” It can also feel like, “What the hell have I done? When will things begin to make sense? Why aren’t things changing? This is not at ALL what I had in mind!”.

But, this is how it goes with change + transformation + growth.

IMG_3137

Remember what I said at the beginning of the blog post? How I described how I was feeling? it’s a cycle, my friends. And it occurs over and over again in our lives. It’s how life flows. And if we are aware + grounded, then we do not freak out as we flow along with life.

So, we have Good Friday’s all of the time. Days/years/times in life when we know that we have lost everything. When the way that intended it turned out completely wrong. When it feels like our plans, or even our selves, have died. Like it’s all over. Everything changed.

And then, like Holy Saturday, we mourn. We feel lost. We don’t know what comes next. It’s dark and lonely. And, after a while, we accept what has happened and realize that we have to keep on keeping on.

But, just when we are there, right when we realize that life is rolling on without us and we’d better get back in the game, a sliver of light pierces our darkness. Something inspires us. Spring returns. Life begins again. The view after the climb is breathtaking. And we can see clearly now all that we did not understand before. We have grown. We have changed. And we step out, filled to the brim with inspiration + love + peace, so much so that they all begin spilling out of us and onto everyone we meet. Easter Sunday arrives.

And then, the whole thing happens all over again.

“The black moment is the moment when the real message of transformation is going to come. At the darkest moment comes the light.”  ― Joseph Campbell

onwards + upwards! xx