mom + dad: still riding through it all together after 44 years

mom and dad jeep

i got this adorable, fabulous photo from my mom the other day.

it’s just a regular day for my parents in the mountains that they call home. top down. riding in the jeep. exploring and discovering and enjoying. usually taking the long road anywhere (thanks to my dad!). i just love this picture of them. it totally captures a moment, a typical moment. and i am so happy to see them living life in that wonderful moment.

i am celebrating my parents  today because this is my parents’ 44th wedding anniversary!

44 years is a lot of time for great memories, tough times, and lots of changes + journeys. and, they have shared all of that, and much more together. the good, the bad, the ugly, the beautiful, the painful, the joyful. you know… life.

and though some of us have been married more than once, or are divorced or single, which is ok (because life is what it is, and our journeys are all different, and hopefully our lives are better as they are right now – i know mine is!), seeing my parents reminds me what it means to be in relationship with anyone. it reminds me to never take for granted any person that i am blessed to have journey with me in life. and it makes me even more grateful and excited to celebrate them, and their commitment to each other. what a gift it is to have someone to share life with – traveling through the ups and downs, and the wonderful memories and difficult ones too… together.

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so, today, i wish my dear parents blessings and joy, and the happiness of remembering + honoring their past together; but more importantly, i wish them continued joy in their present moments together.

you know, we can curl up with our past, or freak out about our future. we can regret things or be frightened by things to come…

but to let our hair blow in breeze, while sitting beside the one that we have chosen to share our life with for the past 44 years… that, my friends, that is love. that is life. that is what it all about.

happy anniversary, mom + dad!

i love + miss you more than you will ever be able to understand. 

to love! onwards + upwards! xoxo

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| week twenty one |

i miss doing a weekly photo update. sharing the random little snippets of my life that i capture on my phone. so, i think i’m going to begin that again. then, the rest of the week i can focus on other kinds of posts: beer, travel, tips, spirituality… those things that are the passions of my life.

but, one of the things that i am most passionate about is learning to live in the present moment, or living a mindful life. all of my other passions, come from my desire for peace, to live an authentic life, in the moment, grateful for all that i have and all that i am.

but some of my passions lend themselves to sounds like amazing, crazy adventures. and, sure,  i love amazing, crazy adventures as much as the next person, but the heart of life is found in our every day moments.

so i don’t want to highlight only all of the unusual, special, amazing moments and adventures that i have on this blog. no, i want to share my love for the everyday as well.

when we learn to live every single ordinary day as something extraordinary, knowing that the adventures are found in those mundane, ordinary moments, then we begin to live a life full of gratitude. and we find that we want for nothing, that we already have so much. that life is beautiful, even in the midst of the struggles and chaos and stress. when we tune into those moments that make us smile, if even for a second, then our whole attitude changes. and life becomes one big adventure. every single second of it. a sense of peace falls over us and we stand grounded, like a tree, rooted to the earth, letting the winds and storms and rain blow by. soaking up the sun when it shines.

so, this weekly photo journal is my way of sharing with you those regular moments that have passed by in my life. hopefully you will get a little peek into my expat life in sweden, or find inspiration, or simply enjoy the photos. but, more than a photo journal for you, this is for me. to remind me that my life is amazing. to give thanks for every little thing. not to ignore the not so great things, but to claim the beauty that is life, even in the midst of all of the suffering and confusion and stress and uncertainty.

besides, i/we have but this one life to live. so, why not live it to the absolute fullest, enjoying it?!

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my love’s birthday was this past week
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i cycled outside of uppsala + discovered some beautiful placesbiking-sweden- biking-sweden-country

we spent the weekend in stockholm: shopping for my brother-in-law’s wedding, drinking local beer, celebrating europe’s eurovision song contest victory (sweden won!) with some friends, and enjoying the super spring weatherstarbucks-stockholm-shopping shopping-street-stockholm omnipollo-soder-stockholm-microbrewery microbrewery-taps-beer-omnipollo omnipollo-beer me-beer-sodermalm-stockholm omnipollo-taps-sodermalm tacos-friends sweden-eurovision lina-me-melodifestivalen-eurovision late-night-stockholm-sky sodermalm-stockholm- stockholm-spring old-town-stockholm-alley lina-me-ice-cream-stockholm stockholm train-home-uppsala-sweden

happy monday, dear friends + family! wishing you a week filled with exactly what you need.

onwards + upwards! xoxo

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Why I don’t care about being happy

it just doesn’t matter to me. being happy.

i mean, there are happy moments. and i love happy moments. but, that is not what i am really after. that’s too shallow of a goal. what i am after is much deeper. what i want is lifelong.

what i am after is peace.

and, for me, peace is something that comes from within.

of course, we mean peace when we talk about the absence of war or conflict. and, of course, this is highly important to me, as a self-avowed pacifist. but, we cannot have peace among people, nations, governments, societies… without first creating peace within. we can try, and we can work hard to make peace happen, but true peace begins in our souls. it begins in the deepest part of ourselves. and it is there already, inside of you. i promise. within that inner peaceful place inside us, there is the spirit that unites us all. that’s why i know that, if and when, we tap into our own inner peace, then we will automatically create peace in the world.

so, our jobs first and foremost as human beings sharing this earth together? to discover and live from our own inner peace. that’s where we begin.

and when we are aligned with our inner peace, then happiness just doesn’t matter.

why, you wonder? because happiness comes and goes, and is dependent on things that are outside of us, external factors.

are we happy because of what we have or where we live? do we wish for more, thinking that it will make us happy? what if it’s raining for a week, does that make us sad? what if we feel trapped where we live, or stuck in a rut? are we then completely unhappy? will owning more clothes make us happy? will moving to another city finally make us happy? does travel fill us up and make us feel happy? what if we can’t travel?  what if everything disappeared?  would we then be completely depressed and give up?

of course all of these things affect our moods. having things is fun. being happy is fun. losing things, disappointment, and suffering are not fun.  some things in life are devastating, and some things make us feel like the king of the world. but, if we base our happiness on what happens to us, then we will surely be disappointed. we will be be bouncing back and forth between good days and bad days. because life sucks. it’s tough. there is suffering, and injustice, and violence. and it’s all overwhelming. and we feel helpless.

so, if i am basing my happiness in life on my job, other people, experiences, travel, money, success, my family, health, then i am not going to be happy all of the time. period. fact of life.

when things are not going my way, then i am going to feel like i am out of control. or i am going to pretend that i am happy. that’s even worse. lying to myself and everyone else. living a life that looks good, but feels empty. all because i don’t want to feel the pain or face the truth.

but, what i am saying, and it is something that is hard to grasp onto, is that peace is way deeper than our circumstances. peace cares what is happening around us, but stays calm. because the main thing is happening within us. and, when we can sit quietly in the presence of our souls, then life may be swirling and tossing us about like a ship on the sea, but we remain faithful, steadfast, hopeful. because, ultimately, we know that we are ok. because we are not all of those things happening to us. because we are more than all of the things that define us or make us happy or unhappy. we are the spirit that lies deep within us. we are strong, unmovable, attached, grounded, yet flexible and able to go with the flow.

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the bottom line, in my opinion (and experience), is that inner peace is living a life in balance. it is not all puppies and rainbows and sunny days. but it is maturity and wisdom, acknowledging, feeling, and choosing to keep on keeping on, to move onwards and upwards.

and inner peace brings the empowerment needed to do just that. 

but, inner peace only comes when we take the time to be still and silent. it begins with simply being. with getting in touch with our selves, discovering who we are, listening to our heart, letting our passions come to light, breathing, being mindful and aware.

and as we begin to live a life of awareness, then we feel the balance occurring. we feel connected. grounded. we feel… at peace.

the longer and more often that we take the time to just be, the more peace that we feel. the more that we feel that we will be ok no matter what comes our way, then the more empowered we feel to follow those dreams, whatever crazy risks they may involve.

so, ultimately, the more time spent being, creating more and more space for peace in our lives, then the more we actually end up doing. and, everything that we do is then infused with deep meaning + purpose. here is where we live out our dreams and make our unique mark in this world. here is where we take all that we are and let our lives be used for the greater good. but, we don’t lose ourselves, because we stay grounded. we always return, again and again, day after day, to the simple task of being. and, we let life and work and dreams unfold.

inner peace is powerful. it is trust. it is action. it is simplicity. it is living life fully and authentically as we are. and, most importantly, it is a lifelong journey. a constant balancing, aligning, adjusting, and growing. but, once we tap into a life lived with inner peace as the highest value, then the journey, no matter where it takes us, is one that we accept, not passively, but in a more go-with-the-flow-ish way. in the middle of our acceptance, we know that we have control over our lives. our decisions.

we have this one life. and it is up to us how we decide to live it. inner peace provides us the inspiration to live life the way that we wish.

so, do we chase happiness? or do we seek something deeper. do we want to live from moment to moment trying to feel good? always waiting for the next destination? or do we want to go on a journey, knowing that the process, the whole way, every single minute, is all part of finding our bliss?

nope. i don’t care about happiness. i choose peace.

onwards + upwards! xoxo