within

dragonfly

i’ve got a little secret. or, it’s not so much that i have this secret that no one else has. it’s more like i have discovered something – but not for the first time. i am rediscovering it. or rediscovering it on a deeper level. that’s more what it is.

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you see, i just completed a 21 day meditation series. and by completed, i mean, i did every single day. no joke. i did not skip one day. i just committed and followed through. 21 days in a row.

and it was amazing.

the series was about happiness, our search for it and how we find it. i thought that it might be a bit cheesy, or i wondered how it would be possible to meditate on happiness for 3 weeks. but, i was so wrong. you see, the focus was not at all on happiness in the sense of some surface, emotional feeling. it was much deeper than that – think bliss. yes, bliss. and if you know me, or have read my blog over a long period of time, you know that bliss is one of my favorite words.

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so, it was a three week journey within that led me even deeper into bliss, peace, contentment, wisdom, and so much more. but, the main thing that i came away with was this deep sense of being – of connecting with my true self. of letting whatever vision, dream, thought, inspiration come to me during these mediations times as i simply listened to my soul. and i kept coming back to the knowledge – and i’m not talking cognitive knowledge – that everything lies within.

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what i mean, is that all we need, all we are, the ways that we are all connected, the spirit/light/love that flows through us, the entire universe, even, is within us. right now. exactly as we are. wherever we are. no matter what situations or circumstances we are facing. everything is there. in you and in me.

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what that means to our daily lives is monumental i believe. it means that we carry a rich treasure of love, peace, wisdom within us at every moment of every day. it means that our happiness most definitely does not lie anywhere but within us.all we need to do is just be. just relax into our being. breathe deeply. slow down. and listen.

for me, making that time a special time every single morning for the past 23 days (i have still done it even though the series is over) has been transformative.

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you see, i’m tired. and there are a lot of changes happening in my life and my family’s life right now – vague, i know. but i will explain in another post later on. anyway, i haven’t recovered from my amazing travels and visitors and everything incredible that took place this summer. lina and i have not found that regular life groove yet. and it’s wearing me down, along with the changes and such. i have had some moments when i just want to buy a plane ticket and get the hell out of dodge – like heading to some island to sit on my ass and drink fruity drinks for a week. but, that’s not realistic.

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at the same time, i have been meditating and sticking with it. and, though i have had those dreams of escape every now and then, i remember how grounded i feel at the same time. how connected i am to my self and my soul. meditation has really, really paid off. i stay balanced and focused and optimistic.

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how? because when i stop and listen to my soul, i know that my peace lies within. that all of the secrets of the universe, and the secret to happiness, is within me. calm and peace are mine for the taking. and, when i remind myself of that, when i let myself take that time to connect with the universe and all of the love in it and within me, then i just know that…

“All shall be well, and all shall be well and all manner of thing shall be well.”
― Julian of Norwich

peace and love. xx

the photos are from my last day of the meditation series. i went to the biltmore estate and just let nature wrap her arms around me. it was amazing. and a dragonfly danced all around me the whole time (“Dragonflies symbolize the wisdom of transformation and adaptability in life. As spirit animal, the dragonfly is connected to the symbolism of change and light. When the dragonfly shows up in your life, it may remind you to bring a bit more lightness and joy into your life. Those who have this animal as totem may be inclined to delve deep into their emotions and shine their true colors.”) after i got home, i saw dragonflies three more times that day – a little animal i almost never see

school supplies + coffee + nesting at home + breweries

breakfast asheville style

hi blogging friends! well, it’s happening. summer is winding down in the northern hemisphere, and autumn is not far behind. and yesterday marked the beginning of regular, everyday life again for me (and many others in different places). college students, including my love, headed back for another semester of fun, stress, and inspiration. younger students began sucking every last drop of summer fun out of the last 2 days of vacation up here in the mountain cities and towns. my swedish friends and families have now begun the unofficial season of autumn = the long, beautiful summer holidays are over and autumn’s shorter, rainier, chillier days have begun to creep up.

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and me… well, i am settling into the beautiful asheville life that i created with lina in the past year. yes, for me, the beginning of these regular, everyday life days are a welcome change. a chance to begin again – but not by completely starting over, by building on all that we have already built here in asheville. i feel totally ready to refocus and use the energy and vibes that i’ve soaked up this summer to push me forward in my writing, photography, and the next step on my journey in life. i feel grounded and ready to fly all at the same time.

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mostly, it just feels good to be me. to be where i am and to be focused on each day as it comes, following the dreams and hopes that my soul feels.

but, i also feel something a bit different right now. i feel determined. practical. ready to get down to business. in a word, disciplined. in no way do i feel that i’ve lost any spontaneity, i just feel like working my ass off for the things that i love. and i feel like making my life much more streamlined, with a defined purpose to each and every day. not rigid and controlled, but inspired. know what i mean?

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here’s a prime example: i decided to embark on another mediation series that began on august 11. a series on happiness – which seemed cool timing since i just read the book “the geography of bliss” during the summer. to be honest with you all, as much as i enjoy meditating and quiet time alone, i am really really bad at sticking to it. i mean, in a disciplined way. i spend time alone every day, but i just don’t see a meditation series through to the end.

until now… i hope. you see, so far, i have done 9 days of focused meditation in a row. it may be a new record. and, while i have not set a specific time to meditate or made some sort of routine, i have made it a priority. like truly. no computer, phone, or other technological stuff until i have done it. and i have no specific time for all of this – i just know that it is my priority for how to begin my days right now.

fika meetup

asheville brewing company beer

all of this tells me that i am focused right now. that everyday life is not boring, but is exactly what i (we) decide to make it. we only have this one life, and there is no reason to waste time when we have dreams and goals and a purpose. so, it’s time to soak up every single day – whether filled with “regular” moments or “adventurous” moments. if we are living our life for our next vacation or our next big trip or our next wild adventure, we miss the wild, carefree beauty that is also found in the every day. and we end up living our life for whatever comes next, instead of what is. we miss the present moment.

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and so, again, i welcome these last few days of summer… when we all settle back into some sort of routine. when the little things that happen in our everyday lives become the building blocks to making our dreams come true. you know, the amazing moments are fabulous and inspiring, but it is the little steps taken day-in and day-out that make us who we are, that make our life what it is.

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beer at the laundromat bar and soap

it’s all about the journey – the everyday journey – that’s what makes the memories that become our life.

peace and love xx

dreary. rainy. and full of purpose.

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as i click my computer keys, the rain pounds on the pavement outside. it has been doing so for the past 24 hours. it’s cold and dark and dreary. as if spring has gone into hibernation today, just in time for this day of intentional pause.

as you may know, i have been celebrating lent in my own special way – successfully and unsuccessfully. i challenged myself to 40 days of being in a cathedral, but i have not been there every day. what i have committed to, and followed through with, is some time for mediation and prayers for others every day – and i have done that successfully. but, it’s been two weeks since i stepped through the doors of the cathedral downtown. my last day there was during a memorial service for a woman i had never met. (read about it here).

in any case, successful or not, i have learned a lot. and one thing is that, for me, my connection with the divine energy/force/love/god is not found only in a cathedral (which i already knew, but it has become profoundly more apparent to me throughout lent). the days that i was not in the cathedral, i was outside. or with others. or in a time of meditation  by my private altar at home. all that to say, i do not feel guilty for not accomplishing my challenge of 40 days in a cathedral. in fact, i feel more free in a sense. especially after this past week…

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on monday of this week, i started a 21 day meditation series. and, so far, so good. i have intentionally sat down on my amazing pillow (made from a woman’s wedding dress from india), lit candles, and begun a series of meditations on “finding purpose.” to be honest, it was a topic that i didn’t think i needed. but, i did need committed silent meditation time, so figured: “what the heck.” little did i know that this just may be exactly what i need right now.

i realized that i don’t have a specific goal right now, that i’ve been feeling disconnected from myself, ungrounded, undisciplined, and a little bit without direction. i’ve been thinking about money and jobs. and i’ve let my dreams go a little, chalking it up to practicality. i mean, last fall and winter, my life was crazy awesome with all of these amazing dreams coming true. i was making shit happen all over the place.

but, right now, even though there are plenty of beautiful, amazing moments, i’m tired. weary. unmotivated. and, somehow, without purpose it seems.

and then, i started meditating this week… noticing that everyday i was focusing on what i have already within me. security. love. power. happiness. creativity. wisdom. it’s all there. and i’ve known that all along, but i needed to truly meditate on it. experience it, instead of just say it. and, it was these meditations that revealed to me that i am not living in a calm, peaceful state of being right now. and here’s the key thing: that i’ve also been blocking, or holding back, my unique expression of life, of who i have been created to be at this time in this moment. i have failed to live the life that i dream about. 

now, i don’t now why or how this happened. perhaps (most likely) it has been a necessary bit of blah-ness, in order for me to move forward in my journey. all i know, is that this is not me. i am not the person who just sits and wonders what comes next. and i’m tired of being that way. i have a life to live, more dreams to chase. now, it’s time to discover what they are and make some shit happen again.

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today is the day before easter in the western christian church. it’s the last day of lent. to be honest, i just let good friday slide right on by yesterday – without taking part in any death/cross/jesus rituals that have been part of my life for as long as i can remember. and every now and then, for a few moments, i thought about that. but, then i realized that that is not who i am right now. another thing i’ve noticed throughout lent is this move from christianity to an exploration of all religions. now, christianity is and always will be my foundation to spirituality, but right now i need to embrace some other forms of spirituality along with christianity.

in any case, today, unlike yesterday, i have found myself drawn to the christian focus of the day – the day of waiting. of nothingness. jesus is in the tomb. dead. and others are weeping. and we all pause. they journey is on hold. lent is over. but it’s not quite the day of  the celebration of life.

so, this rain that’s falling here in asheville… it’s appropriate. and the fact that i am still in my pjs and in bed writing and reading, as i have been doing all day long… it’s appropriate too.

i soon realized that i was making this day a personal retreat day, which felt perfect. and wouldn’t you know it, i came across a little holy saturday reading this morning that touched me deeply. according to biblical scriptures, joseph of arimathea is the person who took the dead body of jesus to the tomb and laid it there. such a huge task, and this man is only given about 3 sentences in the whole bible. much like a few other biblical characters. he comes, does his thing, and leaves. never to be mentioned anywhere in scripture before, or again.

that got me thinking: just like this man, joseph, who had a specific task and purpose to fulfill in that moment, we do too. and this is exactly what i meditated on this week:

we are each created and living in a particular time, in a particular place, with a particular purpose – to express our unique selves through our true selves. to live an authentic life, expressing our specific passions and gifts and desires.

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and today is the perfect day to reflect on that i realized. in honor of joseph of arimathea who lived out his truth. and jesus, who was willing to die in order to stay true to himself. how am i doing in that department? have i been true to my self? and, if i haven’t could that be the root cause of my unsettledness?

perhaps my disconnected feelings have come from the fact that i have not been rooted in my true self. i talk about it, i write about it, but i haven’t been living it. however, there is no need to worry: meditation has reminded me that everything i need is already within me. the spirit of god dwells within. the universe, the light, the love, everything i could ever need is already with me. it’s just up to me to tap into it and to let it flow freely. because you and i, we are here today, in this specific time in history, to share our lives with one another and to live our lives to the fullest expression of who we are.

“be yourself. life is precious as it is. all the elements for your happiness are already here. there is no need to run, strive, search, or struggle. just be.” – thich nhat hanh

yes, today, life is dormant. just like recently, my life has been dormant. but, perhaps, it’s actually just been sleeping; like the winter, simply waiting to give birth to something new.

we pause and wait a little while longer… new life is coming.

namaste.