pink-tulips

harnessing the energy of spring

have you being feeling a little bit “off” lately? or have you been feeling some crazy energy swirling all around you – causing you to be inspired, overwhelmed, confused, or out of balance – or a combination of all of these things? well, i think there may be a reason for that.

you see, today is the first day of spring for those of us in the northern hemisphere. and it’s a new moon. and there’s a total eclipse of the sun. that said, there’s gotta be some funky stuff going on in the air because there is some crazy stuff happening way up there in space. the universe is filled with a bunch of energy.

and all of that funny stuff is leading us to a place where we can bring forth amazing change, moments, growth, and transformation in our lives. if we just say yes.

now, i am no astrologer or energy healer or anything like that. i am just a theologian, a lover of thinking about life from a theological/spiritual perspective. and i’m the sort of theologian who believes that all things are connected by some beautiful, gentle, loving, inspiring, divine force. call it whatever you wish. come at it from whatever religion you wish. that’s not what is important to me. what is important, is this beautiful connection that spans time and space, all of humanity, all of nature, and the whole universe , in fact.

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and on days like this, days when there is a significant thing happening within nature + in the cosmic sky above, if you will, i need to sit and ponder a bit.i need to tap into my wild self. i need to slow down + take part in whatever is happening. because whatever is happening in nature and in the world, whatever is happening to you, is also happening to me. and there is so much to learn about those unanswerable questions of life by simple being aware + observing + reading the signs. there is so much internal work that can be done, if we simply slow down enough to listen. on days like today, our souls can connect deeply with nature + inspire in deep, meaningful ways.

(not to mention i am simply a solstices and the equinoxes celebrating junkie. as you can tell –> here).

today we celebrate the arrival of spring. light + warmth return to my part of the world. new life is all around. grass begins to turn green. baby animals are born. flowers begin to peek from the ground. trees begin to bud. all signs of life, and hope. a reminder that, even when the darkness is overwhelming, there is always light. and the light always returns, again + again. ultimately, life and love always win.

it is a beautiful, incredible cycle of life… and isn’t it just mind-blowing how the universe keeps itself in balance? it just flows and continues.  just as we celebrate spring, we know that fall + winter will return again. just as we celebrate our own life, we know that death eventually follows. but right now, in this very moment, life is beginning again. the energy is palpable. it’s like standing on the top of a mountain, breathless, in complete awe. we are so very present in that very moment.

and so, what else is there to do than to live right now? in the present moment. for that’s all we have. that is what is important and beautiful and inspiring. and amazingly, the present moment is renewed again and again. just like the passing seasons of the year. creativity and renewal and new beginnings are part of the awe-inspiring cycle of life. why wouldn’t we want to align ourselves and go with the flow and ride the magical cycle of life in harmony with nature, instead of trying to fight it? why wouldn’t we want to soak up the sacred, glorious present moment that is right now?

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speaking of the present moment, today, on this first day of spring, everything is balanced. there are equal parts of light and dark in the day. and, from today on, the days will continue to become longer + brighter as we make our way to the summer solstice in june (midsummer, in sweden). but, just today, for this moment, we are balanced. and for me, that gives me a sense of total harmony. complete rest and calm and peace.

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so, today, in the midst of mother nature’s day of balance i will look up to the sky (even if it is cloudy and possibly snowy in sweden) and i will breathe in the changing of the seasons. i will pause to feel the shift. and, with the new moon that covers the sun, and i will use these moments, that are teetering ever-so-gently in perfect balance, to set my intentions for the days of light that follow. it is time to begin something. to let go of the old, dark, cold winter times of our lives and to leap forward with joy + lightness to whatever comes next. today is the day that we can dream about what that might be. we may have no detailed ideas of what lies ahead, it is most likely completely unknown; but we can ponder, plan, and set our intentions for what we want to accomplish and how we want to live.

besides, what better time than spring to begin to focus on the newness that waits for us?

onwards + upwards, friends! xoxo

home-uppsala-coffee

a week ago today: our (real) move to uppsala

this time last week, i met my love at the train station in uppsala and we boarded a train bound for norrköping – where lina’s parents live + where all of our stuff from the states was shipped! that’s right, we were on our way to pick up our american stuff and bring it back to uppsala, where we have already been living for five weeks… and move into our new apartment!

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lucky us, we had gotten the keys to our new (permanent, for a year) apartment a whole week early! so, no more empty temporary apartment living! i mean, we are super grateful for having the chance to live there, but it never felt like home. of course, why would it? we only had it for 6 weeks. but, it was a place to lay our head and keep us warm. so we had so much more than many people in the world. however, after 2 months of total transition + upheaval, it was so great to know that we could create a home again. 5-train-my-love-travel

so, we arrived in norrköping, did some errands and then went to lina’s parents’ home for the weekend. on saturday, we did more errands, like buying a piece of wood to use as our desk, a vacuum cleaner, a microwave, etc. we also had a great visit to to see lina’s grandma, and then landed at lina’s parents’ again for a cozy evening in front of the tv with popcorn. the popcorn had just finished popping, the tv was on, and a few candles were lit, when the lights went out. that’s right. blackout. we stayed up for an hour together, talking, looking at our phones, and eating popcorn and drinking wine. it was cozy, albeit cozy in a way we hadn’t planned. hehe.

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morning came, the power was restored, and we were busy packing out boxes in a trailer and hopping in the car with lina’s parents’ to drive back to uppsala!! we were actually moving in now!  8-lina-me-moving-packed 9-lina-moving-trailer 10-me-moving
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so, we unloaded everything, carried everything in, picked up zola at the other apartment, and went to IKEA for a few more necessary supplies. come evening, we were exhausted and hungry, so we ordered pizza from the pizzeria which is literally just outside our apartment building’s door. score! we ate and then pretty much went to bed, i think. i don’t really remember. 13-first-things-unpacking-glass-beer 14-pizza-dinner 16-living-room-sweden

we woke on monday morning, barely able to walk, but with just enough energy to make coffee (of course!) and sip our first cup in our new kitchen, which was bathed in sunlight – as it is every single sunny morning. it’s just gorgeous! then, it was all about organizing, sorting, and unpacking, which we did all day – with lina also sitting at the desk, working from home.

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come tuesday morning, we felt a little bit settled, and still a little bit completely overwhelmed – in a good way. but, we also felt oh so very grateful. grateful for our home. for each other. for everyone who has helped us – both of our sets of parents! people who took and bought our old things, my brother who let us stay at his place before moving, the apartment we lived in first here in uppsala. all of our friends + family all over the world who have been sending us texts, messages, good vibes, and thinking of us.

we are grateful for surviving, for our marriage, and for the opportunities, adventures, and simple moments of life that await us. now, it’s time to make this apartment our home. wishing you a great weekend, lovely ones!

onwards + upwards!

celebrating renewal!

easter sunrise 2009. cocoa beach, florida. road trip with my love to the florida keys for spring break.

easter sunrise 2009. cocoa beach, florida. road trip with my love to the florida keys for spring break.

“the secret to living the life of your dreams is to start living the life of your dreams today, in every little way you possible can.” ~ mike dooley

“i have always been delighted at the prospect of a new day, a fresh try, one more start, with perhaps a bit of magic waiting somewhere behind the morning.” ~ j.b. priestly

“easter is the demonstration of god that life is essentially spiritual and timeless.” ~charles m. crowe

“there is a fragrance in the air, a certain passage of a song, an old photograph falling out from the pages of a book, the sound of somebody’s voice in the hall that makes your heart leap and fills your eyes with tears. who can say when or how it will be that something easters up out of the dimness to remind us of a time before we were born and after we will die?” ~ frederick beuchner

“things are always better in the morning.” ~ harper lee

“i couldn’t imagine living in a state that didn’t reach the ocean. it was a giant reset button. you could go to the edge of the land and see infinity and feel renewed.”
~ Avery Sawyer.

“reshaping life! people who can say that have never understood a thing about life—they have never felt its breath, its heartbeat—however much they have seen or done. they look on it as a lump of raw material that needs to be processed by them, to be ennobled by their touch. But life is never a material, a substance to be molded. if you want to know, life is the principle of self-renewal, it is constantly renewing and remaking and changing and transfiguring itself, it is infinitely beyond your or my obtuse theories about it.”
― boris pasternak

“i believe that when you stop renewing and are no longer open to change and the possibilities that continually unfold, you stop being alive and are just getting through the years. transformation doesn’t happen unless you’re willing: it’s your choice.” ~ oprah winfrey

“perhaps the earth can teach us. as when everything seems dead, and later proves to be alive.” ~ pablo neruda

come out of the darkness. celebrate the light. a new day is upon us! with the morning, life is renewed once again. we have a new beginning.  a new chance to follow our dreams, to live life, to be who exactly who we are. the question is… what are our dreams? who are we? and what are we going to do with our life today?! one thing is for sure, we have one more opportunity to celebrate life!

happy easter, everyone! peace, light, & love.

gettin’ artsy in august.

i love the beginning of a month. it’s like a chance to start over every 30/31 days. a clean slate. something new. new possibilities. new opportunities. new adventures. there’s truly something about a new month that makes me feel free, excited, and hopeful. another chance to keep chasing my old dreams and to even begin making new ones. the ending of one month & the beginning of another gives me a chance to regroup, rethink, and recommit.

each month brings with it a unique feeling for me. it’s like i have a pallet of colors throughout the year, and each month is represented by a certain color, which connotes a certain feeling. august is warm reds, yellows, & oranges… like the late summer sunshine. but it’s also deep green, like the mature leaves on trees, waiting for a few more weeks until they begin to turn vibrant, warm colors and then fall to the ground. august feels a bit lazy in the beginning… the last few moments of rest until a new work & school year start up again. it’s a month of transitions…

but, before i get ahead of myself, we’ve got all of august ahead of us. and while there are things that are planned, things that i know are waiting for me during this month, i am also thrilled about the unknown treasures hidden in my august days.

for me, august hold lots of excitement…

  1. i still have one & a half weeks of my vacation left. woo hoo! of course, i could be on vacation every day of my life, but i admit that i am pretty excited about going back to work. starting again, adding some new things, and hoping that i can go up i  percent that i work (keep your fingers crossed!). there’s so much i want to do, so many ideas i have, and i can’t do it all working only 50%/half-time. anyway, all i’m saying is, i am almost ready to head back to the working world, thanks to a 4 week vacation. USA, you really should look into providing a real vacation for your residents & citizens… it is so much more physically, mentally, and emotionally healthy to actually have some time off to really rest and enjoy life. talk about good, strong, conservative family values… what could be better than getting to spend major quality time with your family?
  2. in the end of august, my love & i are heading back to a city we love: DUBLIN!! yep. we’re flying to the green isle for a 5 day weekend to celebrate the wedding of our dear swiss friend, n, to her lovely, funny, kind irish fiancé. the super cool thing is that we will be in dublin (which we looove. check out our previous trip here, here, here, & here), but only for a short bit. the wedding is taking place in the irish countryside at an estate… can you say, “helloooo!!!”?! i am so excited about getting to see the irish landscape, be a part of more irish/swiss traditions, and have a wonderful time with fabulous people… eating, drinking, & making merry. the irish are jovial, fun-loving, full-of-life people. get yourself to this island whenever you get a chance!
  3. i’m gonna do my best to write as much as possible during august, as well. i’m really, really feeling the writing groove right now in life and i love that. so, stay tuned, and keep checking the “from death to peace” in my menu bar to see if another “chapter” has been added.
  4. finally, august also invites me to keep my creative juices flowing photographically. i have now been a part of the monthly photo a day challenge created by chantelle, for 7 months now. that is crazy! i actually considered skipping it this month, but i figure it’s just the honeymoon period coming to an end. now, it’s time to dig in my heels and stick with it, challenging myself to go to a higher level with my photography.

and, guess what?! something just happened to come into my life to do just that.

i won’t go into details, but there is a band/group that lina & i have had the pleasure of getting to know over the past 6 months. we’ve been to a few of their concerts and chatted with the members of the band as well. because of the magical connections that happen through social media, we have been able to form an interesting kind of “friendship”, not that we hang out or anything. still, it feels like we mutually support each other.

the other day the leader of the band, a very talented singer/songwriter chatted with me on facebook and asked if lina & i were coming to their next gig in a week. of course we were! next thing i knew, we were chatting and he was asking me if i would take pictures for them during the late evening concert/gig. WHAT?! this is awesome! of course i would! now, i have a chance to take pictures for a “reason”, for someone else, in a professional way. i am overwhelmed and stunned and completely humbled. can’t wait! thank you, blackbyrd, for the opportunity to capture you all making beautiful music!

so, as you can see, august is filling up with opportunities. it even feels like i’m touching on a few dreams i’ve had in my life. there are still struggles & difficult times ahead, as always in life. but, my love is home with me now (i can say that she has been in the hospital for almost 3 months, and was close to death, but now she is home & is fighting to keep getting better) and we have the unbelievable joy of sharing this crazy, mixed-up, beautiful life together. having our family together again makes everything seem more bearable.

so, august, i welcome you. a fresh start. a new beginning. a month of enjoying the last days of summer and of transitioning to the cozy season of fall. a month filled with joys, both known & unknown and challenges, that i may be prepared for, or not. my dear readers, thank you for sticking with me. it means so much. my little blog has become a place where i can dream, write, and refocus; and your presence here makes it even better. if this is your first visit here, i hope that you stop back by. leave me a message so i can check out your little corner in cyberspace.

by the way, for those of you who want to join in on the photo a day fun, here’s the list for august:

happy first day of august! here’s to wishing you a  great month! peace & love.

my favorite bit of the weekend.

well, the sun is setting on this weekend & i’m ready to wind down & head to bed soon. but first, i’ve got a few things on my mind… all day i’ve been thinking about my favorite moment of the weekend (photo a day challenge today), and i just knew i was gonna post something about friday night. you see for bedtime on friday i was cozy at home with my love, sleeping with an open window, listening to the rain fall down, snuggling all warm & safe under our covers. yep. i was sure that was my favorite moment this weekend. and not only for the atmosphere of the night, but for everything that led up to those peaceful, carefree moments as well.

it had been a crazy, and important, thursday & friday (only i didn’t know it as everything was happening. funny thing perspective is, huh?) anyway, i felt as if i was living in some kind of strange dream world when i went to bed friday night. i couldn’t really comprehend the past 2 days… all i knew was that in that moment, as i lay my head on my pillow, i felt peace.

isn’t it crazy how life is full of paradoxes? you know, yin & yang. something so frightening, confusing, & difficult one day can transform into something amazing the next. i say it all the time, and i believe it because i experience it over & over again (not necessarily always in life-changing, blow-you-away moments, but even in little, ordinary moments too), “it is always darkest before the light”. there is something about that contrast. the light & the dark. the pain & the joy. the dark reminds us and teaches us what the light is. does that mean that we must have dark in our lives too? i’m not sure if it means that we must have dark, but i am certain that we do have the dark in our life. it’s just a part of it. but, the dark somehow serves a purpose, reminding us that there is light. the light is the brightest because we have seen the dark, experienced the dark, been in the middle of the dark. but, the light never leaves us alone. we are never without hope. the light always comes in the morning. always. offering us a new day, a new start, a new moment to live life. to begin again. over & over we can begin again. when we are in the dark, we just remember to breathe. and then to shake it off, because the light, life, love… it’s right there waiting for us.

oh my dear friends, i have been learning so much about myself over the past month. mostly about letting go of control & living in the moment. of trusting that the light is there, that the dark never wins. i have begun to understand how to back off when i want to push & be in control, how to let go of the responsibility i feel to try to fix things, how to care for myself, how to love freely & openly without expectations, how strong i can be, how much i can do, how unbelievably amazing (yet not perfect, as none of us are) my wife is, and how to truly, simply try to be present.

going to bed friday night with my love, feeling that something in our universe was different (better, but not perfect), feeling some hope, listening to the rain through the open window, i felt like i just wanted to bottle that moment up and never let it end. i wanted to bottle up the light that i was feeling shining in of the darkness, teaching me that even though it’s tough sometimes, it’s always worth it. but, that night is in my memory. i can relive it over & over again, if i wish. and i will, since it serves as a reminder of the light in the dark.

yeah, it still may be my favorite moment of the weekend.

but then later on today, i had a few moments that were a close second, if not a tie for “best moment of the weekend”.

this afternoon, lina & i discovered that there was a norah jones concert on tv. the concert was filmed in denmark. without writing a whole, long story about what norah jones’ music and denmark mean to both of us, let me just say that those two things symbolize a very special, amazing time in our life. so, sitting on a sofa together during the late afternoon & watching the hour concert on tv, while a thunderstorm roared outside gave me a few more moments of heaven this weekend.

i’m telling you. i am learning so much about living in the moment. i know i write about soaking it all in, which is something i have been consciously trying to do for some years now… but at this point in my life, under all the circumstances under which i live & breathe these days, i have learned infinitely more about what it means to be in the moment: out of the necessity to take it one moment at a time because i don’t feel like i’ll make it at all; and being in the moment out of pure bliss and joy. again, the yin & the yang. the light & the dark. life & death. bliss & agony. above all, i have learned to stick with it. to trust. to let go. to be mindful. to breathe. for there is still a long road ahead.

but, you know, all of us are much stronger that we ever imagine ourselves to be. i am sure of it.

on that note, i’ll goodnight, my dear readers. i hope that your weekend was filled with moments of light & dark. i wish for each of you a life full of ups, downs, adventures, tranquility, color, music, dreams, discoveries… one that is not perfect, but one that is the perfect journey for you. and of course, most of all one that is filled with, even in the darkness, peace.