// week twenty eight (part 2) // the healing magic of sweden’s nature

hello, friends! have i got a treat for you today!

get ready to breathe deep + feel the healing magic of the swedish archipelago. yesterday i shared a bunch of photos with you about camp life in the archipelago – i spent last week there. but, the other part about being out in the archipelago is communing with nature.

to get there, after 2 hours or so, you turn off of the main highway and then drive for a while longer deep into wild, free, green forests of southern sweden. it’s as if you can hear + see the legendary trolls scampering about to hide behind or beneath rocks. and i swear that if i peer closely out the window as we make our way down the gravel roads, i can see fairies flitting about between the greenery, darting behind trees, alighting on the sunshine-drenched wildflowers.

out here everything is natural. everything is organic. everything is simple. and real. and possible.

the air is clear and fresh. the water, cold and clean (minus the seaweed + sea grass floating about sometimes). the sun sets late at night and rises again just a few hours later.

if i stand on the rocks by the edge of the water, i can hear the sea calling me. i feel instant peace. instant serenity. and my breath becomes slow and steady and deep.

yes, there is magic here. there is healing here. if you just slow down… just enough to look for a moment. just enough to feel it. that’s right, here you are one with nature. one with the earth. completely connected. the universe is no longer something that is out there. god is no longer something that is out there. you are enveloped in the wonder of the divine and the sacred.

see for yourself…. and slow down as you gaze at the photos. i so wish for you the pure peace and tranquility that i felt.

path-trees-skeppsgarden dark-forest-trees-skeppsgarden trees-flowers-skeppsgarden trees-sunshine-skeppsgarden trees-skeppsgarden beach-skeppsgarden water-reeds-skeppsgarden green-trees-water-skeppsgarden rocks-calm-skeppsgarden calm-relfection-skeppsgarden tree-skeppsgarden tree-rowing-skeppsgarden oar-water-skeppsgarden skeppsgarden-water

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dark-dock-skeppsgarden cloudy-beach-skeppsgarden
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pink-sunsets-skeppsgarden golden-sunset-skeppsgarden sea-skeppsgarden blue-water-skeppsgarden water-sea-skeppsgarden skeppsgarden-view calm-sunset-skeppsgarden pink-sunset-skeppsgarden swimming-skeppsgarden bubbles-sunset-skeppsgarden

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wherever you are today, just take a moment to look around at the nature that surrounds you. if you’re in the city, just find a shrub or a flower, or even a weed. or simply stand beside your window and look up, or down. anything that is natural will do. meditate on the nature around you for a few minutes. breathe it in. let it heal you. let yourself become swept away in the beauty and the simplicity. and for one second, just give thanks. and know that, even in the midst of all that is going on in life, you are whole. and you, just like the bits of nature all around us, are perfectly sacred + divine + are simply called to be exactly who you are.

“the miracle is not to fly in the air or walk on the water, but it is to wander around right here on earth.” // china

onwards + upwards! xoxo

 

// week twenty eight (part 1) // swedish camp life is like living in utopia

i have so many photos to share this week, that i’ve decided to split them up into two different //week twenty eight// posts. yay!

last week i spent the entire week off the grid. ok. ok. i snuck out to the very end of the dock, or walked through the woods to a high curve in the road where i just might find a tiny bit of service and uploaded a few photos onto instagram throughout the week. but, i only did that once a day. promise. and i didn’t scroll through Facebook, twitter, my email, or the news at all. truly. and, of course, it felt so nice to be away and unplugged.

but, that just means that you have to look through a bunch of my photos all today and tomorrow then. hope you don’t mind. wink. wink.

my love + i headed out a week ago to the swedish archipelago (islands) in the southern part of sweden on the baltic sea. it’s been a yearly tradition in lina’s family since the 70s. but, it’s not just me and lina and the family. nope. it’s about 50-60 people in total. most of whom have been a part of this week long retreat in the archipelago since its beginning 40 years ago.  of course, there are new people who have come along, either through marriage or through church connections (it’s a church camp – but not at all churchy like you might be thinking).

during this week there is no theme. there is no focus. there is nothing that one has to do. there is only the beautiful swedish nature, hopefully sunshine, community living, simplicity, unplugging, good food and lots of coffee, games to play, time to meditate + be inspired, conversations that are both serious + silly + everything in-between. the only thing that is expected of us is to be in the moment, to help out to care for the community, and to find our own little place of inner peace, while sharing life with everyone else.

it is a beautiful, relaxing, inspiring reminder of the only things that are really important: love, people, nature, authenticity, and simply being – alone + together. it is a perfect little slice of the balanced life that i believe that we could all live, all of the time, if we only did.

and this little hippie chick totally digs the communal, intentional, contemplative living that camp life has to offer.

here’s a peek at some of the things that we did (or didn’t do. hehe).

trees-forest-skeppsgarden beach-niece-skeppsgarden beach-rocks-skeppsgarden beach-day-skeppsgarden feet-water-me-skeppsgarden boathouse-skeppsgarden rowing-skeppsgarden cabin-stuga-skeppsgarden yellow-house-skeppsgarden our-room my-view-yellow-house-skeppsgarden campfirde-trees-skeppsgarden campfire-skeppsgarden campfire-lina-me-skeppsgarden question-walk-skeppsgarden hot-dogs-bbq-skeppsgarden family-skeppsgarden camfire-sunset-skeppsgarden meditation-skeppsgarden candles-skeppsgarden games-skeppsgarden me-skeppsgarden ice-cream-skeppsgarden maggie-church-skeppsgarden rain-games-skeppsgarden feet-boots-grass-skeppsgarden rainy-games-skeppsgarden lina-me-skeppsgarden swedish-flag-skeppsgarden

i’ll be back tomorrow with a post dedicated to the amazing, beautiful, breath-taking nature in the swedish archipelago. it is absolutely magical. makes me feel like i’m in a fairy tale or something. until then… happy monday!

onwards + upwards! xoxo

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the one thing i love about easter in sweden

easter in sweden is a big deal. not necessarily because of the religious reasons, but because it is a long weekend holiday, and the first real celebration in the spring. like the united states, easter is right up there with christmas. there are traditions, decorations, and typical swedish things that you can count on seeing and/or doing every year.

i’ve spent quite a few easters in sweden… i think this was my 5th, and i knew exactly what to expect. time may have passed, and situations in life may have changed, but this holiday, this little break in regular, everyday life, remains an important time in swedish society.

my easter this year began on friday morning, as my love and i enjoyed a quiet, slow morning at home. then we hopped on a train and headed south to norrköping to lina’s parents’ home. we made it by dinner time + sat outside in their new sunroom through sunset and until the full moon had risen high in the sky. on good friday, it is expected that you don’t do much of anything – a tradition in respect of the day of jesus’ death. even though most people in sweden don’t really observe good friday.

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saturday, the traditional weird day between good friday and easter, is filled with a buzz here in sweden. though, it’s a buzz only with food + family here. nothing else. our saturday was pretty calm, even though it was busy – kind of. a long, lazy morning with lots of coffee + breakfast. meal preparations. a big 14 person lunch. lots of candy (from the easter eggs children get). a mid-afternoon fika. more relaxing, talking, and sitting around the table. pizza dinner. and then bed.

sitting around the table, eating, talking, and catching up is something that swedes do every well. it is highly possible to go from one meal to a fika to another little meal, and never leave the table. it was something i had hard time with when i first lived in sweden years ago, being a short-attention-span american. but, i have grown to enjoy the long, drawn-out meals where you really, really connect and enjoy each others’ company.

coffee feather-tree easter-food easter-candy me-photo easter-cake pizza-dinner

on easter sunday, we began the morning slowly again, but left for church in the late morning. we visited the church where i used to work, and filled with people that lina grew up with. it was so very nice to hug some necks and catch up with friends and co-workers and other members. i have to say, we were treated like little celebrities when we walked in – what a boost to one’s ego. hehe. of course, after the service we had fika and chatted with even more people. it was really great to reconnect with some very amazing, inspiring people from our former life in sweden.

then, in the afternoon, we headed to lina’s aunt + uncles’ house for a birthday dinner for lina’s cousin who’s turning 25. there were about 17 of us or so. another amazing family meal of sitting around the table and catching up. as you can tell, it’s all about quality time together here in sweden.

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in the evening, lina and i hopped a bus back to uppsala. it was a long ride and we arrived close to 11pm. but that didn’t stop us from meeting up with lina’s brother for a drink at a nearby bar. he wasn’t with us for easter because he was with his fiancées family. it was a great way to wind down after a social weekend away, and transition back to being home.

easter monday is a holiday here, so everyone was still off from work. lina and i stayed home all day – minus a quick walk to the grocery store. doing what we love to do. and just being.

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so, in my opinion, easter in sweden is all about one thing: simplicity. it’s all about simply spending time together and enjoying that time with good food and relaxation. it is a fantastic little break in the everyday grind. and something that makes the swedish society so amazing. it’s  the ability to just slow down and just be for a sustained period of time – without needing to be entertained by something fancy. just some food and some people and perhaps a chance to enjoy nature a bit. for a whole weekend. something that many people (americans) could learn to do better. whether you are involved with a big family or there are only two of you, it’s all about stopping for a moment just to enjoy… well, life.

hope you had a lovely weekend, and celebrated in just the way that you wanted + needed.

onwards + upwards! xoxo