fika comes full-circle

world coffee cafe fika

today is my love’s last day of school at her university. ever. i dropped her off this afternoon, and will pick her up tonight after 8:30 – this is her long day. in the meantime, i have my book club meeting and we are discussing the geography of bliss – woo hoo! i totally choose that book because i read it this summer, and i knew i’d go crazy trying to get another new book read. plus, i loved it and i think it is a perfect book to lead a discussion on. what’s not to like? travel + the search for bliss. sounds like something i could have written. hehe.

however, that doesn’t begin until 6:30, so i’ve got some time on my hands…

world-coffee-cafe

back when lina started studying right after we moved to asheville, i also found myself with some extra time on my hands. actually, all i had was time since i had no job. basically, the world was wide open. so, how did i decide to use my time? well, i went to cafés and coffeehouses. i decided that, in order to reacquaint myself with this city that i adore and in order to take care of missing the swedish tradition of fika, i’d drink coffee all over the city and begin writing. i would hunker down in a corner, trying to figure out my next step in life. and before i knew it, i had dreamed up a crazy project – my 40 days of fika project  – yep. i visited 40 cafés in 40 days, and i blogged about it. you can find that blog {here}.

computer-fika-asheville

so, for most of the fall semester last year, i was busy drinking coffee, meeting people and writing + blogging. it was during these months that i finally began to call myself a writer. i claimed it and it empowered me. this crazy project of mine even led to me freelance for a local, independent arts + cultural newspaper. and, after my 40 days of fika were over, i created a fika group – because people (who i didn’t even know!) were wanting to meet and fika. to this day, we have 171 members of that group that visits cafés + coffeehouses once a week, meeting to sip on coffee and enjoy conversation. soon, my time while lina was in class was taken up by meeting people, facilitating my fika group, writing, and doing other life-errands. but the 40 days of fika was over – and it was a very special time for me.

window-table-world-coffee-cafe

kindres-spirit-writer

outsife-fika

a year and a half has passed now, and everything is winding down with our move to sweden just around the corner. and, as i said in the beginning, today is lina’s last day of classes at her university. she worked so very hard to make this dream happen – and now, she’s gotten her absolute dream job , and it’s time to look to the future.

so, when i dropped her off today, i knew exactly what i was going to do until my book club meeting: i was going to visit a café and fika – like i used to do.

fika-computer-coffee

here i am now, in my happy place. doing what i do. in the midst of people, ready to interact, if the opportunity to arises. but, otherwise sipping on my coffee and typing away. as i reflect on the time that has passed while we have been in asheville, what I have come to understand is that i am a storyteller. and this is the life that i seek to live: coffee. people. places. words. images. so, here I sit. feeling like things have come full circle. that this part of my journey is coming to a close… and I am ready to move on, continuing to tell my stories and to live life to the fullest.

light + love xx

meditation mondays: everything [and everyone] is sacred

me-wind-self-ego

happy monday, friends! i sure do hope that your week has started off great, as mine has. here in asheville, the weather is gorgeous, i feel focused, + thanksgiving is this week! yep, that good ole traditional american stuff-your-face holiday that i love is just around the corner. but, more on the holiday in a few days.

today is meditation monday – and it’s the last monday of november, so it’s the last week of native november as well. today, i’m thinking a lot about the word “spirituality” and how it relates to native americans… what do we have to learn from the native way of connecting to spirit?

well, first off, i have discovered that native people do not really focus on spirituality, or religion, or faith. what i mean, is, that they have no real way of talking about any of that. and that’s because they just live it. you see, native american spirituality is infused into every single aspect of life – rituals, traditions, beliefs, actions, etc. everything they do, they do with spirit – something that stems from their belief in the connectedness of all of life, from humans to animals to the earth. their beliefs and practices form a integral and seamless part of their very being.

this makes so much freaking sense to me. why do we separate our spirituality? why do we go to churches or have special services or close our eyes to pray or meditate and think that satisfies our spirituality quota? why do we set aside some specific time out of our week for our “religion” or “faith”. it’s just crazy, if you think about it. spirituality should not be something we do, but should be who we are, part of our being. then, we, too, could live a seamless, completely integrated life where who we are creates all of our actions naturally.

the native american belief that everything is sacred is the foundation of their spirituality. a belief that can be summed up in three words/values: respect, honor, and love. these are not words that are just spoken with empty meaning, this is how indigenous people seek to live – every singe day. from ceremonies, to family, to giving thanks for food killed on a hunt, to listening to elders, to going on vision quests, and so much more.

native americans live what they believe. all of life is worship. every second + every living thing is celebrated. every single breath is holy. and everything on earth has a purpose.

asheville-sunset-mountains

this is an especially meaningful belief to ponder tonight during the events taking place across the usa as i type this. tonight, a grand jury in st. louis, missouri, did not charge a policeman who shot and killed an unarmed black teenage boy back in august. the shooting took place in ferguson, missouri + has sparked protests (both non-violent and some violent) for the past few months. this decision to not charge the policeman has rekindled the flames of frustration and anger on the part of the citizens who want justice. and people are protesting all across the country. understandably.

it is in times like these, where i draw deeply from any tradition that teaches the equal worth of ALL people. right now,  racism and the plight of black people to still have to fight to get their voices heard angers me as well – of course, in a way that i cannot truly understand firsthand. but, the fact is, a young black man and a young white man walking down street are not treated in the same way. one is considered suspicious, and one not. white privilege is a real thing. and racism is still prevalent in the states today.

tonight, my heart is heavy. and i pray for peace and reconciliation. i pray for the day when we can truly see each other as equals, as sacred brothers + sisters. for the day when we take the words that we say and the beliefs that we tell other people that we believe, and actually align our lives so that what we say and what we do are exactly the same thing. i look forward to the day when we learn how to stop talking about what we believe, and live it.

for me, this is the heart of spirituality. it’s not just sitting in some corner every morning with candles lit, meditating + breathing deeply – though this is what i do and i believe that it is important. it is part of my spiritual practice, a ritual in my life, you might say. but, the heart of spirituality – the way that i want to live out my spirituality – is how i live my life from day to day, minute to minute. putting what i believe into practice. that is when my spirituality truly comes alive.

but, it all begins within. it all begins with who i am. my being. so, not only to i commit to spending time alone, nurturing my soul, listening to my heart, watching + observing nature, and learning to quiet my mind. but, i also commit seeking to be open… and letting everything that i learn become the essence of how i live.

I am going to venture that the man who sat on the ground in his tipi meditating on life and its meaning, accepting the kinship of all creatures, and acknowledging unity with the universe of things was infusing into his being the true essence of civilization. –  Luther Standing Bear, Oglala Lakota Sioux (1868-1939)

do you have any spiritual practices? and by this, i do not mean that you have to be part of any formal religion. are there beliefs, rituals, ceremonies, etc. that are a part of your life… things that help you connect with your soul and turn inward, drawing on the Source that connects us all? share them with me below. i’ve love to hear!

light + love + inspiration xx

trust yourself: everything you need is within you

listen to the wind, it talks. listen to the silence, it speaks. listen to your heart, it knows. – native american saying

good evening, friends. i hope that you have had a good weekend. here, in my little corner of the world, i am feeling satisfied + peaceful after sneaking away with my love to atlanta for about 36 hours to refocus + recharge with some good friends (more to come on that on tuesday!). but, now, i am focused on winding down the first week of my meditation mondays series – and it feels pretty good.

me. right now. as i type to you.
me. right now. as i type to you.

last monday i started this new series, and i challenged myself (and you, if you are so interested) in taking a little vision quest journey, as native american children have done in the past. i’m not sure if they still practice this today, but i sure do hope so. in any case, my meditation on monday introduced us to the idea of taking our own quest throughout the week = taking some time to just be + listen to our souls. a chance to reconnect with ourselves + discover to what the universe may be calling us to next in life.

for me, there has been no clear message slapping me in the face this week, rather lots of little things, that, had i not been deliberately trying to slow down + pay attention, i would have totally missed.

once again, my soul reminds me that i am a writer. that all i want to do is write + travel, and travel + write. and, even as things are changing right now in my life (more to come on that at a later date), i am reminded once again to stick to what my soul says.  scary and uncertain as it all may be, my soul knows me.

friends atlanta walking avondale lake autumn

now, before i let this vision quest thing go and prepare to move on to next week’s meditation mondays theme, i want to address something that we all often struggle with: guilt!

all this talk about the soul sounds a lot like me, me, me, me, me! egocentric. self-centered. selfish. but, my friends, it isn’t. not when you focus on yourself in the hopes of growth + transformation. now, only thinking about what we want next or what we want now, is one thing. meditating and turning inward is something completely different, i believe. something that is necessary in order to remain aligned + attached to our soul – because when we do that, when we attach ourselves to our true inner soul, then everything that flows out of us is done with love and compassion. therefore, when we go on a little quest to discover our personal legend or our calling at this time in our lives, then we are seeking ways to be true to who we are, which, in turn, makes us better people – who then make a difference in the world.

the native americans have a belief that life can be described as 4 concentric circles, with the first and inner circle being our self. the next one, our family and community. the 3rd one, the animals + the earth + all of humanity. and, the last one, spirituality. this is freaking genius, i believe.

native american values life

this is my little image that i created to show you what i mean. life begins at the center – at discovering who we are as unique individuals. but, we expand outward. in fact, everything in life is fluid, flowing back + forth through all of the circles, crossing lines, all connected and affected by one another. and, yet, unified as one circle. how beautiful is that?

this week, we went on a quest, a personal journey. starting tomorrow, we will begin to meditate on the next circle – family + community. using who we are, how do we impact those that are closest to us? what do the native americans have to say about the importance of family + community?

but, for tonight, i want to leave you with a bit of music from my native november playlist (see the left column for a link) for inspiration. listen + ponder. and be secure in who you are. you have everything you need within you:

light + love. xx

see you tomorrow for a new meditation!