// 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.

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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



your path is beautiful + crooked + just as it should be

with a new move, comes a lot of practical things to take care of. i mean, we have to deal with reality. not everything is dinners out + trips + meeting up with old friends. just now, lina and i are frantically searching for a place to live in uppsala  – where we will be moving to in one week because her job begins next monday. of course, i’m sending applications all over the place right now to find some kind of work as well. it is absolutely necessary to deal with all of these kinds of things in life, and prioritize what we can do + what we want to do.

all of this uncertainty is stressful + scary. nothing that i haven’t dealt with before in life, or will deal with again. still… it’s high stress. and the only way i can deal with all of the fear and uncertainty is to reconnect with my soul.

the other day, we took a walk through a park here in norrköping. the air was crisp, snow hung on the trees, + it was simply magical. we just had to get outside to soak it all up…

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the path may be uncertain, crooked, sideways, uphill, downhill, dark, unknown, scary, exciting, and so much more. but, one thing i am most certainly always certain of is, that whatever path you are on, whatever path i am on, we are exactly where we are supposed to be. if we can grab on to that thought and breathe through it, sucking out the beauty of each + every mundane day, then we can make it.

how about it. let’s all promise to take a few moments to sip on a cup of coffee or step outside or do some yoga or play some music today, ok? let’s do it for our souls. because, i fully + completely believe that when our souls + spirits are calm, then we tap into the powerful energy + inspiration that resides deeps inside us and connects us all. and then, we are empowered to keep on moving. we are energized to become more. we are ready to create and do and live. ahhh.. i can almost feel the power rising from within me!

onwards + upwards!


the freedom of letting go

// I stood still, looking up at this tree the other morning, watching the leaves fall + take flight. They just let go… accepting that this season of their life was done. They flew one after another, floating gently wherever the wind took them, some even landing on my shoulder or my head. Their willingness inspired me.

// I suppose I have a lot to learn from a tree. Acceptance, flexibility, willingness, gentleness.

// As I set my intentions for this next season in my life, it is also necessary for me, like this great tree above, to let go of control + to trust that the universe will guide me. It always does. And it is always amazing.

// So, today, I release my dreams out into the Universe once again + embrace the belief that, come what may, I am exactly where I am supposed to be.

Just let go…

light + love, my friends. xx

an hour off the grid

this morning, i decided that i wanted to be in the middle of trees. sometimes, i just get some kind of craving to be lost in the middle of a forest. alone and quiet. luckily, asheville is surrounded by such places, and even has some places within the city limits. so, for about an hour today, i headed just 5 minutes from downtown and immersed myself in a sea of green. and it was divine.

there is a bird sanctuary and a lake in north asheville, called beaver lake, that is filled with long, wooden walkways winding through trees and over wetlands. here, you’ll find and hear tons of different species of birds – and lots of retired, amateur bird-watchers/photographers as well.

with only my phone and my car keys, i took off into the woods, strolling and meandering among the birds and the trees. stopping to breathe and to think. to just be at one with the natural world, soaking up all of the new life that has recently sprung up around us. it was so peaceful and quiet. silent actually – minus the birds. no human interaction the whole time. a whole hour – off the grid.

what a gift it is to just get away for a little while. to ponder life and love and dreams and goals. and actually, to just be. how do you get away and get off the grid?

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now, don’t you just wanna go hug a tree? do it! xx

wednesday wisdom: rules of living #6

i’ve always had a problem with prayer.

i just don’t like the idea of a Being “up there” in the clouds listening to people as they mutter their wishes and wants and prayers, hoping all of their dreams will be fulfilled – and when they don’t get what they want, then they stop believing in that Being in the sky. i think that’s a shallow way of thinking of prayer.

a cynical approach, huh? well, unfortunately, i have run into that mindset way more often than i wish to. and i just don’t believe that’s how prayer works.

his holiness the dalai lama has gotten me thinking about prayer today… as i continue my series on the 18 rules of living, today’s has really stirred up some thoughts and emotions in me. here’s what the dalai lama has to say:

10. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.

first off, while i do believe in a divine being, i most certainly do not think that it is a genie ready to grant us all three (or more) wishes. i also do not think the divine being is some great judge that determines who will get their wish and who will not. cuz, let’s face it, folks: some people seem to get everything, and some people tend to get crapped on. if this divine being made all of the decisions to bestow favor or heartache on people, then that is no divine being i wish to believe in – because it’s simply unfair. and i believe love is way more universal than that.

so, this whole praying thing that leads to asking for favors to be granted, or even that asks for blessings and healings, i have a hard time with. of course i believe that prayers are heard, but it’s much deeper than granting us what we want – even if what we want is noble and good, like world peace or to end poverty. prayers are heard and received.

don’t get me wrong, i pray. but, i call it meditating. i think of it as using my energy, focusing my thoughts, and sending love out and around. and, yes, i “talk” to or think of something, but it is a divine connection, a light, an energy, something that unites all humans. instead of praying words up to the sky, when i pray, or meditate, it is as if i tap into that divine energy (being) that connects us all and send all of my vibes there, hoping that they also reach the people (including myself) that i am thinking of. i also tend to think of prayer as a way to connect with this energy of love that flows among us, which empowers and inspires us to action in our lives. for me, prayer is more like contemplation. hence, i prefer the word meditation.

to make it simple, i think of it as the divine being living within and among us, instead of over and above us.

i wonder if any of this makes sense to any of you…

yes, prayers are heard and received – not necessarily by some man or woman in the sky, but they are heard and felt in our own hearts. and, yes, we send out our dreams, wishes, visions to the universe (or god, or allah, or whatever you call the divine). but, sometimes, our prayers are not answered. at least, that is what we think.

however, i’d say that our prayers (our wishes and dreams and hopes) are always answered… just not necessarily in the way that we want them to be. sometimes the universe is just silent. sometimes we feel nothing. we hear nothing. there is no inspiration. there is no clarity. only confusion. sometimes we are hurt and angry and bored. sometimes we ask and wonder and pray and meditate – and we receive nothing in return.

just silence.

but, sometimes, that is exactly what we need. is it fun? hell no. is it frustrating? you betcha. but, i also have this believe that there is nowhere we can be that isn’t where we are meant to be. what i mean, is that the present moment always has potential; that we are capable of living the life of our dreams even where we are right now. it’s a matter of learning to live in the present, of living a life of gratitude and hope.

about 10 years ago, i was trying very hard to be happy. i loved my job. i was thinking about starting a family. and, at the same time, i was feeling unsettled. wishing and dreaming my life away. dreaming of the future and pining away for the past. i can most definitely say, though, that those dreams and wishes i had did not come true – at least not the way i expected them to be.

it’s a long, long story how i got from where i was at 30 to where i am at almost 40. one that i can’t tell you right now. what i can tell you, though, is that many things i wished for, that i prayed for even, did not happen.

and yet, my life has become so much more than i ever imagined that it could be. i could have never dreamed up the “answers” that i received or didn’t receive to my spoken and unspoken prayers, dreams, and wishes. most often things never, ever turned out the way that i wished or thought that they would. and, in the moment, that pissed me off. but, now, it makes perfect sense. and i am so grateful for those times of silence from the gods. those times when i felt like i was being punished, or didn’t think that i got any answers at all.

turns out, the silence was my answer. it taught me patience. and trust. the silence taught me to listen to the whispers and the signs that are only noticeable when everything is quiet.

and so, today, i do not worry as much. (yes, i do worry still). today, i know that it is not only  inevitable that the silence will come once again, but i know that it is necessary to create my own silence. i know that silence is a gift. a misunderstood, confusing, and beautiful gift. i believe in the power of the universe and the presence of the energy of love, working to make all things new. and i am certain that, when there is no sound, when i feel confused, when the days seem monotonous and disconnected, it is just a cold, dark, winter. and, then i remember that after the winter, spring always returns.

namaste. xx

wednesday wisdom.

“the moment is the sole reality.” ~ karl jaspers


today, let go of all of the distractions long enough to sense reality: here. now. this.

peace and love. xx

ode to autumn.

is there anything better in autumn than a cozy, chilly, rainy day at home? outside the leaves are all golden, orange, red, and brown. the clouds hang thick and low. it’s as if you can see the hibernation process happening, even if you don’t see any movement. everything feels sleepy. life seems to move in slow motion on these kinds of days. and home is where the heart is. there is no desire to go out and tackle anything.

the only thing that you want to do is light a candle or make some soup. get a blanket and read a book. begin to make christmas lists and thanksgiving preparations. yeah, inside is the place to be. and you’re thankful to not have to be outside in the messiness. or, if you’re out in it all, you’re dreaming of the moment when you come home and shed your layers, slip on your slippers, and pad about your abode finding the perfect place to settle.

but you’re also thankful that the cold, gray days exist. these are the days that water the earth. that prepare all of nature for winter. yes, they are the days that remind us that death is inevitable, but with that remembrance, comes also an awareness of the promise of new life again one day in the distant future.






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then again, there’s nothing like a brilliant, blue sky, bright sunshine, autumn day. the kind of day that energizes you and draws you outside like a magnet. the air is chilly in the shade. and the breeze makes it downright cold. but the sunshine, oh the sunshine, it warms your skin and brightens your mood. and the colors! those glorious autumn colors are so vivid and bright on these sunny days. you simply have to take a walk or a drive because it’s a sacrilege to stay indoors. these are the days that make you feel alive and hopeful. who cares that winter is around the corner because all that matters is the present moment. yes, autumn days filled with sunshine and color teach us the power of the present and remind us that to live in the present is to truly live.

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no matter the weather, though, autumn is beautiful. and the only way to truly soak up the season is to pay attention to it. inside or outside, this season passes along its wisdom about life and death. so, we simply must find a way to slow down. to observe. to listen. and to just be.758f97203b2d11e39ae722000aaa08f3_8

what’s your favorite thing about autumn? 

breathe in the colors of love and peace.

keepin’ it simple.

i know that i begin a lot of my posts by talking about the weather. but, weather seems to affect my mood tremendously, for better or for worse. so, i’m gonna write a little about how things are meteorologically in sweden right now.



it ain’t so great. so much for all of may being the highlight of the summer. the beginning was stunning, but the past week has been chilly, windy, and a little gray. today has been really gray, with bursts of rain soaking everything outside. but, today my mood is not matching the weather in a gray, depressed kinda way, but rather a cozy, peaceful way. i’ve been nesting today. sure, i worked this morning, but after arriving home again mid-afternoon, i put on cozy clothes and settled in. it’s late enough that i don’t feel bad sipping on a glass of red wine while i type this. and i keep turning my head to gaze outside the window into the grayness. i lit candles too, something i haven’t done much lately – except the one that i light when i write. it’s a little strange to light lots of candles when the sun doesn’t set till after 10pm. but, it’s so dark today, the candles only add to the atmosphere.

this afternoon, as i searched online for “stuff” to fill our apartment with, i’m also thinking about simplicity. and while we will be buying new things and working to surround ourselves with beautiful things, we also want there to be a simplicity, a calmness to our life. that’s how we roll. i suppose you could say we are fairly mellow people, who have bursts and fits of dancing and belly-hurting laughter. we want simple because it feels more real. it feels more free and open, both inside our home and inside our souls. living a life of simplicity is a constant reminder of what is really important. we may have nice stuff around us, but it’s more about the space, the design, and the meaning of things than about keeping every single thing that we have or have had. we know the things that makes us feel peace, free, creative, joy… and those things that are priceless. these are the things that we want around us. these are the things that we wish to fill our days and moments with. quiet evenings with friends and family. movies on our sofa, wrapped up under a shared blanket. sipping coffee or a glass of wine on a balcony. a place to write and draw and create. a place to lay our head and rest. a home where everyone feels welcome and at peace. a road trip to a new or familiar place. a chance to wander in nature, whether it be by the sea or in the woods. journeys to far away places.

some of these may not seem simplistic to you, but for us, for me, it’s all about the simplicity of living the present moment. it’s all about people. bottom line, it’s all about peace. this is what is most important: being true to myself. loving others. feeling peace. and spreading that peace forward. the end. simple. meaningful. a life filled with moments where i just breathe in deeply, and where i make a space around me where others feel that it is safe to breathe. and be.

so, for my six senses sunday this week, i thought i’d share some of the simple moments i have found during the past week.

see: a new issue of the magazine, the simple things. i just love this magazine. it’s so organic, homey, just lovely. and simple. the big, bright moon… shining for all of us, all around the world. the bright, green leaves.

smell: the fragrant flowers bursting forth on the trees. the simple pink rose on our coffee table. it smells like spring everywhere i go. and i love it!

touch: the grass beneath my feet (of course, i took off my flip flops!). the freedom of wearing the flip flops.

taste: an amaaaazing middle eastern dinner with my love to celebrate her birthday. oh. so. good.

hear: the purring of  peaceful, snoozing cat.

feel: overwhelmed and privileged by the love & life i share with my love.

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peace and love and simplicity.

six senses sunday.

it’s sunday night and before i tuck myself in, i thought i’d reflect on the past week with a little six senses sunday. it’s where i take some photos from the week and share how those moments awakened my senses. i suppose it’s a way for me to try to appreciate the present moment and a creative way to do an “i’m grateful for…” list. there is a lot for which i am thankful. and every day presents at least one moment that touches me.

when i think about it, there is actually a lot of stuff going on in my life right now. both good and not so good, or rather, challenging. and when i stop and think back on the past, oh i don’t know, 5 months, i realize that much of it’s not been easy. and the past 2 months have been really weird and tough in some ways. and yet, i have so much hope. i am still so thankful for where i/we am right now, for the life that i have. i realize and accept that everything that is swirling about me is all part of the process. it’s all part of my life. because it is life. and it is beautiful. and light comes from the darkness. i know that even as i walk through the dark times, hands in front of me, groping for anything that will help guide me. there is always a little sliver of light off in the distance. and that makes all the difference.

there are some amazing things going on too, right now. for one, i keep falling in love with my wife over and over again. every day. that woman is amazing. she is my inspiration. a fighter, a lover, and a chaser of life. i cannot even begin to express the respect and admiration i have for her. she is my world. and even though we’re not together all the time right now, the moments and times that we have, i cherish.

and also this: back in january, when we were visiting my family and asheville, we visited an apartment complex and took a tour of an apartment. we loved it. like, totally, man. so, i emailed them as soon as we were back in sweden to tell them we were interested. weeeellll, last week we got a phone call from them that one of the apartments we are interested in will be available in july (and we’re moving in july!). did we want it?! oh yeah. so, we began the process of emailing, scanning papers, printing out papers, filling in applications, copying financial info, etc. it has been crazy trying to complete everything, but we qualify for the apartment & are now waiting for the screening process to be done (background checks, etc.). hopefully we will hear something this coming week and the apartment will be officially ours!! soooo exciting! needless to say, we are now obessed with gathering inspiration and such on pinterest. please wish us luck!

anyway, on with my six senses sunday!

industrial landscape fair trade bling trees mocha frappe daydreaming blueberry french toast pink tree zola reading river wine!taste: blueberry french toast on saturday morning. a most delicious mocha frappe i grabbed on my way home from work one afternoon.

touch: the warm sun on my face. the bare pavement as i go shoeless! the freezing cold frappe in my hands.

feel: peace & relaxation as i read the wisdom lao tzu. happiness during a glass of afternoon wine while i prepare dinner.

see: my part of the world bursting with my favorite shade of green everywhere. the threes, the sun, the river, the sky. norrköping is lovely right now.

hear: the sweet meows and conversation with our adorable kitty, zola. the hustle and bustle of people coming out of hibernation & sitting in cafes & parks.

smell: the blooms on the pink tree. so fragrant and fresh.

so, my friends, what has perked up your sense lately? anything? do tell!

peace & love.