This blue marble

– and yet it spins


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The writing on the wall

Processed with Snapseed.“Finally, in this greenery, Ulla stood as bride for the last time”

In the oldest restaurant in Stockholm the writing on the bathroom wall is by an 18th century poet-songwriter called Bellman. They are the last lines from a song describing a marvelous summer lunch out in the lush forest, by a spring.

Food and love always went hand in hand.

(Den Gyldene Freden, Stockholm, Sweden; October 2016)


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Freezing night in Stockholm

Processed with Snapseed.I am quite certain this 400 year-old gasthaus was alive last night. Either that, or the cold made the house shrink very loudly. Perhaps it moved a little, too… crept closer to the waterfront, if only anybody bothered to find out.

Fall has come to Stockholm. The tired sun barely throws its blanket off to say good morning as we land. Soon it will not even have the energy to get out of bed until way past 9 am.Processed with Snapseed.(Stockholm, Sweden; September 2016)

 


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About trauma, in stillness

Processed with Snapseed.After the first 5 days of work I was glad to take refuge in Michael Stone’s workshop. Three days of reflecting on how yoga and meditation dance with consciousness was the perfect soft landing from a journey of discovery in Southeast Asia.

The sun shone on our lunch group as I sipped on my golden milk and thought about our discussion about trauma, damage of the mind. We were guided to understand that the definition of an experience is when an event makes our senses have contact with the self. Something happens and we feel it through a web of the story we create around it. It gains context. But trauma is the opposite of an experience: our senses store something that has never had contact with the self. A trauma is the big elephant that stands in the spare bedroom of our brain, the one we never made contact with. The one we never experienced. The one that was never processed so that it belonged to the furniture. The one that, instead, drove us rearrange the rest of the rooms, or even to move to another house.

Trauma happens when something too humongous happens for us to be able to be Here and Now. We go on autopilot to survive. Diving deep to make contact with the self is not an option. We sometimes hurt people in the process (or rather, lack-of-process). Trauma creates karma for ourselves, and it is usually not positive karma. Sometimes the people we hurt end up with bad karma, too. The elephant casts a surprisingly large shadow.

Is it possible to make contact with the self, to connect the dots, years later? I would like to hope so. Will it fix what happened, years ago? Probably not. But opening the door to greet the elephant is a good first step. mstone-2(Helsinki, Finland; September 2016)


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Interlude: true colors

Processed with Snapseed.Coloring is good for a jet-lagged brain. Especially with my favorite souvenir from last summer: a box of Faber-Castell Polychromos, purchased from a lovely lady in a huge mall in Kuala Lumpur.

They say coloring brings the brain into the same state as meditation. In addition, one creates something beautiful and tangible. No better excuse to invest in new pencils.Processed with Snapseed.(Helsinki, Finland; September 2016)


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From SIN to HEL(L)

sin

One last steamy noodle soup on Changi airport, followed by a lovely sticky choccie brownie in the Qantas First lounge. Seated between a lady with a huge Vuitton bag and immaculate tresses, and a gentleman executive of some global company, I felt quite the tramp with my dirty daypack, pink hoodie, and harem pants.

And then we were off, flying from SIN to HEL. Curled into my chair, with home-made woolen socks and a glass of champagne I thought of the past few weeks. For several reasons I don’t think I’ve ever cried as much on a holiday, but in many ways I have also been braver than ever before. It was a tough journey, but on these kinds of travels one meets many others who are or who have been on tough journeys. And it is especially those, who shine in spite of all adversities, that inspire to keep pushing the boundary between “can” and “can not”.

Now, laundry. Yes, I can.

(Above Russia; September 2016)


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Urban gardens

kl-8When you run out of space, go vertical. IKEA knows it, too. But nothing compares to how Asian metropoles go vertical. It seems to be quite expected to discover a resort on the rooftop of one’s apartment building: a multilayered pool like a maze, disappearing under shading palm trees; sun loungers and waterfalls and garden of flowers and butterflies; a gym; and naturally also a restaurant and a shop. In one condominium complex.

Save for a few palm fronds sticking over the rooftop edge, the secrets are only revealed if one lives higher up than one’s neighbors, or if one flies over the city. I wish we had more rooftop gardens in Finland, too. Street level gardens of apartment buildings are always too noisy and shaded, and usually focused on functionality (playgrounds and bicycle storages). But a secret oasis on the roof would be such a joy for every inhabitant – and perhaps it would even bring the reticent Finns to know their neighbors a little better.

(Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; September 2016)