This blue marble

– and yet it spins

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Interlude: spark joy

konmariItem for item, I made a conscious decision to keep only those that spark joy. In reverse, during the past month I have sold, recycled, handed away, or thrown out every item that did not spark joy. Cassandra the cat had her own opinions, too – and they were mostly respected.

With the help of Marie Kondo I discovered how, even if I thought I loved all my books, some actually made me feel really drained. I just needed to hold them, one by one, and ask the magical question. Thanks to Ms Kondo I also discovered how painful my collection of recipes was on my heart. And how many little nests of negative emotion lived in my drawers. Out, all of them out.

We are not the things we own. But the things we own have a hold on us. They either lift us up or weigh us down. And nostalgia is not always the same as lifting up. In this Western world of abundance, the ultimate luxury is to be able to only own things that lift us up. I am grateful for being allowed such luxury.

(Helsinki, Finland; October 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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Summertime and the living is easy

blueberrypieSometimes there are too many telephones, televisions (but none at my place), and people in the world. And too little flowers, dragonflies, and songbirds. And if one must work in July, what is better than to work in a summer house by the corner of a pea field? What is relaxing for humans is exciting for cats, so moving home and office into the countryside is never a bad choice.tarzan

(Loviisa, Finland; July 2016)

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Interlude: cats and coloring books

RamsesfeetLovely ones, it has been a crazy few months. When I have not been looking at my computer or out of an airplane window, these have been my two favorite views: piled up on the balcony with the cats, and my coloring book. And the seashore of course – see a photo a few posts back.

They say that a purring cat and coloring both set the brain on the wavelength of deep meditation. Perhaps my body is wiser than my mind, because my mind certainly has not allowed much time for meditation exercises as such. But I am still waving and not yet drowning. And I have a few lovely things coming up from the French Riviera where I resurfaced a week ago, for a quick breather.

I wish you all soothing times with loudly purring cats and time to breathe.

coloringbook(Helsinki, Finland; May 2016)



yogatoesSamastitihi. The first word  you may hear in a lead ashtanga yoga class (provided there is no opening chant). Samastitihi. Stand at the front edge of your mat, feet together, heels just slightly apart, spreading your toes (if you can – I never seem to manage). Legs engaged, spine straight, arms relaxed but ready for action on your sides, gaze forward. Then push your toes down against the ground.

It’s all about the ground, and grounding. Even if it may look like a call into action. Samastitihi is about finding your balance just by standing still, truly feeling your center of weight settle down on its vertical axis. In samastitihi, a body could grow roots through the mat and into the ground, and leaves from the head. In samastitihi, the body could pull up energy from the ground, run it through the spine, and push it out through the top of the head.

Unless you practise yoga (or do military service), when have you last stood still? When did you last stand with your feet together instead of kind of hanging on one foot, or with your arms on your sides instead of crossing them anywhere on your body? When was the last time you stood still, gazing in one direction only? When did you last stand grounded, aware of how gravity of our huge Earth does its best to pull down every bone in your body while you keep holding your head up high?

Samastitihi is about coming back to the present moment. Being aware of the Earth that pulls us with all its might, but standing straight. It is about standing in a mindful stillness, instead of kind of hanging upright, or running around, or sitting down slouching. And the best thing is, samastitihi does not require a yoga mat or flexibility, only the readiness to steady one’s body and mind and to be willing to say to oneself: “this is me, living this moment, with my back straight and my gaze forward.”

(Helsinki, Finland; April 2016)




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The baseline

cassandraBetween the airmiles and meetings and deadlines it is imperative to find the baseline, to sleep, and to enjoy waking up late. My idol is Cassandra the Russian Blue, who sleeps about 20 hours a day, usually curled up against her friend Ramses the Bombay. And when she is not sleeping she is all concentration: from the tip of her nose to the tip of her tail she focuses on one thing only at a time. No sidesteps. Just results. And then more sleep.

Cats are masters of mindfulness.

(Helsinki, Finland; January 2016)