Hemmeligheten er: Du er alltid her.
(elske, sanse, dele, danse)
Sårbarhet, mot og kjærlighet: stillhuman.no og Senter for bevisst fødsel (kommer snart)
What is healthy anger? I get angry sometimes. It doesn’t feel very healthy. It feels mostly dirty and full of shame and helplessly sad. It feels like I’ve reached my borders two hours and 20 miles ago, and counting.
When angry, I want to thrust mindfulness down your throat. I want to blissfully count to “fuck”.
I would bloody well shit zen.
I know that everybody gets angry. Apart from those of you who swallow it until you can’t, and either die from cancer or explode in a frenzy. I know we all get angry, probably as angry as me, or more, all of us. But we don’t really talk about it. Not this kind of anger. Not the behind-closed-door-anger, the if-anyone-would-see-me-now-they-would-probably-call-the-police-and-have-my-children-taken-away-anger. Rationally seen it’s likely not that bad, but with the added drops of shame, it surely feels like it. Shame beats reality.
A google-search on “healthy anger” shows more than 60 million results.
The prickling sensation in my hand after smashing it flat on the wall. The knot in my belly, threatening to outgrow me. And my head, it feels so empty, so full of dark clouds, going all the way out to my tense eyebrows.
And then life goes on. My children survive, my girlfriend too. The house is still standing. So far. I am still here. I wish I didn’t get so angry, but for now I do. Is it healthy? I don’t know. It is. That’s what I try to relate to.
Leonard Cohen was here four years ago or so. Four years ago or so, Lean wasn’t here at all, and Elia was inside the most beautiful belly known to man. We were there, the three of us, the four of us. We were all there, just in different ways. And Leonard Cohen was there, and if my memory doesn’t cheat on me there was a light drizzle in the air, quite fitting actually. Leonard Cohen sang his songs the way he’s always done it. That’s just a guess, of course, I’d never seen Leonard Cohen perform live before, but this night was special, there was a light drizzle in the air. And I remember singing along, I remember singing for my boys, who probably won’t ever get to see Leonard Cohen perform live, but yet they did, and we sang for them, Leonard and I. We sang for them.
I spent the weekend with my parents, who have arrived safely at their new home, at least while looking for their next. We talked a lot about stuff and things and stuff again, all the things we carry with us, all the stuff we think we need. My family is not exactly, if I dare say, minimalistic. I’ve been raised to take care of things, which is well enough, but perhaps not up to the point where I scream at my kids when they brake a glass. It’s just a glass, what the fuck. Scarcity is in my blood, I grew up with so many stories of poverty, hunger and a different life, a different time.
It happens that I find myself eating chocolate, lots of it, almost as fast as I can. Completely unaware of my own behavior, I wolf it down like a 5-year old in cookie jar heaven. When I come to realize what I’m doing, I’m left with a sickening feeling of shame and guilt.
And so eventually I have the possibility to inherit lots of stuff. Old stuff, tables and spinning wheels and books and lamps and what do I know from 3-4-5 generations back. Some things are truly nice, like my grandfather’s watch, I love it, I want to wear it. Other things are there simply because nobody’s ever asked why.
Why do we keep the things we keep? Writing about this feels like treading water, like 101 years of heaviness. It feels like the sticky stuffy fear of not having enough, of never getting enough, like the fear of not making it. It feels like something I don’t want to keep.
And if I’m not entirely mistaken, the only real option is this: Let the fuck go.
I found myself in the kitchen, preparing some pizzas for the evening, alone. The music was loud, a German band, Wir Sind Helden, I sometimes put it on when I miss everything that isn’t here. I found myself by the window, looking out at Birgitta and Lean, while Elia was still in the car, finishing his audio book. 30 seconds earlier, my head was full of thoughts, Italy, Spain, alternative learning, Barcelona, tomatoes, oregano, expats, finances, self-confidence, projections, cheese, and I started crying, by the window, looking out at my family. They were unaware of my looking, they were so painfully, beautifully there, they were just there. There was nothing special, nothing extraordinary. There was just me, by the window, and my family, outside, and it brought me to tears and the onions were getting brown in the pan and I went back to finish the sauce.
My parents are moving. Right now they’re packing everything down, cleaning out after four generations of lived life. My great-grandfather built the place, dug up every stone by hand alongside my then very young grandfather. More than 100 years of family history is being sorted, while all the stuff gets distributed among the closest relatives and their families. Last night my mum told me she could just not throw away my grandfather’s first typewriter. She also told me she found my old baby teeth.
It’s been 14 years since I moved away from home. 14 years and 12 new homes. Compared to the seemingly static life on a farm in Northern Norway, I guess you could call mine more nomadic. The place where I currently live with my family, the red house a small ferry ride from Oslo, has been our home for what feels like eons, but in fact it’s only been two and a half years. Time is a tricky friend.
The work my parents are doing at the moment feels so releasing. It feels like they’re healing not only their own and my generation, but many to come. They’re looking at all the stuff, every item and book and typewriter, and taking conscious choices whether to keep or get rid of each and everyone of them.
How often do we stop to take a good look at the content of our lives? Not just the stuff, but all of it, why we do what we do?
Letting go is ultimately a question of living or dying, or perhaps rather living and dying. Death might be impossible to fully comprehend while we’re still alive, but it is inevitably there, regardless of our thoughts about it. Scary and depressing to some, to me it feels more like a joyful invitation to live.
Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.
I told my mum I didn’t need my old baby teeth, although other things do feel good to keep. A camera from my grandfather. Old books. A set of crystal wine glasses and some lovely red dotted coffee cups. Stuff that makes me happy and feel good. Unless they don’t anymore. And if they don’t, there is no hesitation. Baby teeth, books and cups with dots — the most important gift I want to give my children is a life lived by heart. Naked, and by heart.
My foot hadn’t even reached the wrong side of bed this morning before I felt annoyed. I was annoyed the very second I woke up, I was so annoyed that I could puke and go up in flames. The night was too short, the kids were too loud, the dreams were too confusing — I’d landed on the wrong planet and my spaceship was broken. No calendula in the world could help me with this one, so I got up and started blaming everyone else.
This human experience thing is sometimes just so incredibly annoying! I beg your pardon, I was promised milk and honey and whatnot, and here I am, spewing out lava all over my family.
Sometimes I just feel absolutely helpless.
If it isn’t in our nature to fight the feeling of helplessness, it’s definitely in our culture. Stop it, hide it, make it go away. But this morning, regardless of what I think about it, that’s exactly how I felt like. It didn’t stop until pretty much this evening, either. I’ve felt annoyed and helpless and annoyed at feeling helpless all day, and I could easily swallow it and go to bed. But something changes when I sit down and allow myself to feel what I feel. Something sort of opens up, unlocks.
I think it’s difficult to talk about helplessness because it so easily gets misinterpreted. I’m not talking about giving up or surrendering to apathy. I’m talking about the incredible feeling of love and empowerment and strength that comes through accepting and aligning with reality.
As I’m writing this, I’m interrupted several times by Lean. He’s asleep, but keeps waking up. Maybe he’s having bad dreams. I feel annoyed, of course. I feel other things too, like love and compassion and concern, but I also feel annoyed. Living by the book, I would either push it on him or I would eat it, save it for a rainy day. Right now I’m able to just feel it instead. Locate where in my body the feeling manifests. It hurts. My belly feels strangely strangled. It’s OK.
It is OK.
Though I’m past one hundred thousand miles I’m feeling very still And I think my spaceship knows which way to go (David Bowie, Space Oddity)
There was this moment today when the sun gave a hint of mesmerizing autumn light to come. The air was quiet as if waiting for someone special, and I don’t think time was present at all. Elia, Lean, Birgitta and I watched the sunflowers in our garden. One had done its duty and reached back to the ground. One shone towards us like it had found its very own purpose. One was about to come out of its shell, while the two others still cuddled up inside. Everything was as it was, the natural beauty of it all could speak its silent language. Together we tasted the petals of our orange Calendulas, and the moment was allowed to turn into another.
What a shitty day. I’ve screamed at my kids, been mad on my girlfriend, slammed doors, felt disastrous, blamed everyone else, screamed even more and hoped it would soon end. I hate such days, they feel like loosing. Somebody blew the card house down. Somebody, because it’s definetely not me.
I hate such days, they feel like loosing. Like everything else I’m doing is just a fragile construction, that the real me is this nutcase out of control. On days like these I wonder how they do it, the fuckers who have everything sorted.
I don’t have everything sorted. There are days where I appear spotless, and days where I pretend to appear spotless. There are even days where I couldn’t care less about spots. Those are the best, really. Today is not one of them.
It’s been more or less 6 weeks with both kids at home. One and a half weeks to go. There’s many reasons to love our Waldorf kindergarten, but their long summer break isn’t one of them. Of course I enjoy spending time with my dudes. I love them to bits. But when they take almost all the space of my life, I get more cranky than I’d like to admit.
I hate such days, they feel like loosing. Loosing what? Control? Appearance? The race?
There were some bright moments today though. I made lush marmelade from some wild gooseberries we found yesterday. Elia, Lean and I spent some great hours on a newly discovered playground. I booked tickets for Istanbul—soon I’ll have two days of deepening with my friend and colleague Arne. Life isn’t too bad, after all.
But I still feel like loosing. And I suppose I just have to live with it. I don’t have everything sorted. And I’m still ok.
A good sign of summer in Norway is that I haven’t worn my long underwear for quite a while. Although positive psychology isn’t exactly my cup of tea, it sometimes does help. And to be totally wild while we’re at it, I’m taking my beautiful family with me to Denmark tomorrow. We have rented a small summer house by the sea and will have us two weeks of as much of nothing as possible.
With other words, I will take a break. I will go on writing, but I want to be offline from every kind of online world for two weeks. A digital detox, as they say.
The first 52 days of writing have been magnificent. I love writing, I love this form of writing, and this still feels like it’s merely a beginning. I’m so grateful for all the supportive and inspiring feedback, and can’t wait to continue the exploration in a couple of weeks!
My weekends largely belong to hanging out with kids and family. Today we had a lengthy conversation with some friendly cows and brushed some feathers with a turkey.
(Speaking of Turkey, a great article in Wikipedia is called “List of names for the Wild Turkey”. Apparently a confusing bird for many, I especially love how the Armenians call it Indian, the Greeks call it French, while the Egyptians find their turkeys looking more Greek. Strange as it seems, nobody has yet mistaken turkey for Turkey.)
In case you haven’t seen it yet, make sure you don’t miss the chance for some happy tears. People rock.