The first time I heard Lisa Hannigan sing, was the first time I took Birgitta to a concert. She was so young. I was so young. Berlin was new to both of us, we were all new to eachother. Damien Rice was playing, but it’s Lisa Hannigan I remember, she was shining, she still is. We still are.
Then there’s Glen Hansard. I’ve never seen him live. But it feels like I have. It feels like I know him better than most of my friends, and, better yet, it feels like he knows me.
And what do you know, the two of them playing together, in my number one reason for going to Paris: Shakespeare and Company. Beautiful music, surrounded by books and people. Life at its best. It is good. And it is true.
It doesn’t interest me what you do for a living. I want to know what you ache for and if you dare to dream of meeting your heart’s longing.
It doesn’t interest me how old you are. I want to know if you will risk looking like a fool for love for your dream for the adventure of being alive.
It doesn’t interest me what planets are squaring your moon… I want to know if you have touched the centre of your own sorrow if you have been opened by life’s betrayals or have become shrivelled and closed from fear of further pain.
I want to know if you can sit with pain mine or your own without moving to hide it or fade it or fix it.
I want to know if you can be with joy mine or your own if you can dance with wildness and let the ecstasy fill you to the tips of your fingers and toes without cautioning us to be careful to be realistic to remember the limitations of being human.
It doesn’t interest me if the story you are telling me is true. I want to know if you can disappoint another to be true to yourself. If you can bear the accusation of betrayal and not betray your own soul. If you can be faithless and therefore trustworthy.
I want to know if you can see Beauty even when it is not pretty every day. And if you can source your own life from its presence.
I want to know if you can live with failure yours and mine and still stand at the edge of the lake and shout to the silver of the full moon, “Yes.”
It doesn’t interest me to know where you live or how much money you have. I want to know if you can get up after the night of grief and despair weary and bruised to the bone and do what needs to be done to feed the children.
It doesn’t interest me who you know or how you came to be here. I want to know if you will stand in the centre of the fire with me and not shrink back.
It doesn’t interest me where or what or with whom you have studied. I want to know what sustains you from the inside when all else falls away.
I want to know if you can be alone with yourself and if you truly like the company you keep in the empty moments.
“You know, I won’t feel at home for real before I reach the other side” she said. “It’s a scary thing to say” I thought, but I didn’t say it. It’s like a fragile package, to be handled with care, this side up, but then you miss what’s on the flip side.
The other flip side, I miss it, too, sometimes. Other times I just don’t recognize one side from the other, don’t see the difference.
My first born child came to life only a couple of days after my grandmother passed away. He was born in the winter, his fourth birthday is in fact just around the corner. The darkest time of the year. Full of light. The morning after he came, all three of us woke up in the hospital, lucky enough to have our own room, with a window, with a view. Not that we needed any, but the window, as I remember it, covered the entire wall and made the graveyard outside come so close. There we were, that crispy clear winter morning, and as the sun crawled up I watched a bunch of magpies play around in the treetops. The magpies, the birds my grandmother cherished so dearly, and she was there, as was there no difference, no sides, no life, and even less a death. I don’t know. My son just came to life, yet he was never not here. It was like meeting an old friend. My grandmother had just passed away, yet she never left. She never left.
The other flip side, I miss it, too, I think. I long for it, my heart sometimes aches for it. Other times my heart is simply filled up from it, from both sides, from no sides, from all sides.
After some weeks of nervously biting my nails, I feel proud and humble and ravishingly excited - - my book is here! With the most fantastic photos from my friend, the photographer Camilla Jensen, 100 Days of Love is my very first book, a real book, a beauty printed on awesome and forest friendly paper. What started an early morning in May, as shivering movements over my Mac’s keyboard, as informal efforts of spilling of my heart out on this blog, can now be read in bed and on the toilet, it can be scribbled in and even get dog ears. It is frightening and marvelous. I love it.
I think it’s too early to say much about what it means. There’s two things I’d like to mention though, two things I tried to speak about on the amazing launch party we had last Thursday. Here they are:
1. Following my heart and doing what I love is the most kick-ass ground-shaking feeling there is!
2. We’re out of excuses. A vast landscape of different platforms, free and open, ready to use. New ways of funding, distributing, marketing and producing are emerging, sometimes free, often open, always available for good content. And most importantly— People! People are great and endlessly supportive! From friends and family to community and people you’ve never met - they’re all there waiting to help and support and cheer, once you stick your neck and your heart out. I feel endlessly grateful after these last weeks—grateful, and eager to kick more ass and shake more ground.
What I know it means is this: Following our hearts and doing what we love is possible.
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.
Restless days, filled of creative explosions and determined action, followed by moments of excruciating doubt and judgement, tornadoes of shame and guilt and whatnot, and then quiet.
It happens that I think I should be somebody else. A Buddhist monk, for instance, that’s a somebody it sometimes would have been nice to be. Then, other times, like right now for instance, it’s very clear to me that I am in fact nobody else, and neither should I be. It may come as a surprise at times, but I am not a Buddhist monk, no matter how much I try.
I am here.
And right now I am here in my kitchen, listening to the sound of my two year old slowly waking up. He often stays put in his bed for a while, singing some songs.
Can you imagine that? No hurry, no need for change, no excruciating doubts. Just a little boy, singing songs about a sleeping bear. That’s it.
You. Yes, you. Have you ever thought about chance? About coincidences and luck? Do you know the statistical probability for you being here in the first place? For your parents to meet at the time they met, for them to forgive eachother after the rough argument, for your grandparents, your great grandparents and all those who came before to not only meet, but fall in love and have great sex (let’s at least hope it was great — a bit awkward, I know, but hey!)?
Watching the stars can fill you with wonder, but try closing your eyes for a second. For a moment, just consider the incredible unlikeliness of you being here, right now. Consider the unimaginable chain of events that have taken place, the series of meetings and kisses and disappointments and ecstasies and the whole array of human emotions over time, consider the waterdrop reflecting the universe, consider you reflecting everything. For a second or two, close your eyes with me, and try to get in touch with the feelings in your body, with how it feels like to be you, right here. You are here. It may be luck, it may be coincidence and chance — the reasons why you are here may be many and complex — but one thing seems pretty clear; You are here.
How does it feel like to be here? How does it feel like to be you?
My two boys are at home and I am not and it feels rough. It’s good for me to be away, but I walk around thinking they must have grown, they must be fighting, they must not be so far away. And I know, it’s only been two days or so, but the pain is real and I haven’t felt it like this before and I guess it’s how expansion feels like.
Many years ago, as we were about to part after one long, happy year in boarding school, my friend told me she believed hearts have an unstoppable capacity to grow bigger and bigger. She comforted me by saying nobody has to leave ones heart, just because someone new is coming in. The heart just expands.
When I strolled around my old turf yesterday, I looked into all those young faces, those young, insecure, inexperienced faces — and I saw myself at 22, 23. I am still young, insecure and inexperienced, and in some ways I hope I always will be, but I do have two small boys and it’s just different now. It’s all different, and if you allow them to, your kids will break your heart open.
It’s strange — no matter how much I search, I don’t seem to find a reason why hearts shouldn’t be broken open.
Expanding, opening, growing, crying, laughing. For now I’ll grab a coffee and watch the sun rise. I wish your heart a great day in the sun!
On a scale from one to ten, I’m feeling so incredibly excited right now! 100 Days of Love — my first book — just came online on Amazon, it’s a book, it’s there, you can buy it and download it and read it on your Kindle or iPad or on whatever makes you happy! 100 Days of Love, my first 100 days of blogging and sharing what I love and dream of and fear, 100 days of passion and purpose and taking leaps out of any comfort zone I’ve ever known. And you know what? I love it!
What do you love? Our bright minds sure love to complicate things, and although it may seem that way, life doesn’t have to be a misty maze of difficult matter. I may be naive at times, I admit it and promise never to change it — because in my experience, doing what you love is not only possible, it is also feasible, reasonable, profitable, attainable, practicable and the greatest source of joy there is!
I love writing and I love sharing and now I’m so happy to share this book with you! As happy as I am that the ebook is online, it feels extra great to also be working with a print edition, for which I’m so lucky to be working with the fantastic photographer Camilla Jensen. If we’re really lucky, we’ll have the printed version of 100 Days of Love ready before December!
But now, ebook! If you feel inspired by this blog, or touched or moved or annoyed or any feeling as long as you feel, help me get it out to the world by sharing and liking and recommending and giving it wings to fly with!
#100love - Passion and purpose, one blog post at a time!
I don’t believe in peace. Peace has to do with people, not with power. Peace isn’t absence of war. Peace isn’t my gun is bigger than yours, it isn’t based on fear, and it certainly isn’t politics. There’s no peace if there’s a winner. There’s no peace if there’s a looser. Peace is not what the men in grey suits claim it to be. Nor was it when they wore blue jackets and red jackets and knights armor. I refuse to be part of a war masked as peace. I don’t want to choose sides, I don’t believe in sides, I don’t believe in playing that old, old game, pretending it’s still relevant. Peace, the way it’s talked about today, is simply not relevant.
Here’s what I do believe in: I believe we are bigger than this. I believe we have the capacity to stretch, to evolve, to imagine. Yes, I believe in imagination! In our amazing ability to close our eyes, for then to be creators of our own lives as we look to the world again!
I deeply believe in love. And compassion. Not as concepts, not as ideas we need to agree upon, not like the peace I’ve already mentioned. As experience. As descriptions of how we human beings are, naturally, how we act, naturally, how we come to life, naturally.
I do believe in peace! But in the peace I see in your eyes, and when I close mine. It is a peace that can not be fought for, it can not be won, and it can even less be lost. It is a peace which only exists as a choice, and I believe we all have it in us to choose it.
I try to look for truth every day.
Then I write about what I find. I explore vulnerability, passion, meaning, fear and doing it anyway. I am a designer, creative advisor, coach and entrepreneur. I believe in doing what you love while loving what is. What do you love?