In the solitude of the laboratory a researcher raises her head from the microscope, eyes looking for the answer. The solemn voice in the background says: “Since the beginning of the ages we have asked the same question…What are we gonna have for dinner?” This is a Norwegian tv commercial advertising a series of readymade meals in the local food store. Funny but true. In Norway the question we ask ourselves and each other the most is this: what shall we have for dinner? A luxury problem, as they say it in Norwegian. But jokes aside, what is the most important question in our lives?
Since the beginning of ages we have asked ourselves the same question… Let me propose my version. We have asked ourselves about what it means to live a good life. What does it take to be happy? Plato starts his dialogues with the conversation of Socrates about what virtue is. Because, let’s agree, a good life is not only good food and travel, but it has also a moral bit. That old idea that you cannot be happy by being bad. That ethics is in the base of the happiness. In my eyes, the philosophers of Ancient Greece were at the core of the most important question. Talking about what is ethics, aesthetics, what is noble and what is beautiful. Too sad that in ages to come the philosophy became an intellectual game, with so much logics and theories and so little guidance about the most important question in life.
The snow has swept across Europe causing troubles and wonders. Paris looks so beautiful in the snow, and, as it doesn’t happen often there, it seems that everyone took a day off to go to the park, make a snowman, take a photo and post it on Instagram. Snow has fallen on the deserted beaches of Barcelona and has created chaos in the north of Catalonia. It was a protagonist on the Catalan news last night. Also in Moscow the extreme volumes of snow created problems for the traffic. As we sit here in our Norwegian homes and watch all these breaking news on tv, I wonder: when will they come here and film our snow?
I always make sure to walk through the flower market on my way from work. It is there even in the late evening hours, flowers keeping strong in the cold. Today I haven’t seen the usual orchids, and those red and pink beauties, today there were small fir-trees and wreaths with pinecones. Their message was clear: November has moved out, December is now in. At this very moment the church bells chimed through the square, making everything feel like a cozy Scandinavian fairytale. And I was thankful that I didn’t plug headphones in my ears like I usually do.
The Christmas lights hang across the street, and every time there is someone reaching for his phone to snap a picture. Christmas music sounds from the shops, and I think: “Nice try to make it all look cozy and nice. When it is biting cold, and the streets are icy. And the dark hours are more than the light ones”. Then I hear a kid passing by talking joyfully about “the yummy pancakes”. In that moment I envy that kid’s energy. Where do they take it in this dark period? I usually never have this feeling – but now I would like to see the world with the kid’s eyes. No Monday blues, no winter blues, no knowledge about melatonin and serotonin and their effect on our mood, no longing for another place I have seen in December, that was full of sunlight and singing parrots. Just eyes wide open, with the reflection of the Christmas lights in them, and touching the Christmas tree set up in front of the church – which must appear just the size of that church in his eyes. Not afraid of the ice on the streets, but sliding cheerfully on it. And not thinking about the distant sunny place – just living in the moment.
Why I am so afraid to feel my negative emotions? Why when I feel despair or anxiety rising up do I want to run and hide, to distract myself, to do anything but avoid feeling what I feel? I am not a good runner in sports, but I am a very good runner from my fears. Isn’t it generally a human condition? We try to stop ourselves from feeling the way we consider negative. But what if we stop stopping – and start exploring?
Feeling is healing, I have recently heard in a yin yoga class. And I loved that thought. But I am so good in suppressing the feelings I don’t like – even though I consider myself very self-conscientious and in touch with my inner life. But it shows in situations where I face really uncomfortable emotions that I have no interest for self-inquiry. I just would love to switch the channel and be in a totally different state. As much as I respect Tony Robbins and all that philosophy of quantum leaps and switching states, I want to answer to that call for facing my emotion. I feel that it can bring me closer to my true self.
We are half done with the spring – and I just realized that I haven’t shared my 5 things for ages. Isn’t it great to have such a feature when you have desire to post but don’t have idea or the will to work hard on something sophisticated? Today I am kind of foggy, so this is an perfect excuse to skip my usual long texts (I love writing the long texts, maybe you noticed 😉 And I hope, there are people who care to read them to their end :)).
A funny story about my fogginess today. I had an appointment with my Mexican friend today and I got up a bit earlier than usually and battled the cold wind outside, almost running to the place with music in my ears. Only to discover that he was not there. And as I thought if this is Latino style and was close to calling him, I scrolled through our texting – and found out that appointment is tomorrow. I just had to laugh and eat my brunch alone there 🙂 Hope, that tomorrow he will be there (otherwise the regular customers at Evita cafe will consider me a crazy lady).
Back to our main show – 5 things which make me smile this April. It looks like the main motive is blooming and blossoming 🙂
I am a lover of botanical gardens. And how lucky I am that I can walk to the one – especially in the spring when the signs of new life appear almost every day! Even when it didn’t look like spring in the city, in the garden the first bush of rhododendron was already in bloom. It means that the winter is officially over (even if it still feels like it) and the nature is waking up from its dream.
I continue to share my 5 things, and today I want to share the things that inspire me. These are not the things that have the fetish status and the power to kindle my inspiration any time, but rather the small details of my life which – when I start collecting them – have the ability to sparkle joy and excitement inside of me. And it feels like they make the small holes through which the flood of inspiration breaks through and takes me in its flow, like the water finds little holes in the dam and then smashes it, flowing freely.
My previous post was about our use of social media, but I haven’t mentioned the positive sides of them (and the post was not critical towards the social media, rather how we use them). My favorite one, Instagram, is an inspiration for me, because it sends me on the search for beauty in my nearest surroundings, which I started to consider boring and not so pretty. But the new interest for detail gives me a fresh eye, and I end up with finding a lot of tiny wonders. Right now I love the function “stories” because as I make my first snaps, I get a feeling of a treasure hunt- and after short time I have to stop myself because there are funny and pretty little things everywhere 🙂 So all of the pictures below I made for IG and “Stories”, and collecting them is such a fun way to be mindful and grateful for the beauty around me.
On our trip to the Southern France I decided to collect everything yellow. We were driving through the region of Occitanie, and I decided that the famous shop L’Occitane is from these places – and as its color is yellow, so must this region be. You can guess what happened after that. I was noticing yellow things everywhere. Isn’t it weird how you start noticing whatever you make your mind up for? So if we decide to collect the positive vibes – surely we will notice them everywhere, right? So let’s do that! And let this yellow postcard be a reminder of that.
If I were 18 now I would have ADHD or concentration problems. I would switch between studying and checking my Snapchat every 15 minutes. I would have distorted image of real life. I would believe that the people on Facebook and Instagram have a lot of fun in their real life, and I don’t. I would have distorted image of myself. Well, it was already distorted, so maybe, it would not be that worse)). But my self-esteem would suffer since I would compare myself not to the glossy images on TV, but to “real” images of beauty bloggers of Youtube and those Instagram divas with styled brows, big lips and sexy limbs which they are not shy to show.
Yes, I am talking about the social media and how it changes our ways. I don’t want to make an apocalyptic analysis here, and I don’t want to draw a totally negative picture – I am just really curious about how did happen that we got addicted to sharing, and what does it do to us? I imagined how that would have shaped me when I was growing, and to be honest, I am happy that I grew up in the pre-Internet era. But today’s youth seem to cope with it somehow, and I wonder how they do it. I also wonder how people manage to keep balance in the time when it is so easy to get absorbed into all those distractions. The smartphone is called “A cigarette of modern age” – I find this metaphor aptly as I see the mobile glued to the hand of everyone like a cig was in the movies of 60s. So how do the people cope with this new addiction?