Some tips for making the most of your creativity/getting shit done! 🙂
1. Put on inspiring music while working. Inspiring is relative of course, whatever floats your goat. I personally like anything from Lady Gaga (her new stuff) to Guts to Enya.. Just make sure it’s not distracting.
2. Write a list of the things you need/want to do/make. As you cross them off, sense of achievement grows.
3. Take pictures. Sometimes when I paint, I take pictures instead of just looking at it to find out what to do next, because somehow I feel like the camera shows a slightly different reality which your eyes can’t always spot.
4. Use Pinterest or Instagram for inspiration. These are great platforms to look for creative work. I know Instagram specifically has this bad reputation of “giving” people terrible self-esteem, with all the filters and “perfect” pictures, but it all
depends what you look for. Like almost anything, it can be used in a healthy way.
Slik sier man pannebånd hvor jeg kommer fra iallfall 😄 En enkel d.i.y som jeg ladge for masse år siden; sydde et lite hårtørkle/pannebånd ut av et sjal med fint fargerikt blomstermønster. På midten av båndet er det et lite tøystykke som klemmer det sammen og gir sånn fin fasong. Enkel dobbelknute i nakken ✌ Nå som jeg begynner å få hår igjen (holdt det på 7 mm en god stund), så er det gøy å leke med litt farger, frisyrer og diverse hårpynt. Også må jeg innrømme at min naturlige hårfarge ikke er så verst, er nok ferdig med å farge det!💙💚❤💛
Having sewing projects going on like the one I am working on now (stay tuned😊), makes me so motivated. The more creative work I do, the more creativity flows. And it flows from a natural, not forced place, which I think is crucial for good results. One less positive thing about being in a creative mode though is how much money I spend on craft supplies 😅 I probably didn’t need to order all these ribbons/bands. But they all looked so cute. And I like having options. Sorry, wallet. I will make sure to use it all, somehow!
Handmade traditional form fitted sámi silk shawl for my Sea Sámi kofte made with Asian brocade fabric traditionally used in buddhism. Lotus and vajra pattern in yellow and gold 😊 Turned out so nice, very happy with the result, it’s glowing in the sunlight 🙌 My kofte (gákti) is green, which will look amazing with the yellow 💛
International women’s day is a great way to celebrate the female aspect of humans and of all of life and creation. There is not one without the other. It is also a great day to highlight the many struggles and unfair things women have to deal with on an everyday basis. For me, personally, all this matters because as a person in female form, it hurts to be excluded, and it creates fundamental imbalance between the sexes and even more duality. Imagine eating lunch alone everyday, or not being invited to a get-together on purpose, being on the outside looking in. To be excluded. That’s what it feels like many times, being a woman. In the workplace, in conversations, in politics, in important decisons making, and for many women; in their own home. Even our own bodies. It sucks to be excluded. Please include us, it will create more balance, and balance will inevitably benefit all.
The way of Dharma is to become less and less until we are like the wind in the trees or the ripples on the water. In reality only a beautiful movement of love, compassion and joy seeking nothing for itself but serving the world with kindness. Letting go (awakening) of the ever demanding ego (self identity) is the greatest gift we can bring to our own life and the life of all beings. The less of ‘you’ there is, the happier you will be. This is how to be no-one, going no-where. May all beings be happy.
Går rundt med mange ideer i hodet, og tenker at i år blir, kanskje, året der jeg får satt de til livs. Jeg har lenge, i flere år planlagt å sette igang en nettbutikk, men har enten alltid bare starta sånn litt, ikke kommet ordentlig igang og latt det være etter en stund. Jeg tror det kan ha mye med selvtillit å gjøre og tro på at man kan gjøre en god jobb som folk liker og kan kjenne seg igjen i – for det er det jeg tror som skjer når man “klikker” med et kunstverk, man gjenkjenner noe. Enten det er visuell kunst som et maleri eller et klesplagg sydd som redesign. Unike ting som har kommet fram i et øyeblikk av kreativitet. Før jul hadde jeg en bitteliten kunstutstilling og innså nå nylig at det er først etter man har gjennomført en drøm eller et mål, at man vet hva man greier. For tenk å kunne “jobbe” med det en liker å gjøre. Det hadde jo vært nokså innafor. Og tenk å være like modig og selvsikker som Pippi.🌷🙌😄👧💪
I det siste har jeg følt at jeg er litt lost med tanke på hva jeg skal gjøre med helsa. Som nevnt tidligere, så har jeg en del kroniske diagnoser, deriblant fatigue, smerter, migrene og mageproblemer.
Jeg har altså gått ned 4 kg på tre uker. Det er egentlig ganske kjipt, fordi jeg brukte over ett år på å legge på meg 6 kg. Rask forbrenning kombinert med dårlig matlyst og diverse andre magegreier resulterte i vekttapet. Jeg har alltid vært slank, men ønsker ikke miste de få formene jeg har.
Så da må man prøve nye veier. Av og til føler jeg at jeg leker litt “lege” med meg selv, men helt ærlig så har jeg vært på så mange konsultasjoner at jeg har blitt litt oppgitt.
Vanligvis tar jeg følgende kosttilskudd:
Vitamin D (kjøpte nytt merke idag, en flytende spray framfor kapsler som jeg har brukt å ta)
Magnesium cirtrate (som jeg alltid glemmer å ta😅)
Vitamin B komplex
Omega 3 fra torsk
Og nå skal jeg prøve enda noen tilskudd for å se om ikke det hjelper!:
CBD-olje (har brukt før, men gikk tom, så følte ikke at jeg fikk kjenne på en eventuell langtidseffekt. CBD er kjent for å være effektivt for nevrologiske sykdommer)
WellWoman, et slags multivitamin jeg kjøpte litt på impuls, men lista med ingredienser så ganske ok ut, så verdt å teste. Tok veganversjonen selv om jeg er hverken veganer eller vegeterianer.
What is authenticity, as in being authentic? I have been thinking about this lately, although I can barely spell the word. Is is being completely transparent and honest all the time? Is it being open about your struggles, hopes and dreams? Or is it to be so in touch with your true nature & your personality that you simply cannot be anything else?
I think it might be a combination of all these, as honesty, openness and personality all seem to shine forth automatically when one is resting in one’s natural state. My goal would at least be to try and live in such a way that I am not fooling myself or those around me. I find it difficult though. By fooling, I mean that I don’t always speak my mind when I should. Sometimes I choose holding onto resentment. Sometimes I even nod along to things I don’t agree with. Sometimes I dress differently than I would like to, just to fit in.
I have been trying lately to be more open about what my experience is, it feels a bit dishonest and lonely to not do so. From a relative point of view, I have lots of labels on myself, and I try to speak openly about these matters, both in conversations and on social media. I don’t feel like hiding these aspects of me. They are useful to relate to other people and for me to navigate myself in the world, and find meaningful relations. I am all of these things and that’s okay 🙂
From an absolute point of view, I guess none of these labels matter. But I am still trying to understand the absolute, so I think maybe I should not write too much about what I still need to learn and live first hand.
Hope everyone had a lovely Christmas and has a Happy new year! ❤
Det kvile ei natt over landet i nord,
Husan e små der kor menneskan bor.
Men tida e travel i karrige kår,
rokken han svive og vevstolen går
Det leve i løa, i naustet og smia
Et lys, et lys, et lys imot mørketida
Snøen ligg tung over frossen jord
ute står mørket om fjell og om fjord
vår herre gir livberging, søtmat og sul
når døgnan sig fram imot advendt og jul
så støpe vi lys midt i hardaste ria
et lys, et lys, et lys imot mørketida
Dagen e borte og natta e stor
men i mørketidslandet skal høres et ord
ei sol som skal snu så det bære mot dag
om folk som skal samles til helg og til lag
på veien mot Betlehem bære Maria
et lys, et lys, et lys imot mørketida
How autism (ASD/ASC) has manifested for me (in good ways and bad ways) 😊
– Sensory sensitivity; easily overwhelmed by light, sound, touch, smell and things happening around me – Extreme focus on numbers, names, symmetry and details (finding errors) – Very keen long-term memory (I tend to associate clothes and colours to events) Short-term memory has declined a lot due to my M.E. symptoms – High need for familiar surroundings and routines – Meltdowns due to sensory processing, sensitive amygdala (have gotten better through meditation, almost completely gone!) – Specific interests, that often change 😅 – The need to do things in a certain way, and becoming very frustrated when they don’t get done like that – Need to plan things carefully – Very visual imagination, thinking in pictures rather than words (comes in handy in meditation and creative work!) – Need things to be almost spelled out to me, taking things very literal – Feeling emotions very intensely – Finding fullfilment in my hobbies rather than work. Would love it if my work was my passion – Tend to zone out/space out, or become hyperfocused on some detail – Listening to the same music and audio books over and over again – Selective mutism (used to be worse)😊
It’s fairly recent that I discovered that it is in fact an autism spectrum condition I have after doing an AQ test. It feels like a huge, massive relief to finally know what has been sort of a mystery to me, and it feels like all the pieces of a puzzle just fell into place all at once. Funny how close people around me (Heidrun and Karl Henrik) knew already and have hinted to me about it, it just took me a while to admit it I guess 😄
Here are some interesting videos and articles on the subject:
“ASD is not Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) but some similarities exist. Both diseases affect cognition and sensory processing, cause problems with stimuli, cause significant social withdrawal, and are associated with increased levels of oxidative stress, reduced glutathione levels, and a Th2 immune response shift.
According to Dr. Naviaux, “ASD and ME/CFS are on the same biological spectrum.” Dr. Naviaux has encountered teenagers with ASD who develop ME/CFS, and adults with ME/CFS who develop autism-like symptoms of mutism, social withdrawal, sensory hypersensitivities, and OCD-like symptoms.
Both, he believes, are caused by a failure of the cell danger response (CDR) to shut down normally after a chemical or biological injury has been healed or cleared. Both disorders lead to abnormalities in metabolism that he has characterized using a laboratory tool called mass spectrometry and metabolomics.
[…] Dr. Naviaux believes that the energy and other problems in Chronic Fatigue Syndrome (ME/CFS) may be caused by the same cell danger response he believes is present in autism. The strange wired and tired symptoms, the inability to settle down and rest, the hypersensitivities to stimuli, the ADHD-like problems, even the mood issues like anxiety – all are the consequence of the body being put in a low energy state. Ironically, people in low energy states just can’t relax because, Dr. Naviaux asserts, “it takes more energy to relax than react”.
Before even starting this list, I know this is going to be a long post. I will not be able to choose just one artwork by each artist, and I want to write what exactly it is about their work which speaks to me and inspires me. Just googling and looking through their work and studying their techniques instantly sparks motivation and awe in me.
Here are the artists:
Nicholas Roerich Thomas Cole K. Hokusai John Savio Eva Harr Robert Gonsalves Theodor Kittelsen The Brothers Hildebrandt Phil Couture
The list is sort of random, except for the one on top. Nicholas Roerich’s artworks are truly some of the best I’ve seen, not only in style and composition but also in the message they convey: often spiritual, mystical and religious themes combined with amazing landscapes and colour combinations.
Short trivia: Roerich (1874-1947) was a Russian painter, philospher and archeaologist. Founder of Agni Yoga or Living Ethics/Teaching of Life with his wife, Helena. He did a five year long ‘expedition’ to Asia, which in his own words were: “from Sikkim through Punjab, Kashmir, Ladakh, the Karakoram Mountains, Khotan, Kashgar, Qara Shar, Urumchi, Irtysh, the Altai Mountains, the Oyrot region of Mongolia, the Central Gobi, Kansu, Tsaidam, and Tibet”, which immensely influenced his works.
During his life, he lived both in Russia, Finland, England, India and USA.
Besides the recognition as one of the greatest Russian painters, Roerich’s most notable achievement during his lifetime was the Roerich Pact (the Treaty on the Protection of Artistic and Scientific Institutions and Historic Monuments) signed April 1935 by the representatives of American states in the Oval Office of the White House. It was the first international treaty signed in the Oval Office.
There is a museum in New York displaying 150 of his works- which I would love to visit 🙂
Fun fact: The minor planet 4426 Roerich in the Solar System was named in honor of Nicholas Roerich.
Here are some of his best works, in my opinion (Sources: Google and the Roerich museum website)
As you can probably guess, my favourite kind of art is landscapes; mountains and rivers, skies and horizons. Thomas Cole’s work is very realistic and typical for the romantic era, but also carries a sort of spiritual vibe to them as he often implemented celestial beings such as angels. He is exceptionally good at perspective and composition, as you can see in the works below – and the details are amazing.
Short trivia: Thomas Cole (1801-1811) was born in England, but moved to the United states when he was 17 with his family. He is known for his amazing landscape paintings of the American wilderness, and was mostly self taught, studying other artists’ work and reading books.
In 1842, Cole embarked on a grand tour of Europe in an effort to study in the style of the Old Masters and to paint its scenery. Most striking to Cole was Europe’s tallest active volcano, Mount Etna. Cole was so moved by the volcano’s beauty that he produced several sketches and at least six paintings of it.
Fun fact: The fourth highest peak in the Catskills (where he and his wife lived) is named Thomas Cole Mountain in his honor.
I struggled choosing a limited amount of Cole’s paintings because he has so many good ones. I chose four of the absolute best ones, in my opinion, where the two first ones are part of a four series of paintings called The Ages of Life.
(Sources: google and Wikipedia)
Amid those scenes of solitude… the mind is cast into the contemplation of eternal things.
I love Japanese art. Although kind of typical Japanese in style, Hokusai still has his own expression, and I like the use of so many colours. He also has a lot of movement in his works, making them come alive. Just look at that wave 🙂
Short trivia: Hokusai (approx. 1760-1849), was a Japanese painter and woodblock print maker.
Hokusai had a long career, but he produced most of his important work after age 60. His most popular work is the ukiyo-e series Thirty-six Views of Mount Fuji, which was created between 1826 and 1833. It consists of 46 prints.
Hokusai was never in one place for long. He found cleaning distasteful, and instead, he allowed dirt and grime to build up in his studio until the place became unbearable and then simply moved out. The artist changed residences over 90 times throughout his life.
During a Tokyo festival in 1804, he created a portrait of the Buddhist priest Daruma said to be 600 feet (180 m) long using a broom and buckets full of ink. Another story places him in the court of the Shogun Iyenari, invited there to compete with another artist who practiced more traditional brush stroke painting. Hokusai’s painting, created in front of the Shogun, consisted of painting a blue curve on paper, then chasing a chicken across it whose feet had been dipped in red paint. He described the painting to the Shogun as a landscape showing the Tatsuta River with red maple leaves floating in it, winning the competition.
The artist also had difficulty settling on a single moniker. Although changing one’s name was customary among Japanese artists at this time, Hokusai took the practice even further with a new artist name roughly each decade. Together with his numerous informal pseudonyms, the printmaker claimed more than 30 names in total (!)
His tombstone bears his final name, Gakyo Rojin Manji, which translates to “Old Man Mad about Painting.”
Fun fact: Claude Monet acquired 23 of the Japanese artist’s prints.
(Sources: katsushikahokusai.org, artsy.net, google and wikipedia)
The only Sámi artist on my list, and the best one 🙂 I snuck him on there despite him not mainly being a painter, but also doing lithography. This summer, I went to see his original artworks at the Savio museum in Kirkenes, my mother’s hometown. Most of his art has arctic inspired themes; reindeers, the Sámi peoples way of life, and the wilderness (vidda).
Short trivia: John Andreas Savio (1902-1938) from Bugøyfjord, was the first sámi artist to get his own exhibition at the National Gallery (Norway). He also exhibited some of his works in Paris in 1937.
Savio grew up as an orphan and died at age 36.
I was lucky enough to visit Eva Harr’s gallery in Reine, Lofoten this autumn, and got to see her original works up close. Her style is realistic combined with a fiction-like feeling; it could be a real place she has painted, but it could also be a made-up dreamy landscape. She’s good at combining elements, such as rocks, and I like how she is able to make many of her paintings look hazy.
Short trivia: Harr (1951) is a Norwegian painter, born in Harstad. She has her own gallery as mentioned, and many of her works are displayed in other museums around Norway. Her own words about her art:
“Jeg har en meditativ holdning til mitt arbeide, der naturens syklus alltid står i fokus. Døgnets ulike stemninger, lyset og mørket, nattens begynnelse og slutt – og ikke minst månen med sin mektige symbolikk og innvirkning på våre liv. Symbolene jeg finner i naturen er ofte universelle og sterkt ladet. Dette velger jeg å utforske og fordype meg i. Mitt landskap er et indre landskap, og er metafor på mine indre reiser. Jeg vil speile naturen, og dens viktige plass i våre liv. Jeg blir berørt av dette uforutsigbare som preger vår tid, uro og støy som truer vår natur. Dette preger mitt blikk, og er underliggende i mitt valg av motiv. Samtidig ser jeg klart at lysets skiftninger og landskapet i nord, er en veldig viktig inspirasjonskilde.”
from her own website, evaharr.no
Some of her amazing works (Sources: google and her website)
Four years ago, I came across one of Gonsalves’ paintings (the first one below) and it reminded me of a meditation experience I had had. So I checked out more of his works, and found so many more that I liked. Style: surrealism (or magic realism) and optical illusions.
Short trivia: Rob Gonsalves (1959-2017), also known as The Master of illusion, was a architect and painter from Ontario, Canada. His works were very much influenced by other surrealist artists, such as Dalí and Escher. He also published several books containing his works. Sadly, Gonsalves took his own life last year. Check out this webpage if you want to see more of his mindbending artworks.
(Sources: wikipedia and google)
One of the most famous and beloved artists in Norway. You have probably seen his works even if you don’t know it. His art reminds me of childhood, as he made illustrations to many of the big Norwegian fairytales, lores and legends. I wish I had more of Kittelsen’s art, but I have been so fortunate to get my hands on five vintage porcelain plates (for hanging on the wall) with his drawings on them, and one giclée print of “White Bear King Valemon”.
Short trivia: Theodor Severin Kittelsen (1857-1914) was a Norwegian illustrator and painter born in Kragerø. He has also written and published several poems. He came from a poor family with seven siblings, and his father died when Theodor was only 11 years old. This forced him to get out and get a job as an apprentice, which inevitably lead him to meet art historian Diderich Aall, who saw how gifted the boy was. Aall decided to pay for his art education.
In 1874, 17 years old, Kittelsen attended Wilhelm von Hannos drawing school in Christiania (now Oslo). In 1876, he travelled to München, to study at the royal art academy there.
Kittelsen’s depiction of trolls have largely shaped how people see these beloved fictional creatures.
His family’s home at Lauvlia is today a museum. Some of his most popular works were made here. His wife Inga was a stay-at-home teacher for their nine children and she organised his exhibitions.
Th. Kittelsen also composed an eerie book with illustrations about the Black Death.
Despite being very talented, Kittelsen never achieved financial security through his works.
(Sources: wikipedia, google and theodorkittelsen.no)
The Brothers Hildebrandt
When I was a kid, I used to flick through my dad’s art books and magazines, and I specifically remember seeing fantasy paintings. Fantasy is a very unique genre, and I love how skillful you have to be with your brush to make good fantasy art. Tim and Greg Hildebrandt are two of these.
Short trivia: Greg and Tim Hildebrandt, known as the Brothers Hildebrandt (born January 23, 1939), are American twin brothers who worked collaboratively as fantasy and science fiction artists for many years. They produced illustrations for comic books, movie posters, children’s books, posters, novels, calendars, advertisements, and trading cards. Tim Hildebrandt died on June 11, 2006.
They began painting professionally in 1959 as the Brothers Hildebrandt. The brothers both held an ambition to work as animators for Walt Disney, and although they never realized this dream, their work was heavily influenced by illustration style of Disney feature films such as Snow White, Pinnochio and Fantasia.
An oil painting artist I discovered last year on Etsy. As mentioned above, I like Asian art, and also fine art, so Phil Couture’s oil portraits of geishas really deserved a place on my list. I ordered one of his prints not long ago. Style: realism.
Short trivia: Philippe Couture was born in Drummondville, Canada in 1984, raised in Lakeland, Florida, and currently resides in Kyoto, Japan. He has been drawing and painting his entire life and Phil’s art education was primarily self-taught. His training consisted of drawing and painting from life, studying masterpieces in museums around the world, and employing exercises taught by classical ateliers. – from his own website.
Høsten er en alltid en fin og fargerik påminnelse om forandring og det forgjengelige.
Jeg liker lister, lister er både gøy å skrive og å lese, så her er en liten liste over ting jeg…
Burde: Stå opp tidligere og ikke starte dagen med kaffe, men ordentlig frokost. Har blitt en sånn en!
Skal: Bruke dagen i dag på å få unnagjort ting jeg har utsatt; svare på mailer, bestille legetimer og få pressa inn noen timer med sitting (meditasjon).
Har dilla på for tiden: Nutella. Er maktesløs mot Nutella.
Ønsker å bli bedre i: Å kommunisere! Jeg har ingen problem med å skrive ting, men skulle ønske jeg var flinkere til å si ting, ikke være så konfliktsky.. Det er vel en øvingssak?
Leser nå:The Lotus Sutra og One Taste av Ken Wilber. Han skriver bra, veldig bra. Har kommet sånn 20 sider inn i boka, og har allerede flirt og grått. Skal sjekke ut flere av hans bøker etter denne. Har lagt til en widget nederst på bloggen til GoodReads-profilen min, sånn btw:)
Gleder meg til: Retreats i både november og desember. Samt kunstutstillingen jeg skal ha på SevenDesign rundt nyttår! Det blir stas.
Gruer meg til: HPV-vaksinen. Haha. Ikke fordi jeg er redd sprøyter, men jeg vet aldri hvordan kroppen reagerer, eventuelle bivirkninger og sånt.
Sparer penger til: Retreats. Og reising.
Prøver å ikke gjøre mer: Utsette ting.
Jobber mot: Male nok bilder til en ny utstilling til neste år.
Kommentér gjerne om du har flere punkt jeg kan adde til lista mi 🙂
Tried out some aquarelle techniques (wet-on-wet). Always found watercolors difficult; finding the right paper, using the right amount of water, waiting the right time for the water to be absorbed and using just enough paint/ink.. all the factors. Still, it’s fun and I want to learn how to use watercolors properly!🙌
My best early Sunday morning try at making a logo/profile pic for my Facebook art page.
Think it turned out pretty good! I used an app called Logopit Plus to add the fonts and circles, and the picture itself I just took outside on the porch – daylight really brings out the color in my paintings.
This morning I also felt very inspired and creative to make something, and I have always been very fond of Asian art, specifically Chinese and Japanese style paintings. So this one is inspired by that:
“The Master has mastered Nature; not in the sense of conquering it, but of becoming it. In surrendering to the Tao, in giving up all concepts, judgments, and desires, her mind has grown naturally compassionate. She finds deep in her own experience the central truths of the art of living, which are paradoxical only on the surface: that the more truly solitary we are, the more compassionate we can be; the more we let go of what we love, the more present our love becomes; the clearer our insight into what is beyond good and evil, the more we can embody the good.” – Lao Tzu
These past couple of days, my mind has been spinning in the direction of motivation and inspiration towards writing and painting. I feel creative again, after many, many months of having a huge creative blockage in my system. I’m painting and writing letters to people I care about. I’m not feeling as critical towards my own ability to create, and therefore I am able to play around more without being too hung up on the result. I even found the courage to go ask an art studio and a gallery in town if they wanted to display my paintings, and they did! What an adrenaline kick.
Anyway. I felt like writing about my buddhist path. Two nights ago, I was at a small get-together, a moving-in-party at a buddhist friend´s place, and the conversation steered towards spirituality and religion. Me and this friend were the only practicing buddhists in the room, and it became evident to me that there are a lot of assuptions about buddhism that I just don’t find true at all, in my personal experience. For example that the (historical) Buddha Shakyamuni is looked upon as a God, above other people/followers, that enlightenment/buddhahood is something mystical only available to certain people and that spirituality is only empty rituals.
To me, it only makes sense that since we all have a mind, that means we all have the ability to transform it, to step out of the wheel of suffering and confusion. And since we all have a heart, we all have the potential to open it towards all living beings, and develop a compassionate heart without disrimination. The Buddha Shakyamuni showed us it’s possible, and so did many other dharma practitioners and teachers, such as Yeshe Tsogyal, Padmasambhava and Jetsun Milarepa – to mention a few.
I think it’s important to remember that when we are practicing dharma, it is not to become a part of Tibetan or Indian culture, or to belong to any other culture with a strong tie to buddhism. It is “simply” to be a kind of scientist who looks closely at our own minds, and to be able to use the samsaric (cyclic) mind as a tool to transform it into an enlightened one. Training our minds through meditation. In this sense, I feel buddhism has much more of a spiritual approach to it, than a religious one. There is a lot of religious and cultural baggage attached to buddhism that I personally don’t agree with; for example putting young children in monasteries, away from their families, blindly believing something just because a robed person said it without using common sense to check it for yourself, and the still-existing patriarchy that’s still going on in some areas of buddhism.
Despite this, I still call myself a buddhist, or dharma practitioner, because I feel a strong devotion in my own heart to practice the dharma following the buddhist approach and a motivation to transform my mind using the buddhist teachings. I feel lucky to not live in a poor country and to have time to practice and to be able to go on retreats 3-4 times a year with a wonderful sangha and a very capable teacher. I also feel like the basic buddhist principles of ethics, honesty and being of help and benefit to others is such a beautiful and transformative thing which one can implement in one’s daily life.
Having been doing yogic practice for about 7 years now, I definitely feel like I have a more clear mind and a more pure heart. Still long ways to go, but feeling progress is golden. If you’d like to check out the tradition I am practicing in, go to openheart.fi 🙂
I wanted to write a little bit about something that occupies of my mindspace a lot; love and relationships. I’ve briefly mentioned before, here and elsewhere, that I consider myself polyamorous. I was not aware of this term until some years ago when I found myself really loving and wanting to spend time with more than one person, and I’ve found this hard to explain to people around me, and also to the people I love. Because of course, as humans we are used to certain ways of thinking and responding to things, and all sorts of feelings arise when it comes to what could be called untraditional relationship structures, or non-monogamy. And then there is the whole communication part, and even the logistics of it; love is infinite but time and energy is not (relatively speaking), so how to distribute your time?
From my buddhist point of view, love and compassion is something we all have a capacity to feel, and is in short, the heart of spirituality. Love makes us open up and it can be shown in so many different ways, and different people bring out certain positive qualities in us that we should cultivate for the benefit of others around us. But this is easy to forget, especially when it comes to close/intimate relationships; we trigger each other, we feel jealous, we want them to feel like they owe us something, we blame and forget to treat them –who has chosen to spend their precious time with us- with the respect they deserve. Basically, it brings all the things we don’t want to deal with to the surface, but it can also be seen as a good opportunity to deal with it, to grow. (Of course, here I am not talking about staying in an abusive relationship, for example, but about facing our insecurities).
I believe there is a love that connects all of us, one that can be felt by simply tuning into the feeling of your own heart (i.e. in meditation). But I also believe there is many different love dynamics, be it romantic, platonic or sexual – or a mix, and it largely depends on the two people involved, how they make each other feel and how their personalities go together. Also, if they are both polyamorous, or one is monogomous. All relationships are unique, and it seems a bit foolish to think that there is only one way to have an intimate relationship, and that there should only be one at a time (although I 100% respect other people’s wish for monogomous relationships too). It may take extra work having multiple relationships going on parallel, but to me, it feels even worse having to hide my emotions, and to choose one person over another. I don’t think one should run after each and every desire/attraction that comes along; that would only be destructive for everyone involved – I am talking about being able to spend time with those you are in love with and those you feel committed to. This life is brief, and like a dream it can stop at any moment. It’s imporant to find time to show love and affection while we can. But like I said in the beginning, time can be an issue, and sometimes one just has to prioritize some things more than others. I admit, this is not my strong side. But I am working on it 🙂
is key. I’ve always been introverted, and find it hard sometimes to talk about stuff that is on my mind. I tend to just keep it in and have long conversations to myself instead, haha. Or to my cats…. This is not so favorable when it comes to polyamory, but I feel I have found a way that works for me to still get my points and feelings across: I write. It may not be super romantic, but I write it in an e-mail, on facebook message or simply as a letter and give it to the person I wish to say something to. I feel like expressing myself through writing is much easier; you get time to think and reflect, and get the words down “right”. I wish I was better at communicating verbally, I would love nothing more than hold the hands of a person I love and tell them all about what’s going on inside. This is something I am working on. But as long as the message gets across, I guess that’s the most important.
I am still fairly new to poly, but it seems there is no doubt that communication is important. I mean, it’s certainly important in all relationships, but more so maybe in poly ones because there is more people and thus more feelings involved. At the same time, I think it’s imporant to respect what the other person wishes and don’t wishes to know about for example your other partners, or trivial details that have no real relevance to your dynamic. I for one, don’t want to know about my partner’s casual hook-ups. All I ask for is that they are careful not to get sick and to practice safe sex. I only wish to know if they have fallen in love with someone new and/or have started dating someone romantically or otherwise longterm/feel committed to someone else, as this may have some impact on my time with them. And of course, if they are thinking about children in the near future (gosh, am I that age already?).
A friend of mine asked me how my “love life was going”, and I said I was having some open loving relationships at that moment. His response was: “Oh, so no committment?” This triggered something in me, I felt like that was a weird, but also not surprising response. I feel very committed to the people I love. Committment to me is not having sex with one person for the rest of my life. Committment to me is committing my time and energy to someone I like, to show them trust and respect, sharing special moments together and letting them know how I feel about them. To travel places and to eat meals together. To cook, shower and read together. Doing everyday stuff, together. Making plans. I have been in two longterm monogomous relationships in my life before, and the level of committment I feel is still the same, even if it’s non-monogomous. Crazy, huh?! 😉
I get jealous. Of course I do. I am still human 🙂 I compare and compete, I make myself feel small and sometimes think that I am not good enough as I am, be it physically or otherwise. Feeling inadequate. But I also feel it is my “job” to tackle strong negative emotions like jealousy through practicing meditation and taking resposibility for my own mind, my own emotions. I do find it hard though, emotions can be very overwhelming. Also something I am working on. Jealousy is such a strong and common emotion, and it can really do damage in intimate relationships, so if a partner feel extreme jealousy, I try to not be the douche who points a finger and says “that’s your stuff to handle, deal with it”. Because it’s not that easy.. There are often ways to work through it together.
I know in my heart I will always be polyamorous, just as I know in my heart that I am bisexual. Polyamory also feels like the only way for me to feel both committed to loving relationships and still date both sexes. This is not something I am doing at the moment, but definitely a wish I have for myself in the future, at the same time as I feel very satisfied with what I have now. I also find myself in a strange feeling of wanting a family. I mean, like kids. (Can’t believe I wrote that!) Either I am just feeling super clucky (and have done for some time now), or I am actually getting to a stage in my life where it feels right to do within the next years. All I really wish for my future is to make my relationships work well, but also attend to my personal dreams. If they go hand-in-hand, that’s amazing.