To the Fire In Our Souls

Hello dear ones. I got such an incredible urge to write you all now to wish you a wonderful New Year. And what does it really matter if I have nothing else to say? In spite of lack of words to share, I am still so incredibly grateful for everything that has happened this past year, and for getting the chance to connect with so many. So thank you — for joining me and sharing your thoughts and words. And may your 2018 be beautiful. Much love and many hugs to you all. ❤

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A Personal Journey

Hello, everyone! I know I dropped off the radar but it seems like I have been in constant motion since Wednesday morning and I haven’t had a chance to sit down and write until now. The past few days have been amazing and I have been longing to get a moment to share them with you.

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In my mother’s living room.
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A gift.

Last week I got a message from the education coordinator at Härnösand’s Folk High in Sweden, where I studied for two years–two incredible years which came to play a big part in the personal journey I began back in 2014. I have had plenty of time now to land and process all the emotions and impressions from the past few days–and since I got her message–but even as I write I am overwhelmed anew. A tangle of happiness, wonder, and such a deep thankfulness it feels like I might lift off the ground. I cannot tell you how many times I have been on the verge of tears or how many words were choked by the emotion that provoked them.

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View from old route E4/“Riksväg 90”.

As I write, I sit in my father’s kitchen, a cup of coffee beside me, and with a view of the High Coast bridge outside our window. It is the most comfy place and I am so easily lost in thought and contemplation. Even though I feel and know the changes I have gone through, even though family, friends, and teachers have seen and confirmed them, I am still kind of gobsmacked that it got me elected for a stipend. A diploma with words of my accomplishments along this journey rests in my suitcase now, ready to travel back home to Finland to be framed. Honestly, I am going to put it on my wall. I both can and can’t believe it, do you know what I mean?

You know, I almost didn’t go. After I was contacted I ran out the door and across the farm to where my partner was in the middle of cleaning our machines. I had to shout over the rumble of the compressor. I told him about the invitation back to Härnösand Folk High and he reminded me of the timing belt that needs changing before any major trips should be made with the car. And there just wasn’t enough time to get the car into the workshop before I would have had to leave. The HFS education coordinator told me I could join them over Skype, so either way I would be with them throughout the event. And so I told her I couldn’t come.

My partner noticed how crestfallen I was, and I kept trying to come up with any alternative or solution to make the trip anyway. He told me you’ll regret it if you don’t go. I don’t believe in regrets, but I knew already on the inside that I hadn’t accepted I can’t be there. I guess I needed to hear that I could risk the fate of the timing belt–and the engine–take the chance. Sometimes, no matter how far you have come to trust in that inner voice, sometimes that little extra push is needed. So I went, and the car and I had a smooth and uneventful trip, all the way from Finland to Sweden.

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I think once again on those words the speaker presenting the stipends gave, how important it is to find your own voice. For so long I lived with those borrowed voices I had collected over the years, and for so long I grew to resent the people behind those voices every single time I met failure and disappointment. So finding my own voice wasn’t only important for me and my own well-being and growth, but I have finally been able to let go of the world of weight my grudges encumbered me with. I can now with complete honesty say I do not feel contempt for anyone, no matter who they are or what they do. We are all on a journey–our very own path to find and establish that inner voice, find our place in this world. Sometimes we walk alone, and sometimes we walk alongside others. When my own voice is strong and clear, and the trust in myself sincere, I have come to see I hear and find it in me to understand and listen to others in ways I never could before.

For this, and for all the other challenges and opportunities to meet them I was given during my time at Härnösand Folk High, and to all the wonderful and amazing people I got to meet–I will be forever grateful. So this is not the end of a journey, it is only the beginning. And I eagerly and with more surety and confidence than ever take my next steps.

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At the top of Skule mountain in the High Coast, Sweden. A sneak peek of the many more photos to come from that evening. 😉

As always, thank you so much for reading and I wish you all a cozy Sunday and a great week ahead. See you soon!

Gratefulness

Hello, everyone! I really hope you are having as great weather as we are having right now. The days are surely growing lighter and longer, which wakes me up even before the alarm goes off, but I know I will catch up on those missed hours at some point. What I would miss if I dragged in bed is watching the world burst with spring’s vibrant colours as sunrise kisses each and every leaf and bud on its way up into the sky. Even the still-yellow grass from last season seems alive among the new seedlings in this light.

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And the field work is done! The other day I joined for the first time the yearly tradition of picking rocks. We go out with Fergu (the Massey Ferguson–my partner insisted I stop calling it Fergie, hah). Lilli and I sat on the trailer as we went to our destination. During harrowing and cultivating a few of our fields turn up rocks. Every year it’s the same. You would think that after all these generations, they would have disappeared, but still they keep popping out of the earth. Mostly small enough not to damage the harvester, but some are quite huge. Guess what, though? They will do wonderfully for my gardening projects!

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As I sat there in the back of the trailer with all the rocks we had collected, on our way home through the village, I was filled with an overwhelming happiness. Gratefulness. We walked in the foyer and stripped off our dusty clothes–it was everywhere, inside the clothes and in my mouth. I had to get cleaned up to go to shop and get milk, and my partner told me that Lilli will be coming along to pick out a reward.

Jokingly, my partner went on to say, “And this is when you ask what your reward will be.”

My reward?

“Well,” I said. “My reward is to sit down and enjoy a cup of coffee.” Honestly, isn’t coffee just so good when your very bones are tired from hard work? My partner had to admit he agrees with that, too.

Gratefulness. This is my other reward. To be filled with it so completely.

Picking rocks and crunching on dust might not seem like much to be happy about, right? Such a trivial and even unpleasant thing–how is it anything to be grateful for? I am grateful because I get to spend time with my family while working. I get to crawl across the earth with a camera in my hands. All around me rustle baby leaves of spring, streams purl beneath the feet of birch, pine and fir. And Fergu rumbles along at a lazy pace as my partner and Lilli converse about history. I don’t notice the dust until the day slows its breaths because I am exactly where I want to be. And I am once more grateful I worked so hard to find a way to open my eyes and see I have been for years.

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Do you or have you ever felt like you are chasing happiness and it always seems to be right out of your reach? There is one or more things you feel you need to achieve before you can be truly happy? I felt like that. If only I had that, if only I could get to there, then–then and only then will I be happy. Then I will be able to enjoy things, do the things I really want to do.

What I have found is that it wasn’t until I began to look for the good things in my life, counted the achievements I had made–however small or insignificant–instead of looking for shortcomings and failures that happiness found me. And once I did, I spent less and less time filling my mind and my days with struggle. Of course the struggle doesn’t magically vanish, but I realised I have a choice. Either I can sit by the window and wish for all the things out of my immediate control, or I can reach for whatever is within my grasp. By doing so, I put myself in motion–and I can promise you, that motion will lead you to anywhere you want to go. Just one step at a time, one grab for something within your reach. One day, those steps will turn into a thousand steps, then tens of thousands.

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My Lilli’s journey has only just begun. Maybe one day she will sit there, teaching our grandkids to steer Fergu?

I have this book, which is one of the many things that have helped me turn my life around. In How To Stop Worrying And Start Living, Dale Carnegie mentions a story he was told once, and I am only loosely quoting, but the story goes: “Only one grain of sand can pass through the hourglass at one time. No matter what you or I do, you cannot make more than that one little grain go through at any given moment.”

Simple? Yes. Easy? No. But:

“You and I and everyone else are like this hourglass.”

Lastly, I am grateful for that first post I made here on WordPress. That I took the first step and joined this blogging community. I am still so green, but let me tell you I love being here and sharing my journey with you, as well getting to share in yours.

Until next time. See you soon!

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