Good things in Easter

A crocus flower

Enjoing beatutiful crocuses in the garden.

Bed of crocuses

Getting up early to find rays of sun streaming through the mountains and illuminating trees of catkins. Almost as if they were tiny Christmas lights. (I wish I could have managed to take a nicer photo.)

Catkins in the sun

Having the most quiet nights without waking up to either the tram outside or my own alarm set at 6.30.

Hello, long-awaited Friday

What a tiring week this has been.

It is rarely, if ever, that I have encountered sexist behaviour from colleagues. And this week, my confidence bubble about how far we have come with women rights, even in Europe, got a solid burst.

I wanted to check in this Friday telling you how I did a little something glamourous before the weekend, but instead I felt like sharing something else: I hate it when people get away with demeaning, sexist behaviour just because it is part of “their culture”. It utterly pains me to think of that women around in the world are harassed, if even the most subtle ways, on a daily basis.

The guy that made a remark towards me was not Norwegian. I am pretty confident that if he was, there would have been consequences. And I am happy that a female colleague stepped in and spoke up – and also cheered me up with a nice comment in the end.

Just a little reminder to support each other!

On a happier note: it is Friday! And for those of you who are starting your easter vacation, have a really wonderful one. I am heading for my mother’s house on the countryside, taking almost the entire week off work and I am hoping to see tulips and daffodils in the garden. It will be a very good place to get away from this week’s craziness, and perhaps even meditate a bit and do art.

Happy weekend to you all!

My “Good things” journal

It feels a little surreal that I am soon to finish my third gratitude journal. Keeping them has been such a rewarding journey.

I started my first journal the summer of 2017. I was ready to put some serious effort into becoming and staying happy. I got myself an empty Moleskine, just to get a little fancy, and named it “Gode ting” in Norwegian – “Good Things”.

Since then I started taking 30 minutes (almost) every evening to write down at least three good experiences that have happened to me during the day. At first every effort to find something good felt forced, and I can’t say that I consistently kept up the practice. But with time, it became almost an instinct, something that has infused my way of looking at the world. Which was just what I hoped for.

Within the next eight months my first Moleskin was finished. On most days I had at least 5-7 memorable experiences to note, everything from the smallest impression, to big milestones at work or personally. It feels rewarding to flip through the earlier journals. I now have permanent reminders of a lot of the good thing that happened to me, and I am better at noticing new things.

Here are some moments from my journals:

MARCH 18TH 2018
  • I moved the last things from my old apartment with the help of my closest friend. What a relief it is to finally be completely done with the move. And what I relief it was to know I was never alone in this process.
  • I followed my mom’s advice and made myself a nice hot chocolate. But a healthy version with almond milk and honey.
  • The weather has shifted, and it feels like spring is really here.
APRIL 13TH 2018
  • It is Friday again! Yay!!!
  • My colleagues gave me really nice feedback on a presentation. It was improvised. I had almost no time to prepare it and felt extremely nervous about it. Supposedly I managed to communicate clearly and made the topic sound interesting.
  • I finally started learning French on Duolingo again. Why was I overthinking it so much before? It is so much fun!
APRIL 28TH 2018
  • How nice it is to start a new project at work. It feels so fresh and motivating.
  • I visited an old friend in the evening and we chatted about absolutely everything.
  • I had the loveliest long walk back home. The sky was pink, violet and blue, and the cloud had formed a beautiful foggy haze.

My “Good things” journal helped me searching positive experiences, but also helped me stay positive during difficult times. Practicing it on those days matters immensely. It is important to keep up the noting, even if the only experiences you can think of seem very insignificant.

Have you ever tried to keep a gratitude journal? What experiences made you happy, that actually surprised you?

Last but not least:

What are the nicest things about today?

Spring in the botanical garden

What better way relax in the spring sun than to discover blooming treasures in the Botanical Garden? My little flat in Oslo is located right next to it, which makes anytime a good time for a brief visit, but warm April days are simply the best.

flowers in spring

The park is about to be covered by fields of spring flowers.

exotic plant

The greenhouse has a jungle with exotic plants that bloom all year. It is nice to come here in February too. Just to get a little warm.

These tiny orchids are just adorable.

And the best thing about the Botanical Garden in Oslo: there is no entrance fee! Happy Sunday ^^

Halcyon

botanical garden in Oslo
Crocuses in early spring
painting a cup

Things finally feel brighter. I have stumbled upon so many good things to be grateful for the last year.

Waking up one morning in late March, I thought to myself: “I am just where I am supposed to be”. As crazy as it may sound, it was a victory to let myself think this. Even if that means that not everyone that I care about is happy, even if things always can be more difficult – I trust in my ability to find things to make myself feel happy,

The sight of spring morning dew. Putting on red lipstick before going to work. The smell of Baptiste’s roasted potatoes with French herbs for Sunday brunch. Living in my tiny 12 square meter flat, which actually rooms all that I need and a lot, lot, lot more. Doing art again. Watching crocuses appear in my mom’s garden. My liberties. My financial situation. My friends supporting me on starting my own business and going freelance. (Oh, that last one I can’t overstate enough. I am so grateful for my friends.)

And the list goes on, and on, and on.

I would always feel that each season is reminiscent of that same one last year. But I hope that this spring holds a lasting change in the air.

Winter monday

Nice things to do in January
  1. Spend an afternoon at the swimming pool with a close friend.
  2. Go out for drinks and disco dancing with your sweetheart.
  3. Spend a Sunday outdoors in the snowy forest. Then enjoy a long, hot shower at home.
  4. Start an online course on something you love to learn more about. (I started this this illustration course).
  5. Get yourself the year’s first bouquet of tulips. A little reminder of sunnier days to come.

Last week went from tiresome and sad to full of laughter and good experiences – something I truly needed. Energy levels are elevated and I am starting this week with full force. Wishing all out there a lovely week!

Aftermath

Today is an aftermath. An aftermath following a weekend with many difficult emotions taking place among people I had no choice than to be around. I looked forward to go back home. I thought I would feel exhilaration about walking through the door of my apartment, knowing I finally would be in my own space.

Then when I actually unlocked my dor, dropped my suitcase and crashed on my sofa I realized not even that made me feel good. It was like the burden and the strength in my heart dropped at the same time. And my heart poured anger and guilt subsequently.

All of a sudden I felt as if the world would be closing me in with a lot of expectations that I wouldn’t be equipped to handle. I acted on it, something I am not so very proud of, by being passive aggressive towards someone. And it has all happened before. Many times.

When you can’t snap back, what do you do?

One of my favorite writers has a wonderful quote:

Pain reaches the heart with electrical speed, but truth moves to the heart as slowly as a glacier.

Something about the immediacy of emotional pain, and the want to get away from that pain, makes us forget any other state of mind exist. Sometimes it pays of to wait and watch.

After almost four attempts of writing this post I ended up with what I think is a kinder version of what I wanted to say. Part of me I just wanted to complain. Another part wanted so badly to accept feeling terrible so I could move on. And the reason why I couldn’t do it was because I focused to much on moving on and too little on actually being in it.

But the aftermath was a nice reminder to strive for moments of silence and presence. My note to self is to find ways to be present in myself again. And eventually to find time and courage to face the glacier.

First post

So this is my first post in this completely new space. It is far from the polished version I would like it to be. I have been picking up on coding at record speed, but still it is not enough to get it quite the way I want it to look. Hopefully this space will look a little more put together in not so long.

I still love to share, to write, take pictures and do art. I have missed it. My blog used to be my diary, a place where I could reflect on little things happening, where I was in life as well as well as where I was heading. But my blogging practice back in the days also made me a little stressed out. As a result I am not making any promises for this space. What this blog ultimately will be about, will have will evolve completely out of my own need and want to share things. I am trying to be a little extra selfish with that.

That being said, I am looking so much forward to getting back to this practice, this time also with a little more gratitide. Hoping that you will follow me along for the journey.

(I included a little warming photo from a couple of years ago. Life has changed a lot since back then.)