Moon Child

Tonight I’m unable to fall asleep. I toss and turn in my bed, thoughts chase each other
and nothing seems able to calm them down. Impossible to control the whirlwind in my
head by counting my breaths or doing a body scan!
So I get up and have some almonds. Perhaps I was hungry? Then I look out of the windows
towards the mountains, and I understand my unrest. The full moon shines brightly and
it is as if it was looking right at me, calling upon my attention. It pulls me into
its spell. Moon, what do you want of me?
I go out on my balcony and stand face to face with the shining planet. Its milky light
embraces me and I feel an urge to communicate with this magical planet. If I were a wolf,
I’d howl! If I were a poet, I’d write wistful verses, expressing my longing. Now I just
stand there, bathing in the cold light.The crickets play and I hear a bird calling.
Suddenly a cloud starts sliding past the moon, hiding its upper part, as if the moon
were closing its eyes. I think it’s telling me to go back to bed. “I’ll help you to calm
your rushing thoughts”, the Moon transmits to me, silently caressing my head with it’s
silvery glow.”There is nothing to be solved. Life will unfold the way it has to unfold,
and you should just relax and enjoy the ride.”
I bid the Moon goodnight and go back to bed. I feel its benevolent glance on me and
there’s peace. Slowly my thoughts come to rest, and shortly after I’m sound asleep.

Note: Research on the effect of the full moon on humans is very contradictory – some
say none at all, and some say it does make us sleep less – but that doesn’t matter to
me: I know it influences me, and I enjoy our special relationship…

Pleine Lune! Photo by Gérard Georges

Pleine Lune! Photo by Gérard Georges

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My Body is My Temple

“Don’t you realise that the body is the temple of the Holy Spirit?” (1 Corinthians 6:19)
Most of us probably do, but do we live out the real meaning of this quote: a harmonious
unity of body and mind; equal, simple and straightforward?
We all agree that we should not neglect our bodies. Our lives are very incomplete if we
only live in our minds. Not only is there so much pleasure to be felt through our bodies,
but it is also the form in which our souls manifest on this earth. Without a body, no
human life is possible.
The body’s needs are simple: good quality food in moderate amounts, enough sleep, lots of
time and movement in nature, tenderness, care, and good hygiene. That’s basically it.
The body does not need to be driven to the edge by extreme exercise, nor does it need a
very special fruit, flown in from the other side of the world. It does not require
cupboards full of expensive clothes or the latest fitness gear, or extravagant skin
products at equally extravagant prices.
In our culture we easily overdo things and we are terrified of old age and dying. We think
that the more attention we give our body and the costlier its treatments, the longer it
will stay young and healthy. We worship our bodies and make them as strong and
beautiful as we can afford (time-wise and money-wise) in our constant urge to be seen and
admired by others – and because we think that by looking young we will stay young…
forever.
The unbalanced cult of the body is equally insane as an unbalanced cult of the mind &
soul. We need to keep all three healthy in a simple, relaxed way, and in unity enjoy life, show love and care for others and be happy.
My body is my temple. But it’s not my God.

Hiking asks for - and provides - a healthy body

Hiking asks for – and provides – a healthy body

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In Between Seasons

Summer still lingers on up here: temperatures at midday are around 25C and I’ve been
able to hike in shorts and sleeveless tops. Every day like this is a precious gift,
and very consciously I enjoy the fresh breeze against my skin, and try to store away
the late summer warmth and sunshine deep in my soul.
The air is exceptionally crisp and clear this time of year, and the colours start
turning towards a golden yellow, and bright orange, and a warm red. Heather is
blooming, blueberries are ripe and the mountain slopes explode in vibrant autumn
colours. Yes, the season is definitely changing and on my morning hikes I already
need gloves – it’s just above 10C…
However, autumn has not yet fully entered the scene. On some days I can still have
my lunch on the balcony, butterflies still flutter among late blooming flowers and I
can still wear my shorts. Yes, that’s my special summer symbol 🙂
How I love these Indian Summers, and how deeply I enjoy them with all my senses! Well,
isn’t it always when you see the end of something, that you experience it with particular
intensity?

Those colours...!

Those colours…!

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Closing a Circle

The Circle is one of the most basic symbols of mankind (read more about it here). To a large extent our natural world is made up of circles, starting with the Earth, the Sun and the Moon. Our lives seem to move in circles: we often return to the same places, events, and people. The human life also forms a kind of circle: when we’re babies we don’t move much, we need all the support we can get and in our very old age we return to that state.
At 88 my mother is slowly closing her circle. The last years she has completely stopped walking, her vision and hearing have deteriorated, and she sleeps most of the time. It feels as if we were follow her slow disappearing.
Since I live far away I can only visit her every second month, which feels far too seldom, especially as talking by phone does not work anymore. My only way to keep in touch in between visits is writing a little letter once a week – then at least she knows I’m thinking of her.
Such a sad and strange feeling to follow a dear person taking farewell from life slowly, but surely. It is as if mother were retiring into her centre, only opening up the “windows to the outside world” every now and then. When she does, luckily she is still fully there: she recognises me, asks for my family and friends and sometimes she even comment on what I’m wearing or my perfume. These little glimpses of mother-as-she-used-to-be make me, and all of us, very happy. They help us to understand that after all she is still among us because she wants to. Perhaps she will stay until the circle of life of a new generation is about to start …

Those moments, when she smiles her special smile..

Those moments, when she smiles her special smile..

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Knittomania

When it’s summer my wish to knit is normally zero and my knitting projects rest
peacefully in their big rattan basket. But this year I attacked a new project in
the middle of August – a pillow case. It’s a contract work and the idea wasn’t mine,
but I really like it, and any good ideas for presents are always welcome. If you have
some, please share them!
I don’t know what it is about knitting, but once you’ve started, you easily get obsessed:
you want to knit day and night, all the time. Unfortunately such behaviour can – and
has – result(ed) in inflammations in your tendons, so I have to control my knitting urge
and take it a bit easy.
During decades of knitting I’ve worked with “everything” from intricate lace pattern
scarves to simple potholders, I’ve done large cardigans for XL men and tiny socks for
newborns. Most fun was knitting sweaters for my children when they were small: not
only did they get something unique, but also of as good quality as to last even for
the next generation 😉
Anyone who has ever knitted will agree: it’s definitely addictive. Once I’m busy with
one piece, I immediately want to start with the next one. Colours, patterns, yarns,
other people’s ideas… it’s all so inspiring! Suddenly I remember all the half-finished projects in my rattan basket as well, and pick up a second one directly.
The only way I know to avoid pain in tendons or other negative results of excessive
knitting is to put on the timer: one hour of knitting, the I have to do something else.
Does anybody know any good stretching movements for hard-core knitters…?

Even in a hand-knitted sweater, you're sad when you lost your flower...

Even in a hand-knitted sweater, you’re sad when you lost your flower…

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Books That Inspire

It is not the first time I read “The Untethered Soul” by Michael A. Singer. Already
six years ago, I was struck by the simplicity of the author’s writing and how he treats
the important theme on how to find back to your original self, and to live life lighter
and more fully.
In five Parts Singer writes about Awakening Consciousness, Experiencing Energy,
Freeing Yourself, Going Beyond, and Living Life. It’s about personal development, but
not with superficial bullet action lists on how to change your life. He is more like a soft-
spoken mentor, inspiring us to release and let go of the clutter in our minds and in our
lives, and become more connected to the universe within and around us.
Among other points Singer stresses how important is to realise that you are not the voice
of the mind that never stops talking, commenting, taking sides, and getting all wound up
about what you think is happening. You are the one who hears it and “the best way to free yourself from this incessant chatter is to step back and view it objectively”.
In times of spiritual unrest, this book has inspired me to meditate regularly again, and
to concentrate on what is important in life. I warmly recommend it to anybody who wants to “transcend the part of you that is not okay and needs protection”.

NB: Meaning of untether
1. To disconnect: an opinion that was untethered to reality.
2. To free from restraints: The experience untethered his imagination.

Reading under the trees in my garden enhances the whole experience :-)

Reading under the trees in my garden enhances the whole experience 🙂

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The Stunningly Sage Sage

Out of all medicinal herbs, sage (salvia officials) is one of the most common ones –
and most versatile. Its curative qualities have been known for thousands of years:
already the Romans said “Cur moreretur homo dum salvia crosscut horto?”, i.e.
“How can a man die, when sage grows in his garden?”. Another good reason to grow
sage is that it is also one of the bees’ favourite flowers!
Wild sage, with its beautiful dark blue flowers, can be found in nature, but the most
efficient variety is the garden sage, originating from the isle of Crete. It is very
robust, and grows in almost any climate. The content of its essential oils rises a lot
on warm, sunny days and therefore you should always harvest sage in such weather, and
then let it dry in a warm place, but out of direct sunlight.
A strong infusion of sage makes your hair soft and shiny and if you gargle it, that’s
good for your teeth, prevents bad breath, and soothes an aching throat.
Sage has an anti-inflammatory and anti-oxidant effect, calms down an overproducing
thyroid gland and helps with digestive problems.
The essential oil in sage prevents (excessive) transpiration, for a Sage cure drink
a strong infusion twice a day for 3-4 months, taking a break one day per week,
to relive your liver.
Similar to Rosemary, sage is said to improve brain function and memory, and is
actually used as a treatment of Alzheimer’s disease.
The herb also has a superior level of vitamin K, which is a crucial element in
developing bone density, so if you suffer from early signs of osteoporosis try to
add sage leaves to your diet.
That brings me to sage in cuisine: it goes well with eggplant, fish, peas
tomatoes, potatoes, cheese, and beans. Sage, fried in butter, is a great condiment
to your pasta, and why not try a risotto with apple, walnuts, and sage?

Wild sage, for once without bees in it ;-)

Wild sage, for once without bees 😉

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Heritage & Environment

Up to a certain point we are the fruit of our heritage and environment. What our parents, teachers and other “authorities” taught us has formed us much more than we sometimes want to admit. However, even if we do admit and accept it, at some point in our lives we have to critically consider the influence of these inherited opinions and values. Do they still suit us in our lives right now, do they fit our deepest wishes? Do we really want to live according to them, or do we actually have different values deep inside?
One example could be our working morale. The older generation sometimes had quite a different way of seeing and valuing their working relationships than we have. Still we continue to work very hard and feel overly responsible towards a company that might not even properly value our contribution.
Do you stick to values and opinions that don’t really express your own deepest convictions as the person you are today? It is a good idea to reconsider the way you live your life from time to time, to question your habits and choices. You might have developed and grown, and they might not be valid anymore. If there is one thing that is sure in life, it’s that it is constantly changing. And so are we, wether we realise and welcome it, or cling to outdated values and standards.

In some parts, the values of my parents - and Grandma - were different from mine

Some of the values of my parents – and Grandma – were different from mine

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Summer Happiness

For many, vacation is the time when they can do what they most love to do. Finally
there’s enough time to start an eagerly awaited project, to travel and discover new
places, to read that thousand page book, take up a new, interesting hobby, or just
lie on your back in the grass under a tree and enjoy the summer breeze. Of course we
have to take into account our beloved one’s wishes too, but there is always time that
we can spend only for ourselves.
These summer pleasures often bring us back to childhood days: we might go fishing,
or bathing in the sea, to a fun fair or flying a kite. We dive into an activity where
we get so immersed that we forget the world around us.
I am blessed with lots of free time all through the year, but some of my favourite
things can only be done in summer. Like discovering flowers. During spring and
summer hikes it brings me immense happiness to look for flowers and plants along
my path and I can get completely high when discovering a species that’s new to me.
I take lots of pictures of different parts of the plant and once back home I consult
my flower Bible, the “Flora Helvetica”, which includes all plants in Switzerland.
Sometimes I have to look through all 3.000 species in the book, so you can imagine
my joy when I finally find my plant! Next step is to learn its name, at least in
Latin and Swedish, and yes, I actually enjoy that too 😉
What is your favourite summer activity? When do you loose track of time and are
fully THERE only for what you’re doing right in that moment? What brings you so
much summer happiness that it lasts within you to brighten up even the dreariest
of November days?

Botany makes me enter "the Zone"

Botany makes me enter “the Zone”

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Village Life

After one and a half year up in my little village, suddenly I notice that I really
feel at home. That feeling is not related to my house or the surroundings (where I
settled in directly after moving here) but has to do with people. I’ve become acquainted
with many more of the villagers, and nowadays when I’m up and about I always meet
somebody to greet, wave at, or have a little “Bonjour, ça va?”-chat with. I feel seen
and acknowledged, and like being a part of this community.
This is one of the big advantages of living in a small place: eventually you come
to know almost everybody, at least enough to say “hello”. You’re not an anonymous
being anymore who passes by almost invisibly, but a fellow human being that it’s
worthwhile to greet and smile at.
Of course it has its disadvantages living in a small village. Everybody has their
eyes on everybody else and gossiping about people is probably one of the main
distractions, but I don’t care. As long as I live my life according to my convictions
and in a way that does not harm anybody, others can talk as much as they want.
And honestly, isn’t being talked about the smaller of inconveniences, compared to the
good feeling of being surrounded by fellow human beings, of being seen and cared
about? If ever I were in any serious trouble, I’m convinced that many of them would
not hesitate a second to help out. And they other way round too, of course.
I feel welcome and safe where I live and I really appreciate that, knowing that far
too many people don’t…

Passing by Tilly's house on my morning walk

Passing by Tilly’s house on my morning walk

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