Arctic, Awareness, Dharma, Dzogchen, Pets, Quotes, Sámi, Sápmi, Self portrait, Vajrayana, Yoga

Lacking nothing

Often in yoga practice, the fur babies wish to join. Taken this summer.. One of them is missing since 5 months now 🖤 Hoping he will return soon, and that the winter cold has not gotten him..

“We should try to avoid thinking of ourselves as worthless persons – we are naturally free and unconditioned. We are intrinsically enlightened and lack nothing. When engaging in meditation practice, we should feel it to be as natural as eating, breathing and defecating. It should not become a specialized or formal event, bloated with seriousness and solemnity.”

– Dilgo Khyentse Rinpoche 🧡📿

(The buddhist shawl I am wearing is an outer sign of my inner commitment to the vajrayana buddhist path)

Arctic, Chronic illness, Dharma, Dzogchen, Everyday life, Food, Hair, Health, List, Migraine, People, Photography, Pregnancy, Saami, Sámi, Sápmi, Spirituality, Vajrayana

Currently…

Been about a year since I wrote one of my currently-lists. So felt like doing another one now in the late hours of the night 🌌🙂 Here we go, I am currently…:

November light

Reading: What’s Next: On Post Awakening Practice by Kim Pema Rinpoche. Second time I read it, just to understand it all better, as it is very technical. He describes the process of analysing your own and other people’s energy body from a tantric point of view. Highly recommend. If you click the link you find the pdf book for free.

Watching: Not really watching any series at the moment. Just random documentaries on youtube. Watched this one two days ago and found it very good. It’s on the topic of brain health. Something that interests me quite a lot, having some brain problems myself, from concussion, chronic migraines, viral infection, and neurodiversity.

Drinking every day: I wish I could write coffee. Five cups a day. But alas, I have cut the caffeine until our son is born 🖤 So currently drinking cocoa with MCT oil every day.

Eating every day: Hands down; kiwi fruits. Big craving of mine 🤰🥝 Also, blood sausage. Definitely getting my vitamin C and iron in an abundance.

Around 6 months

Happy about: Very excited about my pregnancy. It’s been so wanted for us. I almost feel like I talk and share too much about it! I feel so cute and funny looking in the mirror. Like a little hippo 🙂 I love feeling his little feet kicking. Time flies though, and it all seems a bit unreal at times. Nine months sounds so long but actually all the weeks and months just go by.. Can’t wait to meet him. It will be unreal too, I am sure. Not long now.

Not so happy about: Feeling quite raw and vulnerable. Could be the hormones. I am sure every pregnant person ever has felt this way. Fortunate to have women around me who have given birth to give advice and words of encouragement.

Thankful for: That I am actively seeking more help for my health problems. And that I live somewhere there is help to seek. It seems some changes has been made with the covid situation, but not so strict here that already chronically ill people cannot get any help. To be honest, if I didn’t have internet or media around me, I think I would not even know there was a pandemic going on. My daily life has not changed with the pandemic; my disabilities keep me mostly in one place, as has been the case for years, and my days look the same. I leave the house maybe once or twice a week and a lot of my ‘activities’ are online, chatting with friends, watching documentaries, keeping in touch with my sangha and edit photos once in a while. The only thing I have noticed is that I miss being able to travel, to go see loved ones and attend yoga retreats.

What is one or more things from the list you are currently doing?

How is the pandemic affecting you?

Arctic, Art, Beauty, Culture, Dharma, DIY, Dzogchen, Everyday life, Genealogy, Indigenous, People, Photography, Photoshoot, Saami, Sámi, Sápmi, Sewing, Spirituality, Uralic, Vajrayana

Things that are yours to keep

Sámi headdress by me, shawl hand-me-down. Photo by Sebastian Wilches 2020.

Some things I truly believe are yours to keep, that no one can take from you:

Your spiritual practice. In my case, it is vajrayana buddhism. It has saved my life in many ways – both in dealing with chronic illness, but also the normal existential stuff like finding purpose and joy 🙂🙏🏼📿

Your ambitions and dreams (if they come from a place of pure motivation and love). In my case now, it has been starting a little family with children 💜🤱

Your ethnicity and ancestry, no matter how lost or scattered it is in this modern world. In my case from my personal experience, I feel very connected to my home in the Arctic and being uralic/finno-ugric (sámi). I didn’t as a kid and teenager, at all, but now as I am older, I feel like I can “own” it more. I don’t speak any of the uralic languages, and feel a sadness about this. A disconnection from my own culture. And a feeling of not belonging to a community, when they can’t speak to me. I hope my son will not feel as disconnected. But I have found other ways to express this – primarily through art and duodji. Not all languages are of verbal nature, but are equally important, I think. 🎨

Your creativity. Not necessarily arts, but anything you find a solution to that involves stepping out of the habitual intellectual mind and into a state of spontaneity and flow.🌊

Your struggles. This sounds negative, but for me I mean that my struggles are valid. I have a body that has its big share of physical problems, and I don’t mean to whine. At all! 🙂 Just to express that this is my reality, and that chronic (perhaps invisible to others) illness can happen to anyone, any time in life.💙

Your love. This one sounds cheesy but I think we all can feel love and that we have love as a basic human need. To receive it and give it. And we all have different ways of showing it. I like giving gifts for example.. but am not so good verbally expressing how I feel. I like receiving kind loving deeds, but not to be smothered. So understanding how we show it differently is important too. I also believe that as humans we have the capacity to love many at the same time. Whether it is friends or partners, plural. Romantic, familial or platonic.❤

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Remembering impermanence is a good motivator

“The buddha, the dharma and sangha are the triple gems of the spiritual life beyond the bounds of this world. … Humility is the moisture or fertilizer from which devotion will grow. To help that devotion grow, remember the following: Your friends, family, identity or projects, big or small, will not provide you with the fundamental basis necessary for bliss and happiness. Absolutely everything around you is impermanent, even your body, and while you can be sure you will die, you can have no certainty about when, where or how. The people with whom you associate, who accompany you through this life, will all eventually lead you to pain. All your relationships are temporary. When you check into a hotel you don’t immediately think that you’ll spend eternity with the managers, maids and waiters. Your home, your friends, your ideals and values are just part of a hotel experience. Sooner or later you will have to check out and leave them all behind.”

– Dzongsar Khyentse Rinpoche

I don’t think this is a negative quote or way to look at things, although it sounds negative at first! Remembering impermanence is a good motivator for making the best of life and our time here.

Arctic, Awareness, Beauty, Culture, Dharma, Dzogchen, Indigenous, Meditation, Spirituality, Vajrayana, Yoga

Gold hidden in its matrix

“You might ask, ‟If I have Buddha nature, why can’t I perceive it right now?”
It is because, like gold hidden in its matrix, that nature is hidden by our habits that we have accumulated since beginningless time. These habits have been created by our disturbing emotions and then reinforced by the actions that those disturbances have produced.”

~ Shechen Gyaltsab
Awareness, Dharma, Dzogchen, Indigenous, Make-Up, People, Spirituality, Vajrayana, Yoga

You merge

I have been practicing vajrayana buddhist meditation for about four years. What I like about this specific style of mind training or dharma as it’s also called, is that with certain techniques you access your natural, empty alive state of being. Buddhists talk alot about emptiness, but it’s not flat, it’s luminous, like light! Anyone can do it, because it is already there. What’s known as buddhanature. You just need the techniques. And from there work with all arising phenomena of the mind. All sense perceptions. All emotions. Transforming illusions into wisdom energy. And compassion of course. We all have dark stuff in the mind. Part of the practice is to not let that scare you. But i think the more you rest and stabilize in your own buddhanature, the more simple innate qualities like beauty, creativity and spontaneity arises. And paradoxically somehow the less of you, or an “I” there is, the happier you’ll be because it’s not about you anymore. You merge.

Have a lovely weekend 📿

Dharma, Everyday life, Health, Spirituality

Sunday

The body will carry you through your whole life, however long or short it will be. It will be your boat as you cross the waters of existence, and thus we should treat it with kindness and give it the nourishment it needs to flourish. If you are stricken with illness at any age, young or old, do what you can to support the body through it. If it is chronic and not possible to cure, still; treat it with kindness and nourishment, as you would a helpless child.

Adventure, Arctic, Dharma, Everyday life, Landscape, People, Photography

Sommeren så langt

Et lite arktisk bad i Bukta 🌊☃️
Telegrafbukta
Hundekjeks!
En liten hvit valmue i misnattsol
💚🌿
Kokoslatte med vanilje ☕
Spist store mengder jordbær så langt i sommer 🍓🍓🍓
Kjøpte noen veldig fine peoner som alltid lukter helt fantastisk 🌸🌸🌸
Vært på kafé et par ganger siden lockdown har løsna litt opp igjen 😊
Første dag ute i solværet med finfolk i juni 💜
Stine 🌷
Heidrun 🌻
Heidrun og Lisa 🦋
Sole mæ ⛱
Det fine med sommeren, er jo at man kan gå i noe annet enn boblejakke ☘🙏🏼
Animals, Art, Dharma, DIY, Hair, Pets, Photography

Onsdag

Kom meg ut en tur idag i finværet 🌞 Fortsatt kaldt, men mye lysere og snøen har begynt å smelte for fullt.
Anskaffet meg en fredslilje. De er kjent for å være luftrensende. Elsker å omringe meg med planter. Håper jeg klarer å holde den i livet 😄🌿
4 små 15 x 15 cm lerret. Skal prøve å lage en liten sesongserie; et maleri av sommer, av høst, vinter og vår!
Solskinn og et ikonbilde fra Bulgaria.
Loke på sjeselongen 🐶
Art, Awareness, Dharma, DIY, Everyday life, Health, Landscape, Spirituality, Tattoo

Pro tip

Pro tip from a veteran 😸 a lot of chronically ill people have to self isolate every year, sometimes for months, myself included. Especially in flu season or during a flare up in symptoms. So, my pro tip is to find something specific to concentrate on. For me it has been art and mahayana buddhist yoga. I am not exaggerating when I say it has saved me and given me so much out of life. Also, rest a lot. Don’t feel like you have to do something all the time. No one really cares what you do with your time and energy, so make yourself comfortable in the uncertainty. 🙏🏼🍀🤓

Adventure, Art, Culture, Dharma, DIY, Everyday life, Indigenous, Jewellery, Landscape, Outfit, Pets, Photography, Sewing, Tattoo, Uncategorized, Yoga

2019 in pictures

The sun returning in January in Bukta on Tromsø island
People greeting the sun
Was in Tamokdalen to help with a photo project. Beautiful crispy day
I made my first sámi silk shawl, in gorgeous yellow/gold
And a pair of ankle wraps. Hand vowen
…Kali liked them too!
Got one new tattoo this year 🙂 Painting in the background made for my bff
Met the cutest puppy!
Look at that face…🧡
Frozen raindrops outside my window
My best friend got married in Brooklyn. Unreal and beautiful. First time in the US for me ☺
Heidrun and me. Prettiest bride 🌻
Me in my handmade coast kofte. What a day 💚💛❤
In Central Park
Time’s square
Me being a total tourist ✌
Time’s Square again. It was colourful and overwhelming 🙃🌈
New York subway
Kvaløya, beautiful as always
Whale watching.. the sky was so pink that day
Orcas
Train ride in Oslo
Little cloud
Kim Katami and me on retreat 🧘‍♀️ New Years eve 2018/2019
Wales
My lovely friend and sangha sister, Elizabeth from Louisiana. We were in Birmingham
Retreat girls
Ice skating on this lake that made the coolest sounds
Kvaløya
Kvaløya, cold day on the beach. Around 15°c
Midnight sun 🌅 Håja mountain
Gained healthy weight this year 🙌
Did a giveaway on my facebook art page with this painting, got so good feedback, made me happy 🙂
Made more of these small cute paintings
Spain. I got very tan 🙃💛
Was two days in France. Didn’t get too explore too much because of time, money and energy, but saw this lovely garden in Toulouse
And met Blueberry the donkey!
Tromsø catethedral
Autumn was very pretty, as usual 🍁
Got my hair cut at a salon for the first time in 2,5 years😍
Paviljongen in Tromsø
Autumn day in Tromsø
Loke
Anti racism event at the town square, as a response to recent violence against indigenous people
My favourite painting from this year. Inspired by the Arctic polar night
Went to quite a lot of museums and exhibitions this year
Found this cool and weird coat on flea market
Was butt naked in a commercial 😅
Made an X-files painting for a friend 🛸

I have sooo many more pictures from this year, but some of them I feel are nice to keep private 😊💛

Happy new year, everyone!✨

Art, Dharma, Outfit, Spirituality, Tattoo, Yoga

Wrathful

Absolutely adore my new tiny chest tattoo😍 It’s a buddhist phurba/kīla (wrathful sword, dagger)🌸 All of a sudden my chest feels a million times nicer, and I don’t feel as hesitant or overly self conscious to wear cleavaged tops/dresses anymore. Thought about doing it for so long, last week it happened! At Pounding That tattoo studio in Tromsø by @guillaume.arzon.tattooer (instagram) 🙏

Close up, fresh 😊

Düdjom Lingpa depicted holding a phurba in his left hand and a vajra in his right

Phurba/kīla

Crystal phurba

The kīla is one of many iconographic representations of divine “symbolic attributes” of Vajrayāna and Hindu deities. When consecrated and bound for usage, the kīla is a nirmanakaya manifestation of Vajrakīlaya.
He is embodied in the kīla as a means of destroying (in the sense of finalising and then freeing) violence, hatred, and aggression by tying them to the blade of the kīla and then transmuting them with its tip.”

Dharma, Quotes, Yoga

Being no-one, going nowhere

The way of yoga and 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 genuine kindness and generosity. 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. What a paradox. Becoming no-one, going no-where. A joyous zero, empty yet fulfilled.

Books, Dharma, Everyday life, Landscape, List, Photography

Currently…

From a rainy autumn day in the Arctic 🍃🍂🍁

Reading: Aspergirls by Rudy Simone

Watching: Shameless on Netflix. British series from early 2000s. It’s brilliant!

Listening to on Audible: The Life of the Buddha and The Bhagavad Gita

Drinking every day: Black tea with stevia and soy milk

Happy about: Becoming better at expressing my wishes and boundaries

Not so happy about: Feeling confused about my living situation

Thankful for: Having a bit more financial security for the first time in years

Adventure, Dharma, Landscape, Photography, Spirituality

Sky

When one looks toward one’s own mind –

The root of all phenomena –

There is nothing but vivid emptiness,
Nothing concrete there to be taken as real.

It is present and transparent, utter openness,
Without outside, without inside –
An all pervasiveness
Without boundary and without direction.

The wide-open expanse of the view,
The true condition of the mind,
Is like the sky, like space:
Without center, without edge, without goal.

By leaving whatever i experience
Relaxed in ease, just as it is,
I have arrived at the vast plain
That is the absolute expanse.

Dissolving into the expanse of emptiness
That has no limits and no boundary,
Everything i see, everything i hear,
My own mind, and the sky all merge.

– Shabkar

Dharma, Yoga

Magical projections


What we understand to be phenomena are but the magical projections of the mind.

The hollow vastness of the sky
I never saw to be afraid of anything.
All this is but the self-glowing light of clarity.

There is no other cause at all.
All that happens is but my adornment.
Better, then, to stay in silent meditation.

– Yeshe Tsogyal

Dharma, Everyday life, Health, List, Music, Outfit

Authenticity

Purple and green, velvet and wool.

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 🙂

  • buddhist
  • bisexual
  • polyamorous
  • autistic/atypical
  • feminist
  • artistic
  • indigenous
  • chronically ill

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! ❤

Acrylic painting, Art, Culture, Dharma, DIY, Landscape, List, People, Spirituality

My top 10 favourite painters

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

Let’s begin!

Nicholas Roerich

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)

703492
“On the heights, (Tummo)”, 1936 – As a breathing exercise, tummo (Candali in Sanskrit) is a part of tantric practice. Tummo literally means “brave female” in Tibetan.
aj
(Could not find the title for these, but I find them lovely)
milarepa-the-one-who-harkened-1925
“Milarepa – the one who harkened”, 1925 – the first painting I saw of Roerich and fell in love with.
Roerich_Panteleimon
“St. Panteleimon the Healer”, 1916
700111
(Could not find the title for this one either)
11bc22fa332e870de9ebeeb3027760d1
“Padmasambhava”, 1924 – I particularly like this one because of the colours, but also how Padmasambhava sort of sits leaning over a little mountain top looking over the meditating monk in a caring way, probably giving him some blessing, transmission or terma. I would love to have this on my wall.

Thomas Cole

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)

“Childhood”
“Youth”
“Prometheus Bound” – 1847. One of Cole’s largest oil paintings. 
In the painting, Prometheus is chained to a rock on Mount Caucasus in Scythia. Zeus has punished him for endowing humans with life, knowledge, and specifically for giving humans fire.
Could not find the title for this, but I like it because it looks like a scene from the Tolkien universe.

Amid those scenes of solitude… the mind is cast into the contemplation of eternal things.

Thomas cole

Katsushika Hokusai

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)

“Great wave off Kanawaga” – 1832
“Hokusai”
For anyone who likes Hayao Miyazaki‘s movies, I think maybe some of his creatures were inspired by this woodblock print.
“Sarumaru daiyu” – 1835

“Shore of Tago Bay, Ejiri at Tokaido” – 1842
“Inume pass in Kai Province”
In Japanese woodblock printing, the use of Prussian blue – a synthetic pigment imported from Europe – is very common. My favourite shade of blue 🙂 

John Savio

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.

Picture I took of one of his paintings at the Savio museum in Kirkenes.
“Summer” – Lithography of a Sámi man in lotus posture
“Boy and girl” – One of his most famous works, at the Saviomuseum
“Man with reindeer ox”
A painting by Savio. The inscriptioin on the frame is in German, and is thought to have been owned by the Nazis during the war. In 2005, this painting was donated in the mail to the Savio museum from a woman in Germany. Savio rarely put dates on his art.

Eva Harr

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)

“Erindring” (Recollection)
“Brev hjem” (Letter home)
“Mot blått” (Towards blue)
“Over jorden” (Above the earth)

Rob Gonsalves

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)

“The phenomenon of floating”
“White blanket”.
I think there is something very cozy and safe about this painting. I love the snow, and have many times thought what it would be like if the snow was warm – like a bed.
“Nocturnal skating”
“Union of Sea and Sky” – Acrylic on Canvas. This painting reminds me of a poster I had in my room growing up, of dolphins and other sea animals underwater.

Theodor Kittelsen

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.

Fun Fact: The Norwegian black metal band Burzum have used Kittelsen’s drawings for their albums Hvis lyset tar oss and Filosofem.

(Sources: wikipedia, google and theodorkittelsen.no)

“Far, far away, Soria Moria Palace shimmered in Gold”
“Self portrait” – 1887. I think this might be the best self portrait I’ve seen 😀 
“Nøkken as a white horse”. In legends and fairytales, Nøkken is a personalisation of what lives in the eerie unknown waters in forests. He lives in rivers, fresh water lakes and bogs, and often lures people in to drown them. One of Kittelsen’s most famous works is “Nøkken”.
“The troll who wonders how old he is”. I remember seeing this painting is school books, and absolutely falling in love with it.
“Huldra disappeared”. In legends, Huldra is a beautiful female creature who lures men into the woods, kind of like Nøkken. I love the misty feeling in this one.
“Echo” – 1888, oil on canvas. I absolutely adore this painting, inspired by Lofoten. Kittelsen regarded this as his best work.

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.

The brothers are best known for their popular The Lord of the Rings calendar illustrations, illustrating comics for Marvel Comics and DC Comics, original oil paintings for a limited edition of Terry Brooks’s The Sword of Shannara, and their Magic: The Gathering and Harry Potter illustrations for Wizards of the Coast.

(Sources: timhildebrandt.com and Wikipedia)

“An unexpected party” – Greg and Tim Hildebrandt.
A scene from Tolkien’s children’s book The Hobbit.
“Mushroom village of the elves” – Tim Hildebrandt
“Gandalf visits Bilbo” – Greg and Tim Hildebrandt
Weird looking cat-fish-creature by Tim Hildebrandt.
Tim Hildebrandt’s painting of J.R.R. Tolkien sitting under a tree with one of his own imaginary creatures.

Phil Couture

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.

Couture also has his own Instagram page.

“The scarlet fringe (Shirakawa)”
“Ichiaya”
“Hanatouro”

Thanks for reading! Who is your favourite artist?



Art, Dharma, DIY, Landscape, Spirituality

My art

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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:

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“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

Have a nice week!

Art, Dharma, Photography, Spirituality, Yoga

Clear mind, pure heart

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What buddhism and the dharma means to me

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 🙂

KalosFilter_2017-05-03-10-03-47 – Kopi

Art, Dharma, Jewellery, Yoga

Mother of compassion

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Tara 💎 ‘She who liberates’

‘She is considered to be the deity of universal compassion who represents virtuous and enlightened activity; a female bodhisattva.

The word Tara itself is derived from the root ‘tri’ (to cross), hence the implied meaning: ‘the one who enables living beings to cross the Ocean of Existence and Suffering’. Her compassion for living beings, her desire to save them from suffering, is said to be even stronger than a mother’s love for her children.

The story of Tara’s origin, according to the Tara Tantra, recounts that aeons ago she was born as a king’s daughter. A compassionate princess, she regularly gave offerings and prayers to the ordained monks and nuns. She thus developed great merit, and the monks told her that, because of her spiritual attainments, they would pray that she be reborn as a man and spread Buddhist teachings. She responded that there was no male and no female, that nothing existed in reality, and that she wished to remain in female form to serve other beings until everyone reached enlightenment, hence implying the shortfall in the monk’s knowledge in presuming only male preachers for the Buddhist religion. Thus Tara might be considered one of the earliest feminists.’

Books, Culture, Dharma, Spirituality

Books

Some books I 1) have read and loved, 2) plan to read and 3) am currently reading 🙂

1)

* Stones to Shatter the Stainless mirror: The fearless teachings of Tilopa to Naropa:

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Excerpt from the book: “…I suppose that is the secret and the point of this Vision. In every situation, there is the relative view; where there are others and a world to serve with loving-kindness, compassion and generosity. And there is also the Ultimate view; where there are no others and no world. Only the mind of clear light, manifesting in the various illusions.”

This book really hit home for me; it’s easy to read,  is filled with wisdom but also some funny parts that I could recognize from my own path. It’s written in a way that shows Naropa’s own point of view and the hardships he went through to humble himself enough to receive the teachings of Tilopa. Also, there are some direct “pointers to the moon” by Tilopa at the very end of the book.

* The Life of Milarepa

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“It presents a quest for purification and buddhahood in a single lifetime, tracing the path of a great sinner who became a great saint. It is also a powerfully evocative narrative, full of magic, miracles, suspense, and humor, while reflecting the religious and social life of medieval Tibet.

I have heard this book three times on audio, and it actually only gets better each time. The words are collected and written down by Tsangnyön Heruka (“The madman Heruka from Tsang”), and tells the story of Milarepa‘s physical and spiritual journey towards enlightenment. It’s written in quite a humorous way, I think, and has been very inspirational for me. Actually planning on hearing/reading it again very soon!

2)

* White Lotus: An explanation of the Seven Line prayer to Guru Padmasambhava

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“Mipham Rinpoche’s famous explanation of the Seven Line Prayer to Guru Rinpoche. In this remarkable text the author explains the Seven Line Prayer in the context and application of the main practices of the Nyingma school, including Trekchö and Tögal in an exceptionally clear and accessible manner. ”

Actually found this book as a free pdf file HERE!

* Lady of the Lotus-born: The life and Enlightenment of Yeshe Tsogyal

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“This classical text is not only a biography but also an inspiring example of how the Buddha’s teaching can be put into practice. Lady of the Lotus-Born interweaves profound Buddhist teachings with a colorful narrative that includes episodes of adventure, court intrigue, and personal searching.”

I ordered this book from Amazon about a week ago; patiently waiting for it to drop into my mail box! I have been fascinated by, and feel very close to, Yeshe Tsogyal for the last 6 months or so, so am very excited to start reading this book. I normally order books to my Kindle app, but there is something very nice about having the book physically in your hands too 🙂 Especially if you are in a coffee shop reading, which I often do.

* Sky Dancer: The secret life and songs of the Lady Yeshe Tsogyal

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Another book on Yeshe Tsogyal. Not much on this book when I google it, but still seems worth reading and easy to order for my Kindle app. The cover shows a picture of Vajrayogini/Naljorma – one of Yeshe Tsogyal’s aspects.

* The Life of Longchenpa: The Omniscient Dharma King of the Vast Expanse

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“Compiled from numerous Tibetan and Bhutanese sources, including Longchenpa’s autobiography and stories of his previous lives and subsequent rebirths, The Life of Longchenpa weaves an inspiring and captivating tale of wonder and magic, of extraordinary visions and spiritual insight, set in the kingdoms of fourteenth-century Tibet and Bhutan. It also reveals for the first time fascinating details of his ten years of self-exile in Bhutan, stories that were unknown to his Tibetan biographers.”

Since I loved The Life of Milarepa so much, I have been looking for more biographies on spiritual teachers to read, and stumbled upon this one on Longchenpa, a teacher from the Nyingma lineage. These kinds of biographies seems to be very inspiring and motivational for my own path, and I just generally enjoy reading about other people’s path, and the way they deal with hardships and challenges. Still have not ordered this one, but it’s on my list!

3)

* The Heart of Compassion: The thirty seven verses on the Practice of a Bodhisattva

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“What would be the practical implications of caring more about others than about yourself? This is the radical theme of this extraordinary set of instructions, a training manual composed in the fourteenth century by the Buddhist hermit Ngulchu Thogme, here explained in detail by one of the great Tibetan Buddhist masters of the twentieth century, Dilgo Khyentse.

Only just started on this one, think I am on page 4. I have been meaning to read Dilgo Khyentse’s autobiography Brilliant Moon for some time, but then I stumbled upon this book instead and will finish this before I start on the other. Dilgo Khyentse is by far one of the most inspirational buddhist teachers I know of, so looking forward to see if I like this text.

* Wild Ivy: The spiritual autobiography of Zen Master Hakuin

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“Hakuin Zenji (1689-1769) is a towering figure in Japanese Zen. A fiery and dynamic teacher and renowned artist, he reformed the Zen Rinzai tradition, which had fallen into stagnation and decline in his time, revitalizing it and ensuring its survival even to our own day. Hakuin emphasized the importance of zazen, or sitting meditation, and is also known for his skillful use of koans as a means to insight.”

I am, unfortunately, a very slow reader and have spent a few months on this book, but I really do like it and plan on finishing it. It’s filled with personal accounts of Hakuin and also some lovely calligraphy paintings.

* More than Two: A practical guide to ethical polyamory

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As the title implies, this is a book about polyamory. As a person who is relatively new to this kind of relationship structure, I thought I could use some pointers. Only read the introduction so far, but it seems promising.

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If you have any books to recommend, please do not hesitate to comment or link it to me 😀