The Winter is stubborn this year, not allowing Spring to enter just yet. I don’t really mind, but also looking forward to green fields, bird song, less layers of clothing and mountain streams. Hope everyone has a great Spring, wherever you are! 🤍 All photos are taken in Arctic Troms.
Today, we celebrated the Sámi National Day, Feb 6th. Sámis make up 0,7% of Norway’s population, but 70% of the usage of colours 😅❤💛💙💚
I have Kven/Finnish, Norwegian and Sámi heritage, and choose to celebrate what I can while I can. Life is shockingly short. I am deeply thankful for my connection to nature and my own heart, and wish you all the best 2022 possible.
May all beings be free ✨
December went by fast, only a week left of 2021. Today is Christmas eve, and we get to celebrate it with fresh snow, but most importantly; with our son, whose first Christmas it is. Wishing you all a peaceful and magical time, with lots of rest and good meals. Xx
Feeling the Sunday blues today, and felt like sharing some thoughts I have had for some time now. I hope I manage to articulate myself in a good manner, and hoping to hear others’ view on this as well 🙂
I feel it is so important to have a sense of community and identity. A tribe of sorts. In fact, we all did up until very, very recently. You could even tell what area or region people were from by their clothing. The way they proudly wore their identity and sense of community. It is so rare nowadays that tourists will literally pay thousands to witness authentic indigenous way of life.
It sounds silly, but I miss that. I have never had it, but I miss it. I miss traditional everyday dresses and stronger traditions. I miss women being more supported with raising children by their community. Not feeling alone in our experience. We are not supposed to raise kids alone. We are not supposed to not work together and to not rely on each other. When we don’t have that community around us, we get consumed by loneliness and loss of purpose. Just think about how wonderful it feels to have a good friend or a family member who truly cares. We are utterly dependent on our safety net.
The globalisation we see today has come at a great cost. Every month, the world loses indigenous languages. Every week, less natural surroundings and every day people feel more cut off from each other, and Mother Earth. Where will we end up? Even our diets are globalised, getting adviced to eat the same here in the European Arctic as they do in warm climates. That is not sustainable. That is not what have been practiced for thousands of generations, and what our bodies are used to.
I do not wish to naively say that all things were better before, because I do not believe that they were. I do, however, think we have lost something very precious along the way, at least in my part of the world. People who wish to reclaim their sense of community and identity sometimes even feel like a fraud or a fool for ‘taking back’ something they never personally had.
I believe that the trauma experienced by virtually all humans today by having our way of life so dramatically changed in such a short timespan, needs great healing. And only we can do that job ourselves; in our own hearts and minds.
Thank you for reading, may all beings be free and happy ❤ May communities heal and may we take better care of the planet 🌎
“Regardless of the emotion being experienced — be it desire, anger, pride, jealousy, envy, greed, or whatever — what is really going on is a shift in attention. The mind is expressing itself in a different way. Nothing implicitly requires one to presume that this emotion has any reality in and of itself… It is just that the mind is expressing itself in a different way than it was a moment ago.” – Kalu Rinpoche
Photos from late autumn when it was still a bit warm. Woke up today to the first snowfall of the year!
A heart opening guided meditation session led by Kim Rinpoche.
If we know our hearts and our own natural state, we will also simultaneously know how to love and care. Not only for others but for ourselves and our difficult emotions. Life is so full of difficult emotions, as we know. Compassion and forgiveness is always with you, like a silent friend.
Thank you for reading and still following my blog. It is most appreciated. My posts are very sporadic, as time flies by with the new baby. Long days but short weeks. Not enough hours to get it all done, and not enough hours to just enjoy him – this new little person that runs our lives now. Motherhood is equally hard as it is wonderful. I hope to get more painting and other artsy projects into my days again.
“I love the Arctic summer, it’s the best day of the year!” Short but sweet. How was your summer?
“What is Samsara?
According to buddhism, this world is a samsaric world and the minds of sentient beings are samsaric minds. What does this mean? Samsara means being stuck in a repeated loop of confusion. In this repeated loop we keep making misassessments and misjudgements because we see all things in a distorted way. Being deluded and confused means that our perception of the world, ourselves and others is corrupted. Because our mind interferes with direct experience of anything faster than a blink of an eye, is the reason why there is vast confusion and conflict in this world. No matter how hard we try, samsaric beings cannot avoid thinking and feeling in distorted ways, and this makes this world a world of pain and suffering, when potentially it could be a paradise.
From morning until night we keep thinking about “I” or “me”. We perceive the things of the world and other people in terms of me and other, or me and something else. Every single day we have strong opinions even about small petty things. Every day we have high hopes and expectations about things and then we get disappointed, frustrated and angry when things don’t go like we hoped. We are simply unable to not think in this way.
Just like the arteries of the physical body get calcified over time due to bad diet and lack of exercise, so does our mind get fixated and habituated around the compulsory notion of me. This makes us small and miserable. It makes us bitter, angry, deluded and dirty. The thought of me-ness literally steals our life from us.
You can go ahead and say to yourself, “I, I, I” or “me, me, me”, a number of times. Say it in a way as if you were a bit angry about something, like you were earlier today or yesterday. Say, “me, me, me, me” with a frustrated tone, then stop and see how it makes you feel. This is not difficult.
Through this simple thought affirmation, you will feel different sensations in the body and mind. You’ll feel that your energy contracts as if you suddenly became smaller or tighter. It feels as if a loose knot was made tighter. You might feel that your belly gets tense, heart area becomes anxious or you might feel a tight band around your head. Pardon my language but this affirmation makes you feel like shit.
But wait a second… What did we do again? We only said “me” or “I” to ourselves… This is the same I-thought that we keep thinking and saying aloud every day, and it makes us feel awful. That it makes us feel awful is exactly what we need to discover.
We go around in circles and see the world in a distorted way because we are habitually centered around this thought – me. It affects everything at all times. It makes us feel small and constricted during the day and it creates weird dreams and nightmares during the night. Just like it is important to discover that the I-thought makes us feel like shit it is as important to realise that all thoughts, including the I-thought are transitory, impermanent. This means that all thoughts come and go, and do not stay, and yet we give so much meaning to them.
In samsaric mind, thoughts and thought associations define us and this creates havoc and destruction in our lives. This is psychological habituation that can be entirely removed.
Read more about the Two-Part Formula here.
Thank you for reading,
-Kim, 8/2021″ by Kim Rinpoche, Finnish dharma teacher
“Practice being here until ‘now’ disappears. Dwell nowhere. Be beneficial to others, and you will lack nothing. Flash open your heart. Be a child of wonder, playing with generosity. Floating in a sea of billions of universes, whatever that is, “That” is all we are. It is as much out there, as it is in here. How amazing. Trade in all your wrongs, injustices, hurts, and fears for mercy, hope, compassion, and kindness. An open heart is the best medicine, open it a little more with every breath. Be like a little kid, running with Wonder, “What is this?” – words by Tilopa, the mahasiddha.
Photo from way back when. I used to love horses but now I must admit being a bit scared of them 😄🙈
How is your spring going?🌻 Myself, I am very busy with the new mama life. Barely time to write this post 😄🙏🏻 It’s hard, wonderful and all worth it.
Will be back with more photographies and updates soon. xx Monica
Allow yourself to be yourself. Close your eyes and feel the stable mountain-like presence of your own being. Indestructable, isn’t it? Your own light, your own intuition. Keep returning to yourself. To home, to where you are safe and where you belong. The same stillness that exists in nature, exists in you. There is no seperation, and it cannot be taken away or destroyed. Allow yourself to come home, over and over, until there is no doubt. xx Monica
A few snowy peaks shots from beginning of May. Spring is here! Camera used: Panasonic Lumix.
Being a mama has really opened my heart, not just for our child, but for all children. I have always loved the little new humans obviously, but being a parent takes it to another level somehow. Truly an automatic bodhicitta practice; infinite love and boundless compassion – our true nature.
Here are some beautiful motherhood art pieces I really like. Hope you enjoy them as much as I do! 🥰
How has motherhood changed you? Has it opened your heart (more)?
For the past 11 years or so, I have been teaching myself how to relax and be calm.
I have always been quite a worried person, so I feel I had to learn this in order to simply have a better life with more control. I still sometimes forget how to, but each time I remember, I do the following:
An easy quick way to instantly relax the mind and muscles, causing bloodflow to spread more evenly in the body, is to do three things simultanously: relax the jaw and eyes completely, breathe deeply into belly for at least 8 breaths and move the inner gaze/attention to the feet or ground below. Get a sense of the Earth. Notice the effect.
Another way, if you have the oppotunity, is to lay down flat, do the same with jaw and eyes, and to focus on the in and out breaths in the belly. Take deep slow breaths. Imagine them as waves ebbing on the shore.
And lastly, going into nature of course has a calming effect too, even just for 10 minutes. If you cannot go outside, perhaps painting or drawing nature is an idea.
Hope this helps! I truly believe knowing how to relax and calm our selves is an important skill. Getting carried away by the storm can be both painful and result in regrets.
God påske 🐣
Was so lucky to receive this traditional Sámi bracelet from my partner’s mum as a gift “for giving her the greatest gift” (our son, her grandson) 🖤
It is made from black leather, reindeer antler button and decoration, and the braids are traditional tinwire used in duodji/daidda. It is made by @tinntraadfruen on instagram if you want to see her work 💫
What was a gift you received that had a nice meaning behind it?
How do you find peace in midst of chaos? I like to go into nature, it never fails us. Especially in the cold there is crisp silence and aliveness.
Excellent talk/discussion on the topic of “dark nights”. Very nice to know how to handle, especially if you are a yoga/meditation practitioner or just prone to experience them, and how to get out of it. (Trigger warning: anxiety, depression, negative mind states).
I think it’s great when spiritual teachers talk openly about these matters. Many meditators get into spiritual practice because they want answers to their discontentment with life, to get happy. And often with practice we will hit spots in our minds that makes waves into daily life, for example if you have anxiety, it can momentarily get amplified when it is uncovered with practice. So it’s good to know that the goal is not to bypass all our problems, but to face them and to “cut through” them so that our natural state gets revealed. Over and over until all karmas are erased ❤
The buddhist path was never about feeling good and calm all the time, but to unravel and reveal our true selves, our buddha nature, to understand ourself and how the mind works. 📿
It’s the last day of a very eventful January, and I am spending it curled up on our big sleeping couch with our newborn baby boy who is about 2 weeks old now, in his little baby nest and my partner who is sitting on the other end writing away on the computer. Outside, it’s already dark again. Polar night is officially over here but I have not seen the Sun yet. I am not outside so much, hardly at all as all time and energy is spent adjusting and taking care of this new amazing creation. I did however manage our first little walk with the pram!
Life is new and different and surreal as parents. Giving birth was intense and hard work, and unfortunately not how I envisioned, but nontheless a very powerful experience. A rite of passage of sorts.. At one point during delivery I felt like I connected with all other Mothers giving birth naturally, experiencing the same pain at the exact same time. When he was born, there was an incredible silence and love that I have not experienced before 🤱🏻
January is also my birthday month, and this year I celebrated at home with my little family and my friend Katharina. 29; last year in my twenties, first year as a mama! 🎉✨
How was your January?
“No sløkkes en dag som så vidt rakk å gråne
og vise fram landet ei skjømmingsblå stund
og gjømt attom fjellan i aust står en måne
som snart skal strø sølv over fjorda og sund.
I sør ligg ei strime av lys over tindan
der dagen blør ut før han slokne førr godt
og vi står igjen med oss sjøl og med minnan
i mørketidslyset der allting blir blått.
Så kom og vær nær meg – vær sol i desember
når midtvinterstanka tar rom i mitt sinn
førr året må føle sin kurs og kalender
og stian blir tungtrødd når lyset førsvinn.
Men hold meg i handa og lær meg å vente
på solkvervingstimen då allting skal snu.
I mørketidslyset e varme å hente
førr den som har mot tel å trosse og tru.
Ja, streif mine strenga og løys i meg tonen
tel landet som kvile ved midtvinterstid
la mørketids-tankan og haust-depresjonen
få vike førr strofe av blå poesi.
Vi leve med rest av en sommar i minne
i lengting mot daga vi ikkje har fått
men kjem du meg nær skal vi solvarmen finne
i mørketidslyset der allting blir blått.” – Helge Stangnes 💙💛🧡
Litt mørketidspoesi nu når sola ‘har snudd’ 🤓
Wishing you all a peaceful Christmas ✨
“Away, away,—to the mountains away,
Where the pine trees murmur and sway,
And the foamy waterfalls sing and spring
Over the boulders gray.
Blue and green hills, near and far,
The farther they lie, the better they are.
The near ones I can climb and see
But the beautiful far ones call to me”
Some beautiful autumn colours from october 🍂📸 Had my coffee outside that day ☕
Photos taken with Panasonic lumix camera
Come see my little exhibition of 13 paintings at Magic Ice Tromsø ❄ Most paintings are for sale 🙏🏻 They also have the cosiest tiny coffee place there, an impressive ice sculpture gallery by Lithuanian artists and a cocktail bar – all ice, even the glasses ☃️🥂🌌
Hvordan takler/liker du mørketida?
Liker å pynte stua med egne maleri 💙🧡💛💜 #myart
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. 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.❤
Had some gorgeous light today, perfect for some photography and filming 😉 #staytuned
Lowcarb chocolate muffins (from one of those easy to make packages) 😋🙌🏼 Also, look at the beautiful Latvian cup coasters of traditional woven belts 😁 they make me smile. And remind me to maybe do some more weaving myself 🤷🏻♀️
Some phone snaps from these last two september days 🍁🍂🗻 Gotta start bringing my camera when I leave the house more 🙌🏼
Hadde en helt plutselig solfylt høstdag for cirka en uke siden. Våkna opp uten migrene i tillegg! Så da ble det en gåtur i finværet. Tok noen bilder med mobilen. Tror det var nærmere 20°c den dagen, det er jo tropisk her nord 😁🙏🏼
20°c degrees start to september 🍂🍁 Glad I got to enjoy the weather 🙏🏼
Sommeren er på hell, og jeg ser tilbake på en begivenhetsrik sommer, til tross for at jeg har vært mest hjemme. Vært heldig med været i juli, nå er det august og kveldene er mørke igjen, midnattssola er borte og det er på tide på finne frem stearinlysene.
Happy to be back to painting since rearranging the flat. It’s been a mess for months, but now it’s starting to look and feel much better and I got my work/painting/crafts station back!🙌🏻🎨🌼
Midnight sun padling and camping with my lovely childhood friend Heidrun at Sandviksletta, Sommarøy, Troms, previously this summer 🌅
Tenker at maleri er små vindu til andre verdener 🎨
Begge disse maleriene var gaver 🎁
Just updated my domain and header. All in all, still the same blog with same content; art, photography, occasional personal thoughts and ideas, adventures, health related stuff and maybe some tantra/dharma. The name Ask the mountains comes from my favourite song by greek artist Vangelis and swedish singer Stina Nordenstam.
Some snaps from NYC from last april 🌇🗽 First and only time I have been to the US.
Ever changing light on this beach 🌅📸
Whatever your struggles are, whether you share them with others, online or in private, or keep it all to yourself, know that healing, aliveness and beauty can always, always be found, as it is already in you and in nature around us 🧡🌅
Skulsfjord, a very nice scenic 40 minute drive from my fjord. Went there with a friend in the polar night this january 💙🏔
I have sooo many more pictures from this year, but some of them I feel are nice to keep private 😊💛
Happy new year, everyone!✨
Fikk lyst å dele noen bilder av den fineste monsen jeg noensinne har bodd med. Snakk om go’gutt med personlighet. Var så heldig å ha han i tre år før han dessverre ble påkjørt. Stort savn.
Reading: Nothing actually.. I loaned a bunch of book at the library, but I think maybe borrowing/buying books is an entirely different hobby than actually reading them!
Watching: Random nature documentaries mostly..:)
Listening to on Audible: A wizard of Earthsea by Ursula Le Guin (got it recommended by a friend on Facebook)
Drinking every day: Coffee. And more coffee 😀 (should drink more water..)
Happy about: Made new friends lately, and also understanding my own “language” better, how I think and relate to the world around me.
Not so happy about: Being in constant physical pain, so much that I cannot function properly. And I struggle expressing how bad it actually is, because it doesn’t show from the outside. My back, neck, face and head is so painful, that painkillers aren’t working anymore, and I am at a loss what to do.
Thankful for: People who love me. Cliché but true 🙂
Go towards the people that see you for who you truly are, in all your colours. For your badass kindness and fierce compassion. How we treat others reaches far beyond outer beauty and appearances; touching someone elses’ heart and helping them feel free and loved unconditionally is a gift that will never stop giving.
Hope everyone had a great summer 🌷
Noen bilder fra en utendørsutstilling jeg hadde på Klimakunstfestivalen i begynnelsen av juni i Tromsø.
“Du vet når en tulipan henger med huet, og så trøkker man den inn blant de andre for at den skal stå oppreist… Et sånt samfunn vil jeg ha.” 🧡🌷💐
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
Some phone photos with simple edit 💚
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 🙂
- 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! ❤
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
– Trygve Hoff
Foto av Susanne Pedersen 🙏
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 🙂
Cave, rock and tunnel exploration in Laksvatn, down by the sea. Autumn is really here, the colors speak for themselves 🙂
Hallo der nede! 👋 Foto fra flytur over Norge et sted 🌏 Blir aldri lei av å se fjell, og det er ikke ofte jeg får sett de fra denne vinkelen. Fy søren, så fint!⛰
Påska har så langt vært ganske chill for min del, har stort sett vært hjemme å slappa av, lada opp. Spist godteri. Tatt tvangs-selfies med kattene. Prøvd meg på litt hjernetrim i form av kryssord. Blitt sint fordi jeg ikke er noe flink på kryssord. Drukket litt for mye kaffe, og hørt veldig mye på Lord Huron. Legger ved en fin sang av dem! Ser ikke ut til at det blir så mye skitur eller sol i år, da vi har snødd ned her oppi nord, men håper alle har en nydelig påske læll ❤
Litt bilder fra de siste ukene. Ramfjord, Ersfjord, Storelva og Lyfjord 🙂 Jeg har til og med vært på skitur; tre ganger! For første gang på fem år. Selv om det tar all energien jeg har, og krever mye planlegging både før og etter, så føles det verdt det å komme seg ut og bruke kroppen. Jeg elsker jo å være utendørs, skulle virkelig ønske jeg kunne gjøre slike ting oftere, ja – faen heller, hele tiden! Springe på fjellet, gå lange skiturer, klatre på berg og i trær..:) Naturen, ass.
Januar er favorittmåneden. Dagene blir fort lysere, og sola “kommer tilbake”. Alt ser friskt og nytt ut når det er så mye snø, og selv om det er veldig kaldt, fins det varme rundt meg. I folks hjem, i bilen, fra stearinlys, i musikk, fra dyr, i relasjoner, under dyna. Ja, også har jeg bursdag i januar. Det er alltid stas 🙂