Arctic, Awareness, Beauty, Culture, Dharma, Dzogchen, Everyday life, Self portrait, Uralic, Vajrayana, Yoga

A shift in attention

“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!

Arctic, Beauty, Buddhism, Dharma, Everyday life, Landscape, People, Photography, Saami, Sámi, Sápmi, Self portrait, Tromsø, Uncategorized, Uralic, Vajrayana, Yoga

Namo Isha Ja – Guided meditation

A heart opening guided meditation session led by Kim Rinpoche.

October night sky a few weeks ago 💙🍂

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.

Adventure, Arctic, Beauty, Buddhism, Dharma, Everyday life, Indigenous, Landscape, People, Photography, Saami, Sápmi, Self portrait, Tromsø, Yoga

21 photos from my summer

Håja and Hillesøy
Håja mountain. We drove up and got the best view ever. Very happy with this photo!
Arctic July.
More furry neighbours.
Rainy summer day.
Ilo, a cute little dog we met at Reinøya.

Early morning at Reinøya.
Seal at Reinøya.
Summer swim.. Me and my boyfriend’s mother. 8-9°c!
Tromsø centrum, the pavillion.
At the Arctic-Alpine Botanical garden in Tromsø.
Blue Himalayan poppies. 💙 In the World’s Northernmost botanical garden.
So many beautiful colours and shapes.
Midsummer, 23rd of June.
Tiny Arctic dolphins.
Sunlight over Lyngsalpan.
Rainy evening at Spåkenes.
Kali 💚🖤
Picked a small bouquet.

“I love the Arctic summer, it’s the best day of the year!” Short but sweet. How was your summer?

Awareness, Buddhism, Culture, Dharma, Dzogchen, Everyday life, Quotes, Spirituality, Vajrayana, Yoga

What is Samsara? by Kim Rinpoche

Photo from Sommarøy earlier this 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

Adventure, Animals, Arctic, Dharma, Dzogchen, Everyday life, Finnmark, People, Photography, Quotes, Saami, Sámi, Sápmi, Self portrait, Uralic

An open heart is the best medicine

“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

Arctic, Awareness, Beauty, Everyday life, Landscape, Photography, Sápmi

The same stillness that exists in nature, exists in you

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.

Arctic, Art, Beauty, Duodji, Everyday life, Finnmark, Heritage, Indigenous, People, Saami, Sámi, Sápmi, Uralic

Our true nature

Our sweet little boy 🖤 My wool sweater knitted by grandma.

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! 🥰

Art by Germaine Arnaktauyok, “Quiet Time”, 2005
Art by Mayoreak Ashoona, “Matching braids”, 1991
Art by Emily Kewageshig
Art by Alanah Jewell

How has motherhood changed you? Has it opened your heart (more)?

Acrylic painting, Arctic, Art, Awareness, DIY, Everyday life, Health, Landscape, Meditation, Yoga

How to relax

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.

Acrylic on canvas, gift for a friend 💙
Art, DIY, Duodji, Everyday life, Heritage, Indigenous, Pregnancy, Sámi, Self portrait

Traditional Sámi bracelet

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?

Dharma, Dzogchen, Everyday life, Indigenous, Sámi, Spirituality, Vajrayana, Yoga

«Dark Night: What All Meditators Need to Know»

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. 📿

Adventure, Arctic, Beauty, Everyday life, Health, Landscape, People, Photography, Pregnancy, Sámi, Sápmi

An eventful, colourful January

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?

Arctic, Everyday life, Landscape, Photography, Poems, Sápmi

Ei strime av lys over tindan

“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’ 🤓

Arctic, Art, Beauty, DIY, Everyday life, Hair, Indigenous, Landscape, Outfit, People, Photography, Saami, Sámi, Sápmi

November

November birthday girl 🌟 My good friend Katharina turned 27 🌟
Made my day few weeks ago. Had my last ultrasound, and the midwife gave me the green light to drink coffee again, being at the end of my pregnancy. So we went to the local coffeebar Risø and they made me this amazing piece of mocca art 😁🤰☕ #allthesmallthings
Adventure, Arctic, Everyday life, Landscape, People, Photography, Poems, Saami, Sámi, Sápmi

Away, away..

Senja island. The pointy peak is Segla. Hiked it once, amazing view. Apologies for grainy mobile shot, it doesn’t do it justice.
I love driving. One of my happy places, for sure.

“Away, away,—to the mountains away,
Where the pine trees murmur and sway,
And the foamy waterfalls sing and spring
Over the boulders gray.

Hills—
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”

Unknown

Arctic, Beauty, Everyday life, Hair, Health, Indigenous, Landscape, Saami, Sámi, Sápmi, Uralic

Snart november

Fant meg en fin plass i fjæra til å meditere samt se på fargespillet på himmelen som alltid skjer nært mørketida.
Alle bildene er tatt med mobilen, så beklager kvaliteten 🙈
Frost 🍂
Pastellhimmel.
Regnbuefarger.
Kaldere vær betyr store jakker og ullsjal ❤ Er ikke så mange jakker som passer over magen lenger 😄🤰 Månedene flyr forbi, er allerede i siste trimester 💜🌌

Hvordan takler/liker du mørketida?

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

Traditional 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. 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.❤

Arctic, Art, DIY, Everyday life, Jewellery

Mandag

Ramma inn dette bladet jeg malte for litt siden 🍁🎨
Plantene mine ☺
Kunst.
Gjorde en giveaway i påska, her er det lille maleriet mitt (til høyre) i sitt nye hjem ☺
Fikk en fin håndlagd gave!✨
Dagboka mi 🦄 Elsker å skrive og føler det hjelper mye å få ting ned på papir. Også er det er pluss om den er søt.
Adventure, Art, Everyday life, Landscape, Photography

Ask the mountains – blog upgrade, new domain

Me and my little racer car, Laura.
Grøtfjord beach.

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.

Everyday life, Landscape, People, Photography

Spring in Tromsø, part 2

Hair dresser. Norwegian and sámi road signs.
People sitting at Solid café.
Bastard bar and Huken pub.
Taxidermy wolf with the cathedral in the reflection.
Shop window.
Sticker in window for a sámi publishing company.
The candy shop
Running girls statue by Italian artist.
Hampen.
Melting snow.
Skansen.
“One day everyone will die, every other day we will not.”
New restaurant by the bridge.
All the dry shampoo.
Utepils
Rakettkiosken.
“Alt blir bra” – “Everything will be okay”.