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 an anxious and worried person, so I feel I had to learn this in order to simply have a better life with more control. I also struggle with stuttering/stammering. 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 💙
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?

Acrylic painting, Adventure, Arctic, Art, Chronic illness, DIY, Health, Landscape, Neurological, Photography, Sámi, Sápmi, Shop

First painting of the year finished

First painting of the year finished!🌟🌟🌟

Visited the beach in Sandvika twice in oct and nov before polar night; once to take the photograph and once to try and paint outdoors, but it started raining so finished it finally now in the first day of January 😁

Acrylic on canvas, 30 x 24 cm 🌅
Colours used: blue, yellow, orange, purple, gold and white. Varnished with waterproof UV protection spray.

For sale: 1400,- nok ⚡
Half of that sum (700,- nok) goes straight to the Open Medicine Foundation and their work for biological research into neurological illness myalgic encephalomyelitis.

Adventure, Arctic, Awareness, Chronic illness, DIY, Everyday life, Health, Heritage, Indigenous, Jewellery, People, Photography, Pregnancy, Sámi, Sápmi, Tromsø, Uralic

A few personal thoughts before giving birth for the first time

Each day is getting closer to meeting our son. With the corona situation, we have been unfortunate in not getting the help and support we needed from the beginning, but as the birth is right around the corner, we have finally found a midwife that we can call and ask questions any time. We even got a little “tour” of the delivery room, which helped a lot. Getting a visual of where it will all happen and my options on how to deliver him. I have decided on a waterbirth (which I had no idea was an option here!), but plans may change of course.

My health has declined quite a lot the last 2-3 weeks. The neurological symptoms and the extra weight (+23 kg) has been heavy in all the meanings of the word. Here on Christmas eve celebration the 24th with our family dog Loke 🎄🎁 Notice my awesome socks! 🎅
My necklace 😊 Got baby’s name engraved on the back!

I am excited to say I am looking forward to meeting him more than I am scared now (which has been the main feeling until recently), and to witness the incredible innate power the female body posesses of giving life to another being. It’s quite amazing; my body has just grown this new human on its own, and I have done nothing actively to make him grow. I have just been fortunate to be his home for all this time, and feeling both proud and nervous to “share” him with the world.

My thoughts are the same regarding the birth itself. Body will know how to birth him with the help of contractions and surges – or waves as I like to see them 🌊🌊🌊 I cannot think of a more natural thing than birthing. I imagine it will be beyond any physical pain I have ever experienced. And I do expect both tearing and other issues. But I also imagine it will be the most empowering experience I can have as a woman, as the hormones and biology takes over, and I get to be right in the eye of that storm and join the millions and billions of mothers who have given birth before me. “All” I have to do is stay present and breathe into every sensation. Body will know what to do. It was literally built for this to happen.

Art by unknown. Please let me know if you do!

I recently learned about the Ferguson reflex (also known as the foetal ejection reflex), which is:

“The neuroendocrine reflex comprising the self-sustaining cycle of uterine contractions initiated by pressure at the cervix or vaginal walls. It is an example of positive feedback in biology. The Ferguson reflex occurs in mammals.

Upon application of pressure to the internal end of the cervix, oxytocin is released (therefore increase in contractile proteins), which stimulates uterine contractions, which in turn increases pressure on the cervix (thereby increasing oxytocin release, etc.), until the baby is delivered.”

It’s great to know about this innate reflex. It works almost like a vomiting reflex, ejecting baby out. So, in any case, baby will come out one way or another, no matter the approach I choose. It is and has been a bit like navigating a jungle trying to find out how I wish to do my own personal pregnancy, and it will be a challenge to go with the flow during delivery.

I have been very adamant that I will use and need an epidural, if being in water will not work for me. I think it would be of great help to deal with the pain. But the downsides of this drug is bugging me a lot lately. It will make me quite immobile, have me on my back working against gravity and I will need a midwife/nurse to tell when to push. Which will also increase my risk of tearing as I will not feel anything. Being upright in a squatting position makes more sense to me, and it will maybe make it easier for him to find his way out. But again, we will see when the day comes! 🙂 One thing is for certain though, I want to try the gas and air (nitrous oxide) they offer 😄✌🏻

Have you given birth? What was your experience, and would you do it again?

Awareness, Health, Neurodiversity, Neurological

Stuttering and how it affects me

“Stuttering or stammering, in its simplest form, is any disruption to speech fluency. This could be repetitions, prolongations, or blocks and may occur anywhere in the word or phrase. Nerves or anxiety does not cause stuttering. Stuttering is a neurophysiological disorder. Oftentimes, it is the stuttering that causes anxiety.”

“Stuttering is believed to occur due to dysfunctional blood flow in certain areas of the brain.”

How stuttering has manifested for me:

Blockages; going mute. Also known as stutter blocks. I’ll know exactly what I want to say, but I physically cannot get the words out. They are stuck in my chest, head or throat/jaw. This has made it quite hard to communicate a lot of the time, and to make friends or be social in general. I often rehearse sentences in my head, and get overjoyed if I manage to say it out loud with fluency. This takes a lot of effort, and is why I prefer writing or any other form of communication. I also struggle some with phone calls.

The blocks makes me say “Uummm” a lot too, to kind of fill in the time because I really want to get the next word out, which is quite stressful. I do fear it makes me sound dumb or slow, and it does kill my confidence, especially if I am with people I want to talk a lot with or I know I have a lot to say on the topic we are discussing. I usually have no problem talking to animals, close old friends, chant buddhist mantras or in certain situations where I don’t feel a pressure to say anything. But those situations are rare, and I would love to learn how to “unblock” my speech, which is why I am doing speech therapy too,

Do you have a speech problem, and/or something similar? Let me know how you deal with it.

Thank for reading

Monica xx

Skulsfjord, 2019
Arctic, Culture, DIY, Everyday life, Food, Health, Heritage, Indigenous, Knitting, Outfit, People, Photography, Pregnancy, Saami, Sámi, Sápmi

Vinterbaby, part 2

Gleder meg ihjel til å kle mini-me’en i de gamle klærne ho bestemor laga til oss da vi var små ❤ Mine gamle lobber i grå og blå.
Fikk et nydelig marinoullpledd fra mamma og søster. Samt andre babyting med dyretema fra venninner 🙌🏻 Selen kjøpte jeg helt ærlig til meg selv 😅 Kjempemyk og søt!
Kan brukes som pute og sofapynt 😄 Kan hende beiben får låne den 😉
Viktig å spille litt musikk for han 😁🎧
Har også brukt en del tid på å se gjennom gamle baby -og barnebilder av meg selv og min barndom. Det er kanskje sånn som skjer automatisk når man er gravid 😄❄ Blir nok ikke å legge ut noen bilder offentlig av podden, men gøy å dele tiden fram til han kommer ☺
Ble overraska av de beste jentene jeg vet om med babyshower 💎 Helt fantastisk.. de greide til og med å lure meg! En av de desidert største høydepunktene i 2020. Tusen takk! Tenk å ha slike venner.
De hadde til og med laga bleiekake – helt selv fra scratch. Med lamabamse 🤩
Må også dele bilde fra noen uker siden da jeg fant ut at antrekket mitt ligna litt for mye på en viss kar 🙄
Min største gravid-craving så langt 🥝
Ikke så mange uker igjen nå, syns ukene og månedene har gått ekstremt fort. Kommer til å savne å se ut som mummitrollet 😛
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?

Adventure, Arctic, DIY, Everyday life, Health, Indigenous, Outfit, People, Photography, Saami, Sápmi, Uralic

Vinterbaby, part 1

Fikk endelig “møte” den lille som kommer tidlig neste år 👼
💜
Søte samiske tøfler jeg kjøpte for litt over to år siden i Kirkenes 😊
Håndstrikket av den kommende farmor 🌹
En vintage brukt sparkedress fra Etsy
Masse fint brukt og gratis
Dundress til vinterbabyen☃️ samt liten lue og genser også kjøpt for noen år siden! Fant også en billig bra sutt på ‘Normal’ i naturgummi. 💛

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. 🙏🏼🍀🤓

Everyday life, Health, List, Quotes, Relationship

Currently…

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 🙂

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! ❤