Adventure, Animals, Arctic, Awareness, Beauty, Buddhism, Dharma, Dzogchen, Everyday life, Film, Health, Heritage, Indigenous, Landscape, People, Photography, Saami, Uralic, Vajrayana, Yoga

November in photos

The sky is always so colourful right before polarnight sets in
Early in November
An important topic and film (“The silence in Sápmi”) Saw it in the cinema, I think it will be put online later.
Made some Christmas decor with our son ❤️
From high up! Propeller plane ride from Arctic to Southern Finland ❄️🤍🌌
His third plane ride, and he isn’t even two!
Amrita Mandala yoga retreat
20+ people in person and online, practising yoga-dharma together for 4 days.
In Porvoo
Me doing Dzogchen Metta practice with Jenna ✨️
Photo of calender I printed with my own photos. These are for June, because they were taken in June at midnight.
I chose this photo for March because that is when these little birdies return.
11 am 💜💛🤍

Soon we enter December and thus the last month of 2022. Hope you are all staying warm and safe, and that Christmas is not a source of stress, but a time for relaxing and magic ✨️❄️

Adventure, Arctic, Art, Awareness, Beauty, Dharma, Everyday life, Finnmark, Indigenous, Landscape, People, Photography, Poems, Relationship, Saami, Sámi, Self portrait, Spirituality, Uralic, Yoga

A thimbleful of light

“Darkness, no matter how ominous and intimidating, is not a thing or force: it is merely the absence of light. So light need not combat and overpower darkness in order to displace it – where light is, darkness is not. A thimbleful of light will therefore banish a roomful of darkness. The same is true of good and evil: evil is not a thing or force, but merely the absence or concealment of good. One need not ‘defeat’ the evil in the world; one need only bring to light its inherent goodness.”

– Rebbe Menachem Mendel Schneerson

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What that means to me

Vajra brocade jacket in green and gold I was lucky to find in local second hand store. It is handmade, too, wonder who made it and gave it away.

I wanted to make a post on the physical body. I have noticed in social media a trend called ‘body positivity’, and I wanted to share my own version of what that means to me:

  • Knowing that my body is made from the natural elements and is a result of thousands of generations
  • Reminding myself that all my cells are working hard to keep me alive every day
  • Eating traditional sustainable foods that my body easily turn into energy
  • Deep sleep and meditation to give body healing and vitality
  • Practice prayer and mantras to help body get rid of karmic traces stored inside the cells
  • Strength training to keep joints stable and posture straight
  • Keeping in mind how ancestors lived, and how they treated their bodies
  • Reminding myself to breathe with my belly, through nose and keeping my tongue in the roof of mouth, while jaw relaxed, as this feels most natural and it makes body relax
  • Tapping into body’s innate healing powers if I feel sick
  • Feeling how the body is an anchor that exists and keeps us in the present moment

Maybe I could add more later. What would you add? Thanks for reading, have a lovely day. -M

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The real you remains..

Emotions make us act and feel in strange ways

But the real you remains unchanged

Experiences and challenges shape us, like pots of clay on a spinning table

Still, the real you remains untouched

Illness, pain and grief chip away our vital energy

Even so, the real you remains ever so vibrant

Death arrives, entering without knocking

Yet, the real you remains.

A poem I wrote today, while contemplating impermanence. ❤️

Awareness, Beauty, Buddhism, Culture, Dharma, Jewellery, Meditation, Quotes, Sápmi, Spirituality, Vajrayana, Yoga

The Art of Blessing by Amrita Baba

Blessing is an energetic charge of pure energy. Pure means selfless and selfless is natural. This pure energy from a guru, is transmitted to the one who’s requesting to be blessed. Because selfless pure energy is released into the energy system of a person who has unnatural egocentric constructs and whose energy is dirtied by it, is the reason why blessing feels like a relief. The blessing makes the psychological burden drop so natural state can be felt, experienced and recognized. All kinds of people who pray and request blessings, be it from Jesus, God, the Buddha of Light (Amitabha) or some guru know how meaningful and powerful this is and sure enough all world religions have this at the heart of their teaching.

From a bit more technical perspective a blessing is a medium to transmit and point out the natural state of all beings or in other words *to bring out the basic goodness in us*. Because blessing is not egoistic is why it is a way to transmit and communicate the empty nature of mind (dharmakaya) and natural joyfulness (sambhogakaya) to others. I realize this all sounds unnecessarily complex so I’ll try to make this more down to earth.

Jesus and Dilgo Rinpoche on our altar

Blessing is an outburst of pure love, kindness, being present and supportive to other people’s hardships, understanding, encouraging and acceptance. Without having a clue about the technicalities or mechanism behind this, many people do this naturally because that’s how people act if they are in touch with who they really are. If there is respect and love between people in any type of relationship, there are definitely blessings, good energy, involved. On the other hand, egoistic people do the opposite and transmit bad vibes, negativity and traumas often unknowingly to others which makes relationships (of any type) go bad. We all know this already and yet often don’t really act accordingly to make our lives and the lives of others a joyous experience.

Blessings from fully enlightened masters like Jesus are special only because there is never a moment when the transmission has the slightest dirt in it. Also, masters transmit higher volume of blessings meaning that the blessing can be so strong that one joyfully disappears into it, i.e. one’s ego drops off completely. All kinds of people from Finland to Mongolia, to China to US and back to Europe have practiced like this. Christians, buddhists, hindus, taoists, shintoists, not a single religion is an exception to this rule, though having said that there is more to all religions than this.

Anyone can wish good and transmit blessings to others because underneath all the self-based pain and ignorance there is our soul or wakeful nature that is always pure. Go ahead and try it:

Rose and Tara with lapis lazuli mala beads, on our altar

1. Sit down and take a moment to relax the muscles of your body.

2. Then think of someone you know and wish her/him good, for example, “I wish my friend James much happiness, peace, safety and health. May he be happy, healthy and enjoy his life in full. May James have great friends and success in all ways in his life”. You can verbalize your blessing in any way you like as long as you’re wishing good and beneficial things. Put some energy and emotion into your blessing, put power and meaning into it.

3. After you’ve prayed for a few minutes, sit silently and see how the blessing made you feel. In what way do you feel the same or different than before the session?

4. You can do this to all your friends one by one, to your family members, relatives, people of you town/city, country, planet, animals, all life forms and so on, if you like.

This brings out the inherent good in us. Blessing is the art of that.

AB, 1.3.2022, from his blog

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?

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

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 💙
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. 📿

Acrylic painting, Arctic, Art, Culture, Dharma, DIY, Dzogchen, Indigenous, Meditation, Photography, Quotes, Vajrayana, Yoga

The Copper Coloured Mountain: Pure land

A little snow leopard put her print in the snow 🐾 Tara dancing in the snow next to it ❄
10 x 10 cm. Colours used: white, blue and copper/gold.
Our Christmas altar. Put my new painting there next to Vajrasattva statue.
‘During practice, the Buddhas and bodhisattvas are omnipresent. They’re always here, but we don’t see them because of our obscurations. We practice in order to clear away the obscurations and to acquire pure perception—not with the eyes, but with the heart.’ ❤🙏🏻

The copper coloured mountain is also known as Zangdok Palri; Guru Rinpoche Padmasambhava’s non-physical pure land.

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)

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Pastel coloured skies

My favourite shawl. Head dress I made by hand.
A tantric Padmasambhava and Yeshe Tsogyal statue I helped repaint for a friend. The union of wisdom and compassion. Wish I had a similar one! Hopefully one day I will afford one 🙏🏻

You know how you need to pretend to sleep in order to fall asleep? And at some point it just happens. Maybe it’s the same with other areas of life. Fake it till you make it, kind of, not in a bad way – just a dedicated one. I have noticed at least that the same applies to yoga and meditation sometimes. If I feel stressed, anxious and restless, I force myself to do the practice anyway. And at some level it still does its magic, of that I am 100% sure. In between the sleepless thoughts and rough emotions – they become like clouds in the pastel coloured sky.

Wishing all a lovely calm Polar night, and remember that it’s in darkness you shine the brightest 🌌✨🎆

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
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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
Amrita Baba 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
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!✨

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.

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

IMG_20180410_131323_269

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.’