I need small moments of beauty, of wonder. An overcast sky with the sun coming through, seagulls floating in the distance, white feathers catching the light. To wake up in the morning to their call, knowing that the ocean is close by.
Christmas has passed. It was a beautiful time for me, especially Advent and the Winter Solstice. Christmas itself is always rather painful since I miss my family, and I feel a pressure to be happy. That I should be happy when instead I’m hurting. It still surprises me that I feel this way after so many years. Maybe you can relate?
My husband and I are spending a few days on the coast of northern Italy. Really, we’re not doing much….just being away from things. Reflecting on the year to come. I walk by the ocean, even though the city is yelling in my ears. I need to be near water – it calms me. And I love watching the ocean. The endless blue, or stormy grey. Its voice that pulls and tugs on me without words, just a deep longing I can’t quite name.
I also wanted to start writing again, because I fell out of my routine during Christmas. And I don’t feel quite right without words and stories in my head.
When I write, something rushes in. A white, beautiful magical wind. I remember to breathe. I remember to listen. The Goddess feels closer – a soft, pink feather in my heart. A gentle smile.
Not sure what else to add. Italy is nice, though I’m not very good at sightseeing. I usually just end up at a cafe, or I aimlessly walk around watching the ocean, or the decorations in the shop windows.
Just wanted to update this blog because I often start on a post and then never finish it. I suppose I put pressure on myself to write something interesting, and then all my words fall away.
My voice froze in me, as it easily does if I let it. My writing journey has been a long, spiritual thaw for me. But when I don’t share because I fear it’s not good enough, or even stupid, it’s like my voice became very small. Stuck in my throat.
But I’m also not sure what I want to share. My life has changed in strange, wonderful ways since I moved from Norway to Slovenia. And there is a different kind of magic here that I’m learning to listen to and interpret. A glittering, gentle presence. The wild stormy sky and dark forest at my doorstep is no more. But in their stead is a warmth that I’m drawing into my bones. Friends and beauty, and a brighter sun that rises early, even in winter.
I’ve been working on getting up early, in the moments before dawn. I’ve been drawn to spirituality and the divine since I was a little girl. I would speak to God as a child because it made me feel safe. The stars were gods gazing back at me. The sky spread out before me was a great, friendly voice that spoke of love. And in the darkness before dawn, I want to listen to the quiet voice in my heart, and light a candle at the feet of the Goddess. I want to be a guided by a clear, steady knowing. I want to be free of the clouds of doubt and worry. There’s a voice ringing through my soul and I want to follow its song.
I want to be a priestess of the Goddess.
That’s why I’m writing a novel about a priestess, and writing my way through old grief. I’m dissecting the path I’m so drawn to step onto, and that also leaves me confused. I need a way to express the thoughts and feelings that move through me. Images of beauty that I wish were real. It would be wonderful to spend time in a white temple by a dark lake. White mountains at my back. To sing worship to the Goddess in everything that I do. To have magic at my fingertips.
It’s taking too long. Writing this book. It’s a spiral journey in ever tightening circles and there’s a lot to overcome within me to be able to put words to the page. It’s a wonderful, magical path when I stop putting pressure on myself. It’s so easy to want to be more than I am, right now, move quickly forward to be worthy to spend time doing the things I love. It makes me very anxious when something is taking so long. Doubt fills me. But I have to write. There’s a clear, almost stern voice telling me there’s no other way. A strong core of stone at my heart. My thoughts are fretful, anxious wings beating against stone, and I know, deep down, that I’m safe.
The world is all white outside my window. White upon white. The snow continues to fall, and I find myself dreaming of a white Christmas. Wishing you a beautiful Advent time. May the light shine in the darkness. A candle forever lit in your heart.
I used to write here so much, and now I don’t. I guess things change, and maybe they will change again. And maybe I will find a way not to worry about what people might think, or if what I write is good enough, stupid, worth sharing. I’m always afraid to say the wrong thing, and I’m also afraid to look at my own writing, which is something I’m working on. It feels like a process in forgiving myself, my mistakes, who I am. In being open to the world and to learning. I guess I compare myself too much to others. And look too much to what others are thinking, doing, instead of finding a center to rest in, within myself. I would like to make a temple that I can walk into, light a candle, be safe, within my own heart. To make it strong enough so it won’t crumble at the smallest look, thought, word. I want to conserve my energy for the things that truly matter.
I went for a walk today and asked the land what it had to teach me. Quiet it said. And I knew I needed to be here. There are so many times I have ideas about what I want, where I should be. When I returned from the US to Norway, I first wanted to live in a city that I have many happy memories from. But after looking at a few places, I turned to my husband saying; “I just want nature. Silence.” So we searched elsewhere instead. In the western part of Norway at first, where there are steep mountains that I find very beautiful. But something was steering me towards the south, to gentler landscapes, more open sky, more sunlight. And we ended up in a lovely place, where I found silence, people, healing.
Also when I walked today I felt autumn in the air. An early darkness because the sun was already behind the mountains. There were storm clouds, rain. I walked and felt the flashes of lightning right above me, one after another. I swear I felt the heat of that lightning, and I turned around quickly, rushing home.
I’ve learned that no matter where I go, I will miss something about the places I’ve been. I think it will always be like this. Wishing you a beautiful September.
Summer is here and the days are hot. I stay out of the sun mostly, but in the evenings I drift through the fields, watching the moon come out. I brush my hands against pale blue cornflowers, bend down to smell them, see white daisies shining in the thickening darkness. Silver moths flutter by me, and there are cows grazing. I hear the sound of their bells and as I stop they raise their heads to look at me. Some come close to the fence to see if I have food for them, or perhaps they’re just curious.
Behind me, and sometimes in the distance to my right, I hear church bells ringing. They tell the time, reminding me that it’s later than it seems. The days are long now.
I feel those fields are an entirely different world now in summer. I first found them just before Christmas, silvered with frost. Now I breathe the scent of grass, and the air is warm even at night. I love that I can watch the stars come out, one by one, the moon drifting between clouds without being cold. I sit down and watch the sky for a while, hugging my knees, feeling the grass beneath my feet. Evening feels like a relief to me. Like I can finally exhale and relax. The world is quieting, and I can hear myself better, hear the world around me better, and I love to listen to something hidden, that silent voice in the sky.
The other evening I saw black clouds gather above the mountains, saw flashes of lightning. It was nice to watch the storm from afar. Yesterday the sky darkened early and there were thunderstorms going on for hours. Early in the morning, I woke up to the sound of water gurgling outside my window. It’s the most beautiful melody to me, and as I write now I breathe the scent of rain.
The Summer Solstice is approaching, and my birthday soon after. The brightest time of the year. June feels like wildflowers to me, like roses and a very bright sun.
I hope you’re enjoying this time of year, summer or winter.
Spring is gathering outside, filling the world with wildflowers. The other day I stood in the forest, a light, cool spring rain singing through the trees. It was just beautiful. I can still hear it, feel it, my face turned towards the sky.
There’s blue star shaped flowers on the ground, growing in blankets among the trees. I know this flower, if only through song. I know its white cousin very well because it filled the fields behind our house where I grew up, but the blue one never showed itself. It grew in other parts of Norway, (now I’ve moved to Slovenia). But my dad would sing a song about it, and I also sang it to him one day while we were walking by the river when he was feeling depressed. I wanted to remind him of beauty, of magic, of joy.
It’s a simple song. About someone receiving a bouquet of these blue flowers from a young girl in a forest. In return, he gives her a few coins to buy some chocolate, but as she happily skips away from him, he reflects that he has never before received such a rich gift, and in truth, it was she who was good towards him, not the other way around.
My dad would sing me different songs while growing up. One was about a girl living in a forest.
“I know a little girl, yes I know her so well, I know a little girl north in the woods.”
And my mom would sing about a girl who asks the southern wind to not touch the veil on her hatbecause she needs to look beautiful for her beloved.
“And the girl asked the southern wind, don’t touch the veil on my hat. It needs to be nice and clean for my beloved. With a hat with a veil and silken straw. A dress with lace along the neck, two white shoes with ribbons, and socks as clear as day.”
Silly little songs that I still remember, if only the first sentence of it. Hearing them again always brings me back to my childhood. Do you know songs like that?
I wanted to write about Iceland sooner. But then I got sick and life carried me along with it. What I will remember most is how it felt to return to the wild north. To be in a place somewhat untamed by people. The houses in the countryside seemed almost lost, swallowed uplike they didn’t quite belong among the fields and mountains. And I loved all the streams and rivers and small lakes that you could drink from. The fresh air, and the blue light of the mornings, and the smell of snow. I loved the steam that would rise up here and there from the ground. It was such a strange sight. And I liked seeing the small Icelandic horses along the road. The place was full of them.
I felt at home in Iceland. In Reykjavik, I went for a long walk along the ocean in the heavy snow that had fallen overnight. I always have to go to the ocean when I can. I like to stand and watch the horizon, to feel what might lie beyond it, and listen to the distant voice of the sea.
But now I’m back in Slovenia and waiting for the Spring Equinox. Everything is coming back to life. Can you feel it? Or perhaps autumn is coming to where you are, and you feel things falling away? Wishing you beauty, love, light.
Sometimes, or often I wake up full of fear. And I resist the daylight outside my window. I want to curl up and hide. But then it gets easier, as I take the first few steps into the morning, drink my tea, say hello to the white sky above the treetops.
I write for a bit, slowly, painfully, and then with joy. Usually. My writing helps me tremendously, to think, to feel, to connect with something outside myself, and deep within. To unseen things around me. And I’m not sure where this pain comes from, when there is nothing wrong, really. I just always seem to be wading through it in some way or another.
And I’m very happy too. I guess I’m a mix of things.
The other night I couldn’t sleep, and there was a bright, star with a red heart, outside my window, above the housetops. I watched it for a while. I think stars can speak to us, that they have a voice, a memory we share with them.
Once I felt inside of me, almost like a voice asking “Why do you run? Why won’t you stop and let me love you.” And I felt I was always running. So afraid to stop and let myself feel. So sure there wouldn’t be anything there anyway, least of all love.
I went for a walk yesterday and tried to feel the Goddess walking with me. I came to a snow lit field with white mists coming down from the mountains as the sun was setting. I felt it whisper sleep, rest, and I turned around, walked back. There is a lovely river next to where I live, looking almost black against the snow. I stood on a bridge for a moment, gazing down into it, the last of the sunlight glittering against its surface.
February is almost here. More light. Spring drawing closer. Are you enjoying winter? Summer?
“Sometimes I go about in pity for myself, and all the while, a great wind carries me across the sky.” -Ojibwe saying
At times she felt only half part of this world. Like she could walk right out of it if she wasn’t flesh and blood. That she was walking the middle path of two worlds intersecting.
I don’t go for a lot of walks in the sunlight these days. Instead, I wander outside at dusk, when it’s almost dark, and the first few stars are already out. I wander along those snow filled fields and trace out the beaten path as best as I can. I want silence and the whispers of the distant mountains. I try to listen and hear the voice of this new place, this new country I’ve moved to. Sometimes I want the sky to grow wild and raging so I can hear it better. It’s more difficult to hear things when a place has already been touched by many voices, many feet, when the cars are always driving by, filling the evening with noise and smoke. But I think I need to connect with this place, make it a friend. Not long for those misty forests of my previous home.
I knelt in the snow yesterday when I was sure no one was watching, or could even see me in the darkness. I sat and lifted my hands to the gray sky. I’m not sure why this helps, but it does. I long to actually touch things, connect with the world around me. Somehow it calms me. The trees growing along that path are too far away, or they stand behind fences and wire, but the ground is always there, so I knelt down on that instead. I breathed and prayed without words. Kneeling like that I felt closer to something I can’t name. But it’s there. I felt it even as a child, sitting outside in the evening, watching the sun set behind the mountains. I’m always reaching for it, been holding out my hands to it as long as I can remember. Do you feel something like that too?
I recently finished reading the books about Emily of New Moon. The descriptions of nature always touch me, makes me dream of beauty, and of a simpler time of more quiet, more trees. Less smog. I’ve shared a moment from the books below. Isn’t it lovely?
Then came the northern lights–drifts of pale fire over the sky–spears of light, as of empyrean armies–pale, elusive hosts retreating and advancing. Emily lay and watched them in rapture. Her soul was washed pure in that great bath of splendour. She was a high priestess of loveliness assisting at the divine rites of her worship–and she knew her goddess smiled.
She was glad Ilse was asleep. Any human companionship, even the dearest and most perfect, would have been alien to her then. She was sufficient unto herself, needing not love nor comradeship nor any human emotion to round out her felicity. Such moments come rarely in any life, but when they do come they are inexpressibly wonderful–as if the finite were for a second infinity–as if humanity were for a space uplifted into divinity–as if all ugliness had vanished, leaving only flawless beauty. Oh–beauty–Emily shivered with the pure ecstasy of it. She loved it–it filled her being to-night as never before. She was afraid to move or breathe lest she break the current of beauty that was flowing through her. Life seemed like a wonderful instrument on which to play supernal harmonies.
“Oh, God, make me worthy of it–oh, make me worthy of it,” she prayed. Could she ever be worthy of such a message–could she dare try to carry some of the loveliness of that “dialogue divine” back to the everyday world of sordid market-place and clamorous street? She must give it–she could not keep it to herself. Would the world listen–understand–feel? Only if she were faithful to the trust and gave out that which was committed to her, careless of blame or praise. High priestess of beauty–yes, she would serve at no other shrine!
Lucy Maud Montgomery – Emily Climbs
There is a lovely light coming through the window now. Winter light. The sky is white and grayish blue behind the trees. And the church bells are ringing. They ring a lot here, and I like listening to them. I enjoy waking up to them at 7 in the morning. Wishing you a beautiful rest of the week.
I just went for a walk in the witch light (is that something? Just felt like the right description) Past gray misty mountains and trees. I saw a fox trotting towards me in the snow, in the almost dark, next to a small stream. I watched him for a bit. He kept coming closer, and I moved a little so he would notice me. He ran away after that. I felt a bit disappointed in myself. Why do I always feel afraid?
The other day, in the bright sunlight, a mouse scurried across my path. He didn’t see me either and I stood and watched him gnaw through small twigs and even some ice. Perhaps he was thirsty. I like little moments like that.
This evening I even heard an owl calling from one of the trees. It made me happy. It’s one of my favorite, most haunting sounds, an owl calling in the night.
Here I am, back again. Writing from Slovenia. My husband and I moved from Norway to Slovenia, and then again within Slovenia. We’re now in a small, lovely town with more sunlight than my Norwegian-self think is normal for winter. It is wonderful, but somehow it makes me think a storm is coming. It’s almost like being back in California, though much colder of course.
I like going for walks, watching the mountains. And I feel I’m settling down now, slowly. So many things have happened, and it’s been hard for me to find the quiet within myself to write. And whenever I do write something (I have several unpublished drafts) I feel afraid to share it. Perhaps I’ve been a bit raw, feeling vulnerable. Scared of not being enough, or too much. All of that stuff. But 2017 brings new beginnings. A new year, a new cycle.
The Winter Solstice
I don’t want to move into the New Year without mentioning the Winter Solstice. It was especially beautiful this time around as I celebrated it with friends, on the top of the mountain, above the clouds. It truly felt like we were in a different land, farfarabove everything and everyone else. In a different world. We climbed the mountain beneath an orange sky, and at the top, we did a ceremony together. We sang and watched the sun come up. I remember the pink edge of the clouds and how they stretched out like an ocean below us. And the incense, drifting like smoke above the ground around us. We were all robed in white and yellow, and a friend stood in the center of the circle, dressed as the Divine Mother. She lit a candle as the sun rose, and it felt like magic. A gift. I’ve always wanted to celebrate the Solstices and Equinoxes as long as I’ve known they existed. And now I’m finally part of a group that brings that old magic back to life.
Christmas was also beautiful and spent among friends. I felt I was given small gifts of moments, of meaningful discoveries. Gifts of love. And I went for a walk in the dusk of Christmas Eve, standing for a long time under the Christmas star, praying, hoping. Asking for help. I always feel sad on that day, missing my family. I just can’t help it, even after all these years. I always feel broken open and hurting a bit. But I was reminded that I’m very lucky to have received so much love growing up. It fed me and helped me have hope in life, and in other people. I still feel I’m carrying that love inside of me, like a golden seed.
Wishing everyone a beautiful 2017. I would love to hear from you. How are you?
I feel as though I’ve stepped out of time, into a white and silent space. Perhaps it’s because of summer, all the long days that has pushed away the night, leaving only a shadow of darkness. Perhaps it’s because so many people are on vacation, and everything is a little more quiet than usual.
I wander the forest, looking around me at all the things I will be leaving very soon. That will soon be a mere memory. I was surprised to find mushrooms and blueberries and felt it was a gift from the earth, from the Goddess.
I feel I’m wrapping up my life here, in more ways than just packing things into boxes (we’re moving to Slovenia). I’m reflecting on all the things that have happened in this small, hidden away place. How its silence has healed something in me. After years in the city, it was amazing to hear birds and the wind, and the gentle lapping of waves, the rustle of leaves. Nature sounds and nothing else. Of course, there are cars driving by, but more often than not there are just long gaps of silence. I wanted this. I needed a place to be quiet and to listen, to hear what was whispering deep down inside of me.
This is where I first started writing. Really writing. Really looking at the grief that had been a part of me for so long.
It feels like a gift, everything that has happened. A beautiful, magical gift. I want to whisper “thank you” as I make tea, as I greet or say goodbye to the day, as I stare up at the green, pine forest outside my window.
I’m sitting at the computer now, next a vase of fading pink roses, and watching the evening light play over my hands as I type. The sun is just about to set over the mountains behind me, and the birch trees sway gently in the wind.
What gifts have you been given lately?
I’m wishing you a beautiful weekend. Blessings.
Also sharing the song of an owl, that I’ve been listening to so often as I fall asleep. Isn’t lovely? Somehow I feel it’s a song that opens doors, night doors to other dimensions.
This song is full of quiet hope. It is sad, yes, and I remember crying to it and asking for it to be sung at both my sister and dad’s funeral. It especially reminds me of my sister. It’s a conversation between a flower and the singer, where the flower explains things in trust of God. No, she does not mind being in the dark forest, where there are shadows because God is with her. She doesn’t need to be admired in a garden because she was born to be a forest flower. And when the snow comes, she’ll be asleep until the sun kisses her awake once again.
I had a lovely moment last night when I had lit candles and opened the window to feel the fresh air. An owl was singing outside, and I paused, closed my eyes and smiled. It’s the most magical sound to me, and it’s been such a long time since last I heard it. I feel life returning all around me. I hear birds in the morning, and the light stays longer, seems brighter, as though the sun has regained some of its strength.
I sit by the window now, watching the light on the birch trees, making me feel spring in my bones. The Equinox is coming up. I dream of standing by the water, in a simple white dress, but it will be too cold for that. I will watch the sunrise, probably in my winter coat, and though it’s less poetic, I’m looking forward to it. I hope to be by the coast this time, and see the sun come out of the ocean.