terracotta

 

jeg kan ikke få nok, vil sluke alt, holde det fast, ta alt helt inn over meg, sikre meg at det lagrer seg et sted dypt inne i meg og aldri blir borte.

den rødbrune jorda. fuglesangen. blomstenes syrliggule og lyserosa kronblader, fjellets rundhet, furutrærnes rankhet. stiene som snor seg gjennom landskapet. og havet der fremme. 

cecilias hus. de vevede teppene og putene, den marokkanske håndvasken, speilene, hyllene fulle av bøker om ayurveda, japansk kokekunst, middelhavshager og fotografi. jeg blar i dem om kvelden, når barnet sover, og finner setninger som åpner nye rom i meg, deler av meg selv jeg hadde glemt, ukjente byer som kaller på meg, bilder som får meg til å huske hvordan jeg vil fotografere. 

den særlige tilstanden som oppstår når klokka ikke betyr noe og dagen får folde seg ut i sitt eget tempo. vi skal ingenting, og rekker alt. og allikevel oppstår det mønstre. hver morgen: vannmelon, egg, avocado og hvitt brød. hver kveld: sort te med melk og honning. menneskets trang til å skape ritualer, gjentagelse, noe velkjent midt i alt det fremmede. 

strendene er fulle av runde, hvite steiner. bølgene skyller opp over steinene, og hver gang vannet trekker seg tilbake ruller steinene mot hverandre og skaper en knitrende lyd. det er som en slags rislen, bare høyere, mer metallisk. som om noe krakelerer. det får noe i meg til å gå i oppløsning, som om alt det i meg som har størknet sprekker opp og glir vekk, skylles ut i havet, i takt med bølgene. 

vi kjører helt ut til kanten av landskapet, parkerer ved et fyrtårn og ser landet forsvinne i vannet. innbiller meg at jeg kan se så langt at jeg kan se jorda bue. husker plutselig at vi bor på en planet. 

å reise er å løfte blikket. å få øye på at verden kan ses fra tusen vinkler.

i vinduskarmen ligger en hvit konkylie.

barnet løfter den mot øret og lytter etter havet.

 

etter regnet

 

det hender en gang i mellom, rett etter at det har regna, at  lyset faller på en sånn måte at alt begynner å skinne; at milliarder av dråper fanger lyset fra sola og kaster det tilbake på verden, og på deg, der du står i vinduet og ser ut på den hagen du alltid ser ut på, men som du akkurat nå, i akkurat dette lyset, ser for første gang

 

vinter

 

det eneste som egentlig betyr noe for meg er å være tilstede. å være oppmerksom på det boblende, sitrende livet som til enhver tid gjennomstrømmer alt. jeg vil ikke bli noe. vil ikke oppnå noe eller utrette noe. jeg vil bare være her. være så stille at jeg kan høre alle tings hjerte banke. 

 

I JUST WANT TO SIT HERE FOR A WHILE

 

I give up.

I give up.

I give up.

All this trying to become something, someone.

All this trying to control my life and push it in a certain direction.

All this wanting to find solutions and answers and plans that I can stick to.

All this being productive and effective and wanting to figure everything out.

It feels like I am hitting my head against a wall that never breaks. It is exhausting.

I just can’t do it anymore.

So, I give up.

I give up being someone.

I give up achieving something.

I give up my ideas about myself.

I give up my ideas about the world.

For now.

And I let myself slip beneath my thoughts, into the silence. I just want to sit here for a while, doing nothing. Just listening. Just watching life unfold.

“Stop weaving, and watch how the pattern improves”, says Rumi. This is my prayer for today.

May I surrender to the sweet fragrance of the lilacs.

May I surrender to the quiet humming of the washing machine.

May I surrender to the openness of the sky and to every single leaf on the old apple tree.

No trying today.

No fighting, no rushing, no forcing, no defining, no selling, no worrying, no pushing.

I do not know anything.

I do not need any answers.

I just want to sit here for a while.

Let everything be itself.

And see what happens.

 

et minne

 

tidlig morgen, på vei til butikken for å handle inn til frokost.

jeg går nedover den gata jeg har gått nedover så mange ganger før, krysser veien ved metrostasjonen, der hvor jeg alltid pleier å krysse, og med ett er det som om solen sprenger seg vei igjennom skylaget og får alle ting til å lyse. bortsett fra at det ikke er noen sol. det er ingen sol, alt er grått, men allikevel er det som om alt er opplyst. som om alt skinner med en intensitet og en glød jeg ikke har opplevd før.

alle lyder virker med ett skarpere, klarere. alle farger virker mer strålende, slående. menneskenes stemmer og bilenes larm flettes inn i hverandre og bølger i mot meg som sangen fra et veldig kor.

noe har revnet. noe har glidd til side, som ved en feil, og avslørt en lysende verden.

så lukker det seg igjen. en glidelås trekkes opp, og byen er like grå som den pleier å være.

jeg står på fortauet
som om ingenting har skjedd
men alt har skjedd

jeg har sett det usynlige

 

om å skrive I

teksten beveger seg alltid fra kaos til kosmos. når jeg begynner å skrive, aner jeg ikke hva jeg vil skrive om. jeg er fyllt opp av tanker, og føler ikke at jeg ser noe som helst klart. det er bare en masse ord som vil ut. men etterhvert som jeg skriver, begynner visse mønstre å vise seg. og jeg kan se at temaene og avsnittene passer sammen. å skrive er å veve. å ta en masse usammenhengende tanker og veve dem sammen til et sammenhengende bilde. jeg elsker det øyeblikket hvor alt snur. det sekundet hvor man plutselig får en følelse av at det nok skal gå – at det FINNES en sammenheg, et mønster. det er den samme bevegelsen hver gang. Fra kaos og tvil (er det overhodet noe substans i dette, og er det mulig å veve disse løse bruddstykkene sammen til en tekst) til den håpefulle følelsen som oppstår når man ser at det ER NOE DER, til det harde arbeidet som gjenstår da (redigeringsfasen – håndverket – the hard work), ny tvil (what the fuck was I thinking, det kommer aldri til å henge sammen), forløsningen når man når man allikevel når i mål, og ser at man har skapt et helt bilde, en ferdig tekst. og til slutt – antiklimakset – følelsen av at man heller ikke denne gangen fikk sagt akkurat det man gjerne ville si, det var så mye man utelot, så mye man ikke klarte å integrere, så mange ideer som oppstod underveis, og man må derfor straks i gang med en ny tekst.

Following the wild woman

 

The only thing I know is that everything is changing, always. Everything is shifting and moving and transforming and constantly becoming something new. My perception of the world – and my own self-image – is not what it used to be. Reality is different now. I am different. And yet, I am still me.

The frustration I used to feel; the claustrophobic feeling of not knowing what to do with my life, of feeling stuck without being able to move, has faded. It is almost strange to think about how strong that feeling once was. Somehow I have managed to push through it. I’m on the other side of the river now, resting on the riverbank. Pondering what my next step will be.  

I have by no means found absolute answers to who I am or what the purpose of all this strangeness is. But I have opened a few doors within myself. I am feeling so much bigger than before, so much wider and taller and rounder and wilder and deeper. I am reconnecting with my body. I am reuniting with my laughter and my sense of playfulness. I am allowing myself to write, to communicate, to connect – because that is what I love to do. The old armour is full of cracks, and my heart is pouring out.

I am a mother now. Carrying a child in my belly for almost nine months, giving birth to my daughter in the middle of a moonlit night and slowly learning what it means to be her mamma, has given me a new sense of power. The mother who is related to all mothers is moving in my bones. She is drawn towards the sacred; towards nature; towards rituals and rhythms and symbols. She is drawn towards singing and dancing and healing and cooking and planting seeds and working with her hands and telling stories that hold the world together. She is a weaver of words, a creator of life – and she is pushing me towards my dreams.

Yesterday, I read a quote from a woman who had recently started her own business as a healer. She described how she had always had a very rich and colorful inner life – but on the outside, her life didn’t quite reflect it. Until she decided to create her own company and share her gifts with the world - then her inside and her outside finally aligned. 

I was touched by this story, it felt like it was carrying a message for me. After dreaming and learning and growing for such a long time – it is time to focus on the outside. It is time to share my thoughts with others. I used to be so scared of what people would think of me, afraid of being labeled as naive, unprofessional, detached from reality, too dreamy, too much. But I am realizing that there is nothing to be afraid of. Some people will be put off by what I am writing, by who I am, but it’s okay. There will be others. Only by sharing what I’ve got will I be able to find my tribe - the people who resonate with me.

A few mountains have been climbed, a few answered has been found. But still, there are so many questions. How to juggle motherhood and the creative life? How to make money? How to build the home that I am longing for, the house with the small garden and the big wooden table, where our children will grow up? How to move closer to nature, and closer to a creative community?

How, exactly, am I supposed to build this bridge between the inside and the outside?

”Be patient toward all that is unsolved in your heart and try to love the questions themselves, like locked rooms and like books that are now written in a very foreign tongue”, says Rilke. ”Do not now seek the answers, which cannot be given you because you would not be able to live them. And the point is, to live everything. Live the questions now. Perhaps you will then gradually, without noticing it, live along some distant day into the answer.”

I will do my best to follow this advice. I will walk patiently, with anticipation. I will follow the wild woman, curious to see where she is taking me.

And the only thing I know is that everything will keep changing, always. Everything will be shifting and moving and transforming and constantly becoming something new. I will change. And yet, I will still be me.

 

 

 

 

BUILDING TOWERS – on finding your work and getting it done


My work used to be very messy and unorganized. I was writing a lot and taking a lot of pictures, but I didn’t really know what to do with it all. I had a lot of different blogs, notebooks and folders for my work, and I came up with thousands of new ideas every week. But I rarely finished anything.

I would always change my mind about things. I would make a poetry blog in Norwegian, only to leave it behind and create a blog in English the week after. I would create a project about courage and even start interviewing people about it, only to forget about the whole thing and start writing an article about the benefits of journaling instead. As I said: it was a mess.

From chaos to insight

At some point I started to feel very frustrated about all this unfinished business. It felt like I was building foundations everywhere, but no towers. And when people asked me what I was doing, I had no idea what to answer. I felt unorganized, powerless and vague.

Eager to change things, I started reading about the nature of creativity, and pretty soon I made some important discoveries. I became aware of the fact that the creative process has four stages – getting an idea and doing the research, producing the actual work, editing and polishing and then publishing your stuff and showing it to the world.  And I realized that I was never going full circle! I was great at getting ideas and producing text and images, but I sucked at editing and sharing. As soon as I felt stuck or fed up, I would simply abandon my work.

This was such a revelation to me.  Suddenly I could see what my problem was, but in order to actually solve it, I had to dig a little deeper. I went into a period of reading and journal writing, trying to get to the core of the problem. I really wanted to know what was keeping me from finishing work.

The good old fear

One of the first things I discovered was that my tendency towards not finishing things was related to my fear of being a failure. Producing work without showing it to anyone felt safe, as long as I didn’t publish anything, no one could criticize or dislike my work.

Discovering this was quite uncomfortable. I had created an image of myself as a strong and independent person, and suddenly I had to face my vulnerability and lack of self-confidence. It hurt. But it was also the beginning of some major changes. I started observing my own self-talk, and slowly became better at discarding the little voice that was telling me that my work didn’t have any value. A book that helped me a lot was Stephen Pressfield’s “Turning Pro”. I recommend it to anyone who’s eager to bypass fear and get to work

Refuse to choose

The next thing I discovered was that I was really bad at making decisions. I wanted to find that one project where I could use all my ideas at the same time, and whenever I started working on something specific I was frustrated about the things I had to leave out. If I was writing a blog post, I wanted to make a movie. If I was planning an exhibition, I felt an urge to write poetry. And if I was taking someone’s portrait, I was inspired to make an interview with the person instead. I always felt like I was doing the wrong work.

Reading the book “Refuse to Choose” by Barbara Sher helped me realize that I am a person with a lot of different passions and interests, and that this is a gift if administrated properly. Sher uses the term Scanners to describe people who get their energy from jumping from subject to subject, learning new things all the time and finding connections between different fields. And she explains how scanners can be very creative and get a lot of things done, if only they stop trying to do everything at once. This book was a huge inspiration to me. It made me realize that I don’t have to choose one thing to do for the rest of my life. I can have it all, as long as I commit to one thing (or at least not too many things) at the time.

A tool for making choices

Recognizing the importance of making choices was crucial, but the realization itself didn’t make it easier to decide which project to embark on. So after finishing Refuse to Choose, I started asking myself some pretty fundamental questions. What is motivating me? What is inspiring me? What do I actually want to do?

After a lot of contemplation and journal writing, again, I made a list of the needs I want my work to fulfill.

1)   I want to explore my inner world and express my findings through images and words (artistic work).

2)   I want to explore the world of others: to find out what they know and how they are seeing things (journalistic work).

3)   I want to share my explorations and my discoveries with others (blogging/teaching/public speaking).

4)   I want to use both my mother tongue (to express my deepest thoughts) and the English language (to communicate with people from different parts of the world).

5)   I want to find the balance between working alone and working with others, both are important to my work.

The list is now hanging on my wall, and it has become an important tool for me. It's difficult to put the five points into one project. But by using the list to navigate, I can choose to work on a range of different projects that, when combined, will fulfill all my needs.

I'm sure the list will change and grow as I change and grow, so I am planning to update it in January each year.

My current work

In 2015 I have chosen to focus on three creative projects.

The first one is Luftlommer – a digital letter exchange between Rebecca Jafari and me. This project allows me to express my inner world + collaborating + using my mother tongue.

The second one is to finish the project Everything Counts. For years I have been exploring the art of being present through images and words, and now it’s time to turn this work into an exhibition and a printed publication. This project allows me to express my inner world through artistic work + work alone.

The third project is this journal. From now on I will be writing in English, and I will be exploring topics like the creative process, journal writing, simplicity, gift economy and so on. Hopefully this will turn into a place where I can share both my own thoughts and the ideas of other people – and connect with like-minded souls from different corners of the world.

Finding the right work and getting it done is a work in progress, and I still have a lot of learning to do. But at least I have made some discoveries that make things easier. My work no longer feels like a mess. It is constantly growing and changing, yes, but it is not out of control. It feels like I am finally in charge of it. As French philosopher Alain de Botton puts it: Work begins when the fear of doing nothing at all finally trumps the terror of doing it badly.”


I am curious to hear what you guys are doing in order to overcome fear, making choices and getting your life’s work done. If you have any thoughts, feel free to share!

om å stritte i alle retninger

jeg har brukt mange år av livet på å prøve å stykke sammen en historie om meg selv som gir mening; en sammenhengende fortelling om hvem jeg er og hva jeg driver med som andre kan forstå og forholde seg til; som jeg selv kan forstå og forholde meg til. men hver gang jeg finner en kasse som jeg synes jeg passer inn i, er det deler av meg som kjemper seg løs og løper en annen vei.

det er som om jeg prøver å sy sammen et slags kostyme som jeg kan stappe meg selv ned i. men drakten er for liten, så det er hele tiden noe ved meg som buler ut. og så bruker jeg en masse tid på å prøve å dytte den besværlige delen av meg ned i drakten igjen, så ingen skal få øye på at jeg stritter i alle retninger. hvilket selvfølgelig medvirker at kostymet sprekker på et helt nytt sted, og enda et av mine ukategoriserbare trekk tyter ut. og sånn fortsetter det. jeg blir aldri den helhetlige, tydelige, sammenhengende historien som jeg prøver å fortelle.

før i tiden så jeg det som en stor feil ved meg at jeg ikke var i stand til å velge, og lengtet etter å finne én ting jeg kunne dedikere meg til resten av livet. nå vet jeg at jeg trives best i mellomrommene. og at jeg ikke kan gi avkall på friheten til å fly fra sted til sted.

David Shields forklarer det bedre:

"I want the contingency of life, the unpredictability, the unknownability, the mysteriousness, and these are best captured when the work can bend at will to what it needs: fiction, fantasy, memoir, meditation, confession, reportage. Why do I so strenuously resist generic boundaries? Because when I’m constrained within a form, my mind shuts down, goes on a sit-down strike, saying, This is boring, so I refuse to try very hard. I find it very nearly impossible to read a contemporary novel that presents itself unself-consciously as a novel, since it’s not clear to me how such a book could convey what it feels like to be alive right now. Instead, it must constantly be shifting shape, redefining itself, staying open for business way past closing time. “Don’t mess with Mr. In-Between,”my father would often advise me, but it seems to me that Mr. In-Between is precisely where we all live now“ (sitat fra Reality Hunger).