Category: Viva la inspiración

Back to my summer job

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Finally I’m back to what I call “the farm” or “my mum’s farm” for my summer job. This will be the third summer I work here. A brilliant way for someone with my lifestyle to be close to family while earning much money after all (and before the next) traveling, besides doing something meaningful.

The farm is actually not my mum’s, nor is it just a farm, but a rehab institution that my mum happens to manage. She has now lived here for over 10 years, and it’s pretty much impossible to me (and her) to even imagine anything else. She is perfect for this place and such an inspirational person in terms of her compassion. So are many of the others working here, and the ideology of the institution. It belongs to a foundation called Stiftelsen Sollia kollektivet in Norwegian (read more here if you understand Norwegian).

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Sollia kollektivet was founded in 1970, and is partly private, partly state owned. Translated from Norwegian, the cornerstone of the foundation is Equality in work, responsibility and economy. An important principle is self- sufficiency to both provide economical empowerment and empowerment of the students that learn a whole lot of agronomy and construction work.

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As you can see its location is breathtakingly beautiful. Surrounded by huge fields and other small and medium sized farms and the best of it all: Norway’s biggest lake Mjøsa. Every time I come back here, whatever season, the smell overwhelms me the very moment I get off the bus on top of the road. Sometimes I almost start weeping, but out of joy. It’s a mix of feelings of ‘home’, the joy of being close to my mum again, the beauty and meaning of the jobs that are done here, the excitement of seeing the students (the people living here due to substance addiction) after yet another journey of mine, having them sharing from their lives with trust and openness.

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The ideology of meaningful community work and consequent enforcement of drug prohibition have been basic since the foundation’s commence. Here we work together as equals, treat each others with respect and interest – in order for the students (and others of course) to improve their lives and grow.

The farm is 100% ecological and 50% self sustained. We grow several types of vegetables and fruits and got our own animals that provide us with eggs, meet and wool. Products like milk and cheese, coffee and tea, and on occasions meet, as well as ingredients to make bread and desserts are bought in weekly.

Every day we eat three meals together, which on good summer days often looks like this:

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Part from offering substance addicts rehabilitation and therapy, the foundation requires that the “students” work from the day they arrive. Until 8 students and 7 employees work together every day from 8- 16 (part from the weekends where one student is in charge of the animals and one worker in charge of transport and general contact with everybody), and are divided in two groups; one in the kitchen and one outdoor in the garden, fields and with maintenance. Who works where rotate from month to month to make sure everybody get to practice all tasks.

My friends often ask me what I’m doing while here, and the answers are “hanging out with the students, chatting and doing everything together from:

Harvesting

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to picking berries

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and checking on our sheep herd up in the hill

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feeding our rabbits

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 eating waffles…

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coping with pranks…

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and inventing pranks..

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To me the best about the farm is its peace and location, it is a perfect place to stop and think for a while, far away from other things I give importance in life. When I’m here it’s like the world outside is put on hold. It’s easier to be present and to pay attention to other people’s best interest rather than my own. Besides, it is a gift to be let in to the students’ life histories, dreams and self-development, and I’m humbly aware of how time here means empowering self-development for me too.

Here there is plenty of time for walks in the forest…

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cuddle pets

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and do yoga on the beach.. 🙂

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playing with my family

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having visitors from abroad

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taking the boat out ‘to sea’…

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Enough said! As you understand I can’t wait to suck in another 4 weeks here.

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Don’t take/ get taken for granted

One of the main factors contributing to the downfall of long term relationships or marriages is being taken for granted. After a while, all of the things that made you feel special, wonderful, and unique are now simply accepted as standard features in your relationship. Sometimes it comes to a point where even a small lapse from your usual behavior is held against you. Although this is not the most pleasant feeling to deal with, this is completely normal and expected in relationships.

ImageIn fact, it’s a demonstration of habituation, something that is not going away in a relationship unless it is addressed. If you have ever taken your spouse, partner, or family member for granted then it will absolutely affect your relationship in a negative manner. No one likes to be taken for granted, and very few people will put up with it for a lengthy period of time.

ImageNothing makes people feel more on top of the world than the feeling of being acknowledged, appreciated, and valued. When relationships are fresh and young, there is always a sense of excitement, admiration, and affection. We say nice compliments to each other, we spend a lot of time together, and we appreciate even the smallest things done for us. We naturally just make an extra effort for that special one.

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However, after a while, relationships exit the “honeymoon phase” and become relatively stagnant. Why do we lose our sense of appreciation, and how can we get it back? There are multiple ways that we can take our significant others for granted; the following are just a few examples: We can take our roles as partners, parents, or guardians more seriously than their role. For instance, we think our contributions at work and with family are more significant than our partners, and that our work is not acknowledged enough. In addition, many of us forget to say please and thank you after your partner cooks, cleans, does the dishes, or does some other act of kindness.

ImageSometimes, we even fail to say how lucky or fortunate we are to have each other in our lives. Often times, we become demanding and treat our partners differently than our friends or family because we expect too much of them. We may speak of them or speak to them in a disrespectful way, hurting their feelings. Finally, we tend to expect certain things within our own household, like dinner being ready, or the house being cleaned every week.

The following are some tips to keep you from being taken for granted:

1. First of all, don’t forget to things for yourself – Many people think that they should make certain efforts solely for your partner, spouse, or family members. However, as generous as this sounds, it leads to nothing but a negative result. If you are putting all your energy into others, you are guaranteed to be upset and disappointed when others do not appreciate your efforts. Be sure to tell yourself, “I’m doing this only for myself, this is what I want to do!” Although this may sound selfish, it is necessary to take some time for yourself and do things that make you happy. No one else has to notice your actions, or send compliments your way, because it is benefiting your own self-growth!

2. Be sure to reward yourself – It is possible that your partner or spouse isn’t giving you much credit, but you can certainly give yourself credit to boost your self-esteem. Whenever you accomplish a goal, or finish a difficult task, reward yourself and get some satisfaction!

3. Verbally express your appreciation for what your partner/spouse does – The best advice to remain a happy couple is to appreciate what your partner or spouse does on a daily basis. In other words, if you want others to be respectful towards you, you need to be respectful towards others. Also, if you feel like you have to push yourself to feel thankful for what others are doing, remind yourself that that is what they typically have do for you, which will ease resentment between the two of you.

4Being taken for granted is a form of praise – Although it doesn’t always feel the best to be taken for granted and under-appreciated, you can always use reverse psychology to turn it into a compliment. It is true that the more reliable, patient, and friendly you are, the more likely you are going to be taken for granted.

ImageBeing taken advantage of isn’t something abnormal in a relationship, it is actually a sign of habituation and comfort. Unless it is addressed specifically, it is not going to change, so it is best to work with it than to battle against it. Many people believe that once you exit the “honeymoon phase,” it’s inevitable to regain that special bond back between a couple. However, we each have total control of our actions and thoughts, therefore, we can learn to appreciate our significant others’ actions, which will regain the strong bond back. If you make the active decision to be grateful for your spouse or partner, it will automatically improve the relationship. Not only is this the right thing to do, but it strengthens your relationship and makes you feel worthy again.

If both partners feel like they have a purpose, and both partners are willing to put forth the effort, then your relationship will thrive!

NB! This article is taken (and slightly modified) from this site by the counseling corner Nancy Travers.

I won’t regret a thing

Do you remember that beautiful article that went viral around a year ago concerning the five things dying people regret? Representing a summary of a book by a nurse called Bronnie Ware who worked in palliative care for years, caring for elderly and dying people the twelve last months of their life, it briefly explains the five main topics Ware found that almost all dying people had in common to think most about.

Her unique position allowed her to speak to the elderly and dying about what they would have done differently in life, now well aware of its meaning, looking back at the many years alive.

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Because of its simple honesty and logic, the article really moved me, like most cases regarding similar topics do. But also because it underlines a rather common universal truth that we, the alive – hopefully with more years to live –  can approach and learn from.

The five things people most often said they regretted were:

  1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, not the life others expected of me.
  2. I wish I didn’t work so hard.
  3. I wish I’d had the courage to express my feelings.
  4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
  5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.

You can find the explanations to all of them here.

Also, I find this article that builds on Bronnie’s findings, very inspirational for further thoughts about how to embrace living in order to not regret a thing.

Burning Man here we come!

So hold the press motha f’ers: FINALLY IT’S CONFIRMED: WE ARE GOING TO BURNING MAN!

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photo creds: dailymail.co.uk

Oh God, how I’ve wanted this so badly for so long!! And as I wrote about a time ago, my long time beloved, yet distant, thus missed friend, Monika from Canada is FINALLY getting married to her Tom in the US mid September, which gives us the perfect opportunity to do a much wanted West-coast journey prior to the wedding, and maybe some more traveling in the region afterwards. As Burning man happens in the transaction of August / September, we instantly started dreaming about and planning how to for once get there.

Thing is with Burning man, tickets are sold out ages ago, and left overs or second hand tickets aren’t as easy to get for this fest as for many others. However. Thanks to my man’s industry contacts we didn’t even have to suffer much to get the tickets, because yesterday we got two left overs confirmed! I am soooo happy and excited and  just spent the morning reading advices for fresh men, looking at house cars, masks and bikes, temperatures etc.

So. What is so special with Burning man? As said on their official website; “trying to explain what Burning Man is to someone who has never been to the event is a bit like trying to explain what a particular color looks like to someone who is blind”... Fair enough.

That around 30,000 people leave their homes in order to live for a week or more in the middle of the dessert, far away from cities, shops, traffic and a hectic society, where the day is as hot as the nights are cold, may be weird to some. However, community is the word. The need to escape perhaps, but if so, with a desire of creativity, alternative life style or a more meaningful way of spending time on this planet. With a will to share love and open-mindedness with others. “Burners” as they are called after having been once, will never be the exact same person again, many claim.

Hah! Well, bring it on, I’m ready.

Personally since I discovered the festival through some random Norwegian media articles, I’ve kept an eye on Burning man, dreaming of once attending, mean while getting updated on the fest yearly through blogs, pictures and stories among friends that have been there..

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What happens during Burning man is that “once a year, tens of thousands of participants gather in Nevada’s Black Rock Desert to create Black Rock City, dedicated to community, art, self-expression, and self-reliance. They depart one week later, having left no trace whatsoever”.

I mean, look at this:

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photo creds: festivalfling.com

One of the reasons of its success, as well as its uniqueness is that “Burning Man isn’t your usual festival, with big acts booked to play on massive stages. In fact, it’s more of a city than a festival, wherein almost everything that happens is created entirely by its citizens, who are active participants in the event”.

I like! All sounds very much like Responsible Travel and Consumption to me.

Still keen to learn more?

Here are the festival’s ten principles, as seen on the official website.

Radical Inclusion
Anyone may be a part of Burning Man. We welcome and respect the stranger. No prerequisites exist for participation in our community.

Gifting
Burning Man is devoted to acts of gift giving. The value of a gift is unconditional. Gifting does not contemplate a return or an exchange for something of equal value.

Decommodification
In order to preserve the spirit of gifting, our community seeks to create social environments that are unmediated by commercial sponsorships, transactions, or advertising. We stand ready to protect our culture from such exploitation. We resist the substitution of consumption for participatory experience.

Radical Self-reliance
Burning Man encourages the individual to discover, exercise and rely on his or her inner resources.

Radical Self-expression
Radical self-expression arises from the unique gifts of the individual. No one other than the individual or a collaborating group can determine its content. It is offered as a gift to others. In this spirit, the giver should respect the rights and liberties of the recipient.

Communal Effort
Our community values creative cooperation and collaboration. We strive to produce, promote and protect social networks, public spaces, works of art, and methods of communication that support such interaction.

Civic Responsibility
We value civil society. Community members who organize events should assume responsibility for public welfare and endeavor to communicate civic responsibilities to participants. They must also assume responsibility for conducting events in accordance with local, state and federal laws.

Leaving No Trace
Our community respects the environment. We are committed to leaving no physical trace of our activities wherever we gather. We clean up after ourselves and endeavor, whenever possible, to leave such places in a better state than when we found them.

Participation
Our community is committed to a radically participatory ethic. We believe that transformative change, whether in the individual or in society, can occur only through the medium of deeply personal participation. We achieve being through doing. Everyone is invited to work. Everyone is invited to play. We make the world real through actions that open the heart.

Immediacy
Immediate experience is, in many ways, the most important touchstone of value in our culture. We seek to overcome barriers that stand between us and a recognition of our inner selves, the reality of those around us, participation in society, and contact with a natural world exceeding human powers. No idea can substitute for this experience.

Ha! To be continued then 😉

Bridges for Music at Sonar 2013

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Few people would have expected to see Richie Hawtin, Luciano and Skrillex in the same panel discussing social responsibility within EDM (Electronic Dance Music), but that is what people got last Friday at Sonar. The three electronic musical icons were invited to talk about their involvement and experiences with the project of Bridges for Music in South Africa together with the organisation’s director, Valentino Barrioseta. For the lattter it was of course like a dream coming true; seldom have I seen his eyes sparkle as much as this day. 😉

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As I lived the experiences up-close together with the above mentioned men and their crews (told in previous posts here), the excitement of seeing them gathered to present it at a festival like Sonar was huge. Considering the full schedules these guys have one can only imagine how much they’ve traveled since February/ March in South Africa.. Thus some days prior to the conference V and I talked about whether it could seem difficult for them to recall how they perceived the special atmosphere during the township events and express it ‘live’. Additionally we were excited to see how many people would appear.

Thumbs up! Despite of being held in English only, the conference attracted over 200 people and what we knew already we just got confirmed again; Rich, Lucien and Sonny are all highly passionate and professional artists that know well how to engage with their audience. From the very beginning they shared their personal reasons for believing in the project and told various anecdotes surrounding their involvement.

Eager to share the moment we posted many quotes directly to Twitter. Have a look:

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It was indeed touching and inspiring to hear the way Rich, Lucien and Sonny talked about their experiences and motivation for the project’s future. And after the screening of this video, I spotted that more than one person was indicating the appearing goose bumps on their arms.

Have you not seen it yet? Then have a look.

If this interests you, please make sure to like Bridges for Music on Facebook and follow the project on Twitter. I can assure you a lot of cool stuff is to come from that side!

Cheerio

Why love festivals

The internet has revolutionized the world in many ways; one being the way we’ve shared and got access to new music. But whilst file downloading facilities for long has been an issue of concern in the music industry because music artists earn a lot less on album sales than what used to be the case, the new paradigm for music sharing has indeed contributed to many positive trends; like for instance the clear increase in live music events.

Think about it. Today’s musicians can share, promote and sell their art via the internet in so many new ways at the same time as they deliver it all in person to their audiences in terms of concerts. Because indeed, the new paradigm has led to new music events popping up, and old ones becoming even more popular. And then I’m particularly speaking about festivals.

As a devoted concert- and festival goer since my early childhood I’m personally very thrilled about this development. And I’m not saying that solely from a hedonistic point of view, but out of the strong belief that we all earn on a world where competition within art sectors is more fair. People become better and happier in a world where we more often get together to enjoy art, created by many more artists because it generates new sources for inspiration and creativity as well as an increased feeling of community.

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Therefore I’ve put together 4 reasons why to LOVE festivals:

1. Festivals cultivate a special type of atmosphere. Festivals are massive events, they become experiences. Think about it, if you go see Coldplay on their own, for example, you might go with one or two friends, you might have a good time, and then the whole thing’s over in two hours. But if you go to a festival, you spend the entire weekend surrounded by a (bigger) group of friends and tens of thousands “alike” people and there are plenty of concerts to choose from.

2. Festivals are great places to discover newer artists. At a regular concert, you go because you know and like that band and want to see it, but at festivals the lineup is varied and really diverse. You can read about unknown bands and go to their set and discover new acts.

3. Festivals offer several alternatives to music acts for peoples’ get-together and inspiration, and cater for more diverse group of people. This means you are more likely to meet many interesting people (like yourself) on a festival. Hours spent in your camp, in toilet- and food & beer queues often means new friendships, or at least a fun flirt and timely deep random conversation with people you don’t know. And trust me, many of these talks wouldn’t be as natural to get into while queuing for an ATM on any high street during a working day. Because people relax and loose up when at a festival. This is what I refer to with ‘the feeling of community’.

4. Lastly, festivals are good for the economy – many ways. Recently I read that according to Steve Baltin from Rolling Stone magazine, the trend of festivals selling out earlier and earlier each year is a reflection of how people are watching their spending these days. He said that “due to recession people don’t have a lot of money, and the economy is struggling, therefore people rather spend $300 to go see 50 bands and get a feel for everything, or go spend $70 to see one of these headlining bands on their own”. I’m not a victim for recession, but follow that strategy anyway, because I feel I get much more value for the money.

Besides, how many concerts have you seen organised as non-profit events? Not many, right. What I early on loved with festivals like Roskilde and Glastonbury is their non-profit structure and choices of worthy causes. I’m confident that this attracts certain people and energies that we have to keep finding place for in this capitalistic world…

Here’s to a very happy festival summer!

 

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Please note: This post is also published on www.RhythmTravels.com