Colorful San José

I will never stop showing you the colors of a place.

I will always ask you to stop and smell the flowers.

Orchids  

Orchids  

Some journeys are long, hot, dusty and tiring. But if you lift your eyes, maybe you'll find a plant nursery next to the dirty high way; a place filled with orchids and whispers of life. And maybe that will make you smile again. 

San Jose  

San Jose  

As I've mentioned before, Few travelers enjoy big cities (unless that's their aim of the trip) and even fewer like the necessary visit(s) to Costa Rica's capital San Jose. Next time you come, why not stay in the old historic neighborhood Barrio Amón or Aranjuez. And when you're there, why not stroll around the old buildings, enjoying the architecture and the art covering the walls of this area. And maybe you'll find a secret world hidden within green walls and trees and maybe you find a new favorite cafe in the corner of a street you haven't been on before. And maybe you also find the way to mama earth's delicious gifts at Fería Verde.

 

And if you still haven't seen the arts, colors and flowers of San Jose, this oasis is the place to soak it all in. It is here where I ask you to stop and smell the flowers. And while you sip your Costa Rican coffee with cashew milk, enjoy the colorful smiles around you.

 

where do you find flowers in your city?  

Feria Verde

Feria Verde

 

Hemma bra och hemma bäst

The following story is in Swedish. Coming stories will be in English or Swedish, hopefully with a summary in the other language. More on Costa Rica --->

Local artist Kristel :"I am happy to be who I am " 

Local artist Kristel :"I am happy to be who I am " 

 

I bambubuskaget framför mig har två stora träd knäckts på mitten och fallit över ett odlingsområde med örter. Tukanerna flyger högt men deras skrik hörs som vore de mitt i trädgården. En liten mörkblå kolibri tar en paus på en trädgren intill huset och på solstolen ligger husets vilda husdjur Bloom och tar igen sig efter dagens ödlejakt. Djungelns tystnad skapas av en kaskad av ljud; som om alla djur sjunger tillsammans med träden och omfamnar mig så att jag också hamnar i samma meditativa frekvens. 

"Jag tror många som hamnar här är lite rotlösa på något sätt", säger min man som täljer på en pinne. 

Att balansera två fysiska hemplatser är många gånger en krävande akt, även att jag gjort det större delen av mitt liv på olika vis. Ju längre man varit på ett ställe ju mer utmanande blir omställningen till det nya. Även när det nya är familjärt. 

Att komma till Sverige har alltid varit kulturellt utmanande för mig. Människor vill gärna hålla sig till sitt och sina och jag känner hur lätt det är att sluta hjärtat bland pengastress och kravillusioner. Jag sluter ögonen och önskar från djupet av min själ att jag kan bidra till ett mer öppenhjärtigt samhälle oavsett var jag är i världen. "Men varför bor alla så långt ifrån varandra", suckar jag högt. 

Det kommer jag nog aldrig vänja mig vid. 

Å andra sidan kommer jag nog aldrig riktigt vänja mig vid de stora ludna spindlar som med jämna mellanrum dyker upp bland kastrullerna. Idag var den ena grytan beslagtagen av en sex-benig kamrat. Fem cm i diameter. Fot till fot alltså. 

Men visst är här lätt att "fastna" och man finner ett eget sätt att bli vän med alla de varelser som delar djungeln som sitt hem. Skogen är inte bara meditativ men djupt jordande och jag tror det ligger något verkligt i det min man uttryckte. I puerto viejo samlas människor från jordens alla håll och när jag går genom den lilla byn träffar jag flera av mina goda vänner med bakgrund från Holland, USA, Italien, andra delar av landet eller här i Karibien. 

En gemytlig community har skapats i den lilla karibiska kustbyn baserat på mötet av alla dessa kulturer. Vi lever självklart inte i en utopi utan mörka baksidor men jag ser ett verkligt försök till förändring i Costa Ricas fattigaste del tack vare gemenskapen. 

Fladdermössen börjar cirkulera ovanför mitt huvud och Bloom lyfter uttråkat ena ögat för att sedan gäspa stort. Klockan börjar närma sig sex på kvällen och mörkret kryper närmare. På avstånd hörs grannen spela smörig latinamerikansk dansmusik på en orimligt hög volym. Syrsorna tar över tukanernas skri och jag går in i huset för att äta bönor och ris. 

 

 

Bloom chasing lizard

Stories from the North

In the tradition I study and practice, Mexica, the direction North gives teachings about transformation, death, re-birth, ancestral memories and wisdom from our grandfathers and ancestors. The past few years during the peak summer month July in Sweden, I travel to the edge of this direction: our family house in the far north. Situated in Sapmí and the Swedish Lapland, just east of the World Heritage Laponia, this truly is the far north. Reindeers show us the way as the car drives further and further along the empty roads in the forest. The outback and wilderness of Sweden live precisely here.

Every year I go with my sisters and brothers, blood or heart family or both. This year, Hubby and I went on a long road trip to get there. It amazes me that every year I long for the tranquility, the wild rivers and deep forests surrounding the mountains and it seems I have forgotten about the Story of the North. Every year I seem to forget about the hardship of North’s transformational journey. Or, most likely, that is why I go. To remember. To transform.

The trip itself is a long and, in many ways, challenging one of about 1700 kms. Last year, as some might remember, my partner and I hitchhiked and tried to find various cheap options to travel thru Sweden. We crisscrossed the country with free rental cars, local buses and trains to get here. Previous years, I’ve taken the over-night train or driven all the way with only a few bathroom stops. This year was a compromise with driving divided into smaller journeys. Upon arrival, everybody always gives a sigh of relief, happiness and gratitude that we made it. And then we rest. For several days we rest, with some occasional sauna bathing in between. After about four days the restlessness arrives. It takes over the entire body by allowing tiredness to linger while heaviness starts to make room in the emotional, mental and physical body.

remains of a Sami Kåta (tipi), with the fire in the center

remains of a Sami Kåta (tipi), with the fire in the center

One year, I tried to cure this restlessness by going for a run. It was a late summer afternoon, still warm and bright as daylight as I tied my shoes and went off. Outside the house runs one narrow dirt road and I figured it was best to simply follow it for a few kilometers and then turn around or I would get lost. After a couple of minutes, my skin was warm and moist, attracting mosquitos from the nearby village but I decided to keep going. Running the restlessness away. Suddenly, I see a big four-legged mammal some 300 meters in front of me! In the middle of the road, it stood staring at me. I tried to determine weather it was a moose or a reindeer, but it was too far away to tell for sure. My heart started pumping faster as I knew encountering an angry Mama Moose is nothing I wanted to do by myself in the middle of the forest (i.e. their territory!). The mosquitos bit hard, my pulse pumped and I decided to carry on (nothing could stop me in the pursuit for a cure against restlessness!). The four-legged ran into the forest before I got to see it properly but as I neared the place where it had stood I got the feeling of being observed. I slowed down again and started to listen. Nothingness. Slowly, I continued to run and turned my head to look over my shoulder. And there, in the edge of the forest it stood curiously starring at me! I jumped in surprise! Thankfully, it was a beautiful light grey reindeer that wanted to accompany me. But I had reached the point of return and instead started my way back.

Filled with mosquitos and bites by now, I ran faster while looking down at my feet in an attempt to keep them out off my eyes. Luckily, I kept my gaze at my feet as I turned onto the path towards the house and had to jump half a meter up in the air and to the right because of a fat and sun gazed snake that angrily opened its mouth and rose towards me! My instant jump made me avoid its jaws by just an inch. Back home, I went strait to the sauna to contemplate and decided that the mosquitos were reason enough not go running in this environment again.

Nowadays, I do my practice outside every morning and together with the mosquitos (sure, some mornings this might mean lighting all the incense at once) and the occasional reindeers passing by. I’ve learnt how to accept and embrace that they are too part of my practice and part of my story. But the deep and true teachings come from the hidden allegories inside the vast mountain stories; the endless forests filled with berries, the powerful rivers, and reindeer medicine, never ending daylight, the sauna and the stillness of Nature. Here lies the restlessness and all you have to do is to listen. Listen to the stories of the north.

The teachings of North are the stories of the un-imaginable amount of mosquitos and a never setting sun in summer, of the deep, dark, and cold winter, and of the dark energies that rest here. Dark energies coming from the history of the land(s), from our collective ancestral memory, and for me also from my ancestral blood linage memory. Here, in the silence between the mountains, death is always present. Few of the original habitants remain as they one by one grow older and pass on, their kids being long gone to the city. The abandoned villages and houses become more empty each day. Empty with stories that no one cares to listen to. And every here and there, houses and trees hold the souls that refuse to travel on because they never got to tell their story. They linger on until someone listens, giving the whole area a greyish gloom of unwelcoming bitterness and perhaps a protective shield against intruders. In the midst of this, my ancestral stories come to the surface as I climb the mountain or walk the swamps. Ancestral memories from the blood linage that are planted on this land, as well as those from my own personal story that needs to be healed reveal themselves inside the restlessness, darkness and silence. And just as in Costa Rica and the Mexica tradition I turn to the Temazcal (sweat lodge) for purification and to peel of layers to refine my being, here in the North I retreat to the firewood sauna where I can hide away from mosquitos and let my body and soul heal by listening to the stories wanting to be told. Over and over again.  

Heal the Hearts

In my beloved jungle town Puerto Viejo, in Costa Rica, I’ve met many magical sisters that all inspire me through their heart’s wisdom. This story is about Flora. Flora is one of the most balanced and grounded young women I know. She is also crazy, wild and free and has a laughter that warms every inch of my body. Her gift comes from a strong heart and through the ancient wisdoms of Ayurveda she shares it with the world in her healing food at Puerto Pirata, Puerto Viejo.

Flora was born in Togo, Africa, but moved to Italy as a young child when her mom unexpectedly went missing. She grew up in Italy with her dad and sister without ever knowing what happened to her birth mother. Flora sought ways to heal her heart through ancient wisdoms such as yoga and Ayurveda but there is always that last piece of the puzzle…..

Suddenly, one day last year on the year of love – relatives from Africa reached out through Facebook, knowing where her mother is. 2015 is the year when we go out in the world to do our work, to build on our tribe, and to mend the hearts. Flora and her sister are determined to travel to Africa to meet their mom, to get answers and most of all to embrace their family so that hearts can heal.

The trip Costa Rica to Nigeria is a costly one and, so, Flora and her sister are praying to our hearts for donations so that they can make this important journey happen. Read their full story and donate here.