Sometimes very little is needed to have a positive impact in the world. Take for example the act of buying bottled water. How annoying can that be? No matter how much information there is about it – there might be many reasons why many people are still uninformed, and keep going on with the same destructive behavior.
Recently I got invited to the facebook group “Drick kranvatten för i helvete!” (“Drink tap water dam it!”) which reminded me about the topic. Little did I know that Swedes drink 260m liters bottled water per year. We import 180m liters (350% more than 5 years ago!) and export 30m liters (that’s an interesting exchange)! Maybe the graphic display below can help understand the impact of it (click to see the complete picture). If you don’t trust your tap water – get a water pitcher with a filtration system!
When visiting a restaurant in the bay area in December, I for the first time saw the sign on the table saying: “Water is Precious on California’s Central Coast. Limited water supplies make it necessary to serve water only when you request it. If you would like a glass of water, please ask. Thank you”. Never before have I been that mindful about the water I drank. I’m sure I wasn’t the only one to make sure to stay and finish that precious glass of water.
My personal wake up call was a while back when I (driving around with a 12-pack of bottled water in my car) got the comment from a friend in the fashion of a clear statement: “Buying water is dodgy”. Simple as that.
“Många bäckar små blir till en stor å.” as we say in Swedish – “Many small brooks will form a big river.” How can you make a difference?
I hardly put my toe on the land of San Francisco before I took off again… this time to a very pleasant weekend, skiing in Jackson Hole. A long planed 60th birthday celebration that was out of this world.
Great weather conditions, snow soft as feathers, mountain guide and back-country skiing, ski race, dinner at the cowboy’s mansion, lunch on the top of the mountain… Three Swedes in a suite – upgraded rooms at Four Season’s. Hot tub and warmed up ski boots… All together with thirty very nice friends and family members of the birthday boy. As he expressed himself: “At this point in my life – what matters most are friends and family – and what could be a better way celebrating my birthday together with you, in a place that I have always wanted to go to, doing what I really love.” How lucky am I to take part of this.
I was thinking with a smile of my previous outstanding ski memory, having been a “wanna-be-ski-baum” for three weeks in the Alps exactly ten years ago. The situation was slightly different then. The skiing was still outstanding in Chamonix; instead of the mountain guide we made friends with the ski movie photographer and the ski equipment designers. Instead of Four Seasons we were up to four adults in a tiny studio – my mattress leaned towards the wall daytime, to take its place in the hallway nighttime. The only floor room that was free. (“If there is room in the heart, there is room for a butt” as we say in Swedish… of course we can squeeze in one more.) Together with great people – thank you Charlotte and Mark – and a memory for life.
It’s not about money – you can make a lot of things happen even with a small budget. And as long as you share of what you have, you will get so much more in return. If I could pull off such a celebration though when I turn 60, I would be happy to. I’ll save some for my 90th too, and do a dear repeat skiing with the grand kids. 😉
Apropos skiing – I like what the mountain guide said: “Why do we ski? It’s a perfect way to get peace of mind. To fully shut out the internal conversation in the mind and be truly present.” Such a gift in this moment of time. Dancing in the white room with the mountains – joy for my soul. There couldn’t have been a better segway back to “normal” again. So…
Tullinge – the beautiful home where I grew up, where I as a 6 year old imagined living until I was 90 (seemed somewhat resistant to change of what I liked…). By then I would still have two long braids (I would never cut my hair short), wear black leather pants (my cousin who I looked so much up to had those), still be a practicing Idla girl (really – it would be possible!), and take my grand kids skiing. I was going to be an iron grandma. In a cool way.
I used to look back at that picture and smile at myself – cute thoughts by a young little girl – but reflecting over it now, I still kind of like it! The essence of preserving the connection to the roots, good self-care, a little danger or spice in life, dance, passing on knowledge and activities that has enriched my life to younger generations and be active with my grand kids. How do you see yourself towards the end of your life?
All I know is that dreams do manifest. Reality may end up slightly different, the road there might not be what you imagined, but dreams do manifest.
An addition to my imagination was that my brother who had a great eye for design and architecture would build his own designed house on the same piece of land. The reality is that he and his wife just bought his dream house next to my parents. Fascinating…
Coming home, there is nothing much that has changed in the neighborhood, apart from a few new houses. Quite a few. It’s really beautiful with the dramatic mountain with a historic landmark from the Iron Age overlooking the lake. The majority of the neighbors are still living there. Younger generations have returned. Arne’s Livs for groceries has turned into Sabis. There is one really nice addition to the stores in “Centrum”. Auntie. A design and antique gift store with mostly Swedish and Danish design, right next to the library.
I bought a new doormat with the text “äntligen hemma” – finally home. It makes me smile when I arrive at the door. Of course I bought two – one for my U.S. home, and one for my Swedish. Making my current dream manifest…
In the moment of leaving Sweden after my fathers passing sadness came over me. Sitting in the airplane, sending a last text message to my mom thanking for the ride to the airport and expressing my love and support to her the tears came to my eyes. The crying came like a wave over me and I was doing my best to hide it sitting by the window and breath through it – but it’s not easy to be quiet when you are hulking like a baby trying to get air…
Stillness came. Thoughts, impressions and memories of the last 7 weeks flashed by. And then emptiness. I tried to think ahead, what is waiting in San Francisco, start the creation of a new business… During the whole process of my fathers last weeks, the energy was still high, or constant, the ideas for the future came left and right – I was sharing some of them with my dad and he said “That is great, if you can make it happen”. Now I could see all the ideas, people, possible partners, supporters, meetings etc in a distance – knowing the existence – but there was no energetic connection.
I pulled myself together, wiped by eyes, took a deep breath and glanced to the right – there was a couple sitting next to me. I noticed and thought: “Interesting – she is using The Book”. And then I fell asleep. That helped.
The couple sitting next to me turned out to be teachers in music and preschool from the northern part of Sweden, currently working with music and cafeteria for the Swedish Church in New York, living in the top of the same building at East 48th and 5th avenue. They had done similar jobs over the summer breaks a few times at other places in Europe, and thought it would be an interesting break with 2 years on Manhattan… I love it. I’m sure their story inspires other people to do something similar if the interest is there. Break out from the normal rythm for a period – so life enriching, and totally possible.
I had to ask about that Book. The Book that is the inspiration to my software idea. I have heard about it, I have seen it in the stores, I have used it, I have given it away – but I haven’t seen anyone actually use it. Maybe because you prefer to do it in your own private space. “Oh – my husband gave it to me before I got pregnant with our first child, and now I have used it every day for over 30 years! I am so picky about the one I buy, so last time I wrote on blank sheets for almost six months before I found a version that I liked and meet my needs”. A smile came to my face and I felt a little candle was lit. I told her about my idea, and she said “Funny that you say that – while writing today the thought came to me for the first time: How would it be if I wrote this on a computer”. I choose to claim: it’s a sign.
Layover in Newark and I had to charge my iPhone. Somehow I got contact with the guy at the power station who was just about done charging his Mac Book. Since mine was out of battery and the family’s dear puppy had bitten the power cord in two pieces, I kindly asked to borrow his for a few minutes. Another fellow Swedish traveler in need came and asked if he may borrow the USB port in my computer to charge his phone. And sure – life is about give and take – it all works out in the end! My savior was the drummer for Rob Thomas, on the way to tour Australia. When he heard I came from Sweden he got a dream like expression on his face with a big smile and said “Memories from Sweden…” They had played at a MTV Europe Gala at Hilton in Stockholm a few years ago. I know Sweden is outstanding. Still – it is not the first time I see that expression on a guys face thinking back to the visit in Sweden like if it was heaven on earth. It makes me feel like there is something I am missing…
During the small hours at home I woke up early due to jetlag and thought – who is that Rob Thomas anyway? Smiling when I found out – I’m so funny – I love music, it moves me, I promote it, sing it, listen to it, dance to it – it makes me high – still: I don’t mean to be ignorant, but I don’t know many of the artists or groups names. Must be information overflow or something. But who hasn’t danced to “Smooth” – Gimme your heart, make it real, Or else forget about it…
When searching on youtube I found another sweet song by Rob Thomas: Little Wonders.
Let it go
Let it roll right off your shoulder
Don’t you know
The hardest part is over
Let it in
Let your clarity define you
In the end
You will only just remember how it feels
Our lives are made
In these small hours
These little wonders
These twists and turns of fate
Time falls away,
But these small hours
These small hours
Let it slide
Let your troubles fall behind you
Let it shine,
Till you feel it all around you
And I don’t mind
If it’s me you need to turn to
We’ll get by
It’s the heart that really matters in the end
What are the little wonders in your day, if you think about it?