It is a Big Deal

 

A true artist knows that no matter how hard they try, how many hours they put in to reach perfection, to perfect themselves as tools to express that which they experience.

No matter what people think, or how much they praise them.

No matter what they create, even in moments where they feel like they are just in the right place at the right time not knowing what really happened.

Even in these circumstances, they know that they will never do it justice.

They know that they will never succeed completely.

But. A true artist, despite knowing all this, tries anyway. They have to.

They try, again and again and again. Nothing else matters. Nothing has a higher priority. Nothing can even compare.

They will never reach perfection.

But we have to give them credit for trying.

Because it is a Big Deal.

 

Bob Dylan

 

Everyone knows who Bob Dylan is. His songs has been played over and over again, in thousands of versions by himseld and by others. He is a legend that despite his soon 70 years still gets up on stage and plays.
No matter what you think of his music, he has a big influence on and changed what we call music.

When I decided to stay longer here in California than I had first planned I had the oppurtunity to go with my friends to Lake Tahoe on the border between California and Nevada to see him play live. An oppurtunity I didn’t want to miss.
Despite that everyone knows who Dylan is, I recognize a lot of his early stuff, I have never really paid attention to his music.
But Dylan is still playing, is still recording. Never giving up. To continue, year after year, for over 50 years must mean that he clearly still loves what he does.

I have always listened to the music first and the lyrics later. Often I have no idea what the lyrics are about with music I have listened too. Because of this, it is kind of easy to not get stuck on Dylan, because his early stuff, is musically fairly simple. It is together with the lyrics that they reach new proportions.
So, to get something out of the concert, I sat down and listened to his music from the early 60’s to the last album that was released last year, 2009. I read the texts, watch documentaries, interviews and his scrapbook from his early years.

You can say what you want about this guy. The concert was not the best I’ve seen, mostly because I only recognized a few songs.

But this man is a genious.

 

Crater Lake

 

Me and Joy got in the car yesterday morning and headed up north, three hours in the car to Crater Lake. A lake formed within a volcano that erupted 7700 years ago and created a huge crater. Now it’s the center of attention in a national park with high peaks surrounding the lake in an astonishing environment with trails, camping and a rich animal life.

A small chipmunk run around like crazy in front of us when we stop, posing to my camera, completely without fear. They are probably used to being fed, or they are eager to get famous.

You never know nowadays.

It seems to be a very popular place for tourists to come, it’s packed with people, cars moving along the narrow roads around the rim. Wherever you stop you meet other people breathing the cold, fresh air and enjoying this unique place.

Feeding chipmunks who wants to get famous.

10 Kilometers

 

A year ago I decided to run 10 kilometers. Something I had never done before, and something I never thought I could do either. 10 kilometers is pretty far.
I set up an excersise schedule starting in may and ending in mid August at the midnight race through Stockholm.

In the end of July I ran 10 kilometers.

It felt like breaking out of a prison, suddenly I felt light like a feather. I didn’t stop running, but continued for another three and a half kilometers.
When finally I had broken through that mental barrier I had constructed, that said that ten kilometers is a long run, more than I could handle, there was nothing stopping me. I could just as well continue.
The last five weeks, I have run 15 kilometers, two to three times a week.
It’s hard work, but not a big deal.

It’s the mental barriers that is the problem. The stories we keep telling ourselves and believing in that stops us from trying. The important things are not the details, but our attitude.
With the right attitude we can do anything.
When hiring people in the past, I have always paid more attention to attitude than technical skills. You can teach people accounting, bartending, programming or an instrument. But to change their attitude to make that possible, that can take a life time.

That’s how it was when i decided to do this trip. When the decision was made, everything fell into place almost seemlessly. When I had finally gotten started, everything has been moving on without much of a problem. Sure, I wasn’t happy to end up in a hospital in India, but it really didn’t bother me that much.
There has been many important decisions to be made during this trip, but in the end it is so much easier than you think.
The important thing is to make the decision. To tell yourself Yes, with determination, knowing that whatever happens, you are going to do this. When that decision is made, everything falls into place. It doesn’t mena you don’t feel fear or anxiety, or that things can’t go wrong, but with the right attitude you just get up again after falling and keep on going.

It is that simple. Yet we spend most of our lives telling ourselves that it is impossible because of thousand different reasons. But if we realize that we are just making up excuses to ourselves because we really don’t want to do it or because we are too scared, we can also see through these excuses and reach the place where we say Yes! Where we make the decision.

I’m not saying you have to run ten kilometers or go travelling. I’m just saying that what we want to do but think we can’t, we can do.
And when we have made the decision.

Then the difficult part is already done.

We have already reached our goal.

11 September

 

It’s a hot day, the air is dry, the sprinkler is making the green grass moist one drop at a time. That which is turning yellow, remains green. Butterflies is circling the garden, flies is circling around me, but they don’t disturb me. Behind me, in the woods, I can hear the creek finding it’s way down to Etna.
Today is 9/11. A day that means alot in this country. There are rumours about burning the Quran, people are upset, memories are cherishe and re-lived today of something that happened almost nine years ago. Something that changed the world and mostly this countries foundation.
It’s sad to see that people can never accept eachothers differences, respecting that everyone do things in their own way and that that is good. Why do people get so upset talking politics? Why does someone elses beliefs upset others so much?

We think we can control our lives, hur things turn out, we think we have that power. We think that if we can’t use that power, if things doesn’t turn out the way we want them to, things will go to hell. We are so constantly afraid of things getting worse and worse.

But if you look at your life right now. Exactly like it is right now. Not ten minutes ago, not an hour from now, just now. You most likely do not have any problems.
If you had, you wouldn’t take yourself the time to write or read something like this.

Right?

You would be in full action to solve your problems. Taking care of things.

The fact is though, that most of our days, we don’t have problems. But if we start following our thoughts, thinking about things that has been or that might be, we see a lot of problems. That is the way we are used to living.

Focus on the problems.

But when you are here, right now. When you are just being. You don’t have any problems. Then you can sit down, listen to the creek flowing down the hills, butterflies jumping from one flower to another and enjoy the heat that is still here in September.

I’m not saying that 9/11 didn’t mean terror for a lot of people. But it seems like a lot of people like to continue that terror, day in, day out. It feeds our suffering, it justifies our hatred, strengthening our identity as the righteous ones in the struggle against “the others”.
It turns every day into suffering.

Isn’t it better to stop focusing on the bad?

I am not saying we have not been hurt, we have all been sometime in our lives. The question is how you deal with it. We all know people who handle it by constantly thinking about it, hanging on to it and reminding ourselves how we were hurt and by whom. These people are seldom very fun to hang out with.

You can choose between being right or being happy.

You can’t have both.

Real

 

 

It’s weird.

I don’t know if is a lot more common here in the U.S. than in Europe really, but if you buy a fruit smoothie, it says on the package “contains real fruit”. Many packages has the words “contains real and artificial flavorings”.

Shouldn’t it be the opposite? When did artificial become the norm?

It should be mandatory to put on the label when the raspberries in your yoghurt is not raspberries instead of proudly tell that the raspberries you are eating are actual berries.

In Thailand we bought a pack of ice cream that you could hardly eat, and after one hour, in 35 degrees, it still hadn’t melted.

How can a pack of bread be in room temperature for three weeks without getting moldy?

Are you really sure that the cheese you eat is really cheese and not a specially produced type of fat with cheese flavors?

How can the chicken breasts you buy be large as airplanes?

There should be a label when something is not authentic:

“This burger is made, 60% of genetically modified cornstarch and full of flavours that has nothing to do with either meat or vegetables. If you should find yourself, in 20 years, having chromosomal abnormalities, weird unheard of diceases or if you die a painful and early death, we promise to refund you the $6 you paid. Promise!”.

At least you know the risks.

Now we just have to accept the fact that the food we eat is created by chemists in a lab without extensive research into it’s side effects.

That is insane.

 

Seattle

 

I was in Seattle over the weekend. After an eleven hour roadtrip, hyperactive on Red Bull and aching ears after listening to music almost all the way, I rolled into the city almost an hour late. For you not in the U.S. It was Labor Day here on monday, meaning that a lot of people fled the city friday afternoon for an extended holiday. In that traffic jam I got stuck just out of Portland, holding me back for more than an hour driving around the city.
Looking at the traffic only, you would think millions live in these two cities, but the cities themselves are smaller than Stockholm. It’s just that everyone drive cars.

On Saturday, Emily, my couchsurfing host, took me and some of her friends to Bottle House, a local wineproducer and restaurant.
Emily ordered a cheese and meat platter and got the question if she wanted the “three cheese, two meat experience?”.

It is the sign of the times.

We no longer order cheese and meat for eating. We buy an experience.

Experience or no experience. It was good.

Besides wine, cheese and salami, over the weekend we had quite a few nice beers, board games and I got introduced to the hysterical tv-series of 30 Rock.

Seattle is famous for it’s unpredictable weather, unlike California, but there was actually a few really nice days. The eleven hour drive back to California was rainy though. This time I only had three Red Bulls, så my hands was not shaking as much as on the way up north.