When does Stillness get to be still?

 

It is silent. The night is Still.
Only the wind can be heard blowing outside, turning around the corners of the house.

Stillness is guarded gently, he makes sure that peace and quiet is maintained.

But when does he get to rest? When is Stillness allowed to be really still?

 

2012 – A Magical Year

 

2011 was the year when I got back home from travelling.
You think you know the country you come from, where you grew up, but as I came back I was slumped into a reverse culture shock that took months to get used to. If you ever get used to it.

One of the consequences of my travels, was an increased passion and interest in Photography, it lead me to starting my own business, getting a few gigs and overall spending most of my spare time in various photography related projects.
I am by far not done or close to my vision, that is a good thing, because your vision constantly changes, and if I ever thought I completely fulfilled it, that would mean that it was no longer a vision, but a static image that have lost it’s life.
Most of the time, I am happy with the photos I take. Some days, I completely hate them. But every time I feel like that, I see how my mind expands and start looking at things in a new and different way.

Some days, I wake up feeling like anything could happen. And really, they can. Imagine what could happen in 2012?

This is uncharted territory, filled with fairytale creatures playing hide and seek with us. They show themselves every now and then to lure us further into the forest, until the day when we can no longer find our way out again, forced to live in this magical place forever.

A life that live itself, moving from one beautiful place to an remarkable event and on. Every year a new forest, every forest a possibility and every possibility an opportunity to see something new, feel something deeper. To look back on what has been, is to send a silent thank you, to leave things behind us and move on, deeper into the forest, get a little bit more lost. Lost, we will stumble upon what we need, not knowing we were even looking for it.

Allow 2012 to be that year. A year were we get lost and find the magical.

A magical year.

What has been for me, are these photos. They show a part of my 2011. What I have done, where I have been, What I have experiences.
Who I am.

I hope you enjoy them. And I hope you will be part of creating a magical 2012 with me.

Here’s the link: http://mathiascederholm.com/web/en/2012-ett-magiskt-ar/

 

Spotify

 

It started with iTunes not too long ago. Legal, digital music. Already back then there was opposition on all sides. Musicians not getting paid enough, scared of illegal sharing. Labels seeing their business model change and consumers having to put up with useless copy protection and lower quality than before, on something they paid for. Yet it was truly a revolution caused by illegal downloading such as Napster. When Spotify showed up about three years ago, we could see the next step in this revolution. Suddenly you could create online playlists and share them online. You could search and listen to music on the go on your cellphone without first storing it on your computer. The same debates about pros and cons are still there. Just slightly different.

But there is something in this that you seldom hear about and that is what happens when something becomes next to infinite. Even though there are limitations, they are next to nothing. Spotify market themselves as having more than fifteen million songs that you can freely listen to for about $5.
While the issue is considered to be money, about how much and when, I find myself observing a change in my behaviour. I find myself listening less and less to music on Spotify or in iTunes. To have everything at your fingertips is no longer a sense of freedom but a sense of indifference.

What I have noticed is that when something becomes free and unlimited, the same thing happens to music as with money in a state of hyperinflation. When you have it all, it’s value is depreciated.
Six months ago, I got myself a record player, bought my first vinyl record since 1993. Suddenly, music was fun again. You know that feeling you have when you’re a kid and can only afford one record and even have to save up for it. Now I find myself thinking every now and then that I should cancel my Spotify account and erase all mp3s on my computer. I probably won’t do that, it is still very convenient when you are on the move and great for finding new music. But the thought is there.

I allow myself one album per month at the most. I could get more of course, but I don’t want to. Instead I want to go down, buy a record I have been thinking about for a long time, buy it, come home and slowly open the wrapper and put it on. Hold it while the music starts. Ane Brun’s latest album, my favourite at the moment, “It All Starts With One”, is already scratched. It has a weird sound for about 30 seconds. I found it annoying and thought about getting it replaced, but now it’s part of it’s personality.
Music is no longer a throw-away thing, but something I care for. I am building a relationship with the album and its creator. I show respect to the artist and the hard work he or she has put into making it the way it is, to share a vision and a part of themselves.

In our society, limitation has become a curse word, but I look upon it as a calling to go deeper. It has turned into a kind of enjoyment and pleasure that I had forgotten in all this extravaganza.

 

Summer of 2011

 

It’s a bit late to post summer pictures in early October when the autumn chill gets to you and the northern parts of Sweden are already getting snowed in. But it is long overdue and at least, the snow has not reached this area yet, and hopefully won’t for another month at least.

Besides, it’s nice to look at pictures that seem to be taken ages ago, remember the California heat and remind yourself that although winter is approaching, it’s not going to last forever. Sooner or later, days will be bright and sunny and warm again. Even here.

This summer was the fifth time I visited California.
I have never before had an interest in visiting the U.S. at all, even though it is a very popular place to go, but it so happened that I got to know a bunch of Americans, most of them on the west coast, and when you know someone in a place, going there just makes a whole lot more sense.
I’m not much for sightseeing and except for an occasional overdose of temples or churches or old buildings at different times in my travel history, I tend to avoid typical tourist destinations. Not because they are not worth seeing, but because I find taking a random stroll around cities or other places a lot more enjoyable. I want to do what the typical resident of a place do, get a taste of the atmosphere and meet and observe locals. I have found that every city or village, every country or culture has it’s own specific flavour, and you get a taste of it simply by sitting on the curb next to the street, or having a cup of tea in a café or simply by walking the streets up and down until you get tired.

So despite having been to California five times, I still haven’t seen the Golden Gate, and out of these times, I actually only been in San Francisco once. But every year, I get to see a new part of the place. And I keep coming back, to hang out at my friends place in the middle of nowhere, to rest and chillout over a glass of wine.
When other people go sightseeing, I enjoy going places and drink abnormal amounts of tea or chat for hours about everything and nothing and do nothing.

Below are some of the pictures I took during those weeks, months back, that today feels like a long long time ago.

 

We think we need self-control

 

We think we need self-control.
Keep our desires in check. Count calories and abstain from things that are not good for us.

We have to force ourselves not to fall for temptation and we believe that people that succeed, that doesn’t gain weight, that excersize regularly, finish all their projects and live a seamless life, somehow, they have character traits we don’t have, they are more disciplined or have stronger will power.

But what if this is plain wrong? What if it is the other way around.

What if it is the fact of trying to control ourselves, forcing ourselves to abstain. Dragging ourselves to the gym even though we hate it or diet just to avoid anxiety and in the same time creating new anxiety. To force ourselves to eat “healthy” food that taste like cardboard, just because it is good for us. What if it is this behaviour that causes us to fail?

What if it is the force and fake discipline that we put ourselves under that makes us fall for temptation every time. What if our body and psyche responds to this slavery by creating a desire for sugar or pleasures that turn into bad habits, make us crave the wrong food or to avoid food altogether?
Maybe it is this force that kills our lust and joy for life and to cope with that, we crave all these things?

But, we dare not take a chance. We are so scared that if we let go there will be no end to our indulgence.
Because we have learnt from birth, that if we want results, we have to put in a lot of effort. And we use this strategy in everything we do.

What if our lives will automatically regulate itself if we just stop putting our nose where it doesn’t belong?

That must be too good to be true.

 

Postcard from London

 

Next postcard comes from my friend James in London
Me and James have known eachother through the internet since about 1997, but we met the first time in Germany in 2004.

We all have something we care for, for me it is cameras and computers, for James it is motorbikes and cars. Especially Jaguars.
Things that appear to be very different. In function as well as in size. But if you look beyond these details, there is actually very little difference. A camera or a motorbike actually have something fundamentally the same.

It is easy to forget these days, when everyone we know is running around with dslr’s, smart phones and own cars, how many centuries of technological innovation lies behind every single thing we own. How many millions of hours that is needed to build the things we use.
How many people throughout history have worked all their lives, studied, tested, failed and started all over to produce these things. What a piece of art they really are.

Yesterday, a new iPhone was announced. The iPhone 4S. And several newspapers exclaim their disappointment that they didn’t get an iPhone 5 instead. A disappointment that it hadn’t evolved more from last years release.

But we really do forget.

We forget all the work that is behind the development of a phone like this, millions of years of human evolution. Thousands of years of technological evolution.
How much effort contained in that small little thing that fits in your pocket and that does everything except frying your eggs for breakfast.
That small thing that in a few years only, has changed the way we behave. How we live our lives.
Changed the world we live in and how we look at it.

The car changed our place in the world. The camera has changed the way we look on ourselves. The smart phone has changed our social world.

Ins’t it strange then, to be disappointed?

In the end, it’s not about how many more megapixels our camera has, a better battery or how big the screen is. It is about what we can do with this tool. How it changes things for us.

This photo from James, and what it represents for him, really captures this:

 

I dont have many black and white photos – but this one I always liked – it provokes a strong feeling in me - about freedom and the unknown.
I still like to drive the car alone at night.  Going nowhere.  Just drive.  :-)  It reminds me of that.

When I first passed my test – this is in 1977 – I took my Mums car out any night she would let me and would drive around the streets long into the night – I loved to just drive around the West end – going nowhere - with an old radio on the passenger seat (the car had no radio of its own) – playing whatever music – just driving around and around.

 

 

I will wait there

 

When the going gets tough, our real friends make themselves known.
Those who stay, to weather the storm.

I have been hurt, I have hurt others.

I hold nothing against anyone, but neither do I hold myself guilty.
I will not promise to act differently in the future, just as I won’t hold on to the past.
I could promise you to never do it again, to think it through one more time.
I could promise you gold and lush forests.

But.

When we finally get there, I have absolutely no idea how I will act.
I have no idea what will actually happen.
So, if you are looking for promises and guarantees, security or someone to blame. You will find hundreds to join. Thousands looking for an ally in the cursing of an unfair world.

But, it won’t be me.

But, should you change your mind.
Then out beyond ideas of right and wrong doing, there is a field.

I will meet you there.*

 

 

 

*Last two lines by Sufi poet Jalal al-Din Rumi ca. 1250 A.D.

A glowing heart

 

A heart is supposed to glow

Burn like life depended on it.
Despite a world that throws sand on it to put it out, the glowing is there beneath it.
Silend and discreet it keeps on burning.
To always be alive.

It’s easy to to believe in a dead heart as we grow older. With permanent jobs, routines. Family and set opinions.
We have it all figured out. We’re done. And then, we stop to think. We resist change and loose our interest in life.

Our curiosity slowly dies, we stop exploring new things. We no longer look upon the world with the eyes of a child, with the awe of how how incredible life really is. We forget, get used to it. Take it for granted.

But beneath that pile of sand, it keeps on burning. It never stops. It only becomes a bit harder to dig down to that glowing heart.
It is possible to live our entire life on top of this pile of sand. Or, we can acknowledge that longing for a sense of awe again.

Start digging. Because a heart is supposed to glow.
It is possible, to burn throughout life. It is possible to find that sense of curiosity, interest and glow in that pile of sand.

It is worth it.

Rocco di Montepiggiolo

 

The next postcard is from Mrs. Frisk, a friend I got to know a couple of years ago when she started dating one of my closest friends, Johan. First time we met, she got the impression that I disliked her, but what she didn’t know, was that her new boyfriend had given me too many cocktails the night before and therefore I was a bit grumpy and tired and not in a party mood.
Since then, we have become good friends.

The text on the postcard says:

Rocca di Montepiggiolo

This photo is from an old fortress in Italy. The quality is not that good since I took it with my old Eriksson T68i cell phone, but I still love it. To me, this fortress symbolizes a place to just be, an adventure and joy.

Hugs!
Mrs. Frisk

The photo also prove that a cell phone can take great pictures in good light (although the quality of this one is not that great because it is a photo of a printed photo).
If you go into a store, often they show you how many megapixels a camera has, but nowadays, this is largely irrelevant. This might have been interesting information when digital cameras first arrived on the market, but the last 6-7 years all cameras are enough for most people. Instead, too many megapixels might actually make the photo worse since a 12 megapixel cell phone camera is too large for the tiny sensor inside.

Despite this, the megapixel myth has survived as a marketing tool to people who doesn’t know what it is. It is easier to refere to a irrelevant number than to tell them what is good about the optics, sensor etc.

 

 

Creativity

 

Creativity is something that has been an interest of mine for a long time.
It was one of the things that I wanted to explore during my trip, even though I never really had a plan of what to do or not.

These days, creativity is a very popular subject. Brothers Teo and Fredrik Hären has made tons of money writing and speaking about it and one of their books was recently listed as one of the 100 most important books in business. That shows how something like creativity, traditionally not a very popular subject in most businesses, except among a few individuals, has suddenly become very popular.

We easily associate creaitivty with certain proffessions. Designers, science, product development, musicians, artists and so on. It has not been as common to talk about service, industry or office work as being creative.
Earlier in history, creativity has been a luxury and interest of the few, but for most people, it has rather been avoided. Peasants in feodal europe or the factory worker were not supposed to think too much, that only caused problems. Today, we still suffer from that kind of thinking, while at the same time, people in all types of businesses are expected to be more responsible, initiative-taking individuals that also solve problems in a creative way.

For me, creativity is not something that only matters for the few. For me it is about living. Every human being is creative, it is just as natural to us as breathing. No one is more or less creative, but are born with a full capacity.
What then happens is that we are molded and conditioned through years of upbringning, school and life in a society where creativity is not only discouraged, but also punished.
The ones who we normally refer to as being creative, is people who for some reason has remained unblocked or who for some reason has begun to unlearn that which holds us back.

The last few years, I have come to realize that creativity is both important and fun, and that there is a point in challenging our ideas and ways of thinking. To try new things and explore all aspects of life. Wether my life actually gets better, I don’t know, that’s not the point, the point is that I find it enjoyable.