Writings

What if


Spring has arrived to Sweden and I recognize the feeling deep in my bones. There is nothing quite as hope inspiring and joyous as the seasonal change in this part of the world.
When you are buried under a dark or darkish grey sky for the long winter months, spring here literally feels like the promise of a new beginning. The endless grey transforms in to technicolour to the soundtrack of chirping birds and all the Swedes take out their lawn furniture in preparation for a summer that even though it very rarely lives up to expectations, still is the crown of the Swedish year. Oh I remember this feeling, and despite the fact that I have gotten a head start on the spring celebration by living in in the more climate friendly south, I am as 'contaged' as them. Today we took a little family walk to down town Hallstavik, which consists of two supermarkets and another few small shops, bought candy, saw a squirrel and I felt light and carefree, as if all my worries and predicaments were washed away by the simplicity of just being here in the cradle of my parents home.

This feeling of comfort and restfulness that this day brought, makes me wonder what would have become of me if I hadn't had that bug up my ass which took me far away from this at least on the surface idyllic scenario. Let's see, hmm, I probably would have gone to university, maybe become a translator or journalist which both to me felt like suitable professions when I was a kid...married a calm Swedish viking, gotten a house in the burbs, a Volvo and a couple of kids that would by now already have their own Iphone. Made a life for myself that on paper at least would have been far easier to handle.
A question that comes to mind is, did I really have a choice? Weren't those early life circumstances, the fact that I was born with my particular set of talents, abandoned, adopted and brought to a place where I felt different, in to a society that encouraged and facilitated my choices, enough factors to make the unfolding of my life an inevitability?

I suppose that question will never be answered, unless humanity in my lifetime finds a way to tap in to the realm of parallell universes. But I do know this: Even if I would have ended up with the silent viking instead of the basque warrior, we would still have our issues. If I had become a journalist instead of a dancer yoga teacher and..., I would still have challenges complaints and second thoughts. Even if Sweden would have become my safe and steady home, I would have had to deal with the same amount of grievances and problems I now face, just with a different flavour. Whatever it is that I am, in the small picture the sum of my choices and the circumstances that follow in their wake, I would have have to deal with the same amount of difficulties had I chosen differently.

What I don't know is if yoga would have been such a main character in my life. I think that there is a certain level of suffering one has to become aware of in order to really take this yoga business seriously and even though I know that a life more ordinary would have brought the same amount of suffering, I'm not sure if I would have had the presence of mind to recognize and admit to it amidst all this affluency and apparent ease of living. I do recognize that suffering is also very much present in the eyes and bodies of people I meet here, but since we Swedes have gotten spoon fed the teaching that 'lagom', loosley translated not too much not too little, is good enough, and I am not sure that I would have felt the need to investigate, to dive as deeply in yoga, had I opted for a life that was more comfortable, one that felt good enough.

The life that I did choose is challenging and complicated, has always been, and from where I stand it's easy to ask myself what would have been if..., and I to some extent do when I'm here, and witness with a small tinge of envy the basic comforts I see people here are enjoying, but every time I come to the same conclusion. If I was given the choice to do it all again, I wouldn't trade even one of my past or present complications for the simplicity of 'lagom'. Which after all, I think, is a great testament both to the life I chose to live and to the beauty and power of yoga.

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