Living for beauty…

Temperatures are dropping here as a huge high-pressure system sits on the northern Baltic Sea, bringing glorious, fresh, crispy clear days and plummeting temperatures by nightfall. The dark of the moon allows a dazzling canopy of stars, razor sharp in the unpolluted northern Swedish skies and the Northern Lights grace the hills behind Borka.

Another day begins

Another day begins

Quite simply, life is ecstatic and I wish Free were able to bear the inevitable freeze, which will cast Hälsingland into a hard Nordic winter. The harsh reality is that I am ill-equipped to face it and must come south, leaving my old friend on her wooden cradle to sit out the ferocious northerly storms, returning with the Spring time next year.

These are the last few days before the chance to meet up with old friends again and share valuable human contact during the long winter months. I spend so much time alone in nature during my sailing that barely a word passes my lips, and people are a part of the Divine Lila, that cosmic dance that leaves no one alone; the eternal carousel that we must ride. So contact is necessary for that harmony, a balancing of the elements, if you will.

A hard frost greets Free and her skipper.

A hard frost greets Free and her skipper.

My philosophy to life is utterly simple and can be summed in four words:

I live for beauty…

This was the decision I made in my forty ninth year when questioning what lay ahead in that future void. Many folk were telling me that life was that of working all day, and living for the weekends and their families. That seemed fine in theory, but I could see no evidence of their contentment, just endless complaining about politics, and worldly man-made catastrophes, the futile longing for an end to the chaos and some peace; the spectre of Monday morning all to soon returning like a dreadful Banshee, tolling the bell of grim reality. Happiness was that elusive ghost, shimmering on the edge of one’s dreams, like a rainbow with its pot of gold.

I tried it, goodness knows I gave it my best shot, but the hollow, empty sense of ludicrous waste became too much to bear. Inside, I knew instinctively that that world cannot be changed and that it must come from within. Every one of us determines how we view life and whether to buy into the ‘la de dah’. For me the most powerful realisation I ever had was changing the lens… the way I saw the world. I woke up and there it was… freedom, our birthright.

Slavery is a state of mind.

Still sailing! Taking 'baby' out into the fjord. Just me, the water and the sky.

Still sailing! Taking ‘baby’ out into the fjord. Just me, the water and the sky.

Every moment is precious… every action valuable… every thought sacred. Time is a privilege for sure and can never be reclaimed. What one does now reverberates through the universe. Today I took ‘baby’, my small tender sailing into the fjord under a flawless blue sky with a keen, chilly breeze. The clarity of colour and the sensation of wind on one’s skin reminds me of my duty to myself, to live life in gratitude, a gift, never to be wasted.

Tonight the temperature is dropping and it is time for Bilbo my trusty wood stove to bring her warmth into Free, a chance to write, read and contemplate on a day lived with all my heart. As darkness paints the sky and the temperatures drop below zero, I am captivated and transfixed with the sheer bliss of living this life, despite its discomforts and dangers.

At the end of the day, a warm fire and a time to reflect.

At the end of the day, a warm fire and a time to reflect.

Quite simply, I feel humbled under the oncoming Scandinavian winter with its awesome forces. I think of my Viking ancestors and the courage they had as they survived the perils of former days, and am overcome with admiration and respect.

Soon I will leave it all behind, but tonight I thank the Norse Gods for their hospitality.

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About Viking Queen

I am a sailor and I live on my boat 'Free'. I have no home but originate from Tyneside. I have no allegiance, just a desire to do no harm and live with courage and an open heart.
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32 Responses to Living for beauty…

  1. Andy says:

    Your way of life sounds fantastic. I long to live so in rhythm with the world around me.
    I could access your blog through your post no problem. It’s just when I attempt to visit through notifications. No worries-I still sail along with you 🙂

    • Viking Queen says:

      Really glad you like it, Andy. You seem like a pretty happy guy, so you must have a good formula.

      • Andy says:

        Sense of humour, sense of wonder, friendship and family works well so far.
        And plenty of creativity and reading!

      • Viking Queen says:

        Yes, that comes across in your posts, which are an example of how to find beauty in the everyday path that you tread, regardless of how ‘exotic’ it is. That is so valuable, and many don’t realise their good fortune in having family. You obviously do.

  2. Roger Lundqvist says:

    So true and nice you describe your way of living life. It seems so cosy when you sitting with the fire and the tee kettle is on, I wish I where there to cheer a cup of tee with you.
    I hope you will have a nice time with your friends during the winter.

    Roger.

  3. Roger Lundqvist says:

    I mean tea.

  4. Rosemarie Nitschke says:

    Hey Poppy, I am taking your lovely words of freedom and the northern clarity and lights with me to Morocco, for which I shall depart in a couple of hours. Will write when I get back! Enjoy those northern lights. I miss them from my youth in Canada!

    • Viking Queen says:

      you are really jet-setting these days Rose! I hope you enjoy your stay there and look forward to some nice photographs!

  5. christian says:

    content d avoir de vos nouvelles..dodo free jeje bisous mon amie

  6. christian says:

    Glad free out safe and sure you have a 101 things to do. Enjoy yr evening by the fire. But by now you are in bed as I have just got in from seeing swan lake.
    Enjoy the last few days of peace and quite and the slow pace of life . Before back in UK.

    C x

  7. Hariod Brawn says:

    I am full of admiration for your courageous life-choices Poppy, and so pleased to hear that your gratifications match them. Yours is a life well lived, well examined, and well rewarded.

    • Viking Queen says:

      Thank you Hariod. I try to make the choices that bring harmony, even when the going gets tough. That constant returning to the breath is vital in those moments and awareness at all times, even of the lapses.

  8. Well said, Poppy. You are a legend! It is always so inspiring to read your posts, reminding us of the insignificance of some many things in life that seem important in the moment. I like that you encourage everyone to be more introspective and question their direction. I hope you enjoy your winter interlude and look forward to sailing along another Scandinavian summer with you!

    • Viking Queen says:

      Thanks for your lovely email, Amanda. I am delighted that my ‘purpose’ is clear to you. It has taken me a lifetime to understand that happiness can only truly be achieved by ‘shining a light’ to others. Everything is connected, even to almost solitaries such as myself. Balance and harmony are everything and it is easy to see when one is lacking out of sorts. Awareness is all; to have the courage to change oneself and thus begin the dance of evolution around us. You are always welcome on my ‘cyber’ foredeck! Thank you for your wonderful feedback and continued support.

      • Anytime, Poppy. I love to check in at your blog and see what you are up to. And you are so right, about the inter-connectedness. After all, we all live in the one world and everything is contained within the world, so must overlap and intersect. If one aspect grates against another, there will be conflict. Such a shame that mankind finds it so hard to work with nature, and difficult to work with others. There is that old saying about: The easiest way to change others, is to firstly change yourself! I have found this to be mostly True!

      • Viking Queen says:

        Yes, even here in the north of Sweden. The dependence on cars and the building of shops miles away from the towns makes it very difficult to remain close to nature. Nobody walks anywhere as the local transport links are slowly being strangled. Also, money is disappearing here. Visa cards are used for everything. How long before institutions can determine our whereabouts at all times? I fear for we independents who wish to live alternative lives.

      • It is increasingly difficult to live “off the grid” – and I hate those GPS tracking things on the mobile phone. I disabled mine…..

      • Viking Queen says:

        True, although the GPS has been a wonderful invention for sailors. Once again, it depends on how it is used. Authorities can always abuse such technology in their need to dominate and control.

      • Absolutely it has many benefits and such a shame that the more sinister elements of society use it for their advantage. Hopefully we can make a difference in our own microcosm!!

      • Viking Queen says:

        I agree fully. Let’s not ‘throw the baby out with the bath water’!

  9. Hi Poppy, Good to read your latest saga and here’s to your next where ever and whenever.
    All best outcomes too, you have your guts as ever!
    Ruth

  10. Rosemarie Nitschke says:

    Have been back a few days now and in my mind’s eye there is a lot of playback of all I have experienced in Morocco. You would love the people there. They prefer living a simple life with few belongings but being free to be mainly outdoors and work at their own pace. The Berbers there (traditionally the mountain folk) are a proud people. Their symbol that you can see on flags along the road through the Atlas Mountain range is two half circles (one turned upwards and the other downwards) joined by a straight line to represent a man with his arms open to the sky and his legs firmly set apart on the ground ‘freedom and connection to the land’.
    Are you still in Sweden or already en route to London?

    • Viking Queen says:

      Sounds wonderful Rose! Yes I’m back in London and away up to Liverpool on the 3rd November. What’s next in your amazing travels?

  11. Clare says:

    Things have been tumultuous since I moved on 4th October but have been saving this to read when waters were steadier (land ahoy, almost there!). Thanks so much for the lovely postcard you sent me by the way – a woman of your word! Looking forward to keeping in better touch Viking Queen. Clare:) (met Liverpool YHA, March 2015) x

    • Viking Queen says:

      Don’t worry Clare, not everything revolves around the Viking Queen, which is probably merciful for most folk, especially if they want a safe, secure life! It sounds though, that you have a had a bit of a time of it sweetie and for that I am sorry. I do hope that the sun has risen and new life awaits in all its splendour. Good luck!

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