A Hyggelig Life
The connection between my three favorite words and how it's all saving me
Good morning, friends! Since we last talked I have started a new job, traveled to Kentucky for a family reunion, AND fought the mighty flu.
Beginnings, ends, pauses…begin again
Today is a “begin again” kind of day.
Waking up to the first cold Colorado week of the year on this early Monday morning, I’m a little bit groggy and a lot grateful for the opportunity to harness my unpredictable ride once again. You know. It’s a lot of effort to get rolling again after life has been turned upside down. And that’s why I’m so happy that I have developed a few constants over time which serve to inform me on what’s most important and usher me back to center.
For fun today, I’m going to call it my hyggelig life.
There are three favorite words that I keep as constant rhythms in my life.
One connects me to my faith.
One settles my soul.
And one gives me something to look forward to with joy.
As long as these three anchors remain, I can somehow see the way forward.
How? I think it’s all about capturing presence. It’s what saves me.
Years ago, when I was in the throws of church life and ministry, Sabbath saved me first, and it still does.
In my early faith formations I somehow had it in my head that Sabbath was just a Jewish thing. I wasn’t Jewish, so I suppose I…didn’t need to rest??? I don’t know.
But I didn’t. I didn’t rest. OR I felt guilty when I did.
I’m forever thankful for Dan Allender’s book about Sabbath which opened up a whole new understanding of rest, and literally changed my and my family’s lives for the best.
Close to 20 years have passed since Sabbath made itself at home in my life, and those set-apart moments have taken on many forms. Often Sabbath still comes in set apart days of disconnection to the world and reconnection to family, nature and the good things in life. But then there are also times when it comes in micro-moments of closing my eyes for long, deep breaths and quiet prayer while I’m literally in a closet divorced from the noise for ten sweet minutes.
No matter how it’s experienced, Sabbath is a gift. It offers presence that centers my days and propels me onward. Sabbath keeps on saving me again and again.
Hygge is a word in Danish and Norwegian that describes a mood of coziness and "comfortable conviviality" with feelings of wellness and contentment.
As always, we Americans continue to do what we do best. We hijack something not our own, like tacos or hygge, and make it “better,” relevant, cool…a vibe. This annoys the cynical me.
But the traveler, me, does very much believe that every culture has their own treasures to share for everyone’s pleasure. Whether hygge, K-Pop, pizza, or gyros, each culture brings a different beauty to the table, and it’s in our collectiveness that we experience the masterpiece…a more complete reflection of the Creator.
So, with that, I am pleased to embrace the Dane’s gift of hygge and how intentional hygge offers presence easily overlooked in my daily life.
Intentional moments of hygge with candles, coffee, crusty bread and butter, cozy ambiance and beauty are constantly saving me.
“Vacations get the job done, but travel happens when you find yourself moving at the pace of wonder.” Webster might not agree, but this is my definition of travel. Travel is the non-vacation.
Where vacation is escape; numbing out; often over-indulgent; a hurry-and-get-it-done tossing away of all my cares to retrieve my sanity necessity…
Travel, to me, is presence. It’s awareness and intentional conviviality with myself, my faith, and the world.
Travel is curious and slow. It moves at a pace that feels like deep breaths, cool morning breezes, cozy socks, and a toddler’s wide-eyed wonder.
Travel restores, reinvigorates, and grounds me for the ride of life that is ahead. It doesn’t offer masks or band-aids. Travel heals.
Travel moments make, deepen and sustain me. They can be found by looking up, pausing, and really seeing. They happen when I get lost, turn off my phone, chat with a local, and stop following the guidebook.
Travel makes me smarter and kinder and more empathetic.
Travel allows me to be captured. It makes my heart leap.
And it can happen on the other side of the world or in my own back yard.
Travel is forever saving AND making me.
It’s presence that ties my three favorite words together. I think there may have been a day not too long ago when the idea of being present was just a given, but today it’s so easy to live entire days, weeks, and months without ever slowing down or even looking up.
So I find myself taking to battle as often as I can for Sabbath, Hygge, and Travel. They each offer a delightful presence to my otherwise tightly wound and fast-moving life and constantly keep me centered and in the pursuit of my deepest joy.
These three save me.
It’s my hyggelig life…so I can keep on living a beautiful Big Story.
What’s saving you?
Hint, hint…solo travel and Italy on a shoestring.
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