by Ulrica NorbergPhoto: Louise Stapel

This past year has been, yeah what is the right epithet?
I don´t really know how to summarize it. Interesting? Well, yes, depending of the focus. Challenging? Yes that too. Clarifying? Yes. Filled with growth? Yes. Insightful? Yep. Loving? Yes, much.

Today, I received a reminder on Facebook  that a year ago has passed since I was part of a major airport crisis at JFK airport outside New York City. I was on my way home to my beloved family after three weeks stay in the US working. Life showed me to put that longing on hold.
Me (and my sister who was with me) ened up in chaos and hysteria around us. All of a sudden sirens and alarms went off, people fleeing for their lives and all of a sudden there was a complete terminal shut down due to a alleged shooter in the terminal which lead me and my sister and thousands of travellers to flee and lay on floors, be surrounded by sharp weapons, screams and terror. Our flight was cancelled, the situation was distorted and we got to go home the next day in another aircraft and crew but with our lives at hand and with friends for life, a eye to eye experience with how one acts in a crisis and also with a shaken up nervous system.

Even though I found myself being calm the entire time, focusing on caring for others, I was completely exhausted when I got home. I slept for days and in my practice, I shredded lots of layers of tension. I learned that my body is the one holding on to tension after crisis and that I have learned and practiced phenomenal tools that actually help in life situations like these. As preparation and as damage control tools. And that all my training in life has paid off. I didn’t go crazy and I didn’t feed my fear nor others. I was loving, calming, supportive.
That was interesting and valuable for me to see.

Then when I returned home, my husbands health worsened more and more. His chronic Liver disorder spooked us earlier in the spring and summer but returned back in balance. Until august last year. Then from then on until today we have been in and out of the hospital with sepsis after sepsis, MRIs, strong antibiotics and surgeries.

In the midst of it all, an unfinished edit of my newly written book got printed. I thought it was so strange that I all of a sudden got the book in the mail earlier than planned. I looked at it and panicked. A lot of emailing and phone calls later, as well as a couple of months stress and tension followed due to that, until the right edition was out. It was terrible yet in the end, we worked it through and we all came out the right side of it all.

Then in early september my beloved grandmother died at the age of 95 years old. Weeks and months of heaviness in heart would follow. I loved her greatly and she meant the world to me growing up. Dealing with her passing, my the edits and backs and forth with my book, my husbands illness, and being there for my family, taking care of our home and children became restraints of course, yet also natural brakes and forum for reflection.

Meanwhile I was tending my work assignments and obligations. When Christmas came I took time off with the family and tried to unwind. The more I rested the more tired I felt. So I slept. and slept. Like I couldn’t get enough. And kept my practice going. When I say practice I mean 10 minutes of soft flowing yoga, 15 minutes of yin/restorative yoga, pranayama and meditation. All in all I needed 45-50 minutes for my daily routine. Some days longer. But necessary.

Around New Years time we didn’t know where my husbands illness were taking us and I felt I needed to make changes in order to cope and not fall into deep exhaustion so I took the decision to clear my schedule in 2017 somewhat. I started to cancel and reschedule things in order to create more space to pause and be present with the changes happening in my life. I also decided to step down from my administrative and organisation role as the Scandinavian representative of the ISHTA yoga lineage and only remain as their consultant and Yogiraj in Scandinavia. This, since I did hard math and found that it took about 35 hours a week from my schedule. And that I had to say yes to teaching more since students relied on that, needing to observe, assist me etc.
Those hours I needed to place on my family, on myself, my own projects and on taking care of all things I had put on hold for too long. Things I need to do in order to be happier and healthier.

As a journalist we are taught to “kill our darlings” and so I had to. I didn’t step down because on anything else than things has a time and a place. All in all, things happen as they should. And we have new plans for the future together. All good. Great even. But I am more a free agent now which is better right now in time.

In April, I was having a meeting in the city centre of Stockholm, and accidentally witnessed the turmoil when a truck drove into masses of people on Drottninggatan in Stockholm. The images from that I wish for no one to have witnessed. Again, I helped out as much as I could. And I walked home through a city in despair and fear but also from bravery and strong community feeling. That night we had friends and friends of friends over since they could get home. People was opening their homes for each other and everywhere people drew hearts. I think a lot of us look back with pride over our city and how we handled the situation. Stockholm, I love you.

There were other challenges alongside of these as well and also several beautiful and memorable events, scenes and experiences. In my work, I encountered many phenomenal situations. I got to met amazing human beings and I have made new friends and tried things I have never tried before.

What do I learn from this year?

Ulrica Norberg - YinTo keep dancing the dance of life. Keep stirring in the pot. Keep evolving. And again that pausing is the best things to do to get clearer vision.
Hard calls, life and death situations, cultural change, political turmoil was some of the things that colored the year that passed. And then again, beautiful things happen alongside it all.

It is a dance this life. LILA; the dance of opposites. That is life. I have learned over the years that when we can allow ourselves to be in learning then we don´t get stuck in between the highs and lows as easily.
So I thank life for situations to grow from so I can stand stronger in myself and in my life and also thank you yoga, meditation, teachers and beautiful friendship for making me able to move through tough situations with more grace. And the best of it all; that I actually have stood in storms and held my own. That affirmation has been an amazing experience I must say.
It strike me that a year can be eventful in so many ways. To say the least. So thank you FB for making me see a year of experiences and for making me reflect upon events that happened.
I sit here tonight feeling that I have regained so much of my own trust for myself as well as I learned a lot about myself. Faster, stronger and more profound.

And the most fascinating thing is that I as I am writing this, in the middle of a another year of experiences. One year preps you for the next I guess? It is called the evolution of a life lived according to the wise.

All is learning.






Photo credits:
Photos taken by Andreas Lundberg (from my book Yoga 15 minutes a day), Sebastian Forsman (from my book YinYoga), myself and my friend Louise Stapel.