Simple, Quiet and Intentional Living in Sigtuna (Sweden’s Oldest Town)
How to live a simple, quiet, and intentional life? How to make sure we’re always intellectually independent, and acting with integrity? In early spring it is easy to be harshly analytical and have a positive attitude. In early spring the dust and darkness and oppressiveness of historical events and their lingering reminiscents are suddenly swept away, the sudden light clarifies our thoughts and ideas.
Simple Living in Sigtuna
I live here in Sigtuna – Sweden’s oldest town. It’s so fascinating to look at old maps from Sigtuna, 1000 years ago people probably walked the same footpaths in the forest and fields I walk today. And I think of the people who lived here and saw the same landscape I see today – what were they able to think? Did they feel free or oppressed? What was it like for a woman my age here in the Viking age? What was daily life like for the most oppressed here in Sigtuna, a thousand years ago? Did they experience a vast inner freedom even when harshly oppressed? If they were less educated than I am, they might have been less burdened with methods and limiting beliefs from academia. But maybe they were just too exhausted, humiliated, and hungry to be able to think and dream.
Be Grateful and Vigilant
Life is much better for me. I’m grateful for my freedom. But maybe I’m slowly losing my freedom. Maybe the mass surveillance of today, online and from cameras in houses, in public buildings, and in streets, the feeling of being in a panopticon will limit our courage to think and live to the fullest even inside our brains.
Make Intentional Choices
We don’t have to have our thoughts and opinions influenced by stories, novels, articles, and documents written one year, ten years, or ten thousand years ago. Internally we do not have to adhere to anything we don’t agree to. Externally, we have to adhere to the laws and regulations in the country we live in, even when we do not agree, but internally we have a freedom so vast it is almost scary (scary like an enormous responsibility, it is scary not taking advantage of our most valuable resources). Internally we have a freedom so vast – to see clearly, and to think beyond words and conceptual limitations – an immense uncolonized freedom for our new thoughts and ideas.
Trust Your Own Judgement
Don’t ever let anyone manipulate your interpretations of what you see and think. Don’t let living humans manipulate you, and don’t let texts – old or new – manipulate you. You are finetuned to understand yourself and the world you live in, and no one can make a better interpretation of you and your surroundings’ impact on you than you can yourself. Inner thoughts can contain so much more than words. Even if Aristotle, Shakespeare, a modern scientist, a poet, a writer, a friend, or a relative have loving and good intentions – when they communicate with words and concepts so much of what they intended to communicate gets lost. That’s why you must trust your own thoughts and intuitions. Trust your thoughts and intuitions – and test them.
I often misinterpret. I often make inaccurate conclusions. But my misinterpretations and inaccurate conclusions are my own, and the delightful process when I scrutinize them, when I test and analyze them brings me closer and closer to a more insightful and more multidimensional understanding.
Analyze and Be Self-Aware
The early spring light beseeches me to be harshly analytical, to be self-aware, to be aware of my own subjectiveness – and at the same time to smile, and be kind, loving, helpful, and uplifting.
If you respect yourself you will get more respect from the people around you, and if you have a positive attitude to yourself you will smile more, and people will smile back to you. A positive attitude will give you more energy and more strength to perform better and it will reinforce itself so that you become more insightful and alive.
So be strongly analytical be strongly critical to yourself – to your own ideas and to others’ ideas – and at the same time keep a positive, smiling, helpful, uplifting, loving attitude. Being loving and helpful is not the opposite to being analytical and critical. No, the only way to be helpful is to be analytical and critical, and use as much as you can of your strong intellect. So in conclusion be analytical, be critical, be self-aware, be aware of your own subjectiveness – and at the same time be smiling, be kind, be loving, be helpful, and be uplifting.
That’s a good way to live a simple, quiet, and intentional life.
© Cecilia Elise Wallin