Things that’s been on my mind lately about the meaning of being unconditional

Neurons that fire together, wire together… that means that if we experience things and feel bad about it those situations will be connected with feeling bad. And if we experience something and feel good about it those situations will be connected with feeling good. This means you can rewire your brain for higher consciousness by focusing on love.

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Empathy for Eachother

I happened to watch Monica Levinsky’s TED-talk ”the price of shame” a little while ago and it impacted me A LOT. I didn’t realize what she’s been through… for A DECADE!!! I also felt guilty, as if I had been part of bullying her because I didn’t do anything to support her. I didn’t know, yet I felt like it’s still my responsibility to understand how it feels for the other person to do what I can to stop bullying, even more than what I do. Like I should have known. I’ve should have been able to feel so much empathy that I would have understood this. Not because I should have been better than I am but because I feel responsible because I’ve grown up in a psychopathic society where we aren’t taught the basic skills of being human and emphatic with eachother, when that’s really important for relationships.

There’s two different words in Swedish that I think describes empathy very good:

– the healthy one is ”medkänsla”, direct translation would be ”with-feeling”. It’s when you focus more inside of yourself than on the other person and can listen and relate without feeling sorry for the other (or yourself if it’s yourself you listen to). It feels like a gift.
– and the unhealthy (codependent/symbiotic) one is ”medlidande”, direct translation would be ”with-suffering”. It’s when you focus more on the other person than on yourself, to try to rescue him/her because you can’t stand what it triggers inside you, but you’re not even there to notice. It feels like a burden.

I’ve come to realize that humans walk here on earth alone but we’re here together to support eachother in our aloneness and struggles so we don’t have to suffer and feel lonely. I really like how this man describes it:

To be able to support eachother through our challenges, but not make them into a suffering (for ourselves and others), I believe we need to have empathy and humanity for eachother. However I don’t believe that we can have true empathy for eachother as long as we believe other people’s emotions are our fault/responsibility or judge other people for being different or imperfect… because then other people’s imperfections will trigger our own imperfections (especially in intimate relationships).
I don’t believe we will stop thinking other people are to blame for our emotions until we start healing because it’s so ingrained in this culture to believe that other people cause our emotions even though IT’S NEITHER TRUE OR NATURAL.
We can still do a lot of work on ourselves to be more unthreatening to other people though. That happens naturally the less afraid and the more content we become.

My elder has told me that deep empathy for ourselves is what will take us out of feeling victimized in the moment.
She’s also said that we’ve almost lost the ability to listen for real in this culture even though that’s pretty much all it really takes to heal our wounds (as well as to ‘feel’ understood), to have a listening ear. Listen until we hear what’s true (what I find to be true) in what the other person says and then only focus on that, and ignore what’s not true (it falls away).

I really liked this, it’s about a long study on happiness, what makes a good life. What they’ve found out was that good relationships keeps us happier and healthier. People who are more socially connected are happier, physically healthier and live longer but it’s not just the number of friends you have but the quality of your close relationships and good relationships don’t just protect our bodies, they protect our brains. The good life is built with good relationships:

Categories: The Natural Human as I see it | Lämna en kommentar

Primitivism Sexism and Objectification of Women

Someone just posted this image today (to the left) of a naked woman with a Mammoth saying ”Join the Stone Age and Save the World” on a primitivism fb group that I’m on and it makes me so angry. I have stopped paying interest in sex lately to focus on the human aspects in myself and other people so that poster, on a non sexual group such as that primitivism group, was just shocking to me: An empowered, nude, non sexualized, beautiful female figure” selling the stone age is sexual objectification, in this context of primitivism (and you can take away ‘sexual’ from ‘objectification’ if you think the thought of a woman like that isn’t sexually attractive to a man trying to be natural himself).

The guy posting it just wanted to show a piece of art and indeed I can imagine that if you’re numbed by porn it looks cute and innocent, but to me it’s the equivalent of car porn but on a primitivism level. I don’t understand the point of having a naked woman on a poster selling the Old Way/Stone Age as something better. I can relate to the divine feminine but this is just sexist (”relating to or characterized by prejudice, stereotyping, or discrimination, typically against women, on the basis of sex”) and objectifying (”degrade to the status of a mere object”) of woman. Of course it’s eye-catching and would appeal to the largest demographic interest, woman has been used that way in many ways when it comes to selling anything but I don’t understand why use it in a forum where it’s supposed to be an alternative way about healing and living in balance. I also don’t understand why I was the only one reacting to the sexism and that so many people clicked like on it. It made me think people there are less developed than I thought, that they’re still only on a sexual level of interest and hasn’t grown beyond that. Or that everyone is just numbed by porn. All these images have the potential to create ideals in our head about how it should be. Many drops make an ocean.

I’ve drawn art like that myself so I understand the artistic expression, I’m just not sure where the line goes of where it becomes sexist or not because in a different place it probably wouldn’t have provoked me so much and I wouldn’t have considered it to be so hurtful. Maybe it’s about the context of where it’s shown or the fact that I somehow longed for that a group for primitivism would be free of objectification but it wasn’t. Also because I’ve struggled so much with being this ”perfect” woman and trying to drop that to just be myself and then ”here we go again” it’s like I can never be free of that image from the outside. So few women speak already on primitivism and rewilding groups and this doesn’t help in that way in my opinion, there’s very few women who actually look like this.

One man wrote: ”The woman depicted is in a neutral stance, not in any way ”presenting” in the sexual objectification sense of the word, is on equal and respectful footing with the mammoth, has pubic hair and is not portrayed as infantilized or pedophilic – I mean, come on, literally what the fuck is possibly objectifying about this?”, and it’s shocking to me that people are so numbed by porn that anything that’s naked and just not appropriate gets away with it because it’s not porn even though it has nothing realistic in it what so ever and the ideal woman is used for a purpose of selling something again.  I just didn’t expect this on a group for primitivism where I thought people were more aware, but apparently that didn’t go beyond porn.

That poster is the equivalent to me of a man like this below but worse since men don’t have the same amount of ideal images of how they should look and be that women do. Men are just afraid of being weak. (I know he’s not totally Stone Age but if we’re going to be technically correct the Mammoth is already extinct and can’t be saved so that’s false marketing already.)











At the very same time this morning that I saw that sexist poster I happened to read what Graham R White wrote on the ”What Evolved Women Want” fb group about his woman and I found that to be beautiful and inspiring and quite a contrast to the ”naked woman vs mammoth” poster above. This below is attractive to me, trying to get sexual attention on a very primitive scale as in the poster isn’t (instead of the word ”purpose” that he uses I would use the word ”autonomy” which is similar just wider and more of a healthy way to describe it to me):

There’s a great irony about sex for men – and it’s that until we’re actively living in fulfilled pursuit of our purpose, showing up in a magnificent way that touches, teaches and leads our tribe in a magnificent way we crave sex to fill the hole in our souls that only purpose serves.
On our way to making that courageous choice to stand vulnerably in a powerful statement of intent of who we are, what we offer and claiming our spot in the world, sex is the obsessive distraction we focus on to fill us with momentary senses of accomplishment, connection and brief tastes of flowing feminine energy.
And then when we arrive at the place where we’re living our purpose, fulfilling our roles and making a measurable difference in a unique service to our tribe sex becomes an understatement because living with purpose is a state of perpetual being and sex is such a momentary release.
Before I was living my purpose I fantasized about relationships where a woman would perpetually desire me, where she would crave and ache for me the way I’d longed to be held, fully trusted and received. And all day long I know other men see and feel the energy of this woman and crave an experience that is actually only a dim reflection of who she has the capacity to be.
She tells me the sex gets better every time. I believe her, but that’s not what I notice about her and ultimately I know that’s not why she chooses me over men who are richer, stronger, more influential, less complicated or who come with less complicating life circumstances.
I know she chooses me because I witness her.
What I witness is a woman who chooses and measurably becomes more remarkable in every aspect of her being every day.
I know her story, the one she’s reluctant to share of how much she’s overcome, the sacrifices she’s made for her kids (and mine) to give them the foundation she didn’t have.
I see what she commits to the relationship, how she nurtured it and supports a complicated partner whose energy is most often distracted by a world that makes the heart ache and mind reel.
What gets better all the time is who she is, because of how much she invests into how she shows up and who she chooses to be.
It’s easy for me to be this woman’s partner. Every day I wake up to a more remarkable version of her than I knew the day before.
Because every day is made memorable by seeing something new about her that is more remarkable than I witnessed the day before.
She tells me the sex gets better and better – I think it’s her.
It’s not the earth making it’s way around the sun every year that I celebrate, it’s being witness to a woman who takes every day to actively be a better version of herself that still blows me away.


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The Meaning of Life

I just got back home from a Mushroom hunting trip to Värmland (western Sweden) together with my elder in self-sufficiency. He’s a man who’s almost 70 but is one of the most self-sufficient people I know. At the age he’s at now I can almost keep up with him but barely, I would not have been able to if he was younger. He’s pretty much constantly processing food or out getting food no matter if it’s gathering or fishing or gardening or butchering animals. He also tans hides and makes wooden bowls and built his own house etc etc. I adopted him as a mentor and his family as my family. I feel incredibly grateful that he invites me on his trips because going with him is almost a guarantee to get a years worth of whatever food we’re getting (if it’s possible). Getting my own food is one of the most satisfying things I know.

It was amazing to be walking in the woods for hours and hours looking for those yellow Chantarelles and the joy when you found some. As if God had gave me this amazing gift of deliciousness over and over again and ”those who search will find”. On day 2 we found one spot where we could pick Chantarelles pretty much non stop for 2 hours. It was amazing and unbelievable. 😍😍 The amount in front of me where I’m sitting is from day 2 what’s in the pot is from day 1. Then we canned them by first boiling them down and then put them in jars and pressure canned them. In total we got 54 jars of canned Chantarelles and 16 jars of mixed mushrooms.








In the morning on the third day we ate scrambled eggs with onions and leftover mushrooms from the canning in the sun by the lake where we had stayed the night. I think part of it is the result of my intense healing work the past 7,5 months but I was just bathing in something I can’t describe but felt like being in the meaning of life; that life is just as good as it should be. That gathering my own food by hard work and enjoying the sun and nature without any emotional mess, is what life is all about. I want to create more of that kind of life to experience that blissful state of being. Maybe that’s what all happy people experience but I’ve been so burdened by trauma that it hasn’t been like that for me in the past. There was nowhere else I would rather be and life was just perfect the way it was. When I was younger I used to wonder about what is the meaning of life but connecting to the means and ends of our existence is for me to live the meaning.

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Emotions Only Purpose

What if we would only use our emotions in the way they’re meant to work: to crash our images of reality that no longer fit with reality so we can rethink and move on, and nothing else???
I’m talking core feelings: joy, fear, sadness, anger… (Not love, trust, contentment etc etc because they are states of being that exists when nothing else exists)
This is one more difference between the natural human and civilized people that recently dawned on me hard (with the help of my elder Iris Johansson). In civilization, because people use emotions to manipulate (which makes us afraid of emotions), we UNNATURALLY have to learn how to not get intertwined with others emotions or smear our own emotions on others to get back to the natural way. Something we wouldn’t have had to do if we grew up in the natural world and wasn’t manipulating with emotions in the first place. That’s why one more aspect of getting back to inner contentment is about learning the way out of codependency/symbiotic relationships… Sometimes easier said than done!!!

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Reconditioning the Autopilot

What I’ve come to see as natural for humans is to (for the most part) live in contentment, a sense of community and in trust (…in our own ability to make ourselves happy)… This is possible if our fearsystem (our autopilot) only gets triggered when it’s really needed (which naturally would happen rarely). For that we need to have conditioned it in the right way, so we’re able to distinguish between real (existential) danger and what’s not real danger, to navigate in life properly… But many people in civilization are wounded in their autopilot since in civilization the ”secondary” (what we can chose, for ex values) has taken the “primary’s” (the existential, what just is) place so we for ex believe it’s existential to not get there in time or that feelings are existential even though they aren’t.

Our autopilot (the fight, flight, freeze system), that is part of our primal brain and is supposed to click in to save us from danger (without thinking), clicks in even when there’s no actual danger (for ex in relationships; where we for ex attack, defend, or play victims and cause a lot of damage) because the autopilot, that is developed by conditioning, hasn’t developed in the right way.

There are many ways to come to terms with (re-condition) an over-active autopilot. Processing and releasing emotions is of course always a way. Another could be to get to know the real world by living in nature or to live with people who are unconditional. But for those who don’t have that opportunity to live in nature or for those where it doesn’t work with nature only (as it has been for me), yet another way that’s not natural, but to get back to the natural, is to release fears in a safe place; like an amusement park, by riding things that scare you. This way we can also re-condition our autopilot to react properly. By recommendation by my elder I’ve tried the amusement park option, so I know it works. Not like a magic wand but as a slight, and for me important shift.
Amusement parks can actually be very therapeutic!!!

I can really recommend this ride in particular (if you have it in a park near you) it’s almost a 100% guarantee to trigger fear… IT’S INSANE!!! (I feel scared just watching this video that I just attached… lol … it’s exactly like that… and I would NEVER have done it if it hadn’t been for therapeutic reasons   …) You fall for 5 seconds (95 m and 90km/h), 90 degrees towards the ground, and at least for me, it was impossible to not believe I was going to die… BUT I DIDN’T… and just THAT (for ex) puts everything into perspective: if I didn’t die from this intense fear (that’s the most intense I’ve felt in my life I think), then why would I die from any less fear??
I did this ride twice, but a month apart. The second time to support a friend who also wanted to release fears. The first time my legs were completely like jelly only after the ride.This time my legs were like jelly just from standing in line… but even though one person looked more scared to death than the other, coming down, I realized none of them died and it helped to get my autopilot to click out some while waiting, telling myself ”it’s harmless, it’s harmless, it’s harmless”… (lol… the stupid things we put us through …)
Realizing “it’s harmless” makes the autopilot “click out”!

But again… it’s not a quick fix (that ride and some other almost as intense rides let loose a lot of fear that I now have to deal with… lol … ) and it’s not the only way to release fears and other emotions (we can release fears just by thinking about something scary or by watching a horror movie)… amusement parks is just a “fun” suggestion if it feels inspiring.

Amusement parks are also a way to get in touch with our natural playful way of being.
It appears to me that we are supposed to live our responsibility but be like kids, if we want to live in contentment, a sense of community and in trust!!!

(”Nej” = ”No” and ”Tidernas Värsta Fall” = ”The worst fall in our time”)

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Playing is Crucial

One thing that I see as crucial for being happy is PLAYING!! I’ve come to see it as a state of being not only for kids but for adults too and when I’ve visited first nation people they have a lot of this, laughing at everything. It’s not really about what we do but a state that we can enter when realizing ”it’s harmless, it’s harmless, it’s harmless”. I asked my 8 year old daughter and her friend once ”but how do you play?” and they both looked at me as if I was stupid, then my daughter said ”you just start and then it comes”!

If you want to get out of your head I don’t know any better way than getting into playmode.

Before I go more into playing I need to say a few words about something I’ve come to see as an even more crucial aspect, without this communities won’t work, and that is to ALLOW ALLOW ALLOW!!!… I’ve come to realize that relationships won’t work unless we work towards developing unconditional tolerance for our own and other people’s imperfections (as long as it’s not hurting ourselves or others in a destructive/existential way – but there are very few things that really are destructive/existential) by solving our own inner conflicts. As well as love ourselves for as imperfect as we are. My elder says there are no conflicts between people, conflicts are only inside of us. I’ve come to see that most, if not all, issues stem from the fact that we don’t love ourselves.
We don’t need to make issues out of things that aren’t threatening to our lives if we ”allow” not only what we consider to be ”normal” but anything that’s not destructive, even if it feels existential.
Now onto playing…

In July this summer I attended a weeklong youthcamp for adults inspired by my Swedish elder Iris Johansson (amazing elder, she’s autistic and she can be brutal, but I continue to be so impressed with her) and as hard as it was, it was such a shift in consciousness to just forget about myself and get out of my head and into the body, just like kids, and play all day long. I FELT JOY AND SATISFACTION INTO THE CORE OF MY BEING!!!

The main purpose was to get into ”playmode” (get out of our heads and into our bodies) by playing playing playing all day long. Then long rests (because we were exhausted) to process everything that came up from our childhoods to be released in this unconditional environment. We had 2 teepees but mostly we all just slept in one and our leaders were only between 16-24 years old.
As ”kids” we weren’t allowed to cross the railway or go bathing by ourselves etc etc and had to do what our leaders told us.

We can even play when doing necessary things. We had roleplay on the second last evening/night, being knights going for a holy mission, that ended up being to clean a week of dishes (that they had saved for us). 14 people dancing and doing dishes together for a total of FOUR HOURS being locked inside the kitchen by a king (and tried to escape with a time machine but just ended up in the same dirty kitchen), took dish washing to a whole new level of joy. It was amazing.

The week ended with disco and dancing until 4am in the morning.Of course, as with all of these things it takes time and patience and work to integrate them into our lives but to have gotten a taste of this was amazing. Now I don’t want to be in any other state of being than this joyful and satisfying playstate.

More about playing here from my visit to the Reindeer People.

So… and these are questions I’m asking myself as well…

Can you play with issues in relationship and the imperfections of life and people or do you make it existential?? Can you see that it’s just part of life and that it’s not really threatening your life??

Can you laugh at yourself and life, or forgive yourself, especially after having done a mistake??
I recently started my own private comic strip to learn to laugh at myself more, because I love to express myself in drawing, that I call ”come fly with me” where I draw myself from the outside as a fly, because flies are disgusting and hard to take seriously so therefor just funny in themselves.

Do you have understanding and empathy for others different way of being/doing as well as their imperfections or do you judge it, reject them for it or create distance?

Who doesn’t want to be unconditionally loved and accepted and seen and appreciated for who they are… so… do you solve your inner conflicts with other people’s imperfections by staying with your pain learning from it, to let them unconditionally be as they are?

Can you stay in your own contentment and see the beauty of life even though someone close to you is trying to choke you with their trauma and negativity and existential fear, yet still respect where they’re at?? Can you remember that ”it’s harmless it’s harmless it’s harmless”???

When you’re working through your pain because life is imperfect and unfair and people are fucked up, do you have someone next to you who can just be there and listen without trying to rescue or fix you, but just without words reassure you that life is ok as it is, that life is just as it should be despite all the bad things that happen?? Or can you do this for yourself??

Can see that emotional pain isn’t bad, that it’s a path to more joy and maturity if we face it and learn from it?

If civilization is going to end tomorrow… instead of all this doomsday threats and fears that just creates a block and prevents us from acting, how can we play with it??? How can we make it into something on a not existential level?? How can we have fun with it?? How can we make the end of civilization into this exciting thing we’re looking forward to rather than this scary ”who’s gonna die and who’s gonna live” thing and ”everyone is in it for themselves”?? We’re all in this together, the end of civilization won’t just happen to ”me”.
I’m not suggesting to be stupidly naive… I’m just suggesting that if we want to change this culture we can start playing with it and see what happens. We can’t solve issues if we’re in fear because fear creates issues. Fear makes people act fucked up and what’s often even worse is that things we do to others from a fearful place comes back at us like a boomerang and scares us no matter if we’re aware of it or not (for ex ”what we do to others we believe others can do to us”).

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Ideals Poison our Society

Ideals poison our society. Imagine this moment without ideals, where everything is ok just as it is; you and life and everything… and there’s nothing else than this!!!

My elder has told me “it can get better, but not as long as anyone has ideals about it”. I’ve come to understand that the natural way for humans is to live without ideals and it appears to me as if the first nation people I’ve met and kids don’t live by ideals of how it should/could be, they live with what is (even though kids quickly pick up ideals from us adults)…
I started digging into the concept of ideals after it hit me hard that the white competent male is the ideal/the reference in civilization (apparently it came with Christianity) but digging deeper, I found the issue about ideals to be a bigger problem and more destructive than I first thought… and I don’t mean ideal as in ”the ideal way to cook fish” or ”the ideal way to make arrows in this climate” or ”my personal, unique and individual dreams of what I want to fulfill in life and what my talents are and how I can improve those”… I realized this (this is another elder speaking):

“There is only one life and that is in this moment. If this moment is condemned in any way, by any method, your life is being destroyed. That’s why there are millions of people on the earth but very few are alive. Ideals have poisoned their life. And the idealists are great poisoners.

The ideal as such corrupts. Whatsoever the ideal, it is a calamity; it is a great disease to be avoided. It is the ideal that has been driving humanity neurotic. The moment you start thinking in terms of ideals, you are condemned. Then you are always falling short of it, then you are never okay; and guilt arises and you start feeling you are not worthy, that you are worthless. And the moment a man starts thinking he is worthless, he becomes worthless – because you are that which you think you are. As a man thinks, so he becomes. And the idealist cannot love himself; he is very hard, he is a masochist. And if you don’t love yourself you are virtually dead – worse than being dead! If you don’t love yourself, nobody is going to love you.

All ideals are perfectionist, they demand perfection – hence they are all inhuman. And all those ideals are impossible – their very nature is such they cannot be fulfilled. Hence, it remains a dangling carrot in front of your eyes. And the donkey goes on moving and the carrot goes on dangling. It is illusory. It is like the horizon far away – you go on moving, but you never reach, the horizon also goes on moving.

Man is not perfect. Nothing is perfect. Nothing can be perfect, because only in imperfection is there growth. The perfect means the dead. Hence, all ideals are inhuman. And all ideals cripple and paralyze you. All ideals create a kind of subtle bondage around you, they imprison you. The really free man has no ideals. Have an ideal, and you will become an egoist. The idealist is an egoist. Have a bigger ideal, the greater the ego, because the greater is the friction. The ego is created by friction between the real and the ideal. And ego brings condemnation of others, and you start feeling “holier than thou”.

There is no other world, this is the only world. And there is no other way to be, this is the only way to be. This acceptance, this utter joy in being oneself – that’s what I call the man/woman of reality. Utter joy in being oneself, as one is – with no guilt surrounding it, with no condemnation arising, with no idea how you should be. This is the way you are; this is the only way you can be. The man who is egoless is the man who has no ideals.

And don’t make this into another ideal because then you missed my point. I am not talking about ideals. Remember, I have to use a language which is very much polluted. So please don’t misunderstand me. Otherwise, again you have created an ideal.”


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The life of the Nomads/Herders of Mongolia

11241621_10152943778007155_9039064849288168098_nOn the way north to Tsagaanuur and the Tsaatan (The Reindeer People) you have to pass through the town Murun. We had to stop there for two nights to get our bor11539700_10152943776137155_4916182825309297518_nder permits to be able to stay close to the Russian border. When we were waiting for the permits to be ready we went on a fishing trip. One guy who pretty much only spoke Mongolian took us out to a river on the steppe.  As usual no roads. It was amazingly beautiful with the hills, the sun and the landscape in general. At one point we saw a nomad sitting in the grass next to his motorbike, watching his herd of Yak. It’s amazing to me what a different lifestyle they have. Imagine to have for a job to pretty much just meditate!

We wanted to go early in the morning to have a greater chance of catching fish but as usual in Mongolia the driver came and picked us up late so we didn’t get to the river until noon. We didn’t catch so much fish, just 5 (Lenock and Greyling) but it didn’t matter because it was so nice to be out where there was barely any people.

On the way back the driver got a bit lost and had to stop at a couple of Gers (yurts) to ask the herde11692662_10152943778567155_2866747798757655670_nrs for direction. At the second one (out in nowhere) they were doing something with the sheep that looked interesting. I got out th1907501_10152943779462155_7526541058778998250_ne car to ask if I could take a photo in signlanguage (noone spoke English). It turned out they were neutering the male lambs without anesthesia. All of a sudden we were thrown into the corrall where they had put the sheep and the goats to try to chase the lambs to lift up (not so easy as it may sound) and give it to the men to pull out the testicles. They did the same with the Yak calves but those they caught with a Lasso since they were a bit more feisty. Then threw them down on the ground and several men held them down while their testicles were pulled out. The animals didn’t make one sound but afterwards they ran as if they were about to run away before they stopped a couple of 100 m away. They very carefully put all the testicles on a plate that one guy was holding.

11403428_10152943779282155_1350910583541905960_n11709790_10152943780377155_1640631521802018910_nOf course we were invited into the Ger to have testicle soup. We were treated like family or honured guests and everyone seemed so genuinely happy (maybe 15 people of all ages). The atmosphere was so nice I can’t describe it. The hospitality they showed us was mindblowing to me. The testicle soup was rich from a bonebroth. I did eat 1,5 testicle and it was very good even though I mentally had a hard time with it. We also got to try their homemade creamy butter and wild Rhubarb (it grows everywhere) jam and of course the salty milk tea (had a really hard time with salty tea in the beginning but now I love it). We were lucky because they only do this once a year and we happened to get there on right that day.

On the contrary to the Tsaataan who had very bad teeth the average Mongol (the nomads/herders) had teeth straight and white like snow. I assume it’s because they ate a lot more of intestines, bonebroths and dairy products.

DSCN8902We got to see one time when they slaughtered a sheep: Two people held the legs and another cut a hole in the stomach. Then put his hand in there and cut off the aorta with his finger so the sheep bled to death. Brutal but the good thing about this method is that all the blood is collected inside so it’s very easy to pour it out into a bucket. They poured the blood into the intestines and tied it up, boiled it and then we got to eat it like a sausage. Very good actually.

I did get to try burning a fire with cow-pats. One of those things you have to do in Mongolia before you leave!! It didn’t smell so good though.

The other day, when someone was mowing the lawn, I realized what a luxury it is to have so much grass that we can trim it and throw it away. This is not the case in Mongolia where every strand of grass counts like a diamond. I didn’t realize what a massive abundance of green plants we have here in Sweden.

Categories: The Natural Human as I see it | Lämna en kommentar

Mongolia & Clanways

11702669_10152964738097155_6685940995880612511_nI’ve been travelling for a month in Mongolia together with my friend Torjus. In general Mongolia is a culture that still has a lot of the clan-ways intact. For 9 days we stayed with the Tsaatan (The Reindeer People) who are the most native living community in Mongolia. They live close to the Russian border in the north of Mongolia. The Tsaatan were a textbook example of clanliving even though it was anything but perfect or ideal. Visiting them has been my first functional clan experience so I would like to share about that.
There is a movie called ”the Horse Boy”. In that movie they went to the West Tsaatan in 2004 to find a Shaman to heal an autistic boy (he died of cancer last year btw). We went to the East Tsaatan.
The Tsaatan were not living after an ideal what so ever. Instead they were committed to their people and the land. Most people there had lived in the taiga all their life. Some of the elders were above 60 (they seem to die early, I was told around 70).  Everyone above 20 years old looked 20 years older than they were, I guess from living a hard life. Very few people moved away from the camp. They had it all; the men, the women, the elders and the healers/Shamans, the children and the children’s culture, co-parenting etc etc. And all were related to each other somehow. When finding a mate though they made sure that they weren’t closely related, not even second cousins or so. They frequently marry Darkhad Mongols instead of other Tsaatan.
To get to the Tsaatan was not exactly a piece of cake (unless you hire a helicopter for $3000/h which a Chinese couple did and came by for a visit one day to take photos with the Reindeer for their wedding album – yes they were all dressed up in their wedding outfit, it became the event of the day). First we took a plane north (instead of the 15h bus), then 13-14h on really bad roads where I was basically flying in the car for the most part even though average speed limit was 30km/h. I seriously recommend putting on some weight before doing this drive if you would like to get some sleep… I’ve continuously been amazed on this journey that you can drive pretty much anywhere over the steppe without roads. Roads just happen because cars keep driving in the same tracks. The final part of the journey was a little bit more than 6h by horse up the mountains. On the way the air was thick with smoke from a forest fire in Russia and we were hoping the fire wouldn’t reach us. It wasn’t until several days later, after some rain, that we couldn’t smell the smoke anymore. Don’t know what happened to it or how bad it was, but we got to know that forest fires are very common on the Russian side of the border.
11403080_10152964747652155_4062405250682330494_nWhen we came down the last mountain and saw the 20 tipis it was like going back in time and the Valley where they camped was stunningly beautiful. I was so sore and tired from travelling and riding that it was such a relief to arrive. When we got there the 500 reindeer greeted us with their frog like sounds (calling for their calves) and their clicking hooves. It was very hot on the day of our arrival and then the reindeer stay in the cool areas in camp; where it is wet and muddy. Two more people joined us to the Tsaatan and all 4 of us were shown the guest tipi where we slept the first night. They make their beds out of planks that were anything but flat and comfortable so it was a bit hard for me to find a comfortable sleeping position (even with an inflatable pad). Since it was so hot (above 30C) we rested for most of the day and so did the Tsaatan.
According to our wish we got to stay with a family each from the second night. Every family has their own tipi (at least 2 people in each tipi) and it’s their personal home at the same time as it’s not fixed; people go in and out of the tipis all the time and sometimes sleep over at each other’s homes. People own very few things; their tipi, a really cool and effective wood stove that you can take the lid off to put a pan in to cook, beds and bedding, things to cook with and eat on, clothing and tools. That’s pretty much it. They use what works (even if it’s not always environmentally friendly or healthy) instead of having all kinds of ideas of how to live. Three families had a satellite dish and TV. There is no internet or cellphone reception though so at least they are freed from that. The tipis were made out of 6 different canvas pieces tied together, a lot easier to make and transport than the one-piece model that I made a few years back.
I had asked to get a healing session with the female shaman (there was one male and one female shaman in camp). She specifically requested me to stay with her so she would get a feeling of me so she could work on me more effectively. She lived together with her daughter and a cousin (a man) who had moved in there to help them with the firewood. During the days I stayed there I got a ceremony, a healing session and a reading. It’s still in the air to see if it worked. It was absolutely not possible to see who was the shaman from the outside because they looked just like anyone else. Their way of defining a shaman is someone who lets the spirit use him/her for different purposes.
As mentioned it was very hot at the time of our arrival and the Tsaatan were doing nothing for most of the days. Remarkably, they didn’t seem to feel any guilt about that whatsoever. In fact they were very SKILLED at doing nothing even though we were getting quite restless. The same was true on rainy days. People were generally just hanging out, cooking and taking care of the reindeer. They were mostly hanging out inside the tipis. They weren’t deliberately rationing their firewood use, but used the stove as rarely as possible on hot days. If they were running out they would just go out into the forest to cut down another tree. Sometimes it seemed like they went out to cut firewood just out of plain boredom. We were told that in the winter it can get down to -55 C. The people live in the same tipi in the winter, they just make them smaller. In this way the flexibility of the 6 canvas pieces really come in handy. Their winter gear was stored somewhere else.
People enter the tipis without knocking or asking if you can come in (it took a while to get used to but now I REALLY like it). You just go in and you do so whenever you want to. For the most part no one said anything polite neither when entering or leaving the lodge. When they say ”make yourself feel as if it’s your own home” they actually meant it. The guest side is generally to the left in the tipi but there is no strictness about it. One thing that especially the female Shaman cared about was that you don’t sleep, put stuff or point your feet towards the north because that is where the Spirits live. Another thing is that they don’t walk over stuff that is laying on the ground inside the lodge. When people entered the lodges they didn’t pay attention to if people were sleeping or not. They weren’t necessarily loud but they were definitely not trying to be silent either. The Mongolians are in general very aware of others, but the idea about ”being quiet to not disturb others” does not seem to be a concept that the Tsaatan (and the Mongols in general) have. People are also generally not sensitive to sounds and they don’t seem to care if they don’t get enough sleep during the night because then they just sleep during the day without feeling any guilt. There was also no expectation of when to get up or when to go to bed either. No fixed sleeping routines. The only thing that was important was to get up to untie and milk the reindeer. For the most part it was one of the women in each family who got up and the men kept sleeping until they woke up. But sometimes they switched or the men were out on some early mission.
There is no privacy (even though one time a woman said ”I’m taking a bath” when we were going to enter). The Tsaatan were sensitive to nudity so if you pee or sit in the open shitpit when someone happens to walk by they look the other way (the same is true out on the Steppe where there is absolutely no privacy either). They were not afraid of intimacy. We saw them sitting and even laying close together, even men, but it wasn’t overly frequent that it happened.
The women were mostly hanging out with women, men with men, and children with children, but there was no fixed rule to it. The work was mostly divided into men’s work and women’s work, but again there was no rule to it, just that the men were stronger and cutting trees and chopping wood was too hard work for the women. From what I saw it was also the men who gathered the horses when they were needed. The horses, dogs and reindeer go free – the horses were sometimes gathered with lasso and the reindeer with salt. The men also hunted, fished and scouted for wolves. The women cooked, cleaned, washed clothes & dishes, milked & took care of the reindeer. I saw both men and women taking care of the small babies, but usually I saw the same primary parent with the same kid (sometimes it was a man and sometimes a woman). The children who were from about 3-4 years old would just go around camp as they wished and in and out of tipis as they wanted. The mothers nursed their children on demand until they were 3-4 years old. They didn’t use any  specific baby carrier, instead people carried the children in their arms. We were also told that the newborn babies are being carried in the front pocket of the men’s Jacket (”Dell”) since it has a lot more space then the version for women. Whenever children entered the lodges they weren’t given any attention. I really liked that since it took the focus away from the children, both the child-centeredness and the fact that they wouldn’t get used to craving for attention. I didn’t see the children being directly ”parented” or ”guided” but they for sure live a very hard and physically challenging life. They are nothing  but ”padded”. In general the children were very humble, silent, flexible, co-operative and had very little ego.
The elders lived among all the others and from what we could see during our week was that the elders seemed to be the most humble and seemed to be the ones who gave the least amount of advice. The reason for this, and I don’t know this for sure, but I was told things that made it seem like they know that ”life is good as it is”. There is no need to control things when things are like that. They’re just living with and accepting the imperfections of life, they’re not trying to change anyone or heal anyone. The people in general came off as innocent and naive at the same time as they seemed wise and emotionally mature.
There was no obvious leader even though people referred to the male shaman as the leader. Elders and people with skills in any specific topic were respected more when needed. We were told that everyone’s voice counts equally in matters. There was no obviously domineering people, but there were people who spoke more and people who were more quiet. The people in general were very humble, very flexible and had very little ego. The Shamans were not more rich or influential than other people, in fact the shaman I stayed with seemed like one of the ”poorest” people in camp because her setup was more primitive compared to the others with less ”fancy” things.
They didn’t speak English except for one woman in camp who was married into the Tsaatan and was our translator. For the most part we used a phrasebook and sign language. Often when she explained things to us, or translating what someone else said, she would use explanations of their limited realm for ex ”the world is getting old” instead of ”global warming” or referring to nature or spirits.
What struck me with the Tsaatan was how extremely aware and observant they were of details of what was going on around them and what other people needed. Many times I was surprised by how what I needed was offered to me before I had to ask (I noticed this in the rest of Mongolia as well so it seems like it’s part of their culture in general, at least on the countryside) it was a very nurturing experience. Their focus was more out towards serving other people and the world rather than themselves and their own issues.
Another thing that struck me with them was how open and accepting they were to letting people be and live as they are. When we spoke about different things (for ex using a plant for wolf-poison which they hadn’t tried) they didn’t brush it off as ”we don’t do that” instead they in depth explored the option and the same with other things. In general it was VERY easy to be in balance being with these people because they were so accepting and cheery. Also If you happened to offend someone it was forgotten or ignored right away afterwards, there were no lingering hard feelings (I think this is part of the Mongolian culture because it wasn’t only with the Tsaatan I noticed this).
I didn’t see almost any interpersonal conflicts while we were there between the Tsaatan. There was one situation where three 4-5 year old girls were hitting on a 3 year old girl with some plants while another about 8-10 year old girl was hanging out with them. The 3 year old had cut her foot so she was walking on crutches. The older girl went in between the hitting young children and tried different ways to dissolve the conflict until finally she just hit the children back with the plants. Then it stopped. I saw no conflicts between couples even though I asked about it and was told that people do have their struggles in relationships. I was also told that if people have small issues or everyday worries (like keeping the Reindeer safe from the wolves) they would just keep it to themselves, but if something bigger happened like someone in their family would die then it would be more of a camp thing and people would get support.
One more thing that stood out for me was that during our stay I wasn’t really asked to help out or told what to do. In fact I didn’t notice anyone else really being told what to do or anyone asking for help either. One exception was one time when it was raining quite a lot and one part of the tipii I was staying in blew off. The woman living in my lodge couldn’t get it back in place again, it kept blowing off, then she went to get her cousin (a man) and he came and fixed it. Everyone just went on with their own business. I was told it’s because people are so used to doing what they’re doing that they don’t need help. On the other hand if someone was working on something and someone else came to visit they would just help out as a way to hang out. There was a lot of care to support each other at the same time as there was no expectation to get help. This attitude made it hard not to want to help out because I was given so much without anything being expected in return.
I also became aware of that there is no such thing as ”my bed” when I visited. I was sleeping to the left in the tipi on a planked bed (while the others were sleeping on the floor). A few days after I had moved in with the shaman and her family another woman came for a visit and all of a sudden the bedding spaces where thrown up in the air and a new decision of who would sleep where was made. I did though move down to the floor by my own choice which was the most bumpy ground I’ve ever slept on. Still I slept a lot better on the bumpy ground (on top of mats) after finding ways to curl around the bumps. I realized that the ground where the others were sleeping was not any more flat. Also the fact that the shaman and her daughter got their whole home invaded by 3 guests and all of our stuff didn’t seem to bother them at all. It was like they had no attachment to things being in a very specific way and if they did bother it didn’t show and they didn’t say it (we had translators at times). If we were too many tourists in one tipi and took over too much the inhabitants of that tipi wouldn’t say anything, but just leave to go to another tipi.
11659287_10152964741567155_7232755269062563811_nWhile being there I can’t really remember any case of anyone being victimized. The whole camp had a very cheery and accepting attitude towards anything. For ex one day we went with some of the men fishing. It was a NOT easy 2-3h horseride down the mountains to the Tengis River. 7 kids from the age of 11 – 16 went along which was very cool, but they played a lot on the horses, racing (and also the men would race with them to give them a challenge or tease them), and they are way better riders than I am so when their horses took off in gallop so did mine and I couldn’t get mine to stop which I got a bit scared about (but as usual I didn’t really have to ask for help, our guide even though we didn’t speak the same language just took the reins of my horse and led it behind his). Down by the river the children made a fire right away because there was so many mosquitoes and flies and made tea and ate bread. The men went fishing (with the most crappy fishnet I’ve ever seen) by crossing the stream with the horses and then pulling the net across. We only got about 25 fish but the attitude of the people was so nice, playful and cheery with lots of laughter. BEFORE going back the fish was divided up upon the different people/families who had joined to fish, so it wasn’t shared with everyone back in camp. I didn’t see anyone being victimized by bugs, bothered yes, but victimized no. They just continue laughing and living life anyway. Going home most people went back except for Torjus and I and three of the men who stopped to fish in a shallow river by throwing rocks on the fish and catching them under the rocks. I’ve never experienced so many mosquitoes in my entire life, the sky was almost black of them. But noone cared, yes everyone was bothered, but noone was victimized and neither was I. I did use a little bit of some natural bug-oil that helped a bit though. This is the only life they have and they are so used to it. The men threw rocks on the fish and I picked up the fish they threw to the side. Life was just as good as it should be.
11109148_10152964749267155_8033458411671511297_nWhat they didn’t have though was a good diet. They ate bread and salty reindeermilk tea pretty much three times a day (bread made into noodles for dinner). With rarely any meat or vegetables even though they have A LOT of knowledge about wild plants and there was PLENTY of wild greens around for ex wild Rhubarb, some Angelica plants, Chives etc that we gathered. When we gathered it they were very excited about it and ate it. We were told that they did gather wild plants at certain times of the year only for ex berries and some ”wild potatoes”. It seemed like they didn’t even seem to understand how bad it is to pretty much only eat bread (we were told that perhaps it’s even good that they eat only bread for 2-3 months because the rest of the year they can hunt so then they eat too much meat). The kids were given candy without any moderation it seemed like. They said the kids had bad teeth because they didn’t want to brush them but pretty much all the people in camp had bad looking teeth. One time when I came into my tipi I found the 50 year old Shaman woman, sitting on the ground, sucking on one of those plastic bears filled with honey as if she was sucking on a pacifier. It looked very funny and she has like 5 teeth left in her mouth. The family Torjus stayed in put a thick layer of sugar on top of their piece of bread (noone had butter) and I was taught that if I dip the bread in the tea first the sugar stays much better onto the bread. But I stuck with bread and tea three times a day and at least avoided the sugar. They told us that they have no dentist so if someone gets a toothache they pull out the tooth, without anesthesia… All the men smoke, it’s almost considered weird to not smoke. We didn’t see anyone using alcohol, but they had it stored away for special occasions.
I could see why native people would be very easy to influence and mislead because they have no concept of that anything can be ”wrong” or ”bad for you”. There is only just ”living” and ”whatever works that is the most convenient”. We were thinking that the reason noone really judges in Mongolia and everyone is so accepting and forgiving might be because of Bhuddism and the reason why people judge so much here is because of Christianity, which has so many rights and wrongs.
For them to be able to live off hunting and slaughtering the reindeer they would need to have at least 4 times as many reindeer, now they only had 500 of them. They used to have 2000 reindeer, but because they used to cut off the velvet antlers in the 80’s and 90’s to sell to China (for traditional medicine) the reindeer caught a disease and many of them died. Due to the wolves killing almost as many reindeer as are born every year the increase rate of the reindeer population is very slow.
When they did have meat the old people were given their choice of the meat first. When we arrived they had just shot a wolf that had attacked a reindeer so they both had some wolf and reindeer meat, but not very much. After they have distributed the food it’s people’s personal food, but whoever comes into the lodge at any time there is food ready gets to eat. If you enter a lodge and it’s not a meal time you still get the salty reindeer milk tea and bread. So if you do a lot of tipi-hopping you get stuffed on bread pretty fast.
Their pooping hygiene was also not exactly optimal with several shitpits not far at all away from the tipi. They didn’t cover the shit after they pooped so on the hot days in the beginning of our stay the shitpits was COVERED in millions of flies, it was pretty gross. Also there is paper and plastic papers laying around as well. They burn their plastic and it seems like they don’t have the awareness that plastic doesn’t really decompose.
For the most part their days consisted of someone in the family (each tipi) getting up early to release the grown up reindeers whom they tied every night because of the risk of wolf attacks. One reindeer got attacked and killed right before we came there and one more during our stay. The reindeer calves were tied during the day (then the risk of them getting attacked by wolves was too high) and released at night when their mothers were tied because then they wouldn’t walk so far away from camp. The wolves didn’t get close to camp. After tying, untying and milking the reindeer the woman of the family would make the salty reindeer milk tea. In the beginning in made me want to throw up but in the end I really got to like it. Then breakfast, getting some firewood, dishes, lunch and dinner etc and not so much more, but tipi-hopping during the day just visiting people and doing crafts that they sell to the visiting tourists. They also made bread in various ways, but always with wheat flower.
I wish I would have asked more and especially the elders. I felt like I was asking way too much already. Torjus asked a lot about clothing and
things but something about asking about the past was a bit weird. It was like even if we asked about the past they answered with the now. I don’t know if it was lost in translation or if they have a different way of looking at the past. However it was hard to keep pushing about the past when you got weird answers. When Torjus for ex asked about traditional footwear, they said they still do that. then he asked if they had some in camp and first they said yes but when they started understanding more what he meant then they said no. So I was thinking that maybe to them, thraditional footwear, is the stuff they wear now. As if the past isn’t really important to them any longer if they’re not still using it, and if they’re still using it it wouldn’t be the past anymore but the now.
When I visited the Reindeer people I didn’t really take the ”survival” situation for real, even though we were far away from civilization we were still not far away enough. Until one day when it rained and it was blowing (and it’s cold there when the sun doesn’t shine) and the wind blew off one piece on the Tipi that I was staying in and we couldn’t get it back on again but had to go and get another person. The rain came in and then I realized the reality of the situation.”FUCK!!!… we’re 6h by horse away from nearest civilization and there is no other shelter than these tipis” (it was actually only 4h by horse down the mountains but since it took us 6h up I thought that’s what it was at the time and it’s 1h walk up the mountain to get phone reception but you don’t go there on a day when it’s cold, raining and blowing) They told me it gets down to – 50C/-58F. Last winter it got down to -55C/-67F so I guess they experience more challenging situations than what I did. If they get toothaches they don’t go to the dentist (too far away and they don’t have money) but has their teeth pulled out without anesthesia.
It is amazing to have had an experience of a group of people living together who is so used to living in nature that it doesn’t bother them. They were not victimized about it and they didn’t have ideals about how to do it. It was just life and living.
Categories: Natural Parenting, The Natural Human as I see it | Lämna en kommentar

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