Ideas Island is a project by Fredrik Härén, an international speaker on business creativity and author of The Idea Book. He owns three islands (two in Sweden and one in the Philippines) and rents them out for free to creatives to help them in developing their ideas. Last week, I got to stay at Ideas Island #2 Vifärnaholme in Stockholm. This is a letter of thanks to the island, for inspiring me during my stay.
Dear Ideas Island,
I miss you already. I dream about you since the last time we saw each other: the moment I first saw you, shining in the distance. Waking up to peaceful mornings, the sun shining on my face (“I woke up in paradise,” I thought to myself.) The ever-present birds keeping me and my boyfriend M company. The lake, the trees, the bluest sky.
It was like a dream, but it wasn’t, and for that I am grateful. There are indeed places on earth that feel like heaven, and they truly exist. During my stay, time and space didn’t seem to exist, what only mattered was the here and now. My worries weren’t present (maybe I should try to live more like how I did on the island..) For the week that I was there, the purest of thoughts came to me and I just simply felt alive.
Time flies when you’re at the island. I first thought that I would be bored, but there was no single idle moment. I was either thinking of my project, writing an article, cooking a slow meal, having extended fika breaks, or trying to sneak up on the baby seagulls. And everything was enjoyable, even washing the dishes (with a view of a luscious lake, and the sun reflecting thousand of tiny diamonds on the water!)
While on the island, I read an article on Brainpickings.org on why quiet time is essential to a full life and a quote by Cheryl Strayed struck to me:
“The useless days will add up to something [because] these things are your becoming.”
I liked the idea of “becoming”. What a beautiful word it is in itself, too (Becoming: gerund or present participle “become”, grow to be, develop into; adjective, looking good on someone, attractive, flattering) I like that some things take time and during that time, we learn, we grow, we develop, we shape ourselves and we become, even without being aware of it. I remember thinking of a similar thought a few winters ago: looms are always spinning. Things are happening in parallel to what we are experiencing personally, things always change (and that is good!) Don’t despair when things are not going your way, for you don’t know the whole picture and many things are already happening that will lead to a new situation.
I thought of the creative process and how truly difficult it is. I thought of all the doubts, the second-guessing and the countless hours of writer’s block: which often lead me to think that I am “not being creative” or “not doing enough”. When in truth, it is part of the process and without it, we are not really being creative. In line with this, I should also let go of being a perfectionist.. I need to learn to be gentle to myself.
I am grateful that I am still on the path that I want to be in. A few years ago I had a plan and a picture of who I want to be, professionally and as a person. It wasn’t an easy road, but I stuck to it and now I am becoming that image: I live in Europe (I even have lived in my dream country, Sweden) and I am working in the fields I am most passionate for: the arts, culture, writing, nation branding and promoting Scandinavia and Holland. Somehow I found a way to shape the things I love into a career.
I am also glad that my professional and personal life are not two completely separate entities. I hope I will continue to be close to my passions, and that opportunities will open up so that I can live as close as I can get to my true, authentic self. The one I am happiest and at peace living with. 🙂
Becoming, idyllic, dreamy. That’s the best I can describe the time I was there, and at the same time that is what you are, Ideas Island! May you continue to inspire many others to breathe in ideas, create things for the good, and live out their dreams.
Send my love to the three baby seagulls!