Mom, you’re not supposed to stand there, said my daughter (13YO) upon arriving at the baggage belt at Arlanda airport. We had just landed in Sweden after having lived in Spain for six months and were waiting for our luggage. I have spent quite some time waiting by baggage belts at various airports around the world but I have never seen these yellow taped lines marked STOP on the floor surrounding the belt. This immediately made me hyper-aware: I’m back in Sweden. Suddenly it felt very important to keep on standing where I was, closer to the belt than the line permitted. Or suggested. Or what does it mean when a line is yellow and says stop?
HBO shows an interesting series called Westworld which depicts a futuristic park where human visitors can interact with robotic hosts. The world looks exactly like our world and the robots look exactly like human beings so it’s impossible to tell the difference between who’s a robot and who’s not. I have now been back home for a week and a part of me feels that Sweden is a bit like Westworld. It’s clean. It’s organized. And many people kind of look and behave the same. Yes, I know that I’m generalizing here. But recently coming back here after having lived in a totally different world has this effect on me right now, which I find interesting.
The indian mystic Osho says:
You are doing your job, your work, coming back home, fighting, loving, hating, eating, sleeping, doing all sorts of things – but the whole thing is happening as if you are a robot. Everything is mechanical, you are not doing it. You are not alert when you are doing it; it is just happening and you are behaving like a mechanism. (…) Just by breathing nobody is alive, and just by opening your eyes you are not awake.
Right now, Sweden feels artificial to me. A bit too perfect, too easy. An optimized environment to fall asleep in while living your life. I realize that my decision to keep standing too close to the baggage belt at the airport (such a little thing!) is connected to my deep inner longing for being truly awake in my life. And for me, being truly awake means to have the courage to live my life according to my truth. To dare to jump off a cliff sometimes when it’s time to make changes in my life. And yes, also to decide for myself that this particular rule for keeping a distance to baggage belts is pretty ridiculous.
I don’t think it’s a coincidence that my husband and I chose to go to an indian restaurant yesterday. Besides having an incredible food culture, India to me feels so much like life: colourful, imperfect, vibrant and messy. I honestly feel a bit lost right now, being back home in Sweden. It’s great in many ways: I love my bed and my kitchen tools and the clean water in my faucet which I missed in Spain. Sweden also has enormous wealth like the social safetynet, low criminality rates and beautiful nature for example. I know that I am incredibly privileged to live here! But there is a part of my soul that wants to travel and find another place to live, explore and learn new things about myself. This is my truth.
My children absolutely love being back home. Right now my house is filled with six (!) teenagers, sleeping over and having great fun. Upstairs I hear the girls giggling as only teenage girls can do and downstairs I hear the guys doing their LAN-thing. I love the fact that kids want to be in our home! And I love seeing my children so happy. So I know Sweden is the place to be for me right now and for the foreseeable future. And that is really OK because regardless of where I live geographically:
I am determined to stay awake and not fall asleep in living my life. I am committed to stay aware. And I will continue to go inside myself to connect to wisdom and my truth. So Arlanda airport be aware: when I come back from my next travel in august, you can count on finding me in a spot very close to your baggage belt again!