integrity

Interview with Linnéa Janus Sjögren

I would like to thank my dear friend, Linnéa Janus Sjögren for a truly enlightening interview. I’ve expanded my journalistic inquiries of authors to any individual that manages to inspire me in some way or another. Today I am sharing a dialogue between one such person, a character that I’ve been honored to communicate with in a soul-to-soul manner. The authenticity of this dear friend is evident in every word. She accepts herself and cherishes both the flaws and kernels of beauty each human is endowed with. I find myself rapt in awe and filled with admiration by this complex, engaging, and ultimately impassioned muse.

Ty: Your current abode lies in Sweden, but have you lived there your entire life? And if so, how has the culture made you who you are today?

Linnéa: I am born and raised in Stockholm, Sweden. I’ve moved within the city limits and within Sweden’s boundaries. A few years ago I moved to Finland. I stayed there for about a year and a half, and then I returned back home to Sweden.

I’ve lived in all kinds of places. I grew up in a small town with deep social-economical cracks. Something that’s become more and more noticed in the Swedish society today. Though few people will acknowledge that. I’ve spent time with people from all social casts, and  it has all left me with imprints. In the long run, my moving around within Stockholm, has left me with more impacts than living abroad.

I’ve learned more from people around me, than from the culture in itself. Unless you would count music, music has always had a big impact and been very important. The different musical cultures have molded me more than social-economic cultures.

I’ve wandered from pop, to punk and rock, to industrial, synth and goth, in to metal and down to the underground sub-genres. This is where a lot of inspiration and comfort has been found. Time to heal and to feel. Music has always been more important than where I’ve lived. Everything that’s been a psychical change is jumbled and mixed up, while the music makes a soft, easy to follow, wave.

Ty: From our various conversations, It’s obvious that you are an incredibly soulful and spiritual individual. Has this always been the case? What factors in your life have contributed to the broader view of reality you express so well?

Linnéa: I don’t see myself as soulful or spiritual, but it might be that I am. Mostly I’ve always walked my own path in life. Observing and learning wherever I’ve needed to. Every time I’ve tried to walk to the beat of someone else’s drum it’s always ended in misery and pain. Though I’ve learned a lot from it, I wouldn’t recommend it. I make my own happiness, though it took me a few years to figure it out.

Growing up I was very focused on trying to “fit in”, I tried to be as normal as possible. I will admit that it was a poor idea, and something I wouldn’t recommend to anyone.

But there are many factors, not many of them beautiful. First of I was bullied for a long time in school. It was a hard life at home with my mom having it very hard economically and having mental issues she needed to work out. This made my first 18 years  very dark, and I had the blackest of black depressions. Around the time I was 18, cynical, and mentally buried in the feelings of worthlessness, I met someone very special. He put books by Richard Bach in my hands and brought me to his healer. I’d gone through many kinds of abuse, mental and physical by this time and had started looking into Zen meditation, I was tired of being broken and had somewhere along the way realized that only I could make myself whole. But it helped a bit on the way, and made me feel a bit less useless. It gave me a sense of self again. I got to grow, and I found myself re-connecting to life. I had stood still for so long that I thought I was a lost cause.

So I mediated, and I read. I went back to finish High School and get my grades, so maybe one days I can get into university. Of course not without some setbacks along the way. It was a hard road to walk, with work on the side and bad choices in relationships. But it’s the only way to grow as a person, through trials of various kinds. I’ve always had to struggle with one thing or the other, mostly it’s been the economic perspective. I’ve never seen any real value in money, and it’s given me many difficulties along the way, but not any that can’t be solved. So in a way, I’ve always lived smack down in the middle of reality, working to stand up on my own two legs at the same time as I’ve tried to figure out my life.

This is my reality, and I get to see the full spectrum of it.

Ty: I’ve always believed that raw knowledge can be transcended by personal experience: the ability and conditions necessary to develop wisdom. Where do your priorities in life lie in regards to these two methods of personal betterment?

Linnéa: I always work to become a better me. But I don’t believe in wisdom. It may sound odd since the definition of wisdom is to learn from ones experience. However, it feels so very misguided to me. For me it’s all about moving forward, learning and transcend through my highest right. I will never base an active decision on anything else than that. I question everything, to see if my answers change, how I change, and how the world around me change.

Of course, once can transcend through experience, but I don’t believe in that kind if experience without pains and trials. To really ascend into a better self, one needs to be able to merge the spiritual and the physical into a balance. It can never be two separate worlds. Knowledge in any form, comes through questioning. And mostly, I question myself, my choices, and what I do. If I don’t, when who will?

Ty: Falling in love is both the most complicated and simple of phenomenons in the universe. You are an open polyamorist, and this subject is unique for someone who has the amazing ability to be romantically involved with more than one person. Has accepting this facet of your personality liberated you from the pain of any possible hurdles along the way? In your opinion, is love most powerful when kept between two individuals, or shared openly as something all of humanity can partake in?

Linnéa: I don’t think it’s unique in any way really. Many people love selfishly, they keep it to themselves and with it comes jealousy, fear and confusion. Something that, in itself, is the opposite of love.  I could be romantically involved with more than one person, if I wished. however, I don’t, and I’m not. I chose a monogamous relationship, To share my most intimate with one person. And though I can fall in love with others, it is something I can choose to either act upon or not. I preferably choose not to, because I know there is naught much to miss, except the thrill of the first moments with someone new, and in the long run I don’t find it very fascinating.

However, it has changed a lot for me, to accept this part of me. I heard many times that my love was fleeting and that I didn’t know how it was to really feel for another person, while today I’d say that it’s a very wrong assumption. On the contrary, I get to feel deep, amazing, feelings for more than one person – it’s a different aspect of love, and somehow I believe it’s richer, than the simple one love. Most importantly, I feel free in my way of loving people. I can love freely in a new way, knowing it’s just part of me.

Of course it doesn’t liberate me from possible pains and heartaches. But it’s taught me a lot about jealousy and how to handle that aspects that can come from all kinds of directions.

I think love is always powerful, no matter how it’s shared. But it will always give back more then more you share it. Though it ought not to be too confused with sex. To share love freely, it has to be empathic, caring, and respectful. It’s never about the sexual aspect of a relationship.

Ty: Sexuality and orientation is a precarious subject for many, yet you manage to embrace yours with a grace that I deeply admire. Concluding this insightful interview, could you explain to our audience the importance of accepting one’s true nature, and not only being honest to others, but honest to oneself?

Linnéa: It is important to accept oneself, fully and entirely – that includes all those pesky details and flaws we see in ourselves, inwards and out. In a society where people strive to find “perfection” they often lose sight of what perfection is. Nature is perfection, perfection is a growing and changing state of mind, something under constant development. Life is perfect, with all its hardships and challenges. You are perfect, as long as you strive to ascend into your next self. But as soon as you stand dormant, perfection cease, because you have now stopped moving forward.

When realizing you are perfect just the way you are, a new kind of honesty will find its way to your heart. For you have accepted all that you are, thus opening yourself up to see your own inner diamond, your core, your soul.

With transcendence comes understanding, and with understanding comes humility. Within humility there is a honesty hard to find elsewhere. Through it you’ll find yourself a new honest nature, with yourself and the people around you.

It’s important, because it’s about taking care of yourself. For when you can really take care of yourself, from the inside and out, you can take care of those closest to your heart. the trick is always to care for yourself first, because if you’re not whole – you can’t possibly give support to those around you. It might sound counterproductive, but it’s really the only way to grow and keep moving forward. Because you won’t develop as long as you linger on your old scars, and tear then open. You won’t heal unless you allow yourself to do it, and you won’t ascend unless you heal. Love will heal, but you need to find that love towards yourself within you, before you can find love outside. Only you can heal yourself, and only you can accept yourself, your love towards yourself will always be the greatest one you’ll ever find.

In short: Find your highest truth, your highest self. Live by it, and you will notice a difference.

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I hope you enjoyed this interview and appreciate the new direction I’m focusing my eyes on. In the future, you can expect to see more inquiries with freethinking individuals. Everyone has an ability to break the mold in some way or another. True strength lies in the fearless: those who understand the importance of individuality and thinking for oneself. We should all take to heart the importance of being authentically unique, realizing that we can change the world with our mind and then choosing to do so. It’s the sincerest gift we can share with humanity.

If you are interested in learning more about Linnéa Janus Sjögren, check out her insightful blog, Dreamscapes.

Crisp, Ty (2013) Interview with Linnéa Janus Sjögren

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“To Thine Own Self Be True”

Relationships are often the focus of emotional speculation and sometimes, unfortunately, derogatory criticism. It it my opinion that this outlook stems from a misunderstanding of the mysterious phenomenon called love and an often one-sided view of relationships in general.

In order to develop the correct understanding of love, one must first dissolve any preconceived notion they might have developed from a worldly source, namely the media and the cultural leaders we call celebrities. Secondly, one must understand the three fundamental components of any true relationship. They are also relevant in the context of friendships.

The most vital component of any relationship is sincerity. One must e completely honest to their partner, but to an even greater extent, themselves. Truth of heart, truth of mind, and truth of character comprise the fundamental pillars of this concept.

Integrity is an often overlooked attribute in the development of relationships. Everyone follows their own moral code; a set of ethical standards. Admittedly, this code can vary drastically depending on the individual, however it is there, all the same. Integrity is the willingness of one to adhere to their own conscience.

The final aspect of an enduring relationship is compassion, an almost indescribable force that seems completely at odds with human nature. Love is founded in the deepest compassion. It is the understanding and caring tenderness that occurs in those completely speechless moments of devotion and spiritual attraction, regardless of superficial factors including personal identity.

You can sum up these components in a simple commandment: Be true. You deserve your honesty as much as anyone else, whether applied to friendships, or a deeper relationship. Cultivating your inner characteristics results in a more powerful outward experience. Too many times have I witnessed individuals falling away from each other because of superficial discrepancies, which are only existent as an effect of inner turbulence and misunderstanding. I have come to the realization that ignorance of the true nature of love often predates the collapse of relationships. My message to anyone, whatever form of relationship you may in, is to find a cure for your ignorance. Take those necessary steps to understand. And most importantly, Be true.

The Greater Man

A cascade of leaves erratically flies in a gust of wind. Competing forces pull to and fro, sending them in wayward directions. Unplanned, spontaneous, and totally free. Traveling somewhere we can never guess, they present a paradigm of life. In essence, we are all merely leaves, being carried throughout existence by an unseen and greater hand. We all ride the wind, and we all are traversing the same path, with only minor deviations. This force is powerful enough to carry the multitude of our spirits. There is always a breeze somewhere in the world, and this gives insight into the persistency of life itself.

An old man once told me that life is both more and less than we can possibly imagine. We carry out our existence, seemingly with a plethora of complications. Thinking, analyzing, judging, and toiling our minds away. We create an identity for ourselves, a mass of labels and materialistic stickers, and decide we are only going to view the world through a biased lens. We are preconditioned from childhood with a sense of “self” that allows us to judge situations and people on a personal level, and react in the best means of promoting self-preservation. This way of going about life can be useful as a tool, but not as the perfect means of understanding reality.

Sometimes, humans are capable of losing touch with the fundamental aspects of life. Sometimes, we fail to grasp the true essence of what it means to be living, breathing, and experiencing the awe of simple existence. Remember, we are all embodiments of impermanence, such as the leaves the fly together in a gust of wind. Sometimes we place too much emphasis on the time we are alive and forget that the universe still persists after we are long gone. Death before death is the true purpose of our existence. To abolish our simple and flawed perception of a personal life, and to realize the much greater picture is the ultimate goal.

In a sense, the Eastern sages were correct; we are all interconnected, we are One. Even if humanity is not linked by some cosmic, mystical force, we are linked by the everyday moments of life.  Everything we do and everything we say has an impact on countless individuals around us. Our words and actions have an altering effect on the proceedings to come, and our future can change drastically because of it. This broader outlook of cause and effect relationships is vital if we are to transcend egotism and experience reality in its true, unfiltered state.

Our goal in life is to live with integrity. To walk, talk, breathe, and create in utter honesty of our true being. Understanding the greater relationships in life allow one to be true to themselves, and the people they care about. We all have a greater man inside, and he has never abandoned us, regardless of the insanity we are capable of. This man is not your identity, but your state of being, for identity is an exterior construct. Through this state, we are capable of reveling in the awe of riding the wind. We are capable of appreciating the unsolved mysteries of the universe and knowing what true love really means. My final question: have you found YOUR greater man?