Connecting to the past, present and future in small-town Kansas
If you follow me on Instagram, you know that I just went on a trip to Lindsborg, Kansas with my mom, sister and niece. (Apologies for the annoying amount of 'grammage.)
Lindsborg, AKA "Little Sweden" holds a Midsummer Festival to celebrate Summer Solstice as they do in Sweden — raising and dancing 'round the maypole with midsommarkrans atop the ladies' heads. (Yep, my ancestors were the original pole dancers.)
We used to celebrate Midsummers in Lindsborg when I was growing up, so I was looking forward to returning as an adult. I expected a blast from the past, but I didn't expect to feel so connected to the past, present and future.
The sounds of Swedish folk music, the smell of lingonberries and the sweet taste of Swedish kringle took me back to my childhood. But even deeper than that, I felt connected to my ancestry.
When I walked through the gift shops, decorations made from cloth and straw and wood reminded me of Grandma. These were her things, items I didn't realize were Swedish but just thought were Grandma-ish. I saw faces that looked like my older relatives and heard words pronounced with familiar dialect. (I'm not the only one who pronounces milk "mylk!"
As I watched the folk dancers move in traditional Swedish dress to celebrate the longest day of the year, I imagined how my great grandparents and my ancestors before them must have celebrated in a similar fashion on their farm in Värmland, Sweden. I couldn't help but feel connected to my childhood, my known relatives and ancestors I look forward to celebrating with around the maypole in the next life.
We didn't have much of an itinerary for this trip. We had a hotel room booked in nearby Salina, Kansas and a couple of "must see" festival events, but for the most part it was a go-with-the-flow weekend.
For example, on night one we ate Mexican food, went swimming with my niece and then sister and I decided to find a place to grab a glass of wine. (Which ended up to be quite an interesting experience. Learning: Speakeasy means something different in Salina than it does in Kansas City. Uff da!)
Every one of the three days was a fun game of "What do you feel like doing?" Because of that, I felt very connected to the present. It was refreshing to live moment by moment with whim and desire as our guides.
My niece is a bundle of happy. She has such a lively spirit and great attitude for a 5-year-old.
Watching her face light up at the same things that once brought joy to my sister and myself made my heart smile.
I don't have children yet, but I look forward to having this feeling more often someday — witnessing a new generation; feeling energized by their innocence, wonder and the joy they get in the smallest, simplest things.
In yoga, on and off the mat, we mostly focus on the present; connecting with our breath and experiencing the now.
But even when you're focusing on the present, finding your balance is easier when you have strong roots below you and you keep your neck long, reaching for that promising future.
I returned from Lindsborg with stronger roots, a present mind and forward gaze. A girls' trip to small-town Kansas was just what I needed to find my balance.