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On finding peace of mind

On finding peace of mind

On finding peace of mind 640 480 SKANDINAVISK

On finding peace of mind

Frida Edlund. Photographer.

I was never into horses as a young girl. I saw no charm in riding schools, and I just did not get it when the other girls were fighting like crazy over their favourite pony. But when I moved to Ölsdalen as an adult, my uncle would pass by my house every morning on horseback, with no saddle. After a few weeks, my curiosity finally got the better of me, and I asked if I could join him. At first, I was terrified. Clearly, the horse did not approve of me on his back. If I felt tense, he would feel the same; if I was distracted, he would just stop and refuse to move. Friendship seemed unlikely to happen, but something inside me wanted to keep trying. And then one day we found that special flow. My first gallop was one of the happiest moments ever; it was like our hearts were beating as one. I had never felt so alive.

Before I moved here, my whole life was in Stockholm, and – like horse riding – living in an old schoolhouse in Ölsdalen, literally in the middle of nowhere, was not part of my plan. I was working as a fashion photographer and, as part of the job, I was travelling a lot. After a particularly intense period of work, I returned to my apartment from a trip to New York, and something had suddenly changed. Inside me there was this void. I had no energy to keep going; I simply saw no point. What used to fill me with great joy and give professional fulfilment and a desire to constantly develop creatively had been drowned in a massive overload of work, and pressure, and expectations, and self-criticism, and I had completely ignored all the signs of my own emotional crisis in the process.

At first, I thought I could just leave the city for a month or two, cancel a few jobs and take a pause to reflect a little, and I would be my good old self again in no time. First step was to visit my parents, who own a classic Swedish faluröd house just down the road from here. Even though they had lived here for years, and I had visited many times, this was the first time I could really sense nature – the distinct smell of moss after the rainfall, the fog lying like a heavy duvet over the meadow in the early morning, the immense feeling of peace when floating in the nearby lake, face to the sun and without a care in the world. I gradually learned that time is not something you can chase or win; basically, there is only this instant, and as humans we will end up unhappy and worn out if we do not at least try to be present in our lives, right here, right now. In this process of rediscovering who I was and what I wanted from life, I realised that I needed a far more radical change than a vacation at my parents’ house.

Today, I know that what I was experiencing back then was a stress-induced breakdown. A year has passed, I have witnessed the seasons changing, and somehow a circle has been completed. I have rediscovered my passion for photography, I have started travelling again, and I have found a way to live here and still keep in touch with my friends in the city. And even though I am a rare bird in the tight-knit community of local workers and farmers, I feel at home here – in the woods, on the lake, on the back of a horse. Nature has taught me how to breathe again.

Photographs by Chris Tonnesen & styling by Marie Graunbøl, Revolver.

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