I want to share a very special story with you. It’s about one of the first participants in The Creative Doer course, back in 2016, Juliane Solvång, and the curious path that lead to her heart’s work – and home.
Juliane is a gifted creative with a fascinating life story. I could tell you about the success of her instagram account @onebouquetperday, or her unique doll-making business, or her puppetry career (!) but I want to focus on one small detail of her story that I find so remarkably beautiful. Magical even.
She told me about it in a letter recently and when I asked if I could share it with you she said yes.
“In the winter of 2016, I took The Creative Doer course and one of the most important insights that I gained was how little space I had for my creative self and how stuck I was in my life at that time. I quit the course half-way through because these realizations simply felt too painful to handle.
I knew I had to make lots of changes in my life, but I didn’t know how. It felt utterly overwhelming and I had no idea from where I would gather the strength to make the changes needed.
But actually, before I quit the course, one of the exercises had already shown me the way, even though I didn’t realize it at the time.
In this exercise, we were asked to describe a place where we felt the most deeply connected to ourselves. I remember how surprised I was when I read what I had scribbled down on my worksheet: A detailed description of a tiny hut in the Swiss Alps. And I never really liked the mountains even!
Time went by, I felt utterly miserable, quit the course and smothered my doubts and worries with lots of work and projects. I completely forgot about the hut I had described on my worksheet.
Then I met someone I hadn’t seen in a long time, and he passionately talked about a tour in the Swiss Alps he had done recently. It stirred something in me, although I couldn’t put my finger on why. I kept thinking about it and a week later, I emailed a friend in Switzerland and asked if she knew of someone who would rent me a place to stay in the mountains. She did. In the summer of 2017, I spent my first two weeks in a little mountain hut in the Bernese Alps.
Two weeks of solitude and quiet, surrounded by beautiful nature, far away from the next inhabited farm. Those two weeks turned out to be life-changing. It was there, in the solitude of the hut, that I could no longer run from myself, my fears, my dreams and my difficult questions.
Those weeks brought me so much clarity, in a painful yet good way, and the insights grew inside me over the course of the following year.
Next summer, I spent another two weeks in my little mountain hut. When I travelled back to Sweden this time, I knew I had to make some radical changes: End a very long relationship, leave the place that I had called a home for such a long time and not only that – leave Sweden for good and move back to Germany, to a town new to me. A fresh start.
A few weeks later, while sorting old papers, I found my old Creative Doer notes. And there it was!
The mountain hut that I had described in the exercise as the place where I would feel the most connected with myself. The tiny kitchen with the woodstove. The small chamber with a bed. The table, the bench, the dried bundle of thyme. The heavy door, the dim light, the scent of smoke. The outhouse, the well, the window shutters. It was all there, down to the tiniest detail!
When I read those notes I realized that, in the winter of 2016, I had described the hut where I would spend those life-changing weeks the following summers. I had completely forgotten about it!
I had thought that it had been ME who had found the hut in the Bernese Alps – while it actually was the other way around. IT had found me already, a long time ago.
Isn’t life wondrous?
Now I live in Erfurt and without The Creative Doer, I’d never have found my way here. I’d still be in Sweden, in a life and a house that had long since stopped feeling like a home.
Thank you for showing me the way to my mountain hut and the next chapter of my life. I know it lived in me already, but it was your questions that led me here.”
Juliane Solvång lives in a cottage in Erfurt, Germany. She works at a puppet theater, continues to do her yearly #onebouquetperday project, and is still very much part of The Creative Doer family. Every summer, she returns to her magical hut in the Bernese alps.