After a hectic year working as the show director of the Swedish TV show Talang and performing in the show Seebach in Copenhagen, dancer, choreographer and This Is Nuts Ambassador Kenny Svensson is taking some time off to wander the world and discover himself in the process. Tag along for the ride as he takes us to Indonesia, the Philippines, Vietnam and beyond in a series of four blog posts. Part two.
Sitting in Hanoi’s airport in Vietnam trying to type up in words how these past two countries I have visited have moved me forward is difficult, but they sure do connect the dots as far as my spiritual journey goes. I spent two and a half weeks in the Philippines and during my time in the land of islands I visited eight locations. Eight different beautiful places filled with nature beyond imagination. I was busy doing things all the time and wanted to explore and challenge my fears in every situation. I jumped in the ocean with whale sharks and swam alongside them, I rented a scooter on an island and just drove around for hours. I climbed to the top of a waterfall and jumped off it, snorkeled with turtles and swam through open water to a secret beach. I really conquered my fears that I have been carrying for years. And it was easy. I basically told myself that in order to grow you just gotta do it. Secretly screaming THIS IS NUTS as I took off to the rush of adrenaline.
I enjoyed the nature, the scenery and the adventurous life. But my health took a back seat. No healthy food was offered and not many vegetarian options were available. Because of that I had to eat what was offered, lots of white bread, cereals. pizza, fries, well basically a lot of junk food. After living a healthy beyond healthy life in Indonesia my body reacted fast, but what was most interesting was that my mind did too. And this time, since I was so connected and doing the work. I really connected the true dots to healthy living - your body and mind must collaborate and work in harmony for you to be at your best. This is true not only for your work and active life, but also for your personal life, your emotions and your everyday behavior. I felt more tired, and my highs and lows were more extreme. I tried to eat as well as I could, but it was really difficult.
Before leaving the Philippines I spent two nights in Manilla and at a little more fancy hotel, I ate better and I slept better. Didn’t do much but write in my journal and having very interesting talks with my spiritual teacher in Los Angeles. She, a wonderful woman with so much knowledge of the universe and the art of living beyond this earth and the work of the mind, body and soul. During my time in the Philippines and the fast tempo I was going in I really didn’t prioritize meditation and the knowledge that I I was taught in Indonesia, so a lot of the noise that I had worked through had re-surfaced. But it was sneaky, I actually didn’t feel it as strongly. I told her how proud I was for overcoming my fears and really doing things I have never done before, actually never even dreamed I would be able to do. And then she told me, something that would start my new chapter on this journey. ”Now that your are this brave in the outside world, see if you can be as brave on the inside.” That would be the key to really doing the work at a next level.
The 5th of November I boarded the flight that would take me to the country I have dreamed of visiting for all my life. Mostly because of the food, but also its beautiful culture and strong history. I landed in Vietnam and Ho Chi Minh City. I had made an effort not to have any plans during my upcoming month and in this country and just see where life would take me. I opened my heart completely. Ho Chi Minh City was horrible but a great lesson. The noise I felt on the inside really showed up on my outside, the city was so busy and I felt stressed just walking outside the cheap and crappy hotel I was staying in. But I made I big promise to myself before taking off to Vietnam: Whatever situation you end up in, do not escape it, move through it and learn from it. And so I did, and Vietnam became a journey far beyond what I ever could have imagined. I peeled back a few layers of myself and became more vulnerable, honest but most of all even more open to the guidance and love. I met people here I will never lose contact with, people I connected with on a deeper level, and conversations that opened my eyes to a bigger picture of life and a bigger gratefulness than I have ever felt.
During my time in Vietnam I found my voice to speak my truth. I closed doors that I have been terrified of closing, which of course opens new doors (doors I’ve been waiting for to open). I listened to my creativity and explored new layers of my artistry. I just didn’t care, speaking my truth finally made most sense. Trying to fit in and saying what you think is needed for the situation was not an option anymore. Just say your opinion and express what you feel in the most kind way possible. It felt so good, and was much easier than I expected. Mostly because I had taken the noise and ego out. But getting there was not easy. It forced me not to give in to distractions. It made me find peace even though it scared me beyond words.
In silence your thoughts and emotions will take place and if you keep on running as I have done for most of my life, you think you can escape it, but they just pile up, at least for me. My only options for true peace and truth was to put down my phone, resist Netflix every alone time I got, avoid scrolling on social media. Mostly not search for the truth externally but instead internally. So starting with calming my mind and getting a glimpse of what the mind is capable of in Indonesia, I now did the work daily even more deeply and it sure paid off.
Learning a solid technique in Indonesia, challenging my courage in the Philippines and then pushing forward to accepting the stillness and practice discipline with my work as a daily workout for the mind opened up many doors. When the noise is gone your inner voice (your truth) is much easier to find, and much clearer. Now six weeks later, I’m about to board another flight, a new adventure and more incredible experiences await. Stay tuned.
Here are some tips for those of you who seek some more peace and daily calm.
Meditation: Start by just finding a nice position, on a chair, on the floor, in the bathtub and just close your eyes and focus on your breath, doing 5-10 minutes in the morning, and before bed is a great start.
App recommendation: HEADSPACE
Nutrition: Lemon and ginger tea, will calm your mind and the warmth of the tea will give you some calm. A vegetarian diet is to recommend, but for optimal health veganism is the way to go. And of course a healthy selection of THIS IS NUTS!
Sleep: Read before bedtime, if only one page, it will calm your mind. Then turn your lights off and accept the stillness. it’s super difficult in the beginning but it has a great effect for a good deep sleep. Much better than falling asleep to sounds unless it's natural sound (ambiance). Avoid TV and screen light before bedtime, it triggers the wrong signals to your brain.
Disconnect: Practice your work limit. All too often we bring our work home, and it creates an unhealthy lifestyle as it consumes us much more than we realize. Turn off your phone before going to bed, or charge it in another room. Leave your work outside your home. Remember there is only so much you can do in a day. It’s difficult in today's climate, but if you want a healthy lifestyle you've got to start setting boundaries. Find a routine, free of connections. For example in the morning: Wake up and meditate for 5 minutes, make your breakfast and enjoy your time with yourself (or your partner/family) See if you can eliminate the TV and, most importantly, social media and work related e-mails, text messages and phone-calls. ENJOY YOUR MORNING, it sets the tone for the day.
Surprise yourself and challenge yourself: See if you can find one or two things a day you normally would never do, anything from talking to a stranger on the bus to going to the movies alone. Spoling yourself with a massage. Writing a letter of appreciation to your parents, or telling your friend how much they really mean to you. You will see how much will come your way when you let go of your fears. Spreading love is much more peaceful and calming than holding on to frustration. Believe me, I held on to mine for years so I know. And last but not least: LOVE harder, breath stronger and speak your truth.