Humans of Ängsbacka is a photo project of portraits and interviews collected at Ängsbacka course & festival center.

It started in November 2018 with the photographer Ken Buslay from the idea of Marc Domingos to share stories about the community living here.

Cherie, 22 years old from Denmark

“I discovered the need to connect deeper to myself when I was living in the city, working with creativity and studying healing through acupuncture. My curiosity about how we connect with other human beings and with ourselves was awakened but I wasn’t able to go as deep with others as I wanted to. Everyone was busy with daily life routines and work. I felt that more than that was possible.

I began to travel and enjoyed the intensity of meeting people in a vibrant environment but I discovered that I mostly wanted to find a really deep, grounding, connecting community experience. I wanted to stay with it, not trying to catch every chance for an exciting adventure and then move on to the next, like I and all the travellers around me were doing. My own and other people‘s openness and happiness while traveling is a good and easy base to meet people on but it was leaving out a part of me that also needed to be expressed, accepted and loved. To build the trust and safety with others, that is needed to have these parts of myself contained as well, wasn’t possible when I was moving a lot.

I heard the call to go to Ängsbacka for a while during my travels and finally, I came for the Tantra Festival to feel what it is actually like to be here. Afterwards I ended up staying as a volunteer. The longer I stayed, the more I dived into the community and found what I was looking for. Sometimes it is challenging to be here and part of me wants to leave. But I remind myself that what I am looking for I will not find out there on a continuous search. Because what I want is to really go deep within myself, the place and the people in it.

Here at Ängsbacka, I feel that I am getting more and more connected to others as I am showing the brighter as well as the darker sides of myself. Building this trust is a challenging process in which I needed to overcome a lot of resistance but I experience that people here really want to see all of me.

I am breaking out of my shell, expressing myself. Here, I am allowed to be loud and crazy. I can express with my voice and my movements. I can experiment and it opens me up to myself, to love and to so many different ways of connecting to others. We can not only sit and talk, but wrestle, scream together, cuddle or dance. The challenges that come up for me here are easier to be dealt with because I can express them openly and that makes me feel that I am not alone with it and that makes it less scary for me.

We are all individuals on our own journey, not following one teacher or practice. But what connects us is that we want to heal in truth. Everyone being in different ages, at different stages in their life is very beautiful and inspiring, but it can be challenging also to meet everyone‘s longings and create that feeling of community and connection.

What is the most valuable life lesson that I will be able to take with me from here? It is the healing power of being with what is, without trying to change it. Whatever emotion wants to be expressed is welcome. If it would be suppressed it might be sufficient in the moment, but it is not healing and supporting me in the longer term. I already felt that I am able to shine this light when I go visit friends and family outside of Ängsbacka and they also expressed that they feel my growth and that I can meet them with so much allowance. I love that.”

Keep tuned next week for a new story from Ängsbacka!

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