Humans of Ängsbacka is a photo project of portraits and interviews collected at Ängsbacka course & festival center.
“Three years before I found my way to Ängsbacka, I had already been involved in urban collectives in Montreal. In a huge loft where we lived like a family of nine people, finding creative ways to live with little, co-creating, holding space for workshops and gatherings. Other communities emerged in the same building which became a beehive of communes. I was yearning for this kind of living together but in a nicer environment than the busyness of the city and closer to nature.
The wish to go to Scandinavia and the interest in the Sexibility, Tantra, and Conscious Parenting Festivals made me come here. I was exited about the workshops that give me so much opportunity to learn from different teachers. I love these safe spaces that are set to explore a specific state of being or topic in depth with others. That made me feel comfortable, especially in the Sexibility and Tantra festival, to explore sexuality and all the different facets of it with support, insights and inspiration. But not only could I join other’s workshops. As a volunteer, I get to hold my own ones too or just co-create fun things with others. We did live-model drawing workshops, a quirky dance choreography and created a weekly dream circle to connect the community. All these activities make it easier for me to get in touch with others.
The year prior to coming here, a really strong theme for me was my sensuality and there was a discomfort that I didn’t understand, connected to sexual intercourse with men. My intention was to open up to something in my time here and I had certain ideas of how to do that. Then, three days after coming here, I met a gorgeous Viking and we were lovers all summer long. He had studied a lot about removing blockages in the body and moving sexual energy. One specific experience as well as the whole time with him opened me up and showed me that sexuality could be much different than I had experienced before. I found all this confirmed in the workshops where the focus wasn’t just on the genitals but on breath, feeling the subtleties of intimacy which is much more than just sex. That is something that I got a better sense for while living in the community. Being with so many different people on so many different levels, I found that there is such a variety of how to connect. I allowed myself to follow the threads of desire, intrigue and attraction without wanting to possess a person I would be attracted to. I would ask myself what that quality is that I am pulled by. It brings clarity and avoids linking a connection to someone with a certain storyline that needs to follow a first contact. It also makes me aware of how I can better serve myself in any given moment… based on the qualites the other person is an example of.
Sex is one of many doorways into the deep intimacy which I crave. I used to put all my intimacy needs into that one basket of sex with one person who serves all my needs, keeping others an arm length away. That is quite a load to put on one partner. Just by being here in a space where we all gather to connect deeply through sharings, workshops and every day life, I continued opening up and found a lot of other ways to connect and express in-between the arm length away and sex. Concerning the act itself, I found a lot more listening, attunement and presence in the body. The idea of it leading to a specific goal vanished and relaxed everything. We could receive what wanted to show up for us in awe, grateful for feeling so alive together. At times, sexual interactions became ceremonies where we would dream and support each other in our life intentions, going beyond our little stories and asking ourselves how we would contribute to the bigger whole.
Community life, being surrounded by so many interesting people, is very beautiful to me and that’s what made me want to stay after the summer. I started a practice when I feel stuck in my own consciousness: I sit back and ask myself: “Who around me that I know would respond better in this situation?“ I recall what I know of them to enter my experience and it gives me more choices for my own actions. I really appreciate the qualities of liveliness they bring by being who they are. I am able to become sort of a multi consciousness. Being here helps me learn a lot about who I am in relation to other people.
Since everything is taken care of by all of us and we are not really struggling with life, there is a lot of room to play in workshops, activities and the beautiful nature that surrounds us. I am an only child that always wished to have siblings and now it feels like I have a lot of them that I get to live with! UhUhh! And I noticed that the more open and honest I am with them, the better it works. Still, it remains a challenge to constantly be around so many people, to be part of this vortex of emotions and feelings. And showing up on a day when I am a ’bad’ version of myself is hard for me sometimes. I have a few close friends here and others are mostly acquaintances but I still have this tribal feeling and can appreciate the small daily gestures that people do.
I dedicate myself to: “Dream big, it’s all possible“. I see that it is up to me to create the lifestyle that I want, to find places that line up with what I am looking to learn and then dive into them full-heartedly. I’ve been very well sustained here and even got a job, so it kind of took apart this linear idea of studying, finding a job, having kids etc. I am very aware of what I need and want to create right now in my life and taking it one vision at a time. This was one of them and I’ve learned so much about how this place is held up so I could potentially create something like it somewhere else. This place is built from the heart and if I’m connected to my heart and the visions that feel really good to me, all I have to do is follow those and I’ll be sustained in my life.
In the widest sense, what I receive from this place is the sense of possibility. Personally the topics of polyamory, sexuality, dance, expression and art will follow me. When I go to other communities like this, what I’d be really good at is to sense what people desire to build and to show them that whatever they want to create is possible. I can be supportive in discovering how a group of people can turn their dream into reality.
Me being here has been like a dream come true.”
– Violet, 24 years old from Canada
Keep tuned next week for a new story from Ängsbacka!