Hygge: Live simply, live well, find enjoyment in the small things.

Hygge (pronounced hue-guh, not hig) is a Danish concept of living well and living simply - and I read that other countries in that area also practice hygge.  They must be doing something right because they are consistently topping the polls as the happiest people on earth - and it's often put down to hygge.  

There's been a huge buzz in the UK and USA about hygge in the past couple of years - trying to work out how the Danes and their neighbours do it. So what does hygge mean?

There is no literal translation, but I understand it's from a Norwegian word for well-being and it broadly means an approach to living that embraces positivity and enjoyment of everyday experiences. 

Hygge is more about a feeling or mood than a thing, and about a state of mind than a physical state - a feeling of contentment and well-being gained through enjoying the simple things in life.

Hygge is essentially the art of connecting in any given moment - being present - appreciating the small joys in life - connecting with self, with family, with friends, with place, with nature. 

Hygge is about finding deeper meaning with ordinary life and establishing a meaningful, mindful connection with the world.

In my context here in subtropical Australia, some of the things that translate as hygge for me are:

This is our living/dining room... a warm fireplace for winter using wood we collect onsite, a plate full of freshly harvested chillies, a vase of freshly picked fennel seeds, the vase is a wedding gift from my brother - it was made at the pottery where my gran used to go, the wall hanging we brought back from Turkey and reminds me of the amazing world adventures we have had with permaculture and all the amazing things people are doing around the world, the timber kitchen benches are hand crafted from a tree that fell just a few hundred metres from our home, the chairs are from the local tip shop, the walls are painted with non-toxic milk paint, the floors are from reclaimed timber, the top of the wall is made of glass to allow a gentle glow to reflect in from the external orange wall, children's artwork decorates our walls, the banana smoothies are made from our homegrown bananas and sweetened a little with our friend's honey, the bookshelf is full of interesting books for all ages, we placed the window above our kitchen bench just at the right height so we could look out to the trees and the Conondale Mountain range beyond.

Maia and Hugh chat about their homeschooling projects over a morning tea of banana smoothie they made using our own fruit. Their straws are reusable stainless steel. We usually go barefoot indoors and out - it's certainly warm enough. The couch with lots of cushions usually has someone curled up reading or thinking. The louvre windows and doors are typically open allowing fresh air to flood into the house. There is a huge indoor-outdoor connection at our place.

My nine year old son took the picture of me (at the top of this post) last Saturday while I was working - touring 75 people through our ecovillage, home and garden.  I think it captures how I feel about my hyggelig life. 

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