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You get what you give

David and Elin’s story


Photo: Berit Indset / Text: Anders Wilmann

You get what you give

David and Elin’s story

Photo: Berit Indset / Text: Anders Wilmann

After crossing the train lines and wandering along a tiny path in the middle of the forest, the first thing in sight is a hand-painted sign pointing to the left saying: “Hikers please walk this way, we live here”.

Disregarding the sign and moving on, suddenly a clearing in the forest and a small red cabin is revealed up ahead. A woman sits under an umbrella in the garden and is occupied breastfeeding her small child. There’s a picturesque feeling to the whole scene as the sunlight shines strongly through the trees, illuminating the whole family. A heavily tattooed man with warm eyes smiles broadly, as he reaches out his arms and extends his warm welcome. No running water, snow knee deep in wintertime a forest sanctuary filled with love. Welcome to Elin, David and little Isiayah abundant and humble home.

David and Elin met at Ängsbacka 5 years ago after she had been here for a year already. As with most of the extended community; the workshops, festivals and general atmosphere at Ängsbacka had made her stick around. She still contributes by organising the healing circle at festivals and by doing body work. For David the initial attraction was first and foremost her, but as he speaks it becomes clear that he too has a strong feeling of community here.

“We are more than neighbors. At anytime we can reach out through the joint email thread or in the Facebook group and there’s always response. Like that time Elin has to find a way to pay an unexpected bill…”

With that calm enthusiasm they both seem to share, David tells about how Elin once asked if anybody could book a massage treatment to help her raise some money, and within a few hours she had booked enough treatments to clear all the bills that was due. He goes on talking about how there is that comradely and overall feeling that everyone in the community seems take care of each other as best as they can. Within a balance of course. Honesty and personal boundaries are principles that seems to be held closely to empathy and they both speaks about how sharing and listening with compassion are great tools for healing that is utilized collectively here. With a jokingly wink, David tells about how using this principle of sharing, often referred to as forum, have saved them from a lot of built up resentment in their relationship.

With many men these days there’s a lack of clarity and purpose as well as togetherness, and David talk about “sharing” as a helping tool for this too. Within the community there are groups of men who get together for support and sharing. Men’s-groups. His shoulders drop as he speaks about how having fellow men as supportive brothers rather than adversaries makes him feel so much more at ease, and how being able to share vulnerability in a group feels so healing compared to just holding up the facade when interacting with others. As Isaiah, their two-year-old, runs off to play, Elin joins in talking about the women and how there seems to be this network where they are there for each other. She smiles warmly as she lingers on the word sisterhood. She goes on talking about how it is easy to get help watching the children and that they often take turns babysitting without anybody keeping stock.

“You get back what you give in, so the more you contribute and connect with others the more you will feel connected in return.”

Living as a couple and somewhat lonely in the forest, they both still seem to share this feeling of being part of something bigger, living in a place where they feel accepted and free to make their own choices without being judged for who they are. Through being able to have honest conversations and acting without pretense as they move about in the community, all their interactions with others can really nurture them, both as individuals as well as a couple.

Leaving the little clearing in the forest, it is hard not to feel drawn in to this little family. Whether or not the simple lifestyle they have chosen to live is right for everyone, the grounded calmness they both embody seems to be contagious to anyone who spends time here with them in Molkom.