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Imagine that you’ve left the old story behind. You know, the one that takes for granted that Earth belongs to humans, to rule and to own. You’ve started a hike into unknown territory, and there are no maps. You don’t know your destination, and for all you know you could be going in circles. But it feels awesome to have left, to breathe the fresh air and be on the way.

You get to a peak where you turn around to take in the view. On the horizon you see the smog of the old world, and suddenly you realize, that even if you’re lost and mapless, you’re still on the right track. As you continue you meet other hikers with whom you stop and share a moment. As evening approaches, you decide to pitch your tent near your newfound friends. After dinner you gather around the campfire. You start telling the others about who you are, why you’re leaving the old story behind, and where you hope this hike will take you. Your fellow travelers listen and offer their own stories. The spaces between words are filled with the crackling of the fire and the song of a million crickets. The air is crisp, and the stars seem brighter than ever.

 

For a non-metaphorical description of Campfire Stories:

On Presence, “happiness” and happiness

Summer came and summer went for the people of the northern hemisphere. Autumn is on the move – the time of year to get all those plans rolling that were dreamt up during summer. But also a time to reflect back upon the spaciousness of doing absolutely nothing during a still summer evening. What can be learned from a time of fewer “musts”, from stepping away from the regular schedule of productivity for a few weeks?

The concept of time is easily misunderstood by our minds as something real. Most of us seem to believe there actually is such a thing as time, such a thing as “tomorrow”. But, of course when we get there it no longer presents itself as “tomorrow”. It’s turned into “this moment”. And that’s what life consists of. A rolling wave of “this moment” that spills into “the next moment” at the same pace as that transforms itself anew into “this moment”.

This may seem like an obvious statement. A childish statement even. But a deeper understanding of this idea can lead to profound realizations. The fact that “the future” doesn’t exist, other than as a concept of our minds, means I cannot hope to ever find “happiness” there. I can still plan for the future of course. Make desicions that feel right and that will put me on a path that leads in a desired direction. But what about finding “happiness”?

Now, why do I put quotation marks around “happiness”? I do so because it’s a word that often refers to something our minds imagine in the future; some mind-made feeling or material projection. This type of “happiness” is often coupled with anxiety of loss: “What if this wonderful condition comes to an end!”. So, the quotation marks are there as a reminder that I’m not referring to that type of happiness, but insted to a deeper sense of contentment; one that isn’t projected in the future and one that doesn’t couple up with the anxiety of possible loss. Having clarified that, I’ll henceforth drop the quotation marks.

Happiness, in any deeper sense, I believe can only be discovered in the now. In the present moment. And when it’s found, and stepped into, that feeling of doing nothing during a tranquil summer evening will arise naturally – even when picking up a crying 5 year old from daycare.

Today I’m proud to present Campfire Stories’ first collaboration with an “outside” filmmaker. (That is – a filmmaker that isn’t me, Mattias Olsson). Boris Laible is a wonderful sound designer, musician and director from Germany. He’s also a solid friend and a dependable colleague. In his short film 7 o’clock, the protagonist will show us the meaning of stepping into presence, with the help of an unknown woman’s playful ideas, combined with a sudden power outage.

I hope you’ll enjoy this film. If you do, please help get the word out by sharing it with a friend who you think might need a little more presence in his or her life.

Also, I will share any donations made while this film is in the top feed with its director Boris. So far, Campfire Stories has no source of funding for its infrastructure, film production and external talent other than you, dear reader. So please don’t be shy with that credit card. (And please know that if your budget doesn’t allow for a donation, you’re just as welcome here as someone whose budget does.)

Lots of love, and thank you for being part of the Campfire Stories family!

Mattias Olsson

Donations gratefully accepted!

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Film library

On Separation

I think there’s a common root to all the different crises facing us right now.

On Freedom

I’ve been thinking a lot about freedom lately. A visit on my friend Randy’s boat, near the coast of Manhattan.

On Fear

This film takes a look at one of the greatest obstacles to change: Fear.