My instagram feed is full of #hygge and #intentionalliving labels – many of them my own. I love an easy hashtag to tack at the bottom of photos: old church candles burning in black and white; bread and milk set out for the welcoming of night-time wanderers. Labels like these fit my life relatively well, but something is lacking. I scroll down and see so many photos that capture #hygge better than I ever could – their books are so much more bookish and worn, their cakes abundantly crumblier – but in the end, maybe we’ve both lost a little of the essence of coziness when we share photos of our #hyggelife instead of merely entering into the moment entirely.
My life is most hygge, most intentional, in the moments I keep to myself. Maybe true coziness is like holiness – seen best in secret by those whose lives are mingled with mine.
“I want to be with those who know secret things, or else alone” writes Rilke. It is the coziest way to live. But at the same time, there is beauty worth sharing, and there are so many aspects of life I long to “paint in gold, and quite big” to share widely “without knowing whose soul will be fed by it.” (Rilke’s words as well).
So what is the point – the #intentionality of my instagram, of this blog even? The images I share are obviously idealized moments, edited, ‘painted in gold’ to highlight the beauty. Because beauty is essential, it isn’t merely an addendum or a embellishment. It feeds the soul: mine and hopefully the souls of others as well. I follow people who feed my soul with beauty as well – it’s thrilling to see life through someone elses eyes.
I could be overwhelmed by the images of perfection scrolling by. I could compare, envy, and eventually lose heart; but the images are like little icons – windows into the Christ-like abundance of beauty in every human heart. Stylistic interpretations of the quotidian by people who know ‘secret things’ – and with them, even out in a digital landscape we can share an actual sense of hygge – and more than hygge – wholeness.