Monthly Archives February 2017

Being gentle to me – Reflection February ’17

Being gentle to me – Reflection February ’17

February 27, 2017
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It’s been an odd month. A lot of hopelessness and despair, frustration and fear, surrounding me. So what have I been doing to be gentle to me, under these conditions? Well… I’ve let myself off the hook, in many ways. I’ve let up on some of the requirements I normally meet, have let my confused and muddled mind be. A lot of knitting, which for me is a very relaxing activity, where my brain can simply let go. A lot of The Good Wife on Netflix, which works perfectly together with the knitting. I’ve not had the wherewithal to read, so no books. I’ve not been able to make myself focus on some aspects of work, so less of that as well. I’ve done the top priority activities, but cut back on the rest.

Wellbeing picking up againAnd now?
Well. The wellbeing is picking up, on all fronts, mine as well as for those in my surroundings. And it makes it easier to start to focus again, to get into the aspects of work that I’ve not been able to make myself sit down with in the past month. The items that require a bit more from me, a coherent thought, an arc of intention, that demands my full attention. And today, for the first time in a few weeks, I finally truly felt that again. So I enjoyed it, getting into the flow of things, of digging around in a system, searching for the common thread, pondering the best way to recreate it, into a new system, utilizing the best from the old, and trying to let go of the less good bits.

And throughout it all – this underlying knowing that it’s not forever. It will not last, the sense of hopelessness, the lack of energy due to despair. It cannot. Nothing ever does. The flux of life will pick up it’s frequency again, starting to swing back and forth, back and forth, providing me with high’s and low’s. Coupled with the knowledge that whatever it is I am not doing, is noting that won’t keep, the worst case scenarios of me not giving it my all – for a month – simply aren’t that bad, even if I use all of my imagination.

So. Being gentle to me this past month has been about cutting myself some slack, allowing me to recharge my batteries and giving me space to simply Be.

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An act of rebellion

February 26, 2017
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On Being.
Krista Tippett in conversation with Parker Palmer and Courtney Martin.
Topic: The inner life of rebellion.

At this point in time, a time of terror and natural disasters, war and tyranny, people fleeing from their home and countries, from death and destruction…. holding onto hope is a challenge. A struggle. Not always easy. But I stick with it. I stick with my hope of a better world, for all. With the knowing, deep within me, that the path of love is the path ahead, towards that world, which is better for each and every one. In times like these, holding onto hope is an act of rebellion.act of rebellion

This is the essence of this podcast. Holding onto hope. Parker Palmer and Courtney Martin remind me of the path I’ve chosen in life. The path of love.

Does that mean I never despair? Dread? Fear? Hate?
No. I feel it all. It’s a part of the human experience.
But I cannot, will not, let those emotions become the main route of my life.

That is not how I want my life to play out, focusing on those feelings, the feelings of despair, dread, fear, hate. It’s not what I chose. So when those feelings show up, I see and acknowledge them, I don’t shy away from them, but I have the choice not to dive headfirst into them, and that’s most often the choice I make.

Trying to avoid falling for the siren’s call of the cynic, the sarcastic, the pessimistic and the negative. Instead, I try to listen to the love, the creativity, the compassion and the positive. Simply, because it makes my life more enjoyable. That’s my act of rebellion. Holding onto hope, believing in and living my life out of love and light.

What is your act of rebellion?

In 2015 I ran a series on herothecoach.com with Sunday postings of podcasts to my liking. In 2017 I will be re-posting some of those blog posts – and this is one of them, originally posted here – , mixing them up with new podcast recommendations. As I’ve been inundated in feelings of hopelessness a lot these past months, as well as listening to Rebecca Solnit in an On Being episode and also reading Hope in the Dark by Rebecca Solnit, when I stumbled upon this podcast recommendation from 2015, it immediately felt like the podcast to recommend. For you, of course, but perhaps even more so, for myself. So I will listen to this one, again. Holding onto hope!

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The shape-shifting of life

February 24, 2017
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The changes… Think back a month or two, to the despair, anxiety, worry for the future. And look at where you are at today! Filled with hope, in love with life and others, a bounce in your step’s that you couldn’t even imagine a few months back.

This, is life.
Truly, this is what life is about.

The constant evolving of a present, that shape-shifts constantly. Harsh and cold at one time, embracing and warm the next. Anxiousness abounds, to be replaced by being in love. The heartwreanching loneliness, to never be loved again, held, desired and caressed, replaced by the closeness of two bodies, breathing in the breath of a loved one in a passionate kiss.

Shape-shifting
How life can be at the very bottom… with the instinct to shut it off, let go, and simply never have to live through another millisecond of pain. And then. You go on, not letting go, not ending life, and all of a sudden, there’s this tiny tiny shift in the darkness, one ray of light entering a crack, and simsalabim, it’s daylight. Bright and shiny, and hope abounds again. Yet again.

This is, to some extent, my story.
But more than that, it’s yours. You whom I have followed, and held, and loved, and cried with. My soul-sister in life, in exploring with vulnerability, what it means to live wholeheartedly. With intent. Openness to what may come.

And see – what has come, you would not have thought just a few weeks ago. And yet, here it is.

Life. Fantastic. Frustrating. Filled with fear and then… not!
The shape-shifting of life, is perhaps, what makes life worth living?

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Join me in Creating transformative communities worldwide!

February 21, 2017
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Speaker lineup Telesummit 2017That’s the overarching theme for this year’s tele summit, by the Center for Sustainable Change with Sheela Masand as the session hostess. Five days with two sessions each day, centering on the theme of creating transformative communities worldwide, which certainly is a theme that attracts me! I will be one of the “conversationists” (yeah, I just made that word up. I tend to do that, when I don’t find a word that fits the bill – But perhaps there is one already though? Please let me know if that’s the case! – so there you go. We’re not speakers, in the traditional sense, I don’t have a speech prepared for my participation, but rather, me and Brooke will have a conversation, with Sheela and you, if you participate – you can also ask your own questions and/or input your two cents – around the topic for the session.) on Tuesday 28th of February at the late session at 8 pm CET on Connecting the spark in educationThere are many more interesting topics, so be sure to register (for free) to listen in and participate on the sessions that calls out to you.

The importance and, more than that, the impact communities have to create transformative and sustaining change, is a thing we talk too little about I find. There are great examples though, and we should definitely be talking more about those, spreading the word, and from that, perhaps inspiring people in other communities to try something new, to sow seeds of transforming change in their local settings as well.

Bright spots. That’s what Dan and Chip Heath (oh, how I appreciate those two brothers, and if you haven’t read their books, I suggest you pick one up! I’d go for Switch: How to change things when change is hard first.) call it. The small, and seemingly irrelevant things, that can make such a difference, sometimes literally being the difference between life and death (read the book, and you’ll find the Vietnamese example of mothers mixing the rice they give their kids with small, but oh so importance, pieces of greens. That’s the bright spot that’s stuck with me ever since I first read this book 5-6 years ago or so). Sharing those bright spots that we know of, the one’s we’ve been involved in ourselves, where we’ve seen the difference first hand, is empowering.

So join me, and others from across the globe, in conversation on different aspects of creating transformative change worldwide, on Sunday 26th until Thursday March 2nd. Register for free here: http://www.centerforsustainablechange.org/global-telesummit#register

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Reverting to maker-mode

February 20, 2017
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It’s chaotic inside of me, as someone close is suffering. It affects me, as a lot of thoughts pop into my mind, about the fate and future of this one soul; what I can do, or not do; thought on a society that has let the rights of a few be more important than the needs of the many.

This makes me weary. Lacking in energy. It’s as if I’ve grown lackluster, myself. I am ever grateful that I’ve learned to be gentle towards myself, and to let myself be, in a situation as this, rather than push hard and beat myself up for not living up to the highest possible standards (mine, that is). Because I have a hard time to focus, truth me told.

click clackSo I retreat, after doing what I am capable of doing workwise, and then… I knit. With an unfinished sock in my hands, the gentle click clack of the knitting needles, and the tendency to get sore fingers from the slightly coarse organic wool/nettle-yarn, that I so love, my mind is free to simply be. No demands. No expectations. To be let off the hook of accomplishments and deadlines, I revert to maker-mode and rejuvenate. If it was warmer outside, I might be putting my hands into soil, cultivating my garden, but given a few degrees plus, rain and fog-filled grey days with gusts of wind that cut to the bone, I stay inside, my fingers find a similar sense of satisfaction in turning the yarn into a thing, a creation, something that can be used, providing warmth and beauty both.

I know. It will not last forever. Something will give, the situation will resolve itself, somehow – and I pray for it to turn out as best it can – and I will revert to my normal level of energy and accomplishment. In the meantime, I settle into the couch, throw a woolen blanket over my legs, and pick up the knitting needles, click clacking myself into peace of mind.

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A podcast for any state of mind!

February 19, 2017
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Over and over again, for the past three months, I’ve listened to Béla Fleck and Abigail Washburn, in conversation with Krista Tippett on On Being. First time around, I started off with the edited show, but the one I keep on coming back to is the unedited conversation.

If I am in the mood for a good laugh, this is the show I put on.
If I despair, or long for proof of human connection across borders, languages and culture, I listen to this one.
If I want a dose of marital humor, I turn to this episode. Really, it’s an episode for basically any state of (my) mind.

It makes me laugh, at witnessing the loving banter between the spouses.
It makes my heart wrench, from hearing the story of the little Chinese girl who lost her mother in the earthquake of 2008.
It makes me think of a dear friend, who has the same type of earthy laughter as Béla does.
It makes me want to cry when learning of the origin of the banjo, how it came to America, and why.

BoldomaticPost_Accepting-an-invite-into-a-neAnd I am absolutely astonished at Abigails ability to speak Chinese – wow! That’s one hard language to learn, that much I’ve understood, and here she is, speaking like a native (at least to my ears…). Amazing!

The podcast also opened my heart up to bluegrass, a type of music I’ve never really listened to before. Béla and Abigail invites me into their world, and with me accepting their invitation, my world expanded. Who knew, I would find such richness in a podcast named Truth, Beauty, Banjo?

In 2015 I ran a series on herothecoach.com with Sunday postings of podcasts to my liking. In 2017 I will be re-posting some of those blog posts, mixing them up with new podcast recommendations, such as this one. 

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Unexpected kindness

February 18, 2017
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I got a message, that made my eyes well up in tears.
Unexpected kindness, from a person long since in the perimeter of my life. The acknowledgement that there’s a common love, for yet another person.

With grace, I honor the love we share, and extend my gratitude, that I will be let in, when the time comes.

The unexpected kindness envelopes me in warmth and belonging, even though I long since stopped belonging to that particular tribe. And even though it is so, there’s the high level tribe that we all belong to, the one that says we are all humans.

unexpected kindnessThe realization that there is, in fact, always (!) the ability, the choice, the possibility of an intentional decision, that opens up, rather than closes down. The choice to “go high, instead of low” to paraphrase a certain First Lady, is there. Always. And being on the receiving end of someone who chooses the High instead of the Low, grants me relief, at a time when I sorely need it.

So thank you. The unexpected kindness shown to me today, brings tears of joy and relief to my weary soul, and gives me a boost to face yet another day, where hopelessness is much to rife. Provides a guiding light to shine my way through the darkness all around, ensuring I will not get lost today.

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The other side of the story

February 12, 2017
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There’s an episode of On Being that I listened to over and over again in May when I was in London for the Innate health conference. I had a 30 minute walk from my Air BnB to the venue, and there was so much depth in this one show, that I basically listened, re-listened and listened yet again to this episode, hearing new things each time.

I put it in the Evernote list for “blog series podcasts” and then it fell prey to the same problem that several of my absolute favorite podcast episodes have been struck by:
I love them so much, and there is wisdom upon wisdom spoken that I would like to point out and write about, that I tell myself “I’ll get around to it some day“, wanting to really take my time, listening to the episode and jot down all of the moments of insight…. and guess what? I don’t take the time for that. And the absolute gems of the podcast world, according to me, never makes it into my podcast series here on the blog.

So. Time to change that. Yesterday I relistened to this specific episode of On Being again, featuring journalist Michel Martin, and I just new I have to stop holding these gemstones hostage in Evernote!

BoldomaticPost_You-just-can-t-live-in-your-bMichel Martin is apparently a well known and accomplished journalist, even though I’d never heard of her before listening to this podcast. But then again, being Swedish it’s not surprising I don’t know of her work. But from what I hear on this show, I understand that she’s really taken this question to heart in her journalistic work: What’s the side of the story that isn’t obvious?

One of the ways she does this, is to look for the people who’s voice hasn’t been heard, which she gives some great examples of in the podcast. This is something she would like more people to do, which she phrases like this: My real charge to people is look around and see who’s missing. And try to invite that person.

That is such an important charge.
Simply stated, and clear in what to look for, and how to act.

It all ties together very well. If there is a void in the voices being heard, I won’t get to hear all sides of the story will I? And if I don’t, it is easy to stay in my bubble. The missing voices tell the other side of the story, the side that isn’t obvious from the get-go. And when I hear those voices, when my perspective is widened. My bubble bursts. Or, if you would, it widens and expands, to take in a larger portion of the world around me. And then. I hear another not so obvious story, and it expands again. And again. And again.

Look around you. See who’s there.
Then look again.
Who’s missing?

In 2015 I ran a series on herothecoach.com with Sunday postings of podcasts to my liking. In 2017 I will be re-posting some of those blog posts – and this is one of them, originally posted here – , mixing them up with new podcast recommendations. 

I find the urging of Michel Martin to be especially poignant at this moment in time. I see a lot of people (also in very high positions of government, or aspiring to the same, across the globe) talking a b o u t people (of different religion, age, gender, sexuality, origin and so on) rather than w i t h. Perhaps the world would look differently if we started doing more of the latter?

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A day of despair

February 7, 2017
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Yesterday, a day of despair. Hard to have any feeling of hope. At all. Darkness all around, people in pain, severe pain, and nothing I can do to alleviate the pain. Except to be there. And now and again, “to be there” makes me feel inadequate. Even though I know it’s a gift, not everyone get enough of. But it just seems too little, too ineffective, when pain is all around.

Today. not a doorUpon aking up, I picked up my copy of Rebecka Solnit’s book Hope in the Dark, and met hope. Again. It seems to come and go. And that’s fine. All other human emotions do the same, so of course hope would too. And when I am in contact with my sense of hope, it is much easier for me to be present, to be compassionate and hold a space of love, for those around me in need.

I don’t know where the door is, for this particular situation that grieves me so, but today, I am connected to the sense that we just might be able to find it. Somewhere. Somehow. And I am not alone. I am supported by family and friends, holding me – when I need it -, pushing me on – when I need that -, assisting me in reaching out to those who are in the know – and you bet that’s precisely what I need right now!

So. Hope. Here again. I can see the darkness; the failings, the misery, the utter and total despondence. But I also see the light; the generosity, the outpouring of love and willingness to make an effort for a fellow human being. It’s not either or, total darkness or blazing light. It’s both. At the same time. All around us. And that’s hopeful!

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On Beauty

February 5, 2017
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Inspired by my coach Carla, I recently bought the book Beauty – the invisible embrace by John O’Donahue. Haven’t started to read it yet, but I will. In the meantime, I’ve listened to the podcast from On Being, where Krista Tippett is in conversation with John just a few month before he died, way to early, at 52 years of age.

This is another one of those podcasts where I, after listening to it, simply press PLAY again, to listen once more. And then once more. And so on. Every time I hear something new, pick up on a different vibe, moved by a phrase, a word, an emotion arising within me.

BoldomaticPost_beauty-is-not-a-luxury-but-IThere is just too much beauty, wonder, insight and laughter in this podcast to even begin to try to characterize or label it. It’s simply too rich, too overwhelming, too beautiful.

I absolutely adore Johns Irish accent so I could re-listen to this podcast many times, solely for the joy of hearing John speak. It’s beautiful, there’s a rhythm and song to it, that gathers me up, holds me, in warm arms. And beauty is, after all, one of the theme this entire conversation centers around. John gives some wonderful suggestions on how to ensure you have beauty in your life, no matter what physical surroundings you live in, suggestions that are profound in their simplicity.

Now, at the end of this interview (which I truly hope you will listen to!), John talks a bit about conversation. He asks a question, which I will leave you with:

And the question is: when is the last time that you had a great conversation, a conversation which wasn’t just two intersecting monologues, which is what passes for conversation a lot in this culture. But when had you last a great conversation, in which you overheard yourself saying things that you never knew you knew?

In 2015 I ran a series on herothecoach.com with Sunday postings of podcasts to my liking. In 2017 I will be re-posting some of those blog posts – and this is one of them, originally posted here – , mixing them up with new podcast recommendations. 

As I scrolled through the podcasts from 2015, to find the one to post here, I discarded this one, and that one, and this other one as well… until I came across my piece On Beauty, and my eyes started to well up with tears. At the current moment, when my feeling of inadequacy is rife, in most aspects of life, and desperation and despair surround me, the need for John O’Donahue’s wonderfully soothing and melodic voice, the message, the call for beauty, shoots like a ray of sunlight straight into my heart and lights up my world. Just a bit, just enough to raise my hopes. So here you are, a wonderful podcast, that I, for one, will listen to, right now, helping me remember there is beauty, and it is life affirming.

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