Monthly Archives September 2017

Being gentle to me – Reflection August and September ’17

Being gentle to me – Reflection August and September ’17

September 25, 2017
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I don’t know if you’ve noticed the absence of my monthly reflection on how I do gentle to myself; I did. But I didn’t act upon it, so in a sense, that’s me being gentle to me. It’s not a m u s t to write these monthly reflections, it’s an intention, a gift I give myself, but also one that I can refuse, if that’s what feels best. And honestly, I didn’t really know what to write.

Acceptance on chestnutYou see, it’s been a time of winding down, a time of less emotional storms and upsets, a time of me simply being. At the same time it’s been a time of winding up, of getting my sh*t together, a time of me figuring out what being me means, right now, right here.

A chapter is closing, and I am deliberately trying to close it with gentleness and great care. And that feels really good – that’s what’s deserved.

At the same time, I know I’ve been necessarily blunt with others at times, and the only thing I can do (after saying sorry) is to take heed, to remember what it felt like, what it lead to, and try to behave more in the way I want to (being proactive rather than reactive) from now on, and most importantly: to not beat myself over the head for my bluntness. That won’t make it alright, and it certainly doesn’t serve either party, so, no. I am not taking that route. And I hope I’ve learned that lesson to the degree that I will never again chose the ”beat myself over the head”-route. I’ve done that enough, and nothing good comes from it.

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I’m an Upholder. You?

September 24, 2017
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Listening to Jonathan Fields in conversation with his longtime friend Gretchen Rubin, author of The Happiness Project if you’ve read that book? I have. Enjoyed it. This conversation centers around The four tendencies, something which Gretchen apparently touched on in one of her earlier books, and then dove deeper into, making it the topic for her current book The four tendencies, a book I most definitely want to read after listening to this podcast.

The four tendencies centers on how we, as human beings, relate to inner and outer expectations – being prone to or resisting one or the other. The four tendencies are given names; Upholder, Obliger, Questioner, Rebel. More than 800 000 people have taken Gretchens simple online test to get a feel for ones own core tendency, and I turned out to be an Upholder. Not surprising, just from the podcast itself I felt the most connected to this tendency, and the online test confirmed it.

As I listen to the podcast (over and over again), clarity arises.

Clarity in why I am good at keeping promises to myself (such as meditating every morning and doing my daily Seven, such as promising myself to practice the guitar for twenty minutes a day for sixty days, and following through) but also towards others (meeting deadlines, keeping promises, getting the job done).

Clarity in why some people struggle with things that come naturally to me, because I can see other tendencies in them, giving me a greater understanding in what makes them tick, one way or another, which might make me become a better coach, mother, business partner and friend in the future.

Clarity as to how the assignment “to make people better at motivating others” isn’t about what works for me, but rather about the four ways there are to have people gain the most traction from their own inner driving forces. A Upholder meets both inner and outer expectations. For a Questioner understanding why is central making them meet their own inner expecations. The Obliger struggles and fails to meet inner expectations but readily meets outer ones. And at last the Rebel, resisting both outer and inner expectations, which to me sounds really tricky. I mean, what remains then? Spur of the moment, I guess?

Four tendencies

If we all knew our own tendencies, and had sufficient knowledge about the other three, for sure that would make a huge difference in any setting we find ourselves in. At school, at work, with the closest family, with friends. Knowing my own tendency, which is actually quite rare, which means what works for me, won’t necessarily work for you. And if you and I both have some knowledge about our respective core tendencies, perhaps there is a greater opportunity for us to find common ground, to be able to stand by one another, being there for each other in ways that are truly helpful?

I am an Upholder, with leanings towards Questioner, I think. The test online doesn’t dig deep enough for me to truly distinguish the nuances in great detail; am hoping the book will. What are you?

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Daring greatly, with my guitar on my lap

September 21, 2017
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A year ago I started to take guitar lessons, every other Monday for forty minutes. That was about all the playing I did, despite having a clear image in my mind of me sitting with friends around a log fire on the beach, playing the guitar and singing. It looks so alluring. As a child I played the piano, and here’s a given: you do not bring the piano down to the beach to sit around a fire, playing and singing.

This summer I decided to play twenty minutes a day, for sixty days, and quickly got results. So when I heard Mandy Harvey sing Try on America’s Got Talent, I googled the chords and lyric and printed them out. I figured out a simple strumming pattern and started to practice.

On my own – no problem. I sing and play with all I’ve got. But as soon as my daily twenty minutes had to take place with people around (my closest family), either I got extremely self-conscius – having me try to play and sing, as opposed to actually playing and singing – or I simply skipped practice altogether.

But when we had a temporary house guest for a week, staying in the living room on account of not having a spare bedroom to offer him, I decided to stop with the “trying”. So I sat down, guitar in hand, and started to play and sing. For real. (The response I got was a “You’re not all bad at that!”.)

That same week we had my youngest niece staying for a night, and when the three youngsters in the house were busy watching YouTube, playing games and cuddle with Pop the cat, I pulled out my guitar and did my daily twenty. When I put the guitar away, my niece turned to me and said Oh, that was so nice!, giving me a bit of good “sitting around the fire on the beach”-vibes for the future.

And then I figured it out: The ultimate challenge for me! I set a reminder on my phone to bring the guitar on Friday morning. So when Pernilla Tillander, my partner-in-crime for a specific assignment for all the pre-school staff in a small Swedish commune, came to pick me up Friday morning, I opened the back door and tossed my guitar in the back. Pernilla turned around, said A guitar? How exciting! and I told her my plan:

We talk a lot about courage, being role models, and daring to do even though you might not be a fully fledged professional, so I figured I’d sing and play the song Try, what do you think about that?

Pernilla being Pernilla, was all for it, of course!

So that Friday I sat, guitar on my lap, and sang, morning and afternoon, for forty and fifty people respectively, after telling them this story. And you know what? I didn’t die, not even once. And the sky didn’t come crashing down. And none of it happened on the following Monday either, when I did a repeat performance for the last group of a total of seventy people!

Singing Try

If I messed up noow and again, both with my singing and my playing?
You bet, several times. That’s on the house!
If I felt less and less nervous each time?
You bet, the third time around my voice carried much better than the first two times.
If I’ve sung and played the guitar in front of pretty large groups?
You bet. Amazing!
If I would consider doing it again?
You bet!

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Are you into poof?

September 17, 2017
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On Tuesday* me and my friend Michael Sillion will attend Seth in London, a full day Q&A session which he announced a month and a half ago. I was quick to let him know that I was interested, and once the tickets were released, I jumped at the opportunity to grab a 2-for-1-deal. Hence Michael joined me, which makes me very happy.

So, I figured, why not warm up with a podcast of Seth. This one is from Good Life Project, where Jonathan Fields and Seth Godin talk about any and every thing possible, and, as always, it’s a very enriching conversation to listen in on. You can actually watch the conversation as well, but I prefer podcasts actually!

I’ve listened to this episode probably five or six times by now, and one of the best parts of it is when Seth talks about Poof! (Around 16 minutes in on the conversation if you want to go there directly.)poof

I am not sure I am so good at making things go (deliberately) Poof, and I’ve definitely gotten a lot to think about since listening to this (over and over again).

Are you like Seth, into Poof?

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, or posts with other podcast recommendations – and this is one of them, originally posted here – , mixing them up with new podcast recommendations. 

*That is, on Tuesday, two years ago… as the #SethInLondon-event took place in November 2015.

 

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Result – success – failure

September 12, 2017
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”Call results, ’results’,
without labeling one as success
and another as failure
and your children will learn freedom from fear.”

And n o t only when it comes to what your children are doing/producing. No. For all of it. For all of what y o u yourself are doing/producing.

ResultsAll your results, are r e s u l t s. Results are facts.
This happened. That did not happen.

What happened, or did not happen, is not ‘success’. It is not ‘failure’.
Those are opinions. Your opinions on the fact, i.e. the ‘result’.

And when you treat your own results this way, your children, employees, siblings, friends and coworkers, will all have an opportunity to learn something, for themselves. Learn how not to hinder and hamper their own progress, their own desire and drive to try things out, to experiment, to learn and allow themselves the frustration and amazement at being a total newbie, by calling their results, ‘results’. Because that’s what you do. This is how we can be role models for those around us. By being it. Full out. Fearless.

And honestly – you will be in the minority.
Just look around you – how many do you know, that call results ‘results’?

Inspired to continue blogging on the theme from the #blogg100-challenge in 2017 I give you:
The book “The parents Tao Te Ching” by William Martin.

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Everybody-friendly, artist-driven, God-optional, all ages

September 10, 2017
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“Everybody-friendly, artist-driven, God-optional, all ages” – what do you imagine this is the tagline for? If you are anything like me, you would not in a million years believe it is the tagline of a pop-up synagogue, would you? And yet, that is precicely what it is.

Rabbi Amichai Lau-Lavie in conversation with Krista Tippett on On Being is a hoot of a show under the title “First-aid for spiritual seekers”. I laugh, and I cry, and I feel such gratitute to people who don’t “take things for granted because it’s how it’s been done forever and ever” but rather dare ask Why? And Amichai most certainly is one who dares.

I mean, read this transcript from the conversation:

worthy of being passed down“… I think the words are the black box that contains so many of the ancestral aspirations and truths — and also baggage that needs to be checked. There is an evolution. Not everything that we’ve inherited is worthy of being passed on, like trauma and like memories and like values that have evolved. Part of the reason why I’m not an Orthodox Jew but a flexidox or polydox and otherwise-Jew, and not just “Jew,” is that I do believe in evolution, not just of our species and the world, but of concepts. And if the Bible and the Jewish values that have sustained my people for thousands of years believe that women were subservient and that sexuality was of a specific type and that types of worship included slaughtering animals, we’ve evolved. That’s not where we are. So we need to read some of those sacred words as metaphor, as bygone models, as invitations for creativity, and for sort of the second meaning and the second naïveté here that still retrieves this text as useful and these narratives as holy, not as literal.

I think that is, of course, the conversation between so many of us of different religions who are struggling with our brothers and sisters who choose to read things literally and speak for a Biblical truth that is unalterable, where we — some of us think that there is room here for creativity, for sacred metaphor and change. And we’re not there yet. We’re not there yet for those days of dignity and equality and radical justice that Heschel and Dr. King and so many of our leaders, then and now, are hoping for. And here we are — oh, my God — again?”

I hear Amichai speak this into the world, and I rejoice. I remember listening to this podcast once this summer (because yes, this is another one of those podcasts that I simply cannot get enough of, I listen, and re-listen, over and over again, and each time (!) I get something new from it) while picking raspberries in the garden, filled with gratitude and amazement that there are people who dare to question their tradition – regardless if it’s religious or simply habitual – in a way that is not condemning, but rather ripe with opportunity.

There’s possibility in it the questioning, I perceive doors opening, rather than shutting. There’s a strong sense of exploration, and I love the expansion possible in that endeavor.

I also experience gratitude for Krista Tippett and On Being, discovering and sharing the wisdom of interesting people, whom I would not in a million years ever stumble upon otherwise. So I dare you – if you’ve yet to listen to an On Being-episode, this is a great one to start with! The edited show is great, but the unedited one is even better; rich, filled with humor and wisdom.

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The force of life

September 9, 2017
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Yesterday morning I took my sourdough starter from the refrigerator, added it to a bigger bowl and mixed it with equal amounts of water and flour. Got home after a long day, and peeked under the dishcloth covering the bowl.

sourdoughBubbling, filled with life, the microbes of the sourdough starter had multiplied and the bowl was filled with beautiful bubbles. Stuck my nose under the cloth cover and inhaled deeply. The force of life so obvious, apparent, powerful; rich, musty, making me smile at the wonder of it all.

Almost forgot to remove one hundred grams to put in the fridge again as started, but luckily I remembered before it was too late! Added more flour, water, salt, rosemary and crushed rye, and mixed it all up before tucking it in for the night under the dishcloth again.

This morning it had, again, risen most beautifully, and I made buns that I let sit for a few more hours before baking them. Had extended family over for most of the day, and we enjoyed the most delicious lunch treat of homemade sourdough buns, with cheese and homemade plum jam, peanut butter and carrot sticks. Yum!

I only use sourdough, no added yeast. And yes, it requires a bit of planning, as I can not create ready-to-eat-buns (which is my favorite, I freely admit) in an hour or two, I need twenty-four or so. But hey – it’s so worth it!

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Expanding worlds

September 3, 2017
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PrideI’m one rung down on the ladder of being most-priviledged-in-the-world being female instead of male, but besides that fact, I am priviledged. No doubt about it. And I am what I am – the color of my skin, the citizenship I’m born into, being a normative heterosexual – all of those things just are. I cannot undo then. But what I can do is try to widen my own perspective. I can get to know people who come from different backgrounds, who have different experiences of the world – good as well as bad – and most importantly, people who look at the world differently than I do. And I promise you, I can find totally different worldviews also in white, Swedish, normative heterosexual women, who on the surface are similar to me. But there’s so much more to what shapes us, than the surface of things. And both matter – both that which is apparent to the eye, and that which resided within our souls. Both help shape our individual realities.

On Being have a lot of podcast episodes that help me gain these different perspectives. That’s one of the main reasons why I love this show above all the other equally interesting podcasts I follow. But there’s something to On Being that just fits me like hand in glove right now.

And on this topic, giving me other perspectives upon life, the show with Annette Gordon-Reed and Titus Kaphar entitled “Are we actually citizens here?”. I’ve listened to the episode a few times, both the edited and the unedited version. And each time I listen to it, I gasp at some of the experiences that Annette and Titus share with me, and while it’s easy to feel like a total dimwhit for “just not knowing”, I try to keep my focus on what I learn; that which widens my world, and grants me a fuller picture of what it means to be human in this world.

On the same note, I’d like to ask you to read this blog post shared by a friend of mine after the Charlottesville-attack. In a similar way of listening to Annette and Titus, reading this trying to put myself in these situations, my world expands. And I wonder, if that is not one of the highest ideals I have for myself, and for my fellow humans – to grant ourselves the gift of expanding worlds.

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