Monthly Archives December 2017

Good bye 2017

Good bye 2017

December 31, 2017
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Good bye 2017, the year when…

  • I had Wholeheartedness as my intention, something I’ve blogged about on a monthly basis since.
  • my company Respondi AB turned ten years old. Imagine that!
  • me and Pernilla Tillander started to work together for the ESF-project Include & Meet in Skurup, something which has been among the most fun and rewarding things I’ve done during my ten years as an entrepreneur. We will continue to work together in 2018 in Skurup and I greatly look forward to it!
  • I did two “current state” analyses that made quite the impact, especially in me.
  • my longest running assignment ended, after nearly five years.
  • thoughts on my future business enterprise are starting to become clear.
  • I rediscovered my fascination with husbandry, also in an economic fashion.
  • music played a big part:
    • the musical highlight above all else throughout my life is performing Stabat Mater by Jens Eriksson. The first performance took place already during Easter 2016, but during 2017 Stabat Mater was released on Spotify, and the church choir from Södra Sallerup performed Stabat Mater no less than three times this year. One performance took place in Salzburg where the choir went for a trip in september. Stabat Mater is on repeat at home, and I absolutely love this piece of music!
    • my musical highlight number two took place in twofold this year as well: we recorded an album in the beginning of the year, and this was released (both as an actual CD and on Spotify) at the end of the year, Vi är i advent. Another abum running on repeat in my headphones.

HERO in Edinburgh

  • I turned fortyfive and discovered the thrill of hosting a potluck party – what a smashing idea!
  • sad farewell’s were mixed with the joy of new budding lives.
  • acting legal guardian for unaccompanied minor refugees is an ongoing assignment, a roller coaster of joy, frustration and pride; for my legal guardians as well as others.
  • we decided to stay together but live apart… only to hand in our divorce application a few months later.
  • far later I finally removed my wedding ring, leaving me with the feeling of a phantom ring on my ring finger.
  • I participated in the #blogg100 challenge for the forth time, after refraining for a year. For the first time I trid blogging onehundred days in a row based on a set theme (by myself) – mixing Swedish and English blog posts – which definitely was to my liking.

GoodReads

  • I have read, read, and read some more. 73 books and 22889 pages according to GoodReads. But then I also proof read a book not yet published, so in total I read 74 books and 23014 pages during 2017. My #Goodreadsreadingchallenge for 2017 was fifty books, so I reached my goal by far.
  • The Gifted book club saw the light of day in conjunction with my birthday, and during the fall we’ve read two books. We are starting 2018 with Flow by Mihaly Csikszentmihalyi, following it up with Foe by J.M. Coetzee and I am thrilled to see what other books we will be reading after that.
  • for the first time ever have I technically proof read a book (and buy what a book. Only available in Swedish, but if you know Swedish, most definitely pick up, and read, a copy of Sigrid sover på soffan!)
  • ChattyMeals made an entrance into my life, an aquaintance I will definitely continue to entertain during 2018.
  • I understood my relationship to inner and outer expectations, this concept that I’ve been reflecting upon for years now, and now have an even greater understanding of, being the Upholder I am.
  • I ran my first ever race!
  • I tried taking a digital sabbat, which definitely wet my appetite, to the extent that it actually served as the basis for my intention for 2018.
  • my firstborn came of age and my lastborn turned teenager and started junior high school. Oh how time flies!
  • for the first time in forever we stayed in Sweden during the summer holidays (o the chagrin of the kids).
  • all four Roths are finishing off the year participating in the largest New Years Eve-street party in the world, the Hogmanay celebrations in Edinburgh.

Roths in Edinburgh

And with that, I wish you and yours a very Happy New Year!

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Wholeheartedness – Reflection December ’17

December 25, 2017
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My final reflective blog post on the intention I placed upon 2017: Wholeheartedness – living life wholeheartedly. I’ve already started to reflect quite a lot on my upcoming yearly intention, earlier than what has normally been the case for me. So the intention for 2018 feels like it’s one born out of necessity, out of a willingness and urge to explore what might come with a year of intentional living… but not so fast, my dear. I have yet to do this final reflection on wholeheartedness.

wholehearted me december 2017Given all the ups and downs of 2017, I have most definitely been aided by having this intention. Not letting myself forget, that it’s my life, it’s my heart, and I am the one in charge of making, creating, shaping my life in a manner most coherent with my beliefs, wishes, desires, aspirations, goals, values – call it whatever you like, I am still the one in charge. It’s on me.

And nowadays, for me, that’s a very hopeful and inspiring statement to make: I’m in charge. It’s on me.

The old Helena would have been intimidated by it, scared, and most of all, reluctant to honor it – reluctant to honor myself, in a sense, not believing I had it in me, not wanting to own my life and my experiences, believing life was easier if someone else was responsible. But alas – that’s not how it works. No one else can be responsible, because I am the one who shape my experience of my life. It comes from within. Being open to that, to all of my experiences, sure makes a difference. And that, in and of itself, is perhaps a definition of wholeheartedness? Not shying away from anything, not even the stuff most difficult to face, the bits and pieces of me that I have spun stories around, making it shameful, despicable, unworthy.

Being open to all of me, my whole heart, has helped me put less and less weight upon the stories I spin that are no longer serving me – and with that I have more energy for that which serves me: such as living a wholehearted life.

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Freedom to explore more, not freedom from…

December 24, 2017
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These past few weeks, I’ve been pondering what my intention for 2018 is to be. During 2017 I’ve had the intention of Wholeheartedness. A few years prior I’ve also gone into the new year with an intention, and I intend to do so again for 2018.

Somewhat surprisingly for myself, what’s been popping up has been different thoughts on going more analog, of letting go of habits of checking email, facebook, messenger and the likes once every few seconds, of deleting various app’s from my IPhone, app’s which are merely a mental distraction (and time trap), and not really value-adding at all.

So as a reminder, of what it really is I am looking for (more connection, more conversation, more value-adding interactions and smarter use of my time. As well as less mindless habitual waste of my time. If I am to rest, and relax, I want to do so in the analog.) I gift you Sherry Turkle in conversation with Jonathan Fields in Good Life Project. Sherry is pro-technology, but a proponent of a mindful and intentional use of technology, which is precisely what I intend to explore deeper during 2018.

She’s gotten a lot of flak for her thoughts on the matter, but I honestly think it’s well worth reflecting upon what it is we do with technology, and what it is doing to us (or perhaps more correctly: what it is I am letting technology do to me – I am no helpless victim here!). It’s not all positive, in the same way that I don’t think a n y t h i n g exists that is entirely positive. There’s two sides to every coin, and there’s also my strong belief that whatever works for me might not necessarily work for you. We might have different needs, ideas, ways to operate in the world, to relax, to get inspired and so on – and hence, during 2018 I will be exploring what a more mindful technology use will do for me.

Freedom.toOn an interesting side note, this is my use of digital technology so far this Christmas morning: Sitting in bed, writing on my IPad, listening to Spotify on my IPhone, after having checked my email (personal and work-accounts at that), my Messenger (said good morning to my eldest who’s up and about earlier than the rest of us), my Facebook- and Instagram-feeds, thrown my first Pokémon Go-ball, done some Wordfeud and WordBrain-puzzling and finished a fifteen minute Headspace meditation. Oh, plus buying a one-year subscription to the Freedom-app, using their 40% discount code (FLASH40) I received in my inbox this morning (valid 24 hours). So yeah – a bit of intentional use of technology is just what I want – the freedom to explore more of an intentional life, not freedom from technology! Important distinction for me.

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Existence is playful

December 19, 2017
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The existence, the physical universe is basically playful. There is no necessity for it whatsoever. It isn’t going anywhere. That is to say, it doesn’t have some destination that it ought to arrive at.

But that it is best understood by the analogy with music. Because music, as an art form is essentially playful. We say, “You play the piano” You don’t work the piano.

Why? Music differs from say, travel. When you travel you are trying to get somewhere. In music, though, one doesn’t make the end of the composition. The point of the composition. If that were so, the best conductors would be those who played fastest. And there would be composers who only wrote finales. People would go to a concert just to hear one crackling chord… Because that’s the end!

Same way with dancing. You don’t aim at a particular spot in the room because that’s where you will arrive. The whole point of the dancing is the dance.

But we don’t see that as something brought by our education into our conduct. We have a system of schooling which gives a completely different impression. It’s all graded and what we do is put the child into the corridor of this grade system with a kind of, “Come on kitty, kitty.” And you go onto kindergarten and that’s a great thing because when you finish that you get into first grade. Then, “Come on” first grade leads to second grade and so on. And then you get out of grade school and you got high school. It’s revving up, the thing is coming, then you’re going to go to college… Then you’ve got graduate school, and when you’re through with graduate school you go out to join the world.

Then you get into some racket where you’re selling insurance. And they’ve got that quota to make, and you’re gonna make that. And all the time that thing is coming – It’s coming, it’s coming, that great thing. The success you’re working for.

Then you wake up one day about 40 years old and you say, “My God, I’ve arrived. I’m there.” And you don’t feel very different from what you’ve always felt.

Look at the people who live to retire; to put those savings away. And then when they’re 65 they don’t have any energy left. They’re more or less impotent. And they go and rot in some, old peoples, senior citizens community. Because we simply cheated ourselves the whole way down the line.

If we thought of life by analogy with a journey, with a pilgrimage, which had a serious purpose at that end, and the thing was to get to that thing at that end. Success, or whatever it is, or maybe heaven after you’re dead.

But we missed the point the whole way along.

It was a musical thing, and you were supposed to sing or to dance while the music was being played.

Alan Watts, British philosopher (1915-1973)

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The Personality Myth

December 17, 2017
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The Personality Myth is one of my favorite Invisibilia episodes, one I’ve listened to over and over again. There are several threads that are artfully intertwined, shifting from theory and science to personal stories.

Perhaps you’ve heard of the marshmallow test? Walter Mischel is the brain behind the test, and one of the people interviewed in the episode. And he’s adamant, that the “popular belief” of that the marshmallow test showed, is far from the point that he finds most important in the study.

SPIEGEL (one of the show hosts): Basically, over the last two decades, the marshmallow test has become a kind of poster child for the idea that there are specific personality traits that we all have inside of us that are stable and consistent and will determine our lives far into the future.

There is only one tiny problem with this interpretation, as Walter Mischel himself will tell you.

MISCHEL: That iconic story is upside down wrong – that your future is in a marshmallow – because it isn’t.

Another thing that keeps reappearing during the show is various ways to phrase the sentiment that “you might find it hard to accept that there aren’t any core traits that are permanent and fixed” – and every time this is voiced, I realize: I don’t. Not at all. I don’t find it hard to accept at all. Do you?

BoldomaticPost_the-many-ways-in-which-peopleFor me, what Walter Mischel points to based on his own research is in perfect sync with my personal experience of me changing. Going from “the most negative person I know, to – if not the most positive – at least a lot more positive than I used to be” is a very real change. Am I the same that I used to be? No. Do I have the same personality that I “used to have”? No. So don’t you try to skirt responsibility by leaning on that old idiom that it’s impossible to teach an old dog a new trick – it’s simply not true. In the words of Mischel himself:

What my life has been about is in showing the potential for human beings to not be the victims of their biographies – not their biological biographies, not their social biographies – and to show, in great detail, the many ways in which people can change what they become and how they think.

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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Will you tell me?

December 15, 2017
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As I read page after page of Humble inquiry by Edgar H. Schein, I am guessing a bystander would have wondered what I was up to, with all that humming and hawing. Humming from recognition and having flashbacks to my own experiences, hawing from making mental notes of and agreeing with great aspects of humble inquiry.

Then I got to a question, that made me stop. Reflect. Ponder.

Making yourself vulnerable will elicit a more personal conversation, and through successive rounds of asking, telling, and acknowledging, trust and openness will build to the point where you can ask the difficult question, ”If I am about to make a mistake, will you tell me?”. You can then assess whether you have achieved the climate of psychological safety in which all of you will help each other and communicate openly. If it still feels uncomfortable, you can humbly ask, ”What do we need to do differently to get to that point of perpetual, mutual help?”.

Have I ever been humble enough to ask? Have I ever been humble enough to listen if someone told me I this?
Where have I ever been, that have a culture inductive to making such an ask? Have I?

humble inquiry

(And yes, I have. But not in as many places and/or relationships as I would like to – so there’s room for improvement.)

Inspired to continue blogging on the theme from the #blogg100-challenge in 2017 I give you:
The book ”Humble inquiry” by Edgar H. Schein.

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4 years and 10 months

December 12, 2017
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Four years and ten months since I got an email from a former colleague at a new company, asking if I had time for, and was interested in working i, a specific project he had in mind.

I said yes. So for fBoldomaticPost_it-s-time-to-let-goour years and ten months I’ve been working for this project that is nearing it’s end, although not quite – but my work is done.

That’s the best part of being a consultant for me – knowing in my heart when it’s time to let go, when I’ve done what I can, when there is no longer any need for me and my services, because others have taken on the various tasks that I’ve had on my plate.

Projects tend to be learning experiences, especially the type of projects I’ve had the privilege of participating in during my years in the pharmaceutical (as well as food-packaging) industry – mainly focussed on equipment, facilities and media. (And if you go Huh, what’s she talking about? just drop me a message and I’d gladly have a conversation about my professional background!) So I’ve had four years and ten months of having a lot of fun, met some great people, got to visit Hamburg (and other parts of Germany for that matter) a number of times, have had my fair share of frustration, and all in all – to my eternal gratitude – have learnt so much!

This project has been a part-time assignment for all but a few weeks here and there, so it’s never been “all that I do” (another thing I am very grateful for – I love the diversity of what I do!). I have lots of other projects and assignments on my plate, both new and old one’s, but this project has still been a part of my work life for a long time, so letting go isn’t done without experiencing a twang of regret for what will no longer be.

On the other hand, that twang is accompanied by the bubbling anticipatory experience of letting come:
What want’s to happen now?

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How are you?

December 10, 2017
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Guess what? I have a new podcast for you this week. At long last, you might think, perhaps getting fed up with On Being, Good Life Project and One You Feed, with a few others sprinkled on top these past 42 weeks. If that is so, today is your lucky day!

I stumbled upon ProBlogger a month or two ago, and have listened to a handful of episodes. If you are into blogging and want to expand your blogging skills, I would definitely recommend that you check out the entire podcast series from ProBlogger. But this episode holds value to each and every one of us, regardless if we blog or not.

Darren Rowse goes personal, and invite his listeners to do the same, truly asking ourselves the question: How Are You?

HowAreYouIt’s a question that invites an honest look at a lot of areas of life, perhaps all. If you’re up for it. Otherwise, pick one, and go deep.

Health? Diet? Exercise?
Love? Relationships? Friends? Family?
Parenting? Hobbies? Work?

As I ask myself How are you, in general I’ve never been so well, as I am today. As far as I know, I have my health, I eat better than ever, move about daily, even though, if I’m honest – there’s a nagging sense of wanting to be stronger and have more stamina. So there’s something to look into some more. Or. Perhaps I should just get on it, instead of looking into it… I mean. I know what it takes. Knowing myself, the best way to go about it, is to make a plan. Once I commit to a plan, it seems I don’t have a hard time sticking to it. So a plan it will be.

I listened to this podcast two times, back to back, so there is something about How are you that beckons me. It’s very easy to just breeze over a question like this one, especially since in many English-speaking countries it’s a greeting phrase, and not really meant to be answered honestly. Or? I wonder if I am?

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. It seems fitting, as we are nearing the end of the year, to go deep into the question posed by Darren Rowse. 

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Shared, exchanged and made available

December 5, 2017
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”During much of his long life, he was the nexus of the scientific world, writing some 50,000 letters and receiving at least double that number. Knowledge, Humboldt believed, had to be shared, exchanged and made available to everybody.”

Andrea Wulf on von HumboldtI mean. Fifty thousand letters. Whooooooa, that’s a whole lot of letters. And even though the man did indeed live a long life – living to be ninety years old – not excluding his childhood, that means writing almost two letters a day and receiving four.

But what I find even more memorable in this paragraph is the latter sentence about knowledge having to be shared, exchanged and made available to everybody.

Born in 1769 and dead in 1859, he lived quite a memorable life, Alexander von Humboldt, described in detail in the book ”The invention of nature – the adventures of Alexander von Humboldt, the lost hero of science” by Andrea Wulf, and he sure was a sucker for knowledge, amassing it as well as sharing it. That becomes abundantly clear from reading this biography, and read it I suggest you do.

I greatly enjoyed the book, and even though we discovered, in the second book discussion of the GIFTED book club, that it’s a book that can be experienced differently, most of us did enjoy the read! And for most of us, he was indeed lost, a man that had such an impact on so much of what has shaped the world as I know it today (due in large part to this belief of his, that knowledge was to be shared, exchanged and made available!)… and yet, I can honestly say I had no idea of the man and his influence.

Now I do though!

Inspired to continue blogging on the theme from the #blogg100-challenge in 2017 I give you:
The book ”The invention of nature – the adventures of Alexander von Humboldt, the lost hero of science” by Andrea Wulf, which also happen to be the second book of The Gifted Book club, discussed November 16th 2017.

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Listen for the unknown #6

December 3, 2017
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Hope you heard something new to you in #5. Otherwise, here’s your final chance, with the sixth and final of these podcast recommendations.

I’m leaving off with one of my absolute favorite RSA Event pods that I’ve listened to a multitude of times. Scilla Elworthy was unknown to me first time I stumbled upon this talk, but she’s been nominated three times for the Nobel Peace Price so obviously she’s made her mark in the world. Listen to her making a case for Pioneering the possible.

pioneering the possible

What did you hear that you’ve never heard before?

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. 

And honestly – I have a feeling that I shortchanged Scilla Elworthys RSA Event-pod when I first put this post out into the world (as you can see, a series of 6 podcast-tips between Christmas and New Years in 2014, all of them memorable, and still well worth a listen to!), so unlike the other times I’ve re-blogged old podcast recommendations, here’s an add-on:

Scilla’s looks remind me of my long-since dead maternal grand-mother, whom I called Momo. I loved my Momo dearly, and perhaps that’s one reason why I feel so drawn to her, when I listen to her talk?

On the other hand, perhaps it has nothing at all to do with that, and everything to do with the fact that Scilla addresses important issues – which it turns out she’s been doing her whole life – and does so with a sense of hope, encouragement, energy. There’s gusto in this lady, drive and enthusiasm, and a lot of it stem from the people she meets. All of them, Scilla as well as the change makers she refers to, are in the business of pioneering the possible. Once you listen you’ll notice that a lot of these “possibilities” are what most of us would immediately write of as completely impossible activities/goals/missions. But alas, setting out to pioneer the possible sure has a totally different ring to it than trying to combat the impossible.

Our words matter – on small and large scale alike –  and Scilla uses hers wisely.

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