Author Archives Helena Roth

At a loss for words

At a loss for words

April 25, 2018
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Be gentle with yourselfJust finished watching Avicii: True Stories.

Am at a loss for words.
Except, perhaps, these four words:
Be gentle with yourself. 

I was thirty-eight when I understood, that being gentle with myself is an option available to me, at all times. Or rather, that it was an option at all. It took me a few more years of practice to fully experience having that choice in any given situation.

I have a hard time understanding that it’s possible to grow up, not knowing that it is not just possible, but a benevolent way to be with oneself. But I know it happens, as it happened to me. And maybe Tim didn’t know either?

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Think and Grow Rich (book 8 of 26)

April 22, 2018
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Think and Grow Rich is a book written by Napoleon Hill. It was first published in 1937, with a few more years of The Great Depression having the world in a firm grip. I picked up a copy in India some eight years ago, but again, never got around to reading it. until now – this was one of the books I decided to read for my English reading challenge of the year. The copy I picked up was the original unabridged version, and in a sense that’s a shame. Because it is dated. The way it is formulated, the actual style of the writing is a bit… well, it’s as if Mr Hill believe the reader to be a bit obtuse, so he’s capitalizing the most vital parts, and that in and of itself rubs me the wrong way.

I also do not like how 99% of all of his examples of successful men, are actually men. The women are few and far apart, and basically show up at the very end of the book. Two, or possibly three examples of ladies as successful role models to mimic, the rest of the time when women are mentioned speaks of “our” ability to wrap men around our little fingers. (I trust I don’t have to even begin to explain why this get’s me all riled up?!) But, given the fact that the book was written close to a century ago, I tried to let this slip.

And once I do that, sure, this is a book that has its virtues, for sure. And given the fact that this is actually one of the most successful books of all time, it would be weird if it didn’t right? Read what it says on Goodreads about Hill and this book: “Hill’s most famous work, Think and Grow Rich (1937), is one of the best-selling books of all time (at the time of Hill’s death in 1970, Think and Grow Rich had sold 20 million copies).” 

Here are a few of the passages which spoke to me for one reason or another:

Open-mindedness is essential for belief. Closed minds do not inspire faith, courage, and belief. 

Every man is what he is, because of the DOMINATING THOUGHTS which he permits to occupy his mind. 

we-are-where-we-are-and-what-we-are-because-of-ouKnowledge is only potential power. 

[…] the word ‘educate‘ is derived from the Latin word ‘educo‘, meaning to educe, to draw out, to DEVELOP FROM WITHIN.

Any man is educated who knows how to get knowledge when he needs it, and how to organize that knowledge into definite plans of action. 

The person who stops studying merely because he has finished school is forever hopelessly doomed to mediocrity, no matter what may be his calling. The way of success is the way of continuous pursuit of knowledge.

[…] we are where we are, and what we are, because of our own conduct!

A book worth reading? Hm. Yes. It is. But I hope (and trust!) that there’s a revised edition more recently re-worked, and if I were you, I’d pick up such a copy instead of the original unabridged version.

The book I am blogging about is part of the book-reading challenge I’ve set for myself during 2018, to read and blog about 26 Swedish and 26 English books, one book every week, books that I already own.

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I wanna pod

April 11, 2018
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A month or so ago, I connected again with a friend that I haven’t really talked to much in a few years. And we actually first met a few years ago, so basically we’ve only met up a handful of times. Yet. Because ever since our first meeting there’s been this sense of ”we will do something together”. Anyway, we set a date for a walk n talk, and that date just happened to be today.

In between setting it up, and walk n talk:ing, I read Daniel Priestleys Key person of influence. As I was reading, I was basically clobbered over the head with the realization that ”the message behind the written words on the pages” that Daniel writes about – a message unique to each and every reader – for me centered around one thing: It is time for me to pod. 

Yes. Pod. As in time to start a podcast. Or several. I’ll start with one though, to use as a blueprint for the other one’s I’ve been pondering for years on end. I figured out a good pod-theme (can you guess? Doing gentle, of course!) for this first pod-baby of mine, and my mind has been churning away in the background ever since.

So. Fast forward to today, when I met up with Søren Lassen outside the city library, for our walk n talk, and almost immediately, Søren brought up the fact that he (with a long background as a radio presenter), would love to help me set up a pod, if I felt like it.

Message-received-loud-and-clearSynchronicity.
Hell yeah – I just love it! The Universe is talking, and I am listening. Message received loud and clear

So – right now, I’m gonna scan my calendar for a few dates in May, send them to Søren, wait for confirmation, thus ensuring a next-step is in place. Because honestly – that’s all it takes. Taking one step, and setting up the next. Taking that step, and setting up a new next step. Repeat until done.

Too simple, you say?
Nah. Why should it be harder than that? I mean, really – my thoughts generate my feelings, which in turn lead to results, getting me precisely what I was thinking. So, no no, I will not be thinking about ”how hard this is gonna be”, on the contrary, this will be a grand adventure into the world of podcasting, one which I so look forward to. Game on!

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Key person of influence (book 7 of 26)

April 8, 2018
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Key person of influenceKey person of influence, by Daniel Priestley. A book gifted to me by my friend Michael Sillion, aka Captain Future. He gave it to me with the sweetest inscription, with the hope that it would inspire me as much as he has been inspired by me. And yes Michael, this is a book that inspires me. There are a few threads that stick out for me from this first read (yes. This is a book I will reread.):

  1. I will get going with my podcast plans. (Plans that have been plans for far too long, it is time to get started.)
  2. The distinction between resources and resourcefulness. This is an angle I have not previously come at the concept of resources from, and it makes for quite an interesting perspective I must say. Love it!
  3. This is a book full of questions that I would like to sit with – ponder, reflect upon, throw out there and see what comes back… (hence the re-reading intention!)

As for the second thread, here’s a paragraph from the book, with a sassiness (of course!) that puts a smile upon my face:

No matter what you need in your business or your life, getting it will be a function of your resourcefulness rather than whether the resources are available. Of course they are available. 

The three biggest factors that determine your resourcefulness are:

  • The questions you ask.
  • The people you know. 
  • Your willingness to stretch into the unknown. 

All of these factors are things I’ve been very actively working on.

The questions you ask.
A very dear friend of mine recently reflected on the fact that she now asks many more questions than she did upon meeting me (in 2013). The mantra “the questions you ask are more important than the answers you give (or receive)” is a way to be in the world that I’ve been hammering home (for me as well as for those I spend time with) these past years.

The people you know.
Ever since the same time that I met both of the people I’ve referred to above, I’ve “collected” people that inspire me, people that make me strive to be my better self. Matthew Kelly says it perfectly in The rhythm of life, a book I’ve yet to read, but definitely want to:
The people we surround ourselves with either raise or lower our standards. They either help us to become the-best-version-of-ourselves or encourage us to become lesser versions of ourselves. We become like our friends. No man becomes great on his own. No woman becomes great on her own. The people around them help to make them great. 

We all need people in our lives who raise our standards, remind us of our essential purpose, and challenge us to become the-best-version-of-ourselves.

Your willingness to stretch into the unknown.
I used to fear the unknown. I had the mistaken belief that my worth, my value as a person, resided in my ability to know, to be wise, knowledgeable, a veritable Encyclopedia Helenica… So for me to admit to not knowing, scared me senseless. I still struggle with this, there’s a lot of long-lived patterns of automatic responses for instance, giving the impression that I know full well what’s being talked about, even though I don’t have a clue, but a lot of it’s gone. Perhaps helped along the most by two aspects of my personal development these past five-ten years or so; my ability to be gentle with myself (and not knock myself upside the head with a mental shovel whenever I make a mistake or don’t live up to high inner standards) as well as my curiosity (also a trait I’ve actively cultivated).

The book I am blogging about is part of the book-reading challenge I’ve set for myself during 2018, to read and blog about 26 Swedish and 26 English books, one book every week, books that I already own.

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7even last words: Reunion

March 30, 2018
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7even last wordsToday was the day for the first performance ever of 7even last words, a musical production written by Jens Eriksson, choirmaster of Södra Sallerups kyrkokör, a ladies’ choir in Malmö. We gave the performance in Husie church, accompanied by Friiskvartetten, a string quartet.

The production contains seven movements, one for each of the Sayings of Jesus on the cross. As always, each movement has its on distinctive sound, each tugging a different string within as I listen, as I sing, as I get lost in the cadence and rhythms, the tonality of the cello, the viola, the violins.

Below you will find the seventh and last piece, titled Reunion. It’s fun – listening to this piece I hear it differently, than I do when being in the midst of the choir. The back and forth between the sopranos and the altos isn’t as clear to me as a member of the choir, as it is when listening to it being performed.

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Divorced. Again.

March 27, 2018
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Here I am – divorced for the second time.
This is not what I intended. But it’s what happened.

Sad?
Well, yes, sure it’s sad. I didn’t want this. Until the moment came when I actually did want it. Because that’s how it works – all of a sudden perspectives change, an insight put’s everything into a different light. I can see the sadness in life not turning out the way I wanted to, but at the same time, I’m not sad about it. I have no regrets. Fact is what I feel more than anything is gratitude that both of us, I and my ex-husband, to a large extent have – and have had – the ability to keep a cool head as well as a warm and gentle heart throughout the process från separation to settled divorce, with agreements on property settlements to child alimony and all of the other things that follows, when two souls are in the process of untangling themselves from each others lives.

The difference in my life isn’t that big either, to be honest. I still live in the house; I love it here and am very happy we’ve found a solution enabling me to stay put. The kids decide themselves how they want it, where to live and when (mostly). Kids and kids… little brother might still count as one, but the 18 year old will soon graduate, so there is a limit to the time remaining for her to “live at home”.

I ponder what makes me so calm and collected within. Perhaps because I’ve let it take its time? Or rather: I’ve let myself take the time I’ve needed to. Time to feel, time to cry, to grieve, to land in new circumstances.

I-carry-with-me-the-best-of-memoriesPerhaps because I’ve let thoughts and corresponding feelings come and go? I haven’t attached myself to any feeling as such, I’ve simply let them come, fill me up, and then I’ve let them pass through. Sometimes fast, sometimes really slow – all the while safe in the understanding that whatever I feel in the moment, it will pass. Another thought will come, eventually. No feeling is static. Ever.

And like Pernilla says – grief and joy go hand in hand, are best friends. The grief I experience when something has run its course is all about the flow of joy, love and compassion, all about the experiences. Delighting in what has been, that no longer is. Grateful for all I’ve been through, all I’ve learned, all that has arisen on account of this specific relationship. I carry with me the best of memories, and look to the future with a curious mind, all the while keeping my focus in the here and now, living and enjoying myself to the fullest.

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Mating in captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence (book 6 of 26)

March 25, 2018
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Mating in captivityInternational bestseller is written on the cover Esther Perels first book Mating in captivity: Unlocking Erotic Intelligence, and I get why. It’s a very interesting read, opening up loads of questions for me.

Given the dissolution of my (second) marriage, quite naturally I’m interested in relationships, breakup’s, love and desire, and the wealth of topics – and experiences – related to this. In the midst of it all, Esther Perel turns up in my life, in podcasts (her own, Where should we begin?, as well as interviews on other shows), and in other forums.

“[…] when we trade passion for stability, are we not merely swapping one fantasy for another? As Stephen Mitchell points out, the fantasy of permanence may trump the fantasy of passion, but both are products of our imagination. We long for constancy, we may labor for it, but it is never guaranteed.”

No. Constancy is not guaranteed.
I for one know all too well that it is not.

“Erotic intimacy is the revelation of our memories, wishes, fears, expectations, and struggles within a sexual relationship. When our innermost desires are revealed, and are met by our loved one with acceptance and validation, the shame dissolves. It is an experience of profound empowerment and self-affirmation for the heart, body and soul. When we can be present for both love and sex, we transcend the battleground of Puritanism and hedonism.”

What opens up for me now, with a second divorce on my resumé… is there’s definitely a battleground to transcend, oh yeah. There’s so much for me to discover. Mostly about myself. About my body, my sexuality and sensuality and most certainly about my erotic intelligence. Trust me when I say, that’s not a combination of words I’ve ever used before, never ever. About time perhaps?

“It takes courage to push yourself to places that you have never been before… to test your limits… to break through barriers. And the day came when the risk it took to remain tight inside the bud was more painful than the risk it took to blossom.” – Anaïs Nin

The book I am blogging about is part of the book-reading challenge I’ve set for myself during 2018, to read and blog about 26 Swedish and 26 English books, one book every week, books that I already own. 
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milk and honey

March 21, 2018
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milk and honeywhen my mother was pregnant
with her second child i was four
i pointed at her swollen belly confused at how
my mother had gotten so big in such little time
my father scooped me up in his tree trunk arms and
said the closest thing to god on this earth
is a woman’s body it’s where life comes from
and to have a grown man tell me something
so powerful at such a young age
changed me to see the entire universe
rested at my mother’s feet

– rupi kaur, from “milk and honey”

In honor of World Poetry Day, I give you poetry.
And if you are anything like me, then there are two times two lines above that made you shiver from the profundity of their meaning. Or… you are nothing like me, and there’s not a single line in this poem that does anything for you. Perhaps you have other lines of poetry that rock your world?

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Wealth Warrior: The Personal Prosperity Revolution (book 5 of 26)

March 11, 2018
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Wealth warriorHaving met Steve Chandler as well as having listened to many of his audios (one of which, the one on Expectations vs Agreement has made a huge difference in my life!), Wealth Warrior: The Personal Prosperity Revolution reads in my mind the way he talks; this is Steve, straight up. And I really enjoy it.

Great literature this is not – but it sure is a great book! It’s easy to read, I get to laugh and smile quite often, and all the while, there’s this really important message sent, that I for one definitely receive: ACT. Or to quote the author himself: The transformation is in the actions you take. 

As I read, I see that to a large part, I do what Steve does. I use me. I am the tool I use, my experiences, my insights, my struggles, fears, stumbling blocks and aha-moments. All of what I am, all that I have been through, that’s what I use, when I am in service (the concept all of Steve Chandler‘s work centers around, service in his view being all about helping someone else, assisting another person, and delivering actual value). Steve does the same. And he is so generous, doesn’t hold back at all, neither in his books, audios or at trainings. He gives freely of himself, the up’s and the down’s, the pro’s and the con’s. And in doing that, he is gifting us all the act of being human, because that is the spectrum that the human experience span – from the high’s to the low’s, from us being at our very worst, to our very best. All of it. To me, that is inspiring. It’s also something I’ve gotten much better at enjoying – I mean: all of life, and truly, all of it. From the part that has me sobbing my heart out, to the part that has me laughing so hard I almost wet my pants. All. Of. It.

And one of the things that has enabled me to use myself and my experiences this way, is my transformed relationship to change. Generally speaking, it’s no longer something I shy away from, rather the opposite. Steve writes:
All change occurs outside your comfort zone.
This is true physically, mentally, spiritually and financially. No change can occur inside your comfort zone.
Push your body past the weight it is comfortable lifting and it will grow stronger. Push your self past its own comfort zone and you will grow stronger.

Mentally and spiritually, stepping outside of my comfort zone is something that I do. Regularly. Physically, well, more and more. I mean, hey, I did the running race in the fall, have started to run every week, as well as doing my daily Seven for no less than three and a half years in a row (!). Challenging myself physically is definitely on my this-I-want-to-do-more-of-list, so what about financial challenges? Well. I am on it, that’s for sure. Divorce is almost finalize now, and of course that has a financial impact. So it’s definitely something I am looking into seriously at the moment – taking great care not to do “serious as in no laughs” but rather “serious as in scheduling time to dig down deep and doing the math”.

The book I am blogging about is part of the book-reading challenge I’ve set for myself during 2018, to read and blog about 26 Swedish and 26 English books, one book every week, books that I already own.

 

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The Great Migration

March 5, 2018
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A while back I listened to Isabel Wilkerson on On Being, talking about the Great Migration, which is – and I quote – “the diaspora of six million African Americans to the north of the U.S. in the 20th century“. I listened, and cringed, as I could not ignore my ignorance. I simply did not know, have never thought about, and despite considering myself fairly well-educated, I cannot hide behind the fact that “Western history” to such a large extent is actually “White Western history” at best. That might be an explanation, but it sure isn’t a valid excuse.

So a while back, as me and Jesseca were taking the bus home from a Gifted Book Club-evening, we got to talking and I mentioned Isabel and my urge to read her book, The Warmth of Other Suns. Jesseca immediately jumped on the suggestion, and made that “her book choice” for the book club. We haven’t read the book yet (we’ve yet to discuss Foe by J. M. Coetzee), but I was reminded of this magnificent episode of On Being, and wanted to re-listen to it.

I have recently discovered the series Underground, and it is… horrific. Horrible. Horrendous. Yet, there’s so much hope, heroism and heart as well! I absolutely love the fact that there are such strong female main characters in this show, which in and of itself made me reflect upon my surprise at this – I interpret it as being so unusual on screen, that is the reason why I take such strong notice of it! Anyway, the things we humans do to and with each others can be so disturbing at times, and yet, somehow I want to believe that things are getting better. And they are, to a large extent, but at the same time, they aren’t, for everyone, as these “striking, terrible statistic” that Isabel Wilkerson has noted: […] there was a lynching every four days in the early decades of the 20th century, and it’s been estimated that an African American is now killed by police every two to three days.

Sit with that for a moment or two. It’s more dangerous being black in the US today, than it was a hundred years ago. How??? How is this possible? I just do not (want to) believe it. But those are the facts, however much I would like it to be otherwise.

probably-no-migration-is-about-migration-It-s-aboBeing legal guardian to unaccompanied minors, as well as involved in a project on migration, I am getting a lot of new perspectives on this on a personal level, interviewing people who have migrated to Sweden (or from their home countries, ending up in Sweden more on chance than by design), for one reason or another, be it war, persecution, famine, love or work. Listening to Isabel, she gives me a point of view that opens the very concept of migration up to me anew: I often say that the book is viewed as being a book about the Great Migration, and over time, as I’ve talked about it over these years, I’ve come to realize that it’s not about migration. The Great Migration is not about migration, and really, probably no migration is about migration. It’s about freedom and how far people are willing to go to achieve it. This is the means that they feel they must take in order to find freedom wherever they can find it.

 

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