Reflection

#metoo – a personal reflection

#metoo – a personal reflection

October 16, 2017
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Me too.
If all the women who have been sexually harassed or assaulted wrote “Me too” as a status, we might give people a sense of the magnitude of the problem.
Please copy/paste.

#metooThat status has been all over my Facebook-feed these past few days.

I’ve seen it, read it, recognized myself in it (yeah, me too), been slightly overwhelmed at the number of women I know who’ve written “Me too”, and all the while, have hesitated to actually copy/paste and publish on my own wall.

Part of my hesitation is the reason why I do not pass on modern style chain letters, which in the social-media-era takes the shape of personal messages in Messenger, sometimes augmented by a <3 on the walls of the people passing the message on. It would take something quite extraordinary for me to pass this type of stuff on, and with #metoo I guess I’ve come across one of those extraordinary occasions.

If nothing else, simply the fact that I’ve seen so many “Me too” truly has given me a sense of the magnitude of the problem. But what pushed me over the edge to publish the status myself, was my friend Sohrab Fadai, who wrote a reflection upon #metoo that touched me deeply. He wrote it in Swedish, starting off with: My feed is filled with #metoo and once again the male silence becomes embarrassingly obvious. 

With the hope that more people will dare to look within and reflect in the same way as Sohrab does in his long post, I will post this on my wall as well.

Because… me too.

At school and university.
At work.
On the bus.
At a party (where I actually got punched in the nose).
Walking down the street.
On the train, the plane, the ferry.
At the beach.
In the grocery store.

Me too – in way too many places. And it’s not ok.

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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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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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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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The GIFTED book club

August 23, 2017
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On my birthday me and a friend gifted one another a book club, and when we sat down to think it through a week later, that’s the name we gave it. Tonight we had a first get-to-know-one-another-so let’s-wait-to-read-the-first-book-after-all-meeting, expanding upon the basic structure we had previously outlined, so we are set for the upcoming two meetings, and then we’ll see what works and what needs to be tweaked.

GIFTED book club

Now I have six weeks until our next meeting to read On Tyranny by Timothy Snyder, a book I wanted to read since listening to him in conversation with Sam Harris. We decided upon our next book as well, so I will immediately request it from the library.

I’ve never been a part of a book club before, let alone initiated one – so I am really looking forward to this experience. Feel like a rookie, learning as I go along, which is a state I am truly starting to enjoy more and more. It means there’s a potential for expansion, for growing, for gaining new perspectives upon life. And that it something I love!

If you’ve ever been a part of a book club, and have good ideas or tips to share, please do so in the comments. I’d love to get some input!

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Resistance.

August 22, 2017
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“There’s a secret that real writers know that wannabe writer’s don’t, and the secret is this: It’s not the writing part that’s hard. What’s hard is sitting down to write. What keeps us from sitting down is Resistance.” 

The WAR of ARTSteven Pressfield writes this in one of the first pages of the book The War of Art. And I can give you a hint, writer is replaceable with whatever you aspire to. Regardless if you want to be a writer, a musician, an artist, an athlete, or whatever you can dream of, what you need to get to is the doing part. If you don’t “sit down to write”, you won’t be a writer. If you don’t practice the guitar, you won’t be a guitarist. If you don’t paint, you won’t be an artist.

The entire book centers on Resistance, and there are quite a few passages that I really enjoy. Some provoke me, other tickle me, other again make me nod emphatically with personal recognition. Here’s another personal favorite:

“Casting yourself as a victim is the antithesis of doing your work. Don’t do it. If you’re doing it, stop.” 

I am way too familiar with Resistance. It’s like an acquaintance that’s overstayed his welcome – boy, would I love to get rid of it! And I think there’s actually a way to at least reduce the frequency when this acquaintance comes a’knocking: by sitting down to write, step by step I train myself to do the work, regardless of the Resistance I feel or not. In time, Resistance might knock more seldom, knowing it’s futile?

Inspired to continue blogging on the theme from the #blogg100-challenge in 2017 I give you:
The book ”The WAR of ART” by Steven Pressfield.

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Headspace-hiccup

August 4, 2017
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headspace from 800+ to 1As I did my daily morning Headspace-meditation, my runstreak was reset from 800+ days to 1. Oh well. Perhaps I forgot yesterday? I might well have. Thing is, I can’t check. The Headspace-app allows me to see my Headspace-journey, but only what sessions I’ve done in which order, not the time/date for each (or at least, the last one). I know I did my 800th meditation in a row on Tuesday because I screenshotted and Instagrammed that joyous occation. I did the same today (less joyous though it might have been), and figure I will simply get back on the horse, but have a small nagging sensation of having done a quick Restore-session yesterday morning as well, so I sent off a rambling email to Headspace Support.

I’ve been meaning to email Headspace since the new update anyway, asking for a time/date-stamp and point out the oddity of their rewards-system which I don’t think is in sync with what seems resonable to be the general aim of Headspace (getting people to meditate, daily. Period.), so I added that (that’s the rambling part) to my general question:

Hi,
My Runstreak was reset today and I have a faint memory of doing a quick Restore-session yesterday (ie Thursday the 3rd of August). However as its still n o t possible to get the time stamp in my Journey (please add this! A feature like that in iMessage or Messenger – hold and time/date appears) I wonder if it was actually the 2nd that I did the last session previous to my quicky today (restore Friday 4th).

The o n l y good thing about having lost my runstreak of 800 days is that I will actually get some rewards again – you do Realize you are actually rewarding people for not keeping to their runstreak by sending out give-away-headspace for 15-30-90 etc up to 365 days and then zip, nada, zilch. And I don’t even get a Goal for my efforts. Oh well. Going slightly off topic here but as I wrote I might as well give you what’s in my mind. The old buddy-visual was better than the new one also, but thanks for re-adding buddy-runstreak at least.

Hoping to hear from you,
Helena

A while ago, I got into my head thinking “how awful it would be if I lost my pretty and long Headspace runstreak, which is so much moore impressive than it was last time I lost it“, so even though I bothered with sending the email, I am not upset, but rather am quite happy at observing my reaction at seeing the number 1 in my runstreak: Oh well. I must have forgotten to Headspace yesterday.

Not beating myself up. Not blaming myself for being stupid to loose my runstreak. Nothing of the sort. Just a simple “Oh well”, knowing it doesn’t really mean anything. I will continue doing my Headspace, because I like giving myself the gift of a few minutes that are mine, solely mine, each day.

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Being gentle to me – Reflection July ’17

July 31, 2017
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Being gentle to me, this past month, as been a lot about going with the flow.

It’s summertime.
There’s less assignments from clients.
Kids are off from school.

Paper borderSo I am doing that which I feel like doing, and not doing the rest.
Going on short excursions, overnight or just for the day.

Reading books I want to read – so I am. Loads of them! Going for walks I want to take – so I do. Same with the occasional run.

Haven’t felt like blogging this past week – so I haven’t. Before that, I did, daily.

Borrowed a steamer and got rid of the (very ugly) paper border in the dining room, that we just never got around to removing before. That was satisfyingly hard work, as was the hedge trimming (more like a massacre really) I did together with the neighbors.

Brought the guitar with me to my mom’s place, but have only played once so far. Will simply add dates at the end of my original 60 day-streak to make up for not playing daily.

Not putting any guilt trips on me, for that which I’m avoiding. I just am. Same goes with that which I am doing. I just am.

Welcome to my writings, where the underlying tone centers around being gentle to oneself. I reflect on a monthly basis on what that means to me, in the moment, and this is one of those reflections. I hope you enjoy it. If you do, please subscribe to updates so you won’t miss out on future reflections.

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A Plastic Ocean

July 22, 2017
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Ziplocked berriesThis past week we’ve been hard at work picking all the berries from the garden. Red and black currants, raspberries and gooseberries. Today we finished off the last of it – with the possible exception of raspberries, we might get another liter or two from the garden with a bit of luck (and sunshine). As I was taking care of all the berries, bagging them and preparing them for the freezer, I watched the documentary A Plastic Ocean.

Far from a feel-good-documentary, but well worth the watch. But honestly, sometimes it get’s too much, hearing about horrendous amounts of harm the human species is capable of. Tonight was one of those nights, making me almost paralyzed with the futility of even making the smallest of efforts.

And yet, as I was bagging my berries in Ziploc plastic bags, I know that these are bags that will be reused, over and over again. Because I do reuse all the plastic bags I use (and they aren’t that many to be honest), after washing them out, having them dry off in the dish rack. I do make that effort, and gladly at that. Living in Malmö in Sweden, I also know that once the Ziploc bags are torn and I will throw them in the trash, they will go to the city incinerator, which generates a lot of heat for heating houses in town. Probably not the best idea anyway, burning plastic is far from ideal, but hopefully it will stay clear of becoming micro plastic in the oceans at least.

If you’ve yet to watch A Plastic Ocean, please do!

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