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

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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Letters from a Stoic (book 4 of 26)

February 25, 2018
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Letters from a StoicTim Ferriss talks about it a lot.
My brother read it this summer when we met up at mom’s place.
And I got it in the fall, when picking up a few books from an online bookstore, so when the reading challenge of 2018 crystallized in my mind, including Letters from a Stoic by Seneca was an easy choice.

It’s amazing that this book is made up of letters written almost two thousand years ago, and here I sit, reading them. Two thousand (!) years later. That is mind-blowing. Aside from that, there are parts of the book that really resonate with me, and other parts I struggle with. I do like the Stoic drive to “learn in order to be a better human”, but at the same time, the prescriptiveness of the Stoic way of living jars with my fairly recent understanding that what works for me, doesn’t necessarily work for you.

But how can I object to advice such as this on reading:
“You should be extending your stay among writers whose genius is unquestionable, deriving constant nourishment from them if you wish to gain anything from your reading that will find lasting place in your mind.”

Or thoughts such as this on friendship:
“But if you are looking on anyone as a friend when you do not trust him as you trust yourself, you are making a grave mistake, and have failed to grasp sufficiently the full force of true friendship.”

And trust (in my naivety I do go for the first one, perhaps that’s why I like this line?):
“Trusting everyone is as much a fault as trusting no one (though I should call the first the worthier and the second the safer behavior).”

And this, taken from a longer conversation on traveling, which I find to be of extraordinary value today, what with the migration issues we are facing, which I believe will only get worse. Unless, that is, we heed Seneca’s words:
“Where you arrive does not matter so much as what sort of person you are when you arrive there. We ought not, therefore, give over our hearts for good to any one part of the world. We should live with the conviction: ‘I wasn’t born for one particular corner; the whole world’s my home country.'”

As I flip through this book that I just finished reading this morning, I gaze upon page after page of my scribbles in the margins, marking a passage here, a phrase there, a sentence or two and quote after quote, and I realize, here’s a book I want to re-read soon, at least once more. Makes me understand what Ferriss is talking about, when he says about Letters from a Stoic that “I’ve read it dozens of times, and I loved it so much that I turned it into The Tao of Seneca, a three-volume set of audiobooks. If you prefer a written version of the Tao of Seneca, you can find it here for free.

Throughout the letters, Seneca is clear on one thing above all else, coming back to it again and again, and that is how philosophy, the love of wisdom, is to be put to practical use:
“What we hear the philosophers saying and what we find in their writings should be applied in our pursuit of the happy life. We should hunt out the helpful pieces of teaching, and the spirited and nobel-minded sayings which are capable of immediate practical application – not far-fetched or archaic expressions or extravagant metaphors and figures of speech – and learn them so well that words becomes works.”

This cuts to the core of one of my pet peeves concerning the self-help genre, which is that many people don’t seem willing to do the work. Reading book after book, without actually trying it on for size. Somehow believing that just reading it, will make whatever the book is talking about come true? Laziness? An unwillingness to step outside both comfort and possibly safety zones? To use Senecas words, reading, but not applying the advice. And that will not make a change in how life is perceived, not in the least. And to finish off where I started this post, how will I ever know if what works for you (or the Stoics), might work for me, unless I try it?

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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Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri

February 20, 2018
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Three billboards outside Ebbing, MissouriWent to the movies with my eldest child (child. How long can I write that and not misrepresent her, born in 1999 that she is, and thus, have come of age in so many ways the word child doesn’t really fit the bill any more. She is my child, and always will be, though. Interesting conundrum this!), my cousin and her husband. We saw Three billboards outside Ebbings, Missouri, a movie I’d watched a short trailer of, and immediately decided it was one I wanted to watch.

What a fascinating movie!
And the acting. Holy moly, Frances McDormand and Sam Rockwell. Worth watching simply for the world-class acting.

This is a movie that gripped me. Far from a feelgood-movie, it rather left me with a lingering feeling of… the complexity of humans? That there’s light and darkness in us all – this movie certainly let me utilize my ability to see both sides in each individual character. Ample evidence of how self-destructive negativity, hatred, violence and distrust is. And as much evidence to the contrary; one of the most moving scenes has one man pouring and offering a glass of orange juice to another man, both admitted to the hospital. Heartbreaking vulnerability, from both men.

Gripped I am, and as I sit here, a few weeks after watching it – that lingering feeling remains. Value for money!

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Start with why (book 3 of 26)

February 11, 2018
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It’s a bit surprising I haven’t read this book before, I agree. I mean, I even helped initiate a movement in Sweden that asked #WhySchool, so undoubtedly asking Why to find the underlying purpose, the driving force, the reason for What and How, is a habit close to my heart. And yet, I’ve not actually read the book before. I’ve watched his (Simon Sinek that is) TED Talk, many times, I’ve listened to podcasts with him, and oftentimes use his Golden Circle, and now, finally, I can honestly say I’ve read the book Start with why.

Golden Circle

The Why in the Golden Circle is the why of “WHY do you do what you do?”, that which is your purpose, the driving force behind all that you do, and how you do it – your reason for getting out of bed in the morning; the meaning of your life, in a manner of speaking. In the words of Simon Sinek:
Everything you say and everything you do has to prove what you believe. A WHY is just a belief. That’s all it is. HOWs are the actions you take to realize that belief. And WHATs are the results of those actions – everything you say and do: your products, services, marketing, PR, culture and whom you hire. 

I can see my why, and have clearly seen it for about 8-10 years or so, but I haven’t truly mastered the art of voicing it clearly (which is not uncommon, and there’s a logical reason for it as well, as the two inner circles of the Golden Circle correspond to our “emotional” limbic brain, with the outer What-circle corresponding to the rational and language-centered neocortex. So, it’s easier to explain what it is I do, and harder to tell you why.). Yet. What gave it away to me, was me lying in bed on a lazy Sunday morning, looking backwards to all the jobs and positions I’ve filled in my life, and finding the common thread, that which all of those experiences has in common: I encourage change. I see that which is, and also, what it could be, and work relentlessly as an agent of change, to help (people, departments, companies or organizations) reach a greater level of potential.

On page 214, Simon Sinek tells me why that is “the way to finding one’s why”:
The WHY does not come from looking ahead at what you want to achieve and figuring out an appropriate strategy to get there. It is not born out of any market research. It does not come from extensive interviews with customers or even employees. It comes from looking in the completely opposite direction from where you are now. Finding WHY is a process of discovery, not invention.

About the same time as I saw that common thread, I woke in the middle of the night with clarity on the meaning of my life: to make a positive imprint. So, I am an agent of change wanting that change to be for the better. Now I just need to be able to voice this clearly and succinctly, to make it communicable.

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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A matter of perspective

February 10, 2018
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There is not one truth, there are many, all depending upon our perspective. It’s all a matter of perspective, and the sooner we actually start to live our lives based on that understanding, I think the world will change for the better, both for the individual as well as society at large.

Hillary Diane Andales impressed me with her entry into the Breakthrough Junior Challenge of 2017 (a challenge she actually won!), where she explains this very clearly:

So the really mind-blowing idea here is that observer’s in different frames will perceive different version of the same reality. And every observer’s frame is equally valid. So before you start to make any observational arguments with others, first imagine yourself observing through their reference frames. 

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The world needs more of it!

February 5, 2018
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Generosity-Curiosity-Warmth-and-laughter-opennessGenerosity. Curiosity. Warmth and laughter, openness. Depth and honesty, respect, sincerity and a willingness to stay put, to not shy away from the tough and hard questions. People with enormous integrity, making me want to find out more, to listen more, to read more, about them, but more than that, I want to listen and read more by them.

Who?

An imam and a rabbi, in conversation with Krista Tippett in On Being. I start to listen to the edited version, and immediately thereafter I press Play on the unedited version. Which I then proceed to listen to yet once again. And I don’t feel satisfied yet, I’ll be relistening more, mark my words.

Krista starts the conversation thus:
It sounds like the beginning of a joke, and in truth, there’s a lot of laughter in what comes next: an imam and a rabbi walk into a conference of reform Jews. But amidst reports of rising anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, there are also friendships — and conversations like this — taking place.

Imam Abdullah Antepli and Rabbi Sarah Bassin – I listen to them, and fill up with hope. The way these two people work, and the impact they are having, one heart at a time, is just amazing. There is humility here, loads of it, these are humble people, in my view, and yet, at the same time, they are so strong, flexible and far from easy push-overs. Far from it, by the sound of it!

At one time, Imam Antepli touches on something that is well tuned to my intention for the year:

Imam Antepli: That’s really beautiful. And my biggest holy envy of Judaism is, absolutely, Shabbat. This is something — the world needs more of it. Imagine — when the world’s largest, most effective and influential religion, capitalism, is telling you, “Work more, harder. Buy more. Study harder,” there’s one voice from Sinai for 5,000 years, saying, “Once a week, don’t do that.” 

Wise words, those. The entire show is inspirational, truly. And since I started writing this post a day has passed, and I’ve listened to the show no less than five times. This is a record! And I’m not done. I’ll press Play at least once more. At least.

This – people in true conversation – is what the world needs more of. And one of the ways I use to get more of it – besides engaging in conversations myself – is to listen to On Being, still going strong as my favorite podcast!

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Creating tomorrow’s schools today (book 2 of 26)

January 28, 2018
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First time I met Richard Gerver he attended an ENTRIS-conference in Sweden, in 2013. Almost five years ago – time sure does fly by when one’s having a lot of fun! I started talking to him during one of the breaks, and then we continued the conversation over email. He also guest blogged for #skolvåren (aka school spring), a movement initiated by me and a few others on Twitter a few month before I met Gerver.

Susanne, Ann, Richard, yours truly and Therese, Oct 27th, 2014.

Susanne, Ann, Richard, yours truly and Therese, in Huddinge, in October, 2014.

A year and a half later I met up with him again, as he was talking at a conference hosted by the schools in Huddinge outside Stockholm. Four fifths of the #skolvåren back office attended and got a nice chat with Richard as you can see in the accompanying wefie.

Around that time, in 2013-14, I also bought two books written by him, but never got around to reading either of them, until now, that is. I tackled Creating tomorrow’s schools today as the second English book-I-already-own-but-haven’t-yet-read. I have a copy published in 2012, although the book was first released in 2010. And it is a bit dated, with references to Second Life as well as the hope installed in the US and the world by Barack Obama in his first term as President. That just feels a bit… well… outdated, there’s no other word for it really.

Disregarding that though, I did enjoy the read, especially the second part which tells the tale of the transformation of Grange Primary School – a very inspiring read I must say! There’s a lot I can say about the educational systems around the world, but one of the things I strongly believe in is the need for more diversity. It’s impossible to create one type of learning environment that will suit everyone. I just don’t believe in it. And in the diversity of educational settings that I envision (including both home and un-schooling), what was created (and is alive and kicking still today!) at Grange Primary School certainly fits the bill as well.

Or in the words of Richard Gerver:
“Up to now we have educated all children with one model, with one set of values and for one perceived purpose; that education is the answer. It can only be the answer if we understand that we are living in a different world and that the education on offer needs to meet the needs of the diversity of society. To do that we must stop believing that education is something that must be done to children and that one size will fit all. We must do more to value children, their cultures and their backgrounds.” (page 17)

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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