life

The force of life

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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This is how it is for everyone.

June 15, 2017
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“Life’s energy is never static. It is as shifting, fluid, changing as the weather. Sometimes we like how we are feeling, sometimes we don’t. Then we like it again. Then we don’t. Happy and sad, comfortable and uncomfortable alternate continually. This is how it is for everyone.”

I’ve written many times about just this. The ever-changing nature of the human experience, and how the realization that this is what it’s like to live on earth as a human being, has changed my life. It has broadened my experience of life, giving me room to be; To fully experience each and every emotion and feeling that comes upon me – creeping up? Crashing down? All of it! – with less desire to be rid of it, to get through to the other side, to stop feeling what I am feeling and feel something else, something better, sweeter, softer, instead. No. I feel. I hurt, grieve, rage and despair. But also heal, rejoice, laugh and swoon. Neither feeling better or worse than the other. Some of them easier to be in than others, but neither of them bad or wrong, as feelings go. They simply are.

Sixten the dogJust before, I was in a state of confusion. Right now – hungry. Getting ready to get out of bed, do my morning Seven, take a shower, make myself my morning green smoothie and be in town at ten o’clock, a thirty minute bike ride to get there, with the added To-do of having to take Sixten the dog (we are dogsitting for a few days) on a walk before I take off, I am now starting to feel a bit pressed for time…

Because life’s energy is never static. It is as shifting, fluid, changing as the weather. Sometimes we like how we are feeling, sometimes we don’t. Then we like it again. Then we don’t. Happy and sad, comfortable and uncomfortable alternate continually. This is how it is for everyone.

Inspired to continue blogging on the theme from the #blogg100-challenge in 2017 I give you: The book “Taking the leap – Freeing ourselves from old habits and fears” by Pema Chödrön

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#blogg100 – All that is to come.

June 8, 2017
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”Every moment is a death
of all that has gone before,
and a birth
of all that is to come.”

Here I am, in a moment that is the death of the #blogg100 challenge 2017 – writing one hundred blog posts over one hundred days. Challenge completed. One hundred blog posts later, I am thrilled at the theme I picked for the challenge this year: writing about and reflecting on sentences or phrases I have read in books. I’ve blogged in English and Swedish both, and have a hard time grasping the fact that this is the last blog post of the hundred. It’s been such a joy to dive even deeper into the chosen books – finally giving myself an outlet for all the wise, witty, funny, amazing, thought provoking, beautiful and moving passages that touch me, that I mark off with a pencilled in star, exclamation mark, wiggly line, or simply by taking a snapshot of the page, saving it in my Evernote.

Here I am, in a moment that is the birth of all that is to come. I will continue to blog in this style, the way I’ve done it during the challenge, because I have so much more to reflect upon around the books I am reading. I have but skimmed the surface, with reflections on snippets from seven books I’ve read and written about in English, and nine in Swedish. It will, likely, not be a daily post, but then again, who knows what is to come…

What I do know is that just from the sixteen books I’ve referenced so far, I’ve still got material for hundreds more blog posts! There is so much wonderfully written wisdom to be had at easy access in books – those I’ve read, and those I’ve not yet opened – that I could continue on this theme forever if it would suit me. There’s so much more I also want to share in my writings, that I will not limit myself to this – but what I do notice is how my ability to be fully present to the Now, to feel, to observe, to note what happens inside as well as outside of me, is expanding. I have been enjoying the books I’ve read, unusually so, and the same goes for everything else in life as well.

Hugging my kids. Sitting on a train watching the fast-moving and beautiful vistas outside the window. The color and smell of the blooming lilacs.

Enjoying life, because I can.

lilacs

#Blogg100 challenge in 2017 – post number 100 of 100.
The book “The parents Tao Te Ching” by William Martin.
English posts here, Swedish at herothecoach.com.

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#blogg100 – Gone for good.

May 29, 2017
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”…and then something inexplicable happened. Something great and timeless and beautiful and confounding just disappeared. Something was gone… gone for good.”

Death can cause great, timeless, beautiful and confounding things disappear. These words are written to describe what happened in the room when Clarence Clemons died. But great, timeless, beautiful and confounding things must not be fellow humans. It can be other things, any thing, of great and timeless beauty; a thing that, one day, is simply gone.

The MeYouWe of a relationship that suddenly shifts, inexplicably, whenever Me or You shift to our core. Making the MeYouWe transform and turn into something else, a totally new entity. An unknown, making it’s first rounds of the world, not certain of its place in time and space. Wanted? Not wanted?

The desperation when Me or You try to hold on, try to make the ghost of MeYouWe rise again, take form, reappear as it were… even though that is not possible. Not once a Me or a You have made a profound transformation.

It. Is. Not. Possible.
MeYouWe as it was, is no more.
A new MeYouWe might emerge. Or not. Because BoldomaticPost_People-come-into-our-lives-fopeople come into our lives for a reason, a season or a lifetime, as someone wise once told me – I’ve forgotten when and from whom I learned of it. The words have stayed with me, and have granted me release when looking back at long lost relationships, where for one reason or another, the MeYouWe that existed – suddenly, inexplicably – disappeared, however great, timeless, beautiful and confounding it may have been. Gone. Be it for a reason or a season, off it went.

Silently, within the confines of my inner dialogue, softly, I whisper to myself: people come into my life for a reason, a season or a lifetime. And I cannot know which, until it becomes apparent. Friends for life; suddenly no longer a part of my day-to-day existence, however unimaginable that notion might have seemed. With gratitude, warmth, and love for what was, I can let go, in order to let come… a new friend? A new love? Never knowing, and not needing to know, if this will be the commencement of a relationship of a reason – a season – or lifetime.

It will be. Either one. And that’s as it should be.
And then something inexplicable might happen…

#Blogg100 challenge in 2017 – post number 90 of 100.
The book “Born to run” by Bruce Springsteen.
English posts here, Swedish at herothecoach.com.

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Being gentle to me – Reflection May ’17

May 25, 2017
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And so another month has passed in this thing we call Life. Capital L. Deliberately. Because that’s how I, today, believe Life should be lived, as if it’s something to pay attention to, to be deliberate and intentional about.

Well, that doesn’t feel very gentle; on the contrary, aren’t you putting a lot of pressure on yourself by stating this? As if Life is all about the results and performance, stacking up some pretty high expectations there, aren’t you?

No. That’s just it.
I don’t laden Life with high expectations, with a number of unspoken demands of result, or believes about what is the Right way to live it. At least, that’s not how I experience it nowadays. On the contrary. Life, to me, is filled with all sorts of events and non-events, the entire range of emoitions avilable to a human being and is somehow a container for everything between heaven and hell.

The difference lies in my wish to live Life with delibreration and intentionality, being aware and conscious. Loving fully – except when I can’t, and then I can practice not-loving fully. Laughing and having fun, contrasted by times when I am desperately sad and grieving.

come rain or shineCome rain or come shine, wherever you go, there you are Jon Kabat-Zinn says, and I think that sums it up. Knowing this, deep in my bones, while taking responsibility for what situations and surroundings I place myself in, the company I elect to keep, the stories I feed myself. This is how I live Life. Deliberate. Intentional. For me, these are words of possibilities, like champagne bubbles within. And what better way to be gentle to me than to live a Life of possibilities?

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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The strange beauty of humanity

April 23, 2017
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in Tip
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I have more than enough podcast recommendations on my old (and now purely Swedish) blog to take me through each and every Sunday of 2017, and then some. It’s the easiest thing to do as well, to dig up an old blog post recommending one of the many many podcast episodes I’ve written about and still vividly remember and treasure, and simply repost it here.

At the same time, there are so many podcast episodes I’ve not yet blogged about, episodes I am re-listening to over and over again, and in a weird fashion have too much to reflect upon for them ever to make it here. So I vow to myself not to take the easy road today, but dig deep and pull up one of those rich and profoundly important episodes, and to present it to you.

So I give you BJ Miller on On Being with Krista Tippett, an episode entitled: Reframing Our Relationship to That We Don’t Control.

Strange behaviorsBJ knows what he’s talking about, as his life most definitely turned upside down in his college years.

I’ve probably listened to this show five times or so. Fascinated by the joie de vivre so apparent in his entire being, by his love for design and the aesthetics of life, as well as his understanding of life and death and how they relate to one another.

He says: […] I worry, sometimes, that we exist in such a narrow bandwidth of accepted behaviors and thoughts that we really clip off so much of the strange beauty that can be part of the human experience.

What would happen if we embraced the strange beauty of the human experience instead of limiting it?

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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#blogg100 – Observe yourself.

April 12, 2017
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“Do not observe yourself too closely.
Do not draw too rapid conclusions from what happens to you;
let it simply happen to you.”

Yes.

But also – No! A strong and resounding No rising from within the depths of me, reverberating in my entire being.

Perhaps my fervent opposition to Rainer Maria Rilkes two sentences is his use of the words observation and drawing conclusions, without using also the word judgement. Because there is nothing that has helped me as much to Live life as it happens to me, as the ability to observe myself. But here’s the clou: To observe myself, without judgement. Rilkes “rapid conclusions” in my mind is to do with making judgements.

chainsOnce I learned to observe myself (which for me means the ability to bear witness to myself, to all that I am experiencing, while simultaneously seeing what I am experiencing – I am in it, but at the same time outside of it) and fully understood that whatever I am thinking isn’t Truth, but rather a filter which shapes the experience of the world I am in, life changed. Oh how it changed! It became possible for me to let life happen, without me having to fight it each and every inch of the way. No longer shackled to the harsh voices within.

Because simultaneously, my inner Judge and Dictator lost its power over me and my life. He could be shouting at me (I often liken him to a combination of Hitler/Mao/Stalin. Perhaps a bit dramatic, but hey, that’s what it felt like to be me), the same things he’d been shouting at me for years on end, relentlessly, and all of a sudden… I was able to let it be. To avoid engaging with it. To avoid the conclusions stemming from an internal dialogue telling me You are so dumb!, You should have known better! and Why on earth would you ever do something that stupid, haven’t you learnt anything?.

Once I stopped paying attention to the harsh inner dialogue of mine, the tone of it shape shifted, into something that gradually turned into the ability to be gentle towards myself. And from that place, whatever happens to me, as I am living my life, is easier to handle with grace, come what may.

#Blogg100 challenge in 2017 – post number 43 of 100.
The book “Letters to a Young Poet” by Rainer Maria Rilke.
English posts here, Swedish at
herothecoach.com.

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#blogg100 – Let life happen to you.

April 5, 2017
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letters to a young poet“…always the wish that you might be able to find patience enough in yourself to endure, and single-heartedness enough to believe; that you might win increasing trust in what is difficult, and in your solitude among other people. And the for the rest, let life happen to you. Believe me: life is right, at all events.”

Let. Life. Happen. To. You. 

Does that provoke you as much as it does me? The high achiever within me shouting and screaming at the mere thought of simply letting life happen. How passive. How purposeless. How pointless? Where’s the drive? Where’s the intentionality of it all?

Life is right. At all events. 

Huh? Really?

And then… I came to terms with the high achiever within, the clever girl-persona I’d taken on, encouraged by my surroundings, by myself, by my blazing desire for external gratification, attention, praise and cheers. And suddenly. I am. Letting life happen to me. Knowing life is right, at all events.

And guess what?

It’s not a passive way of being in the world at all. Not. At. All.

But I am not sure I can even express why I perceive that it is active – in a way I’ve never lived my life prior to this insight. But it is.

And if you don’t take my word for it – well. Try for yourself?

#Blogg100 challenge in 2017 – post number 36 of 100.
The book “Letters to a Young Poet” by Rainer Maria Rilke.
English posts here, Swedish at
herothecoach.com.

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The shape-shifting of life

February 24, 2017
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The changes… Think back a month or two, to the despair, anxiety, worry for the future. And look at where you are at today! Filled with hope, in love with life and others, a bounce in your step’s that you couldn’t even imagine a few months back.

This, is life.
Truly, this is what life is about.

The constant evolving of a present, that shape-shifts constantly. Harsh and cold at one time, embracing and warm the next. Anxiousness abounds, to be replaced by being in love. The heartwreanching loneliness, to never be loved again, held, desired and caressed, replaced by the closeness of two bodies, breathing in the breath of a loved one in a passionate kiss.

Shape-shifting
How life can be at the very bottom… with the instinct to shut it off, let go, and simply never have to live through another millisecond of pain. And then. You go on, not letting go, not ending life, and all of a sudden, there’s this tiny tiny shift in the darkness, one ray of light entering a crack, and simsalabim, it’s daylight. Bright and shiny, and hope abounds again. Yet again.

This is, to some extent, my story.
But more than that, it’s yours. You whom I have followed, and held, and loved, and cried with. My soul-sister in life, in exploring with vulnerability, what it means to live wholeheartedly. With intent. Openness to what may come.

And see – what has come, you would not have thought just a few weeks ago. And yet, here it is.

Life. Fantastic. Frustrating. Filled with fear and then… not!
The shape-shifting of life, is perhaps, what makes life worth living?

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Being gentle to me – Reflection January ’17

January 25, 2017
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After a full year of monthly reflections on what it means, for me, to be gentle towards myself, you might think this is a topic that I’ve exhausted. That I’ve written what’s possible for me to write about. But far from it. I am, constantly, observing that I am being gentle towards myself, in situations where it greatly gladdens me, instances where I know – and I do mean Know – that in the past I would not have been able to chose gentleness, if nothing else than for the reason that I simply did not know it was an option!

Choosing to be gentle towards myself is becoming second nature. It is something that comes first, almost always, nowadays, and from that I conclude that I have practiced the art of being gentle for long enough, so it no longer takes as much effort to choose the path of gentleness, as compared to when I first realized that it was, indeed, a viable option for me – and anyone! – to choose.

I normally say the first big insight that it was even an option, was when I did not bring cash to pay my therapist, some 10-11 years ago. I was ashamed, and wildly kicking myself verbally, and she was astonished that I was so hard on myself. She told me what she’d done if the situation had been reversed, and my jaw fell. I simply could not believe it was an option not to beat myself up internally for having done such a low thing.

But as I sit here and look back at my journey of discovery into the world of gentleness, I spot the birth of my first child as one of those moments, when I was given the choice – by the midwife – to be more gentle to myself. Under slightly unusual circumstances – as me and my then-husband had separated and filed for divorce just a few weeks prior to the birth of our child – I was accompanied by two friends, while giving birth.

When we got to the hospital, I got into a warm bath, and after a while, the midwife looked at me and more or less gave me permission to keep my focus on me, rather than on the comfort of my friends. I was conversing them, staying cheerful and positive, all the while having contractions that hurt like hell… The midwife looked at me, and calmly said You don’t have to entertain your friends. They can take care of themselves. You conserve your energy. You will need it later.

And now, as I reflect back on that moment, I see what I chose then, as I did heed the experienced midwife’s words, was to be gentle to myself. To let myself off the hook to be a gracious “hostess” to my two friends. To truly see that they were there for me, because I had asked them, because I had a need for their strength. In that moment, they were there solely for me and my unborn child. Not the other way around. comfortable spotAnd that was ok. I could let myself off the hook, and relax into being supported, fully, without having to reciprocate, in that time and space. That there would be a time for me to be there, fully, for them. But that would not be the moment of birth of my firstborn. That’s for sure.

Funny that… How I have these recollections of specific moments when I discovered that being gentle to myself was a choice I could make. That there was a choice, and that gentleness was one of the options open to me. As a result, it’s much easier for me to love myself, to like myself, and to enjoy the daily exploration of Life. The life I lead from the place of being gentle to me, is a ridiculously comfortable spot to live from, as compared to my life while being harsh on myself (oh, so harsh!).

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