Writings

A languorous few hours

A languorous few hours

November 16, 2017
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languorous hours in bedHere I am, still in bed. It’s a quarter past eleven, I’ve been awake for three and a half hours, but have yet to leave bed for the day. I’ve done my daily Headspace meditation; have read a bit, written some more; all the while listening to Peaceful Piano on Spotify.

One of those days which is mine, with no planned activities, no urgent Musts to deal with, a lot of Wants though – but this, allowing myself a languorous few hours, of doing mostly nothing really, just chilling, hanging around, relaxed, probably even lazy.

Oh how wonderful life is! Giving myself this gift of a few languorous hours of Being, with no requirement of Doing. Whatever does get done, does so out of pleasure and curiosity; Doing:s just for the plain fun of it!

And in case you wonder – no, I really don’t hear the monkey mind chattering away inside, filled with impatience, highly annoyed at this self-indulgent waste of time that could be put to better use. It might be chattering away…. but if so, it’s white noice that goes by unnoticed. And honestly I don’t think it’s there. Even the life of my inner monkey mind has gotten to be a lot more relaxed as years have passed and my experience of life has shifted along with my growing skill of being gentle with myself.

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Outing: Copenhagen

November 14, 2017
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I took a trip to Copenhagen this weekend, to spend Saturday-Sunday with my dear sweet friend Eva-Britt, who borrowed an apartment in Nørrebro from a friend out travelling.I arrived just in time for lunch, and once we were full, we went out for a walk. First stop Jægersborggade – we ambled up and down, revelling in marvellous window displays, as well as visiting some of the odd shops along the street. Den Sidste Dråbe wasn’t one of them, but I couldn’t resist capturing their shop sign, because surely “The last drop” is a great name for a liquor store!

[jeg er ikke et Hunde Toilet… Tak Hellere ikke mig = I am no dog toilet… me neither, thanks]Then we walked to Assistens Kyrkogård (cemetary) – oh so beautiful! I was awestruck by these stunning Japanese maples – displaying the most vibrant of colours!

Eva-Britt managed to find her way back to the most magnificent of beech trees ever, that she had come upon at a previous visit to the cemetary – and wow. The energy, and power of this tree! If ever there was an ent, this is the one!

On route to the burial site of Søren Kierkegaard we came across the Russian cemetery, where the destiny of Nikolaj von Gersdorff moved our hearts:
Den sidste Gersdorff av Marselisborglinien. Rejst av venner
[The last of the Gersdorff’s of the Marselisborg line. Erected by friends]
We ambled on towards and along Blågårdsgade, before turning our noses in the direction of home.

[Vil du ikke være sød at parkere din flotte jernhest på den anden side af gaden? = Would you please park your grand iron horse on the other side of the street?]

After almost 10 kilometer we landed on the sofa, with some cheese, olives, red wine and intense conversation. In all manners possible – a tonic for the soul, especially the conversations. Having a friend who know’s me as well as Eva-Britt, who’s been my friend for a bit more than twenty years – that is truly a gift.

[Ingen er en god politiker = Nobody is a good politician
Ingen ved hvordan du har det = Nobody know’s what it’s like for you
Ingen vet hvad der skal til = Nobody know’s what it takes

STEM PÅ INGEN = VOTE FOR NOBODY]After waking up on Sunday morning, we took our time, ate breakfast, talked, laughed and finished off the left-overs from lunch the day before, before I walked to the main train station to get on the train home. We’ll be doing this again, count on it!

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Do you know who Glenn Beck is?

November 12, 2017
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in Tip
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I can honestly say, I had no clue who Glenn Beck is when I pressed PLAY on Podcaster. And honestly, I still don’t, really, as the only point of contact I’ve had with him is that On Being episode with him in conversation with Krista Tippett that I first listened to in May of 2017. On the other hand, it’s an episode I think I’ve listened to at least five times, possibly more, so the Glenn Beck he presents as there, is someone I’ve gotten to know quite a bit.

Under what rock have you been hiding?, you might be asking right now.
But as a Swede, living in Sweden, for me Glenn Beck is not a household name. So I figure I’m in pretty good company, in not knowing who this man is.

OppositesHowever. It is a truly remarkable podcast, this one. (And please, when you listen to it, choose the unedited version!) There’s a rapport between them that I really like, but more than that, I think it’s the fact that Krista and Glenn seem to “come from opposite points of view” in many ways, and yet, there’s respect, there’s humor and laughter, there’s agreements as well as points of disagreement, but in the most interesting way. Not at all confrontational (which I gather is something this man has been throughout much of his career), but rather, investigative with lots of curiosity and open-mindedness.

Krista starts the show by stating:
Glenn Beck is a complicated person. So, after all, are we all. Speaking with him brings home the reality that if we’re going to create the world we want our children to inhabit, we’re going to have to find ways to hold more complexity peaceably, and probably uncomfortably, just to soften what is possible between us. We need to be ready to let others surprise us, let them repent, offer forgiveness, and ask hard questions of our own place in this moment. This doesn’t happen often in politics, but it is essential in life and must be part of common life too. As part of our ongoing Civil Conversations Project, I draw out Glenn Beck in this generosity of spirit.

And that’s truly what this podcast exudes, a generosity of spirit; to such an extent that I’ve listened, and re-listened immediately thereafter, more than one time around. That’s high praise coming from such a podcast-buff as I!

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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The trainable cat

November 5, 2017
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in Tip
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Pop and me out walkingI’m a cat person. Love them, and have since I knew how. Have had cats most of my life, one or more, at most I’ve had three cats at the same time. Bilbo and Bombadil were joined by Pippin when Bilbo went on a walkabout for six weeks and Bombadil was desperate for a pal. So we got Pippin the kitten, and a few weeks later, Bilbo returned. Three cats is actually a lot more than two, somehow. But we made it work.

Have never been able to train my cats much. Walking on a leash is something none of my cats have ever learned. Bilbo would flop down on the floor as if he’d become instantly paralysed whenever I put the leash on him, totally unable to walk. Pop actually knows how…. but he moved in when he was three years old and already knew this skill. Besides that, he will gladly join us for walk around the neighborhood even without a leash, so he’s a special cat, that’s for sure.

Tummy to petSo when I saw the episode title “How to train your cat” on Fresh Air, I was intrigued and started to listen to it. Rapidly I understood, that in reality, I’m the one who’s been trained, by all my cats! They seem to know instinctively how to train their humans to do precisely what they want, whether it’s letting them out at four am, providing more food than planned, petting an upturned hairy tummy or, for that matter, immediately to stop petting that very same upturned hairy tummy. I’m a well-trained human I admit. But this is all about to change, as the podcast actually gave me a new perspective on this. Or perhaps it’s more just to say, I intend to even the odds a bit.

I will no longer let Pop the cat out at four am in the morning when he’s walking around screaming to be let out. Because every time I do, I am reinforcing his knowledge that this is how it works: If i miow loud enough and long enough, she’ll crawl groggily out of bed and let me out. And he did train me well! But no more.

Pop the catSo for a couple of early mornings, when Pop has let me know he want’s to go out (pressing needs perhaps? There is a litter box, he’s in no dire straits, I promise) somewhere around four five am, I’ve not let him out. I’ve invited him up onto the bed, but that’s the extent of my interaction with him in the wee hours of morning. And lo and behold, after a few frustrated minutes walking about, up and down the stairs, miowing, he relents. Sometimes he plonks down on my bed. The other day he chose Almas bed instead. Today he chose the sofa downstairs, so that when I got up around seven and went downstairs to pick up my phone and iPad (morning writing you know), me met me by the front door, and – without him making a sound – I let him out the door.

Same goes for food. Miowing in the past has meant that we relent, and give him some food, more than he actually should receive. If nothing else simply to shut him up. See – he’s trained us well, this cat! But no more. I am on to his training scheme and will refuse to play according to his rules anymore.

What I didn’t get from the podcast, which might be available in the book The trainable cat, is how to get Pop to indicate, with one (1) and only one miow, the desire to be let out and so on, but to stop after the one miow. Because I see him and hear him, and will – unless it’s five am in the morning – oblige. If we reach that point, I would be a very happy cat-owned human, that’s for sure. I’ll see if I can get a hold of that book – the story of me training Pop the cat and vise versa is to be continued…

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Being gentle – Reflection October ’17

November 1, 2017
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being gentle

B e i n g   g e n t l e

t o

me

˜

t r a n s f o r m e d

m y

l i f e.

˜

C o m p l e t e l y   a n d   a b s o l u t e l y.

˜

I   w i s h

˜

f o r

a l l

˜

t o   e x p e r i e n c e

w h a t    l i f e

i s    l i k e

˜

w h en

l i v e d

f r o m   t h a t   p l a c e.

˜

T h a t   p l a c e   o f

b e i n g   g e n t l e.

˜

T o

m e.

˜

A n d

t o

y o u!

 

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Be a better person

October 29, 2017
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in Tip
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Wanna make better stuff? Be a better person, Jonathan Fields says at the beginning of this weeks podcast tip of the Good Life Project (yet again a tip from GLP. Actually this is the third in a row – so if you haven’t listened to an episode yet, just do. They a_r_e really good, most of them!).

BoldomaticPost_Wanna-make-better-stuff-Be-a

Now, this is a Good Life Riff, meaning it’s only about five minutes long. Still. It’s worth listening to, and it sure puts a spin on things for me. Jonathan tells a story about guitars and guitar-makers in the riff, and says “You can’t keep your personality outside of the work“. It’s said about handmade guitars, but does it stop there? Isn’t that true for all work done by a human being?

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. 

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Wholehearted – Reflection October ’17

October 28, 2017
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Part of living wholeheartedly, for me, means sharing. Sharing what I experience, what I think about, what I struggle with and what I rejoice in. This past week has been a good example, as Pop the cat went awol on Sunday the 23rd of October. We called for him, went looking all over, posted about him being gone all over Facebook, Instagram and other “cat’s gone awol”-sites available out there. Reported him missing to the police, put up Missing-posters in the neighborhood, called the local veterinarian and in all manners made it clear that we needed help to find him again.Missing Pop the cat

And how people responded!

Came with tips and ideas, shared the Missing-cat-post all over the web, kept an eye out whenever they were out and about in the neighborhood as well as contacted me with possible Pop-sightings.

And then today, six days after he went missing, me and the kids were coming home from a festive gathering outside of town, and as we were being dropped off on the street outside our house, we all heard a cat meowing really loudly, not pleased with life at all. It sure sounded like Pop, but we’d all gone down that road so many times the past week, that we had a hard time believing it could actually be. So we took off down the street, once again, with hope bubbling up in our bellies, to find whatever cat was making such a ruckus, and a few houses down the street, there he was! In the garden of a neighbor, just let out of their garage. They’d been away, and came home to weird noises in the garage.

Me and the kids were rapturously happy, while the man of the house felt so bad. I told him not to, because he’d just made our day!Missnöjd Pop

Right now, Pop is sitting on the sofa table staring me down, pissed at me for not letting him out. Or, at least, for not providing enough food to make up for the lost food intake of the past week. I’m figuring I’ll go easy on both – wanting him inside the house at least until the morning, and a little food now and again, to make sure his system doesn’t crash and burn after going on an involuntary diet for six days.Pop back in da house

So now I’ve been sharing my joy at this moment, all over the Internet, calling the police to retract the missing-cat-report, letting everyone know Pop’s back in da house!

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Poetic tools

October 22, 2017
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in Tip
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I listened to an On Being episode with composer Mohammed Fairouz, and immediately after listening to the edited version I listened to the unedited version, which was even better. Mohammed Fairouz is not a man I’d never heard of before, and I am glad that has been rectified.

He has a lovely positive outlook on the future, stating in no uncertain terms that he thinks the world will soon become a better place. Since I also hold that view, hard as it may be to stick to sometimes, given the barrage of negative news flowing all around, I exhale, and feel my body go a bit soft, relaxed, knowing there are many more people devoted to the same aspiration.

I’m going to say something that you may think me crazy to say. But I believe that the future is extremely bright. I believe that the future is hopeful. And I think that this generation is absolutely committed to making the world a better place. And I think they have the means to do it. And I think that if the world does not become a better place by the time that I’m 50 or 60, we have no one to blame but ourselves. We have the will. We have the drive.
– Mohammed Fairouz

It’s an episode that span large and far, in time, in space. Mohammed has a beautiful language, and I love the flow of the conversation. Mohammed says something which I’ve never heard and honestly never thought about. But it hit home somehow, and I’ve reflected upon it since I heard it. I believe there’s something there.

“Where”, you ask?
I reply “Here”, and give you this:

BoldomaticPost_I-think-memorizing-poetry-is

Poetic tools. Isn’t that just a wonderful way to look at it? Poetic tools, do I even have any? I’m not sure I do. When spoken about this way, I sure get an urge to get myself some, don’t you?

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. 

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Being responsible for e v e r y t h i n g

October 20, 2017
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BoldomaticPost_Nothing-at-Facebook-is-someon”One of my favorite posters of our office walls reads, ’Nothing at Facebook is someone else’s problem.’ In a company-wide meeting, I asked everyone facing challenges in working with a colleague – which of course is everyone – to speak more honestly to that person. I set a goal that we would all have at least one hard conversation each month.”

Synchronicity is funny – I read this part from Option B after having said precisely these words together with Pernilla Tillander at one in a series of multiple workshops we are holding for att pre-school staff in a small commune in the south of Sweden. Well. No, not verbatim, as we aren’t addressing the staff at Facebook, of course, but the gist of our question was the same: Are you responsible for everything that happens at work?

The first reaction of most people is to say No. A few get confused, and basically no one steps up and says Yes.

– What do you mean, responsible for everything that happens at work? That’s absurd!

– Of course it’s not on me, I can’t take responsibility for everyone at work and their actions!

– Well, yes, but no, I mean, I am responsible for me, but…

– No, the boss has more responsibility than I do. 

The magic in this, which Sheryl has also realized, is that when people step in and shoulder responsibility for whatever happens, other people step up as well to share the responsibility. And the opposite is equally true, which I am sure you all recognize from personal experience: When people blame other people, no one steps in to take responsibility; No one actually suggests possible ways out of a muddle; Everyone is busy casting blame and attempts at all cost to avoid having the finger ultimately pointing at oneself.

Now. The point to this reasoning is not to get into a philosophical argument about the impossibility of actually being responsible for e v e r y t h i n g. I mean, I get that, you get that, everyone get’s that. But still – try it. Try stepping in to shoulder responsibility for e v e r y t h i n g and see what happens. How does it feel inside yourself when you do? What’s the reaction of those around you? Do they blame you, start to shout and scream at you, taking the opportunity to throw some more dirt upon your willing shoulders? Or do they join forces with you, sharing the load, taking part in being responsible? Does it make you feel small as a person, or large? What do your colleagues say – do they respond to you as if you are belittling yourself, or them? Or the opposite – when you step in and show yourself as the big person you are, do they show up as their better selves?

Try it out – see what happens!

Inspired to continue blogging on the theme from the #blogg100-challenge in 2017 I give you:
The book ”Option B – Facing adversity, building resilience, and finding joy” by Sheryl Sandberg.

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#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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