Writings

Soul Portrait, part two

Soul Portrait, part two

July 18, 2017
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in Tip
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Today when I checked the letter box, there was a notice that I had a package to pick up. Soul Portrait in the postAs I bought (too much) yarn from Yll o Tyll  the other day, and got an email yesterday that they had sent my order, that’s what I expected. So when I saw the shop assistant bringing out a long tube, about 5 x 50 cm, my first thought was That’s a funny way to package yarn. I wonder how they got them all in there? which was followed shortly by an Ah! It’s my Soul Portrait from Vanessa! and a smile upon my face, as Vanessa manages to put beauty even into something as simple as writing my name and address.

Got home. Tore off the sticky tape at the ends. Managed to get the drawings out, and immediately rolled them out on the kitchen table, overfilled with joy: My Soul Portrait(s – Vanessa did two drawings – lucky me!).

My Soul Portrait

I will frame them and put them up on the walls somewhere in the house, that’s for sure.My Soul Portrait, number two

I still remember the feeling I had during and after the visual coaching session with Vanessa, and seeing my Soul Portrait brings it all back to me. If you are curious and want to get one of your own, get in touch with Vanessa at Crafting Connection, regardless of where in the world you live (as long as you speak either English or Spanish), as she works via SKYPE. It is, truly, an experience that I am grateful to have experienced.

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Walking to listen

July 16, 2017
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in Tip
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walking to listenFor me, doing most of my coaching as CoachWalks, walking outdoors with my clients, a podcast entitled Walking to listen is impossible to resist. So I press Play, and am amazed that I have not come across Andrew Forsthoefel before. Because what he speaks about – and writes about in the book with the same name – is absolute beauty.

Here’s a young man who speaks of himself as always having had the “seeds of curiosity” within him. And the way he speaks of himself, and his journey, and how he uses his curiosity to actually see – truly see! – people, has me wowed. The attention he grants people, known or unknown to him, being curious, seeing the individual, listening. Without the specifically voiced intent to gain something, but rather, wanting to give. And in giving attention, exquisite attention he calls it, of course, he is gifted something extraordinary:

Seeing them as worthy of time and attention. Worthy of their place in the world. Seeing them as if they belong, seeing them as if they might have something to offer. And asking people questions in that way, allowed them to sing songs they never even realized they had in them. And so in seeing people this way, it often had the effect of inviting them to see me that way. And when we were seeing – when there was that mutual sort of osmotic flow of respect, even reverence, you know, love is a word that can be used to describe this kind of space.

This is a podcast I’ve listened to two, three times already, with more re-listens sure to come, I am most definitely curious enough to grab a copy of his book. Watering the seeds of curiosity inherent in me, is something I’ve consciously been doing for years now, after having them be totally dormant for decades. And you know what? In the shift, from dormant to fully blossoming curiosity, I experience my life being Lived; Richer. Fuller.

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I stand accused

July 14, 2017
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I realize how difficult it is to be human together, to relate to one another, especially when language and culture creates barriers that make us falter, stumble, thread carefully, for fear of harming, of confusing, of misunderstanding.

It’s not a great feeling, to be accused of wrong-doing. But each is entitled to their view, and as their experiences are shaped by their current state-of-mind, I am the first to see beyond my initial reaction, and spot the world view underlying the accusation.

standing accusedKnowing I don’t set out to harm, to expose, to do wrong. I don’t. I might do it, anyway, because of my own fallibility, exposed to situations new to me, unsure of what’s the best route ahead. Finding my way, slowly, as if I was stepping barefoot into a stream, threading on sharp rocks, carefully making my way forward. Sometimes needing to retrace my steps, because the path ahead turned out to be a dead-end, filled with sharp stones I cannot make my way across. Hurting, cold water, cuts and bruises from the stones, and yet. I keep on walking. There’s nothing else to do. I have come to far to turn back, and yet, I have not come far enough to actually see the light at the end… Not knowing what my next step is, I pause, gather myself, and while exhaling, gently feel my way forward, inch by inch, all the while trying, still, to stick to my core value: wanting to make a positive imprint, to make a difference. 

The older I get the more I realize the importance of grounding myself in what that means. For me. Finding out, by trial and error, what it entails. How I do it. How do I make a difference? How do I make a positive imprint? Learning from my mistakes, fine-tuning actions and intentions, being ever more precise in my language, minimizing the risk for mishaps and misunderstandings. But never seizing to act. Never to stop doing, for fear of doing wrong, of standing accused. I’d rather do, and be accused, than not do, and risk ending up at the end of life, regretting what I did not do, when I could have; regretting not speaking my truth, when I had the opportunity.

So here I stand, accused, knowing I would do it again if I had the chance.
I might do it slightly different, but not for the fear of being accused of wrong-doing, but for what I have learned in the process.

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Governed by irony?

July 13, 2017
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BoldomaticPost_Do-not-let-yourself-be-govern“Do not let yourself be governed by [irony], especially not in unproductive moments.”

I’ve just written a piece, that might just be overfilled with irony. Perhaps that’s why I haven’t published it, but rather sent it to a select few, asking their opinion, whether or not I should.

The fact that I am not immediately pressing publish in WordPress, is answer enough though, and sure thing, I don’t have to wait long for my friends to revert with wise input, giving me food for thought.

“Seek for the depth of things: there irony never descends.”

I will heed Rainer Maria Rilke, and take my text at least one step deeper, possibly two. Sleeping on it will surely help. And then we’ll just have to wait and see whether it will see the light of day. Or not?

Inspired to continue blogging on the theme from the #blogg100-challenge in 2017 I give you:
The book “Letters to a Young Poet” by Rainer Maria Rilke.

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Going with the flow

July 12, 2017
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I haven’t officially declared myself as having started my summer vacation, but more or less, I have stopped working for the summer. Being self-employed with the type of assignments that I take on, I am fairly free to schedule my work the way it suits me best, so since the kids left school for the summer mid-June, I have been taking it fairly easy. Work wise, that is.

But yesterday was one of those days where everything just flowed, from one task to another, and as I seem to have loads of energy at the moment, I am just going with the flow.

Allotment aisle cleared of weedsIt started off (after blogging and doing my daily Seven of course) with a date at the allotment, where we cleared away the final patch of weeds, to return the plot to the city, as we are no longer interested in keeping it on. Last week we weeded the entire plot, and just had the aisle outside to clear up as well. Done deed. Felt good!

Got home, and immediately brought out the vacuum cleaner as there had been an accident in the kitchen involving a glass bowl breaking apart. Started to vacuum, and figured I might as well do the entire house. So I did. And while I was in cleaning mode, I took the time to clean the toilet, bathroom and laundry room as well.

Then I had some lunch out in the garden, reading the paper, before I decided to go to the library to return and borrow some books. So I took a long barefoot walk, enjoying the lovely summer weather. As I got close to home, the neighbor texted, saying she’d started to cut our shared hedge out front, and hoped I would be ok with it, as she’d been quite drastic in reducing the height of it. I got home, and high fived her, as we’d been about to suggest to trim it quite a lot, giving it a complete make-over, and the height was just what I would have suggested. As she was hard at work, it seemed fitting I joined her. So I did. Hours upon hours of hedge-trimming, interspersed with a Swedish fika at the neighbors to regain some strength for completing the job.

The hedge make-over

Managed to convice my daughter to make dinner for us, and as she was busy in the kitchen, I finished trimming the hedge from my side, just getting done when dinner was served. All in all, I would say the hedge has been reduced by half both in height and width! Give it a few weeks, and it will be all green again. grass cuttings

Earlier in the day, another neighbor a couple of blocks away, texted asking if I wanted some grass cuttings (the best fertilizer for the garden!), so after dinner, I rode my bike over there, took the wheelbarrow filled with grass cuttings for a walk, dumped it in my yard (that’s on todays agenda, to distribute it evenly in my garden where appropriate) and walked back, before taking my bike home again.

Absolutely beat, I just had one more thing on my daily-to-do-list: my twenty minutes of guitar playing. Got that over and done with (it’s coming along nicely I can tell you!) and then plonked down in the sofa, for a while, before dragging my tired body up to bed.

Unfortunately, I haven’t had too much sleep, as I’ve been severely bitten by whatever tiny winged creature resides in the hedge, all over my body, so I’ve been tossing and turning, itching like crazy, all night. So perhaps, today will be a day of gentler and less strenous flow?

Unless the neighbor decides to rent a trailer to haul all the hedge branches to the recycling station, because then I will join her in that endeavor as well, getting rid of the huge pile currently residing on my drive way. On the neighbor front lawn it looks as if there’s two hedges, so there’s plenty to haul away, that’s for sure. But compared to what got done yesterday, getting rid of it all will surely feel like a breeze.

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Mindblowing podcast on intelligence

July 9, 2017
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in Tip
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Oh. Perhaps you are getting fed up with the podcast tips I’m providing every Sunday. It’s almost solely Good Life Project or On Being that I’ve featured lately. But heck, those two shows are simply so good. Honestly, if you have yet to actually click on one of the links I’m inserting into these podcast tip blog posts, you really should give it a go.

And, yeah, of course, you’ve probably guessed by now that I’m gonna write about one of these shows today as well. And you’re right. I will. You see, I’ve been listening over and over to an extremely fascinating conversation between Krista Tippett and educator Mike Rose on the intelligence present in all kinds of work.

Mindblowing. Mike describes the intelligence of a waitress, and made me realize what a fenomenal memory many waitresses have. The intelligence of a plumber, who perhaps works in limited surroundings, making it impossible to actually see with his or her eyes what the issue is, but through the help of probing fingers and an ability to paint an internal picture, can solve it. There’s beauty and, indeed, intelligence in all the millions of different work activities that goes on, through out the day and night, all over the world.

MindblowingI’m even fascinated by my fascination over this! And I’ve got a treat saved up for myself as well. There’s an unedited version of their conversation that I’ve yet to listen to. Oh goodie!

Anyway, check it out, and please pay extra attention the last 10-15 minutes of the episode, as Mike and Krista then touch upon a topic very close to my heart, that of the purpose of education, of learning, of schooling. I usually twitterify the question as #WhySchool, and, guess how happy I got when I heard Mike speak about why he thinks it’s so important to be very clear about the purpose of schooling and education. Oh, and if you want to, please let me know what pops up for you as you listen to this episode. I’d love to hear your thoughts on the topics raised in this show. Ok?

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 – and this is one of them, originally posted here – , mixing them up with new podcast recommendations. Rereading this post as I am about to publish it, I remember the sensation of having my mind blown, more than I actually remember the conversation itself (except the waitress part, that I remember vividly), so I will take my own tip and re-listen!

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An absolute paradise.

July 7, 2017
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”In the symbiotic community of the forest, not only trees but also shrubs and grasses – and possibly all plant species – exchange information this way. However, when we step into farm fields, the vegetation becomes very quiet. Thanks to selective breeding, our cultivated plats have, for the most part, lost their ability to communicate above or below ground – you could say they are deaf and dumb – and therefore they are prey for insect pests. That is one reason why modern agriculture uses so many pesticides.”

Friendly gardenIt is sad to think about this, how we are robbing cultivated plants of their ability to communicate. But what makes me even sadder is that somehow, we humans have truly screwed up. I mean, my garden is an absolute paradise for insects of all sorts. It is filled with flowers blooming from early spring until late fall, it’s rife with decomposing leaves and plants, with plenty of possible holes serving as nests for both bumblebees and wild bees, no pesticides of any sort enter into it, and in all manners possible it is an extremely pollinator-friendly garden.

There’s only one thing missing: The pollinators.

Sure, there’s the occasional bee (but truly, occasional, not at all to the extent we had when we first moved here thirteen years ago) and bumble bee, sometime a butterfly wisps past me, and there’s a few more flower flies and such, but to a large part: it’s not buzzing and whizzing the way 1) I want it to be and 2) it used to when we first moved here.

And as the garden itself has only gotten more and more pollinator-friendly, I come to the conclusion that the surroundings aren’t?

When will we (human beings) realize it’s not a good idea to fight against nature, but rather something which we must work with, for the good of all that reside on this planet? Will we wake up in time, you think?

Inspired to continue blogging on the theme from the #blogg100-challenge in 2017 I give you:

The book “The hidden life of trees” by Peter Wohlleben.

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Teach a different lesson.

July 3, 2017
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BoldomaticPost_Start-today-to-teach-a-differ”Notice today how your children label things.
‘This stinks.’
‘That’s stupid.’
Don’t correct them.
Just notice and consider how they learned.
Start today to teach a different lesson.”

I don’t know how many times I’ve heard someone say we are not all teachers.

We are.
All of us.

Not necessarily educated school teachers, but we are certainly all teachers of Life.

Inspired to continue blogging on the theme from the #blogg100-challenge in 2017 I give you:
The book “The parents Tao Te Ching” by William Martin.

 

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The Gift of Play

July 2, 2017
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in Tip
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Playing with SixtenInspired by my friend Michael Sillion I’ve started to gift people a podcast, or a blog post, or something else that I perceive to be virtual and meaningful, on their birthday. And I find that the podcast I most often feel like gifting to people, is the On Being episode with Stuart Brown “Play, Spirit and Character”.

It’s an episode which I’ve listened to many times by now, and which I will listen to many times to come as well. Stuarts voice reminds me of Martin Sheen, whose episode on On Being also is a keeper. So when I listen to Stuart, I get the added bonus of being reminded of the wisdom shared by Martin in “Spirituality of Imagination” which I have recommended in a previous blog post.

The conversation centers on the importance of play for a person to grow up, develop and blossom into a full human being. The implications of not being allowed to play during childhood, are severe, and yet, what I find so fascinating in this conversation is my joy at discovering that we are built to play throughout our lives, even “as adults”.

“… the human being really is designed biologically to play throughout the life cycle. And that, and from my standpoint as a clinician, when one really doesn’t play at all or very little in adulthood, there are consequences: rigidities, depression, lack of adaptability, no irony — you know, things that are pretty important, that enable us to cope in a world of many demands.”

Playing with PopTo engage in a little “guilt-free purposelessness” each and every day, is one of the main messages I take from this talk. Stuart also describes his experience of play as having “some sense of timelessness and freedom and purposelessness” or the more poetic description as being “outside of time”. That phrase has such a lovely ring to it, and I know just the feeling! Hoping you do too? And don’t get thrown by the word p l a y as such. There’s a lot of things that can be included in the term p l a y, so if you are engaged in an activity of any kind and experiencing being outside of time – you don’t have to look any further than that.

So play on – because life truly is meant to be a playground!

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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Being gentle to me – Reflection June ’17

June 28, 2017
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So much of what I’ve been writing about in these monthly reflections run like a thread through my experience of life, my self-gentleness takes on similar expressions from month to month, but what I did do in the month of June that was truly gentle to me, was to host a very special birthday party for myself. I sent out the invitations a while ago, hosting an open house from afternoon until the last guest would leave, with a request for each guest: to bring something edible that would do well at a buffet table, be it a snack, a starter, main course-type food or a dessert of some kind. In return I promised to take care of the drinks.

At three o’clock when I’d said people could start to come, two things struck me:
1) I was filled with energy, which felt different to most parties I’ve hosted. By the time the party is about to start, I’m normally exhausted from cooking and cleaning and preparing and getting everything in place. This time – not at all. I’d fixed tea and coffee, and put out assorted drinks, glasses, mugs, plates and cutlery, but that was about the extent of it. Great feeling, I tell you!
2) There was no one there! That gave me food for thought, because, of course, I had told everyone that they could come whenever it would suit them best, so perhaps I would be waiting for hours? I didn’t have to wait for long though until the first guests started to drop in, which was somewhat of a relief.

The family tradition holds that the celebrant gets to drink from the silver crystal glass. Photo: Annika Jeppsson

The family tradition holds that the celebrant gets to drink from the silver crystal glass. Photo: Annika Jeppsson

Having left it completely up to my guests to bring whatever they felt like, when one guest asked for coffee and cake, all I could say was “Sorry, there’s no cake yet!” because no one had brought any. We did get some cake eventually, so all turned out well.

It was a great adventure to see what everyone would bring. We got freshly baked bread and olives, melons and quiche, cheese pie and potatoe gratin, chicken sticks and lots of assorted cheeses, a taco fry with tortilla chips, pizza and apple pie, chia brownies and hazlenut/peach cake, and lots more.

I had a blast, had great fun botanizing amongst all the yummy stuff brought by everyone, and am absolutely enamored with the idea to ask the guests to bring something to eat – for sure, this is the way I will do hencefort when I want to invite a larger gathering over for one or another reason.

Not least because this was truly an act of gentleness towards my self. I do recognize though, that for someone not as used to letting go of all sense of control, it might be somewhat stressful. But I have let go of that. What would come, would be what we would be eating. Period. And I mean, it’s not as if my fridge, freezer and larder are empty, and there’s always take-out, so, I mean, there’s really nothing to worry about, nothing at all!

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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