Author Archives Helena Roth

Advent Calendar – December 5, 2019

Advent Calendar – December 5, 2019

December 5, 2019
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One of the female workers at the Kiambere plantation, here in the inner sanctum of the nursery. Underneath the plastic sheets are teeny tiny mukau seedlings, which this nursery can produce 1 200 000 every year. That’s a heck of a lot of trees, and yet, it’s a far cry from what the company aims at. The vision of Better Globe Forestry is to eradicate poverty and corruption in Africa, and this will be accomplished through the mission, which reads: Through “social entrepreneurship” plant as many trees as there are people on the planet and thereby finance a successful implementation of the Vision. To accomplish this the company aim at planting a million trees a day!

This will make a huge difference in many ways, not in the least when it comes to providing job opportunities for people. Kenya has an unemployment -level of somewhere between 10-40% – I have not been able to find any definitive numbers, but it’s definitely a lack of job opportunities. By empowering people (for instance by providing them with a job) they can lift themselves from poverty. The Gapminder Foundation illustrative Dollar Street is a very visual way to see what happens when people do that. What seems to work better than anything else to raise entire families and communities from poverty is to empower women. This is one of the reasons why Better Globe Forestry has a large percentage of women workers.

I’ve just finished reading Melinda Gates’s book The moment of Lift and it’s filled with great examples of just this. In the introductory chapter, she writes: How can we summon a moment of lift for human beings–and especially for women? Because when you lift up women, you lift up humanity. And how can we create a moment of lift in human hearts so that we all want to lift up women? Because sometimes all that’s needed to lift women up if to stop pulling them down.

Advent Calendar for 2019: sharing pictures and stories/reflections from my trip to Kenya in June. I went to visit “my trees” and get a hands-on experience of the social entrepreneurship of the Kenyan forestry company that I buy trees through.

Full disclosure: I am proud to say I am both a customer and an ambassador for the company. If you are curious to find out more, let me know and I’ll gladly get in touch with you! Here’s my sponsored link: 

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Advent Calendar – December 4, 2019

December 4, 2019
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Every month I buy a donation package or rather, I buy a donation package for each of the savings accounts I administer (i.e. my personal one, my company’s accounts, and the accounts of my two children). The donation package consists of two trees for me (more on that later!), two that are donated (to partner farmers or schools for instance) as well as a €1,5 each for water and school projects as well as a first contribution to start micro-credit banks.

What you see in the picture is a 10 000 liter water tank on the grounds of the Kaewa Secondary School (next door to the Utithini Primary School), winner of the Green Initiative Challenge (GIC; a joint collaboration of Better Globe Forestry, KenGen – the largest Kenyan electric power generating company – and Bamburi Cement Ltd.) in 2018. During my trip to Kenya in June of 2019, we visited this school, and it was without a doubt the greenest schoolyard I’ve ever seen!

The school has 465 pupils and around 160-170 of them are boarding at the school as well. So water is a necessity and water tanks such as this one (along with the gutters along the roof, to help collect rain during the monsoon), granted to the school as a part of the GIC, help make it possible for pupils to attend school.

This is part of what my donation package enables. Month after month. That makes me very keen to continue to buy donation packages on a monthly basis. Because I know the difference it makes!

Advent Calendar for 2019: sharing pictures and stories/reflections from my trip to Kenya in June. I went to visit “my trees” and get a hands-on experience of the social entrepreneurship of the Kenyan forestry company that I buy trees through.

Full disclosure: I am proud to say I am both a customer and an ambassador for the company. If you are curious to find out more, let me know and I’ll gladly get in touch with you! Here’s my sponsored link: 

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Advent Calendar – December 3, 2019

December 3, 2019
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Without a doubt, one of the most striking features of rural Kenya is this:
People fetching water.
Women. Children. Men (a few).
With donkeys. Without. On foot, bikes, motorbikes, cars/pick-up’s.
Yellow cans of varying sizes, everywhere to be seen along the roads.

Water. Such precious resource, in scarce supply to large parts of the global population.

*not being able to turn a tap and have an endless supply of pure and safe potable water at your disposal.
*having to spend hours a day fetching water.
*digging deep in dried-off river beds to try to reach the groundwater, slowly trickling forth.
*not being able to send your kids to school as pupils have to bring enough water to last a full day. And if there’s not enough water…

Advent Calendar for 2019: sharing pictures and stories/reflections from my trip to Kenya in June. I went to visit “my trees” and get a hands-on experience of the social entrepreneurship of the Kenyan forestry company that I buy trees through.

Full disclosure: I am proud to say I am both a customer and an ambassador for the company. If you are curious to find out more, let me know and I’ll gladly get in touch with you! Here’s my sponsored link: 

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Advent Calendar – December 2, 2019

December 2, 2019
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A beautiful sunset view of part of the Kiambere plantation, Kenya, taken by a drone. June, 2019.

This is the main reason why I went to Kenya. I started to save money through buying trees in November of 2015, and have continued doing so on a monthly basis ever since. When I found out I could place my savings in trees, I finally found what I’d been looking for, ever since moving away from home in the early 90s: An ethical, sustainable and longterm way to save my money.

Did you know that our shared savings have a greater impact on our climate and the environment than all the car driving in the world? I only found out in 2018, and it shocked me. But then I started to think more about it and realized that it makes a lot of sense. In many ways, the way my savings support various companies (either directly through owning stocks and funds, or though my savings account at the bank, which they, in turn, lend to companies) is quite neutral. Or anonymous perhaps is a better way to describe it? I mean, I am not an active shareholder, and even though I’ve tried to invest in “ethical funds” I am far from certain my money does good.

Until now that is. The money I use to buy trees for me, my company, my children and bonus-grandchildren, do good. Without a doubt. It comes at a risk, of course, but then again the possible return is higher than normal as well. And, on November 28th of 2019 I got my first payback from the trees purchased in 2015, so there’s no doubt in my mind that this is a savings scheme that works the way it promises.

Advent Calendar for 2019: sharing pictures and stories/reflections from my trip to Kenya in June. I went to visit “my trees” and get a hands-on experience of the social entrepreneurship of the Kenyan forestry company that I buy trees through.

Full disclosure: I am proud to say I am both a customer and an ambassador for the company. If you are curious to find out more, let me know and I’ll gladly get in touch with you! Here’s my sponsored link: 

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Advent Calendar – December 1, 2019

December 1, 2019
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I went to Kenya in June of 2019, spending nine days there, on a customer trip, where I and my fellow travelers went to visit trees that we’ve all been “saving in”.  
This is me and my roommate Lena Fridlund. We had a blast throughout the journey and boy, can we laugh together! Here we are on the grounds of the Utithini Primary School after the kids had gotten some gifts, brought to them by three of our fellow companions. Lena had a selfie stick with her, and the joy of these kids at being in the picture with us was indescribable. The trip was an impactful one for me, in so many ways, and I want to share this with you. So I decided to share a picture and a short reflection or story a day, as my advent calendar for 2019. So I want to do what these kids do so well: wave HI and extend an invitation to you, to join me here until Christmas is upon us! 

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Don’t panic (book 10 of 12)

November 11, 2019
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in Tip

At long last, a few weeks late, but hey, better late than never. Here’s book number ten of my English book-reading-challenge of the year: Don’t Panic (or why The World No Longer Looks Like Your World) by Lotta Alsén and Troed Troedson is a book I will be rereading. And referencing. And lend to friends, so they can read it as well. I’ve jotted down notes in the margin on 55 of the 285 pages of the book.

“Effect is the outcome of the result. The interesting thing from a systems perspective is not how the result turns out, but how we measure it. It is critical that we measure the effect and describe it in exactly the same terms as the goal. Otherwise, the system will slowly produce something different than that which was intended. If the goal and the outcome are not described in the same terms, the entire enterprise will gradually warp and run askew. Eventually, you’re producing in order to achieve the effect that’s measured instead of the goal you set up from the beginning. If a school system’s goal is ‘responsible and independent contributors to society’, then it had better not measure its results in terms of, say, knowledge and test scores. If it does, the school will get so bent out of shape that it will become impossible to see the connection between the goals outlined in the school’s mission, and the results that the system produces.” 

Having spent many an hour this past decade talking about, dissecting and questioning the school systems of Sweden (and the world at large), there are many gold nuggets in Don’t panic. This is one reason why I will be lending the book to some friends of mine working within the school system.

“The level of knowledge and education among the average adult is now, for the first time, at parity with (and increasingly higher than) teachers and school administrators. Where are the best places for fifteen-year-olds to meet interesting people who can give them new ideas about what life to lead and careers? Probably not in schools. The progression is predictable, inevitable, and irreversible: the 150-year-old revolution of universal education has now come to its end.

This might seem threatening or pessimistic. On the contrary, this is a sign that we succeeded! The only way a school could keep on working, century after century, with the same rationale would be if it completely failed in its original goal.”

But there are plenty of other nuggets of gold in the book as well, giving me ample reason to dig into it further on now, as I am busy developing #tankespjärn. One of the pointers of the book (see below) is one of my foremost hindrances at the moment. My schedule is jam-packed, and I simply have not scheduled (or honored…) enough “empty time” for myself: “Efficiency is the enemy of flexibility and creativity. When you’re efficient, you’ve left yourself no empty time: the time when you are creative.”

A sign as good as any, and one I am getting from many sources right now:
I am not giving myself enough (empty) time for being creative. Are you?

The book I am blogging about is part of the book-reading challenge I’ve set for myself during 2019, to read and blog about 12 Swedish and 12 English books, one every other week, books that I already own.

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Follow up – October 2019 – As I am.

November 4, 2019
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I intend to go through my intentions for the year at the end of each month. This gives me a monthly reminder of my intentions as well as ample space for reflection and possible adjustment.

October. The big birthday month always jampacked with celebrations and so much more, this year as all years. A little bit odd to celebrate my eldest twentieth withour her (in Australia for yet another month), but everything works!

2019. The year when I will…

* have my bodily wellbeing in focus by:

  • continuing with my daily Seven accompanied by burpees: ✅
  • Headspace Meditate daily: ✅ Have practiced 99 days in a row of deep breathing with Wim Hof, and have recently upgraded to the app Wim Hof Method. Highly recommended. I also continued with the Deepak Chokra-meditations for the first week in October.
  • run a minimum of  75 runs –> run-when-I-feel-like-it-intention: Not even once.
  • take cold (outdoors) baths as often as I can – and add to this by taking cold showers: 9 cold baths (or showers) in October. Very pleased and honestly quite astonished at myself. I went skinny dipping for ten minutes in 12 degree water, and absolutely loved it!
  • dance Lindy hop as often as I can (taking a class during the spring, and then there’s the social dancing as well!): I am dancing, even though I missed one lesson at the end of the month. On the other hand, I compensated that by heading off for the social dancing that same evening, as I got home in time for that. My dance partner taught me what the lesson had contained, so I don’t feel I missed out too much. I look forward to continuation class D next semester!
  • continuing to ride my bike and walk as much as possible: walked just short of 70 and biked barely 260 kilometers. And, I have 24 days with “at least 10 kilometers in my body” at that!

* have my mental and spiritual wellbeing in focus by:

  • reading at least 75 books, of which 12 in Swedish and 12 in English already have been chosen. These 12 + 12 I will be blogging about: Read 62/75 books but haven’t finished the English book of October yet. So I just might do two English books next follow up. But I have blogged about En dag ska jag skriva om den här platsen (book 10 of 12 in Swedish).
  • learn at least five songs by heart including lyrics on the guitar, which will be made possible by my aim at ten minutes of guitar playing on a daily basis: Nope. Won’t reach this goal, but on the other hand I have played the guitarr 14 times in October (despite not having laid a hand on the instrument for the first two weeks…).
  • I will let the wonderful book The book of Awakening by Mark Nepo be my daily companion: ✅
  • hold digital 24-hour sabbats at least twice a month: October turned into a weird month in relation to digital sabbat. I had one for the choir trip to Åre/Östersund on October 3-6, and 25-26 at that, and possibly 11-12th… but I am not 100% certain. So… I know one thing. I have not been as observant on this as I usually am. Perhaps that’s why I have been missing my digital sabbats these last few weeks? In November, I plan on digital sabbats on 8-9, 15-16 and 29-30th.

* have creation in focus by:

  • booking at least four two-day writing retreats during the year: These are the dates: 13-14 September, 28-28 October, 11-12 November, 9-10 December. Thanks to my soul sister Sara I did have a writing retreat on October 28-29th. With darlings to kill and a started ebook I feel very pleased with myself.
  • keeping up with daily Facebook Lives for as long as there’s energy in doing it:
  • blog daily: With 15 Swedish blog posts and 5 English I am basically back on track, at least given the fact that October has been a month filled with activities, both days and evenings.
  • start to pod: Have cut 7 episodes with 15 to go… so I had better block off some calendar time for this work as well. The jampacked calendar had me make other priorities. October looks even worse, so I will block off 4th and 15th of November to get my pod up and running again.
  • release (at least) 4 e-books in 2019: Well, like I said, there is now a started ebook on my computer. A step in the right direction.

* have financial husbandry in focus by:

  • sowing, sowing and sowing a little bit more; on a weekly basis intentionally work on my various income streams: ✅
  • keep tabs on my set invoicing goal on a monthly basis: ✅I reached my set goals in January, March, August and in October! Whoop! Did not in February, April, May, June, July or September.
  • keep an accounts book on private income and expenses: ✅

And finally – on all levels – experiment and play, experience pleasure and exploring and challenging myself, all the while being gentle to myself: Celebrated 12 years as my own employer with lunch at Anita with Pernilla, the choir trip to Åre and Östersund will forever remain in my memory, #HBGTALKS with Pernilla and Elenor Thelander, podd recordings with Caspian and Mr D (as well as with Rebecka Koritz, Anna Brix Thomsen, Jens Peter de Pedro and of course Caspian – more on both these pod’s in due time!), and I gave a great lecture/talk during the Copenhagen customer event for Better Globe on the theme “Better Globe Forestry from an organizational point of view” (a heck of a lot more exciting that it might sound, let me know if you want a private session hearing with my Kenyan travel tales, I have some amazing photo’s and stories to share), and the slightly absurd image of a totally white Riseberga creek. Milk ran away from the dairy across town! A lot of cold baths, 24 wonderful hours in Lessebo and Grimsnäs with a handful of #skolvårare, day two of Likeaboss-training followed by two days of Internal revision for BRC food which also was a heck of a lot more fun that it might sound (Rikard Hellqvist at Bergström & Hellqvist is an excellent trainer!), loads of birthday celebrations (even though my firstborn spent her twentieth birthday across the globe!), an inspiring meeting on a train and daily seven number 1900 in a row. And my very own frog (thanks Maja for showing me how to!).What a magnificent month!


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The only way…

November 1, 2019
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The only way to ever get to a run streak of 1900 daily seven-minute-workouts (caveat: of a varying kind, sometimes heart pumping and sweat dripping, sometimes slow and stretching) is to do it one day at a time.

When I started with my first ever morning Seven on August 18th, 2014, I was on a mission to do the seven-month-challenge. I’d been gradually working more and more movement into my days, but had a focus on walks and bike rides, and I felt an urge to complement that with other types of exercises.

And boy did the habit of a daily seven ever get ingrained in my brain during those months, so when the time came… I just kept going. And going. And going, until, on Wednesday the 30th of October 2019 I hit 1900 days in a row.

And yes. I’ve kept going since, of course. Today, November 1st, I did my morning seven-workout number 1902. And I have no intention of ever stopping. Why should I?

But you know what? If I missed a day, that would be ok too. I’d simply get back on it the next day. That’s what I’ve done with meditations because I actually started a daily meditation practice too, that same day back in August of 2014. I think the farthest I ever got was somewhere between 700-800 days in a row, but way more than once I forgot a day here and a day there. Never once though did I beat myself up over my lapse, but simply got back on track the next day.

Why did I manage a perfect 1900 days in a row run streak for my morning seven but not for my meditation? Because the morning seven has a natural trigger, which I never did manage to design for the meditation. I get dressed. Every day. And before I dress, I do my morning seven. It’s as easy as that. The meditation doesn’t have such a natural trigger. (On the other hand, today I did my 100th Wim Hof deep breathing exercise in a row, something I do count as a meditative practice. And as I want to do the breathing before I do my seven, maybe I’ve gotten the perfect trigger in place at long last?)

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Ebook in the making

October 29, 2019
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Here I am. Day two of my writing retreat with Sara, and I am busy, but not writing, at least not as much as yesterday. You see. I had an(other) epiphany last night: At this very moment, I have 1768 posts on my Swedish blog and 527 on my English. Soon 528, once this goes live. It’s a gold mine! A lot of these just short of 2300 posts are really good, and it’s a shame that I don’t make more of them.

I have had “create an ebook” on my intention for this year, without taking action, and truth be told, I’ve had it on my radar for at least 3-4 years by now. It. Is. Time. To. Act.

I am acting.
I’ve downloaded bookwright from Blurb that I am fairly used to working with that program, and am busy creating my first ebook. To make it as easy as possible for myself, I am ebooking (is that a verb? If not, it is now!) my Doing Gentle-series of which there are 45 blog posts with an added monthly Being Gentle-reflection, which I figure will make a great ebook or two.

(The truly observant person will, at this point, scratch their head, going Hm… Wasn’t she on another mission? To write and schedule at least 7 blog posts, to get her set up to ensure there’s more time to review and rewrite blog posts?

Yes. You are right. I was. I am. It’s just… today there’s energy for ebooking, which there hasn’t been before. Ever. So, when the urge hit me, I decided to go with the flow.

Dumb move? Well. We won’t ever know, will we? And anyway, it’s not a life-or-death-matter, and… come to think of it, perhaps there’s a way to get both these missions of mine accomplished. I want to reuse material and I want to create time to review and trim texts that are as yet unpublished. Perhaps I should set up a reposting-scheme, reusing existing blog posts on a more regular basis, like I did with my #ThrowbackThursday-posts in 2016?)

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There are darlings to be killed

October 28, 2019
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You should write and publish with a delay, so you have time to go back and review/rewrite your posts after a few days, a week, or so, he said, giving me something to ponder.

And yes.
I should.
And more importantly.
I want to.

Because I know the quality of my texts would improve if I did. If I write, leave be for a while, and then revisit my texts, it’s easier to kill darlings when there are darlings to be killed; easier to twist and turn the text to ensure the message is clear as can be: easier to sense into the relevance of the text.

When I give myself (and you, dear reader) this gift, my texts are better, more to the point, hold greater clarity and fewer detours and/or dead ends.

I should.
And more importantly.
I want to.

And…. this has repercussions. Because I don’t have seven days worth of blog posts planned and scheduled. Let alone fourteen days worth. Which is where I ”should be at” if I want to make this shift.

Luckily, at this very moment I am sitting opposite Sara, who lovingly invited herself to come join me for one of my planned writing retreats. Since we’ve done writing retreats together with much success on previous occasions, I happily accepted, and now, sitting here, I know I am beholden to her. Without her presence, I would most likely be running circles around myself, doing anything but w r i t e, just like I did my last attempt.

So I give myself a mission to get seven days worth of blog posts in the pipeline, thereby giving me the opportunity to write, and revisit, before publishing.

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