Author Archives Helena Roth

I am a beginner.

I am a beginner.

October 8, 2019
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in Tip
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At long last, I switch from Mail to Spark on my MacBook, cheered on by Caspian. And all of a sudden, it’s as if I am a beginner again. Spark works differently than Mail, which in turned worked – and looked – like any other email-software I’ve used at least in the last ten years or so. Not a lot of changes, regardless if I’ve upgraded or changed the software I use to check my email.

But this…
Spark.
Something else.
New functionality.
Completely different mindset compares to ”the old geezers” of email-software.
(And yes, Gmail has played around a bit with new functionality as well.)

So. I am a beginner. Having to start anew. Learn the new functions, how to navigate, archive and delete, how to sync my folders from Mail to here… or rather, the folders from my Exchange server that are visible in Mail but were nowhere to be found in Spark. Until I started to actually do the work of getting to know this new software.

Changes!
Can be challenging. Especially if I am under the illusion of not having enough time, being stressed or at least so busy that every single new thing just feels like a burden.

And yet… oh how I love it. I love changes!
Love feeling like a rookie; it’s almost as if I can feel my neural pathways getting all confused, running around haphazardly up there (in my brain), until… slowly but steadily, the new neural pathways generated by my rookie-ness start to become solidified. By then, the old ones are starting to degenerate, and soon enough I will be a rookie at Spark no more.

Luckily, by then, I will have found something new to be a rookie at!

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Defense mechanisms

October 7, 2019
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Defense mechanisms.
How powerful they are.
They run automatically in situations where something (what? The soul? My psyche? That which is beyond human, the greater force behind all in the universe, Mind?) triggers me. Runs to protect me. It’s like a script triggered by a series of logical if-this-then-that-sequences gets flipped into action, and bam, I am no longer consciously running the show that is my life, but rather a passive bystander, possibly bearing witness. More likely a puppet, arms, and legs flailing, a defense mechanism in full swing.

How grateful I am that they exist, as they do what they are named for. They do defend me. Once in awhile though, they are triggered by a faulty sequence, having me defending myself, when there is nothing – or no-one – to defend myself against. I can also learn to go into a specific defense mechanism because it’s come to be a habit. Serving a purpose once upon a time, but no more. Where the trigger switch is a remnant of days long gone, making me react on a faulty premise.

I like observing. Myself. Others. Individual as well as group dynamics. Sometimes it’s hard not to ache for those whos defense mechanisms no longer defends them. Quite the opposite. The defense mechanism of old has turned into a self-inflicting wound of today, triggered, again and again.

Without the power of observation and the habit of reflection (and doing gentle, by God, doing gentle towards oneself while reflecting!) it must feel like being repeatedly stabbed by a knife. Over. And over.

This has been me. I realize. As I write.

Perhaps there’s some trace of this behavior left in me… but it’s not prevalent. It’s not something which, when I look within, I can put a finger on and say Oh yeah, that thing, yes, that happens quite often. I don’t have any of those left, at least not in the way I live my life today. Perhaps there would be if my circumstances shifted. But they haven’t. So there aren’t any big ones left, so to speak. Not in me. But I do see it in others.

And it pains me. I try to stick to empathizing, as I do not want to sympathize. I do not want to pity or belittle. I try to take care of the pains I experience myself. Not always easy when I am pained on behalf of someone else. Well worth the effort though. What helps me stay centered is the adage from Byron Katie of My business, your business, God’s business. Some things are simply not mine to deal with. 

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Follow up – September 2019 – As I am.

October 3, 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.

September. Everything is running at full speed ahead. I don’t think I’ve ever had such a jampacked calendar as now. It’s a bit over the top, honestly. It means I don’t have the possibility to be as flexible as I normally am, and that means I cannot say yes to things I’d like to do. Hence, this is to change, and at the final week of October the jampackedness of my calendar starts to ease up, so then…

2019. The year when I will…

* have my bodily wellbeing in focus by:

  • continuing with my daily Seven accompanied by burpees: ✅
  • Headspace Meditate daily: ✅ For 71 days I have done at least three sets of Wim Hof-breathing (Found a new favorite video that I do the first 15 minutes of) as a start of the day, which is a wonderfully meditative moment, which also helps me to be in my body. Besides that, for two weeks I’ve been having a  daily Deepak Chokra-meditation moment as well. Absolutely lovely!
  • 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: YEEEEES! The water temperature is finally getting low enough so I can actually claim I am doing cold baths. Five times in September I’ve either gone bathing in the ocean (cold baths more or less, as the temperatures might not have been below my own made up limit of 14 degrees, but it definitely hasn’t been ”summer weather”) or taking cold showers. I just love it!
  • dance Lindy hop as often as I can (taking a class during the spring, and then there’s the social dancing as well!): The intermediate level C course has started with two lessons under my belt so far. It’. Is. So. Much. Fun. To. Dance. Lindy hop!
  • continuing to ride my bike and walk as much as possible: walked slightly more than 70 and biked a bit more than 240 km. I have taken action on the statement of last months summary, to get “at least 10 km in my body” on a daily basis, by adding ”Minimum 10 k today” Way of life-app where I keep track of various things (mostly because I let go of Headspace as my meditation runstreak keeper. And yes. I am nuts. My vice is runstreaks, this is a fact.)

* 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: Have read 59/75 books and am all of a sudden three books ahead of schedule. I have Nextory audiobooks to thank for this, as this has made me listen to audiobooks instead of podcasts. However, I am a physical-book-reader at hears, and that’s a fact as well. I have blogged about Lame Deer, Seeker of Visions (book 9 of 12 in English) and Vad jag älskade (book 9 of 12 in Swedish, but I actually read and blogged about it in June already. However, I screwed up then and forgot, so I blogged about another book as well, which I ”keep as book number 6”).
  • 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: Having decided on learning Shallow, Utan mina andetag, Still haven’t found what I am looking for, Try and Annie’s song by heart during the summary of August has helped… but just a teeny weeny bit. I have only played the guitar 7 days in September, so, I repeat myself: There’s room for improvement here. This also linked perfectly to the jampacked calendar. I. Do. Not. Want. To. Have. It. Like. This. So. I had better change it then!
  • I will let the wonderful book The book of Awakening by Mark Nepo be my daily companion: Back on track, I am now reading my daily Nepo, more or less. At long last!
  • hold digital 24-hour sabbats at least twice a month: In September I held digital sabbat three times, on 7-8th, 21-22nd and 27-28th. In October I mark off 3-6 (! Going on a choir journey – why not stay off social media and screens in general during the trip?), 10-11 and 25-26 for my upcoming digital sabbats.

* 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. Now… that didn’t really work out. Or… at least, there wasn’t much writing being done. But I did keep it top of mind, which is better than before. SWith a bit of luck and focus, next time will be better!
  • keeping up with daily Facebook Lives for as long as there’s energy in doing it:
  • blog daily: Well… not really. 8 Swedish blog posts and 3 English ones. Far from ”daily”, Since September 27th I am back on track though!
  • 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. 19, 26, 27 September. That didn’t do the trick either. The jampacked calendar had me make other priorities. October looks even worst, so I block off 4th and 15th of November to get my pod up and running again.
  • release (at least) 4 e-books in 2019: thoughts are swirling, nothing concretized as of yet. The chances of this happening might just have gotten better as well, given the fact that I have marked writing retreats in my calendar?

* 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 and March and in August! Whoop! Did not in February, April, May, June, July or September (but wasn’t that far off this month).
  • 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: Started the month in the same way that I finished last month, by volunteering at Backyard Sessions, have ridden the grand old-tinker lady Tinka with Pernilla at Lyckegården, been dog-sitting both Sigge (picture proof below) and Maya, ridden my bike to Malmö C at a speed far above anything I thought I’d ever reach on my oldfashioned and very straightforward three-geared ladies bike, been cultural with Heléne once again, this time EsterBlenda at Skarhult Slott – lovely! A forest- and mushroom picking experience, some wonderful cold baths and a GMP training which gave me quite a surprise. All of a sudden my doodle from the GMP-training of 2016 appeared in the presentation,  as Karen Ginsbury had found it when she was googling earlier in 2019. (If you are in the Life Science/Pharma industry and looking for yearly GMP-updates/trainings: Find a course wit Karen Ginsbury. She is outstanding!)

 

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Willing myself to write

September 30, 2019
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It’s past ten pm, I have yet to blog and finish a meditation challenge-activity as well as send off a challenging activity of my own to my digital #tankespjärn client, before I hop into bed. Pop the cat is draped elegantly across the sofa, right next to me, my guess is he’ll run after me once I get off the couch, to beat me to bed.

I am not really in blogging-mode, and yet, here I am, willing myself to write. You see, these past months I’ve not made time for blogging in my extremely jam-packed calendar, and it affects me. I ground myself when I write; I become aware of what I am, where I am, who I am when I sit down to let my fingers tip-toe across the keyboard. So the fact that I’ve been a busy bee coupled with the fact that I haven’t blogged is starting to take its toll. Blogging is a part of my wellbeing practice.

Had a friend suggest I ”just write, you don’t need to publish it”. But that’s just it. I don’t ”just write”. Or at least, way too seldom. Publishing my writings is what makes me write, especially as I have the intention to blog daily. That means I write daily, and that is of huge benefit to me.

So here I sit. Ten past ten at night, after a long day of three different networking meetings, four almost-half-hour bike rides, and both choir and guitar practice. Writing. Getting into the habit of blogging daily again. A habit that serves me.

Possibly I should take a helicopter view of my blogging routine, and set up a new set of intentions. Perhaps daily isn’t optimal? Perhaps it should be every other day, perhaps only on weekdays, perhaps… well. Who knows. For now, though, getting back on the horse again seems like the wisest thing I can do.

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Lame Deer, Seeker of Visions (book 9 of 12)

September 29, 2019
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in Tip
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“The way to power is by giving, not by taking.”

I got it from Sara. She read it, marking the pages where she found little gems of wisdom and insight, and then mailed it to me.  And I, in turn, made it one of my twelve English books of the year: Lame Deer, Seeker of Visions by John (Fire) Lame Deer and Richard Erdoes. The book was first published the year I was born, 1972, and the copy I was gifted is an enriched classic published 1994.

“A fascinating story” is a blurb by Library Journal included in the preface. And yes. It is. Spanning high and low, delving into Lame Deers personal life as well as ancient stories such as that of White Buffalo Woman, dipping a toe into the use of herbs as medicine and components of rituals, and much more.

There are several passages I found of great interest, here are two providing me with great amounts of tankespjärn:
“A medicine man shouldn’t be a saint. He should experience and feel all the ups and downs, the despair and joy, the magic and the reality, the courage and the fear, of his people. He should be able to sink as low as a bug, or soar as high as an eagle. Unless he can experience both, he is no good as a medicine man. Sickness, jail, poverty, getting drunk – I had to experience all that myself. Sinning makes the world go round. You can’t be so stuck up, so inhuman that you want to be pure, your soul wrapped up in a plastic bag, all the time. You have to be God and the devil, both of them. Being a good medicine man means being right in the midst of the turmoil, not shielding yourself from it. It means experiencing life in all its phases. It means not being afraid of cutting up and playing the fool now and then. That’s sacred too.
Nature, the Great Spirit – they are not perfect. The world couldn’t stand that perfection. The spirit has a good side and a bad side. Sometimes the bad side gives me more knowledge than the good side.”

“This kind of medicine man is neither good nor bad. He lives – and that’s it, that’s enough. White people pay a preacher to be ‘good’, to behave himself in public, to wear a collar, to keep away from a certain kind of woman. But nobody pays an Indian medicine man to be good, to behave himself and be respectable. The wicasa wakan just acts like himself. He has been given the freedom – the freedom of a tree or a bird. That freedom can be beautiful or ugly; it doesn’t matter much.”

How different this is to the way the culture of the world I perceive myself a part look at it. We strive for goodness, for the perfect gurus, damning each and everyone forever if there were ever a speck of dust marring their perfect image. We do it for politicians and business leaders, for holy men and women and artists, for anyone we want to put on a pedestal.

Being put on a pedestal, never be allowed to slip up, make a mistake, falter. Neither here and now, in the future nor for that matter, in times gone by.  Could there ever be a position I’d want less than that one?


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 – August 2019 – As I am.

September 14, 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.

August. For the first year in a long time I have worked quite a bit more than usual, and August has been a month filled with work.

2019. The year when I will…

* have my bodily wellbeing in focus by:

  • continuing with my daily Seven accompanied by burpees: ✅
  • Headspace Meditate daily: ✅I will change this from Headspace daily to meditate daily. After five years I have decided not to renew my headspace subscription. Daily meditations is something I intend to continue with though, rest assured! I have loved Headspace and I highly appreciate Andi Puddicombe… and yet. It’s time for something new.
  • 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: I long for some colder water! And will continue to head down to the ocean as often as I can so that I will simply glide into cold baths in parallell with the water temperature dropping.
  • dance Lindy hop as often as I can (taking a class during the spring, and then there’s the social dancing as well!): Oh yes indeed, at long last! A few dance sessions in August, and I have my dance partner Dennis to thank for getting me going! And soon the class will commence again. I can’t wait!
  • continuing to ride my bike and walk as much as possible: walked just short of 120 and bikedjust shy of 350 kilometers. Lots of kilometers in my body during August! I love it and my body does too – this past year I have had a kind of urge to get “at least 10 km in my body” on a daily basis.

* 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 49/75 books. Blogged about The Underground Railroad (book 8 of 12 in English) and Factfulness (the corresponding Swedish one).
  • 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: Guitar lessons are on again, and the realization that I have to decide which five songs to learn by heart is becoming clearer by the day. So… to make life easier for myself, I decide right here and now: Shallow, Utan mina andetag, Still haven’t found what I am looking for, Try and Annie’s song. Have jotted them down in my BuJo and have written the song titles in the weekly ToDo-columns.
  • I will let the wonderful book The book of Awakening by Mark Nepo be my daily companion: Nope, still not fully into the routine of reading the daily text. I will put the book on my nightstand table to see if that might do the trick.
  • hold digital 24-hour sabbats at least twice a month: In August I held two digital sabbats, on August 2-3 and 9-10. In September I plan for the same on 7-8, 20-21 and 27-28.

* have creation in focus by:

  • booking at least four two-day writing retreats during the year: Last month I blocked my calendar, and have to move the first one forward one day to the 13-14th of September. With a little bit of luck I will be accompanied by my soul sister in October! These are the dates: 13-14 September, 28-28 October, 11-12 November, 9-10 December.
  • keeping up with daily Facebook Lives for as long as there’s energy in doing it:
  • blog daily: More or less back on track.
  • 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. 19, 26, 27 September. Check!
  • release (at least) 4 e-books in 2019: thoughts are swirling, nothing concretized as of yet. The chances of this happening might just have gotten better as well, given the fact that I have marked writing retreats in my calendar?

* 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 and March and in August! Whoop! Did not in February, April, May, June and July (the two latter not so surprising).
  • keep an accounts book on private income and expenses: Getting back on track in conjunction with doing this blog post [in Swedish], as I get a kick in the butt when I read this intention. Mentally however, this is top of mind, I am much more aware and conscious concerning both income (privately it’s mostly a matter of rent from AirBnB, which has paid off the journeys of this summer) and expenses.

And finally – on all levels – experiment and play, experience pleasure and exploring and challenging myself, all the while being gentle to myself: Reflecting and writing, have intense and intimate conversations, have spent an absurd amount of time with Caspian and the premier of his Sunday Service was a lovely event (Thanks Brother from another mother and the family box for the music!), a visit to Arken with Heléne, a walk from Vejbystrand to Torekov with my dear brother, Sigge the Dog visiting, lindy-hopping at Moriskan and down by the beach, a visit to Stockholm with a multitude of great meetings and a gloriously challenging weekend with the Better Globe-gang, being a volunteer at Backyard Sessions and a spontaneous disco at Saras place.A lovely month all in all!

 

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Friction

August 20, 2019
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Synchronicity. Around… Friction.

On Akimbo.
In a conversation with D and C, a conversation you just might be privy to listening in on one of these days.
With my campfire sisters, as well as in my reflection with D on that conversation we had.

And now.
As my final words of the third Mastermind-session (of 13 total) that we just wrapped up, me and my four participants.

Friction.
It makes the world move.
Without friction. No cars. No bikes. No nothing really.

We would possibly be sliding around haphazardly… might be fun. But it’s not what we have. Because we do have friction.

We even have two kinds.
There’s friction. And then there’s Friction with a capital F. Life-giving. The Friction that makes me grow, rather than just wear me down.

There’s form. And the formless.
For some, oh it’s a stretch to conform to form. Rules. Boundaries. That’s where the friction is at. Play with it. Work it. Use it. See what happens within the form.

For some, so the opposite. The formless, the vast expanse of endless possibilities. Nothing to hang onto, no given starting point. That’s where the friction is at. So play with that. Work it. Use it. See what happens within the formless.

Dance between them.
The Friction and the Frictionless. Between that which is such a stretch and that which is easypeasy.

As you dance – the event horizon for you and your relationship with the form and the formless will shift. Transform. Expand, ever onwards. Might it even constrict?

Yeah. I think it just might. And then… another transformation. Something born, which was always and already there, within you, you just had never opened that specific door within before.

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The Underground Railroad (book 8 of 12)

August 18, 2019
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in Tip
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I remember seeing a blurb of The Underground Railroad by Colson Whitehead, most likely in 2017 when the book and its author was awarded the Pulitzer Prize for Fiction. It hooked me and I put the book in my Want-to-read-list on Goodreads. So I bought it. That’s not so common after all, I am an avid lover of library books, I am proud to say!

But I am glad I did buy it. If nothing else because I now have a great book to gift to someone, because it is truly a worthwhile read.

“She was a stray after all. A stray not only in its plantation meaning – orphaned, with no one to look after her – but in every other sphere as well. Somewhere, years ago, she had stepped off the path of life and could no longer find her way back to the family of people.”

It’s imaginative, the way Colson spins the underground railroad, transforming a historical phenomenon into something which makes my head spin. And he does it so skilfully I catch myself multiple times thinking this is really how it was done…

“Freedom was a thing that shifted as you looked at it, the way a forest is dense with trees up close but from outside, from the empty meadow, you see its true limits. Being free had nothing to do with chains or how much space you had. On the plantation, she was not free, but she moved unrestricted on its acres, tasting the air and tracing the summer stars. The place was big in its smallness. Here, she was free of her master but slunk around a warren so tiny she couldn’t stand.”

It’s a book of ups and downs.
Of friendships and fierceness, of horrors and hardships, of love, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.

“To see chains on another person and be glad they are not your own – such was the good fortune permitted colored people, defined by how much worse it could be at any moment. If your eyes met, both parties looked away.”

Whenever I read or hear about the horrors that humans can inflict on other humans… I breakdown. Cry. I have a hard time to accept the things we do to each other, that are anything but kind. And this book… filled with “things we do to each other that are anything but kind”. And, luckily enough, not just that, though. The book leaves me with a sense of hope, strangely enough. Perhaps because things have changed. For the better. Far from good enough in many aspects, but better than it was in the times depicted so skilfully by Whitehead.


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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Procrastinating. Again.

August 16, 2019
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Am procrastinating. Again. And it bugs me.

So not only am I not doing that which I want to want to do (apparently I don’t, or else I would be doing it, right?), but I am also bugged at this fact, wasting an extra amount of energy on being irritated at that which I am not doing.

Geez.
What the f*ck is wrong with me?

Just do it.
Stop thinking about this or that.
Stop doing other sh*t, instead of that which I know in the long run definitely holds the most intrinsic value for me (and others!).

Just stop.

Or rather.
Just start.
Just do.

Now.
Not later.
Now.

(Ok. I read you. Signing off, to take action. On that which I want to do. Because I do! It’s just an excuse, just a ruse, me trying to play it small, avoiding going out on a limb simply because I do not know what it will become. I cannot know. No-one can. And that, in and of itself, is all the more reason to do it. Now. Bye!)

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On the fly

August 13, 2019
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in Tip
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Just finished my second Mastermind call, with the group I have initiated. Second one-hour call of a total of thirteen, running from August till the end of October, on a weekly basis. Four participants, and me as moderator.

The fun part is, I sent invitations for this Mastermind, on the fly. Dave the coach gave me a challenge to ”take action” during a coaching call early June, and this was what came to me: I want to start a Mastermind group for coaches and/or people interested in coaching.

When I sent out the email invites, then and there, I had nothing planned, except ”a three-month Mastermind”. I didn’t have a set starting date, no plan for content or anything really. Except, of course, six and a half years of being an active participant in my own Mastermind-group, which, as my wise friend Caspian pointed out, certainly means I am extremely grounded in the Mastermind concept as such. Had it been something which I have no experience or expertise in, I would not have made this type of invitation, that’s for sure.

So.
Just do it, on the fly.
Throw something out into the world.
Chances are (quite good actually) that if it’s something you have found value in – someone else will too.

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