Doing gentle

Advent Calendar 2 – Help en route to become gentle with myself

Advent Calendar 2 – Help en route to become gentle with myself

December 2, 2018
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Pondering what has helped me learn how to be gentle with myself, I realize me, myself and I have been my foremost help and aide on this journey. I have let myself open up for insight, for new thoughts. For asking questions, and listening for the reply. I excel at intake, reading, listening, talking, taking in new stuff, getting hints and ideas worth trying, to see what I might gain from them.

Leonard Cohen famously wrote that there’s a crack in everything, and that’s where the light comes in. Then I recently read somewhere, that the crack is also where the light shines through from within. And that’s what I’ve let myself do (and become), a person where light can both enter, but also exit. I take in light – and I transmit light.

My loved ones have also been an integral part in me learning to be gentle towards myself. My ex-husband played a big part, and my children. They are the reason why I started therapy some 12-13 years ago or so. I didn’t want to be such an angry mom for them, and took help, because I was at a loss on how to transform myself.

I’ve attended a myriad of different courses, specifically coaching courses and summits of various kinds, but neither of these courses I’ve picked with the specific purpose of becoming gentle to me. And yet… they have all helped me reach the place where I can say, with complete honesty, that I am. Not 100% of the time and in all situations. Of course not. But that’s not a goal I strive for, becoming “perfect” in this sense.

My Mastermind-group and my #skolvåren back office-gang. Funnily enough these two major parts of my personal development (in many ways) both have their moment of birth in the first months of 2013.  The amount of stuff we’ve worked through together, sharing beliefs, knowledge, questions, fear, longings and bas the basis has been a general sense of curiosity, we’ve helped each other grow and expand. Enriching ourselves through continuous discussions  where the underlying love and respect we all have for each other sets the tone.

And then… all the conversations I’ve had. These have been a huge factor as well. Conversations with myself, as well as others. I have a few very intimate friends whom I’ve shared so much with – and thanks to their knowledge and wisdom, I’ve gained a deeper understanding of myself. And that in turn has also helped me become gentle towards myself.

And the benefits are massive. For myself, of course. Being harsh or gentle in my inner dialogue definitely makes a huge difference. For me. But it also impacts those I meet. If I am harsh with myself – it’s much more likely I will be harsh with you as well. Even thought that isn’t what I aim for. And logically, the opposite is true as well. The more gentle I am with me, the easier it is for me to be gentle with those in my vicinity.

Thanks to me opening up to both myself as those around me, letting these different avenues all help me learn to be more gentle with myself, my experience of life today is one which has me smile softly just writing these words. And I love how my body and my emotions so visibly guides me by showing me what serves me, and what doesn’t.


Advent Calendar 2018 – number 2 of 24 – on the theme of being gentle.

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Advent Calendar 1 – Being gentle

December 1, 2018
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I decided to join the #BusinessBoomutmaning (i.e. challenge) in December as well, doing 21 FB Live’s, just like I did in November. This time around, I will be doing my live’s in Swedish, and as an Advent Calendar on the theme of being gentle. But I also wanted to share my current thoughts on this subject here, as this entire site is centered around Being and Doing Gentle. So I will do a written advent calendar here on the blog, in writing sharing what I share in words on Facebook (in Swedish). The background for why I landed in Being Gentle is simply thus: I have spent 75% of my life in the opposite corner, being extremely harsh with myself.

My inner dialogue was hard up until around ten years ago when the following occurred: 
I was headed to my therapist, and as I hadn’t taken the time to withdraw cash from the ATM the day before, I went to the small kiosk along the way, with the intent of buying something small and withdrawing cash at the same time. However, as I came there, the phone lines were down, so they could not accept my credit card. Hence… I came to my therapist without cash to pay her. And I felt awful. Horrendous. Disrespectful towards her, with the knowledge that I was a dreadful and despicable person for not living up to my end of the bargain.

I told her as much… and she looked at me (with the kindest and most curious of gazes) and stated the obvious: You are very hard on yourself. 

I nodded, a bit perplexed, and asked: Don’t you have to? 

She shrugged her shoulders, and said, gently: No. If it had been me, I would simply have said that I’ll bring double the money next time. 

And, like the wrecking ball that Miley Cyrus sings about, my beliefs shattered. The beliefs that I had to be hard on myself… or perhaps rather, the belief that that was the only way to be me in the world. All of a sudden, I got a glimpse that perhaps there was another way of talking to myself, one that did not make me feel so bad, much (most…) of the time.

From then on, I have worked at transforming the ingrained habits of 30+ years of living life being hard on myself, into living a life of being gentle towards myself. Have found ways of being and doing gentle towards myself, and today, wholeheartedly, I can say: I like being me. I enjoy the way I am with myself, and how I show up as me. And I love myself. But that was not the basis for this transformation, that has been a bonus effect!


Advent Calendar 2018 – number 1 of 24 – on the theme of being gentle.

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Magic trick?

May 12, 2018
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As I reflect on recent weeks, it hit’s me, hard: I’ve gotten really good at being gentle towards myself. This ”quest” of mine, that I’ve worked at for so long. It all started right before my first child was born, when me and my then husband split up. I wasn’t aware that what I was aiming for was the concept of being gentle towards myself, but in hindsight, it was. The time I didn’t have cash in hand to pay for a therapy session some six or seven years later was my first conscious experience that I actually did have a choice. That I could be gentler with myself, than was my habit (since forever…).

Now. In situations I’d previously label ”difficult”, it’s as if I see what’s the core issue, and I go straight for it, rather than get lost in the potential drama and upset;which, don’t get me wrong, isn’t ”wrong”. It simply doesn’t do anything for me anymore. It does not serve me, or the situation at hand. At all.

And no. Of course this isn’t my demeanor 100% of the time when it would be prudent. But more and more. And each time, I learn, and so, chances are I will respond wiser, more discerning (new favorite word!), based on what serves – not just me, but all involved! – the situation best.

The magic trick!Another typical situation, which also has me coming to this conclusion, is when I’m in conversation with friends and loved ones, them sharing their inner turmoil with me; how their inner dialogue is both harsh and judgmental, making me see, again and again, that my inner dictators truly have left the building. And what a difference it makes. As I told myself the other day in a morning walking meditation ending up with five minutes of personal pep talk, ”It’s wonderful to be Helena today, so much nicer than just a few years ago!”. It really is, making it much easier for me to continue with a gentle and loving acceptance of myself (and as a fantastic bonus: of everyone around me as well!).

So. Is it the combo, then? The ”doing gentle” hooking up with discernment (best question ever: How is this serving me/the situation? Is it?) – is that the magic trick?

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Being gentle to me – Reflection March ’17

March 28, 2017
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There’s this thing come July, that I simply do not want to do, this year around. I’ve done it a handful of times, and it’s given me so much. Connection, exploration, insight, fun and laughter as well as frustration and realization of the boxes that block creativity from flourishing… often for a good cause, but leading wrong, so wrong.

This year though – I do not want to go there. I do not want to be there. I do not want to put any energy into it.

So I said it.
Straight out.

I don’t want to go there this year. 

Sick and tired of it.
I felt it already last year, that my heart wasn’t in it. And even less so this year.

So I said No, to this, which translates into a Yes, to me.

GardeningI will be going next year. Next year there’s a reason, a project I’m involved in, which is very close to my heart. This year, there’s not, and so I want to stay at home. All summer, actually. I haven’t made any plans for the summer, no travels booked or anything, I simply want to stay at home. Resting. Relaxing. Enjoying the garden, the summer evenings, letting myself slow down to the speed of life.

Saying No to this, and Yes to me, is how I’ve practiced being gentle to me, in the month of March.

It’s not the first go I make at saying Yes to me, I’ve been practicing, making it easier each time. It also helps when the person receiving the No, realize it’s not about them. It’s all about me. It’s a No for now because of my need for a Yes right now, for me. And I am proudly honoring myself by granting me the respite I need.

Welcome to my humble abode, where the underlying tone centers around being gentle to oneself. I will be reflecting 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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Doing gentle – 46 – Expectations vs Agreements

November 27, 2016
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If I have to name one podcast that’s made the most lasting impression in my life, I believe it has to be Expectations vs Agreements with Steve Chandler. In roughly 15 minutes he explains the difference between the two, according to his view, and when I first heard it it bowled me over completely. I had to listen again and again, and as a result of that, I took a long look at myself. I started to discover instances where my expectations were enormous, and non-spoken, and inevitably knocked me down, as my surroundings (or myself) never could live up to what I had dreamed up had to happen for whatever activity to become a success.

Expectations, verbalized or not, will never get you above zero. If I expect something from you, and you don’t live up to it, I’m in the negative. If you live up to it, I get up to zero, because I expected you to. So I can never rejoice at it. Whereas if we make an agreement (and it has to be a proper one, where both parties takes it seriously enough to actually come to an agreement of what, when, how etc) I get to rejoice as much as I want to when we both live up to our respective tasks of the agreement.

I’ll give you an example. The first time I really observed my expectations (after listening to the podcast) was when my kids had a day off school and we’d decided to take a day-trip to Copenhagen together. We came to the railway station, and as we took the escalator down to the tracks, my kids started to moan and groan. Oh mom, will we have to walk all day? Mooom, can’t we just stay in one place? Oh, I don’t wanna… 

And I saw them. The expectation. They became very real to me then. The expectations in my mind were far from what was just happening. I had envisioned a lovely day, walking around in Copenhagen, having fun, enjoying ourselves, stopping for a bite to eat here or there, and generally having a day filled with Kodachrome-moments.

Problem was. Those were my expectations. And as I could hear from the kids, they each had a complete other set of expectations.

I never really got around to making an agreement with them that time, I think I basically flipped and told them off… Why should we ever go for a day-trip if all you’re gonna do is moan and groan? Didn’t win any awards for Mom of the Year for moment, that’s for sure. But we did have an ok day in the end, that we did!

A while later me and the kids were going for a week-long break in Stockholm and Uppsala. On the train there, I told them about Expectations vs Agreements, and we talked about it. We voiced our expectations, and turned them into agreements, were we all were willing to give some, in order to get something else. And lo and behold, we actually had a great vacation together, where on numerous occasions we referred to our agreement, as a gentle reminder, and all of us were more generous with our time and moods. All of us, willing and wanting to pitch in a bit extra, knowing that it would, sometime, be returned to us. A great vacation that was, let me tell you!wise one

So. Try to spot when you fall in the trap of expecting this or that. Just noticing it makes a difference. If you want to, then start to experiment with starting a conversation instead, which might land you in agreement about what’s to be done, how, when, by whom and whatever other details might be necessary for your specific circumstance.

Welcome to my humble abode, where the underlying tone centers around being gentle to oneself. On Sundays I’ve been sharing thoughts on how I do gentle for the last 46 weeks, and I hope you’ve enjoy it. We are approaching December and I will be publishing an Advent Calendar daily, and who know’s if the Doing Gentle-series will be returning thereafter. Either way, if you like the perspective you get from reading my posts, please subscribe to updates so you won’t miss out on future posts

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Doing gentle – 45 – Source of information

November 20, 2016
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What’s your source of information, the therapist asked of Mary Karr, and she’s honest enough to see that most of the time, it’s her imagination that’s the source of imagination.

She tells the story in On Being with Krista Tippett, an episode I’ve listened to over and over again. There’s a lot of gold in that episode. Little snippets of conversation that, in it’s raw honesty and vulnerability with an ever-present humor, enters me, completely. Goes straight to my heart and lodges there, as little crystals to carry with me. Crystals to energize me, when I have a need for it.

What’s your source of information, I ask myself, as I paint a picture of what certain experiences, interactions, activities undertaken or not, mean. And I know, it’s I. I’m the source of information, as the picture within my mind is painted from a palette of opinions and expectations, rather than fact, data points, that just are.

pathAnd here’s the catch for me. There’s nothing wrong with painting a picture out of opinions and expectations, as long as I am aware of it. If I mistakenly believe the picture to be painted using fact and data points that just are, that’s when and where I might end up in some serious trouble. That’s where I deceive myself, lure myself down a treacherous path, of mistakenly (oh so innocently!) believing that what I paint, for my inner eye, is Truth. Which it is not. It is a picture made up of make-belief, some of which might be more in line with what was intended than other parts of it; the knowing of which is of great benefit to me.

When would it serve you, to ask yourself that question:
What’s your source of information?

Welcome to my humble abode, where the underlying tone centers around being gentle to oneself. On Sundays I share thoughts on how I do gentle, and I hope you enjoy it. If you do, please subscribe to updates so you won’t miss out on future posts in this series.
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Doing gentle – 44 – Letting go and letting come

November 13, 2016
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aloneI want to separate. He said.
I don’t. I said. But what to do, since it takes two to tango? 

So he left. Got a rental apartment and moved out, a month later, providing me with the grand opportunity to practice the fine art of letting go and letting come.

Letting go of all my beliefs about what our relationship was, and should be.
Letting go of the way I would have liked for us to be working on our relationship, living under the same roof.
Letting go of the feeling that somehow I’ve failed. Again. Second time around.

Letting come whatever our relationship might transform into.
Letting come the sweet sensation of knowing it – life – is up to me. Going it alone, with all the up’s and down’s it brings with it.
Letting come the curiosity of what wants to happen now.

Letting go of that which has been, that which is no more.
Letting come that which wants to happen.

What is there for you to let go of, in order to let something else come?

Welcome to my humble abode, where the underlying tone centers around being gentle to oneself. On Sundays I share thoughts on how I do gentle, and I hope you enjoy it. If you do, please subscribe to updates so you won’t miss out on future posts in this series.

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Doing gentle – 43 – Give thanks.

November 6, 2016
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Give thanks. To yourself. For trying, for being there, for getting out of bed and putting yourself out there, each and every day.
Give thanks. To yourself. For the days when you don’t get out of bed, cannot face the world, totally lacking in resources to even begin to put yourself out there. It’s all a part of making you you, a part of your onlyness, and that is something to give thanks to. Each and every day.

Give thanks. To your loved ones. For the light they bring into your life.
Give thanks. To your loved ones. For the struggles they face, for staying the course, for falling down and getting up, each and every time.

blossomGive thanks. To your friends. For all that they are. The richness they infuse your life with.

Give thanks. To your friends. For the deep conversations, the gentle hugs they provide when you are desperately in need of one. And for the resistance they provide, when that is what’s necessary for you to level up in life.

Give thanks. To the stranger you meet on the bus. The person in the swim lane next to you. To the cashier at the store, and the janitor who makes sure the light build get’s switched when it’s been broken at work.

Give thanks. For the leaves on the tree turning yellow in fall, the blossom spreading it’s fragrance on a warm summer night. For the sun, the moon, the stars.

Give thanks. And rejoice in all there is to give thanks for.

Welcome to my writings, where the underlying tone centers around being gentle to oneself. On Sundays I share thoughts on how I do gentle, and I hope you enjoy it. If you do, please subscribe to updates so you won’t miss out on future posts in this series.

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Doing gentle – 42 – Personality? 

October 30, 2016
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Have you fallen for the ruse that a personality is a fixed set of likes/dislikes/habits and reactions that make up the basis of who you are?

I had. And in someways, I still fall for it. But most of the time, I don’t. I have come to understand that I have a choice. The choice of right now.

personalityYou see. When someone tells me It’s just who I am and expect me to take that as a Truth that cannot be changed, I cringe. However, if instead they would say It’s who I am, right now there’s an opening. Yes, there has been a choice, a choice to be bad-tempered, angry and upset, stingy, of rigid mind or whatever, in a given moment, but there’s also a willingness to see that in a day, or two, or five years, or whenever, there might well be another choice being made.

Whatever the choice, it’s not a permanent one. It’s fluid. Like life. Because life is fluid. It’s in constant flux. There’s never an emotion that lasts forever, because life cannot be lived like that. And hence, there’s never a ”personality trait” that’s a forever thing, unless we chose it over and over again.

And even then. It’s really not. Because however enamored we are in our personality, it can never be something which we are, 100% of the time.

She’s such a happy person.
Yeah. Except when she’s not. When she’s sad. Or scared. Or feeling vulnerable and alone.

He’s always such a grouch.
Yeah. Except when he’s not. When he sees an old favorite movie on TV, remembering happy days in his youth. Or when he wakes up from a lovely dream, carrying the feeling from it into his day.

Personality is not a permanent fixture. Simply because nothing can be permanent, permanence isn’t part of being human. Feelings, emotions and state of mind shift, constantly, and hence, the manner which we meet the world shifts along with it.

What choice are you making right this minute? What character trait are you choosing to meet the world right now?

Welcome to my writings, where the underlying tone centers around being gentle to oneself. On Sundays I share thoughts on how I do gentle, and I hope you enjoy it. If you do, please subscribe to updates so you won’t miss out on future posts in this series.

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Doing gentle – 41 – Ask questions

October 23, 2016
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Having gone gentle on myself, I am much more curious about myself, and hence, also ask myself all sorts of questions these days, questions which I never would have dared voice even inwardly five-ten years ago. With my gentle approach towards myself, I’ve let go of a lot of the judgment which means I allow myself the freedom to ask, and answer, all sorts of questions and queries, and truly be open to whatever answer pops up.

Because of that, I have gotten much better at asking questions. Both of me and those around me. One such question is How does this serve me?, which I’ve asked myself over and over again the past years. And yes, How does this serve you? is also a question I’ve asked of many others, especially my coaching clients. duoFunnily enough, the most common answer seems to be Hm. It doesn’t serve me. Why on earth am I doing this?

However, I notice that the hardest questions to ask, are to those I feel very close to, those who are important to me. I’ve recently realized I hold myself emotionally captive with regards to what Others, those important others, think. Or as it were, what I think they might be thinking…

And off I go, believing I am a great mind-reader. Clearly not something which serves me. So. It’s time for me to ask more questions, and stop holding myself hostage.

Welcome to my humble abode, where the underlying tone centers around being gentle to oneself. On Sundays I share thoughts on how I do gentle, and I hope you enjoy it. If you do, please subscribe to updates so you won’t miss out on future posts in this series.

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