Reflection

As something that Is.

As something that Is.

March 29, 2020
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Wrote this long post on moving my body more since I seem to be glued to my computer these days, only to realize that ain’t it for today’s post. 

You see… I just finished setting up my Patreon #tankespjärn community page.
I will press the Launch -button tomorrow.
The site is crude with plenty of room for improvement, but I will launch.
And I will tweak! I promise. There’s plenty to do – both on the community-site, and concerning other websites etc… But I do not want to be stuck polishing my phone, before I put this out there. I mean, hey, perhaps the phone needs to be polished a lot less than I imagine it has to.

So I want to get it out there, to start to play and experiment, and no longer talk about this community as if it’s something that is to happen.
But rather.
As something that Is.

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A touch of gentleness

March 28, 2020
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In much of the work I do –tankespjärn, coaching, leadership training– I use me as my go-to-example. What I write and tell stories about (in essence what #tankespjärn is about) is not something I’ve thought up, it’s something I have lived for many years, and still live. Daily.

#tankespjärn has been my life philosophy for 20+ years (even though the word came to me in 2013), and it’s been the single biggest contributing factor having me shift from being the most negative person in the world, to… something very different, if perhaps not the most positive person in the world. But not far from. So whatever it is I write or say, is what I’ve done. Myself. I know it can be done, and I know that it can be helpful.

I also know it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution that I am ”selling”, and I try my utmost to not be prescriptive but descriptive in my work. I share what has worked for me, in the hope that it might inspire you to think differently, to act differently, to try on a new trait or two to see what might come of it. Not saying you must do what I’ve done, but rather, that it’s possible to create huge shifts in inner dialogue and ways of interacting with self and others, if what’s is isn’t serving you. And I’ve yet to meet one person who’s served (truly) by all he/she/they do either consciously or unconsciously.

I’ve learned how to be gentle (with an edge) towards myself, after having an internal dialogue hijacked by a combo of Hitler/Mao/Stalin, and in this era of an epidemic of harshness (not speaking about Corona…), the opportunities that open up when people learn how to treat themselves gently –self-honoring– are just limitless.

A little bit goes a long way, as a touch of gentleness, teases out even more gentleness, and soon enough, you’ve unlearned harshness and learned gentleness.

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Calm to be had.

March 27, 2020
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Last week as I stepped into the cold water of the ocean off the coast of Malmö in the south of Sweden, I had my phone with me. I’ve a habit to do that, now and again, as I record myself going in, staying in, sharing my experiences with cold bathing. What came out of my mouth that crisp spring afternoon, with sunshine and blue skies, as I was standing in the water, which, just like the air was around five degrees Celsius, was this: There is calm to be had.

The world has turned upside-down, for so many. A global pandemic is raging, and I fear that we’ve just seen the beginning of it. Cities, counties, countries and companies are closing down in varying degrees, and whatever was normal, no longer is.

And.
With all that going on.
There is calm to be had.

It’s easy to not experience calm right now.
I know that.
I see that.

I also know it’s equally easy to experience calm.
I know that.
I see that too.

There are many things I have no say in.
What my government is –or is not– doing. Whether or not the school my youngest attends will stay opened or not, and what will happen next, neither locally nor globally.
No. Say.

But there are many things I have a say in.
In what I choose to do with my days. How I spend them, regardless of external constraints. What I read. What I listen to. What interactions and conversations I engage in. If I seek out Drama, or not. If I stick to routines (as best I can) that serve me and my wellbeing.
If I show compassion and care. To me. And you. And us.
A. Say.

There is calm to be had.
And it matters whether or not I choose calm. Or not.
Because I matter. Just as you matter.

Can I always choose calm?
Yes. I can.
But I don’t.
Because I am human. And so are you. And that’s the way it should be.

The choice is still there though.
There is –always and already– calm to be had.

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Heed my own advice

March 26, 2020
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My idea to start a community for #tankespjärn has me feeling (at least) two things.

The first is the rush, the thrill, the excitement at sharing, at creating, at shipping. At making something of this brainchild of mine, of challenging myself by jumping headfirst into something which I’ve never done before (and being Swedish, I take the stance of Pippi Longstocking: I have never tried that before, so I think I should definitely be able to do that.). I know what I know, and what I don’t know, and eagerly look forward to the learning I know will come my way.

I like that feeling. It’s a good feeling.

The other one. Not so much. It’s the one saying What? You’ll never be able to have a #tankespjärn-community lift off. No chance. Why on Earth do you think anybody would be willing to spend money on #tankespjärn? On you? Forget it, right now! And do not even dare to start the ball rolling, because it will be embarrassing for you, when no-one shows up to support you and your work, because that would be the only reason they would ever do it in the first place. Because there’s no way it could be of value to them, and I don’t even know what makes you think there would be?

I don’t like this feeling. It’s not a good feeling at all.

So what to do?

Well.
Heed my own advice is a good start.

Meaning, know that these two different sets of feelings are generated by two different streams of thoughts within. And neither feeling is True, in the sense that neither feeling is a given. I don’t have to feel one or the other, neither is the correct or only way to feel about this situation, but rather two possible ways of feeling which I happen to feel.

Important note here. I am not saying it’s wrong for me to feel what I feel. I feel what I feel. Period. However, I do not have to be dictated by those feelings, regardless if I like them or not. When I feel something, I acknowledge what I feel, know the feeling is a direct result of thoughts I have, and can ask myself: How does this serve me?

Feelings are, for me, warning bells. Indicators telling me when I am headed down a deep hole, informing me I’d better get back up the road again. That’s the message the second feeling brings me through the discomfort it generates within me: You can continue thinking and feeling this, but what good will it do you? How will it serve you? Do you want to act based on the fear of what might happen if you start a community, or do you want to move through it?

And I think you know what my answer is.

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Willing myself into murky waters

March 23, 2020
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Participating in The Creative’s Workshop on akimbo.com I am exposed to two sets of asks.
1) The Dailies, where I and the other players are asked to write and post every day for 100 days in a row. Subject, style, content totally up to each and every one of us.
2) The Prompts, where I and the other players are given a thrice-weekly prompt asking us to reflect and respond to questions, pushing me (at least) far outside of my comfort zone. Asking me to take a stand, to give voice to what I like and dislike, to what I do and don’t do, to what my work looks like and why. 

The different asks give rise to different response within me, something I try to give voice to below.


It’s a matter of focus. Of intent.
Of willing myself into murky waters where the going is far from easy and smooth.

That’s what the Prompts feels like to me.

Whereas the Dailies are more of an easy-peasy sit-down and let what-ever-want’s-to-come-out pour from my fingers onto the screen in front of me.

And. Luckily. It’s not a question of either-or both rather a both-and.

They give me different types of release.
The Dailies get to be lighter, or heavier for that matter, but there’s more flow to them.
Less intellectual effort.

The Prompts speak to the Upholder in me, making me want to respond quite literally to the specific questions asked. Even though I wriggle like a worm on a fishhook now and again, I get through them, slowly and steadily, one by one. A bit behind the release-schedule, but catching up.
In their iterative structure, inviting me back into past prompts, to observe, orient, decide, act (ooda), there’s progress, if by progress I mean movement. Which I do.

Thanks in large part to TCW, my mind is moving.
My understanding is increasing.
The visibility is greater, there’s more and more clarity.
In what it is I want to do, in who it is I want to be.

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…seize the wonder of being alive in this moment.

March 22, 2020
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“As well as saving millions of lives by killing rodents, our soft-footed friends have helped heal countless hearts. Sitting quietly at the ends of beds, they’ve waited for human tears to ebb. Curled on the laps of the sick and elderly, they’ve offered comfort impossible to find elsewhere. Having served our physical and emotional health for thousands of years, they deserve recognition. The Egyptians were right. A cat is a sacred being.”

Picked it up in one of those bookshelves at an office, where people can put books they’ve read, and if there’s a book calling out to them, take that one back home to read. I didn’t bring a book with me, but I’ve been generous with donating books both here and there over the years, so I figured I could put this book in my backpack, as it did just that. Call out to me. To take it.

So I did.

“Mothers have powers beyond politics, art and money. We’re the people who give life, nurture babies and make them grow. Without us humanity would wither like seaweed on a rock. Knowledge of our power is so deep we don’t talk about it often, but we use it all the time.”

And what a lovely book it is, Cleo, by Helen Brown.
I’ve written on how Pop the cat is my resident master of self-care, and he continues to teach me how to enjoy every ounce of life.

“Cleo was changing my attitude to indulgence. Guilt isn’t in cat vocabulary. They never suffer remorse for eating too much, sleeping too long or hogging the warmest cushion in the house. They welcome every pleasurable moment as it unravels, and savor it to the full until a butterfly or falling leaf diverts their attention. They don’t waste energy counting the number of calories they’ve consumed or the hours they’ve frittered away sunbathing.”

In a world that is slowing down, the following lines spoke volumes to me.
So I will leave them here, for you, to read.
For you to look within, while you read, to discover what happens within you.

“One of the many ways in which cats are superior to humans is their mastery of time. By making no attempt to dissect years into months, days into hours and minutes into seconds, cats avoid much misery. Free from the slavery of measuring every moment, worrying about whether they are late or early, young or old, or if Christmas is six weeks away, felines appreciate the present in all its multidimensional glory. They never worry about endings or beginnings. The joy of basking on a window ledge can seem eternal, though if measured in human time it’s diminished to a paltry eighteen minutes.

If humans could program themselves to forget time, they would savor a string of pleasures and possibilities. Regrets about our past would dissolve, alongside anxieties for the future. We’d notice the color of the sky and be liberated to seize the wonder of being alive in this moment. If we could be more like cats our lives would seem eternal.”

 

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The lesser known cousin

March 21, 2020
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The Law of Attraction.
Sure does work. Can cause serious shifts within.

But.

It’s seldom enough.
Needs to be coupled with it’s less known cousin The Law of Action.

Now we’re talking.
When the two of them get together, that’s when magic can truly start to happen.

When Doing is infused by Being, and Being is infused by Doing.

Have you ever been there?
If so, what happened? How did it feel?
What was born from that place?

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The gift of coaching

March 17, 2020
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This morning started with me getting a gift, the gift of coaching a wise woman, assisting her in finding insight and just-do-it-determination.

But… isn’t the gift hers then?

Well. Yes. That too.

But what I find true in most coaching sessions I do (when they are done… hm. How can I phrase this? When it makes sense for me to coach said person, when it’s truly a mutual agreement, and when there is absolutely no sense of me doing it just to be kind. Those coaching sessions!) is that they are truly a gift for me as well. I am reminded of my own wisdom, I am inspired by my client’s journey, and their struggles and bumps-in-the-road help me shine a light on similar aspects in my own life.

The synchronicity is palpable and that’s another signal that we are a good match. When what my clients are working on is a different shade of grey perchance, but still, close enough to my shade at the moment, I am kept on my toes. I do my utmost to keep just ahead of my client, in order to serve to the last drop of my capacity, knowing that at anytime my client will leap ahead of me, having me stretch farther, giving it my all to catch up and just, barely, pass them by again.

It means I do the work, and they do the work, and when we meet up, there are synergies, even though, don’t get me wrong, while I am coaching, I coach. I am fully present with my client and they are in the driver’s seat. My agenda, my needs, do not take center stage. But whatever I am working on at the moment is there. It’s present, and that presence is, to my experience, of service to the process.

(And I know coaches are not supposed to admit this. But hey. Perhaps that’s why I am not interested in having clients who are “way behind me” [don’t get me wrong here! There’s no judgment to this, just discernment on my part.] but rather those that are but a step behind me, helping me keep sharp and at my best. I would not have thought of this without these two questions coming from coach Dave: Who can I coach? And who do I want to coach? Great questions those!)

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Winnie-the-Pooh on Management & Problem Solving (book 3 of 12)

March 16, 2020
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I really did not enjoy reading Winnie-the-Pooh on Management & Problem Solving by Roger E. and Stephen D. Allen.

And in a sense… that makes me happy. Oddly enough.
Bear (haha. Pun not intended, would you believe it?) with me, as I try to explain.

You see.
I have a tendency to enjoy most of what I read.
I love books. I read lots.
And I can as easily down a quick-read from the chick-lit genre as a fact-based non-fiction book on leadership and human development, a Science Fantasy-trilogy as a spiritual deep-dive into the world of Mary Magdalen.
And most everything I do enjoy. I find something in them that attracts me, keeps me reading.
Can be the wit of it, the beauty of the language, a totally engrossing story or facts that makes my mind boggle.

“Remember, good judgment is the result of experience, and experience is the result of bad judgment.”

But more and more, I can discern (what a wonderful word that one! Discernment.) what I don’t like, what I don’t enjoy, where the language is not alluring, where I cannot get close to the characters (The Neapolitan Novels of Elena Ferrante is a great example), where something, whatever it might be, just seems off for one reason or another.

I had but read a few pages of this book when I knew it was off. For me! Which is an important caveat, as my taste is just that: mine. Noone elses. I borrowed this book from C, and he swears by it. But if I had not assigned this book a slot in my “read these 12 English books in 2020” I would have closed the book, returned it to C and never thought more of it.

But as I had chosen it, I made myself finish it, even though it took me more or less three months, with it laying on my dressing table as a constant reminder…

Perhaps it’s as simple as me not really being a Winnie-the-Pooh fan?
Perhaps the way the Allen’s emulate the way A.A. Milne writes (and is allowed to use excerpts from his books on Winnie-the-Pooh, both the written stories and the illustrations), but without being as great word-smiths as Milne?
Perhaps it was simply the wrong time for me to read it?

I don’t know, and don’t have to delve into it in-depth, but… at the same time, this is where my happiness comes in. You see, I am currently enrolled in The Creative’s Workshop (workshop run for the first time by Seth Godin on akimbo.com), and in several of the prompts (lessons you might say, three per week, over a 100-day-period) we’ve been asked to look at things such as these:
What is good, in my view? Why is it good? Who crafts good stuff (similar to that which I am working on)?
What don’t I think is good, and why? Who crafts “bad” stuff?
Who do I admire? Who do I want to emulate? And who’s the amateur, the professional and the hack in your line-of-work?

So.
Winnie-the-Pooh is helping me discern my responses to questions like these ones.
And that’s really helpful!

“…creativity […] is a way of being, of looking at things without judging them first, and that it can be learned and improved.”


The book I am blogging about is part of the book-reading challenge I’ve set for myself during 2020, to read and blog monthly about 12 Swedish and 12 English books, books that I already own.

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