Reflection

100 vaginas

100 vaginas

September 9, 2020
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Vulnerable.
Apropos.
Gripping.
Intense.
Notable.
Awe-inspiring.
Salutary.

Watching 100 vaginas. Three-quarters of an hour-long documentary on Laura Dodsworth. It’s not at all about vaginas though, but of vulvas. The difference between a vagina and a vulva?

Vital.
Unyielding.
Lovable.
Viable.
Ally.
Sensual.

Did you know the difference (without googling)?
Up until a few years ago, I wouldn’t have been able to answer that question. Perhaps, you, like me, thought it was more or less a same same but different relationship between the two? (But no. Not at all. The vulva are the outer genitalia, and the vagina is the birth canal between the vulva and the uterus.) Imagine. I did not know…

That alone is a s t o n i s h i n g.

I mean, I possess both a vulva and a vagina and have done so since I was born in the early 70s. And still, I’ve never really know how it’s all connected.

Which is one of the reasons Laura Dodsworth chose to photograph 100 vulvas (after photographing both 100 breasts and 100 penises). The ignorance is massive.

Did you know that the shape and since of the clitoris (and believe me, the clitoris is way more than that visible little bud blanketed in labia. This is more than I knew.) wasn’t mapped and properly understood (thanks to Dr. Helen O’Connell) until 1998.

1 9 9 8.

Inconceivable.

So if only because of that: in Sweden 100 vaginas is available on SVT Play until February 2021, so if you read this before then, and reside in Sweden, watch it. If you read this later, or you live somewhere else, google and see if you can catch a viewing of the documentary some other way, or get a hold of the book.


#tankespjärn, for those who wish to discover. More. Other. New.
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What’s not to love?

September 1, 2020
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Two years ago I reclaimed lindy hop dancing into my life. A beginner weekend course (a refresher from the few years I danced lindy hop almost twenty years prior), and then classes for three semesters and social dancing at that. Or… almost three semesters. The spring classes (10 classes constitute a semester) were cut short for obvious reasons (Corona, pandemic, social distancing) after the first three.

Today. The first of the remaining seven classes was held. One and a half hours of dancing. N o t the way it was. But… still. Dancing. The music. The sweat, laughter, struggle and flow. How I love it!

How I hope that we will find ways to make dancing a part of our actively lived culture again. Not to have to be afraid of it. Of being close to others. (Yes, measures were taken. Stay home if symptomatic, of course. No obligatory partner swopping, but if you want to swop, going for smaller groups of 2-3 couples. Wash hands. Sanitize them often. No touching of face. Well. You know the drill…)

Am I crazy for doing it?
Possibly. But I am not sure I’d remain sane n o t doing the things I love doing, not for long…

And here’s a clip of two others who also love it. It’s my favorite lindy clip, all categories.
The ease of these skilled dancers, the fun they have, the lovely music… what’s not to love?

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Invitation

August 31, 2020
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The monthly Zoom in the tankespjärn-community took place this morning (for me. There were participants who were up in the middle of the night to partake. That wowed me!), and counter to past monthly Zoom-calls, this one was topic-less. That is, I hadn’t thought of anything to initiate the conversation… and for the shortest time, there was nothing but silence, as I threw out the invitation to talk about… what?

And the response was just that: INVITATION

So we took the invitation to speak, reflect, ponder, think and sense into the concept of INVITATION, and as always… it makes me astonished both how fast an hour can go (proof of flow-state) and also how much can be experienced in (but) an hour.

A few of the questions popping into my head, as I reflect on all we managed to fit into the one hour:

– When to extend an invitation? (The fear of imposing on others, often makes me send them too late… or not at all.)

– Do I do it enough?
(Heck no, is my answer to that question, that’s for sure!)

– Can I write a general invitation that actually makes individuals feel seen and heard, rather than go ”Oh, this is probably not for me”?
(See. I just w i l l   n o t stop with the shotgun approach, even though I know –Know!– the sniper approach works so much better. Sigh.)

– If extending an invitation is an act of g e n e r o s i t y, what is not extending an invitation then?
(This caused a shift in me when I first realized it, thanks to one of the prompts in The Creative’s Workshop. Not enough of a shift to make me be as generous with invitations as I would like to be – because I see myself as a generous person, and I want to show up as one.)

– Once I get someone to take my hand, accepting the invitation, how do I nourish the relationship, making them want to stay in my community? (Do general postings on the i n s i d e of a community suffice? Or do I need to make people in the community feel, on an individual basis, seen and heard on a continuous basis? I guess the latter… Agree?)

And there was more. Much more. Like these, resonating with me:
– Being (personally) invited feels very generous. It makes me feel chosen. (Seeding generosity. Indeed!)
– By invitation only. (How will the tankespjärn-community evolve if –when?– people I do not know, start to show up? Interesting question to ponder!)

Not to mention, this great piece of tankespjärn:
The more something is n o t for everyone, the more it is for the people it is for.

I know this to be true, as I know, that I, tankespjärn nor the community is for everyone.
This session has also informed me that it’s up to me to extend an invitation to those I know it’s for.

And, as promised: Yes. I extended three personal invitations last night, right before heading off to bed, only to wake up to a new patron! Given this result, insights gained from the Zoom on INVITATION, and more time on my hand, I vow to send out personal invites using the drip by drip-strategy. A drip here, a drip there, over time turns into a heckofa large puddle! (Don’t you just love puddles?)


#tankespjärn, for those who wish to discover. More. Other. New.
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Missed opportunities. Or not?

August 30, 2020
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Here I go a g a i n!
Or rather… here I don’t go again.

I have the tankespjärn community monthly Zoom-call coming up tomorrow morning (my time, Central European Summer (!) Time/CEST. What that means for you TimeandDate can help figure out!), and I’ve been meaning to reach out, individually, to people whom I would love to join the community, thinking I wanna tell them Right before a monthly Zoom is a great time to jump in and try it out!

I still think that’s a great idea.
I just haven’t. Reached out, I mean.

And of course, rather than spending an hour reaching out to people, in person, with an open and heartfelt invitation… I do the s a m e thing that I’ve concluded, ages ago, is n o t the way to go. The shotgun approach is sooooo much easier though…. Ah, there comes my old friend, Resistance.

But it’s funny.
Because, when I do use the sniper approach, and reach out in person, regardless if I get a Yes or a No to my invitation, I always feel good.
Always. (Truly!)

So. What the heck is this really about?
What am I resisting? Why am I running into these missed opportunities, over and over again? Perhaps (likely?) I fear someone will not respond graciously, but rather lash out at me?

And, however irrational I know this fear to be, it might still be what keeps on getting in the way. Because that’s the thing about feelings. Rational, they most often are not.

I can look at this month’s Zoom as a missed opportunity. Or… I do have an hour or so before heading off to bed. So besides posting this (which, albeit not a personal invite, I hope still reads as an invite! I would love to have you check out the community!), I will reach out a hand to a few people I know and cherish. Ask. Invite. Extended without expectations (other than an actual response. I do love my clear Yes/No-responses, and might well push a bit to get one!).

Reporting back tomorrow, ok?
(That way I have accountability, in place as well. Clever, huh?!)

(And here I sit, ready to hit publish, when it hits me… what if I use this as accountability for the September Zoom as well? I mean, to get in touch and give personal invitations, with a bit more leeway? Even more clever!)


#tankespjärn, for those who wish to discover. More. Other. New.
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Open to the shifts

August 25, 2020
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This past week, I have not blogged daily. Haven’t written daily either, but even days of writing, have not always been days of blogging. This will likely prevail. I will blog, if blogging is in the cards. Or not, if (when) not. There’s a shift here, a desire, an inkling to play around with a somewhat different way of going forth. It’s not hard for me to blog daily. (Most times.) What’s harder is listening within, and blogging because there’s something to be said, something to be let out, rather than doing it because I’ve committed to doing it. (Makes sense?)

My deep-dive will not be published (now). But I will be writing (it). This is a commitment I’ve made, one which, truth be told, might even be hindered if I were to stick to a daily blogging scheme, having me go for the easy write rather than the deep-dive, which takes so much more from me. There’s effort. (In flow. Effort in flow. Trust me. It comes. But not without thorns, tumbles, tears.)

Then there’s the idea of doing yet another different type of writing. A deep-dive of sorts as well, but not within so much as without, into something specific. Wanting to do tankespjärn-pieces, that are more thorough. Researched. Thought through. (Yes. Mostly when I write, I simply sit down and write. But I’ve been longing for a different type of writing for a while. So how about it; Give me permission to do just that?)

As always (often? At least often!) when there’s a shift in one place/space, other shifts tag along.
One shift acting as a catalyst, causing other shifts to happen.

Being open to the shifts makes for an interesting life.
Explorative. Elucidating. Expansive.


#tankespjärn, for those who wish to discover. More. Other. New.
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Writing

August 24, 2020
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Third day in a row.
Sitting in bed, iPad in my lap, leaning against the headboard, supported by pillows.
Writing.

Oh!
At long last, getting back to this lovely routine.
Waking up, getting out of bed to go pee, and then sneak downstairs, fetching my iPad, before heading back under the covers. Setting myself up for a few minutes, half an hour, an hour, of writing.
Writing.

Writing, intentionally, a deep-dive into a topic (or rather, into an exploration within), a strong enough Why to get me to commit, to take action, to Do in order to match who I want to Be. An exploration I am, for now, keeping to myself, or at least, to a small group of people. Figuring things out, discovering, uncovering, not wanting to publish, as this specific baby is far from ready to meet the world. Perhaps it will be. One day. Perhaps it never will be. Ever. Regardless, it feels very good to be writing.
Writing.

And as always (often?), when I start to write, more wants to be written. It’s as if I open the faucet, and out it comes. Like this. Writings related to the experience of writing, or other; experiences, urges and insights, all of a sudden start to flow, wanting to come out, wanting to be written.
Writing.


#tankespjärn, for those who wish to discover. More. Other. New.
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On the inside

August 21, 2020
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There’s so much on the inside, that I am not really getting out. Not on paper, not in conversation, not even in my internal dialogues with myself. Not in any way/shape/form I want to.

A tad frustrating.
But only for short moments.
Most often, I simply acknowledge it, allow it to be, and figure…
what comes out, comes out. What stays inside, stays inside.

In conversations, I get to try my thoughts out, practice speaking them out loud, trying to get unformed, unfinished thoughts to make their way outside of me, observing what happens within when I do. Being mirrored by those I am in communion with is like a rollercoaster ride. I get to listen (!) as they let my newly formed words move into them, twisting and turning, opening hearts and minds with any luck, and, if there’s resonance, voice something back to me, giving me a shot at the rollercoaster.

Sometimes, my mind takes a giant leap, far away from what I voiced minutes before.
Sometimes, I am brought much closer, strengthening my understanding, transforming those unfinished thoughts into more solid, tangible ones.
Sometimes, having me step an inch into the unknown, I come upon a somewhat new flavor, making me shift slightly from what it previously was, giving me an opportunity to taste my thoughts anew, new and fresh unformed, unfinished thoughts within.

There are blog posts I imagine myself writing.
Stories to tell. Insights to share.
Pod episodes and book reflections to flesh out on paper, publishing in the hope, the desire, for someone to share in the exploration.

And then.
Those depths within, as yet unexplored.
Deep, deep ones.
Cold. Dark.
Void of company.
I know it.
I need to go there.
I need to. Want to. Must!
For me. Not for anyone else, but for me. I want to, because I know (Know) this is what’s next in line, I am to take these depths on.
But how do I start?
When? Where? How, do I give myself permission to just dive in?

I sense how this, the discovery –the exploration– of these depths, acts as a plug. Unless attended to, they are keeping all of the rest of what’s on the inside trapped there, within, where nothing can get out, nothing can squeeze past. They are blocking the way.

Time has come.
Permission granted:
Dive in.


#tankespjärn, for those who wish to discover. More. Other. New.
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Own your reactions

August 18, 2020
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I am no longer willing to let myself be used as the scapegoat. I am no longer willing to step up when others claim that my words, my deeds, my actions, are what angers them, what upsets them or what scares them. Because in truth, it is their reaction to my words, my deeds, my actions, that angers, upsets and scares them.

This never means I get to act like a brute, avoiding responsibility for my words, deeds and actions. That’s on me.

What’s on you, is to do the same. To own your reactions.

You might well be angered or upset, even scared. But own it.

Don’t go here:
”You make me angry, upset, scared.”

Or here:
”Your words, deeds, actions, make me angry, upset, scared.”

Rather, try to find something like this place within:
”I felt angered, upset, scared by what happened within me when I came upon your words, deeds, actions.”

When both of us own our reactions, progress is possible. Connection, understanding and respect is to be had.

And I know, I cannot make you choose this. And it’s not for me to tell you what to do, or not do.
What I can do though, are two things:
I can strive to live up to this ideal, myself.
And I can be very clear with what is OK for me. To not swallow it, to not take it, should you happen to put your shit on me.

And that latter one, is where I have an opportunity to improve. To learn how to live it, to actually be someone who doesn’t take others’ shit. The outcome of that might well be that I also choose to not be with you, simply because I get to choose my company. And as peer pressure is very real and we become like those closest to us, I honor me by being very specific and particular in choosing whom I spend time with. Because that choice will impact me, making me be more –or less– of the person I want to be in the world.

And there’s nothing I want more than to surround myself with people who see and encourage the potential harbored within me, who positively challenge me to –always and already– be and become the better me.


#tankespjärn, for those who wish to discover. More. Other. New.
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Feathered friend

August 16, 2020
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Lying on the bench beneath the apple tree, reading, a weird noise had me look up at the lime tree arbor, only to see a lovely red squirrel making its way up and across the arbor, into the neighbor’s trees. According to Animal-Speak Pocket Guide by Ted Andrews, the message from me is:
Balance your work and play. Prepare for the future, but do not get lost in preparations. Find ways to gather and to gift.

Given how my work plans for the upcoming 1-2 years has just gotten upended, and how I’ve not balanced work and play properly for the past year, I acknowledge that message. Then, dove number two for the week, comes into my life, as the neighbor texts me late at night, asking if I’ve seen the odd-looking dove sitting on the roof of the joint garden shed. I hadn’t but hoped it would stay on high ground to ensure Pop the cat wouldn’t make a repeat performance of the dove-incident earlier in the week.

In the morning, I opened the blinds, and there s/he was, perched atop the roof still. By the time I was headed off around lunch, the neighbor texted again, saying it had flown away… into my garden, unfortunately. Nervously, I let it be, and jumped on my bike, fingers crossed that Pop (or any of the neighboring cats) would stay away, as it sure seemed an easy target at ground level.

Got back in the afternoon, to see my youngest having spent an hour in the deck chair, hanging out with the bird, which definitely isn’t your garden-variety type dove, that’s for sure.

Luckily, in the days of internet, with a few clicks and shared pictures in SoMe, I got a DM and found out this type of dove is an ”Iranian dove, called baghdadi”, usually bought in pairs, and quite pricey at that. (It’s amazing the things you have no idea you will learn in a day!)

I took over the deck chair from Mr B, book in hand, with ears on high alert, scanning the area for the sound of Pop the cat approaching (thank god for that bell!), and all of a sudden, there it was! I jumped out of the deck chair and latched onto Pop so quick he must’ve wondered how come I was in such a hurry to get him inside, serving up a new scoop of kibbles without him having to make even the tiniest of miaow’s.

By now, we’re approaching 20 hours of this dove hanging out here, and it’s clear beyond any reasonable doubt that it’s 1) not gonna fly away on its own and 2) not a wild dove. I call the police, wanting to report the find, as well as check to see if anyone had reported it missing, but no such luck. So I bring out the kitty carrier, a blanket and Mr B, intent on catching it. After a few botched attempts, we borrow a net from the neighbors, and Mr B, quick as lightning, got him/her! I got it transferred to the blanket, we try to find a band on its legs, but cannot see any, so I pop it into the carrier and take it for a walk… a few blocks away, to my friend with chickens and both a winter and a summer coop. Luckily, that meant the winter coop was up for grabs, and the little one settled in perfectly, oohed and aahed over by it’s new (temporary?!) caretaker-family.

Knowing my new-found feathered friend would now be safe and sound (from cats and birds of prey), and extremely well cared for, I walked home with my empty pet carrier, quite pleased with myself, while simultaneously wondering at the message of the dove, as this was my second encounter in the same week. The Pocket Guide tells me: A new cycle of opportunities is at hand. They bring a time of peace and prophecy. Mourn and release what has passed for new birth.

I was curious enough to google and find some more, that resonates greatly:
The dove spirit animal is associated with transitional periods. It will usually appear to you if you need a break from your stressful and hectic life. The dove meaning is amplified when you are craving for peace and quiet, or stillness and clarity. When the dove totem appears, it’s a sign for you to make that new beginning and look forward to a fresh new start.

Also, this:
The dove represents peace of the deepest kind. It soothes and quiets our worried or troubled thoughts, enabling us to find renewal in the silence of the mind. Doves teach us that, regardless of external circumstances, peace is always a touch a way – within us – and always available. It is said that if a dove flies into your life, you are being asked to go within and release your emotional disharmony. The dove helps us to rid the trauma stored deep within our cellular memory. Doves carry the energy of promise. When inner conflicts are banished from our thoughts, words and feelings, goodness awaits.

Given the way my summer has evolved, with me more or less doing nothing, going nowhere (physically, at least), it’s definitely been a time of finding renewal in the silence of the mind. Given that I’ve not just got the one dove messenger, but two, in but a few days, it seems it’s time to release whatever emotional disharmony I am harboring…

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Ruffled youngster

August 13, 2020
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Pop the cat.
Lying on the bench underneath the apple tree, with the airs of one who Knows (!) the comfy cushion was brought out by me earlier in the day for his sake (and not for me to take a mid-afternoon nap on).

A dove lands beneath the black mulberry-tree, having me up out of my chair, shooing it away, not wanting to share any ripening mulberries with him (her? How can you tell?). Sit down again, only to hear more dove-commotion, together with the distinct tinkling on Pop’s bell, the small one attached to his collar, giving him a telltale signature sound when he’s approaching. Look over towards the garden beds filled with kale and squash plants, and there’s Pop with two dove’s, one of whom appears ruffled.

Rush over there, shoo at the trio, making the unruffled dove fly away, with Pop running after it. The ruffled one –looks like a youngster– hops away, perching on a stone next to the lime-tree arbor where I have set up my outside office. I sit down and continue to write, but before long, that same telltale sound informs me Pop is approaching.

Snatch him up, going into the house to give him his evening meal, and leave him eating. Closing the door firmly behind me, to give the little one some time to recover from the shock of the ordeal, hopefully, able to take off before long. So I sit down again, and lo and behold, all of a sudden it sets off, hopping, underneath the garden table, onto the small stone wall separating my garden from the neighbors, and makes a jump for it, landing, after a few flaps of its wings, in the neighbor garden, hopping away across the lawn.

I don’t particularly care for these doves.
They eat most of my red currants. Some of the gooseberries at that, probably mulberries as well (even though that might be me badmouthing them as I’ve never actually seen them in that tree), and generally poop all over the garden furniture.
But I don’t want them hurt.
Having a free-range cat running loose in the neighborhood, that’s a hypocritical stance to take, as cats are wont to snatch birds and small rodents of varying kinds, but hey… I still don’t have to be an accomplice in the actual deed, do I?

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