But as it came across my feed last night; I listened. Twice.
Saved it for morning. Listened again.
The bottom line:
Now and again letting myself fall head over heels in love with a great story, going with the flow of it, while simultaneously observing myself –picking up on what it is I like/dislike, what rubs me the right/wrong way, what I resist or want more of– is a gift. To me.
My two Buddhas have been encouraging me (that’s a very kind way of describing their insistence!) longest of time, to watch Game of Thrones. I’ve resisted. Oh, how I’ve resisted. Not having access to HBO for one. Too busy, for another. Currently involved in something else, not wanting to take the time, oh but I’ve heard it’s so filled with violence in many forms…
So on the 3rd I signed up for a two-week-trial period, and got down to it. Watched the first episode of the first season… and then I just kept going. On the 28th I watched the sixth and final episode of the eighth and final season.
For 26 days GoT has kept me company, and perhaps there’s been one or two days of no GoT (except in my dreams… bingeing is an interesting way of populating dreams, with whatever I am bingeing on. Before giving up Pokémon Go, I’ve been PoGoing plenty in my dreams, just to give one example.), but more or less, this has been a daily companion for me for the past just-short-of-a-month.
A daily companion giving me the opportunity to make huge progress on my knitting; my GoT-knitting project which is what it turned into unwittingly. A poncho, accompanied by wrist-warmers. All of my own design, and an easy one at that, to ensure I could knit and watch at the same time. Had two lovely skeins of the most beautiful ruby-red lace woolen yarn, to turn into something. Knitted the first skein, all on the poncho, and then did two wrist-warmers before starting in on the poncho with the rest of the second skein. Have a third (or less?) of that last skein left, before the poncho is finished.Keeping my Buddhas up-to-date on my progress, I’ve gotten a few priceless responses. One of my favorites is If there would be any money in bingeing, you’d be a millionaire. And this one, as I started on season five: That’s 40 hours of series in what? 3 weeks? And they say us millenials are bingers only to have the other Buddha respond with Noobs. And no. I got to season five in 16 days. Just saying. Bingeing GoT even had my kids realize that this is a serious skill of mine, and one they’ve likely inherited (genetic or environmental? Forever the Question, is it not?) too.
(My noobs-commenting-Buddha clocked 1+ season a day in his GoT-haydays, a point he’s keen to get across, making my 26 days seem like an eternity… Hence ’noobs’.)
I’ve truly enjoyed the process, letting myself get lost in a story, which is one reason why I love reading fiction (which is all I read up until I turned… 35 perhaps? Somewhere around there. Before that, the thicker the book, or the more books in a series I could find, the happier I was. Historical, or science fantasy, well-written, and I was hooked.). I’ve never gotten through George R. R. Martin’s series though. I know I’ve started it. Once? Twice? Not thrice. Didn’t take to it. Now – now I think I would definitely like to read it. I probably will.
Lots of sex in the most weird and (supposedly) shamed ways?
And I truly like it. Love it even. All of it!
Absolutely stunningly shot – the way they are working with visuals is simply amazing.
Not to mention the actors. Wow! Just witnessing the children of the Stark family growing up through the years of shooting the series is something special.
I truly appreciate the norm-breaking aspects to GoT. There’s not a season that goes by without some serious tankespjärn being provided, served upon the finest silver platter, there for the taking. Having a dwarf play one of the main characters for instance. Being extremely human in the sense that he’s a dwarf a n d a sexually practicing one at that. As human as anyone else. I love that! It also saddens me, because it makes it very apparent how seldom people who deviate from the norm (that friggin’ norm, narrower and narrower by every year.) are visible in every-day-culture as humans, expressed in all their glorious messy humanness.
Another piece of tankespjärn for me is the roundedness of ”the evil characters”. Caricatured, sure, and yet, believable. Complex human beings, not one-dimensional. Picking up on this tells me it is not often so. That it’s more common that characters are black-or-white, good or evil, seldom both-and. But we are. Both-and. There’s good and evil in all of us. In the sense that sometimes, what I do or say, or don’t do nor say, is of service. To me. To others. Sometimes definitely not of service, neither to me nor others. Stumbling along, in all our glorious messy humanness, the full spectrum is there. Emotions, sensations, experiences. We get to live it all. If we let ourselves. And a lot of the expressions within our popular cultural register lack this. One- or perhaps two-dimensionality is rife, and the multi-dimensional (not for a moment would I denigrate humanness to being no-more-than three-dimensional) lived reality of humanity more rare for sure.
As I watched the last episode of the last season, followed by the documentary made during the last season, a void opened up. What to do, when not watching a gazillion GoT-episodes every day?
Start to binge something else?
Get to bed earlier?
”Holding his breath, swaying drunkenly beneath a bulb which illumined little more than grime and moisture, Moon stared awhile at the cement wall; it took just such a hopeless international latrine in the early hours of a morning, when a man was weak in the knees, short in the breath, numb in the forehead and rotten in the gut, to make him wonder where he was, how he got there, where he was going; he realized he did not know and never would. He had confronted his same latrine on every continent and not once had it come up with an answer; or rather, it always came up with the same answer, a such and gurgle of unspeakable vileness, a sort of self-satisfied low chuckling: Go to it, man, you’re pissing your life away.”
I bought At Play in the Fields of the Lord by Peter Matthiessen in the mid-nineties, in Bangkok, Thailand, in an Asia Books bookstore. My brother lived in Thailand the last decade of the last century, and books were but one of the things I had a habit of bringing home with me (much rather books than the amoeba I took home a few years later). This book has managed not to get culled in my now-and-then book-culling events, but coming up on 2020 I decided its time was now. Either I read it, or I let the book go. I chose to read it.
”[…]; when his hands were in use, his whole face eased and softened, and a tentative humor would replace his tiresome sense of moral right. With the vanity evaporated, with sweat on his dirty face and his hip-pocket comb forgotten, the face took on a true handsomeness of strength.”
Throughout high school I had a romantic notion of becoming an ethnopharmacologist like Paul Cox, active in the Samoan Islands. I have an inkling that this book spoke to that part of me, even though it’s not about ethnopharmacology per se. Rather, it’s about man. And nature. And what happens when cultures clash, in more ways than one.
”How easily, in the absence of children, the whole experience of life became abstracted, a pattern of words and daydreams. Because the life in Billy was so fresh and immediate, he had served as a reminder of reality.”
Now and again, I read a book, that I don’t know how to rate in Goodreads, upon pressing the I have finished this book”-button, moving it from Currently Reading to Have Read. This is such a book.
Did I like it? No. Not really.
Did I enjoy reading it? Not particularly.
So it warrants a really low rating? Well. No. It doesn’t. Just because it’s not an easy read, and it’s somewhat confusing, incomprehensible at times, it’s not a book that deserves anything less than three stars (on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the highest rating). Possibly four. Maybe even five, because I honor the complexity of it, the experience, or research that must have gone into the preparations.
There are sentences, passages, that I find extremely beautiful.
Some that are so descriptive, I can feel the green rotting smell of the jungle while reading.
Others that speaks of truth (perhaps even Truth?).
”Our Christian–that is, Western–outlook is rather lugubrious, do you not think? We have persuaded ourselves that abnegation”–and he touched his cassock, not without irony–”and self-sacrifice are superior to joyous self-expression, to the emotions simple being? Now… if we could just take time from our teaching of our poor Indians, we might learn something from them. After all, the Indians come out of Asia, theirs is essentially an Eastern culture; they do not seek for meaning: they are. They are not heavy the way we are, they are light as the air; their being is a mere particle of the universe, like a leaf or wing of dragonfly or wisp of cloud. Unlike ourselves, they are eternal.”
Perhaps it’s one of those books that I am happy to have read, rather than having been happy while reading?
The book I am blogging about is part of the book-reading challenge I’ve set for myself during 2020, to read and blog (more or less) monthly about 12 Swedish and 12 English books, books that I already own.Read More
”Success is less about your individual talent and more to do with the environment that brings out the best in you.”
24 Assets: Create a Digital, Scalable, Valuable and Fun Business That Will Thrive in a Fast Changing World by Daniel Priestly is, just like Key Person of Interest, another one of his books that I’ve read, an easy read, filled with actionable suggestions. Perhaps, a bit too easy if you know what I mean?
But, like with all other types of self-help-books (regardless of the genre, be it personal or business development, home renovations or learning how to play the piano), unless you actually take the author up on his/her suggestions, and give it a shot, nothing will happen. And I gather that’s what most people do. Read, possibly get a few insights, and move on, without actually doing the work. Constantly searching, and never finding.
”There’s no avoiding the work or the practice if you want the results.”
Priestly has a challenge directed specifically for me as well:
”I want to encourage you to stop reading new books, going to new seminars, consuming a wide variety of videos and podcasts. Instead, pick a style and run deep with it–get yourself into the environment and implement.”
Not sure about that one. In practice, that is. In theory, I agree to a large extend, but not completely. Also, going deep (becoming a specialist) is not necessarily what works for everyone. The generalists out there (and heck, is this ever me!) are also necessary, as generalists and specialists contribute differently to the world, and we need that diversity. But in principle, sure, forever jumping from one book to another, from one podcast to another, from one seminar or YouTube-video or TED Talk or… might not always be the healthiest of behaviors. If done without reflection, without pausing and connecting dots, it might well be a form of fleeing, of avoiding what-ever-it-might-be.
But never looking outside your style, probably isn’t that healthy in the long run either. So, as with most things, a bit of both/and is likely the better strategy. Going at it in cycles is perhaps the most beneficial strategy at that, skimming the surface for a while before heading down into the deep. Come up to the surface, rest a bit, before starting all over again.
In the space I find myself, with tankespjärn being a concept I want (intend!) to dig down deep with, I will definitely look into these 24 assets, and decide what to develop, how to develop it, with whom and when. Exciting times ahead!
”To err is to wander, and wandering is the way we discover the world; and, lost in thought, it is also the way we discover ourselves. Being right might be gratifying, but in the end it is static, a mere statement. Being wrong is hard and humbling, and sometimes even dangerous, but in the end it is a journey, and a story. Who really wants to stay home and be right when you can don your armor, spring up on your steed and go forth to explore the world? True, you might get lost along the way, get stranded in a swamp, have a scare at the edge of a cliff; thieves might steal your gold, brigands might imprison you in a cave, sorcerers might turn you into a toad–but what of that? To fuck up is to find adventure: it is in that spirit that this book is written.”
Being wrong: Adventures in the margin of error by Kathryn Schulz, is a book I was gifted, by someone I think knew just how much I would appreciate it. And I must say, I did. I do. Because this is definitely a book to read again, now and again.
”…our beliefs are inextricable from our identities. That’s one reason why being wrong can so easily wound our sense of self.”
How. I. Feared.
And it’s still not easy.
To ’fess up to. To acknowledge. To own.
But I’ve gotten much better at it.
Practice makes perfect… as the saying goes.
(Can one be perfect in getting things wrong?)
”The very word ’believe’ comes from an Old English verb meaning ’to hold dear’, which suggests, correctly, that have a habit of falling in love with our beliefs once we’ve formed them.”
I was not just enamored in my beliefs, I was enamored in being right, correct, spot-on, in anything. I’d much rather not answer a Trivial Pursuit question where I dithered than answer it and be proven wrong.
”This is the thing about fully experiencing wrongness. It strips us of all our theories, including our theories about ourselves. This isn’t fun while it’s happening–it leaves us feeling flayed, laid bare to the bone and the world–but it does make possible that rarest of occurrences: real change.”
Perhaps that is precisely what I did, way back then when I was about to become a mother, and my world fell apart around me? Experienced my wrongness completely, having all my theories about myself, my marriage, my life, taking a proper tumble, leaving me laid bare to the bone… open to the question which got me started on the path to real change: Do I like who I am?
People are responding, daily-ing, responding to prompts, sharing shipping news and aha’s like never before.
TCW is going out with a bang!
A most fitting description of these final hours (?!) of The Creative’s Workshop. But alas, how will it work, the actual shut-down? ”The final day is on the 9th of July” but what does that mean? Will it be shut-down at the start of the 9th, or the end of it? And according to what time zone?
Luckily… soon we are to find out, all of us, participating in TCW until the very end (at least our perceived end).
I’ve downloaded the CSV-file with all of my entries, have the archive-link handy, and yet… there’s so much goodness written by someone else… I just will not, ever, have the time to go through it all, even if I could save the entirety of this very first cohort of TCW.
So I shake it off, the sense of regret, of loss, accept that the FOMO is not a fear, but a fact, and as such, I could spend my time and energy fighting it. To no avail. That’s the problem with facts like these. It’s not a problem to be solved but rather a fact to accept. So I do.
I accept that there are dailies-threads I will never, ever, get to dive deep into.
That there are responses to prompts that hold potential gems and insights that would be of such service to me, responses of beauty and wit, of honesty and humor, of confusion and clarity.
Not to mention all the responses to all of these posts. Responses filled with as much beauty and wit, honesty and humor, confusion and clarity.
Astute writings I won’t ever get to see.
And so so welcome.
I cannot fathom living in a world where I would feel finished.
Imagine partaking in a workshop like this, with 400+ participants (not all active, but many), and after 150 days feel that I’ve gotten everything possible from it, that there’s nothing left to learn…
I wouldn’t want that.
Not for TCW, not for anything.
Especially not for life.
So I am letting TCW go, in order to let come other things, with grace. With loving acceptance, knowing deep within that this is the way I want to live my life.
This is the framework shared by the most wonderful Kathy Karn whose presence in TCW has been monumental – for me personally, and for many of the other participants in the workshop. She’s touched the heart of all of us. Kathy wrote about it thus: When we do our leaving in a mindful way our psyche gets notice and may raise up unfinished business that is worth attending to. Good closure prepares us well for new beginnings.
The details of my response will stay in TCW, with one exception:
I had forgotten what impact it has on me, on my energy, on my creativity, to be in a setting with such fabulous people, who, with grace and humility, share their work, their struggles, their questions, their praise, their warmth. It is something I never want to forget again!
This is my testimonial for TCW, which can be found on the site, where there’s a new session opening up soon. I have a hard time seeing how any TCW-cohort can ever be as amazing and special as the one that is just about to close, but… at the same time, I know it will be a most sensational experience for anyone participating in it. So if you’ve considered it, do so no more. Take the plunge. Enroll!
And even though the details will stay in TCW, I want to share the framework, for me to know I have it handy, and for you, to try it out, if and when, it’s time for an honorable closure. And there will be times for that. Now and again. There always is.
Letting go. Letting come.
Part of living. And loving.
5 Steps in Honourable Closure
When we record Buddhas by the Roadside-conversations I greatly enjoy each conversation.
Then… sometimes I do the timecoding for an episode (basically finding a starting and an ending point, and flagging any obnoxiously odd sounds or mishaps to be edited out), getting a chance to listen to the conversation, and I greatly enjoy listening to each raw-cut as well.
Perhaps that’s a bit odd and self-absorbed, but… there’s so much going on in these very intimate conversations, that I find new things to pick up on, to react to, to ponder, each time I listen to them.
What I’ve heard most people say, of the people who like the pod–which, yes, is a most unusual pod!– is that it’s as if they get to walk straight into a conversation, a very intimate one, at that. We have no intro/outro music, there’s no introduction, nothing. We just start talking, and off we go. For an hour. An hour and a half. Two hours even. And then… it’s over, when it’s over. But now and again, there are mini-breaks, where we pause, letting the silence engulf us–and you!–, again, in a most un-pod-like way.
And since I enjoy being a bit odd, this suits me perfectly!
However, I would be truly happy to have you give us a listen if you haven’t already. And if you have, and you like us (and even if you don’t), give us another listen. Who knows what might happen?
Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by T. Harv Eker is one of those books written with tongue-in-cheek in a you-can-do-it-tonality, that usually irks me. And it did. Here and there. (Or honestly, quite a few cringe-worthy moments I am to be honest. And why shouldn’t I be?)
”[..] remember that thoughts and opinions aren’t good or bad, right or wrong, as they enter your mind, but they can sure be empowering or disempowering to your happiness and success, as they enter your life.”
But the basic concept of the book, as stated above, is one I do appreciate after all, and as the book is also on my twelve books to read and reflect upon in 2020-list, here I go.
Because yes. Thoughts do enter my mind, one after another, in a steady stream throughout my days (and nights…). And me understanding that these thoughts were thoughts and not Truths, was a pivotal moment in me becoming the person I am today.
Once I’d gotten that fact down, I started to re-program myself by asking How does this serve me? (or variations on the theme) over and over again, in any and all situations and moments. Silently. Within. I would ask Does this serve me? and it would provide me with the tiniest gap in my stream of thoughts, giving me a moment to observe myself, and decide whether or not this thought was one I wanted to partake in my life. Or not.
Having asked myself that questions tens of thousands of times, I no longer have to consciously think about it, because I truly have been re-programmed. My brain automatically takes me down that path, when called for.
The fact that you can re-program yourself is the message T. Harv emphasizes, over and over again. Starting with an introductory chapter on Your money blueprint, he moves on to the seventeen wealth files, which is his word for how to re-program your mind from a mentality and mindset centered on lack to one of abundance.
”The secret to success is not to try to avoid or get rid of or shrink from your problems; the secret is to grow yourself so that you are bigger than any problem.”
This I find truly interesting though, and I now know where a few of my friends have gotten this idea, they’ve obviously read Secrets of the Millionaire Mind themselves! And I have to say, this is a piece of first-class tankespjärn. Agree?
When I look back on my life, the moments of exponential personal growth and development, have – mostly – centered on big problems, to use T. Harv Ekers words. And as a direct result of those problems, I have grown. Immensely. Proof of which I’ve gotten, when somewhat similar types of situations have arisen, giving me ample opportunity to observe myself and compare Helena of today with Helena of the past. (And no, not judging Helena of the past as lesser, or bad, or wrong. Simply observing, from a place of self-love and -honoring.)
Have you grown yourself bigger than any problem of yours?Read More
In a sense. That’s enough.
You should simply get a hold of this book and read it. Regardless if you’ve read it before or not. Read it.
”Creativity is a shapechanger.”
550 pages of gold. Pure gold.
I would estimate that less than 20% of those pages have escaped my pen, my marginalia is on most every page. And there’s probably at least 100 dog-ears as well, pointing to the absolute gems of the book. The pieces I simply cannot imagine not being able to easily find again.
”As we create, this wild and mysterious being is creating us in return, filling us with love. We are evoked in the way creatures are evoked by sun and water. we are made so alive that we in turn give life out; we burst, we bloom, we divide and multiply, we impregnate, incubate, impart, give forth.”
The quotes I’ve chosen are from the chapter named Clear Water: Nourishing the Creative Life, and this book will forever be intimately linked within me, with The Creative’s Workshop, which I started about the same time I picked up the book. Even more so the weekly Reading Retreats I’ve shared with a few of my fellow workshoppers, which is where I’ve gotten a lot of hours into this book.
”If you are scared, scared to fail, I say begin already, fail if you must, pick yourself up, start again. If you fail again, you fail. So what? Begin again. It is not the failure that holds us back but the reluctance to begin over again that causes us to stagnate. If you’re scared, so what? If you’re afraid something’s going to leap out and bite you, then for heaven’s sake, get it over with already. Let your fear leap out and bite you so you can get it over with and go on. You will get over it. The fear will pass. In this case, it is better if you meet it head-on, feel it, and get it over with, than to keep using it to avoid cleaning up the river.”
As this is one of the twelve English books I’ve chosen to do book reflections on upon finishing them, the simple fact that I’ve written not just one, but two blog posts referring to Women Who Run With the Wolves before the official blog post on it, says a lot.
The fact that I’ve brought it up in threads in The Creative’s Workshop more than ten times, adds even more weight.
And then there’s the realization that this is The Book I would bring with me to a deserted island if ever asked that somewhat cheesy question What book would you bring with you to a deserted island? I imagine I will be rereading it over and over again. Or simply use this book as my daily companion (replacing The Book of Awakening, perchance?), picking it up, flicking to a random page, and reading a stanza or two.
”A powerful way to renew or strengthen one’s intention or action that has become fatigued is to throw some ideas away, and focus.
Take three hairs out of your endeavor and throw them to the ground. There they become like a wake-up call. Throwing them down makes a psychic noise, a chime, a resonance in the woman’s spirit that causes activity to occur again. The sound of some of one’s many ideas falling away becomes like an announcement of a new era or a new opportunity.”
Now you’ve gotten even more, and yet, only from one chapter. And there’s. So. Much. More.
So. If you weren’t convinced when I wrote this to start with, I write it again:
Get a hold of this book and read it. Regardless if you’ve read it before or not. Read it.