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Wanderlust (book 24 of 26)

Wanderlust (book 24 of 26)

December 2, 2018
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Wanderlust. Rebecca Solnit. Subtitled A History of Walking.

“[…] each walk moves through space like a thread through fabric, sewing it together into a continuous experience – so unlike the way air travel chops up time and space and even cars and trains do. This continuity is one of the things I think we lost in the industrial age – but we can choose to reclaim it, again and again, and some do. The fields and streets are waiting.”

The most beautiful of languages she has, Rebecca Solnit. There are passages in this book where I am enraptured, of the sheer beauty of the words strung together with intelligence and tender loving care, all at once. The first two pages of chapter three Rising and Falling: The Theorists of Bipedalism is one of those places. I marked it in my copy of the book, with the words What a magnificently beautiful passage!

“[..] the sense of place that can only be gained on foot. Many people nowadays live in a series of interiors – home, car, gym, office, shops – disconnected from each other. On foot everything stays connected, for while walking one occupies the spaces between those interiors in the same way one occupies those interiors. One lives in the whole world rather than in interiors built up against it.”

Rebecca Solnit manages to write an expose on walking that takes it far wider than my imagination could have conceived. Making me realize just how important walking is, how it has roots in our hominid-background, and how it is, perhaps, on the verge of extinction…

“When you give yourself to places, they give you yourself back; the more one comes to know them, the more one seeds them with the invisible crop of memories and associations that will be waiting for you when you come back, while new places offer up new thoughts, new possibilities. Exploring the world is one of the best ways of exploring the mind, and walking travels both terrains.”

The passages I bring forth here are all linked together; all relate to the sense of place and space of walking that Solnit circles back to, over and over again in Wanderlust. I could as easily have chosen the topic of revolutions or perhaps of citizenship, and how walking has played an integral part in shaping the history of humankind. Or perhaps the apparent gendered bias making public spaces available for walking by men, and not women, for millennia. But I didn’t. As I write these reflections, I flick though the pages of the books I’m to write about, and as my eye falls on my pencil-scribbles in the margins, what tugs at me shapes my writing. And thus, this is what wants to be reflected upon.

“But there are three prerequisites to going out into the world to walk for pleasure. One must have free time, a place to go, and a body unhindered by illness or social restraints.”

I go for walks. By my very lonesome. Revelling in the different vistas my neighboring recreational area of Bulltofta grant me as seasons pass.

I take walk n talks as often as I can. Whenever someone asks me to join them for a cup of tea (usually they suggest coffee which I don’t even drink…), I almost always suggest a walk n talk instead.

And. I do CoachWalks, talking my clients walking with me, often along the paths of Bulltofta where I spend so much of my time. I usually look up, throw my arms to the side and exult Welcome to my office! When in physical motion, it’s hard – not to say impossible – for the mind to be immobile. So walking is one of my secret tools in my coaching tool box.

“Walking has been one of the constellations in the starry sky of human culture, a constellation whose three stars are the body, the imagination, and the wide-open world, and though all three exist independently, it is the lines drawn between them – drawn by the act of walking for cultural purposes – that makes them a constellation. Constellations are not natural phenomena but cultural impositions; the lines drawn between stars are like paths worn by the imagination of those who have gone before. This constellation called walking has a history., the history trod out by all those poets and philosophers and insurrectionairies, by jaywalkers, streetwalkers, pilgrims, tourists, hikers, mountaineers, but whether it has a future depends on whether those connecting paths are travelled still.”

Wanderlust. And important book.
Pick it up. Read it. And never look upon Walking quite the same way ever again.


The book I am blogging about is part of the book-reading challenge I’ve set for myself during 2018, to read and blog about 26 Swedish and 26 English books, one book every week, books that I already own.

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On the issue of the day

November 20, 2018
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I often return to blog posts of the past. My blog posts of the past. As I’ve been blogging for 6 years – more or less daily for 5 of those years – there are quite a few blog posts to choose from.

When there’s an interesting article or question or observation asked, many times I am reminded of something I’ve written that is relevant to whatever prompted the connection being made in my mind. So I search for it (and oftentimes find what I am looking for. Not always though) and can share what I’ve written and pondered about… about whatever really. Fear. Mistakes. Dancing. Coaching. Existential questions. Anything really!

And what is apparent, is how timeless many of my posts are. They can be recent or have 5 years to them, and still be as relevant today as when I wrote them. It’s not valid for all of them though, and listening to Seth Godin on Good Life Project, I got some insight into why that is. Seth was telling Jonathan Fields about “the issue of the day” and how he makes a point n o t to write about is – in specifics (listen from about 49 minutes in):

I care enough about my vision of the world that if I thought that I could change the way we did things by blogging about it, specifically, I would do it. But I feel like, a) chiming in on the issue of the day is a trap because it protects us from having to take responsibility for a larger view. […]
I think you can read at least half my blog posts as political, but none of them are saying Today, I think this person is wrong and this person is right, because as soon as I do that it’s so easy to ignore what I said because I am not on the right team, what ever team you want to be on. And so, I don’t want to play that sort of short-term tribal thing. Instead I want to say thank you to people from where ever you are coming from for giving me two minutes of your time, think about this. And if you think about this and still want to support that, well that’s your choice because you are a grown-up. Because I don’t believe what you believe, I don’t know what you know, I don’t want what you want. But here, here is a thought that feels to me coherent, and hard to argue with, and I notice things, do you notice this? And I know that that kind of input has influenced my life coming up, particularly as a teenager and surely thereafter, way more than when someone says this person is right, that person is wrong.

This is truly food for thought for me, and in how and what I write. Because I do chime in, now and again, on the specifics of the issues of the day. And those are posts that have a much shorter lifespan than posts that take the larger view.

I love how a new thought can open up for new perspectives – will this lead to changes in how and what I write? Or not?

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The Tibetan Art of Positive Thinking (book 23 of 26)

November 18, 2018
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Coming closer to the end of my reading challenge of 2018, the part which has me reading 26 books in Swedish and 26 in English, books I already had in my possession at the start of the year. The Tibetan Art of Positive Thinking by Christopher Hansard, is a book I got a year or two ago, on the recommendation of D.

“From the beating of our hearts at birth to our final breath in death, a continual stram of thought flows through us, making us, forming all our desires and directing unconscious actions, yet always guiding us towards greater self-knowledge. The power of thought is immense.”

It is. And the difference in how living life as me, before and after I realized exactly how powerful thought is… Huge.

“‘You are what you think.’ […] ‘Thoughts directs all things’, he said. ‘People pride themselves on how they think, but really it is thought that moves through people. Our thoughts create our lives, they make us sick, happy or successful. Our thoughts can pollute our planet through the actions we take. Thoughts on their own will gather like clouds in the sky, good thoughts coming together with other good thoughts and unskilful thoughts attracting other unskilful thoughts.'”

Or said in another way: we get more of that which we focus on. Another one of those clichés that I see people sharing, without fully realizing what it actually means. It means what it says. I do get more of that which I focus on. It’s simple physics. Like attracts like.

“Emotions are the teachers of human experience and we must always give thanks for them. They must not be denied but understood, loved and transformed.”

Allowing myself to feel what I feel, while at the same time, not necessarily take it so bloody seriously, or, for that matter, react upon every emotion that pops up within. Asking myself, how does this serve me, giving me that tiniest of distances towards myself, which can stop me from reacting, and instead having me choose my action.

Those are just a few of all the passages I’ve marked up until page 22. With another 250 pages to go, you do the math. So pick up a copy of this book, and find out for yourself what the ancient Tibetans (the Bön tradition, which began 17 000 years ago!) discovered about the world, our place in it and how everything connects.

“Complaining is damaging because words are the houses in which our thoughts live. They way you speak will indicate the way you think.”

That’s one reason why I have consciously chosen to be very restrictive with certain words. Such as right/wrong, good/bad, must/should/would/ought to. To name a few.

“If we become softer and slow our rush [in our search for happiness and meaning], the fear of desperation will fall away and we can then hear the tender voice of pure thought energy wishing only to guide us.
Make things simple in your life. Let your life become simple in its actions, communicate simply and let your love be simple, for then it will be profound.”

This reminds me of the phrase “Slowing down to the speed of life“, which actually is a book title, of a book I have yet to read. I will though, one of these days…


The book I am blogging about is part of the book-reading challenge I’ve set for myself during 2018, to read and blog about 26 Swedish and 26 English books, one book every week, books that I already own. 

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Written on the body

November 15, 2018
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What do you think about the book, he asked me?

I am not sure, I answered. It’s mixed. There is a sense of distance, like I cannot really get i n t o the characters, i n t o the book, in the way I like, to get engulfed. There are parts written in a way that I cannot fathom how any one person can actually come up with something like that (specifically the parts written about the tissues of the body). That fascinates me as it’s not something I could ever in a million year see myself doing. And then… at times, there are passages that absolutely knocks the breath out of me, with stunning clarity, beauty, punch.

“Bigger questions, questions with more than one answer, questions without an answer are harder to cope with in silence. Once asked they do not evaporate and leave the mind to its serener musings. Once asked they gain dimension and texture, trip you on the stairs, wake you at night-time. A black hole sucks up its surroundings and even light never escapes. Better then to ask no questions? Better then to be a contented pig than an unhappy Socrates? Since factory farming is tougher on pigs than it is on philosophers I’ll take a chance.”

These passages in Written on the body, they are not a soft pastel aquarelle painting. This is a book of oil on canvas, thick, rich colours and textures, dramatic and real.

“The earliest pilgrims shared a cathedral for a heart. They were the temple not made with hands. The Eklasia of God. The song that carried them over the waves was the hymn that rung the rafters. Their throats were bare for God. Look at them now, heads thrown back, mouths open, alone but for the gulls that dip the prow. Against the too salt sea and the inhospitable sky, their voices made a screen of praise. 
Love it was that drove them forth. Love that brought them home again. Love hardened their hands against the oar and heated their sinews against the rain. The journeys they made were beyond common sense; who leaves the hearth for the open sea? especially without a compass, especially in winter, especially alone. What you risk reveals what you value. In the presence of love, hearth and quest become one.”

Written on the body was the book-du-jour of the GIFTED book club meet up today. D chose the book, and boy, did he ever open it up for me (and the others I think). There are layers and layers to be discovered in this book. A spider web intricately woven by Jeanette Winterson, and D, with his passion and love for the beauty and hidden meaning/s of this (and other) books, pushed the door open for me. Made me realize there’s a whole universe to discover with this book as the entry way.

All of a sudden…. it’s a book I am more curious about now, that I was when I had first read it. Makes me want to read it again, to see if I can discover a few of the references and subtly hidden messages D talked so passionately about tonight!

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Make sure it involves others!

November 14, 2018
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When asked If I offer out the phrase living a good life, what comes up for you? by Jonathan Fields on the pod The Good Life Project, Mitch Albom answers brilliantly.

Make sure it involves others, he said. Not sure that you can, you know, ever live a really good life if you’re not doing things for other people, if you don’t make helping other people or lifting other people a central part of your life. 

Mitch Albom is the author of Tuesdays with Morrie, a book I read a loooong time ago. I might have read some other book of his as well, not sure though. Mitch Albom hasn’t been top of mind, that’s for sure. But then, saw him featured on a recept episode of GLP, and clicked Play. And baaaam – I was hooked! By his gentle and thoughtful approach to life. By the example he’s setting, how he walks his talk. For real – at least what I can tell from this conversation. So I listened, and – yet again, it happens now and then – immediately pressed Play once I got to the end.

Well worth a second round of listening, and I might very well take Mitch on once more, for that matter.

At the end, he quotes his latest book, The next person you meet in heavenThe end of loneliness is when you realize how much need there is in the world, and how if you give to others in need, your loneliness goes away.

That sentence…Something about it makes me pause. Reflect. Upon my own feelings of loneliness. Of the loneliness I perceive in others around me, and the suffering I pick up from them, due to it. All in vain? I mean… he’s right, isn’t? Mitch, I mean? That if I truly realized how much there is to just dig into – there is no shortage what-so-ever of places, people, projects to get engaged in – I could have the busiest and most jam-packed action-filled life ever. If that’s what I aimed for. That is a choice available to me. And to you.

Listen to the pod. It’s worth an hour (or two. Or three…).

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Daily reflections on coaching

November 6, 2018
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I am a sucker for challenges, especially of the kind that goes something along the lines of “do x for y number of days in a row”. So when I stumbled upon a challenge on Facebook to join the #BusinessBoomUtmaning (utmaning means challenge in Swedish) which challenges me to post a Facebook live-video every day between the 1st and 21st of November, I was game!

The group is in Swedish, but I chose to do my challenge in English, and I also decided to have Coaching as the theme for the entire gig. Every day since November 1th I’ve created a short Facebook Live-video, and I have every intention of fulfilling my obligation to myself of running the course.

And since it’s a daily challenge for 21 days, it’s easypeasy as well – because it means I know that every day I am to do a Live. I don’t have to wonder if “it’s today or not”, because it is. Every day. For twentyone days.

My choice of theme gives me ample opportunity to reflect upon what Coaching means. For me. And for my clients – at least what they share with me. Additional perks is learning to do FB Live:s, get me in the habit of doing videos, get better at talking directly to the camera, get thinking of coaching more specifically, get more to blog about (because whatever I reflect upon most likely can be turned into a blog post) and as icing on the cake, it’s great fun to keep tabs on how many views each video gets.

Do you enjoy this type of challenge? Or do you abhor them?

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The Great Misunderstanding (book 22 of 26)

November 4, 2018
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The Great Misunderstanding, by Premananda, is a book that my pod-leader from my Supercoach Academy training in 2014 talked to me about on our third physical meetup, in London. I don’t remember how me and Phil to to talk about it, but as he lives locally, he said he’d bring it the next day, or possibly the next meetup (which took place in Santa Monica a couple of months later), I can’t remember which. Anyhow, both me and Phil forgot, until SCA was over…. so one day, I got a package in the post, and it was this book, gifted me by Phil!

“You don’t have to do anything to be who you are.”

Since then (holy moly, had to count on my fingers, but it’s been f o u r years!), I’ve been planning on reading it, but… you know the drill. I must say, actually reading books I’ve intended to read for years on end has most definitely been one of the greatest perks of my 26 Swedish and 26 English books-challenge. Such a fulfilling side-effect that I will be doing some kind of version of this challenge next year as well!

“Projection means to imagine that another is responsible for something that goes on inside you. If you want to put an end to suffering in your life you have to take responsibility for it. It has nothing to do with anybody out there. Realising that is a very big step because we spend most of our time projecting onto others and blaming them for our misery.
Putting an end to our habit of projection involves looking honestly at our behaviour and patterns, without judgment and opinion. we don’t have to change them; we just have to see them. As soon as they are seen they are not just automatic anymore. We stop being robotic, no longer just victims of our conditioning, and we become present with life as it actually is, not as we imagine it to be.”

Supercoach Academy is grounded in the Three Principles, a simple way of describing that which, in my understanding, is the common thread of most (if not all?) – major – religions, namely the creation and experience of being a human on Earth. This is also what Premananda talks about in The Great Misunderstanding, with a focus on the fact that we are not separate, but rather, we are one.

The Great Misunderstanding is an easy read, a mix of input/information, conversations and jokes. All pointing to the same thing, that a strong identification with an ‘I’, to a large extent makes life difficult. Unnecessarily difficult.

“You are here on this planet to be empowered, to be beautiful, to be whoever you are supposed to be and to manifest this in the world. Do your dance, whatever it is. It’s not so difficult. You just have to remember who you are and surrender to that, trust it.”

I like what I read, even though it’s not exactly news to me, any of it. But it points me towards something that I know to be true, that I revel in, a space, a silence, an understanding, that has me “coming home” in a way, remembering who I am, and surrendering to it.

“Life itself is a mirror. […] Everything that happens in life is an opportunity to know yourself. In our modern society most people are simply not interested to know who they really are.”

I don’t know that to be true, that people aren’t interested to know who they really are. I think many are, but feel both scared and alone in this search, not knowing who to look towards, whom to be guided by. It’s like reflection, a practice that most people seem to have forgotten about, forgotten how it’s done, when, why. Possibly it’s the same with “knowing who I am” – there might not be enough people around who are interested in this question (who am I?) and talk about it so we can be inspired and guided by them? I want to believe that, rather than “no one is interested”.

“[…] everybody arrives on this planet with an invitation around their neck saying something like ‘welcome – have fun’, but unfortunately it seems to fall off in many cases.”

Welcome – have fun!
Now isn’t that a lovely way to greet life and every single day with?


The book I am blogging about is part of the book-reading challenge I’ve set for myself during 2018, to read and blog about 26 Swedish and 26 English books, one book every week, books that I already own.

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The self-care mastery of cats

November 3, 2018
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What are you thinking about?, I asked.

He looked at Pop the cat lying next to him on the sofa, carefully grooming himself, and said I am thinking about the self-care of cats. They are absolute masters at self-care. Look at him – carefully, meticulously and with the greatest care in the world, he’s gently taking really good care of himself. Licking his front leg, over and over, slowly brushing his leg over his face, licking once more, brushing his face. He, like all cats, simply excels at self-care.

Boom.
Yes!
That’s it.
That is what cats are, the self-care masters of the world!

I greatly enjoy watching Pop when he wakes up in the morning (often at the foot end of my bed, where he gladly can stay the entire night – never too long in one place, in one position, knowing, albeit he’s deep in sleep, that his body still needs to move to be supple in the morning), slowly stretching, growing to twice his length by reaching as far as he can with both front and hind legs. Twisting and turning his spine, getting vertebraes, blood, muscles and sinews going – mimicking Turning Torso, or rather, giving a perfect example of why Calatrava called his building just that.

And as I sit here, in the sofa once more (yes. I like my sofa.), guess who just came to snuggle up close to me? Yup, Pop the cat. And guess what he’s doing? Yup, practicing self-care! He’s a great role model, and an even greater reminder for me to practice self-care, as he’s around a lot (which he is because he’s a truly sociable cat, enjoying the company of people young and old alike).

My morning green smoothie, my Seven, my Headspace-meditation, my blogging, my reading, my moving around – a walk, a bike ride, a slow run. Those are the self-care-practices that come to mind, when I think about it. Having deep conversations with significant friends is another one, that is high on the list.

What type of self-care do you practice? And who is your guiding light, your role model, reminding you about taking good care of yourself?

 

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Be the change – cards and guidebook

October 30, 2018
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Be the change – a set of cards accompanied by a guidebook, all packaged in a beautiful box. Created by Vanessa Jane Smith of Crafting Connection, a dear campfire sister and friend of mine, and I am grateful to have been a small part of the birthing process of these wonderful cards. One of the cards “is me” even… symbolically speaking.

Vanessa presents the cards thus: Here are 53 invitations to play and stretch your thinking. They will make you stop, wonder, perhaps even confuse you for a second. They will put you in a new place where new ideas can come forward. 

Funnily enough, while drawing my card of the day, number 49 Trust and Let go, the image and the message is just what I needed to see and read right now: No matter what you are faced with now, you have a choice – to maintain the present order of things or to let go and allow it to reform. […] What do you now choose to definitively move towards?

You can buy these cards for yourself (from the website or the FB-page), and I so urge you to, as they are stunning, in all ways possible! Or as Vanessa frames it:

The cards and guidebook are a gift to you to be your own expert your own leader within each moment of every day.

Shake off any judgement or struggle because this is different from anything else you’ve done before.

Pick a card, jump in, and play!

Notice what comes up in you.

Perhaps it will trigger a feeling, an answer, an idea which you can bring into the group or just ponder on for a while.

This is how you will join new dots and connect new thoughts, ideas, and feelings in a new way.

So pick a card and start playing!

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Difference is a teacher

October 27, 2018
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I want my story heard, because, ironically, I believe Picasso was right. I believe we could paint a better world, if we learned how to see it from all perspectives, as many perspectives as we possibly could. Because diversity is strength, difference is a teacher. Fear difference; you learn nothing. – Hanna Gadsby

A dear friend of mine posted a summons on Facebook to watch Nanette, by Hannah Gadsby, telling me and his other friends, to “Watch it. Thank me later.”

I watched it a few months ago, at the suggestion of my ex-husband. I watched it then, and was astonished. Nanette is sensationally good, and Hannah Gadsby nails it, over and over and over again. But as I sat down in my sofa, wrapped in woolen blankets, with a cup of hot tea with honey, trying to scare away a headcold that’s been creeping up on me, reading Caspians summons, I figured, why not watch Nanette again?

So I did.
Just as astonished. Bowled over. Nailed. Over and over and over.
There is simply no hiding from her, from her justified anger, from her story.

I am angry, and I believe I’ve got every right to be angry. But what I don’t have a right to do, is to spread anger. I don’t. Because anger, much like laughter can connect a room full of strangers, like nothing else. But anger, even if it is connected to laughter, will not relieve tension, because anger is a tension. It is a toxic, infectious tension, and it knows no other purpose than to spread blind hatred, and I want no part of it because I take my freedom of speech as a responsibility. And just because I can position myself as a victim does not make my anger constructive. It never is constructive.

Laughter is not our medicine. Stories hold our cure. Laughter is just the honey that sweetens the bitter medicine. – Hannah Gadsby

To finish off, I’ll simply quote Caspian:
Watch it. Thank me later.

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