Advent Calendar

Advent Calendar 24 – Letting things unfold

Advent Calendar 24 – Letting things unfold

December 24, 2018
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Coming to a close with my advent calendar on the theme of being gentle I reflect on the process, where these blog posts are a tandem gig, with a Facebook live in Swedish always being the inspiration for the English blog post. Being gentle is a concept dear to me, as the shift from being unkind to gentle towards myself has had a profound impact on being me in the world.

I’ve been doing Facebook lives for 54 days in a row (yes. I am an upholder. No news there!), starting with 21 lives in English on coaching, continuing with no specific theme in mind yet daily until the advent calendar started on December 1st. A few years ago (honestly… likely around seven, or so?), I might well have set up a plan for each day, detailing the content in advance. Now – that’s not how I run. Sometimes I have an idea, but most of the time, it sort of just unfolds. I let the concept of what wants to happen now run wild and crazy, and have a lot of fun being creative and on-the-spot.

All the same, making more of my Facebook lives might very well be something I want to play around with at the start of the year. I will see – and so will you – how it all unfolds from here on.

There are so many ways for me to be gentle with myself; letting things unfold is but one of them. I hope you have found as many or more ways of being gentle with yourself, making it more fun and joyful being You in the world. And with that, I want to wish you a very merry Christmas!


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

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Advent Calendar 23 – Enjoying the Now!

December 23, 2018
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Woke up this morning to a white landscape, after having read in the newspaper yesterday that Christmas would be green down south in Sweden where I live. I was elated, and I was most definitely open for the magic of the ordinary, being totally awed by the transformation of the view outside my window.

I’ve shoveled snow! What a treat – and a great everyday workout as an added bonus.

Biked (!) to the grocery store – which is indeed an adventure with 10 cm of snow on the bike path -, did my Facebook Live outside and went for an evening walk, giving myself a thorough dose of the beauty of a snowy landscape. In between all of that, I’ve made vegan and vegetarian dishes for the Christmas Eve smorgasbord (spelled properly, i.e. Swedish: smörgåsbord), listening to Christmas music recorded a few years ago with the choirs of my parish (including mine, so yes, I’m in it).

Fully enjoying every moment. Because that is what there is. The Now. One after another, these Now’s are stacked upon the previous one, and all I ever really have is the Now. So I don’t care that the snow will soon start to melt away, transforming from white snow into greyish slush, turning into ice if and when the temperature drops below zero… as it is, right now, I fully enjoy it!


Advent Calendar 2018 – number 23 of 24 – on the theme of being gentle.

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Advent Calendar 20 – Time and patience

December 20, 2018
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My youngest cooked dinner tonight. I had asked him and added the extra challenge that I wanted him to make a new dish, which he did. Once he was finished, and we were eating, astonished he realized a full hour had gone by.

And yes. Of course. Cooking from scratch takes time in and of itself for me as well, but I’ve practiced chopping onion way more than he has. So I told him as much, telling him that’s one of the reasons why I want him to help with cooking dinner. It will give him the necessary practice, and in time, he will get more and more skilled at it. All of it. Deciding what to cook, checking to see that all the ingredients are available, planning what do do when while cooking, and finally the joy of sitting down to eat a homecooked meal.

And yes. Of course. If I had taken over the onion-chopping chore, it would have gone a bit quicker. But that’s where patience comes in. For me. Because if I had taken over, impatient and hungry, he wouldn’t be learning, would he? Things take time. And sometimes those things take patience to endure.

Being gentle has me being patient with myself. And those around me. It’s a vital ingredient of growing, of learning. Letting time work in my favor, allowing skills to get honed. My lindy hop-dancing is another example. I attended a beginners weekend a month ago, and have since attended four social dance events, held Wednesdays in my hometown. Have signed up for the B-level class in the spring, and so look forward to it. Because I know, that with a gentle mind, time and patience, I will get better at it. I mean, I am already better than I was a month ago, because practice makes if-not-perfect, then at least better. Without the two factors of time and patience (and curiosity, a willingness to learn, to try, to learn from mistakes and many other factors of learning!) learning would not happen, as I wouldn’t be giving myself a chance to learn.

And I want to. I love learning new stuff! (You too?)


Advent Calendar 2018 – number 20 of 24 – on the theme of being gentle.

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Advent Calendar 17 – Putting a spin on things

December 17, 2018
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Selling.

In Sweden, the land of the Jante-law, there isn’t anything quite as bad as selling. The image of a slick used car-dealer comes to mind, a lowlife, busy talking, never listening, wanting to trick me into buying a cheap car for more than it’s worth…

As I am self-employed since October of 2007, selling is a vital part of my professional life. If I didn’t “sell myself and my competence”, I would not be able to continue to be self-employed. It just wouldn’t work. But the inner resistance to selling has been massive, let me tell you.

So when I heard from someone that selling isn’t about tricking people into buying stuff they don’t really need, it’s about inviting people to look at something that I have found provides value to me something shifted within! All of a sudden, instead of selling being hard, uncomfortable, and something I wasn’t really proud of doing, there was a free-flowing energy, champagne bubbles and a playfulness in its place. From this viewpoint – selling is like asking someone to dance. I get a Yes or a No, and either way, I know what my next step will be; Either I start to dance, or I move on to the next person, inviting them to dance with me.

Both these viewpoints on selling are simply stories I’m telling myself. Neither is Truth. Both are opinions. The GPS-facts of a sale concern a transaction between two (or more) parties. The negative and the positive spin I put on that fact, is my opinion on it. So, why choose to put a spin on selling which doesn’t serve me (making me feel like a slick car salesman, pushing you into a sale), instead of a spin which does serve me (Wanna dance? Yes? Whoop! Great, let’s dance! No? Whoop, great, thanks for telling me! I’ll ask the next one in line to dance.)?

And selling is, of course, but one of all the words, actions and activities I am involved with, where I place opinions on a fact that might or might not serve me. The more aware I get about this, the better choices I can make!


Advent Calendar 2018 – number 17 of 24 – on the theme of being gentle.

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Advent Calendar 16 – To “bumblebee”

December 16, 2018
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A bumblebee is called humla in Swedish. I made a verb out of that many years ago, “att humla” i.e. “to bumblebee”. It sounds a bit weird in English, but I kinda like it.

“To bumblebee” means to go from one person to another, picking up little nuggets of wisdom, and sharing bits of that which I had previously picked up, moving on, and sharing more, just like a bumblebee flying from one flower to another gathering and giving pollen along the way. Connecting people, spreading a wider understanding and knowledge of who we are and what we know.

I toyed with the idea of putting bumblebee on my business card, as my title. I never did though, and now it’s too late as I never use business cards anymore. But I haven’t given up on bumblebeeing. I do it quite often. Sharing. Receiving. Getting and giving new perspectives and thoughts. It’s a big part of my growth, my expansion. As a person. Learning from my own experiences and insights, as well as from others, helping me grow and expand as a human being.


Advent Calendar 2018 – number 16 of 24 – on the theme of being gentle.

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Advent Calendar 14 – Caressed by life

December 14, 2018
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Caressed by life. 

The words popped into my mind as I was brushing my teeth this morning.
I feel caressed by life, and it’s the most wondrous of feelings.

Before brushing my teeth, I had already had a morning of letting come whatever wanted to come. Woke early, rearing to go. Settled into bed with pen and paper, and started to let words flow. Idea upon idea bubbled out of me; an explosion of creativity, captured on paper.

Went for a run, before heading into town for a creative meeting at Caspian’s invitation. A lovely meeting, making me tug at the bit, wanting to continue the exploration that we started today. At the end of the meeting, Caspian asked us for our take-away’s from the meeting. I couldn’t contain myself, blurting out I have just realized that I truly have a lot to contribute. I know stuff, have experiences and wisdom worth sharing, and I want to share it!

With another two meetings – as wonderful as my morning meetings (including the one with myself and my bubbling idea-volcano) and totally different at the same time! – during the afternoon, I’ve had a rich day. And I feel rich. Caressed by life!


Advent Calendar 2018 – number 14 of 24 – on the theme of being gentle.

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Advent Calendar 13 – Take good care of yourself

December 13, 2018
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If I don’t take care of me, who will?

No one. That’s who.

So the job falls on me – which is just the way I want it. It has me taking charge of my life, ensuring I get what I need. Enough sleep. Plenty of movement and exercise. Daylight! Friendship and love. Mental challenges. Being meticulous with what I ingest – not just food and drink. Mental ingestion is as important, if not more… That’s why I stopped watching news on the telly, twenty years ago. I have recently decided to stop subscribing to my morning newspaper. And I stopped reading crime novels and thrillers 5-7 years ago or so, but not because I don’t like them. I do. I did. There are some extremely skilled authors in this genre. But I simply did not want to fill my mind with horror and terror. So I stopped.

Perhaps that’s an idea for you to try as well? Or not?
Because even though I believe our basic needs are more or less the same, the How of them can vary greatly! And if you don’t try different things on – how will you know?

Yesterday I worked all day, then went to the silent after work, and straight from there to social lindy hop dancing organized by Cat’s corner at Moriskan… and guess what? Giving myself a few hours of swing music (put a tune on, and see if you can keep from smiling and tapping your feet, wanting to daaaaance?! I can’t!), dancing this coolest of dances, and being surrounded by other smiling people. What a treat, for me! And who knows, maybe you’d love lindy hop as well?!

If you take good care of you. And I take good care of me.
Then I can be my best me when we meet.
And you can be your best you.
Imagine the quality of the us we create between us then…

Doesn’t get much better than that, does it?


Advent Calendar 2018 – number 13 of 24 – on the theme of being gentle.

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Advent Calendar 12 – To try new things with a curious mind

December 12, 2018
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To try new things, with a curious mind – what a gift that is. To me. For everything I try, I can stop to think I might like it, or not. Because I know, since I have tried it. I’ve just given myself one of these gifts, having just attended my first ever silent after work – two hours of complete silence, sitting, standing, lying down, in a room with others, and the possibility to have a cup of tea or a sip of water. Two hours went by much faster than expected. And it felt really good. Perhaps because I’ve befriended Silence? My old self, the one with the extremely harsh inner dialogue, wasn’t all that thrilled about silence, as it made the harshness so much more apparent and obvious. But nowadays, with my gentle and curious inner dialogue, I have gotten to love silence. And new stuff as well.

Because the two go together.

I mean – silence and trying new stuff go together with respect to my changed inner dialogue. As you might imagine, having a harsh inner dialogue isn’t the best encourager of trying new things… dreading the response from within if I would fail (How stupid you are Helena! Did you really think you could do that?), or not like it (Come off it Helena, stop wasting your time on stupid things like this!) or any other discouraging response you could think of.

There’s also something special about firsts. So my first silent after work deserves a bit of special attention simply because it is a first. When my eldest child was born, and I was a single mom, I missed having someone to share all of my child’s firsts with. So I created an email list of everyone that I cared of – and I shared with them all, whenever there was something special. And often, when there wasn’t anything special as well – simply for the joy of sharing our day with others.

Since then, I’ve been extra attentive to firsts of all kinds. The first snow of the year. The first spring flower of the year. The first time visiting a new country, eating a new dish, trying something new and so on. There are so many firsts available for us, and I enjoy celebrating them, in one form or another. Just for the fun of it.


Advent Calendar 2018 – number 12 of 24 – on the theme of being gentle.

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Advent Calendar 11 – I was the most negative person I knew

December 11, 2018
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I have been the most negative person I knew.

For real.

The shift came about when I was nine months pregnant with my first child, when my then-husband called to break up with me. I was shaken, understandably, but at the same time took the opportunity to ask do you like who you are Helena? I also dared answer, truthfully, and the answer was heck no. I am so fed up being me!

Because I did hate. Or rather, I used the word hate. Possibly what I intended was disliked, but the word I used was h a t e. And it’s a word I am extremely restrictive with today. I can’t even say that I know there’s anything I hate, honestly. Hate takes a lot of energy. And I don’t want to put my energy on to that which I don’t want more of. I would much rather put my energy on that which I do want to see more of.

It is also very powerful for me to state this:
I have been and no longer am the most negative person I know! 

Once in a while, I do fall into negativity. Of course. I am human.
But it’s hard for me – truly hard – to remain negative for long. I simply cannot stay there. My mind automatically starts to look at what-ever-is-the-issue-at-hand from different perspectives, making it impossible to stay negative. Guess three times if I prefer being the most negative person in the world, or the opposite?


Advent Calendar 2018 – number 11 of 24 – on the theme of being gentle.

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Advent Calendar 10 – Close your eyes

December 10, 2018
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I blogged about the heightened sensations I experience when I close my eyes, in September 2013. Since then, I close my eyes more and more. When I sing with my choir, when I listen to a podcast, when I do my daily morning exercise or put a freshly-picked raspberry from the garden in my mouth. When I take a shower, dance to a favorite song, hug someone. Meeting life with closed eyes increases my awareness of the present moment (which is what life is. A moment of Now, replaced by a new moment of Now, and so on…).

Funnily enough, the other day I listened to a lecture on “The brain – what everyone should know” by Anna Tebelius Bodin, and she chocked me when she informed me that the brain receives 11 million inputs… per second! A ridiculous amount of inputs, and 10 million of these come from the eyes. (Valid for me as a seeing person. Someone who lacks eye sight have compensated and receives a larger part of their inputs from the other senses.) So when I close my eyes, it’s no wonder that the inputs from other senses get more attention.

I don’t know why, really, but in some instances, it is easier for me to say YES with my eyes closed. With eyes open, it’s easier for the brain to get engaged, to rationally think, to let my intellectual abilities be acting gate keeper. With eyes closed, the rest of me, my body and spirit, have a greater chance to be in on the decision.

Like my stints of digital sabbat makes me more grateful to be “back on my devices”, when I close my eyes, I experience more. Or perhaps just different?


Advent Calendar 2018 – number 10 of 24 – on the theme of being gentle.

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