Akimbo

2020, a year to remember 

2020, a year to remember 

December 31, 2020
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The bottom line: 2020. One of the best years of my life, in large part due to new connections I’ve made this year, as well as the old ones that have deepened. 

When asked, I say that 2020 has been one of –if not The– best years of my life.
I mean it. It has.
In no way does that diminish the fact that’s it’s been one of the worst years for many, which pains me. However, it is my understanding that my experience of 2020, all the riches, connections and insights I’ve been given, also means that I emit nurturing and nourishing energy to a world in desperate need for just that. 

If I had to single out one aspect of 2020 that makes it the best year ever, it would be connection. The depth of connection, of communion even, I’ve experienced this year, goes beyond any and all things I’ve ever experienced. Ever. Starting the year off with a hide-away together with my two Buddhas Caspian and Dominic certainly set the tone for just this aspect of 2020, and then, for some reason, I finally signed up for an AKIMBO-workshop, after having thought about it for years on end. The Creative’s Workshop started in February. The Corona-virus beginning to sweep across the world just then had some participants lean out and leave the workshop, whereas the rest of us leaned in, fully, completely, the global community a life-line in so many ways during the months to come. 

Covid also caused me, Caspian and Dominic to set sail with Buddhas by the roadside, our podcast. We’d been experimenting since the summer of 2019, but never got the ship ready to actually set sail. When covid hit, we all felt a great need to talk with each other with covid as a central theme. Deeming it better to get our conversations out there then not, made us release the pod into the world, no matter how rough, raw and rambling our conversations are.

The Creative’s Workshop also spawned a number of groups I am still enjoying the company of, the Monday afternoon Reading retreat being one of the most consistent of them all. The void left upon the closing of the Discourse-platform the workshop ran on gave way to a Creative Community that’s now as vital and natural a part of my day as air and breath is. But then again, TCW also gave birth to my tankespjärn-community, which gifts me one of the highlights of my life, the monthly Zoom-calls. I love, love, love the way tankespjärn flows freely from heart to heart, from head to head, from soul to soul. 

At the end of the year, my time is spent in another AKIMBO-workshop, The Story Skills Workshop, where yet again, I am like a little goat kid let loose on a field filled with interesting things and fascinating creatures to discover, play and have fun with. This part of me in not only on display in online-workshops though. I’d dare say this is an accurate description of how I’ve showed up in the pharma-project I’ve invested many working hours to this year too. And not just me, my colleagues were game to discover, play and have fun right alongside me.

A new website will see the light of day come the new year, and with Lena I’ve set up an advisory board, meeting every third week to dive deep into what’s and how’s, anchoring them firmly in personal why’s. And those personal why’s… identifying with the Upholder-tendency with regards to internal and external expectations, this year has helped me level up. May 17th as I planned to head out to get my daily 10K in my body… something whispered No. Not today. You are not to leave the premises today. I listened. And I stayed put, letting go of that intention of mine, to move at least 10K/day, one which I’d adhered to for the better part of a year. But no more. 

This was the final piece of the puzzle I needed to be able to see that for me, with my strong Upholder-tendencies, being open to letting go of routines and habits that no longer serve, is of vital importance to me. Otherwise, I risk running myself to the ground, doing things I rationally perceive to be good for me. My rational self serves me. And, if I am not careful, it might well topple me over at times too. Looking back at the summer, which is when the pharma-project was put on hold, I am grateful it happened as I was severely singed around the edges, not far from burnout. Doing absolutely nothing for the better part of not just three weeks of vacation, but a few more weeks, having learned how to listen to that inner voice that told me to stay put was of immense value to me recovering, regaining strength, energy and capacity.

Besides gardening, the only this I did over the summer was read. Being 10-15 books behind my Goodreads reading challenge for 2020 (to read 65 books) at the beginning of summer, by the end I was 10-15 books ahead instead. Today, I finished my 88th book of the year, having read 23 087 pages in all. folklore played more or less around the clock during the summer holidays too, and I’ve binged a significant number of series too, Vikings, Game of Thrones, Handmaid’s Tale, The 100’s and currently Orphan Black, to name but a few. Given that, my fingers got a bit restless so I’ve knitted, crochet and even started to mend my own jeans curled up in the cozy corner of the sofa, watching Netflix, HBO and SVT Play. 

The book that made the most impact out of the 88 was, without hesitation, Women who run with the wolves, a book I’ve dubbed my take-to-a-deserted-island-book. I imagine I could reread it every year for the rest of my life and still find new gems and gain new insights from it. I’m actually of a mind to start a recurring book-circle to help me get it on a deeper level. For sure, this book helped me finally take the plunge into what I call my deep dive into shame, that I initiated around the half-year mark of 2020. It will continue on in 2021, who knows for how long. I do sessions with D on the topic, as well as write. A lot. 53 000 words so far, and who knows what this will turn into. In due time. At the moment, I share it in a small and select community, where I’ve received endless support to continue diving ever deeper. Which I do. 

With my body in focus being my intention of the year, I started off with an undefined idea. I knew there was to be an element of play, but I had no idea how little what I thought the year would focus on (strength, suppleness, endurance) I have focussed on. Or… perhaps that’s not true. Perhaps that is what the year has been focused on, only not in the images I had in mind when I wrote it. With Wivan as my Walkfeeling-coach since April or May, I am not surprised that I’ve started to become much more attuned to the signals my body emits, and the cyclic pattern of them. Plenty of barefoot-walks, daily cold showers since October, starting to ask my body for advice, and even going indoor-climbing with Caspian. Lindy hop-classes have been sadly interrupted by Covid, not so surprising, and unfortunately the same is true for choir-practice. But not until we’d managed to do a live-streamed spring concert, and then, before the second wave was upon us, an All Saint’s Day concert too. 

Christmas Eve was spent with my children, at home, and turned into an evening I will forever remember, in sync with my sentiment for the rest of the year, possibly the best Christmas Eve I’ve ever experienced. (That’s a story all in itself, and one I will share, in time. Rest assured.) And today, as the children will have New Years Eve-dinner with their father, I look forward to an evening all on my own. Going deep within, luxuriating in my own company, I cannot imagine ending this year in a better way. 

I’ve already set the intentions for next year, which, for me this time around, won’t start tomorrow, on January 1st, 20201, but actually started already on December 22nd, 2020, the first day after the winter solstice. The intention reads Ask – Listen, to and with All of Me – Act, and it is with that intention top of mind and deep in heart, that I bid 2020 farewell. A year I will always remember.

 

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Story Skills Workshop

November 15, 2020
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I did it.

I held out for four months, but finally, I could not withstand the pull to engage in another AKIMBO workshop. I signed up earlier this week, and am now, already, madly-in-love-with and knee deep into the Story Skills Workshop. (If you read this before the 16th of November, 2020, there’s still a chance to dive in with me!)

With a total of fourteen lessons dropping every other day or so, I look forward to learn a lot, discover even more, and get (and give) ample tankespjärn. The first lesson on Why, I responded to thus:

What brought you to this workshop?
A pull, the first since being on the first cohort of The Creative’s Workshop, the first real pull of a soft inner voice saying this, this is something for you. Just the way it was with TCW, which is the first AKIMBO-workshop I’ve ever taken, even though I’ve been drawn to them, drawn, not pulled, subtle difference, and yet, one I’ve distinguished between, ever since Seth Godin first started plugging the altMBA.

Small nudges in response to me putting out into the world my thoughts on joining the Story Skills Workshop, the universe aligning, making the pull ever-stronger, magnetic, harder to resist. Possible to resist, now and again, I do resist on of these pull’s. But not this time. This time I went for it.

What’s the story you want to tell?
If anything, this is what’s unclear, here I do step out into unknown territory (and what a treat that is!). I have blogged since 2012, resulting in a lot of personal storytelling published. Since a few months back I am doing a personal deep-dive into shame, using different modalities, writing being one of them. I am sharing these writings, not (yet) publicly on my blog, but in a smaller circle of creatives, and I know (owning it.) the power of this material.

However, I do not feel that material is what I am to share here. It’s too personal, in one sense, but more than that, it’s a bit too raw, too current, to share here, not sure I could take it being nitpicked and scrutinized the way I want to invite nitpicking and scrutiny to my participation here.

So likely, I will be sharing personal stories, blog-worthy stories, strung together solely by the fact of me. But who knows…

What are some of your challenges when it comes to storytelling?
Well, possibly my greatest challenge is how to distinguish between personal and private, what is too intimate to share. And the hurdle there involves others more than me, honestly. I am what I am, who I am, because of others, loved ones as well as mere acquaintances, or even strangers. Where do I draw the line? Who, and how, do I bring into my reflective ruminations? Where do I draw the line? Who do I describe in such a way that they, and others close to me, would be able to distinguish, to know, who I am talking about? What events can be shared, where identity is revealed? When does it make sense, when doesn’t it? When might it even be hurtful to the person/s? Does the end justify the means? What –how– can I do to tell my story in a way that makes the story worth telling, without telling someone else’s story, in a way they do not want their story told? Where/How do I draw the line?


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

 

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Willing myself into murky waters

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

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


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

That’s what the Prompts feels like to me.

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

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

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

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

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

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Should I create and curate The Ultimate Podcast list?

January 12, 2019
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in Tip
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Caspian asked me if I had any podcast episodes to recommend to him… and I had to stop myself after sending him links to 5-6 shows. I could have kept going for a long time. I told him Perhaps I should set up a top-100-list and he cheered me on. So the question of the day is: Should I create The Ultimate Podcast list by Helena Roth? 

It does entice me. There are just sooo many wonderful podcast episodes I’ve listened to. I’ve blogged about a lot of them, and that is a good starting point for my list, of course. I listen to pods in both English and Swedish though, so possibly I should have two lists? Maybe, maybe… If so, I will start with the English one, because I’ve got a bigger reservoir of great pods in English.

Off the top of my head, I can easily pick five podcast episodes to start off my 100-list:

#053 Gabor Maté – Damaged leaders rule an addicted world at Under the skin with Russell Brand

How friendship and quiet conversation transformed a white nationalist at On Being 

What borders are really about, and what we do with them (especially the [Unedited] Luis Alberto Urrea) at On Being

The problem with the solution at Invisibilia

Juggling and bicycles at AKIMBO: A podcast from Seth Godin

So yeah.
I think I will create my Ultimate List. I won’t do it in this blog post though. Rather, I will create it as a separate blog post that I will be updating on a regular (or irregular) basis. I will (likely) also be blogging about each episode making the cut. Which is fun, because the five episodes I rattled off the top of my brain, are as yet un-blogged. Goodie – I will have no end of blog-ideas in other words!

What’s your best ever podcast episode? Perhaps one that you’ve listened to over and over again? Possibly one that left you all shook up, in the best of ways? Let me know – perhaps it will make the cut!

 

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