asking

calling out for mama

calling out for mama

June 6, 2020
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She showed me the trailer to American son on Netflix, and in no time at all, I asked if we couldn’t watch it. So we did. Had us frustrated, irritated, annoyed, upset and shocked.

Then a friend in The Creative’s Workshop discovered Stabat Mater, the piece Jens Bragdell Eriksson, my choirmaster, wrote in 2016 for my choir. Listening she wrote, having me put the album on myself, so I can listen knowing she’s doing the same, on the other side of the world. Together, at a time like this. Important. Vital. Rejuvenating. 

American Son.

Stabat Mater.
At the Cross her station keeping,
stood the mournful Mother weeping,
close to her Son to the last.

And George Floyd calling out for his mama, before dying.
(Click this link. Read it. Promise me, you’ll read it. Then come back here.)

The synchronicity of it hitting me hard.
Parents. Children.
Death. Dying.
Life. Living. 

Trying to make sense of experiences I cannot possibly experience, asking when I don’t, taking in the differences in what it is to be human, in someone else’s body. 

There’s so much to learn, and I intend to continue learning.
Listening. Reading. Watching. Conversing. Asking. Writing. 

Being. And Doing.

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The generous thing is asking for help.

May 5, 2020
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Yes. The generous thing is asking for help.

And. Of course, this can be misused, everything can be misused!

So if you are a person asking for help a lot, when you ask, why are you asking?
What’s your reason? What’s your rationale? Is it a habit you’ve gotten into, a way to get out of taking responsibility for your own life? Is it a way to skirt your issues, your fears, your perceived inadequacies? In a sense, is you asking a way for you to hinder yourself (unconsciously) from growing, from learning, from expanding as a human being? A way of belittling yourself? Or is it truly because you’ve done the work, and are asking when appropriate, which I wrote in yesterday’s post as well? If so, yes, yes, yes, the generous thing is asking for help!

And if you are a person constantly asked to help, when you help, why are you helping?
What’s your reason? What’s your rationale? Is it a habit you’ve gotten into, a way to get out of taking responsibility for your own life? Is it a way to skirt your issues, your fears, your perceived inadequacies? In a sense, is your helping a way for you to hinder yourself (unconsciously) from growing, from learning, from expanding as a human being? A way of belittling yourself? Or is it truly because you’ve done the work, and are helping from a place of you taking responsibility for answering/helping truthfully, which I wrote in yesterday’s post as well? If so, yes, yes, yes, the generous thing is helping!

These aspects are really important to take into consideration

Based on a knowing that people are holding themselves (self-)worthy, (self-)responsible and (self-)honored, regardless if asking or helping, or in any other situation, I am much freer to Be in the world without taking on what is not mine to take on (There’s my business, your business and God’s business, to quote Byron Katie). This knowing might well be called an assumption. And I am not prone to liking assumptions, given that assumptions are the mother of all fuck-ups, and yet… this might well be one of those instances where it actually does serve me.


#tankespjärn, for those who wish to discover. More. Other. New.
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Not wanting to ask for help

May 4, 2020
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Like a constant hum in the background, the insistence on not wanting to ask for help. I hear it from many, most even. It’s uncomfortable, it feels scary, in part perhaps due to thoughts about belittling oneself by asking? Or is it more to do with not knowing that the answer will be favorable, and from fear of the unknown, the uncontrollable, it’s easier to simply bore down into whatever it is and try to manage by yourself, instead of putting yourself through the risk of being turned down?

One of the interesting facts about help – almost no-one claims to like asking for help, but most everyone loves to help. So the generous thing is to ask for help, when appropriate, giving others an opportunity to step in and help.

For me, asking for help is something I’ve gotten quite good at, in large part due to the fact that since childhood I have a friend who’s a great helper, and at the same time, someone who would never say that she can help if she cannot. So I know, upon asking, that if she says Yes, it’s unequivocal, and if she says No, it’s because she cannot. Making it very easy for me to ask, as I know she takes full responsibility for answering truthfully. And when there’s a No, it’s not because she doesn’t like me, or thinks I am silly to ask, or… you know, all those dead-ends the mind has a habit of detouring into now and again.

But is there a difference between asking for Help versus asking for Assistance? Or is that difference purely semantic? And, equally important to ponder, is there a difference between Helping versus Assisting?


#tankespjärn, for those who wish to discover. More. Other. New.
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With a little help from my friends… or with money?

February 11, 2019
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When I have a need, say of a long ladder so the chimney sweeper coming for his annual visit can get up on the roof, or a car for a few hours or a day, or help to take care of Pop the cat for a few days, or whatever really – my first instinct is to think about my friends. Might there amongst them be someone who can help me, or at least point me in a direction that could solve my problem/tend to my need?

I think it always has been my initial reaction. But I’m not sure.
I know I started to get really good at asking for help once my first marriage crashed and burned five weeks before the birth of my eldest child. Have a hard time to recall if I was as good at asking for help before that, but have a feeling I was. At least pretty good at it. But ever since that crash and burn, I’ve gotten really good at asking for help, and am proud of it!

The other possible reaction is to look for a service provider to tend to the need. Buy a ladder. Call a taxi or book a car in a carpool. Get Pop a few days vacation at a cattery.

These two approaches to life, and to solving one’s needs, are just that, two different approaches. I for one instinctively go for the first, and if that doesn’t work out, choose a suitable service provider to ensure I get my needs met. Neither approach is inherently good or bad. But… at the same time, the benefits of the first approach, of asking near and dear ones for help, has some (perhaps not so) hidden advantages to it. If I ask you for help, and you can help, the likelihood of you asking me, or others, for help when you need it increases. In this way, we weave a tapestry of relationship, of friendship, of live, concern and care. If I always turn to a professional service provider to help me out, I am effectively not weaving myself into that tapestry of mutual relationships, and I think that’s a dangerous path to choose.

We know that one of the most significant indicators of happiness is the strength of a person’s relationships. Asking for, and responding to requests for, help, is definitely one important part of relationship-building. We are better together, that’s the superpower of human beings. If I don’t do my bit in giving others the chance to help me, I am holding back on strengthening relationships not just for my own sake, but also for those close to me, am I not? And what message am I sending, by not asking for help? Is it a signal I want to send?

So perhaps… I am wrong in saying there’s nothing inherently good nor bad in these two approaches? Perhaps there is more good to be had from asking for help, than from paying a service provider? At least if I never ever ask anyone for help. But perhaps people like that simply do not exist?

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The answer is No…

November 16, 2018
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A few weeks ago, Vanessa of Crafting Connection (remember, the one with the amaaaazing Be the change-cards) shared an image on Facebook and Instagram, and I made a screen shot, because I found it do to the point:
If you don’t ask the answer is NO!!

So simple. So brilliant. And so ridiculously true. If you don’t ask the answer is NO!!

And still… here I am (possibly you as well?) hesitant to ask. Fearing the possible no. Totally missing the super-obvious, that if I don’t ask… the answer is given. No. Because I will n o t get what I don’t ask for (yes. Of course. Given that it is a something that I have to ask for to get. If it was something I could do myself, I would. Duh…).

Reminds me of something I have kept coming back to these past weeks, in various situations. That most of us would raise our hands if asked if we like to help other people. And – here comes the sad part – most of us would not raise our hands if asked if we like to ask for help from others.

I wonder how much the fear of getting a No is at the root of this behaviour? Probably quite a lot. And it’s a shame. Because if I, and you, and everybody else who refrains from asking for help, would start to look at is as providing others with an opportunity to do what people in general like doing, i.e. being of assistance, being helpful, perhaps more of us would raise our hands when asked Do you like to ask for help?

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