attention

Setting the tone: On gifting

Setting the tone: On gifting

January 1, 2021
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The bottom line:
Pick a topic. Any topic.
Bring it up in a circle of people, people open, curious and willing to contribute.
Behold: magic will unfold. 

Setting the tone, the tankespjärn-community monthly Zoom-call for December of 2020 on gifting, might well have been a major influence on what transpired a few days later, on Christmas Eve, as me and my children celebrated Christmas together. A Christmas different from all other Christmases, perhaps because of that fact alone, perhaps not, but regardless, the most magical of Christmases ever (another story, another time). And yes. A gift. To me.
And yes. A gift. To my kids.
And yes. A gift. To the three of us, to Us. 

We gifted each other one of the finest and most sought-after of gifts: time and attention. Presence. Respectful, loving, open and curious presence. Which, it just so happens, is also my major take-away from the Zoom-call, that being with someone, truly with, is one of the most valuable gifts a person can give anyone. Including oneself – tending to myself is (perhaps?) the biggest gift of all. If I do not, I will not, sustainably, be able to provide for others. 

In the Zoom-call on gifting we touched upon so many facets of gifting, the light, bright, shiny ones. Yes.
How a gift well-received, with grace and a heartfelt thank you, is a gift in and of itself.
How whatever it is that you do, and share, with a small or large circle, is a gift. Say, writing a book. Painting a picture. Baking a cake. 

And also, the darker, more murky and off-center-aspects.
How I am powerless over others, and thus, even if I act with the best of intentions, in gifting time and attention, or a thing, it might backfire, because those others respond in anger, in the same way I can, when I receive something I’ve not asked for, which isn’t what I want.
How the opportunities to bear gifts are so rife, it can be daunting in itself, freezing me in in-action, stuck in the thousands of opportunities arising each minute. 

And.
Then. This:
Compassion for self.
Empathy for others.

As it was spoken into the (Zoom-)room, God bumps spread across my limbs, a sign I always receive as the gift I know it to be, suggesting I pay extra attention right here, right now, because there’s Truth being told/shared. 

It is with the utmost grace I host, participate, and doodle, these community-meet up’s. To be able to do this, in the company of openhearted, respectful and loving souls, is such a gift to me, a priceless gift.


#tankespjärn, for those who wish to discover. More. Other. New. And yes. I mean you.
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Slowing down to the speed of life

November 19, 2020
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I turn off Spotify.
The pipes leading to the heaters gargle a bit, and a car drives by on the residential road outside. And there’s another one, farther away, on one of the larger streets a block or two away. My 16-year old son Benjamin semi-shouts Hey, hey upstairs, ensconced in his room, involved in a Valorant online-tournament with some friends, online-friends.
Car.
Another car.
And this ringing noise, slightly whining… is it but a figment of my imagination? Or perhaps, the residue of noise from just before, ruffling the sensory hairs in my ear canals, generating a high-pitched, yet more grass-rustling-in-the-wind-like noise.
I hear myself, breathing out. Breathing out again, and then, there, an even softer exhalation.
Benjamin scrapes his chair against the floor, which just so happens to be my ceiling, as he’s upstairs, and I am downstairs.
He laughs and yammers away, as I raise my head, looking out the window right in front of me, a head-movement accompanied by a crack in my neck, oops, another car on the street just outside the other window, the one to my right.
I’m sitting at the dining room table, the only table around, the kitchen too small for a kitchen table.
Look up again, another crack, but softer, more of a crick.
I inhale long, and deep, exhaling even longer.

In October of 2015, I went for a walk in the recreational park just across the street. It was a walk that etched itself deeply into my memories, as, for the first time, I s a w. I was more fully present to the beauty surrounding us, surrounding me, than I’d ever been before.

I don’t think I’ve ever experienced the beauty of fall as I am this year. And I don’t think fall has gotten more beautiful – I think the change is in me. I’ve never been so aware, never taken the time, to look, to see the colors, the contrast, the smell, the vibrancy. The energy!

Looking up once more, and yes, you know it, another crack.

It’s like an undulating wave, this paying attention and noticing. Now and again, I am at the peak of the undulation, totally present, attentive, noticing. Now and again, I am at the very bottom, lost to the world, nowhere close to the here and now. Most of the time, in movement along those undulations, headed towards attentiveness, or towards not-presenceness (a habit of mine. I make up words. Sometimes really good ones. Not sure this one qualifies though).

(Years ago….) I walked behind two people while walking through Hyde Park, and overheard part of their conversation.

Sometimes I give you book on how to live a good life and sometimes I give you books with good stories in them‘, the older man told his younger female walking companion, in an accusatory tone.

I spun a tale – a story? What i s the difference? I’ve never really given that much thought either, before. Now, it’s all I can think about… (well. Almost.) – around that, imagining, reflecting, perhaps even projecting?

I started to slow down to the speed of life in 2013, perhaps even more so in 2014, and have kept on with that practice ever since. And I see now, as I sit here, that ringing tone still present within me, starting to believe it’s not within me after all, but something you might also hear, if you were here, sitting opposite me at the table, that me slowing down, simultaneously made me level up in the art of noticing and paying attention. Within, as well as without.

And I love it.
But, without a doubt, there’s a lot more attention- and noticing-powers within me, so I am upping the ante, willing myself to play around with this for the next few days (and… hopefully, forever and ever!).


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

November 6, 2020
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The bottom line:
Disagreement, not to be feared, or avoided, but rather, providing an opportunity to learn, gain insight and lean towards one another, bridging the gap.

Disagreement.
Twelve people.
Monthly Zoom-call in the tankespjärn-community.

I had shared three plus one links, and another community-member added yet another link, pieces speaking to the topic on disagreement.
The Future of Marriage
Dare to Disagree
Extreme Listening
Befriending Radical Disagreement
How democracies fall apart

I did something new on this call, as I normally doodle during the hour. This time, I asked permission to record the call, so I could doodle afterward instead, while watching the replay. All in all, an interesting experiment, because the actual energy of the call, in real time, poured into a doodle, is energizing and heightens the experience for me. Now, 1,5 weeks after the call, I’ve yet to post a reflecting ”here’s the October Zoom-call-summary” (i.e. this blog post), and I wonder if this is not the reason. In a sense, I am in disagreement with myself, as I fear people experience me as distant and not paying attention, when doodling during the call, but not doodling during the call in a sense makes me less present. Interesting.

However, the call itself gave me many thoughts, as these calls are wont to do, as the doodle reveals to a greater extent than what follows. One of them being the signal disagreement carries, that here’s (possibly) a relationship needing my attention. The possibility lies in whether or not this is a relationship I care about. If not, perhaps the signal sent by the disagreement is to walk away. If yes, disagreement tells me here’s an opportunity to listen. Give the other person/s the gift of feeling heard, truly heard. Might be uncomfortable, within, but when listening, most often there’s the chance to find something to grab onto, something which connects us, something we have in common. A bridge, from you, to me, finding that place of sameness that you can then truly grow from. Where we agree on the foundational value but disagree on the how to get there.

The physicality of disagreement can take varying forms, one of the more subtle ones displayed in what happens when I put my hand out in front of me, like a stop-sign. If I then ask you to do the same, placing your hand up against mine, without fail, if I start to push, you will push back. I’ve yet to come across anyone n o t pushing back (except perhaps others who also uses this method to get their point across), and when I let go, when I release the pressure I am exerting, letting my hand fall away, the others hand follows along, because the resistance is gone. And with resistance gone, the stand-still comes to a close, and movement is possible. Again. Anew. If there’s a disagreement on the horizon, instead of sitting down opposite each other, try taking a walk. Side by side, disagreements have a harder time finding its foothold.

How the fear of disagreement might make me shut up, not express myself, not voice my opinion. Sometimes it’s not fear stopping me, sometimes I simply cannot be bothered. My take; this speaks to a lack of interest in the person and/or the argument.

Disagreement creates friction, which can initiate movement, making us come closer (or drive us farther apart), and how that friction often manifests as d i s c o m f o r t. How discomfort always, inherently, carries with it the opportunity for healing, which led to this powerful statement: Addiction is avoidance of discomfort. Logically, what follows then would be, with addiction, no healing?! If the path of least resistance (the addictive behavior) is chosen, facing discomfort not being chosen, the opportunity to burn through some emotional baggage gone.

And also, how thank god we do disagree. On what is beautiful, important, significant, thrilling, interesting. Without that type of disagreement, there would only be one type of art, and can you imagine a more boring world than one with only one artistic expression present? Disagreement thus helps generate change, providing the necessary friction and traction that makes movement possible.

Disagreement can make me lean towards, rather than away, and that to me, brings the feeling of hope, a feeling I naturally opt for, when given a choice (and when am I not given a choice? As the choice is mine, the choice is always given. I do not always choose it though.). All in all, I left this conversation with much greater regard, even fondness, for disagreement. Quite something, isn’t it?


#tankespjärn, for those who wish to discover. More. Other. New.
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Going for the shotgun approach

June 18, 2020
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I could chastise myself for not being a better community-creator over on Patreon, but what good would that do me? Or my community members, for that matter?

No good what-so-ever.

So, when inspiration struck, I seized the moment, sending out an invite for a Zoom call on attention and intention come Sunday morning.

And, like the other times I’ve sent out an invite to join me on Zoom in the tankespjärn-community, regardless if someone pops up, or not, I will be there. I will bring my attention to my community because that is my intention.

(And yes.
Of course, I would rather you joined!
You, who are already a member of the community.
You, who have thought about it but not checked it out for yourself. Yet.
You, who’ve perhaps heard me mention it, but never really checked it out.
You, who’ve never heard about it.

All of you.
Welcome to join.
It would make me thrilled.
And happy. Elated!

And yes.
Here I go again.
Going for the shotgun approach once more, sending it out, into the void, the digital chasm, where – perhaps. Probably. Even likely? – no one actually feels invited. Personally invited. Which you are, I am just on the edge of my comfort zone here.

So.
I will.
Send out invitations.
Personally. Truly personally.

And I will come to you as well.
And you, you, and you.

Charlotte. Matthew. Alison and Lena. Janine, Verenice, Marcus. Andrea.
Jim and Gary. David and Dave. Angelica. Kristina. Pernilla and Elenor.
All of you.
Because you are all important to me, and I would love for you to join me!

One step at a time, even the smallest of steps can take me around the world. If only… I take them, step after step. That’s what I am committed to.)


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

June 2, 2020
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On this #blackouttuesday as I sit here, trying to take it all in, reading some (not a lot), watching some (not a lot), listening some (not a lot), I come back to this:

Attention energizes.
Intention informs.

To what do I give my attention?
What do I want to see more of in this world?

How am I being informed by my intentions?
What’s my learning like?
How can I expand it, go beyond, stretch myself, crossing edges as yet not crossed by me, helping me learn more, see more, grasp more?

And then… turning the energizing attention, and the informed intention into action.
That’s how change is made, by Being the person Doing the work.

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Attention energizes. Intention transforms.

June 1, 2020
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Attention energizes.
Intention transforms.

Two phrases I pick up on, every time I hear them. Which I’ve done a few times lately, in the voice of Deepak Chopra from a few of the meditations that are part of his 21 day abundance-challenge.

When I hear them, I am jolted out of my lull.
There’s something to these words –this combination of words– that wakes me up, makes me alert.

At first, I put attention energizes into a negative category, linking attention to what I call drama. When someone does or says something, or omits to do or say something, and how these actions/non-actions can be nitpicked and studied, broken down into their very smallest pieces, and judged.
Right. Wrong. Who’s the victim? Who’s the perpetrator?

And, falling into the normal pattern of polarizing, if attention energizes is negative, then intention transforms would automatically fall into a positive category, right?

Well.
Let’s just say, that today upon waking, after both conversations and internal reflections upon current affairs throughout the weekend, I realized how off my categorization is.

Neither phrase is negative nor positive.
They just are.

Attention energizes.
Intention transforms.

This is information.
It’s not advice on what to do or not to do, but input to be put to use, when and where it serves me, you, us, the greater good.

Attention energizes.
Intention transforms.

What if (more) attention was given, with a clear intention at its core, as the driver? What might shift then? Individually as well as collectively?


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