being gentle

Ebook in the making

Ebook in the making

October 29, 2019
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So.
Here I am. Day two of my writing retreat with Sara, and I am busy, but not writing, at least not as much as yesterday. You see. I had an(other) epiphany last night: At this very moment, I have 1768 posts on my Swedish blog and 527 on my English. Soon 528, once this goes live. It’s a gold mine! A lot of these just short of 2300 posts are really good, and it’s a shame that I don’t make more of them.

I have had “create an ebook” on my intention for this year, without taking action, and truth be told, I’ve had it on my radar for at least 3-4 years by now. It. Is. Time. To. Act.

So.
I am acting.
I’ve downloaded bookwright from Blurb that I am fairly used to working with that program, and am busy creating my first ebook. To make it as easy as possible for myself, I am ebooking (is that a verb? If not, it is now!) my Doing Gentle-series of which there are 45 blog posts with an added monthly Being Gentle-reflection, which I figure will make a great ebook or two.

(The truly observant person will, at this point, scratch their head, going Hm… Wasn’t she on another mission? To write and schedule at least 7 blog posts, to get her set up to ensure there’s more time to review and rewrite blog posts?

Yes. You are right. I was. I am. It’s just… today there’s energy for ebooking, which there hasn’t been before. Ever. So, when the urge hit me, I decided to go with the flow.

Dumb move? Well. We won’t ever know, will we? And anyway, it’s not a life-or-death-matter, and… come to think of it, perhaps there’s a way to get both these missions of mine accomplished. I want to reuse material and I want to create time to review and trim texts that are as yet unpublished. Perhaps I should set up a reposting-scheme, reusing existing blog posts on a more regular basis, like I did with my #ThrowbackThursday-posts in 2016?)

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Automate it!

February 6, 2019
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in Tip
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Automate it, I said, and she frowned. That sounds like robots and stuff, she responded and had me off on a rant about the marvel of automating things, and how it can be robots and stuff, certainly, but also what I make automatic in my life. Like the question Does this serve me? which I’ve asked myself thousands of times since… 2012?

In fact, I’ve asked myself this question so many times, that I no longer have to ask it to answer it. It’s now something I do automatically, whenever (or at least most of the times) I experience a really strong sensation, be it anger, irritation, frustration, fear, sadness, anxiety, worry. Or for that matter extreme elation, joy, curiosity, bubbling eagerness. The script of does this serve me runs automatically, and my response has me make a more conscious decision. It gives me just enough of a pause, or a distance if you will, to be able to observe what I am experiencing and respond to the question.

If the answer is yes I keep on going. If the answer is no sometimes I keep going anyway, taking full responsibility for it, and sometimes (most of the times, I would like to think) I stop, since the pause I’ve given myself gives me a way out somehow.

Insights are amazing. They are one of, if not the best superpowers of human beings. One of the most impactful insights I’ve gotten was that I don’t have to be so hard on myself. Sounds silly almost, but I was actually about… let’s see… 35 years old when I fully got this. So for 35 years, I lived with an extremely harsh inner dialogue. But – and this is important – just because I got the insight, didn’t mean that I automatically stopped being hard on myself. You see, for 35 years, I’d very efficiently built a whole system of neural pathways on how to be hard on myself. And just because I got that insight, those pathways didn’t disintegrate. They didn’t, because neural pathways don’t. (Unless you have a neural degenerative disease of some sort. Luckily, most of us don’t.) So what I had to do, once I got that insight, was learn new ways of interacting with myself.

I was helped along by my willingness to change my inner dialogue (which definitely also affected the way I interacted with everyone else. As above, so below and all that stuff!) and my observatory powers. I started to observe myself being hard on me. At first… it could take me hours (if not days) to spot it, after the fact, that is. After a stint of that, my revelatory observations crept closer and closer to the actual situation, and before I knew it, I was picking up on my soon-to-be-harsh inner dialogue. Before it happened. When that happened, I had a choice. Harsh. Or gentle. And I could pick which route to go down. And once I started picking gentle I started to build new neural pathways, training myself into new patterns of being with me.

Now 10-11 years after that first initial insight of not having to treat myself so harshly, I’ve gotten sooo good at being gentle with me. Not soft. Not weak. Not letting myself off the hook, and never challenging me. No, not even close to that! I challenge myself so much more now that I no longer fear my internal judge! So in a sense, I’ve not just automated does this serve me, but also being gentle with myself.

Both of these are ”automated scripts” that I find truly serve me as well as those around me.

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2019. As I am.

January 1, 2019
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As I am. 

I asked my friend D to translate “gown off” into Swedish. “Gown off” popped up in my first conversation with my new coach. I described the general feeling of that conversation, and somehow D managed, as so often (always?), put words to that which goes unspoken.

So all of a sudden, “gown off” turned into “as I am”, which feels spot on. This is how I step into 2019, filled with energy and curiosity, with champagne bubbles coursing through my entire body, eager and ecstatic to experience all that is to come, “as I am”. Naked. Raw. Intimate. With power and pleasure.

2019. The year when I will…
* have my bodily wellbeing in focus by:

  • continuing with my daily Seven accompanied by burpees
  • Headspace daily
  • run a minimum of  75 runs
  • take cold (outdoors) baths as often as I can – and add to this by taking cold showers
  • dance Lindy hop as often as I can (taking a class during the spring, and then there’s the social dancing as well!)
  • continuing to ribe my bike and walk as much as possible

* have my mental and spiritual wellbeing in focus by:

  • reading at least 75 books, of which 12 in Swedish and 12 in English already have been chosen. These 12 + 12 I will be blogging about.
  • learn at least five songs by heart including lyrics on the guitar, which will be made possible by my aim at ten minutes of guitar playing on a daily basis
  • I will let the wonderful book The book of Awakening by Mark Nepo be my daily companion
  • hold digital 24-hour sabbats at least twice a month

* have creation in focus by:

  • booking at least four two-day writing retreats during the year
  • keeping up with daily Facebook Lives for as long as there’s energy in doing it
  • blog daily
  • start to pod

* have financial husbandry in focus by:

  • sowing, sowing and sowing a little bit more; on a weekly basis intentionally work on my various income streams
  • keep tabs on my set invoicing goal on a monthly basis
  • keep an accounts book on private income and expenses

And finally – on all levels – experiment and play, experience pleasure and exploring and challenging myself, all the while being gentle to myself!

2019. Here I come. As I am. Gown off! 

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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 15 – It’s on me!

December 15, 2018
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I screwed up.

The screw up has consequences, for me as well as others, involving time, effort and money.

And it’s on me. I take full responsibility for it because I screwed up.
Of course, I could blame other people. For not being more observant. For not informing me. For whatever…

But I don’t. It’s on me.
I wasn’t observant enough. I didn’t ensure I was informed enough.
It’s. On. Me.

And guess what?
That feels good.
Taking responsibility for what I did, feels great, actually.

And it also helps me to accept what has happened. Thereby I avoid wasting my energy on banging myself over the head for what I did. Thoughts like You dumb idiot, Helena, how stupid you are? Why on earth didn’t you stop this from happening? pop into my head, sure. But why waste time and energy entertaining this and similar thoughts? Thoughts that don’t serve me or anyone else, in any way, what so ever. Because it has happened. I cannot undo it, however much I try.

I can learn from it though. Take steps to ensure it will not happen again. Cast a wider net on the screw up; perhaps my learnings from today can be utilized in other types of situations?

All in all, accepting and taking responsibility for what happened, it is the most gentle thing I can do.


Advent Calendar 2018 – number 15 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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Advent Calendar 9 – Dream!

December 9, 2018
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Do you dream?
And more importantly, do you act on your dreams?

To dream is important. And sadly, I think there are a lot of people who don’t dare to dream… or perhaps rather don’t act on making dreams come true, whether or not they are big or small dreams. (It doesn’t matter if your dreams are big or small. As long as you dream.)

And I do think that is sad, because most of us, who have the type of life I do, live lives of such comfort and safety, that dreaming and acting upon our dreams is definitely something for us to do. There are many others, who actually have a much harder time to dream, who perhaps don’t even know how to. But that is far from my reality. I am a citizen of one of the most rich countries of the world, I own a company, have a house, a family and the Swedish social security system to back me up. That is my reality. And likely your reality is akin to mine, where you are not struggling to survive on a daily basis.

So. Dream. And act on it. Try, rather thank think you can, or cannot. And why not use design thinking, where you iterate loops of planning – doing – analyzing – tweaking and then starting over again. Rather than try to eat the elephant whole, go at it in smaller pieces, starting with a tail or an ear. Bite-sized actions, taking steps towards achieving your dreams. That’s what it means to live, rather than to be in survival mode.

I mean… what have you got to loose by acting upon your dreams?


Advent Calendar 2018 – number 9 of 24 – on the theme of being gentle

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Advent Calendar 2 – Help en route to become gentle with myself

December 2, 2018
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Pondering what has helped me learn how to be gentle with myself, I realize me, myself and I have been my foremost help and aide on this journey. I have let myself open up for insight, for new thoughts. For asking questions, and listening for the reply. I excel at intake, reading, listening, talking, taking in new stuff, getting hints and ideas worth trying, to see what I might gain from them.

Leonard Cohen famously wrote that there’s a crack in everything, and that’s where the light comes in. Then I recently read somewhere, that the crack is also where the light shines through from within. And that’s what I’ve let myself do (and become), a person where light can both enter, but also exit. I take in light – and I transmit light.

My loved ones have also been an integral part in me learning to be gentle towards myself. My ex-husband played a big part, and my children. They are the reason why I started therapy some 12-13 years ago or so. I didn’t want to be such an angry mom for them, and took help, because I was at a loss on how to transform myself.

I’ve attended a myriad of different courses, specifically coaching courses and summits of various kinds, but neither of these courses I’ve picked with the specific purpose of becoming gentle to me. And yet… they have all helped me reach the place where I can say, with complete honesty, that I am. Not 100% of the time and in all situations. Of course not. But that’s not a goal I strive for, becoming “perfect” in this sense.

My Mastermind-group and my #skolvåren back office-gang. Funnily enough these two major parts of my personal development (in many ways) both have their moment of birth in the first months of 2013.  The amount of stuff we’ve worked through together, sharing beliefs, knowledge, questions, fear, longings and bas the basis has been a general sense of curiosity, we’ve helped each other grow and expand. Enriching ourselves through continuous discussions  where the underlying love and respect we all have for each other sets the tone.

And then… all the conversations I’ve had. These have been a huge factor as well. Conversations with myself, as well as others. I have a few very intimate friends whom I’ve shared so much with – and thanks to their knowledge and wisdom, I’ve gained a deeper understanding of myself. And that in turn has also helped me become gentle towards myself.

And the benefits are massive. For myself, of course. Being harsh or gentle in my inner dialogue definitely makes a huge difference. For me. But it also impacts those I meet. If I am harsh with myself – it’s much more likely I will be harsh with you as well. Even thought that isn’t what I aim for. And logically, the opposite is true as well. The more gentle I am with me, the easier it is for me to be gentle with those in my vicinity.

Thanks to me opening up to both myself as those around me, letting these different avenues all help me learn to be more gentle with myself, my experience of life today is one which has me smile softly just writing these words. And I love how my body and my emotions so visibly guides me by showing me what serves me, and what doesn’t.


Advent Calendar 2018 – number 2 of 24 – on the theme of being gentle.

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Advent Calendar 1 – Being gentle

December 1, 2018
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I decided to join the #BusinessBoomutmaning (i.e. challenge) in December as well, doing 21 FB Live’s, just like I did in November. This time around, I will be doing my live’s in Swedish, and as an Advent Calendar on the theme of being gentle. But I also wanted to share my current thoughts on this subject here, as this entire site is centered around Being and Doing Gentle. So I will do a written advent calendar here on the blog, in writing sharing what I share in words on Facebook (in Swedish). The background for why I landed in Being Gentle is simply thus: I have spent 75% of my life in the opposite corner, being extremely harsh with myself.

My inner dialogue was hard up until around ten years ago when the following occurred: 
I was headed to my therapist, and as I hadn’t taken the time to withdraw cash from the ATM the day before, I went to the small kiosk along the way, with the intent of buying something small and withdrawing cash at the same time. However, as I came there, the phone lines were down, so they could not accept my credit card. Hence… I came to my therapist without cash to pay her. And I felt awful. Horrendous. Disrespectful towards her, with the knowledge that I was a dreadful and despicable person for not living up to my end of the bargain.

I told her as much… and she looked at me (with the kindest and most curious of gazes) and stated the obvious: You are very hard on yourself. 

I nodded, a bit perplexed, and asked: Don’t you have to? 

She shrugged her shoulders, and said, gently: No. If it had been me, I would simply have said that I’ll bring double the money next time. 

And, like the wrecking ball that Miley Cyrus sings about, my beliefs shattered. The beliefs that I had to be hard on myself… or perhaps rather, the belief that that was the only way to be me in the world. All of a sudden, I got a glimpse that perhaps there was another way of talking to myself, one that did not make me feel so bad, much (most…) of the time.

From then on, I have worked at transforming the ingrained habits of 30+ years of living life being hard on myself, into living a life of being gentle towards myself. Have found ways of being and doing gentle towards myself, and today, wholeheartedly, I can say: I like being me. I enjoy the way I am with myself, and how I show up as me. And I love myself. But that was not the basis for this transformation, that has been a bonus effect!


Advent Calendar 2018 – number 1 of 24 – on the theme of being gentle.

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