Buddhas by the roadside

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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Buddhas by the Roadside, a very unusual podcast

June 27, 2020
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in Tip
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When we record Buddhas by the Roadside-conversations I greatly enjoy each conversation.

Then… sometimes I do the timecoding for an episode (basically finding a starting and an ending point, and flagging any obnoxiously odd sounds or mishaps to be edited out), getting a chance to listen to the conversation, and I greatly enjoy listening to each raw-cut as well.

Then… the episodes are actually published, and guess what?
I listen to them. Sometimes, more than once, more than twice.
And. Yes. I greatly enjoy them.

Perhaps that’s a bit odd and self-absorbed, but… there’s so much going on in these very intimate conversations, that I find new things to pick up on, to react to, to ponder, each time I listen to them.

What I’ve heard most people say, of the people who like the pod–which, yes, is a most unusual pod!– is that it’s as if they get to walk straight into a conversation, a very intimate one, at that. We have no intro/outro music, there’s no introduction, nothing. We just start talking, and off we go. For an hour. An hour and a half. Two hours even. And then… it’s over, when it’s over. But now and again, there are mini-breaks, where we pause, letting the silence engulf us–and you!–, again, in a most un-pod-like way.

And since I enjoy being a bit odd, this suits me perfectly!
However, I would be truly happy to have you give us a listen if you haven’t already. And if you have, and you like us (and even if you don’t), give us another listen. Who knows what might happen?


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

 

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I am not alone.

June 20, 2020
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Today we recorded another episode of Buddhas by the Roadside, spending most of the time talking about (dis)embodiment. Somewhere along the lines of conversation, jumping from bare feet, to menstrual cycles, to what gets schooled out of humans during childhood and in adult life, the amazement of the designs behind the human body as well as the bodies of tigers and penguins and house-cats, I was reminded of this passage, which I’d read earlier in the morning. It can be found on June 19th in The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo.

”This is why it helps to share our journey with others, because in so doing we become a chorus of voices, and the stress of going solo lessens once we discover that we are not alone.”

I don’t remember what stepping stone(s) brought me to it in the Buddhas-conversation, but I remember why I’d snapped a photo of it upon reading it. When I went for the shotgun-approach *again*, caught myself in the act, and then sort-of did a combo shotgun/sniper rifle-approach instead, one of my fellow The Creative’s Workshoppers got inspired and wrote something along the lines of taking my lead.

”This is why it helps to share our journey with others, because in so doing we become a chorus of voices, and the stress of going solo lessens once we discover that we are not alone.”

As I read these lines, I was reminded of how happy that made me. The knowing (!) that I am not alone.

For some reason (I believe it to be deep, the need to know we are not alone. Deeply existential. The most basic fear of humans is that of being shunned. We are not solitary creatures.) knowing she’d follow along, had me exhale. In relief. Knowing (!) I am not alone.

And. If I hold it in, whatever it is that has me think I am the only person on Earth feeling this… If I hold it in, not giving anyone the opportunity, the possibility, to reach out a hand, tap me on the shoulder, and gently say Oh my friend, I know what you are feeling. Been there, done that. You are not alone.

Indeed, sharing is caring holds multiple meanings.
And I am enamored with them all.


#tankespjärn, for those who wish to discover. More. Other. New.
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More silence in life?

April 23, 2020
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The silence.
Again, the silence!

Of all the feedback I and my two fellow Buddhas have gotten from people listening to one or more episodes of our recently launched podcast Buddhas by the Roadside, the one thing that keeps coming up over and over again is the silence.

10 seconds.
20 seconds.
30 seconds.

I don’t know how long there have been silent parts in these episodes, as I haven’t timed them, but they are there, they are quite frequent, and they are definitely part of the way we are, together, the three of us, me, Caspian and Dominic. Well… in 3D the silences can last for way longer than half a minute, but that’s beside the point. The point is… sometimes, it is just so lovely to be able to have a bit of emptiness, to let me, my thoughts, my emotions, make their way, leisurely, to the Point of Now. Not necessarily catch up, that’s a phrase that doesn’t ring true for me, here, but rather just… at my own pace, making my way to a meeting point, an energetic center, where connections can be made, where all of it, all of me, my thoughts, my emotions, can go off again, side by side or in different directions… only to reconvene later on at a new meeting point.

For me, this is a skill I’ve rediscovered, or perhaps relearned, as I used to be working on my retort while the other was speaking, which had me not be present in the conversation. I very rarely do this, anymore. I’ve learned to listen. And then, to see what pops up. If anything, because now and again, there’s just space, vast space, of the most glorious silence. Within.

And these silences are not edited out from Buddhas by the Roadside. There are allowed their own space. And I wonder at the way these silences of ours are picked up. Might it be, that there is a longing for more silences in the lives of our listeners? That these silences stick out for the listeners could perhaps be a sign of a longing, a need, a wish for more silences in life?


#tankespjärn, for those who wish to discover. More. Other. New.
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You bring the world into being

April 16, 2020
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You bring the world into being, he said, D, my Buddha-friend. You bring the world into being.

He wasn’t addressing me, nor my other Buddha-friend C. But rather, at least that’s what I picked up, that I/you/we, bring the world into being.
The world is on account of my consciousness. On yours. On ours.

Even though we were in the middle of another pod-recording of Buddhas by the roadside, I took up my phone and wrote down you bring the world into being in my to-do-app, simply because it was the quickest way I could jot it down. As I did not want to forget.

Hearing this –you bring the world into being– I exhale. Relax.
(Then scramble for my phone to write it down, before getting back to the relaxed sensation again.)

This is why when the being infuses the doing, there’s magic.
Because I bring the world into being.

But I am curious.
What do you hear when you hear you bring the world into being?


#tankespjärn, for those who wish to discover. More. Other. New.
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No.

April 8, 2020
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Working from home.
That’s what I had on my agenda today.
Turns out.

No.
I would not be working from home today. 

Instead… I slept until nine thiiiirty.
Finished reading All the light you cannot see (just read it. It’s that good.).
Checked Social Media.
Said Yes to join the next-door neighbor for a PoGo-raid at the playground down the street, so quickly did my daily Seven and then didn’t have time to get dressed so walked barefoot, with uncombed hair in my bathrobe and managed to snag a Landorus.

Got dressed. Had breakfast, or lunch, more like it?
Handed over receipts and invoices to my Jenny who came over, having a sit-down for half an hour or so, to catch up. 

By now it’s 1 pm. This is when I truly decided that No, I will not be doing any work today.
So instead, I went for a barefoot walk.
Returned All the light you cannot see to the library (just read it. It’s THAT good.).
Went home and sat in the garden for the rest of the Buddhas by the roadside-episode that accompanied me on my walk.

Went inside. Laid down on my bed, keeping Pop company, read a few pages on another book, talked a bit to Alma, read some more. Did my Wim Hof deep-breathing exercise.

Went bike-riding while Alma went to buy Indian take away… which turned into a falafel instead. Ganesha closed on account of Corona. Bummer.

Time-coded the uncut episode of Buddhas by the roadside from the 7th of April, while writing a daily for The Creative’s Workshop.

And now… blog post published, will finish watching an episode of The English Game on Netflix, play a tune or two on my guitar, and then, head off to bed.

Tomorrow is another day! And tomorrow, I will be working. At least some…

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Buddhas by the roadside

April 7, 2020
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I don’t know how many times I’ve sat in complete rapture listening to Dominic tell a story, or debunk a book, or guide me through a connection of dot’s that I wasn’t anywhere near connecting. More than once, I’ve wished I were recording it, wanting to share his insights, his wisdom, his deep knowledge of more areas on human existence on Earth than I can name.

Then there’s Caspian. Such a dear friend of mine, popping ideas right and left, and generously inviting me to tag along for the ride. Wise well beyond his years and yet, young enough to introduce new vistas of human existence in my life in a completely different way to how D does it, and never shy of telling me when I am off base in one or another way.

I love them both and love spending time with them. And since the fall of 2019, we’ve been doing just that, recording our conversations. However, we’ve never really gotten around to figuring out how to put this out there, or when… and then: Global pandemic strikes.

And there are no people I would rather sit with, talk with, engage with and receive tankespjärn from, than these two. So, that’s what we’ve been doing. We’ve recorded a number of conversations, which all have the corona-virus as a common denominator, but let me tell you, these conversations take the most wondrous routes, passing through such topics as Process Work, salt and slavery, the economy of Modern Man, Georgism and the Commons, and so much more.

And we said, sod it. Let’s not figure out precisely how to put this out there, let’s just do it. So that’s what we’ve done. The Corona Conversations by Buddhas by the roadside, are available on most pod players (or will be very shortly, I know Anchor and Spotify are up edit: now on Apple/Podcasts, and the rest are soon to follow!), and I would urge you to take a listen. Start with the one from March 14th, 2020, because that’s where we started this. And then – well. It’s up to you. Keep listening, or turn us off, your choice. But at least, give us a listen, at least if you are ready for some serious tankespjärn!

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