change

A moral dilemma

A moral dilemma

December 8, 2020
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The bottom line: A permission slip, to myself, to write to my heart’s content. And then, after I’ve finished writing, apply my new-found skills of the story scaffolding to the piece, to help me determine whether or not this is a story or a non-story. Depending on the answer, there might be some value in going back to the piece to shape, embellish, clarify it. Or not.

I spent an hour and a half in the company of four newfound friends, all of whom are co-travellers in the Story Skills Workshop. One of the assignments is to record yourself telling (or reading. Yeah. There’s a difference. One I’d not been fully aware of before.) a story, and then invite others into a live story-telling-session. 

It was a lot of fun, very rewarding in terms of feedback given and received, and, as always, feedback given by someone to another story-teller, is sometimes as helpful, or perhaps even more helpful, than feedback directed straight at me. The round-about-way is, perhaps, more palatable, in the sense that I am more easily open to take in what is being said, when it is not me, my story, my performance, my telling, that’s in the spotlight. 

The direct feedback I got was extremely valuable though, and here I am, contemplating a re-write of my story, to encompass all of the insights and nudges I got after my first round of telling it. 

However, as I woke this morning I remembered… I’d recently read  s o m e t h i n g  that spoke precisely to this. To the re-telling, the embellishment, the ’making more of’ that I was busy doing, in my mind’s eye. But what was that something? And where did I read it? 

I turned towards one of the four books I am currently reading, neatly stacked on my nightstand, and picked it up. I was hoping it was this one (A Primer for Forgetting, by Lewis Hyde), and not The Naked Now by Richard Rohr that I’d finished a week prior, and subsequently had borrowed to a friend. If it was that one I was in trouble, as I didn’t have it at hand. 

Flicking through the pages of Hyde’s book, going backwards from my bookmark firmly lodged on page 126, I glance at my marginalia, hoping that it will pop up. Luckily, it does. On page 100, so not even that many pages back. It’s a chapter titled FEED ON THE PRESENT and in it Hyde recounts a  story he’s heard recounted, of a man coming to a realization on the actual recounting of his story. 

As I am extra fond of these meta-me (or meta-Larry, in this case) conversations, here’s a few paragraphs from the book:

”… when he got home and recounted the story to various friends, ’the telling started to change a bit, from it just being a straight report of a fact and what I went through. I saw that it was promoting the self. […]’ The story had picked up self-importance along the way; ’there was some mileage coming from it.’”

’… this kind of self-making may be unavoidable and often harmless, but as a matter of Buddhist practice it should at least be noticed, be brought to mind. ’I saw what the mind was doing; the mind was taking materials from the pastas first they were just ’factual’ but then immediately started to use them for the present, the present sense of myself… The self if constantly using the materials of the past and the future to nourish itself, to build itself up… I didn’t do it consciously… It just happened. The ego is going to work, and that’s what it knows how to do.’

[…] to describe how the ego functions: it feeds on the past and the future.

– Lewis Hyde, A Primer for Forgetting

Now.
I am not a journalist.
Embellishing texts and stories is well within my prerogative, and yet.
I do believe there’s something to the awareness alluded to by Hyde (and Larry). If I am conscious of what I am doing, as I am embellishing my stories… I don’t know. There’s a greater chance of me being careful with the message? Or intentful? My stories are often centered around me – my learnings, insights, difficulties – and I honestly don’t want to make me into a person far removed from the people I am trying to reach, be it through writing or telling. I want the threshold to be lowered, rather than increased, and if I were to simply embellish as much as I can, I fear that wouldn’t be the case. 

Perhaps this is simply a message for me, as this is part of the usefulness I make of my writing:
I discover myself while writing, and if I then embellish freely, is it me I am discovering, or an imaginary me? 

(My old me did stop here, leaving you, as well as me, hanging. But, in having a story scaffolding to drape my story across, when I did, I came to the realization that this is an incomplete story, if I want it to actually read as a story. The missing part is the consequence. Where will this all lead to? What will this all lead to? 

Again. I don’t  h a v e  to make it into a full story. That’s my prerogative. Each and every time. But, for the purpose of the learning and discovery-journey I am on, let’s say I do want that:)

I’d say, my answer to this moral dilemma, centers around what my purpose is.
Am I writing only to find me? If so. Go ahead, make it less story-telling-worthy. Don’t embellish, stick to what helps me find me. 

But if I am also, or only, writing in order to get a point across, to publish a text that I hope will resonate with others too… then by all means. Put a bit more effort into it. Check to see that the story scaffolding is active in each and every step. Make sure I do engage my audience, that the challenge is clearly seen/felt/understood, so that the resolution points to a change, leaving no-one in question as to where the story ended for the heroine. 

Only… that leaves me with the worst answer of them all: It all depends. 

However. I actually think this speaks to what the Story Skills Workshop is truly about. For me. (Important bit, that last one. For me!) I write, a lot, and seldom am I intentional with my writings. Neither when sitting down to write, nor when I ship. And honestly, I don’t necessarily want to be more intentional when setting out to write. I do so enjoy writing only to discover when I am knee-deep in, what I am actually writing about. 

But the latter part. Doing the post-analysis, using the story scaffolding, helps me see what the piece is all about. And prompts me to ask myself: What’s the purpose of this piece? What do I want it to be? What do I want it to do? Does it want to become a story, or is it (I!) content with having it be a non-story?

Depending on the answer, I might, or might not, do what I did here. Go back to the writing, deliberately and intentionally shaping it (or not), embellishing it (or not), clarifying it (or not), so that I know I’ve done my best to give it the necessary prerequisites of being able to live up to my intention/s. Story or non-story alike.


#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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Change is coming.

August 11, 2020
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Change is coming.
(It always is, isn’t it?)

The change that I know is coming, will greatly impact what I do, and how I make my living, for the next 1,5-2 years. Or rather, what I will no longer be doing for the next 1,5-2 years.

And again, I thank my lucky star, that I’ve worked so much with myself, with embracing what is, with finding new ways forward, that this news doesn’t wreak havoc within.

Yes. There is sadness, at not being allowed to finish what we’ve started. At not getting to face the hurdles that were sure to come, with the team we’ve built. At not getting to share my everyday working life with these people, whom I’ve come to care greatly for, value and honor, and have so much fun with. At not getting the ample opportunities for learning, that were sure to rain down upon me, on a weekly if not daily basis.

And. There is gratitude. At having come as far as we have. At getting a strong team to gel together in a most amazing way. At getting to know so many new people, people whom I definitely want to stay connected to. And not least, of having been able to amass some funds, which will take me through the upcoming year, without having to go desperate.

And, yes, there’s a bit of frustration as well. At stopping this at this time, wasting money already spent, for reasons I cannot fathom, or at the very least, disagree with.

But.
I can also see what opens up for me, with letting go of what was to have been, making room to let come whatever will come in its place. Being able to serve other existing customers more fully again. At putting more focus on building my tankespjärn-community and all of the ideas I have around that. Of picking up the work of other things that I put at a lower priority than this project. And the opportunity, once more, to give myself more me-time, which I’ve not done this past year.

I’ve learned so much, though…
I’ve seen my strengths in greater clarity. (And my flaws.)
I’ve been validated as being an ace trainer.
I know that I work best as a project manager when I do it in tandem with another when that other complements me.
I’ve got proof –again– that I do have a high capacity, and that there’s a limit to it, to what I can keep track of with regards to details.
And that I absolutely love working with professionals!

I will make good use of all the learnings, insights and experiences I’ve gotten from working this project, and I am, more than anything else, extremely glad that I’ve been a part of it!

And so, change is coming.
(It always is, isn’t it?)


#tankespjärn, for those who wish to discover. More. Other. New.
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Being wrong: Adventures in the margin of error (book 7 of 12)

August 7, 2020
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in Tip
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”To err is to wander, and wandering is the way we discover the world; and, lost in thought, it is also the way we discover ourselves. Being right might be gratifying, but in the end it is static, a mere statement. Being wrong is hard and humbling, and sometimes even dangerous, but in the end it is a journey, and a story. Who really wants to stay home and be right when you can don your armor, spring up on your steed and go forth to explore the world? True, you might get lost along the way, get stranded in a swamp, have a scare at the edge of a cliff; thieves might steal your gold, brigands might imprison you in a cave, sorcerers might turn you into a toad–but what of that? To fuck up is to find adventure: it is in that spirit that this book is written.”

Being wrong: Adventures in the margin of error by Kathryn Schulz, is a book I was gifted, by someone I think knew just how much I would appreciate it. And I must say, I did. I do. Because this is definitely a book to read again, now and again.

”…our beliefs are inextricable from our identities. That’s one reason why being wrong can so easily wound our sense of self.”

Having lived at least 35+ years of my life with a very hard-formed belief that my worth, my value, lay in me being correct, I guess you can fathom how I feared being wrong.

Oh.
How. I. Feared.
Being. Wrong.

And it’s still not easy.
To ’fess up to. To acknowledge. To own.
But I’ve gotten much better at it.
Practice makes perfect… as the saying goes.
(Can one be perfect in getting things wrong?)

”The very word ’believe’ comes from an Old English verb meaning ’to hold dear’, which suggests, correctly, that have a habit of falling in love with our beliefs once we’ve formed them.”

I was not just enamored in my beliefs, I was enamored in being right, correct, spot-on, in anything. I’d much rather not answer a Trivial Pursuit question where I dithered than answer it and be proven wrong.

”This is the thing about fully experiencing wrongness. It strips us of all our theories, including our theories about ourselves. This isn’t fun while it’s happening–it leaves us feeling flayed, laid bare to the bone and the world–but it does make possible that rarest of occurrences: real change.”

Perhaps that is precisely what I did, way back then when I was about to become a mother, and my world fell apart around me? Experienced my wrongness completely, having all my theories about myself, my marriage, my life, taking a proper tumble, leaving me laid bare to the bone… open to the question which got me started on the path to real change: Do I like who I am?


The book I am blogging about is part of the book-reading challenge I’ve set for myself during 2020, to read and blog monthly about 12 Swedish and 12 English books, books that I already own.

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Change is hard.

February 22, 2020
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Change is hard.

Truth?

Nah. I don’t think so.

But I did think so until I fully embodied the concept of #tankespjärn and applied it to this so-called truth.

Hard? No.
Something you are unused to so it requires some extra effort? Yes.

Change might require more or less effort of me, but it’s not necessarily hard. It might be, learning quantum physics or… I don’t know.
But inherently hard? Nah.

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Homo Deus (book 11 of 12)

December 26, 2019
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in Tip
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“I encourage all of us, whatever our beliefs, to question the basic narratives of our world, to connect past developments with present concerns, and not to be afraid of controversial issues.” 

Thus Yuval Noah Harari starts Homo Deus, the book after Sapiens, followed by 21 lessons for the 21st century, a book I plan to read next year.

“The physicist Max Plank famously said that science advances one funeral at a time. He meant that only when one generation passes away do new theories have a chance to root out old ones. This is true not only of science.”

Homo Deus gave me some good tankespjärn I must admit. The historical retrospection into religion and science is thought-provoking and aha-generating at the same time, and the way Harari shines a light on the past, present and future make this a book well worth reading.

“Science is not just about predicting the future, though. Scholars in all fields often seek to broaden our horizons, thereby opening before us new and unknown futures. This is especially true of history. Though historians occasionally try their hand at prophecy (without notable success), the study of history aims above all to make us aware of possibilities we don’t normally consider. Historians study the past not in order to repeat it, but in order to be liberated from it.”

My copy of the book is filled with my notes in the margins, pertaining to many a different subject.
School. Religion in juxtaposition to science. Humanism. Artificial Intelligence.
Colonialism. Spirituality. Terrorism. Energy consumption.

“People are usually afraid of change because they fear the unknown. But the single greatest constant of history is that everything changes.”

Everything does change. And so I greatly enjoy reading books such as this one, that span the longer arcs of history and connects dots that I’ve not connected on my own. Helping me point out changes that I’ve not perceived.

“Fiction isn’t bad. It is vital. Without commonly accepted stories about things like money, states or corporations, no complex human society can function. […] But the stories are just tools. They should not become our goals or our yardsticks. When we forget that they are mere fiction, we lose touch with reality. Then we begin entire wars ‘to make a lot of money for the corporation’ or ‘to protect the national interests’. Corporations, money and nations exist only in our imagination. We invented them to serve us; why do we find ourselves sacrificing our lives in their service?”

Stories.
Personal stories. Communal stories. Cultural stories.
The stories I tell, the stories I listen to.
They all play a part in shaping me, making me into the person I am.

“Paradoxically, the more sacrifices we make for an imaginary story, the more tenaciously we hold on to it, because we desperately want to give meaning to these sacrifices and to the suffering we have caused.”

The greater my awareness is to their content and message, the more I am able to lead the life I want to.
I have a choice as to which stories I perpetuate, and so do you.


The book I am blogging about is part of the book-reading challenge I’ve set for myself during 2019, to read and blog about 12 Swedish and 12 English books, one every other week, books that I already own.

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Time.

January 25, 2019
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The best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago, the next best time is today, or so the saying goes. I reflected upon this this morning, as I did my 1622nd Seven exercise in a row. 1622 days. 4 years and 5 months, approximately. August 18th 2014 was my start date, and every day since I have done (at least) a Seven minute exercise. Every day.

But I could have done this so much longer – if I had started earlier. I didn’t though, and I see absolutely no point in beating myself up over that fact. Because what’s done is done. I cannot go back in time and start earlier. No matter how much I might want to, it’s just not to be done.

So I don’t go there. I spend zero time wishing that I’d stumbled upon the Seven app at an earlier point in my life. That way, I conserve my energy and use it in ways that serve me instead of wasting it. I have a higher regard for my own limited amount of daily energy, than to squander it away at thoughts like:

Oh, if only I had started exercising when I was a young kid… then I would be so fit today.

Oh, if only I had understood how to be gentle towards myself when I was younger… then my life would have been so much nicer.

Oh, if only I had realized that I don’t have to believe in all the thoughts I think… then I would have saved myself so much grief. 

I. Don’t. Go. There.
(Or rather, if I do – I certainly don’t stick around.)

Because – the best time to plant a tree was twenty years ago, for sure, but if I didn’t, the best time to do it is right now. And if I didn’t plant that tree back when… nothing I may say or do will change that fact. But I can change the fact of today – I can start now. I can act today. I can set something in motion today, that will give me great benefit tomorrow, and next year, and twenty years hence.

Today is a perfect day for a new beginning. If you take action today – in twenty years time, you will thank yourself, because you did plant that tree. So, what might you set in motion today?

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Advent Calendar 8 – Digital sabbat

December 8, 2018
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Every month I take a digital sabbat (or two, or three) for at least 24 hours, sometimes more, a few times a bit less. I stop using my phone as the multimedia machine and powerful computer that it is, and revert to treating it as a phone with the added feature of texting. But that’s it. I refrain from using social media, Spotify and pod-listening app’s, Google, Netflix, checking email and everything else I do, using my phone (and, of course, my other devices also go unused during this time).

It’s intentional, and I really enjoy these moments of change – because that’s what they are to me. A type of shape-shifting occurs, where I go from having a digital mindset to going analog. Reading books (which I do a lot anyway) instead of watching something on Netflix or SVT Play, playing cards with the kid/s instead of blogging or commenting and sharing on social media, going for a walk with nothing but the sounds of nature (and mankind) in my ears as opposed to the latest pod, having people over for dinner, enjoying the company and conversation that takes place in 3D as a change from chatting in Messenger.

Digital is not bad, in the same way that analog is not good. But deliberately shifting from one to the other makes me more aware of what I do and how. It’s the difference I am after, and it’s the difference I revel in.

Going without my phone and other devices for a day or two makes me so enamoured with them when I start to use them again. The silence I experience during my digital sabbat is like going on a mini-retreat (free of charge). I like the juxtaposition of my experiences when I am ”living my life as I normally do” and ”when I don’t”, in the same way that I thoroughly enjoy taking a vacation in a small cottage with out electricity and/or tap water. Not necessarily how I want to live my life, but once in a while, certainly. Because it opens my eyes to the luxury of the life I live. Same with my digital sabbats, helping me be more grateful for all that I have.


Advent Calendar 2018 – number 8 of 24 – on the theme of being gentle

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Wealth Warrior: The Personal Prosperity Revolution (book 5 of 26)

March 11, 2018
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in Tip
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Wealth warriorHaving met Steve Chandler as well as having listened to many of his audios (one of which, the one on Expectations vs Agreement has made a huge difference in my life!), Wealth Warrior: The Personal Prosperity Revolution reads in my mind the way he talks; this is Steve, straight up. And I really enjoy it.

Great literature this is not – but it sure is a great book! It’s easy to read, I get to laugh and smile quite often, and all the while, there’s this really important message sent, that I for one definitely receive: ACT. Or to quote the author himself: The transformation is in the actions you take. 

As I read, I see that to a large part, I do what Steve does. I use me. I am the tool I use, my experiences, my insights, my struggles, fears, stumbling blocks and aha-moments. All of what I am, all that I have been through, that’s what I use, when I am in service (the concept all of Steve Chandler‘s work centers around, service in his view being all about helping someone else, assisting another person, and delivering actual value). Steve does the same. And he is so generous, doesn’t hold back at all, neither in his books, audios or at trainings. He gives freely of himself, the up’s and the down’s, the pro’s and the con’s. And in doing that, he is gifting us all the act of being human, because that is the spectrum that the human experience span – from the high’s to the low’s, from us being at our very worst, to our very best. All of it. To me, that is inspiring. It’s also something I’ve gotten much better at enjoying – I mean: all of life, and truly, all of it. From the part that has me sobbing my heart out, to the part that has me laughing so hard I almost wet my pants. All. Of. It.

And one of the things that has enabled me to use myself and my experiences this way, is my transformed relationship to change. Generally speaking, it’s no longer something I shy away from, rather the opposite. Steve writes:
All change occurs outside your comfort zone.
This is true physically, mentally, spiritually and financially. No change can occur inside your comfort zone.
Push your body past the weight it is comfortable lifting and it will grow stronger. Push your self past its own comfort zone and you will grow stronger.

Mentally and spiritually, stepping outside of my comfort zone is something that I do. Regularly. Physically, well, more and more. I mean, hey, I did the running race in the fall, have started to run every week, as well as doing my daily Seven for no less than three and a half years in a row (!). Challenging myself physically is definitely on my this-I-want-to-do-more-of-list, so what about financial challenges? Well. I am on it, that’s for sure. Divorce is almost finalize now, and of course that has a financial impact. So it’s definitely something I am looking into seriously at the moment – taking great care not to do “serious as in no laughs” but rather “serious as in scheduling time to dig down deep and doing the math”.

The book I am blogging about is part of the book-reading challenge I’ve set for myself during 2018, to read and blog about 26 Swedish and 26 English books, one book every week, books that I already own.

 

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#blogg100 – Changed.

May 22, 2017
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“We could easily be made to believe that nothing had happened, and yet we have been changed, as a house is changed into which a guest has entered.”

Do you notice how you change? Day by day, year by year, and finally, decade by decade?

Sometimes it’s hard to notice how I change over time; the change itself slips me by somehow. It’s as if I cannot put a finger on it, being too subtle a change to pinpoint. Really only obvious once I am face to face with myself, in a situation where my actions – or lack thereof – are so completely different to what I would have done in the past. Startling at times, or shocking. Sometimes I give myself a great big self-hug, so pleased at the apparent change.

changeThe other day, texting with dear and close friends, I realized that one significant change in me, is how I’ve come to accept what is, to a degee that I never have before. When I talk to clients about my current understanding of acceptance, I show it, physically. Not accepting, I stand, turning backwards, and fight what is. Spend all my energy trying to un-make what is, which never works, by the way. It is a futile war waged against the past, trying to undo what has already occurred. With acceptance, I turn, facing ahead, knowing what is is, using my energy more deliberately, to create and to instigate a change that I am attracted to and excited about.

The difference this has caused in how I experience my life, is so grand I don’t know what words to use to describe it. A large part of it is the energy-conservation – not wasting my energy fighting what is. With the energy not spent in futility, the possibility for creation is… ripe, apparent, infinite? Always and already, creation is right there at my fingertips; anything can happen, anytime.

#Blogg100 challenge in 2017 – post number 83 of 100.
The book “Letters to a Young Poet” by Rainer Maria Rilke.
English posts here, Swedish at herothecoach.com.

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