clarity

Feathered friend

Feathered friend

August 16, 2020
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Lying on the bench beneath the apple tree, reading, a weird noise had me look up at the lime tree arbor, only to see a lovely red squirrel making its way up and across the arbor, into the neighbor’s trees. According to Animal-Speak Pocket Guide by Ted Andrews, the message from me is:
Balance your work and play. Prepare for the future, but do not get lost in preparations. Find ways to gather and to gift.

Given how my work plans for the upcoming 1-2 years has just gotten upended, and how I’ve not balanced work and play properly for the past year, I acknowledge that message. Then, dove number two for the week, comes into my life, as the neighbor texts me late at night, asking if I’ve seen the odd-looking dove sitting on the roof of the joint garden shed. I hadn’t but hoped it would stay on high ground to ensure Pop the cat wouldn’t make a repeat performance of the dove-incident earlier in the week.

In the morning, I opened the blinds, and there s/he was, perched atop the roof still. By the time I was headed off around lunch, the neighbor texted again, saying it had flown away… into my garden, unfortunately. Nervously, I let it be, and jumped on my bike, fingers crossed that Pop (or any of the neighboring cats) would stay away, as it sure seemed an easy target at ground level.

Got back in the afternoon, to see my youngest having spent an hour in the deck chair, hanging out with the bird, which definitely isn’t your garden-variety type dove, that’s for sure.

Luckily, in the days of internet, with a few clicks and shared pictures in SoMe, I got a DM and found out this type of dove is an ”Iranian dove, called baghdadi”, usually bought in pairs, and quite pricey at that. (It’s amazing the things you have no idea you will learn in a day!)

I took over the deck chair from Mr B, book in hand, with ears on high alert, scanning the area for the sound of Pop the cat approaching (thank god for that bell!), and all of a sudden, there it was! I jumped out of the deck chair and latched onto Pop so quick he must’ve wondered how come I was in such a hurry to get him inside, serving up a new scoop of kibbles without him having to make even the tiniest of miaow’s.

By now, we’re approaching 20 hours of this dove hanging out here, and it’s clear beyond any reasonable doubt that it’s 1) not gonna fly away on its own and 2) not a wild dove. I call the police, wanting to report the find, as well as check to see if anyone had reported it missing, but no such luck. So I bring out the kitty carrier, a blanket and Mr B, intent on catching it. After a few botched attempts, we borrow a net from the neighbors, and Mr B, quick as lightning, got him/her! I got it transferred to the blanket, we try to find a band on its legs, but cannot see any, so I pop it into the carrier and take it for a walk… a few blocks away, to my friend with chickens and both a winter and a summer coop. Luckily, that meant the winter coop was up for grabs, and the little one settled in perfectly, oohed and aahed over by it’s new (temporary?!) caretaker-family.

Knowing my new-found feathered friend would now be safe and sound (from cats and birds of prey), and extremely well cared for, I walked home with my empty pet carrier, quite pleased with myself, while simultaneously wondering at the message of the dove, as this was my second encounter in the same week. The Pocket Guide tells me: A new cycle of opportunities is at hand. They bring a time of peace and prophecy. Mourn and release what has passed for new birth.

I was curious enough to google and find some more, that resonates greatly:
The dove spirit animal is associated with transitional periods. It will usually appear to you if you need a break from your stressful and hectic life. The dove meaning is amplified when you are craving for peace and quiet, or stillness and clarity. When the dove totem appears, it’s a sign for you to make that new beginning and look forward to a fresh new start.

Also, this:
The dove represents peace of the deepest kind. It soothes and quiets our worried or troubled thoughts, enabling us to find renewal in the silence of the mind. Doves teach us that, regardless of external circumstances, peace is always a touch a way – within us – and always available. It is said that if a dove flies into your life, you are being asked to go within and release your emotional disharmony. The dove helps us to rid the trauma stored deep within our cellular memory. Doves carry the energy of promise. When inner conflicts are banished from our thoughts, words and feelings, goodness awaits.

Given the way my summer has evolved, with me more or less doing nothing, going nowhere (physically, at least), it’s definitely been a time of finding renewal in the silence of the mind. Given that I’ve not just got the one dove messenger, but two, in but a few days, it seems it’s time to release whatever emotional disharmony I am harboring…

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100 days later…

May 21, 2020
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A celebratory hour in lieu of 100 dailies in The Creative’s Workshop. An hour in honor of the letter S, in the form of:
Sensational (work, engagement, cohort!)
Shift (what has been the shift?)
Stranger (who was your unexpected stranger and what did they give you?)
Shipping (What have you shipped and what has it meant to you/those you serve?)
Step (Next step? How to continue doing your work?)
Salute (100 dailies later!)

What was it like for you 100 days ago?
Less energy. More lethargy. Ready to step into the land of ”don’t know what”.

What has changed in 100 days?
Me!
Energized. Awed and wowed!
A tankespjärn-community launched. Friendships forged.
INSIGHTS & CLARITY!

Who was your unexpected stranger and what did they give you?
Mary Ellen Bratu and our Reading Retreats, a gift I will carry with me for life!

What have you shipped and what has it meant to you (and those you serve)?
My tankespjärn-community on Patreon. Taking baby-steps.
I’ve truly seen the generosity inherent to shipping.

What’s the next step? How will you continue doing the work?
One day at a time, generously sharing and shipping.

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Twisting and turning.

April 1, 2020
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It’s a little bit funny (I hum) that sometimes clarity comes when someone else explains your offering (whatever it might be), using their own words, and it just all falls into place. That’s what happened when Katarina Felicia Lundgren, in her words, described what the #tankespjärn-community on Patreon is, can and will be:

My friend Helena Roth has now opened her page #tankespjärn at Patreon –come and join her community– you will be part of a wonderfully deep conversation on how to grow, explore, find –what you need to find, grow and explore while Helena shares how she works with her tool –tankespjärn– that lets your thoughts and ideas receive a special mix of support, resistance, questioning, feedback – and cheering on!

If you are into co-creations and out of the box-ideas and realizations – this is a good space to be in. Join to find out more about tankespjärn!

I have yet to get really clear on how to succinctly describe the concept, the tool, so getting a blurb like this one from a word-smithy of rang such as Katarina, definitely helps me get clearer on what it is, and how I can describe it to others. Because the word itself isn’t much help, especially not for non-Swedish speakers, but even for them, it’s not a given.

And what I really like about this, is that even this part of the process is tankespjärn. The way I twist and turn words and my understanding of the concept in order to get at something that might –or might not– be communicable, with a driving force of curiosity (What will I learn? Who will react how to what types of descriptive phrases?) and playful experimentation (What if I do it this way, or that way?).

If it’s not apparent, I assure you, I am having great fun with all of this!


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

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Willing myself into murky waters

March 23, 2020
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Participating in The Creative’s Workshop on akimbo.com I am exposed to two sets of asks.
1) The Dailies, where I and the other players are asked to write and post every day for 100 days in a row. Subject, style, content totally up to each and every one of us.
2) The Prompts, where I and the other players are given a thrice-weekly prompt asking us to reflect and respond to questions, pushing me (at least) far outside of my comfort zone. Asking me to take a stand, to give voice to what I like and dislike, to what I do and don’t do, to what my work looks like and why. 

The different asks give rise to different response within me, something I try to give voice to below.


It’s a matter of focus. Of intent.
Of willing myself into murky waters where the going is far from easy and smooth.

That’s what the Prompts feels like to me.

Whereas the Dailies are more of an easy-peasy sit-down and let what-ever-want’s-to-come-out pour from my fingers onto the screen in front of me.

And. Luckily. It’s not a question of either-or both rather a both-and.

They give me different types of release.
The Dailies get to be lighter, or heavier for that matter, but there’s more flow to them.
Less intellectual effort.

The Prompts speak to the Upholder in me, making me want to respond quite literally to the specific questions asked. Even though I wriggle like a worm on a fishhook now and again, I get through them, slowly and steadily, one by one. A bit behind the release-schedule, but catching up.
In their iterative structure, inviting me back into past prompts, to observe, orient, decide, act (ooda), there’s progress, if by progress I mean movement. Which I do.

Thanks in large part to TCW, my mind is moving.
My understanding is increasing.
The visibility is greater, there’s more and more clarity.
In what it is I want to do, in who it is I want to be.

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Slowing down.

March 12, 2020
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And slowly… it’s as if the world – my world yes, but also The world – is slowing down on account of COVID-19 aka the Coronavirus. And as weird as it might sound, I breathe out; a sigh of relief.

This does not mean that I am happy about the situation. Of course not. It will cause human suffering and deaths, and I hope we will be able to flatten the curve enough to give more people a chance to come through the ordeal that we are facing alive and well.

But I think there are many who, like me, can benefit from having to do a retake on life. For the past eight months I’ve been working much more away from home, at the offices of my clients, than in years prior. I’ve been struggling, not having as much time with myself as I’m used to. I am lucky that much of the work I do can be done from home, even though I’ve been doing a lot of it on client sites recently.

With the world slowing down anyway, I’ve taken the opportunity to look at my priorities, to look at what signals my calendar transmits. What of my top priorities are visible in my calendar, and what is not? Reflecting on what I want in life, and what I don’t want, realizing many things.

A lot of what I do want is there. I make room for it. But I’d want to make more room for it.

What I don’t want, is to a large extent not there. But prioritizing amongst my multiverse of assignments and projects and commitments makes it easier to ensure my calendar properly mirrors that order of priority.

This also means, that there are a few things present in my life without me necessarily wanting them to be. Prioritizing had me cancel a few upcoming trips (which, in view of the current pandemic, also is the most rational and responsible thing I can do); it also had me turn down an assignment that I would have said Yes to just a few days ago, has I not opened my own eyes to my responsibility to ensure my life is set up, as best I can, according to what is truly important to me, that which resides in my core.

No wonder I breathe a sigh of relief at having my world slow down, as it already had me gain clarity on life, on what’s important – truly important – and making sure there’s both room, energy and action to match that.

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There are darlings to be killed

October 28, 2019
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You should write and publish with a delay, so you have time to go back and review/rewrite your posts after a few days, a week, or so, he said, giving me something to ponder.

And yes.
I should.
And more importantly.
I want to.

Because I know the quality of my texts would improve if I did. If I write, leave be for a while, and then revisit my texts, it’s easier to kill darlings when there are darlings to be killed; easier to twist and turn the text to ensure the message is clear as can be: easier to sense into the relevance of the text.

When I give myself (and you, dear reader) this gift, my texts are better, more to the point, hold greater clarity and fewer detours and/or dead ends.

So.
Yes.
I should.
And more importantly.
I want to.

And…. this has repercussions. Because I don’t have seven days worth of blog posts planned and scheduled. Let alone fourteen days worth. Which is where I ”should be at” if I want to make this shift.

Luckily, at this very moment I am sitting opposite Sara, who lovingly invited herself to come join me for one of my planned writing retreats. Since we’ve done writing retreats together with much success on previous occasions, I happily accepted, and now, sitting here, I know I am beholden to her. Without her presence, I would most likely be running circles around myself, doing anything but w r i t e, just like I did my last attempt.

So I give myself a mission to get seven days worth of blog posts in the pipeline, thereby giving me the opportunity to write, and revisit, before publishing.

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