connection

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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Own your reactions

August 18, 2020
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I am no longer willing to let myself be used as the scapegoat. I am no longer willing to step up when others claim that my words, my deeds, my actions, are what angers them, what upsets them or what scares them. Because in truth, it is their reaction to my words, my deeds, my actions, that angers, upsets and scares them.

This never means I get to act like a brute, avoiding responsibility for my words, deeds and actions. That’s on me.

What’s on you, is to do the same. To own your reactions.

You might well be angered or upset, even scared. But own it.

Don’t go here:
”You make me angry, upset, scared.”

Or here:
”Your words, deeds, actions, make me angry, upset, scared.”

Rather, try to find something like this place within:
”I felt angered, upset, scared by what happened within me when I came upon your words, deeds, actions.”

When both of us own our reactions, progress is possible. Connection, understanding and respect is to be had.

And I know, I cannot make you choose this. And it’s not for me to tell you what to do, or not do.
What I can do though, are two things:
I can strive to live up to this ideal, myself.
And I can be very clear with what is OK for me. To not swallow it, to not take it, should you happen to put your shit on me.

And that latter one, is where I have an opportunity to improve. To learn how to live it, to actually be someone who doesn’t take others’ shit. The outcome of that might well be that I also choose to not be with you, simply because I get to choose my company. And as peer pressure is very real and we become like those closest to us, I honor me by being very specific and particular in choosing whom I spend time with. Because that choice will impact me, making me be more –or less– of the person I want to be in the world.

And there’s nothing I want more than to surround myself with people who see and encourage the potential harbored within me, who positively challenge me to –always and already– be and become the better me.


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

May 14, 2020
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Monday. No gardening. None. 

Tuesday. No gardening. Not even a chance at it, except if I’d done it before leaving home at seven am, or after coming home at 10 pm. And not even I am that bonkers…

Wednesday. Cold as h*ll, especially so after a weekend of Swedish summer temperatures, which immediately had me acclimatized. Donned cap, gloves and winter coat before headed out to water my garden beds. So yes. 30 minutes – check.

Thursday. Warmer, though no summer heat exactly. Donned garden garb plus cap, and went out at 7 pm, with a Zoom call scheduled for 8 pm. Put more soil onto of the potato shoots peeping up. Planted three squash-plants and four kale plants. Potted the remaining seven squash-plants (where on earth should I put these? They are up for grabs if anyone is interested!) as well as three of the nine tomatoes I bought from a neighbor the other week. The thirty-minute mark came and went, and I stayed at it for another fifteen minutes, before reluctantly putting the tools away in my garden shed, and brought my potted kale, tomatoes and squash plants back indoors with me, to continue their softening process tomorrow morning. This way, in case the kale, squash and tomatoes I planted outside today will not make it, I have some spare plants left.

Oh…
How I enjoy looking at my garden, witnessing its response to my lavishing it with tender love and care (and a dab of water or two).
And even more, the joy at realizing how important and nurturing it is to be in it. With it.
Plants, soil, water. The green color. The brown, the black, the budding flowers. 

What a grand source of wellbeing and connection to all that is.
And how happy I am to simply enjoy it. No Musts. Just Wants.
Once in a while, however much I want to, it just won’t be. And that’s as it is. Nothing more. Nothing less. Acceptance.

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I love it, and I loath it.

April 18, 2020
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Last year I did two digital sabbats most months, each lasting at least 24 hours, oftentimes 48 hours or more. It’s a habit I’ve not properly carried forward into 2020, even though my need for it certainly hasn’t diminished. On the contrary.

But last night I gave myself the gift of a Social Media sabbath, checking out from Facebook and Instagram, Tinder and LinkedIn, and have now been off for 25 hours. The mindless reaching for my phone, unlocking it, swiping to my SoMe-folder on screen two, opening up Instagram, scrolling, giving a heart here and there, writing a comment or two, moving on, then Facebook, scrolling, giving a thumbs up, writing a comment or two, moving on, then Tinder, checking to see if there’s a new match or a new message, swiping left, left, left, right, left, then back to Instagram, then… on and on.

It is so mindless. Such a waste of time.
T h i s aspect of it. The almost unconscious routine-like habit of it; my inner SoMe-junkie in search of my next high. It doesn’t all have to be mindless though. The potential for connection is there, it is real. But that potential can be harnessed with much less waste of time.

Going on SoMe-sabbaths gives me the ability to witness myself and my interactions, to observe what I do, when I do, how I do, and realize that now and again, the why I do isn’t all too clear. And, so what? If I want to waste my time once in a while, so be it. My choice. My life. Sometimes, that’s what Is. And that’s fine. But I do want to be conscious of it. I want to choose to just be, letting myself be unproductive, non-effective, time-wasting, rather than feel addicted to it.

I’m quite particular about what I want to let myself be addicted to. Reading, hell yeah! Moving my body, of course. Silence and solitude, wouldn’t want to be without. But caffeine? No way. Don’t like coffee, but am seriously restrictive about tea as well, because I truly do not appreciate the headache that rears its ugly head after the fifth-day-in-a-row of having a cup or two of black or green tea. Nicotine? Nah, have never gone down that road, and alcohol is the same. I am really restrictive, and much prefer a glass of water to a glass of wine or beer which makes it very easy to not build habits around drinking.

But social media?
Huh… For me, it’s a different creature, for sure.
And I guess that’s why I am torn. I love it, and I loath it, all at once. A beast to be tamed? Or is this me trying to control me to an unhealthy degree? Should I just let myself off the hook, and scroll mindlessly to my heart’s desire without giving it another thought?


#tankespjärn, for those who wish to discover. More. Other. New.
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The bond we share

April 17, 2020
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There’s always connection. That’s the default. It is not something we have to create, to work hard at, to make happen.
It is there. Always and already.

And yet… with some, there’s more connection.
With some, there’s a knowing, a depth, a strength, that goes above and beyond.

It can only be, if it is mutual.
It is not enough for one party to feel this. Not possible.
It has to be felt by both.

Since 2015 I have been acting legal guardian for unaccompanied minors, and my first ever minor is still with me.
And boy is he with me. The bond we share is one of those. The one with more.

(Just to paint the picture for you, I am legal guardian, which does not mean that he lives with me. I am not responsible for day-to-day care but rather my role is to ensure his rights are protected, that he has someone who looks out for him with regards to being granted residency, citizenship, proper schooling and the likes.)

We met up today. It doesn’t happen that often, but today there was some official business to be done. We had a lovely couple of hours together, with lots of talk and laughter. As we said goodbye we hugged (yes. In Coronatimes. We did. We always do, and it’s always on his terms.). I whispered I am so happy I got to be your legal guardian. He strengthened his grip on me and responded.

So am I.

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Advent Calendar – December 25, 2019

December 25, 2019
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In the background, you can see people lined up. Our fellow travelers were taking a group photo, one which made its way into a newsletter reporting on the customer trip of the year. Me and Lena… we’re not in it. Actually, there are pictures with us in it as well, we sort of slid in at the very end of the photo session… but those weren’t used. Oh well. We were busy with other things. Important things!

Human to human.
Grown-up to baby.
Soul to soul.

I was in communication with the mother. With the grandmother (?).
But more significantly, I was busy communicating with this little baby.
Three generations in one fell swoop.

Connection.
There’s nothing better!

Not surprisingly, this is yet another one of my favorite pictures from my Kenyan adventures in June 2019. It’s also the twenty-fifth photo I’ve shared with you, here, in my advent calendar. I have more. Many more. But it’s Christmas Day, and hence, the end of my calendar. I would like to say thank you to you who have accompanied me on this 25-day long re-visit to Kenya, I’ve greatly enjoyed it, and I hope you have too.

I hope I have inspired you to start to buy trees or to increase your tree-savings-scheme. Or at the very least, given you a bit of insight into various aspects of Kenyan agroforestry, the economical and ecological importance of trees, and the beauty of Kenya?

If you’ve yet to make a decision (a Yes is as welcome as a No, what I am after is a clearly communicated decision!) on whether or not to start to buy trees, let me know what the snag is. A question you would like answered? More information on how it all works? Whatever it is, reach out, and I will do what I can to help you reach a clear decision. Because I unashamedly want everyone to buy trees, and that includes you!


Advent Calendar for 2019: sharing pictures and stories/reflections from my trip to Kenya in June. I went to visit “my trees” and get a hands-on experience of the social entrepreneurship of the Kenyan forestry company that I buy trees through.

Full disclosure: I am proud to say I am both a customer and an ambassador for the company. If you are curious to find out more, let me know and I’ll gladly get in touch with you! Here’s my sponsored link: https://betterglobe.com/27216 

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Souls connecting

July 20, 2017
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Today I’ve spent the day walking in Christiania in Copenhagen with Anna and Becka, two ladies I would not know were it not for social media. Becky likes to tell the story of how she, three years ago, on her first day on Twitter, a total newbie, managed to send off a tweet, which I picked up on and immediately replied with a question if she’d like to guest blog for #skolvåren (aka #schoolspring) and the rest is history as they say. We’ve been friends ever since. But as she’s a Swedish lady living in Mexico (a Swexican!) we’ve not had an opportunity before now to meet in the flesh.Christiania

Becka and Anna also hooked up via social media, and Becka hooked me and Anna up… and yes, as you might surmise, the rest is history there as well! Me and Anna have met a number of times, as we live fairly close to each other, but today way the first time we each met Becka.Three friends meeting up in the flesh

It’s quite amazing how deep a connection can become between friends, without meeting physically. And then, when the opportunity arises to actually do meet up in the flesh – it just feels so natural, easy, like old friends meeting up after a long time apart. The connections made online deepen the connection possible upon meeting physically – this I’ve experienced time and time again, and it never ceases to amaze me. So now I sit here reflecting upon the day, with the wonderful taste of the Mexican drinking chocolate gifted to me by Becka in my mouth, and a warm happy feeling within.Mexican Chocolate

Across oceans, continents, time zones – souls connect regardless!

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A life Lived?

April 15, 2016
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Hubby at AfterWork.
Daugher at the movies.
Just me, son and cat at home.

So we chill. Have left-overs for dinner. Agree to watch a movie. Together. I suggest Despicable me, which I have yet to see. He agrees, even though he’s seen it. More than once. But. Alas…. nowhere to be found (on Netflix at least).

So we sit down in front of the computer, and flick thru the movies available. Wanting to spend a few hours together, but with what? At long last, I spot The Intouchables and suggest it. He requested a funny yet exciting movie, and I said This movie has everything you requested, and loads of it. I click on the little arrow, divulging a short description of the movie. He reads and says, Let’s go.

The IntouchablesSo we do. I push play and settle down.
Watch. Laugh. Have deep whispered conversations.
Sit close, curled up together under the blanket, occasionally with Pop the cat accompanying us in the sofa.

And I just love it.
Love the connection.
The shared laughter.
Mutual insights into life.

A life Lived? Or a life Endured?

Those are some of the questions popping into my mind once the outro starts to roll with the credits when the movie comes to an end. Life can be lived – and Driss is a great catalyst for a life lived – or it can be endured.

In my life, the choice is mine. No one elses.

What will I chose? What will you?

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