doing gentle

Defense mechanisms

Defense mechanisms

October 7, 2019
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Defense mechanisms.
How powerful they are.
They run automatically in situations where something (what? The soul? My psyche? That which is beyond human, the greater force behind all in the universe, Mind?) triggers me. Runs to protect me. It’s like a script triggered by a series of logical if-this-then-that-sequences gets flipped into action, and bam, I am no longer consciously running the show that is my life, but rather a passive bystander, possibly bearing witness. More likely a puppet, arms, and legs flailing, a defense mechanism in full swing.

How grateful I am that they exist, as they do what they are named for. They do defend me. Once in awhile though, they are triggered by a faulty sequence, having me defending myself, when there is nothing – or no-one – to defend myself against. I can also learn to go into a specific defense mechanism because it’s come to be a habit. Serving a purpose once upon a time, but no more. Where the trigger switch is a remnant of days long gone, making me react on a faulty premise.

I like observing. Myself. Others. Individual as well as group dynamics. Sometimes it’s hard not to ache for those whos defense mechanisms no longer defends them. Quite the opposite. The defense mechanism of old has turned into a self-inflicting wound of today, triggered, again and again.

Without the power of observation and the habit of reflection (and doing gentle, by God, doing gentle towards oneself while reflecting!) it must feel like being repeatedly stabbed by a knife. Over. And over.

This has been me. I realize. As I write.

Perhaps there’s some trace of this behavior left in me… but it’s not prevalent. It’s not something which, when I look within, I can put a finger on and say Oh yeah, that thing, yes, that happens quite often. I don’t have any of those left, at least not in the way I live my life today. Perhaps there would be if my circumstances shifted. But they haven’t. So there aren’t any big ones left, so to speak. Not in me. But I do see it in others.

And it pains me. I try to stick to empathizing, as I do not want to sympathize. I do not want to pity or belittle. I try to take care of the pains I experience myself. Not always easy when I am pained on behalf of someone else. Well worth the effort though. What helps me stay centered is the adage from Byron Katie of My business, your business, God’s business. Some things are simply not mine to deal with. 

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Content.

May 3, 2019
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Make the most of your created content… or so I read. And hear. Over and over again.
Realizing, I definitely do not.

I have, to date, 1692 blog posts over at my (nowadays solely) Swedish blog, and with this post published, 497 blog posts here. In a little while I will do my 184th Facebook live, recorded in as many days. Not even counting 2374 Instagram posts, there’s quite a lot of content I’ve created that I could/should do something more with.

I have recently started Doing Gentle with an Edge, my podcast where I read blog posts from my Doing Gentle-series, as well as reflections. That’s one way to reuse my original content, in a way that makes me happy. But surely there’s so much more I could do with everything I’ve done these past years?

Ebooks?
Transcribe some of my lives and turn them into blog posts?
Make lives (more deliberately) on the topic of blog posts I’ve written?
Pick out quotes from my writings, mount on value-adding (in one way or another) images and post on Instagram?
Start a Pinterest-account and post them there as well?
Be more deliberate in how I post and cross-post on social media in general, and Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram in particular?

And that’s just ”my content”, which is but a part of what I do/am capable of doing. Just writing this, I get a bunch of other ideas.

However. What I notice more than anything is that what is lacking in how I make the most of my content, as well as of my skills, is deliberateness.

I am an upholder.
When I say I will blog daily, I do.
When I start doing daily lives on Facebook, I do them.
When I say I will do something, it takes a lot for me not to follow through.
But… have I honestly asked myself what’s my Why behind doing what I am doing?
And if so – have I followed it up with the How in the form of actions? In turn, followed by What the actions of my How’s turn into?

No.
Have not.
Not all the way through the Golden Circle of Why – How – What.

Deliberateness, you read, and perhaps think That sounds so boring, and, somehow, almost manipulative, doesn’t it?

Well. To tell you the truth – no. Not to me. Where I am at right now, in an ongoing transformation of my business, it sounds anything but boring. It sounds outright enticing! I mean… what if I sat down, with pen and paper, and got deep into the question of What want’s to happen here/now? Perhaps I would stop blogging and live:ing daily? Perhaps I would do it even more often? Perhaps I would stop altogether? Who knows!

And… given how many ideas I am getting just from writing this, what if I hook my newfound friend deliberateness up with a hefty dose of focus? What might be possible then?

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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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Podcasts recorded!

May 14, 2018
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Got myself all set up, outside, with all the gear arranged around me. Time to start. To record my first podcast-series. A series on Doing gentle, using the specific Doing gentle-posts as well as more general reflections, all presented as short episodes. I think. (Who know’s once I get further along in the process…)

PoddingMy gear? Nope. At a friend’s place – a friend with three decades worth of radio experience – using his gear, and with expert guidance at that. He’ll slowly “break me in”, having me learn more and more as we go along, but initially, just prompting me on how to sit, how to talk, where to direct my voice and such. And yes – we assembled it all outside at that!

Once I got started, he left me to my own devices. Had so much fun reading my posts – and you know what? Some of them are really good. It’s interesting to read them out loud, something completely different to reading them silently. I hear what I don’t see, and they come across as something slightly different. I like it. It’s like discovering them all over again, these posts from two years hence.

Next step has me listening to the recordings, making notations of what to keep and what to cut away. After that it’s time to find some sounds, intro/outro and possibly an ambient sound theme in the background as well… So much to learn!

In other words, it will be some time yet before this is available “where you normally find your podcasts”, but good things come to those who wait, or so I am told.

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Magic trick?

May 12, 2018
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As I reflect on recent weeks, it hit’s me, hard: I’ve gotten really good at being gentle towards myself. This ”quest” of mine, that I’ve worked at for so long. It all started right before my first child was born, when me and my then husband split up. I wasn’t aware that what I was aiming for was the concept of being gentle towards myself, but in hindsight, it was. The time I didn’t have cash in hand to pay for a therapy session some six or seven years later was my first conscious experience that I actually did have a choice. That I could be gentler with myself, than was my habit (since forever…).

Now. In situations I’d previously label ”difficult”, it’s as if I see what’s the core issue, and I go straight for it, rather than get lost in the potential drama and upset;which, don’t get me wrong, isn’t ”wrong”. It simply doesn’t do anything for me anymore. It does not serve me, or the situation at hand. At all.

And no. Of course this isn’t my demeanor 100% of the time when it would be prudent. But more and more. And each time, I learn, and so, chances are I will respond wiser, more discerning (new favorite word!), based on what serves – not just me, but all involved! – the situation best.

The magic trick!Another typical situation, which also has me coming to this conclusion, is when I’m in conversation with friends and loved ones, them sharing their inner turmoil with me; how their inner dialogue is both harsh and judgmental, making me see, again and again, that my inner dictators truly have left the building. And what a difference it makes. As I told myself the other day in a morning walking meditation ending up with five minutes of personal pep talk, ”It’s wonderful to be Helena today, so much nicer than just a few years ago!”. It really is, making it much easier for me to continue with a gentle and loving acceptance of myself (and as a fantastic bonus: of everyone around me as well!).

So. Is it the combo, then? The ”doing gentle” hooking up with discernment (best question ever: How is this serving me/the situation? Is it?) – is that the magic trick?

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Doing gentle – 46 – Expectations vs Agreements

November 27, 2016
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If I have to name one podcast that’s made the most lasting impression in my life, I believe it has to be Expectations vs Agreements with Steve Chandler. In roughly 15 minutes he explains the difference between the two, according to his view, and when I first heard it it bowled me over completely. I had to listen again and again, and as a result of that, I took a long look at myself. I started to discover instances where my expectations were enormous, and non-spoken, and inevitably knocked me down, as my surroundings (or myself) never could live up to what I had dreamed up had to happen for whatever activity to become a success.

Expectations, verbalized or not, will never get you above zero. If I expect something from you, and you don’t live up to it, I’m in the negative. If you live up to it, I get up to zero, because I expected you to. So I can never rejoice at it. Whereas if we make an agreement (and it has to be a proper one, where both parties takes it seriously enough to actually come to an agreement of what, when, how etc) I get to rejoice as much as I want to when we both live up to our respective tasks of the agreement.

I’ll give you an example. The first time I really observed my expectations (after listening to the podcast) was when my kids had a day off school and we’d decided to take a day-trip to Copenhagen together. We came to the railway station, and as we took the escalator down to the tracks, my kids started to moan and groan. Oh mom, will we have to walk all day? Mooom, can’t we just stay in one place? Oh, I don’t wanna… 

And I saw them. The expectation. They became very real to me then. The expectations in my mind were far from what was just happening. I had envisioned a lovely day, walking around in Copenhagen, having fun, enjoying ourselves, stopping for a bite to eat here or there, and generally having a day filled with Kodachrome-moments.

Problem was. Those were my expectations. And as I could hear from the kids, they each had a complete other set of expectations.

I never really got around to making an agreement with them that time, I think I basically flipped and told them off… Why should we ever go for a day-trip if all you’re gonna do is moan and groan? Didn’t win any awards for Mom of the Year for moment, that’s for sure. But we did have an ok day in the end, that we did!

A while later me and the kids were going for a week-long break in Stockholm and Uppsala. On the train there, I told them about Expectations vs Agreements, and we talked about it. We voiced our expectations, and turned them into agreements, were we all were willing to give some, in order to get something else. And lo and behold, we actually had a great vacation together, where on numerous occasions we referred to our agreement, as a gentle reminder, and all of us were more generous with our time and moods. All of us, willing and wanting to pitch in a bit extra, knowing that it would, sometime, be returned to us. A great vacation that was, let me tell you!wise one

So. Try to spot when you fall in the trap of expecting this or that. Just noticing it makes a difference. If you want to, then start to experiment with starting a conversation instead, which might land you in agreement about what’s to be done, how, when, by whom and whatever other details might be necessary for your specific circumstance.

Welcome to my humble abode, where the underlying tone centers around being gentle to oneself. On Sundays I’ve been sharing thoughts on how I do gentle for the last 46 weeks, and I hope you’ve enjoy it. We are approaching December and I will be publishing an Advent Calendar daily, and who know’s if the Doing Gentle-series will be returning thereafter. Either way, if you like the perspective you get from reading my posts, please subscribe to updates so you won’t miss out on future posts

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Being gentle to me – Reflection November ’16

November 25, 2016
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It’s funny. A month passes so quickly. Two months even quicker.
It’s been almost two months since my husband moved out, three months since he said he wanted to. Time sure flies.

I’ve tried to take extra good care of myself this past month. Making sure I sleep, eat well and get the nutrients I need, exercise, have fun, get sunshine and wind upon my face. I’ve had a massage as well as a facial (the latter something I’ve never ever experienced before. It was nice, very relaxing!). And basically, I try to listen within. Making sure I am silent enough to hear even the faintest inner whisper, softly informing me of what it is I need to sustain myself at this moment in time. 

It’s been a month of high’s and low’s.
Right now, as I am sitting here by the kitchen table, typing away on my monthly reflection, I’m in the calmest state of mind, totally at ease, body relaxed, long slow breaths, ok with whatever might be. Two weeks ago, I was in pain. It hurt so much, thinking about what we once used to have, and I couldn’t fathom how we let it slip away.

I know, my state of mind will keep on moving, back and forth, like waves hitting shore. Sometimes gently, gently, lapping away at the sandy slopes. Sometimes hurling itself with massive energy onto land, with a desperation, trying to grab a hold of as much as possible, before withdrawing with a vengeance, dragging sand and debris along out to sea. waves along the shoreThat’s me. My emotional state. Sometimes like the gently lapping waves, sometimes with such fierce energy it’s almost hard to contain within the boundaries of my physical body. And although the situation at hand might provide me with opportunities to experience the highest high and the lowest low more often than usual, it’s still just a part of life. It’s always like this. At least for me. My state of mind is fluid. In constant flux between high’s and low’s and everything in-between.

Noticing what the energy of the moment is, gives me a hint as to how much trust it’s wise to put on my thoughts. In the extremes, both high’s and low’s, I’m no longer as prone to putting much value on my own thoughts and emotions. I mean, I don’t disown them. I certainly feel what I feel when I feel it. But in general, if I’m low, the quality of my thoughts is generally low as well, and I have learned (oh boy, have I ever learned, the hard way!) not to put too much faith in them. Rather, I let them be, knowing it will pass. This too shall pass, as the saying goes. And it always does. The same goes for the high’s of course, even though they are usually a lot more enjoyable.

These past months, I’ve had it all. And I’ve rolled with it, all of it. At times desperately wanting the pain to go away. All the while knowing that it will. In time. And that’s comforting. This is me being very gentle towards myself, knowing this too shall pass. It’s a deep knowing, and it is there always, throwing a shimmer even on the worst moments. Reminding me, that it will all be ok, that it is ok, even when it feels like it isn’t. Reminding me, that even though it hurts sometimes, I am ok, because I always am; as is hubby, which is also a great comfort to know in all of this!

Welcome to my new website, where the underlying tone centers around being gentle to oneself. I will be reflecting on a monthly basis on what that means to me, in the moment, and this is one of those reflections. I hope you enjoy it. If you do, please subscribe to updates so you won’t miss out on future reflections.

 

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Doing gentle – 44 – Letting go and letting come

November 13, 2016
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aloneI want to separate. He said.
I don’t. I said. But what to do, since it takes two to tango? 

So he left. Got a rental apartment and moved out, a month later, providing me with the grand opportunity to practice the fine art of letting go and letting come.

Letting go of all my beliefs about what our relationship was, and should be.
Letting go of the way I would have liked for us to be working on our relationship, living under the same roof.
Letting go of the feeling that somehow I’ve failed. Again. Second time around.

Letting come whatever our relationship might transform into.
Letting come the sweet sensation of knowing it – life – is up to me. Going it alone, with all the up’s and down’s it brings with it.
Letting come the curiosity of what wants to happen now.

Letting go of that which has been, that which is no more.
Letting come that which wants to happen.

What is there for you to let go of, in order to let something else come?

Welcome to my humble abode, where the underlying tone centers around being gentle to oneself. On Sundays I share thoughts on how I do gentle, and I hope you enjoy it. If you do, please subscribe to updates so you won’t miss out on future posts in this series.

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Doing gentle – 43 – Give thanks.

November 6, 2016
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Give thanks. To yourself. For trying, for being there, for getting out of bed and putting yourself out there, each and every day.
Give thanks. To yourself. For the days when you don’t get out of bed, cannot face the world, totally lacking in resources to even begin to put yourself out there. It’s all a part of making you you, a part of your onlyness, and that is something to give thanks to. Each and every day.

Give thanks. To your loved ones. For the light they bring into your life.
Give thanks. To your loved ones. For the struggles they face, for staying the course, for falling down and getting up, each and every time.

blossomGive thanks. To your friends. For all that they are. The richness they infuse your life with.

Give thanks. To your friends. For the deep conversations, the gentle hugs they provide when you are desperately in need of one. And for the resistance they provide, when that is what’s necessary for you to level up in life.

Give thanks. To the stranger you meet on the bus. The person in the swim lane next to you. To the cashier at the store, and the janitor who makes sure the light build get’s switched when it’s been broken at work.

Give thanks. For the leaves on the tree turning yellow in fall, the blossom spreading it’s fragrance on a warm summer night. For the sun, the moon, the stars.

Give thanks. And rejoice in all there is to give thanks for.

Welcome to my writings, where the underlying tone centers around being gentle to oneself. On Sundays I share thoughts on how I do gentle, and I hope you enjoy it. If you do, please subscribe to updates so you won’t miss out on future posts in this series.

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Doing gentle – 42 – Personality? 

October 30, 2016
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Have you fallen for the ruse that a personality is a fixed set of likes/dislikes/habits and reactions that make up the basis of who you are?

I had. And in someways, I still fall for it. But most of the time, I don’t. I have come to understand that I have a choice. The choice of right now.

personalityYou see. When someone tells me It’s just who I am and expect me to take that as a Truth that cannot be changed, I cringe. However, if instead they would say It’s who I am, right now there’s an opening. Yes, there has been a choice, a choice to be bad-tempered, angry and upset, stingy, of rigid mind or whatever, in a given moment, but there’s also a willingness to see that in a day, or two, or five years, or whenever, there might well be another choice being made.

Whatever the choice, it’s not a permanent one. It’s fluid. Like life. Because life is fluid. It’s in constant flux. There’s never an emotion that lasts forever, because life cannot be lived like that. And hence, there’s never a ”personality trait” that’s a forever thing, unless we chose it over and over again.

And even then. It’s really not. Because however enamored we are in our personality, it can never be something which we are, 100% of the time.

She’s such a happy person.
Yeah. Except when she’s not. When she’s sad. Or scared. Or feeling vulnerable and alone.

He’s always such a grouch.
Yeah. Except when he’s not. When he sees an old favorite movie on TV, remembering happy days in his youth. Or when he wakes up from a lovely dream, carrying the feeling from it into his day.

Personality is not a permanent fixture. Simply because nothing can be permanent, permanence isn’t part of being human. Feelings, emotions and state of mind shift, constantly, and hence, the manner which we meet the world shifts along with it.

What choice are you making right this minute? What character trait are you choosing to meet the world right now?

Welcome to my writings, where the underlying tone centers around being gentle to oneself. On Sundays I share thoughts on how I do gentle, and I hope you enjoy it. If you do, please subscribe to updates so you won’t miss out on future posts in this series.

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