gentle

Have you thanked God for this failure already?

Have you thanked God for this failure already?

April 3, 2019
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Podclub coming up. Making/Creating is the theme.
Seth Godin, Milton Glaser, and then… not a pod at all, but a short clip on YouTube of Arvo Pärt giving a commencement speech. Sitting on the bus early in the morning, I press play, and then…

Have you thanked God for this failure already?

God bumps and tears in my eyes.
Absolutely captivated.

The most sensitive musical instrument is the human soul. The next is the human voice.
One must purify the soul until it begins to sound. 

Ah.
These words.
But more than that… the way he says it…
Riveted, I shiver, from the power, the passion, the heartfelt and intense sincerity.

God knits man in his mother’s womb, slowly and wisely.
Art should be born in a similar way.

The video ends and my bus reaches its final destination.
I gather my things, wrap my coat around me and step – newborn – off the bus. Onto the ground.

Feeling vulnerable.
Naked.

Hello world. Please.
Be gentle. Embrace me. Gently.
That’s what I need. Want.

The criterion must be, everywhere and only, humility.

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Advent Calendar 6 – To feel.

December 6, 2018
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I sing in a choir. In this choir we have the luxury of having a wonderful choir master, Jens Eriksson, who is also a composer. A couple of years ago, he wrote a Stabat Mater for my choir, and it is the musical highlight of my life – I absolutely love this musical work.

In the sixth piece Fac, ut portem Christi mortem about three minutes in (the Spotify version), there’s a sequence for the string quartet, and at 3:20 one of the instruments has a solo note, a high F (I think). This single note, lasting for a few seconds, is so beautiful that I cannot even keep my eyes open. I feel this note throughout my entire body; in a way I totally let myself float away on this note… while still being completely present to the sensation, with awareness of myself and the pleasure I take in being a part of this musical creation.

Allowing myself to feel, to enjoy, to take pleasure in what is, in the moment. Letting me experience what is there to experience, without drowning in the emotion. Being aware, being present, stops me from drowning, giving me an anchor of sorts, to my innate wellbeing. It makes me open to feel, to dare to feel it all.

This duality, of feeling fully, of experiencing, while at the same time witnessing the experience taking place. This is one way for me to be gentle with myself, as I am no longer afraid to feel what I feel.


Advent Calendar 2018 – number 6 of 24 – on the theme of being gentle.

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Our past is a story we tell

April 28, 2018
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in Tip
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I think that something that was a real turning point for me was the realization that we have a choice how we view our past. I could have come out of dad’s incarceration, that time of separation, this kind of wild years, when I was a teenager and really hurting a great deal and seen it as a tragedy that this had happened to us, and told the story, that our dad abandoned us you know, and he made this choice to be a drug trafficker when he had young children, and can you believe that?

Our-past-is-a-story-we-tellI could have decided to tell the story that way, and then I would be a different person, and a less happy person. But I chose to tell it differently, and I chose to see it differently, and I believe in my version of events very truly but it is a choice that we make. Our past is a story we tell, and how we tell that story is a choice we make about who we are, and how we want to be perceived, and who we want to be, and I think being aware of that certainly empowers you to rethink in some ways. 

These are the words of Tyler Wetherall, a woman who grew up with a dad on the run, at the end of her long conversation with Jonathan Fields on the Good Life Project podcast. She touches a topic very dear to me, something which I certainly have given a lot of thought to these past years.

The realization that it is I who give value to my experiences, I color them, I make them significant or insignificant, meaningful or meaningless. With each layer I wrap around my experiences I have a choice. Each layer presents itself as an opportunity for me. I get to choose victimhood or ownership. Love or hate. Making myself large, or small. Helpless or in charge. At the mercy of someone else’s choices, or at the helm of my own life.

Does this mean I always make “the right” choice? No. Of course not.
But the more I practice (with ample help in my most valued question How does this serve me?) the easier it is to make decisions in the moment that do me good rather than the opposite. We get better at that which we focus on, at that which we practice – so I’ve made a choice to focus on being gentle towards myself, and being aware of the choices I have, is one way of honoring myself.

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Welcome 2018 – living an intentional digital and analog life

January 1, 2018
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Welcome 2018Welcome 2018, the year when…

  • I continue being gengle with myself – this is a perspective upon life that I will forever carry with me.
  • I live a more intentional life, in both digital and analog aspects – choosing what’s most fitting given the situation.
  • digital 24-hour sabbats will become a ritual in my everyday life. Every month? Weekly? Not sure, but two per month minimum.
  • my bedroom is a sheltered analog zone, without computers, iPads or phones, and if I need an alarm clock I will work it out with something other than my IPhone.
  • I will not buy a single online-course based on me watching video clips and reflect on my own. It. Does. Not. Work. For Me. I have learnt this lesson now.
  • I will, despite what I just wrote, restart and complete the “A year to clear what is holding you back” purchased during 2017.
  • I will be going – with good company – to an “analog” writers course with Bob Hansson at Mundekulla.
  • Pernilla Tillander and I will continue to work together – grow, learn and have loads of fun doing it – in Skurup for the ESF-project Include & Meet.
  • I will read 26 Swedish and 26 English books, one per week: books I already own. Each Sunday I will do a reflection on either blog on the book of the week.
  • above and beyond the 52 “books I already own” I will set my #Goodreadsreadingchallenge for 2018 to one hundred books.
  • I will let my Upholder-tendency have free reins, which you can see in the above, which for me is far from a punishment, rather, quite the challenge, something that tickles and entices me!
  • I aim at being a ChattyMeals-hostess and/or attend others ChattyMeals at least on a monthly basis. LÄNKA
  • riding my bike and taking walks, as well as my daily Seven and my Headspace-meditations, will continue to be my daily companions in life.
  • my economic husbandry gains clarity – in all senses. What this really means is something still remaining for me to defins, so I know what it truly is I want to achieve.
  • my eldest will graduate. Yikes. How time flies. This deserves a celebration!
  • I – perhaps more important than anything else – will enjoy life, explore, discover, expand, and in all manners possible allow myself to have as much fun as I can!

Intentions of previous years have come to me more in the form of a single word, more or less. This year is different, but if I summarize all of the above, this is where I end up: Living an intentional digital and analog life. That will be the intention for 2018.

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Being gentle to me – Reflection August and September ’17

September 25, 2017
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I don’t know if you’ve noticed the absence of my monthly reflection on how I do gentle to myself; I did. But I didn’t act upon it, so in a sense, that’s me being gentle to me. It’s not a m u s t to write these monthly reflections, it’s an intention, a gift I give myself, but also one that I can refuse, if that’s what feels best. And honestly, I didn’t really know what to write.

Acceptance on chestnutYou see, it’s been a time of winding down, a time of less emotional storms and upsets, a time of me simply being. At the same time it’s been a time of winding up, of getting my sh*t together, a time of me figuring out what being me means, right now, right here.

A chapter is closing, and I am deliberately trying to close it with gentleness and great care. And that feels really good – that’s what’s deserved.

At the same time, I know I’ve been necessarily blunt with others at times, and the only thing I can do (after saying sorry) is to take heed, to remember what it felt like, what it lead to, and try to behave more in the way I want to (being proactive rather than reactive) from now on, and most importantly: to not beat myself over the head for my bluntness. That won’t make it alright, and it certainly doesn’t serve either party, so, no. I am not taking that route. And I hope I’ve learned that lesson to the degree that I will never again chose the ”beat myself over the head”-route. I’ve done that enough, and nothing good comes from it.

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Being gentle to me – Reflection June ’17

June 28, 2017
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So much of what I’ve been writing about in these monthly reflections run like a thread through my experience of life, my self-gentleness takes on similar expressions from month to month, but what I did do in the month of June that was truly gentle to me, was to host a very special birthday party for myself. I sent out the invitations a while ago, hosting an open house from afternoon until the last guest would leave, with a request for each guest: to bring something edible that would do well at a buffet table, be it a snack, a starter, main course-type food or a dessert of some kind. In return I promised to take care of the drinks.

At three o’clock when I’d said people could start to come, two things struck me:
1) I was filled with energy, which felt different to most parties I’ve hosted. By the time the party is about to start, I’m normally exhausted from cooking and cleaning and preparing and getting everything in place. This time – not at all. I’d fixed tea and coffee, and put out assorted drinks, glasses, mugs, plates and cutlery, but that was about the extent of it. Great feeling, I tell you!
2) There was no one there! That gave me food for thought, because, of course, I had told everyone that they could come whenever it would suit them best, so perhaps I would be waiting for hours? I didn’t have to wait for long though until the first guests started to drop in, which was somewhat of a relief.

The family tradition holds that the celebrant gets to drink from the silver crystal glass. Photo: Annika Jeppsson

The family tradition holds that the celebrant gets to drink from the silver crystal glass. Photo: Annika Jeppsson

Having left it completely up to my guests to bring whatever they felt like, when one guest asked for coffee and cake, all I could say was “Sorry, there’s no cake yet!” because no one had brought any. We did get some cake eventually, so all turned out well.

It was a great adventure to see what everyone would bring. We got freshly baked bread and olives, melons and quiche, cheese pie and potatoe gratin, chicken sticks and lots of assorted cheeses, a taco fry with tortilla chips, pizza and apple pie, chia brownies and hazlenut/peach cake, and lots more.

I had a blast, had great fun botanizing amongst all the yummy stuff brought by everyone, and am absolutely enamored with the idea to ask the guests to bring something to eat – for sure, this is the way I will do hencefort when I want to invite a larger gathering over for one or another reason.

Not least because this was truly an act of gentleness towards my self. I do recognize though, that for someone not as used to letting go of all sense of control, it might be somewhat stressful. But I have let go of that. What would come, would be what we would be eating. Period. And I mean, it’s not as if my fridge, freezer and larder are empty, and there’s always take-out, so, I mean, there’s really nothing to worry about, nothing at all!

Welcome to my writings, where the underlying tone centers around being gentle to oneself. I reflect 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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What my children learn watching me?

June 17, 2017
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propped up in bedToday is my birthday, and as I sit here, still propped up against the pillows in bed, getting ready for the day – which will be spent preparing for and having people over in the afternoon and evening – I come across this phrase:

”What are your children learning
as they watch you?”

I could ask them. Actually, that’s a good idea, I think I will, one day in the not too distant future.

I can also look within, and reflect upon what I wish and hope that the learn while watching me.

I hope my children learn (in no specific order)…
– to be gentle towards themselves.
– to laugh at all things possible to laugh at (and with).
– to be generous, both in spirit and with physical means that can grant relief to a fellow human.
– that it’s ok to experience all emotions possible to experience; to not be afraid of feeling whatever comes in the moment.
– to dream wildly and to do the work that will take them one step closer towards fulfilling that dream, and then another step, and another…
– to be kind in heart, helpful and openminded.
– to open their homes to those in need.
– that thoughts aren’t Truth, but rather a suggestion, that they, in each given moment, can ask How does this serve me?. And if the answer is It doesn’t, to know that they can let go of that thought, to let the next one come.
– the importance of thinking one step further – that the choices we make has implications down the line, not simply for us as individuals, but for all of us, for flora and fauna and the Earth itself.
– to enjoy life! The richness of it, the textures, smells and flavors, the vistas and thrills, the high’s and low’s of the eternal rollercoaster we call life!
– to love. Wholeheartedly. With all they’ve got.
– to dance through life, and especially, to dance with whom- och whatever comes knowing at the door.
the importance to look after ones Self, in spirit and body alike.
– to read! All the worlds available to us in the form of books is such a treasure.
– to ask questions and be forever curious.
– to be open to what wants to happen next.
– to grace life with beauty and tenderness as well as lots of hugs and kisses! You can never get too many hugs, that’s for sure.

I believe I could go on and on, listing all the things I wish my children learn from watching me; all the while knowing that I am not all of this at all times – far from it. It is my intention though, to live life wholeheartedly with these aims top of mind. And when I slip or forget, to get back on track and above all, to be gentle with myself at all times.

Inspired to continue blogging on the theme from the #blogg100-challenge in 2017 I give you:
The book “The parents Tao Te Ching” by William Martin.

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#blogg100 – Gentle care.

May 11, 2017
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gentle care”Treat yourself with gentle care.”

The theme for this entire website centers on being gentle towards myself. It is something which I have had to learn how to be; during my upbringing and entry into adulthood, I got extremely good at the opposite, at being very harsh with myself, rather than gentle. So I’ve worked hard at ridding myself of dictatorial and judgemental inner voices, slowly releasing them, paying less and less attention to their commands, understanding – after a while – that I truly did not have to take the word of the inner voices as Truth, as Orders, as something which I had to abide by.

”Treat yourself with gentle care.”

Yesterday I got a new opportunity. I have assignments to complete, and had, at the same time, promised my presence in another project all day today… and the two simply do not add up. So I cringe, falter, hesitate, feel embarrassed that I cannot live up to my promise to take part in the meetings planned for today… and finally come to the conclusion, that I have a choice. Between the two. One or the other will have to take top priority today, both cannot. And I chose. I chose the assignments, that are sorely late as they are, and given other assignments the upcoming days, if I did not, they would fall even farther behind.

”Treat yourself with gentle care.”

The relief in making a decision. In communicating it. And in having the most wonderful gentle response back – with understanding, and a great capacity for work-arounds, my presence will be missed, yes, but the meetings will take place anyway, and will be well-managed at that. I could have been faced with harshness, with hurt and a wish to impose feelings of shame and inability to live up to promises. I was not, and for that I am grateful, but even if I had – the fact still remains: I have a choice, and I chose. So now I will throw myself wholeheartedly into the assignments of the day, making sure I give it my full attention, with no sense of regret. This is what is, and it is as it should be.

If anything, I am patting myself on the back, prodly telling myself how good I’m gotten at treating myself with gentle care!

#Blogg100 challenge in 2017 – post number 72 of 100.
The book “The parents Tao Te Ching” by William Martin.
English posts here, Swedish at herothecoach.com.

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Being gentle to me – Reflection January ’17

January 25, 2017
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After a full year of monthly reflections on what it means, for me, to be gentle towards myself, you might think this is a topic that I’ve exhausted. That I’ve written what’s possible for me to write about. But far from it. I am, constantly, observing that I am being gentle towards myself, in situations where it greatly gladdens me, instances where I know – and I do mean Know – that in the past I would not have been able to chose gentleness, if nothing else than for the reason that I simply did not know it was an option!

Choosing to be gentle towards myself is becoming second nature. It is something that comes first, almost always, nowadays, and from that I conclude that I have practiced the art of being gentle for long enough, so it no longer takes as much effort to choose the path of gentleness, as compared to when I first realized that it was, indeed, a viable option for me – and anyone! – to choose.

I normally say the first big insight that it was even an option, was when I did not bring cash to pay my therapist, some 10-11 years ago. I was ashamed, and wildly kicking myself verbally, and she was astonished that I was so hard on myself. She told me what she’d done if the situation had been reversed, and my jaw fell. I simply could not believe it was an option not to beat myself up internally for having done such a low thing.

But as I sit here and look back at my journey of discovery into the world of gentleness, I spot the birth of my first child as one of those moments, when I was given the choice – by the midwife – to be more gentle to myself. Under slightly unusual circumstances – as me and my then-husband had separated and filed for divorce just a few weeks prior to the birth of our child – I was accompanied by two friends, while giving birth.

When we got to the hospital, I got into a warm bath, and after a while, the midwife looked at me and more or less gave me permission to keep my focus on me, rather than on the comfort of my friends. I was conversing them, staying cheerful and positive, all the while having contractions that hurt like hell… The midwife looked at me, and calmly said You don’t have to entertain your friends. They can take care of themselves. You conserve your energy. You will need it later.

And now, as I reflect back on that moment, I see what I chose then, as I did heed the experienced midwife’s words, was to be gentle to myself. To let myself off the hook to be a gracious “hostess” to my two friends. To truly see that they were there for me, because I had asked them, because I had a need for their strength. In that moment, they were there solely for me and my unborn child. Not the other way around. comfortable spotAnd that was ok. I could let myself off the hook, and relax into being supported, fully, without having to reciprocate, in that time and space. That there would be a time for me to be there, fully, for them. But that would not be the moment of birth of my firstborn. That’s for sure.

Funny that… How I have these recollections of specific moments when I discovered that being gentle to myself was a choice I could make. That there was a choice, and that gentleness was one of the options open to me. As a result, it’s much easier for me to love myself, to like myself, and to enjoy the daily exploration of Life. The life I lead from the place of being gentle to me, is a ridiculously comfortable spot to live from, as compared to my life while being harsh on myself (oh, so harsh!).

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Doing gentle – 39 – Notice your own, and growing, awareness.

October 9, 2016
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Observing myself, and witnessing the growth in me, makes me more aware of and also very grateful for the journey I am on.

Witnessing how I’ve expanded, how I am more and more congruent with the values I hold dear. How I show up, in much the same way, whether at work, at home, at a gathering of friends, or with total strangers. How there is less difference in me, regardless of the setting I am in.

rock peopleObserving and witnessing this, have been a large part in developing my gentleness towards myself. Becoming aware that I am more gentle towards myself today, than last week, last year, last decade, makes me more invested in me. In myself. In my continuous expansion, which is how I see it for myself. If I didn’t see any difference, if there was nothing to show for the work, the energy, the care that I put into this, I might have stopped. I might have been overcome by feelings of futility, not seeing the point in it.

But I do. I do see it. I pick up on subtle things, words I say that I would not have stated in a similar situation before. The lack of a reaction, that I thought was ”how I was”, proving to me, that it was just a habit, something I picked up, and now have let go of, rather than a fixed part of my ”personality”.

So. Notice yourself, and see if you can spot your own, growing awareness.
See if you can discover your own gentleness towards yourself. Has there been a shift somewhere along the way?

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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