gentleness

A touch of gentleness

A touch of gentleness

March 28, 2020
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In much of the work I do –tankespjärn, coaching, leadership training– I use me as my go-to-example. What I write and tell stories about (in essence what #tankespjärn is about) is not something I’ve thought up, it’s something I have lived for many years, and still live. Daily.

#tankespjärn has been my life philosophy for 20+ years (even though the word came to me in 2013), and it’s been the single biggest contributing factor having me shift from being the most negative person in the world, to… something very different, if perhaps not the most positive person in the world. But not far from. So whatever it is I write or say, is what I’ve done. Myself. I know it can be done, and I know that it can be helpful.

I also know it’s not a one-size-fits-all solution that I am ”selling”, and I try my utmost to not be prescriptive but descriptive in my work. I share what has worked for me, in the hope that it might inspire you to think differently, to act differently, to try on a new trait or two to see what might come of it. Not saying you must do what I’ve done, but rather, that it’s possible to create huge shifts in inner dialogue and ways of interacting with self and others, if what’s is isn’t serving you. And I’ve yet to meet one person who’s served (truly) by all he/she/they do either consciously or unconsciously.

I’ve learned how to be gentle (with an edge) towards myself, after having an internal dialogue hijacked by a combo of Hitler/Mao/Stalin, and in this era of an epidemic of harshness (not speaking about Corona…), the opportunities that open up when people learn how to treat themselves gently –self-honoring– are just limitless.

A little bit goes a long way, as a touch of gentleness, teases out even more gentleness, and soon enough, you’ve unlearned harshness and learned gentleness.

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Slow down. Ease up.

February 16, 2019
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As I walked through the door, exclaiming my back is killing me, D picked up on the message. When we sat down to work with the pain, he asked me: What did you feel as you stepped through the door?

I didn’t really have an answer, so he asked if I wanted to hear his impression. Yes, please tell me, I responded. What else could I say, being a Curious George and all that…

So he said, slow down. That’s the message I got, to slow down. Ease up a little. 

I’ve carried the message with me, this past week, using it as a baseline to reflect on what I am doing, in which areas, and how it all serves me. Or doesn’t, for that matter.

Coming to a realization that for quite some time I’ve been pushing all my own buttons. At the same time. Working on all areas, simultaneously. Pushing against the boundaries of my comfort zone… no, that’s untrue. I’ve been pushing against the boundaries of my stretch zone, going dangerously into the red snap zone… in many, if not all, areas of life.

I realized, as I took in the message I was sending but not picking up on, that I don’t have to work in all areas, everywhere, all the time. It is not only reasonable but actually wise, to heed the advice of the master of self-care, Pop the cat. Let myself rest, consolidate, push fewer buttons, letting come that which wants to come, given that I let go of that which has done its job.

So I breathe in. Hold it, for a few seconds. Then… exhale, letting go of a bit of the urge within, to be done. Knowing it’s not at the finishing line the reward of this journey lies. It is the journey itself. That is the reward. The growth. The expansion. The learning. That which is life. Living it. Loving it. Letting go to let come, and reveling in each twist and turn, each nook and cranny, falling through internal trap doors, one after the other. All the while being open. And gentle. Knowing my gentleness towards myself is that which ensures the openness, the willingness, the ability to step without hesitation into the next inch of the unknown.

As a direct result of the reflective process of this past week, I honored myself today.
Saying No to others. Saying Yes to me.
Slowing down. Easing up.

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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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Being gentle to me – Reflection April ’16

April 25, 2016
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There is a sacredness in being gentle. If done deliberately, in full awareness.
Gentle. On purpose. A fundament. To life.
To a life well lived, as opposed to a life where one simply survives.
Gentleness. Compassion. Grace. Kindness.

My discovery of gentleness – of learning not only how to be gentle to myself, but starting from scratch with understanding that it’s an option. That being gentle to me a choice that I have – in the way I think of it today, is something I’ve grown into, this past quarter of my life. I am grateful for the discovery of gentleness, which has led me to so many insights. So many.

As a result of this discovery, I am free to explore and uncover. I get to be curious about all things, within as well as without. And I learn. I listen. Ask questions, and reflect on answers. Feel. Experience. Live. Upon discovering being gentle, to me, I learned to lavish the world with it.
Gentleness. Compassion. Grace. Kindness.April reflection

And the concept of gentleness pops up, everywhere. Over and over. In conversations, in podcasts I listen to, articles, books, songs, quotes.
Over and over.
Gentleness. Compassion.
Grace. Kindness.

And then.
Then there are the places where I spot the absence of it.
The absence of gentleness.
A void. Something is missing that is needed, a necessity; leaving me in dire straights. It’s as if I get short of breath. Gasping for air, but there’s too little of it.

Gentleness. Compassion.
Grace. Kindness.
Can we live without it?
Can I? Do I want to?
Is life worth living without?

Welcome to my humble abode, 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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