good

Heed my own advice

Heed my own advice

March 26, 2020
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My idea to start a community for #tankespjärn has me feeling (at least) two things.

The first is the rush, the thrill, the excitement at sharing, at creating, at shipping. At making something of this brainchild of mine, of challenging myself by jumping headfirst into something which I’ve never done before (and being Swedish, I take the stance of Pippi Longstocking: I have never tried that before, so I think I should definitely be able to do that.). I know what I know, and what I don’t know, and eagerly look forward to the learning I know will come my way.

I like that feeling. It’s a good feeling.

The other one. Not so much. It’s the one saying What? You’ll never be able to have a #tankespjärn-community lift off. No chance. Why on Earth do you think anybody would be willing to spend money on #tankespjärn? On you? Forget it, right now! And do not even dare to start the ball rolling, because it will be embarrassing for you, when no-one shows up to support you and your work, because that would be the only reason they would ever do it in the first place. Because there’s no way it could be of value to them, and I don’t even know what makes you think there would be?

I don’t like this feeling. It’s not a good feeling at all.

So what to do?

Well.
Heed my own advice is a good start.

Meaning, know that these two different sets of feelings are generated by two different streams of thoughts within. And neither feeling is True, in the sense that neither feeling is a given. I don’t have to feel one or the other, neither is the correct or only way to feel about this situation, but rather two possible ways of feeling which I happen to feel.

Important note here. I am not saying it’s wrong for me to feel what I feel. I feel what I feel. Period. However, I do not have to be dictated by those feelings, regardless if I like them or not. When I feel something, I acknowledge what I feel, know the feeling is a direct result of thoughts I have, and can ask myself: How does this serve me?

Feelings are, for me, warning bells. Indicators telling me when I am headed down a deep hole, informing me I’d better get back up the road again. That’s the message the second feeling brings me through the discomfort it generates within me: You can continue thinking and feeling this, but what good will it do you? How will it serve you? Do you want to act based on the fear of what might happen if you start a community, or do you want to move through it?

And I think you know what my answer is.

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Lame Deer, Seeker of Visions (book 9 of 12)

September 29, 2019
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in Tip
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“The way to power is by giving, not by taking.”

I got it from Sara. She read it, marking the pages where she found little gems of wisdom and insight, and then mailed it to me.  And I, in turn, made it one of my twelve English books of the year: Lame Deer, Seeker of Visions by John (Fire) Lame Deer and Richard Erdoes. The book was first published the year I was born, 1972, and the copy I was gifted is an enriched classic published 1994.

“A fascinating story” is a blurb by Library Journal included in the preface. And yes. It is. Spanning high and low, delving into Lame Deers personal life as well as ancient stories such as that of White Buffalo Woman, dipping a toe into the use of herbs as medicine and components of rituals, and much more.

There are several passages I found of great interest, here are two providing me with great amounts of tankespjärn:
“A medicine man shouldn’t be a saint. He should experience and feel all the ups and downs, the despair and joy, the magic and the reality, the courage and the fear, of his people. He should be able to sink as low as a bug, or soar as high as an eagle. Unless he can experience both, he is no good as a medicine man. Sickness, jail, poverty, getting drunk – I had to experience all that myself. Sinning makes the world go round. You can’t be so stuck up, so inhuman that you want to be pure, your soul wrapped up in a plastic bag, all the time. You have to be God and the devil, both of them. Being a good medicine man means being right in the midst of the turmoil, not shielding yourself from it. It means experiencing life in all its phases. It means not being afraid of cutting up and playing the fool now and then. That’s sacred too.
Nature, the Great Spirit – they are not perfect. The world couldn’t stand that perfection. The spirit has a good side and a bad side. Sometimes the bad side gives me more knowledge than the good side.”

“This kind of medicine man is neither good nor bad. He lives – and that’s it, that’s enough. White people pay a preacher to be ‘good’, to behave himself in public, to wear a collar, to keep away from a certain kind of woman. But nobody pays an Indian medicine man to be good, to behave himself and be respectable. The wicasa wakan just acts like himself. He has been given the freedom – the freedom of a tree or a bird. That freedom can be beautiful or ugly; it doesn’t matter much.”

How different this is to the way the culture of the world I perceive myself a part look at it. We strive for goodness, for the perfect gurus, damning each and everyone forever if there were ever a speck of dust marring their perfect image. We do it for politicians and business leaders, for holy men and women and artists, for anyone we want to put on a pedestal.

Being put on a pedestal, never be allowed to slip up, make a mistake, falter. Neither here and now, in the future nor for that matter, in times gone by.  Could there ever be a position I’d want less than that one?


The book I am blogging about is part of the book-reading challenge I’ve set for myself during 2019, to read and blog about 12 Swedish and 12 English books, one every other week, books that I already own.

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With a little help from my friends… or with money?

February 11, 2019
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When I have a need, say of a long ladder so the chimney sweeper coming for his annual visit can get up on the roof, or a car for a few hours or a day, or help to take care of Pop the cat for a few days, or whatever really – my first instinct is to think about my friends. Might there amongst them be someone who can help me, or at least point me in a direction that could solve my problem/tend to my need?

I think it always has been my initial reaction. But I’m not sure.
I know I started to get really good at asking for help once my first marriage crashed and burned five weeks before the birth of my eldest child. Have a hard time to recall if I was as good at asking for help before that, but have a feeling I was. At least pretty good at it. But ever since that crash and burn, I’ve gotten really good at asking for help, and am proud of it!

The other possible reaction is to look for a service provider to tend to the need. Buy a ladder. Call a taxi or book a car in a carpool. Get Pop a few days vacation at a cattery.

These two approaches to life, and to solving one’s needs, are just that, two different approaches. I for one instinctively go for the first, and if that doesn’t work out, choose a suitable service provider to ensure I get my needs met. Neither approach is inherently good or bad. But… at the same time, the benefits of the first approach, of asking near and dear ones for help, has some (perhaps not so) hidden advantages to it. If I ask you for help, and you can help, the likelihood of you asking me, or others, for help when you need it increases. In this way, we weave a tapestry of relationship, of friendship, of live, concern and care. If I always turn to a professional service provider to help me out, I am effectively not weaving myself into that tapestry of mutual relationships, and I think that’s a dangerous path to choose.

We know that one of the most significant indicators of happiness is the strength of a person’s relationships. Asking for, and responding to requests for, help, is definitely one important part of relationship-building. We are better together, that’s the superpower of human beings. If I don’t do my bit in giving others the chance to help me, I am holding back on strengthening relationships not just for my own sake, but also for those close to me, am I not? And what message am I sending, by not asking for help? Is it a signal I want to send?

So perhaps… I am wrong in saying there’s nothing inherently good nor bad in these two approaches? Perhaps there is more good to be had from asking for help, than from paying a service provider? At least if I never ever ask anyone for help. But perhaps people like that simply do not exist?

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Advent Calendar 13 – Take good care of yourself

December 13, 2018
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If I don’t take care of me, who will?

No one. That’s who.

So the job falls on me – which is just the way I want it. It has me taking charge of my life, ensuring I get what I need. Enough sleep. Plenty of movement and exercise. Daylight! Friendship and love. Mental challenges. Being meticulous with what I ingest – not just food and drink. Mental ingestion is as important, if not more… That’s why I stopped watching news on the telly, twenty years ago. I have recently decided to stop subscribing to my morning newspaper. And I stopped reading crime novels and thrillers 5-7 years ago or so, but not because I don’t like them. I do. I did. There are some extremely skilled authors in this genre. But I simply did not want to fill my mind with horror and terror. So I stopped.

Perhaps that’s an idea for you to try as well? Or not?
Because even though I believe our basic needs are more or less the same, the How of them can vary greatly! And if you don’t try different things on – how will you know?

Yesterday I worked all day, then went to the silent after work, and straight from there to social lindy hop dancing organized by Cat’s corner at Moriskan… and guess what? Giving myself a few hours of swing music (put a tune on, and see if you can keep from smiling and tapping your feet, wanting to daaaaance?! I can’t!), dancing this coolest of dances, and being surrounded by other smiling people. What a treat, for me! And who knows, maybe you’d love lindy hop as well?!

If you take good care of you. And I take good care of me.
Then I can be my best me when we meet.
And you can be your best you.
Imagine the quality of the us we create between us then…

Doesn’t get much better than that, does it?


Advent Calendar 2018 – number 13 of 24 – on the theme of being gentle.

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Doing gentle – 4 – Understand that feelings are neutral

February 7, 2016
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doing gentle 4Can you tell me three good feelings? And three bad feelings?
I’m sure you could.

Love, generosity, happiness. Hatred, greed, envy.
Gratitude, joy, satisfaction. Anger, suspicion, jealousy.
Or any other combination.

There are a lot of feelings available to pick from, and there might be some differences in what I deem good and bad, and what you judge good or bad. But generally, I think we have a fairly similar take on it. Only thing is, there’s no such thing as a good or bad feeling. It’s the story we tell ourselves about those feelings that make them appear positive or negative. Feelings just are. Neutral. It’s the action we take based on them, that makes us judge them as good or bad, positive or negative.

There’s nothing wrong with feeling hate, jealousy or envy. Just as there’s nothing wrong with feeling happy, generous or satisfied.

What makes us judge feelings as good or bad, positive or negative, is what actions they (might, could, often do) give rise to. If I feel happy, I might laugh, give you a hug, dance around in my living room. Whatever. To a large part, actions that serve me.

If I feel hate, what actions will I take that will serve me? What if I lash out at you, screaming I hate you, or I write a vitriolic comment on a Facebook post, letting all my hatred flow out through my finger tips, onto the social media platform. How does this serve me? What serves me, out of these actions? Do they serve me at all?

Sometimes, actions taken from hatred, will serve. Sometimes actions taken from love, won’t. I can’t say with certainty that all action I take from love will serve me. Just as I can’t say that any action taken from hatred won’t. The deciding factor lie in the moment and the chosen action.

Being conscious to what you feel, in the moment, and actively choosing your action, makes a much better basis for life, than painting the world in black and white, saying feelings are either good or bad. Because they aren’t. They are neutral. Once I grasped this, I started to become aware of the stories I’d told myself around certain feelings. And as my awareness rose, I could start to let myself feel what I felt, without beating myself up over it.

Welcome to my new website, where the underlying tone centers around being gentle to oneself. On Sundays I will be sharing thoughts on how I do gentle, and this is the fourth of those. I hope you enjoy it and if you do, please subscribe to updates so you won’t miss out on future posts in this series.
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