The world needs more of it!

The world needs more of it!

February 5, 2018
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in Tip

Generosity-Curiosity-Warmth-and-laughter-opennessGenerosity. Curiosity. Warmth and laughter, openness. Depth and honesty, respect, sincerity and a willingness to stay put, to not shy away from the tough and hard questions. People with enormous integrity, making me want to find out more, to listen more, to read more, about them, but more than that, I want to listen and read more by them.


An imam and a rabbi, in conversation with Krista Tippett in On Being. I start to listen to the edited version, and immediately thereafter I press Play on the unedited version. Which I then proceed to listen to yet once again. And I don’t feel satisfied yet, I’ll be relistening more, mark my words.

Krista starts the conversation thus:
It sounds like the beginning of a joke, and in truth, there’s a lot of laughter in what comes next: an imam and a rabbi walk into a conference of reform Jews. But amidst reports of rising anti-Semitism and Islamophobia, there are also friendships — and conversations like this — taking place.

Imam Abdullah Antepli and Rabbi Sarah Bassin – I listen to them, and fill up with hope. The way these two people work, and the impact they are having, one heart at a time, is just amazing. There is humility here, loads of it, these are humble people, in my view, and yet, at the same time, they are so strong, flexible and far from easy push-overs. Far from it, by the sound of it!

At one time, Imam Antepli touches on something that is well tuned to my intention for the year:

Imam Antepli: That’s really beautiful. And my biggest holy envy of Judaism is, absolutely, Shabbat. This is something — the world needs more of it. Imagine — when the world’s largest, most effective and influential religion, capitalism, is telling you, “Work more, harder. Buy more. Study harder,” there’s one voice from Sinai for 5,000 years, saying, “Once a week, don’t do that.” 

Wise words, those. The entire show is inspirational, truly. And since I started writing this post a day has passed, and I’ve listened to the show no less than five times. This is a record! And I’m not done. I’ll press Play at least once more. At least.

This – people in true conversation – is what the world needs more of. And one of the ways I use to get more of it – besides engaging in conversations myself – is to listen to On Being, still going strong as my favorite podcast!

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#blogg100 – Hope is in the dark around the edges.

March 6, 2017
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”Ideas at first considered outrageous or ridiculous or extreme gradually become what people think they’ve always believed. How the transformation happened is rarely remembered, in part because it’s compromising: it recalls the mainstream when the mainstream was, say, rabidly homophobic or racist in a way it no longer is; and it recalls that power comes from the shadows and the margins, that our hope is in the dark around the edges, not the limelight of center stage. Our hope and often our power.”

Have you considered how it’s only when we look back, in the rear-view mirror, that we can reverse engineer how we got to where we are now? How it’s never (ever?) a matter of an outspoken plan, but rather, in hindsight, the way the road meanders forward simply happens. Personally, this is certainly true, and perhaps easier to see, as it’s part of my story. I know what my plans were… and how the road to where I am now diverged, shifted, things happened which made me end up somewhere far from where I thought I would. For me – the place I am is much better – wider – more diverse and rich – than I though, than I planned, which makes me look forward with curiosity. Who knows where I might end up?

Arcs of historyBut when it comes to the larger movements of humankind, it’s harder to tell. The Arabic spring is a failure I hear, and I think (and Rebecca Solnit reinforces my beliefs!) How can you tell? It’s too soon. What do we know of where we’re at now, and where we will end up in 10-50-100 years time?. The arcs of history are – and must be – longer. They cannot be judged, measured, against the experience of my life. For me, as a mortal human being, a year, two, three, can feel like a long time. But in the grand scheme of things, it’s but a blink in time, is it not? What do you think it was like in post-revolutionary France 10 – 50 – 100 years after the Storming of the Bastille (on July 14th, which is now the French National Day, no less)?

In Hope in the dark Rebecca Solnit help me see how the arc of history is rife with examples of events, that we only in hindsight can see as pivotal moments, nudging society along, sometimes for better, sometimes for worse, but always upsetting the status quo. That hope can be found in the dark around the edges – and guess what? That’s where you and me reside, ordinary people, far from the center stage of politicians and business leaders, prominent thinkers and scientists. You and me – with the possibility of making an impact, nudging the arc of history? For better or worse? Can we know? Probably not, but the intent with which we act and how we choose to show up in the world might give a hint?

#Blogg100 challenge in 2017 – post number 6 of 100.
The book “Hope in the dark” by Rebecca Solnit.
English posts here, Swedish at herothecoach.com.

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Lethal absence of hope

March 5, 2017
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in Tip

Here’s an episode of On Being with Krista Tippitt that I listened to first time around a couple of years ago. I recently listened to it again, and it affected me as much second time around. It’s with a Jesuit priest named Greg Boyle, famous for his work with gangs and gang members in and around Los Angeles. Perhaps you’ve heard about Homeboy Industries?

In the podcast, Greg Boyle describe what gangs are all about in this way:

It’s about a lethal absence of hope. It’s about kids who can’t imagine a future for themselves. It’s about kids who aren’t seeking anything when they join a gang. It’s about the fact that they’re always fleeing something, always, without exception. So it shifts the way you see things. Somebody, Bertrand Russell or somebody, said, “If you want to change the world, change the metaphor.” And that’s kind of how we want to — I think we need to proceed in something like this. So if you think it’s the Middle East, you’re quite mistaken. If you think it’s Northern Ireland, wrong again. It’s about kids who’ve ceased to care. So you want to infuse young people with hope when it seems that hope is foreign.

BoldomaticPost_It-s-about-a-lethal-absence-oA lethal absence of hope.

Oh, that’s powerful.
That hit me right in the gut.

And there’s so much more in this podcast, so please, take a listen. (And you can actually read it as well, but I do urge you to listen. There’s a feeling behind the words that is very apparent when listening to Father Greg speak about his homies.)

If what we are facing is a lethal absence of hope, and I don’t doubt it for a minute – what can I do? What can we do? What is there to do? And I don’t mean specifically about the gangs of Los Angeles. I mean about the lethal absence of hope that is visible everywhere. I don’t think there’s a country on earth, not facing just that somewhere or other within the confines of its borders. Do you?

So how to approach a lethal absence of hope?

In 2015 I ran a series on herothecoach.com with Sunday postings of podcasts to my liking. In 2017 I will be re-posting some of those blog posts – and this is one of them, originally posted here – , mixing them up with new podcast recommendations. Given my recent deep dive into hopelessness as well as what hope is, and is not, this seemed a very fitting podcast recommendation to repost. Enjoy!

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#blogg100 – what hope is.

March 3, 2017
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what hope isSo now that we’ve established what hope is not, what if we try to look at what hope is? Rebecca writes (still just in the very first pages of the foreword to the third edition of Hope in the Dark):

”Hope locates itself in the premises that we don’t know what will happen and that in the spaciousness of uncertainty is room to act. When you recognize uncertainty, you recognize that you may be able to influence the outcomes – you alone or you in concert with a few dozen or several million others. Hope is an embrace of the unknown and the unknowable, an alternative to the certainty of both optimists and pessimists. Optimists think it will all be fine without our involvement; pessimists take the opposite position; both excuse themselves from acting.”

The most impactful part – for me – is this: in the spaciousness of uncertainty is room to act.

The spaciousness of uncertainty – the vast expanse of no-thing that opens up for some-thing to take place, some-thing to enter the arena, to happen, simply because it is time. Not knowing what will come out of it (do we ever? Truly? Know? Believe, think, can logically assume… sure. But know?), if anything. If it will make a positive impact, or just be like a stab in the dark, seemingly pointless?

And then there’s the embrace of the unknown. That’s hard enough for many of us, I posit, so what about embracing the unknowable? That which is not possible to know. As a former control freak (at least ”former” suits most areas of my life today, but I can probably round up a few near and dear ones who would say I am still a staunch control freak in part…) I’ve learned to live in the unknown, to be ok in it, with it, and even better, to actually thrive there. But the unknowable? I’ve never even considered the difference between the unknown and the unknowable, until this very moment. Have you?

#Blogg100 challenge in 2017 – post number 3 of 100.
The book “Hope in the dark” by Rebecca Solnit.
English posts here, Swedish at herothecoach.com.

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#blogg100 – What hope is not.

March 2, 2017
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Hope in the darkAlready in the foreword to the third edition of ”Hope in the dark” by Rebecca Solnit, she writes so many things that I’ve underlined, marked with a star, put quotation or exclamation marks around, making me almost dizzy with the feeling that here is a book, that will surely provide me with both recognition and wonderment, with reassurance and acknowledgement as well as shake me up, ruffle my feathers and make me see life – and society – partly in a new way.

In no way does she ever, throughout the book, deny the horrors of life. The disasters, diseases, the destruction and dangers of life, they are all there. Terrible tragedies; events we would not wish for anyone to have to live through. But at the same time:

”Hope doesn’t mean denying these realities.”

One of the common responses to any person leaning towards hope – including me – is just that: the accusation that the hope, in and of itself, is a denigration of the experiences of someone who has been through hell. And Rebecca has a response, that makes me relax, upon reading:

”It’s important to say what hope is not: it is not the belief that everything was, is, or will be fine.”  

In one single sentence, she validates my sense of what it is I am NOT saying when I remain hopeful, that me hoping is not a way for me to turn my back on all the horrors of existence. Not at all. It is, however, a way of saying: there’s more. At least, there’s the possibility of more.

#Blogg100 challenge in 2017 – post number 2 of 100.
The book “Hope in the dark” by Rebecca Solnit.
English posts here, Swedish at herothecoach.com.

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An act of rebellion

February 26, 2017
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in Tip

On Being.
Krista Tippett in conversation with Parker Palmer and Courtney Martin.
Topic: The inner life of rebellion.

At this point in time, a time of terror and natural disasters, war and tyranny, people fleeing from their home and countries, from death and destruction…. holding onto hope is a challenge. A struggle. Not always easy. But I stick with it. I stick with my hope of a better world, for all. With the knowing, deep within me, that the path of love is the path ahead, towards that world, which is better for each and every one. In times like these, holding onto hope is an act of rebellion.act of rebellion

This is the essence of this podcast. Holding onto hope. Parker Palmer and Courtney Martin remind me of the path I’ve chosen in life. The path of love.

Does that mean I never despair? Dread? Fear? Hate?
No. I feel it all. It’s a part of the human experience.
But I cannot, will not, let those emotions become the main route of my life.

That is not how I want my life to play out, focusing on those feelings, the feelings of despair, dread, fear, hate. It’s not what I chose. So when those feelings show up, I see and acknowledge them, I don’t shy away from them, but I have the choice not to dive headfirst into them, and that’s most often the choice I make.

Trying to avoid falling for the siren’s call of the cynic, the sarcastic, the pessimistic and the negative. Instead, I try to listen to the love, the creativity, the compassion and the positive. Simply, because it makes my life more enjoyable. That’s my act of rebellion. Holding onto hope, believing in and living my life out of love and light.

What is your act of rebellion?

In 2015 I ran a series on herothecoach.com with Sunday postings of podcasts to my liking. In 2017 I will be re-posting some of those blog posts – and this is one of them, originally posted here – , mixing them up with new podcast recommendations. As I’ve been inundated in feelings of hopelessness a lot these past months, as well as listening to Rebecca Solnit in an On Being episode and also reading Hope in the Dark by Rebecca Solnit, when I stumbled upon this podcast recommendation from 2015, it immediately felt like the podcast to recommend. For you, of course, but perhaps even more so, for myself. So I will listen to this one, again. Holding onto hope!

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A day of despair

February 7, 2017
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Yesterday, a day of despair. Hard to have any feeling of hope. At all. Darkness all around, people in pain, severe pain, and nothing I can do to alleviate the pain. Except to be there. And now and again, “to be there” makes me feel inadequate. Even though I know it’s a gift, not everyone get enough of. But it just seems too little, too ineffective, when pain is all around.

Today. not a doorUpon aking up, I picked up my copy of Rebecka Solnit’s book Hope in the Dark, and met hope. Again. It seems to come and go. And that’s fine. All other human emotions do the same, so of course hope would too. And when I am in contact with my sense of hope, it is much easier for me to be present, to be compassionate and hold a space of love, for those around me in need.

I don’t know where the door is, for this particular situation that grieves me so, but today, I am connected to the sense that we just might be able to find it. Somewhere. Somehow. And I am not alone. I am supported by family and friends, holding me – when I need it -, pushing me on – when I need that -, assisting me in reaching out to those who are in the know – and you bet that’s precisely what I need right now!

So. Hope. Here again. I can see the darkness; the failings, the misery, the utter and total despondence. But I also see the light; the generosity, the outpouring of love and willingness to make an effort for a fellow human being. It’s not either or, total darkness or blazing light. It’s both. At the same time. All around us. And that’s hopeful!

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Hope as a verb

July 7, 2016
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Spent the afternoon yesterday in a Masterclass with Alan Seale of Transformational Presence Leadership and Coaching, and the class centered around hope. How hope in and of itself can both be a passive noun, a wish, but also be an active verb, to have hope.

hope and vision

I truly enjoyed the conversation around hope, how it can be passive, being something I wish for, but honestly don’t take any steps to making it come true. And how it can be active, when I give it a bit more flesh, if I transform it into a vision, into something more than a simple wish.masterclass

For me, the afternoon was the third piece of a puzzle that opened up for me on Monday a week ago, and it kind of felt like I sealed the deal here. There is no way back, I know my vision and I know what it will take to get there.

When I build on the hope, enlarging it, turning it into something more concrete, it’s also much easier to ask myself: So, what is my next step?


Since 2012 I have blogged over at herothecoach.com in a jumble of Swedish and English. This post is a sample of what I’ve been writing – in English – there over the years. As of 2016 all my English posts appear here instead.

I hope you enjoy this #ThrowbackThursday, originally published here, and if you do, please subscribe to updates so you won’t miss out on future posts.
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