human

Me-time. Be-time.

Me-time. Be-time.

May 15, 2020
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Woke early. Tossed for a bit, and then turned on the light and finished reading The End of the Ocean by Maja Lunde, a book which in Norwegian and Swedish is titled Blue. (Yes. A very worthwhile read.) Did a Deepak Chopra meditation prior to my 15 minutes of deep-breathing according to Wim Hof, before getting up, accompanied throughout by Pop the cat. Finished with the morning routine and went to grab my computer to put it in my backpack when I remembered…

I prompted myself to get back to morning blogging late last night, and so. Here I am.

Ready to leave for work, with a slight headache, the type of slight hangover-sensation-from-working-too-much-headache, that has been a shadowy companion for the past few weeks, when, indeed, I have been working a bit too much.

And yet.
I love it.
Living.
Learning.
Laughing.

There’s a lot of work to do right now, and for that I am truly grateful, and yet, I should take my own advice and look just a wee bit at what I could possibly subtract.
Work? No.
Wim Hof, meditation, Seven-exercise, cold bathing and such? No.
Buddhas-podding? No.
Gardening? No.

Or rather. All of these I say Yes to, vehemently Yes!

Now. I could continue listing all of my Yes:es. But I won’t. There’s a-plenty, that’s for sure.
But the interesting thing is, that as I sit here… I struggle to find even one thing I want to give up, to pause, to stop. Forever, or just for a while.

(And yeah. I know. I did this exercise not too long ago. But hey, bear with me. I’m still learning, and am definitely but a human being, having a very human experience here on Earth, so… now and again, it takes a couple of tries before insights truly land. By which I mean, that the shift they imply, whatever it may be, is actually implemented. By Being. By Doing.)

Tried what I did last time – opened up my calendar and deleted a few activities from it – but alas, there’s not a lot to delete… like. Nothing. Honestly.

So perhaps it’s more a matter of finding the balance within the project I am working at the moment, where we are in a very intense phase at the moment, a phase that will last at least until the first week of July. Refraining from checking my emails as often when I am ”not at the office”? Getting a bit more diligent with my digital sabbats? Ensuring I have resting time, me-time, be-time, more than I do now?

Yeah.
That might be worth looking into and taking action on (ironically, as the resting time in a sense implies less action-taking).

But hey. It’s 8:20 am, and I have done my daily blog! Whoop!
(Celebrate what you can, when you can – what a great mantra to bring into daily life!)


#tankespjärn, for those who wish to discover. More. Other. New.
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Calm to be had.

March 27, 2020
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Last week as I stepped into the cold water of the ocean off the coast of Malmö in the south of Sweden, I had my phone with me. I’ve a habit to do that, now and again, as I record myself going in, staying in, sharing my experiences with cold bathing. What came out of my mouth that crisp spring afternoon, with sunshine and blue skies, as I was standing in the water, which, just like the air was around five degrees Celsius, was this: There is calm to be had.

The world has turned upside-down, for so many. A global pandemic is raging, and I fear that we’ve just seen the beginning of it. Cities, counties, countries and companies are closing down in varying degrees, and whatever was normal, no longer is.

And.
With all that going on.
There is calm to be had.

It’s easy to not experience calm right now.
I know that.
I see that.

I also know it’s equally easy to experience calm.
I know that.
I see that too.

There are many things I have no say in.
What my government is –or is not– doing. Whether or not the school my youngest attends will stay opened or not, and what will happen next, neither locally nor globally.
No. Say.

But there are many things I have a say in.
In what I choose to do with my days. How I spend them, regardless of external constraints. What I read. What I listen to. What interactions and conversations I engage in. If I seek out Drama, or not. If I stick to routines (as best I can) that serve me and my wellbeing.
If I show compassion and care. To me. And you. And us.
A. Say.

There is calm to be had.
And it matters whether or not I choose calm. Or not.
Because I matter. Just as you matter.

Can I always choose calm?
Yes. I can.
But I don’t.
Because I am human. And so are you. And that’s the way it should be.

The choice is still there though.
There is –always and already– calm to be had.

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…seize the wonder of being alive in this moment.

March 22, 2020
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“As well as saving millions of lives by killing rodents, our soft-footed friends have helped heal countless hearts. Sitting quietly at the ends of beds, they’ve waited for human tears to ebb. Curled on the laps of the sick and elderly, they’ve offered comfort impossible to find elsewhere. Having served our physical and emotional health for thousands of years, they deserve recognition. The Egyptians were right. A cat is a sacred being.”

Picked it up in one of those bookshelves at an office, where people can put books they’ve read, and if there’s a book calling out to them, take that one back home to read. I didn’t bring a book with me, but I’ve been generous with donating books both here and there over the years, so I figured I could put this book in my backpack, as it did just that. Call out to me. To take it.

So I did.

“Mothers have powers beyond politics, art and money. We’re the people who give life, nurture babies and make them grow. Without us humanity would wither like seaweed on a rock. Knowledge of our power is so deep we don’t talk about it often, but we use it all the time.”

And what a lovely book it is, Cleo, by Helen Brown.
I’ve written on how Pop the cat is my resident master of self-care, and he continues to teach me how to enjoy every ounce of life.

“Cleo was changing my attitude to indulgence. Guilt isn’t in cat vocabulary. They never suffer remorse for eating too much, sleeping too long or hogging the warmest cushion in the house. They welcome every pleasurable moment as it unravels, and savor it to the full until a butterfly or falling leaf diverts their attention. They don’t waste energy counting the number of calories they’ve consumed or the hours they’ve frittered away sunbathing.”

In a world that is slowing down, the following lines spoke volumes to me.
So I will leave them here, for you, to read.
For you to look within, while you read, to discover what happens within you.

“One of the many ways in which cats are superior to humans is their mastery of time. By making no attempt to dissect years into months, days into hours and minutes into seconds, cats avoid much misery. Free from the slavery of measuring every moment, worrying about whether they are late or early, young or old, or if Christmas is six weeks away, felines appreciate the present in all its multidimensional glory. They never worry about endings or beginnings. The joy of basking on a window ledge can seem eternal, though if measured in human time it’s diminished to a paltry eighteen minutes.

If humans could program themselves to forget time, they would savor a string of pleasures and possibilities. Regrets about our past would dissolve, alongside anxieties for the future. We’d notice the color of the sky and be liberated to seize the wonder of being alive in this moment. If we could be more like cats our lives would seem eternal.”

 

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The trainable cat

November 5, 2017
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in Tip
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Pop and me out walkingI’m a cat person. Love them, and have since I knew how. Have had cats most of my life, one or more, at most I’ve had three cats at the same time. Bilbo and Bombadil were joined by Pippin when Bilbo went on a walkabout for six weeks and Bombadil was desperate for a pal. So we got Pippin the kitten, and a few weeks later, Bilbo returned. Three cats is actually a lot more than two, somehow. But we made it work.

Have never been able to train my cats much. Walking on a leash is something none of my cats have ever learned. Bilbo would flop down on the floor as if he’d become instantly paralysed whenever I put the leash on him, totally unable to walk. Pop actually knows how…. but he moved in when he was three years old and already knew this skill. Besides that, he will gladly join us for walk around the neighborhood even without a leash, so he’s a special cat, that’s for sure.

Tummy to petSo when I saw the episode title “How to train your cat” on Fresh Air, I was intrigued and started to listen to it. Rapidly I understood, that in reality, I’m the one who’s been trained, by all my cats! They seem to know instinctively how to train their humans to do precisely what they want, whether it’s letting them out at four am, providing more food than planned, petting an upturned hairy tummy or, for that matter, immediately to stop petting that very same upturned hairy tummy. I’m a well-trained human I admit. But this is all about to change, as the podcast actually gave me a new perspective on this. Or perhaps it’s more just to say, I intend to even the odds a bit.

I will no longer let Pop the cat out at four am in the morning when he’s walking around screaming to be let out. Because every time I do, I am reinforcing his knowledge that this is how it works: If i miow loud enough and long enough, she’ll crawl groggily out of bed and let me out. And he did train me well! But no more.

Pop the catSo for a couple of early mornings, when Pop has let me know he want’s to go out (pressing needs perhaps? There is a litter box, he’s in no dire straits, I promise) somewhere around four five am, I’ve not let him out. I’ve invited him up onto the bed, but that’s the extent of my interaction with him in the wee hours of morning. And lo and behold, after a few frustrated minutes walking about, up and down the stairs, miowing, he relents. Sometimes he plonks down on my bed. The other day he chose Almas bed instead. Today he chose the sofa downstairs, so that when I got up around seven and went downstairs to pick up my phone and iPad (morning writing you know), me met me by the front door, and – without him making a sound – I let him out the door.

Same goes for food. Miowing in the past has meant that we relent, and give him some food, more than he actually should receive. If nothing else simply to shut him up. See – he’s trained us well, this cat! But no more. I am on to his training scheme and will refuse to play according to his rules anymore.

What I didn’t get from the podcast, which might be available in the book The trainable cat, is how to get Pop to indicate, with one (1) and only one miow, the desire to be let out and so on, but to stop after the one miow. Because I see him and hear him, and will – unless it’s five am in the morning – oblige. If we reach that point, I would be a very happy cat-owned human, that’s for sure. I’ll see if I can get a hold of that book – the story of me training Pop the cat and vise versa is to be continued…

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Leaving things alone.

June 13, 2017
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“Thanks to the migration of threes, the forest is constantly changing. And not just the forest – all of Nature. And that’s why so many human attempts to conserve particular landscapes fail. What we see is always a brief snapshot of a landscape that only seems to be standing still. The illusion is almost perfect in the forest, because trees are among the slowest-moving beings with which we share our world and changes in the natural forest are observable only over the course of many human generations. One of these changes is the arrival of new species.”trees

“Giant hogweed is considered extremely dangerous because its sap, in combination with ultraviolet light, can burn human skin. Every year, millions are spent digging up plants and destroying them, without any great success. However, hogweed can spread only because the original forested meadow along the banks of rivers and streams no longer exist. If these forests were to return, it would be so dark under the forest canopy that hogweed would disappear. The same goes for Himalayan balsam and Japanese knotweed, which also grow on the riverbanks in the absence of the forests. Trees could solve the problem if people trying to improve things would only allow them to take over.

That last sentence is certainly true for much more than the problem of invasive plants. What would life be like if I (and you? we?) would leave things alone to a greater extent than I do? And how to know when me trying my hardest to improve things is truly beneficial, and when it is not?

Inspired to continue blogging on the theme from the #blogg100-challenge in 2017 I give you:
The book “The hidden life of trees” by Peter Wohlleben.

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