knowing

The signal value of reading

The signal value of reading

August 9, 2020
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For me, ”doing nothing” for the past month has, to a large extent, meant doing nothing but read. 20 books later, I got to talk about reading with Caspian the other day, speaking about the signal value of seeing someone read a book, rather than knowing they read (most commonly before falling asleep, I assume) but never actually seeing them with a book.

Both my parents read, read a lot, and read whenever there’s a possibility to read, not just before bedtime. And that’s been true for as long as I can remember. My grandparents also read, all of them. My aunts, my cousins, my siblings. We read. It’s simply something we do. (My mom says that once I learned how to read, I never stopped.)

But what Caspian said made me realize that today, when there are so many other ways of reading a book than to actually be holding a physical book –audiobooks, Kindle/ebooks–, I wonder at the signal value of it all. If I’m listening to a book (using my headphones that is), no one knows. I might as well be listening to music or a pod or whatever. And if I’m on my phone/iPad/computer reading an ebook, well… no one knows either. It looks the same as if I am scrolling SoMe, flicking thru the latest headlines in an online news site, or watching something on Netflix. If I’m on an actual Kindle, perhaps someone makes the link, knowing what a Kindle is and what it looks like, but I’m not sure everyone does. (That’s not true. I am sure not everyone knows what a Kindle is/looks like.)

Now, I love the physical book, because the kinesthetic value of it enriches my reading experience. I retain a physical sense of knowing if passages that stick out to me were in the beginning, middle or end of the book, on the right or left-hand page, if it was at the top, middle or bottom of the page, as well as being able to feel how much of the book remains. I love that. Am happy if people are reading books though, regardless of the medium.

But the signal value of it… that one has me puzzled. Perhaps I would not be reading as much as I do if I hadn’t seen my parent read all the time? Or if they had read in other ways than the very visible and easily spotted physical book?

What about you, who were your reading role models? And are you one?


#tankespjärn, for those who wish to discover. More. Other. New.
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What makes you not a Buddhist (book 4 of 12)

May 8, 2020
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Dzongsar Jamyang Khyentse, author of What makes you not a Buddhist, has really managed to clarify for me what makes me not a Buddhist, and consequently, what would make me a Buddhist. I appreciate his take on this, and the book, short and easy-read that it is, is very informative and to-the-point.

”All compounded things are impermanent.
All emotions are pain.
All things have no inherent existence.
Nirvana is beyond concepts.”

If you do not accept these four truths, you would not be a Buddhist.
If you do, well, then… you are?!

”The recognition of impermanence is the key to freedom from fear of remaining forever stuck in a situation, habit, or pattern.”

Finished reading the book, and the morning after, was sent day 19 of the 21 days of Abundance-meditation by the (Deepak) Chopra Center. And funnily enough, the exercise for the day, attached to the meditation, centers around the parable of This too shall pass.

And I have to say, in my ever-deepening knowing of this, through and through, I find life more enjoyable to life. The high’s. The low’s. The nothing-much-is-happening-at-all’s. All of it.

”[…] when we remember that things are impermanent, we are less likely to be enslaved by assumptions, rigid beliefs (both religious and secular), value systems, or blind faith. Such awareness prevents us from getting caught up in all kinds of personal, political, and relationship dramas. We begin to know that things are not entirely under our control and never will be, so there is no expectation for things to go according to our hopes and fears.”

This is right up my alley, and something that greatly helps me in life. But no. I don’t see myself as a Buddhist, nor do I have any desire too. But I also want to clarify that in no way, does this mean that I don’t feel. That I don’t cry tears of despair as well as tears of the utmost joy.

I do. And I want to.
In no way do I want to go through life numb.
But knowing that whatever is, is right now and not forever, makes it easier to feel in the now, and not fall down the rabbit hole (at least not as often, as long, or as easily) of getting stuck in remembrance of feeling into what was, or imagining what might be.
Being here. Now.
Knowing nothing lasts forever. 

Recognizing the instability of causes and conditions leads us to understand our own power to transform obstacles and make the impossible possible. This is true in every area of life.


The book I am blogging about is part of the book-reading challenge I’ve set for myself during 2020, to read and blog monthly about 12 Swedish and 12 English books, books that I already own.

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The generous thing is asking for help.

May 5, 2020
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Yes. The generous thing is asking for help.

And. Of course, this can be misused, everything can be misused!

So if you are a person asking for help a lot, when you ask, why are you asking?
What’s your reason? What’s your rationale? Is it a habit you’ve gotten into, a way to get out of taking responsibility for your own life? Is it a way to skirt your issues, your fears, your perceived inadequacies? In a sense, is you asking a way for you to hinder yourself (unconsciously) from growing, from learning, from expanding as a human being? A way of belittling yourself? Or is it truly because you’ve done the work, and are asking when appropriate, which I wrote in yesterday’s post as well? If so, yes, yes, yes, the generous thing is asking for help!

And if you are a person constantly asked to help, when you help, why are you helping?
What’s your reason? What’s your rationale? Is it a habit you’ve gotten into, a way to get out of taking responsibility for your own life? Is it a way to skirt your issues, your fears, your perceived inadequacies? In a sense, is your helping a way for you to hinder yourself (unconsciously) from growing, from learning, from expanding as a human being? A way of belittling yourself? Or is it truly because you’ve done the work, and are helping from a place of you taking responsibility for answering/helping truthfully, which I wrote in yesterday’s post as well? If so, yes, yes, yes, the generous thing is helping!

These aspects are really important to take into consideration

Based on a knowing that people are holding themselves (self-)worthy, (self-)responsible and (self-)honored, regardless if asking or helping, or in any other situation, I am much freer to Be in the world without taking on what is not mine to take on (There’s my business, your business and God’s business, to quote Byron Katie). This knowing might well be called an assumption. And I am not prone to liking assumptions, given that assumptions are the mother of all fuck-ups, and yet… this might well be one of those instances where it actually does serve me.


#tankespjärn, for those who wish to discover. More. Other. New.
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The bond we share

April 17, 2020
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There’s always connection. That’s the default. It is not something we have to create, to work hard at, to make happen.
It is there. Always and already.

And yet… with some, there’s more connection.
With some, there’s a knowing, a depth, a strength, that goes above and beyond.

It can only be, if it is mutual.
It is not enough for one party to feel this. Not possible.
It has to be felt by both.

Since 2015 I have been acting legal guardian for unaccompanied minors, and my first ever minor is still with me.
And boy is he with me. The bond we share is one of those. The one with more.

(Just to paint the picture for you, I am legal guardian, which does not mean that he lives with me. I am not responsible for day-to-day care but rather my role is to ensure his rights are protected, that he has someone who looks out for him with regards to being granted residency, citizenship, proper schooling and the likes.)

We met up today. It doesn’t happen that often, but today there was some official business to be done. We had a lovely couple of hours together, with lots of talk and laughter. As we said goodbye we hugged (yes. In Coronatimes. We did. We always do, and it’s always on his terms.). I whispered I am so happy I got to be your legal guardian. He strengthened his grip on me and responded.

So am I.

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