knowledge

Advent Calendar – December 19, 2019

Advent Calendar – December 19, 2019

December 19, 2019
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Mukau trees at Nyongoro, with one of our two buses in front of the magnificent baobab tree; the green leafage proof that the climate here – closer to the ocean – differs from Kiambere, where there were no leaves on the baobab trees. As stunning as these trees are with their green finery, when the only thing you see is the very peculiar and unique silhouette of the tree itself, without leaves, it’s even more special. Not for nothing are they called the life of trees.

At the Nyongoro plantation which is a total of 32 000 hectares large, only about a thirtieth of the land has been planted, if my memory (and hearing during the visit) serves me. The Kiambere plantation has been visible on Google maps for years, and now you can see the Nyongoro plantation there as well.

However, the plantations are just one aspect of the tree plantation of Better Globe Forestry. Since 2016 there is an active and growing outgrower-program in place with partner farmers, some of whom we got to visit. Once contracted,  the partner farmers (about half of whom are women) basically get free business development from the Agroforestry Agents employed by Better Globe Forestry, helping the farmers in many ways, both relating to the planting and caring for the mukau trees themselves, as to how they can increase their yield by improved irrigation, mulching and so on.

One farmer we talked to told of mukau trees he’d planted before becoming a partner farmer, comparing them to the ones he’d planted since (with his newly gained knowledge, courtesy of the training he’s entitled to as a partner farmer). Guess what? In but a few years, the mukau trees he’d planted after becoming a Better Globe partner farmer had already outgrown the older trees. Knowledge of proper spacing, planting, watering, mulching and so on, transformed into practice makes a difference!


Advent Calendar for 2019: sharing pictures and stories/reflections from my trip to Kenya in June. I went to visit “my trees” and get a hands-on experience of the social entrepreneurship of the Kenyan forestry company that I buy trees through.

Full disclosure: I am proud to say I am both a customer and an ambassador for the company. If you are curious to find out more, let me know and I’ll gladly get in touch with you! Here’s my sponsored link: https://betterglobe.com/27216 

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Advent Calendar 7 – Loving the unknown

December 7, 2018
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Encyclopedia Helenica. This was one of the roles I took on, being the one in the know, the one who always had the knowledge and facts. Never daring to admit to not knowing, so I would even pretend I knew… as I was under the belief that my self-worth came from knowing. To say I have no clue what/whom you are talking about was not part of my vocabulary for the longest of time.

But no more.
Since 5-6 years I’ve gotten better and better at owning what I know, as well as what I don’t know. And I love not knowing, which is a big shift from absolutely fearing it before.

In not knowing – there’s a potential for learning, which is absent in knowing. To listen for that which I don’t know, rather than listening for that which confirms what I already know. Trying new things, new experiences, new flavors, new thoughts. Oh, I love it nowadays, love the unknown, am drawn to the unknown… both within as well as without myself.

Imagine what the world would look like, if humans were encouraged to look for the unknown. With curiosity. With an open mind. With playfulness.
To try. To feel. To think. To taste the unknown. Rather than to consolidate that which I (you?) already know.

Being humble enough to know that there is so much more to find out than that which I already know – and the wondrous world of discovery made possible when I stop fearing the unknown, and instead start to love it!


Advent Calendar 2018 – number 7 of 24 – on the theme of being gentle.

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Siddharta (book 14 of 26)

July 15, 2018
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“When someone is searching, said Siddhartha, then it might easily happen that the only thing his eyes still see is that what he searches for, that he is unable to find anything, to let anything enter his mind, because he always things of nothing byt the object of his search, because he has a goal, because he is obsessed by the goal. Searching means: having a goal. But finding means: being free, being open, having no goal. You, O venerable one, are perhaps indeed a searcher, because, striving for your goal, there are many things you don’t see, which are directly in front of your eyes.”

Have spent the past week at Ängsbacka outside Molkom in Värmland, Sweden, at the No Mind-festival. Knowing I would not have a lot of time or the wherewithal to read something heavy, I brought Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse with me, which in and of itself seems a bit comical, now that I’ve finished it. I mean, the No Mind festival is filled with “teachers teaching”, which is one thing Siddhartha is continuously critical about in the book. Up until the end, when he realizes the value he actually has received from quite a few different teachers through out his life.

Knowledge-can-be-conveyed-but-not-wisdom“Look, my dear Govind, this is one of my thoughts, which I have found: wisdom cannot be passed on. Wisdom which a wise man tries to pass on to someone always sounds like foolishness. […] Knowledge can be conveyed, but not wisdom. It can be found, it can be lived, it is possible to be carried by it, miracles can be performed with it, but it cannot be expressed in words and taught.”

This difference between knowledge and wisdom makes sense to me, as wisdom, for me, has to be embodied. It is knowledge internalized, and transformed on it’s way through and out of me, into the world. If I am simply repeating words, without having put my own twist to them – making them mine, rebirthing them, enriching them with my onlyness -, is it not simply knowledge then? Regurgitated by me, rather than applied upon life, my way?

“[…] I prefer the thing over the words, place more importance on his acts and life than on his speeches, more on the gestures of his hand than his opinions. Not in his speech, not in his thoughts, I see his greatness, only in his actions, in his life.”

That last bit about greatness seen through his actions, seen in his life, is yet another way to describe wisdom, is it not?


The book I am blogging about is part of the book-reading challenge I’ve set for myself during 2018, to read and blog about 26 Swedish and 26 English books, one book every week, books that I already own.

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Think and Grow Rich (book 8 of 26)

April 22, 2018
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Think and Grow Rich is a book written by Napoleon Hill. It was first published in 1937, with a few more years of The Great Depression having the world in a firm grip. I picked up a copy in India some eight years ago, but again, never got around to reading it. until now – this was one of the books I decided to read for my English reading challenge of the year. The copy I picked up was the original unabridged version, and in a sense that’s a shame. Because it is dated. The way it is formulated, the actual style of the writing is a bit… well, it’s as if Mr Hill believe the reader to be a bit obtuse, so he’s capitalizing the most vital parts, and that in and of itself rubs me the wrong way.

I also do not like how 99% of all of his examples of successful men, are actually men. The women are few and far apart, and basically show up at the very end of the book. Two, or possibly three examples of ladies as successful role models to mimic, the rest of the time when women are mentioned speaks of “our” ability to wrap men around our little fingers. (I trust I don’t have to even begin to explain why this get’s me all riled up?!) But, given the fact that the book was written close to a century ago, I tried to let this slip.

And once I do that, sure, this is a book that has its virtues, for sure. And given the fact that this is actually one of the most successful books of all time, it would be weird if it didn’t right? Read what it says on Goodreads about Hill and this book: “Hill’s most famous work, Think and Grow Rich (1937), is one of the best-selling books of all time (at the time of Hill’s death in 1970, Think and Grow Rich had sold 20 million copies).” 

Here are a few of the passages which spoke to me for one reason or another:

Open-mindedness is essential for belief. Closed minds do not inspire faith, courage, and belief. 

Every man is what he is, because of the DOMINATING THOUGHTS which he permits to occupy his mind. 

we-are-where-we-are-and-what-we-are-because-of-ouKnowledge is only potential power. 

[…] the word ‘educate‘ is derived from the Latin word ‘educo‘, meaning to educe, to draw out, to DEVELOP FROM WITHIN.

Any man is educated who knows how to get knowledge when he needs it, and how to organize that knowledge into definite plans of action. 

The person who stops studying merely because he has finished school is forever hopelessly doomed to mediocrity, no matter what may be his calling. The way of success is the way of continuous pursuit of knowledge.

[…] we are where we are, and what we are, because of our own conduct!

A book worth reading? Hm. Yes. It is. But I hope (and trust!) that there’s a revised edition more recently re-worked, and if I were you, I’d pick up such a copy instead of the original unabridged version.

The book I am blogging about is part of the book-reading challenge I’ve set for myself during 2018, to read and blog about 26 Swedish and 26 English books, one book every week, books that I already own.

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Shared, exchanged and made available

December 5, 2017
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”During much of his long life, he was the nexus of the scientific world, writing some 50,000 letters and receiving at least double that number. Knowledge, Humboldt believed, had to be shared, exchanged and made available to everybody.”

Andrea Wulf on von HumboldtI mean. Fifty thousand letters. Whooooooa, that’s a whole lot of letters. And even though the man did indeed live a long life – living to be ninety years old – not excluding his childhood, that means writing almost two letters a day and receiving four.

But what I find even more memorable in this paragraph is the latter sentence about knowledge having to be shared, exchanged and made available to everybody.

Born in 1769 and dead in 1859, he lived quite a memorable life, Alexander von Humboldt, described in detail in the book ”The invention of nature – the adventures of Alexander von Humboldt, the lost hero of science” by Andrea Wulf, and he sure was a sucker for knowledge, amassing it as well as sharing it. That becomes abundantly clear from reading this biography, and read it I suggest you do.

I greatly enjoyed the book, and even though we discovered, in the second book discussion of the GIFTED book club, that it’s a book that can be experienced differently, most of us did enjoy the read! And for most of us, he was indeed lost, a man that had such an impact on so much of what has shaped the world as I know it today (due in large part to this belief of his, that knowledge was to be shared, exchanged and made available!)… and yet, I can honestly say I had no idea of the man and his influence.

Now I do though!

Inspired to continue blogging on the theme from the #blogg100-challenge in 2017 I give you:
The book ”The invention of nature – the adventures of Alexander von Humboldt, the lost hero of science” by Andrea Wulf, which also happen to be the second book of The Gifted Book club, discussed November 16th 2017.

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#blogg100 – Only a rumor.

March 25, 2017
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“Knowledge is only a rumor until it lives in the muscle.”

So say the Asaro tribe of Indonesia and Papua New Guinea, and when I read it in Rising Strong, I nod my head in agreement. Because I can know a lot. But if I do not live it, what good is it to me?

Rising strong bwIt’s like when we force our children to “say you’re sorry” when they’ve hit a friend, or snitched the toy car from baby Jane in the sand box. We tell them to “Say you’re sorry.”, and they do. Not knowing why. Not understanding that a sorry doesn’t give you carte blanche to do the same thing again and again, in the days to come. As if a sorry would be enough, making it ok to keep on acting the same way, hitting a friend, snitching the car. It’s not. It’s an excuse, and if it’s a wholehearted excuse, a sorry that we truly feel, then attached to that is the unvoiced promise, that we will not act like that again. We won’t repeat the behavior that caused the apology in the first place, again, and again. At the very least, we vow to tro to be better, act better, grounding ourselves in values and a worldview on how to treat fellow human beings (and everything else on Earth).

If we do, keep it up, repeat it, over and over again – we’ve not understood anything.

And I claim, when we force kids to say sorry, we are making it into a rote behavior, rather than having them understand – with empathy and compassion – what just transpired and feel the sorrow within, the regret, the knowledge that what just happened was unwelcome, and an apology is one way forward.

“Knowledge is only a rumor until it lives in the muscle.”

Knowledge is of use, when it is used. When I make use of it, having it “live in my muscles”, becoming part of who I am, what I do, and why I do it. When I use it to help me be the better me, become the best me possible. And it’s great to have a repository of knowledge within, that I can use when it’s appropriate. I am n o t stating we should only learn that which we see a direct gain for, a reason for, when we plan an implicit action ahead. Oh no. Having a wealth of knowledge within, to utilize if and when I am faced with a new situation, is vital. Ensuring I have the resources when the time comes. But if I don’t use them, when it is time, that’s a missed opportunity. That’s when I should have practiced what I’ve learned, that’s how you walk your talk. Perhaps insecure, a total beginner, never having utilized the knowledge. And that’s fine. We all know it sometimes take a little bit (or a lot!) of practice to get good at something. But refraining from acting, on the basis that I’ve not done it before, don’t really know how to, unsure if I’ll do it good enough – that’s how knowledge remains a rumor. Don’t let it. Please. Make it live in your muscles, and I’ll be doing the same.

#Blogg100 challenge in 2017 – post number 25 of 100. 
The book “Rising strong” by Brené Brown.
English posts here, Swedish at herothecoach.com.

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