life

Open to the shifts

Open to the shifts

August 25, 2020
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This past week, I have not blogged daily. Haven’t written daily either, but even days of writing, have not always been days of blogging. This will likely prevail. I will blog, if blogging is in the cards. Or not, if (when) not. There’s a shift here, a desire, an inkling to play around with a somewhat different way of going forth. It’s not hard for me to blog daily. (Most times.) What’s harder is listening within, and blogging because there’s something to be said, something to be let out, rather than doing it because I’ve committed to doing it. (Makes sense?)

My deep-dive will not be published (now). But I will be writing (it). This is a commitment I’ve made, one which, truth be told, might even be hindered if I were to stick to a daily blogging scheme, having me go for the easy write rather than the deep-dive, which takes so much more from me. There’s effort. (In flow. Effort in flow. Trust me. It comes. But not without thorns, tumbles, tears.)

Then there’s the idea of doing yet another different type of writing. A deep-dive of sorts as well, but not within so much as without, into something specific. Wanting to do tankespjärn-pieces, that are more thorough. Researched. Thought through. (Yes. Mostly when I write, I simply sit down and write. But I’ve been longing for a different type of writing for a while. So how about it; Give me permission to do just that?)

As always (often? At least often!) when there’s a shift in one place/space, other shifts tag along.
One shift acting as a catalyst, causing other shifts to happen.

Being open to the shifts makes for an interesting life.
Explorative. Elucidating. Expansive.


#tankespjärn, for those who wish to discover. More. Other. New.
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calling out for mama

June 6, 2020
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She showed me the trailer to American son on Netflix, and in no time at all, I asked if we couldn’t watch it. So we did. Had us frustrated, irritated, annoyed, upset and shocked.

Then a friend in The Creative’s Workshop discovered Stabat Mater, the piece Jens Bragdell Eriksson, my choirmaster, wrote in 2016 for my choir. Listening she wrote, having me put the album on myself, so I can listen knowing she’s doing the same, on the other side of the world. Together, at a time like this. Important. Vital. Rejuvenating. 

American Son.

Stabat Mater.
At the Cross her station keeping,
stood the mournful Mother weeping,
close to her Son to the last.

And George Floyd calling out for his mama, before dying.
(Click this link. Read it. Promise me, you’ll read it. Then come back here.)

The synchronicity of it hitting me hard.
Parents. Children.
Death. Dying.
Life. Living. 

Trying to make sense of experiences I cannot possibly experience, asking when I don’t, taking in the differences in what it is to be human, in someone else’s body. 

There’s so much to learn, and I intend to continue learning.
Listening. Reading. Watching. Conversing. Asking. Writing. 

Being. And Doing.

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With or against the natural flow of things?

May 22, 2020
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Thinking about the difference between working hard versus efforting, I am reminded of a story about surfing that I first heard Michael Neill share at Supercoach Academy in 2014.

Doing hard work, going deep within, giving it ones all and showing up, is similar to what a skilled surfer does. She paddles out to sea, spots a wave coming in, positions the board and starts to paddle like craaaaazy, in order to be at the right spot at the right time, ready to go with the flow, be lifted by the wave, using all the energy the universe is throwing at her to move forward.

Paddling out to sea requires a lot of energy, paddling to be in position for the wave does too, and even riding that wave and keeping her balance requires energy. But it’s all in the flow of what is already and always there, underneath, above, below, in front…

Now. Imagine this surfer trying to work a g a i n s t the flow of the water. Paddling in the opposite direction when the wave is coming. Now that would be efforting, or trying too hard, or, phrasing it differently, not working with what is already there. Working against it, rather than using it to be lifted high on top of that wave crest.

Trying too hard – efforting – has me working against nature, against that which wants to help me, to assist me, to have me spot the flow of things.

That’s one way to spot the difference between working hard versus efforting. There is, always and already, a natural flow of energy in everything. And life can be hard enough, without me going against the natural flow of things. So I try not to.


#tankespjärn, for those who wish to discover. More. Other. New.
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This too shall pass

May 9, 2020
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There was a king, and he once said to the court sages: I have a ring with one of the finest diamonds in the world, and I want to hide a message under the stone that can be useful in a situation of extreme despair. I will give this ring to my heirs, and I want it to serve faithfully. Think of what kind of message will be there. It must be very short to fit in the ring.

The sages knew how to write treatises, but did not express themselves in one short sentence. They thought and thought, but did not come up with anything.

The king complained about the failure of his venture to a faithful old servant who raised him from infancy and was part of the family. And the old man said to him: I’m not a sage, I’m not educated, but I know such a message. For many years spent in the palace, I met a lot of people. And once I served a visiting mystic whom your father invited. And he gave me this message. I ask that you don’t read it now. Save it under the stone and open it only when there’s no way out at all.

The king listened to the old servant.

After some time, the enemies attacked the country and the king lost the war. He fled on his horse and his enemies pursued him. He was alone, his enemies were many. He rode to the end of the road. There was a huge deep cliff before him, if he fell there, it is the end. He could not go back, as the enemies were approaching. He already heard the clatter of their horses’ hooves. He had no way out. He was in complete despair.

And then he remembered the ring. He opened it and found an inscription: “This too shall pass.

After reading the message, he felt that everything was quiet. Apparently the pursuers got lost and proceeded in the wrong direction. Horses were no longer heard. The king was filled with gratitude to the servant and the unknown mystic. The words were powerful. He closed the ring and set out on the road. He gathered his army and returned his state.

On the day when he returned to the palace, they arranged a magnificent meeting, a feast for the whole world – the people loved their king. The king was happy and proud. The old servant came up to him and said softly: Even in this moment, look at the message again.

The King said, Now I am a winner, people are celebrating my return; I’m not in despair, not in a hopeless situation.

Listen to this old servant, the servant answered. The message works not only in moments when everything is bad but also in moments of victory.

The king opened the ring and read: “This too shall pass.

Again he felt a silence fall over him, although he was in the midst of a noisy dancing crowd. His pride dissolved. He understood the message. He was a wise man. And then the old servant said to the king: Do you remember everything that happened to you? Nothing and no feeling is permanent. As night changes into day, so moments of joy and despair replace each other. Accept them as the nature of things, as part of life.


This is the parable I referred to in the post on What makes you not a Buddhist. What thoughts or feelings arise in you upon reading it? Do you recognize yourself, your thoughts and feelings? Or is it far removed from you, something you’ve not given a lot of thought to?

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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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Something other

April 26, 2020
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In twenty minutes, we had it together.
The outline of it at least.

What?, you ask, slightly confused.

Well.
A webinar that me and a few of my friends are putting together in a few weeks time. An event normally run live in May that we are turning digital, for obvious reasons. We started off thinking we’d simply run last year’s presentation slightly tweaked… but when we looked at it, we realized that Nah, that won’t do.

Doing things online instead of in the flesh, requires something else, something other.

So I asked for pen and paper, we gathered around the kitchen counter, and in twenty minutes, we had a plan of who’s doing what when, and how to turn this event into something other, just like we wanted to. 

Now, I don’t know about you, but surrounding myself with people like these, enriches my life beyond belief. This is a group of skilled, professional, warm, generous, smart and fun people, and I love having them in my circle of influence. Who’s in yours?

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I do now.

March 20, 2020
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When I think back and – gently – lay my eyes on Helena of the past, I can see the strain. The harsh inner dialogue. The insecurity, the lack of self-honoring, the constant belittling of myself. Not thinking I was good enough, never ever good enough. Knowing, somehow, that I’ve lots to give (as we all do), but not knowing what, not knowing how (to birth it), not being in touch with it.

I do now.

My inner dialogue has changed completely. I am gentle with myself today, gentle with an edge. #Tankespjärn provides that edge. (And it’s along the edges the magic happens.) Having learned to do #tankespjärn, to humbly receive it, to generously gift it to those who are interested, I have had such a pivotal shift in life, from being the most negative person I’ve ever encountered… into something completely different. Perhaps not the most positive person alive, but heck, I sure do have a hard time staying pissed, annoyed, angry, for longer periods. And most often, I am in full acceptance of what is, instead of wasting my energy on refusing to accept what is.

From this point of acceptance, I can create. Freely.
Reshape what is, into what it can and wants to become.

#tankespjärn is the essence of this pivotal shift of my life, which has me Live today, not simply go through the motion. That’s why I want to share it, with anyone who wants to receive it.

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Slowing down.

March 12, 2020
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And slowly… it’s as if the world – my world yes, but also The world – is slowing down on account of COVID-19 aka the Coronavirus. And as weird as it might sound, I breathe out; a sigh of relief.

This does not mean that I am happy about the situation. Of course not. It will cause human suffering and deaths, and I hope we will be able to flatten the curve enough to give more people a chance to come through the ordeal that we are facing alive and well.

But I think there are many who, like me, can benefit from having to do a retake on life. For the past eight months I’ve been working much more away from home, at the offices of my clients, than in years prior. I’ve been struggling, not having as much time with myself as I’m used to. I am lucky that much of the work I do can be done from home, even though I’ve been doing a lot of it on client sites recently.

With the world slowing down anyway, I’ve taken the opportunity to look at my priorities, to look at what signals my calendar transmits. What of my top priorities are visible in my calendar, and what is not? Reflecting on what I want in life, and what I don’t want, realizing many things.

A lot of what I do want is there. I make room for it. But I’d want to make more room for it.

What I don’t want, is to a large extent not there. But prioritizing amongst my multiverse of assignments and projects and commitments makes it easier to ensure my calendar properly mirrors that order of priority.

This also means, that there are a few things present in my life without me necessarily wanting them to be. Prioritizing had me cancel a few upcoming trips (which, in view of the current pandemic, also is the most rational and responsible thing I can do); it also had me turn down an assignment that I would have said Yes to just a few days ago, has I not opened my own eyes to my responsibility to ensure my life is set up, as best I can, according to what is truly important to me, that which resides in my core.

No wonder I breathe a sigh of relief at having my world slow down, as it already had me gain clarity on life, on what’s important – truly important – and making sure there’s both room, energy and action to match that.

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Homo Deus (book 11 of 12)

December 26, 2019
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in Tip
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“I encourage all of us, whatever our beliefs, to question the basic narratives of our world, to connect past developments with present concerns, and not to be afraid of controversial issues.” 

Thus Yuval Noah Harari starts Homo Deus, the book after Sapiens, followed by 21 lessons for the 21st century, a book I plan to read next year.

“The physicist Max Plank famously said that science advances one funeral at a time. He meant that only when one generation passes away do new theories have a chance to root out old ones. This is true not only of science.”

Homo Deus gave me some good tankespjärn I must admit. The historical retrospection into religion and science is thought-provoking and aha-generating at the same time, and the way Harari shines a light on the past, present and future make this a book well worth reading.

“Science is not just about predicting the future, though. Scholars in all fields often seek to broaden our horizons, thereby opening before us new and unknown futures. This is especially true of history. Though historians occasionally try their hand at prophecy (without notable success), the study of history aims above all to make us aware of possibilities we don’t normally consider. Historians study the past not in order to repeat it, but in order to be liberated from it.”

My copy of the book is filled with my notes in the margins, pertaining to many a different subject.
School. Religion in juxtaposition to science. Humanism. Artificial Intelligence.
Colonialism. Spirituality. Terrorism. Energy consumption.

“People are usually afraid of change because they fear the unknown. But the single greatest constant of history is that everything changes.”

Everything does change. And so I greatly enjoy reading books such as this one, that span the longer arcs of history and connects dots that I’ve not connected on my own. Helping me point out changes that I’ve not perceived.

“Fiction isn’t bad. It is vital. Without commonly accepted stories about things like money, states or corporations, no complex human society can function. […] But the stories are just tools. They should not become our goals or our yardsticks. When we forget that they are mere fiction, we lose touch with reality. Then we begin entire wars ‘to make a lot of money for the corporation’ or ‘to protect the national interests’. Corporations, money and nations exist only in our imagination. We invented them to serve us; why do we find ourselves sacrificing our lives in their service?”

Stories.
Personal stories. Communal stories. Cultural stories.
The stories I tell, the stories I listen to.
They all play a part in shaping me, making me into the person I am.

“Paradoxically, the more sacrifices we make for an imaginary story, the more tenaciously we hold on to it, because we desperately want to give meaning to these sacrifices and to the suffering we have caused.”

The greater my awareness is to their content and message, the more I am able to lead the life I want to.
I have a choice as to which stories I perpetuate, and so do you.


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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