I am not alone.
I am not unloved.
I am simply not walking next to someone on a daily basis
Am not waking up next to someone on a daily basis either.
Except now and then, when Pop the cat obliges me…
Last year I did two digital sabbats most months, each lasting at least 24 hours, oftentimes 48 hours or more. It’s a habit I’ve not properly carried forward into 2020, even though my need for it certainly hasn’t diminished. On the contrary.
But last night I gave myself the gift of a Social Media sabbath, checking out from Facebook and Instagram, Tinder and LinkedIn, and have now been off for 25 hours. The mindless reaching for my phone, unlocking it, swiping to my SoMe-folder on screen two, opening up Instagram, scrolling, giving a heart here and there, writing a comment or two, moving on, then Facebook, scrolling, giving a thumbs up, writing a comment or two, moving on, then Tinder, checking to see if there’s a new match or a new message, swiping left, left, left, right, left, then back to Instagram, then… on and on.
It is so mindless. Such a waste of time.
T h i s aspect of it. The almost unconscious routine-like habit of it; my inner SoMe-junkie in search of my next high. It doesn’t all have to be mindless though. The potential for connection is there, it is real. But that potential can be harnessed with much less waste of time.
Going on SoMe-sabbaths gives me the ability to witness myself and my interactions, to observe what I do, when I do, how I do, and realize that now and again, the why I do isn’t all too clear. And, so what? If I want to waste my time once in a while, so be it. My choice. My life. Sometimes, that’s what Is. And that’s fine. But I do want to be conscious of it. I want to choose to just be, letting myself be unproductive, non-effective, time-wasting, rather than feel addicted to it.
I’m quite particular about what I want to let myself be addicted to. Reading, hell yeah! Moving my body, of course. Silence and solitude, wouldn’t want to be without. But caffeine? No way. Don’t like coffee, but am seriously restrictive about tea as well, because I truly do not appreciate the headache that rears its ugly head after the fifth-day-in-a-row of having a cup or two of black or green tea. Nicotine? Nah, have never gone down that road, and alcohol is the same. I am really restrictive, and much prefer a glass of water to a glass of wine or beer which makes it very easy to not build habits around drinking.
But social media?
Huh… For me, it’s a different creature, for sure.
And I guess that’s why I am torn. I love it, and I loath it, all at once. A beast to be tamed? Or is this me trying to control me to an unhealthy degree? Should I just let myself off the hook, and scroll mindlessly to my heart’s desire without giving it another thought?
“It was as if he simply did not know how not to be himself, and I felt his selfhood go down through me like lightning–I who doubted and second-guessed and analyzed every second of my own life.”
Started reading one of the books on my reading challenge… but was somehow drawn to pick up The Swan Thieves by Elisabeth Kostova instead. And why resist? If a book is calling to me, why not go with the flow?
“But most women were remarkably strong, I’d always thought; those who healed themselves were full of a deeper life afterward.”And how I loved this book. Thick, deliciously thick; weaving together now with then, through the eyes of not one, not two, but many more. Once I finished it, I gave the book 5 stars on Goodreads, only to have my eyes fall upon a couple of reviews by other readers. Some low ratings, and then, a very interesting 4- or 5-star review saying something along the lines of understanding the low ratings, as “nothing really happens” in the book. That got me thinking… and I agree. It is a very slow novel, with a lot of technicalities into the art of painting, about colors and brush-technique and fading light… and yet. What I love about it is just that. I am given a glimpse into the ordinary day-to-day-life of not just the main character, but of his wife, his psychiatrist, his art student, and of others, such as not just one, but at least two, and in a sense, even three artists, of a century long since passed.
Then there are the beautiful passages that I’ve marked.
And others that I simply let enter me as my eyes gently span page after page, sentence after sentence.
I love how I can find a sentence or two, or longer passages, that speak to me, in basically any book I read. Speak to my sense of aesthetics, curiosity, to my longing for romance, love, human touch. Sometimes making me connect dots to other books, other pieces of fact, of questions or ponderings I have. Sometimes tapping into my sense of justice, outrage; making me cry, laugh, strive to do, to be, better at being me, of letting more of me out, refraining from holding myself back.
“It’s a shame for a woman’s history to be all about men–first boys, then other boys, then men, men, men. It reminds me of the way our school history textbooks were all about wars and elections, one war after another, with the dull periods of peace skimmed over whenever they occurred. […] I don’t know why women so often tell stories that way, but I guess I’ve just started to do the same thing myself […].”
The Swan Thieves is a story of strength. Of skill and talent.
Of love, of sleuthing, of daring to live. Or not.
Of hope. Longing. Courage.
“Aren’t there things greater than public censure, things that ought to be attempted and cherished?”
And to do so requires me to be me. And you to be you.
A friend asks me how to be a support to someone close, in dire need of just that. It reminds me of the Big love-meditation my coach Carla gave me in the fall of 2014. I practiced it for months on end and remember–now that I look back at it–on how great it felt to start every day with five minutes of channeling love to myself and my nearest family.
This was my set up:
Minute one: Channeling the love of the universe to me, letting it fill me.
Minute two: Channeling the love of the universe to my loved one, letting it fill me.
Minute three: Channeling the love of the universe to my oldest child, letting it fill me.
Minute four: Channeling the love of the universe to my youngest child, letting it fill me.
Minute five: Channeling the love of the universe to the family, to us all, to our relationships, letting it fill me.
No expectations on anyone or anything. Just do it.
Try it. Replace my set up with whatever suits your specific situation, and try it. Five minutes… less, or more, depending on the number of people dear to your heart, to include in your Big love-meditation.Read More
I decided to join the #BusinessBoomutmaning (i.e. challenge) in December as well, doing 21 FB Live’s, just like I did in November. This time around, I will be doing my live’s in Swedish, and as an Advent Calendar on the theme of being gentle. But I also wanted to share my current thoughts on this subject here, as this entire site is centered around Being and Doing Gentle. So I will do a written advent calendar here on the blog, in writing sharing what I share in words on Facebook (in Swedish). The background for why I landed in Being Gentle is simply thus: I have spent 75% of my life in the opposite corner, being extremely harsh with myself.
My inner dialogue was hard up until around ten years ago when the following occurred:
I was headed to my therapist, and as I hadn’t taken the time to withdraw cash from the ATM the day before, I went to the small kiosk along the way, with the intent of buying something small and withdrawing cash at the same time. However, as I came there, the phone lines were down, so they could not accept my credit card. Hence… I came to my therapist without cash to pay her. And I felt awful. Horrendous. Disrespectful towards her, with the knowledge that I was a dreadful and despicable person for not living up to my end of the bargain.
I nodded, a bit perplexed, and asked: Don’t you have to?
She shrugged her shoulders, and said, gently: No. If it had been me, I would simply have said that I’ll bring double the money next time.
And, like the wrecking ball that Miley Cyrus sings about, my beliefs shattered. The beliefs that I had to be hard on myself… or perhaps rather, the belief that that was the only way to be me in the world. All of a sudden, I got a glimpse that perhaps there was another way of talking to myself, one that did not make me feel so bad, much (most…) of the time.
From then on, I have worked at transforming the ingrained habits of 30+ years of living life being hard on myself, into living a life of being gentle towards myself. Have found ways of being and doing gentle towards myself, and today, wholeheartedly, I can say: I like being me. I enjoy the way I am with myself, and how I show up as me. And I love myself. But that was not the basis for this transformation, that has been a bonus effect!
Advent Calendar 2018 – number 1 of 24 – on the theme of being gentle.Read More
Haven’t ever heard of Big mouth before stumbling across this video, but definitely get curious about the show watching this clip, which I greatly enjoy. Being comfortable in ones body IS beautiful, something I’ve given a lot of thought to lately. Once in a while I enjoy visiting an open-air swimming-bath, both summer and winter (a sauna and a dip in just-above-freezing water, oh that’s a thrill for body, mind and spirit alike!), and I marvel att the diversity of bodies. The variety, of shapes, sizes, colors, amounts of hair and where, the movements, energy and to what extent people are at ease, at home, in their own bodies. It’s fascinating and wonderful, and each visit has me falling more and more in love, with my own body, as well as the bodies of my fellow humans.
Your body is gorgeous, and so is mine!Read More
I don’t even remember when I bought Intuitive living: A sacred path by (and directly from) Alan Seale, but it’s been at least five years I’d wager. I know I have bought it from Alan in person though at CoachWalk Academy, as he’s written a lovely dedication to me in it.
Anyway. So I chose this book, one I’ve had in my possession for years on end, and almost laugh at the synchronicity of it: this was definitely the right moment for me to read this book. Now, as I sit here blogging about it, I flick through the pages, and there are so many passages I’ve highlighted – passages that speak to me, that encourage me, that validate beliefs and concepts that I use as a coach and trainer, but also stuff that I have never thought about, and – a few times – stuff I’m not altogether certain if I agree with – that I just pick a few in random to share here: “Freedom and peace are inner states of being. Peace is not the absence of conflict, but rather your response to conflict. Being free and at peace means knowing without doubt that no matter what is happening around you, nothing can harm you at your center.”
“Being rigid in our beliefs and harsh in our judgments only leads to inflexibility in life. This makes any kind of adjustment to situations and conditions all the more difficult.”
“You may have notices that we have never discussed forgiveness. Forgiveness is not a concept of the All. Forgiveness implies judgment. Forgiveness implies right and wrong. Your Western culture and religions have created the concepts of sin and forgiveness as a way of controlling people’s minds. Judgment was created in this way. (You must understand judgment as being different from discernment. Discernment is an important skill to develop.) There is no place for judgment. The concepts of sin and forgiveness and redemption are not concepts borne out of Love. Love is within each one of you, bestowing mercy upon you in each moment of your existence.” [As voiced by Spirit.]
“Develop your craft. Take the journey. Light the light. Dance the dance. Be Love.”
There are plenty of exercises in this book, that I intend to try out, and I already know this to be a book I will revisit, likely more than once. (And isn’t that the best feeling? It’s a bit like making a new best friend!)
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.Read More
Here I am – divorced for the second time.
This is not what I intended. But it’s what happened.
Well, yes, sure it’s sad. I didn’t want this. Until the moment came when I actually did want it. Because that’s how it works – all of a sudden perspectives change, an insight put’s everything into a different light. I can see the sadness in life not turning out the way I wanted to, but at the same time, I’m not sad about it. I have no regrets. Fact is what I feel more than anything is gratitude that both of us, I and my ex-husband, to a large extent have – and have had – the ability to keep a cool head as well as a warm and gentle heart throughout the process från separation to settled divorce, with agreements on property settlements to child alimony and all of the other things that follows, when two souls are in the process of untangling themselves from each others lives.
The difference in my life isn’t that big either, to be honest. I still live in the house; I love it here and am very happy we’ve found a solution enabling me to stay put. The kids decide themselves how they want it, where to live and when (mostly). Kids and kids… little brother might still count as one, but the 18 year old will soon graduate, so there is a limit to the time remaining for her to “live at home”.
I ponder what makes me so calm and collected within. Perhaps because I’ve let it take its time? Or rather: I’ve let myself take the time I’ve needed to. Time to feel, time to cry, to grieve, to land in new circumstances.
Perhaps because I’ve let thoughts and corresponding feelings come and go? I haven’t attached myself to any feeling as such, I’ve simply let them come, fill me up, and then I’ve let them pass through. Sometimes fast, sometimes really slow – all the while safe in the understanding that whatever I feel in the moment, it will pass. Another thought will come, eventually. No feeling is static. Ever.
And like Pernilla says – grief and joy go hand in hand, are best friends. The grief I experience when something has run its course is all about the flow of joy, love and compassion, all about the experiences. Delighting in what has been, that no longer is. Grateful for all I’ve been through, all I’ve learned, all that has arisen on account of this specific relationship. I carry with me the best of memories, and look to the future with a curious mind, all the while keeping my focus in the here and now, living and enjoying myself to the fullest.Read More
I sit here, headed home by train, after being away for a night and a day, on assignment for a new client. The sounds and movements of the train help lull me into an experience of timelessness; the sense of time passing, and yet… not. I’ve ridden a lot of train in my days, and I gather all those memories weigh in, to awaken the sensation of being outside time, somehow.
Perhaps I’ve also been influenced by the fact that I’ve travelled through time while the trains have been taking me first north, and then south. Time travelling through a multitude of episodes of the second season of Outlander, this favorite series of mine. Season one is my absolute favorite, and I recently viewed it yet again, for the umpteenth time. In season two, which I just finished re-watching, there’s more sadness, more sorrow, more darkness. A series worthwhile watching, definitely. Especially if you, like I, have a taste for the ways of the past. A few weeks ago I watched the third season for the first time, and now, that I’ve finished re-watching season one and two, I will revisit the third season once more. I already look forward to it, a smile not far from that of the Cheshire cat upon my face.
Nowadays it’s easy for me to experience the full spectrum of available emotions, from deep love, to the most wondrous joy, to dark despair and heartwrenching sorrow. Place me in front of a clip from Britain’s got talent, and I cry my eyes out – from joy, from pride, from the nerves so visibly strung, sometimes breaking, sometimes making the sweetest art. So watching Outlander most definitely has me on an emotional rollercoaster, let me tell you. And I love it. As I get to f e e l.
I am not afraid of feeling, of experiencing emotions, from the darkest to the lightest. I relish in it. In the experience. In having my heart constrict along with my throat as my eyes well up… to laughing out loud revelling in the humor of the moment at hand… to sensing my blood heat up and rush to erogenous zones spread out across my body as I watch a hand stroke a thigh, a chest, a breast; as two mouths meet up in a kiss, be it soft and tender, or hungry and desperate for more.
I know it will pass, as all emotions, feelings and sensations do – but as they pass through me, I get to f e e l them. And the more I enjoy the actual feeling of them all, the less afraid I am of experiencing whatever feeling comes to pass. It enriches my life, making it easier for me to acknowledge what I feel as I feel it, to stand up for myself and what I sense, while at the same time, not take myself too seriously.
Because that is not a contradiction – feeling it all, all the while not taking myself seriously -, though I fear many believe it is? I know the sensation in the moment will pass, and my old-time companion – the query “Is this serving me?” – helps me to act when it does serve me to, and to refrain from acting when it doesn’t. Except for then I say bugger all, and act full well knowing it is not serving me (whatever it might be!), just because I stubbornly want to. Deliberate and intentional, not blaming my actions on anyone but myself. Taking full responsibility, knowing full well, that no one else can make me feel anything, that’s my prerogative, solely.
Time travel is up, for now.
The train rolled in to Malmö Central, I got off and got on my bike, and am now plonked in ”my spot” on my sofa, with Pop the cat cuddled up beside me, the soft and melodious sounds of Myrra Ros accompanying me as I finish writing this.
Not especially coherent.
As blog posts go, far from a master piece of mine.
Don’t really give a hoot though.
Getting back on track with daily blogging will likely have me ship stuff, that could – should? – be improved upon. But hey – sometimes there’s a point to that as well. In Lund there’s even a museum dedicated to it, a museum of sketches, called the Museum of Artistic Process and Public Art. I’ve never been there. Think I might go visit it soon. Get inspired by watching ”the birth of a work of art”, as the founder of the museum intended.Read More
Letting myself off the hook – allowing myself to stay attached, even though it doesn’t make sense anymore. Long after the original meaning has been lost, the decision had been made and step after step had been taken, increasing my distance to what was once there, I still let myself be attached… until, one day, I woke up ready to let go of my attachment.
I read what I wrote in the paragraph above, and exhale and relax, knowing this is not something I would never have granted myself, had it happened 5+ years ago. What a long way I’ve come, in being gentle towards myself.
The difference that makes the difference? Self-honoring, perhaps? Learning h o w to be gentle towards myself, as well as slowly coming to terms with the fact that I deserve it, I am worthy of love and tenderness, also from myself? Learning not to take myself too seriously, and most definitely not to believe all the thoughts that come whizzing through my head?
I cannot say there’s one difference that has made the difference, rather, it’s a combination of things that all have been working in synergy, leading up to this place in time, where I know how to, and do, let myself off the hook, letting things unfold within without me pushing, prodding, persuading myself into letting go before I am ready to. No longer ripping myself apart, because I think I should this or that, making me do it, even though I’m not ready for it. No. No more. That violent behavior towards myself that was my modus operandi for years and years, for decades even, it has been – permanently I hope, trust and believe! – replaced by me practicing the art of being gentle to myself.Read More