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Procrastination

Procrastination

September 14, 2020
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Procrastination, the action of delaying or postponing something.
From Latin: procrastinare, pro-, ‘forward’, with –crastinus, ’till next day’ from “cras“, ‘tomorrow’.

Starting off with a bit from Antifragile by Nassim Nicholas Taleb:
Few understand that procrastination is our natural defense, letting things take care of themselves and exercise their antifragility; it results from some ecological or naturalistic wisdom, and is not always bad–at an existential level, it is my body rebelling against its entrapment. It is my soul fighting the Procrustean bed of modernity. Granted, in the modern world, my tax return is not going to take care of itself–but by delaying a non-vital visit to a doctor, or deferring the writing of a passage until my body tells me that I am ready for it, I may be using a very potent naturalistic filter. I write only if I feel like it and only on a subject I feel like writing about–and the reader is no fool. So I use procrastination as a message from my inner self and my deep evolutionary past to resist interventionism in my writing. Yet some psychologists and behavioral economists seem to think that procrastination is a disease to be remedied and cured.

I read this, and went: Wait. Hey! Whaaaat?!

Thinking back, I am guilty as charged. Having only, ever, looked at procrastination with scorn, disgust, dread, flagging it to be the culprit of tight (or even more horribly, missed) deadlines, of unchecked ToDo’s, endless lists written and never attended to… and add to that my worst sin: tardiness. Which, I must admit, I am only now realizing has a large factor of procrastination in it. ”I’m just gonna…” is one of the most common phrases out of my mouth (ask my children, they will verify it!), habitually postponing the next step in favor of what I am doing right now.

In the mornings, I want to write, read, do my Wim Hof-breathing rounds (three sets) and my morning Seven before I feel properly ready to meet the world. If I don’t exercise some proper discipline not only do I not write, not read, I spend the time scrolling my SoMe-feed, getting ready to do my Wim Hof around the time when I should be getting dressed to have breakfast, in order to meet whatever appointment/deadline I am ignoring… This has me doing my breathing, Seven and getting dressed, often skipping breakfast, and biking like a madwoman across town, arriving –winded and sweating– a few minutes after the fact…

I am n o t proud of this.
But. I. Just. Cannot. Seem. To. Shake. The. Habit.
Procrastinating like hell.
I am just gonna… do this, that and the other thing, before I get down to business and get myself to whatever-is-scheduled.

So when I read ”…seem to think that procrastination is a disease to be remedied and cured” I went: Wait. Hey! Whaaaat?! You mean it may n o t be? 

What’s the message for me in this?
What is it I am n o t doing, that would make me stop procrastinating?
Or, rather, what would have me use the procrastination as a message, a signal? Information to me, about the way I schedule my days, my weeks? The way I am keeping myself from doing some things I truly want to do (or do I? Is that the message?), avoiding… what?

There are so many layers to this, layers I am eager to lift up, explore and study, scrutinize and learn from. What serves me? What doesn’t serve me? When does/doesn’t it? How can I find ways of being in the world, that doesn’t have me waste the time of others (having to wait for me before getting on with it) while at the same time grant myself a life of less meddling?

So. Many. Questions.
Impossible (or not?) to answer?

What is procrastination to you?


#tankespjärn, for those who wish to discover. More. Other. New.
Join me and other patrons of the tankespjärn-community on a Zoom-call on September 23rd 2020 at 7 pm CEST, in conversation on the topic of procrastination.
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Feathered friend

August 16, 2020
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Lying on the bench beneath the apple tree, reading, a weird noise had me look up at the lime tree arbor, only to see a lovely red squirrel making its way up and across the arbor, into the neighbor’s trees. According to Animal-Speak Pocket Guide by Ted Andrews, the message from me is:
Balance your work and play. Prepare for the future, but do not get lost in preparations. Find ways to gather and to gift.

Given how my work plans for the upcoming 1-2 years has just gotten upended, and how I’ve not balanced work and play properly for the past year, I acknowledge that message. Then, dove number two for the week, comes into my life, as the neighbor texts me late at night, asking if I’ve seen the odd-looking dove sitting on the roof of the joint garden shed. I hadn’t but hoped it would stay on high ground to ensure Pop the cat wouldn’t make a repeat performance of the dove-incident earlier in the week.

In the morning, I opened the blinds, and there s/he was, perched atop the roof still. By the time I was headed off around lunch, the neighbor texted again, saying it had flown away… into my garden, unfortunately. Nervously, I let it be, and jumped on my bike, fingers crossed that Pop (or any of the neighboring cats) would stay away, as it sure seemed an easy target at ground level.

Got back in the afternoon, to see my youngest having spent an hour in the deck chair, hanging out with the bird, which definitely isn’t your garden-variety type dove, that’s for sure.

Luckily, in the days of internet, with a few clicks and shared pictures in SoMe, I got a DM and found out this type of dove is an ”Iranian dove, called baghdadi”, usually bought in pairs, and quite pricey at that. (It’s amazing the things you have no idea you will learn in a day!)

I took over the deck chair from Mr B, book in hand, with ears on high alert, scanning the area for the sound of Pop the cat approaching (thank god for that bell!), and all of a sudden, there it was! I jumped out of the deck chair and latched onto Pop so quick he must’ve wondered how come I was in such a hurry to get him inside, serving up a new scoop of kibbles without him having to make even the tiniest of miaow’s.

By now, we’re approaching 20 hours of this dove hanging out here, and it’s clear beyond any reasonable doubt that it’s 1) not gonna fly away on its own and 2) not a wild dove. I call the police, wanting to report the find, as well as check to see if anyone had reported it missing, but no such luck. So I bring out the kitty carrier, a blanket and Mr B, intent on catching it. After a few botched attempts, we borrow a net from the neighbors, and Mr B, quick as lightning, got him/her! I got it transferred to the blanket, we try to find a band on its legs, but cannot see any, so I pop it into the carrier and take it for a walk… a few blocks away, to my friend with chickens and both a winter and a summer coop. Luckily, that meant the winter coop was up for grabs, and the little one settled in perfectly, oohed and aahed over by it’s new (temporary?!) caretaker-family.

Knowing my new-found feathered friend would now be safe and sound (from cats and birds of prey), and extremely well cared for, I walked home with my empty pet carrier, quite pleased with myself, while simultaneously wondering at the message of the dove, as this was my second encounter in the same week. The Pocket Guide tells me: A new cycle of opportunities is at hand. They bring a time of peace and prophecy. Mourn and release what has passed for new birth.

I was curious enough to google and find some more, that resonates greatly:
The dove spirit animal is associated with transitional periods. It will usually appear to you if you need a break from your stressful and hectic life. The dove meaning is amplified when you are craving for peace and quiet, or stillness and clarity. When the dove totem appears, it’s a sign for you to make that new beginning and look forward to a fresh new start.

Also, this:
The dove represents peace of the deepest kind. It soothes and quiets our worried or troubled thoughts, enabling us to find renewal in the silence of the mind. Doves teach us that, regardless of external circumstances, peace is always a touch a way – within us – and always available. It is said that if a dove flies into your life, you are being asked to go within and release your emotional disharmony. The dove helps us to rid the trauma stored deep within our cellular memory. Doves carry the energy of promise. When inner conflicts are banished from our thoughts, words and feelings, goodness awaits.

Given the way my summer has evolved, with me more or less doing nothing, going nowhere (physically, at least), it’s definitely been a time of finding renewal in the silence of the mind. Given that I’ve not just got the one dove messenger, but two, in but a few days, it seems it’s time to release whatever emotional disharmony I am harboring…

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Playing hide-and-seek

June 4, 2020
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There is so much I see at the moment.

I see me, my reactions to what’s happening around me/us, my thoughts, fears, hopes, wishes.

I see you, your reactions to what’s happening around you/us, and even though I cannot see your thoughts, fears, hopes, wishes, I sense them for sure.

This. Might. Become.
Another one of those texts that I need to sit with, a text, a message, a something I want to get out. It’s cooking inside me. I have hardly started to get it on print, but it’s percolating inside heart and head alike. It’s a visceral, physical something as well as transient thoughts playing hide-and-seek with me.

Again, I don’t feel up to it, not right now. I want to bring it my very best, and that is not where I am. I am spent. So I take a break.
Spot the poppies in the garden through the kitchen window, so I bring my phone with me, step outside, and let myself see them, feel them.

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A text that is not yet done.

May 16, 2020
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Started to write this long post on victim vs perpetrator given a recent case making the Swedish media, of a well-known man getting caught buying sex, which is illegal in Sweden.

But that text is not done.
Not ready to publish.
Perhaps I weaved too many threads into it, making it more of a mess than anything coherent?

I will let it be, for a day or two, revisiting it to see what it wants to become. What the message really is. For me. And perhaps, for you.

I think I will step outside instead, letting my bare feet meet ground, soil, grass, pebbles, twigs and sticks. Letting the wind blow my hair, the sun warm my skin, the smells remind me of springs of years gone by. Listening to bird-song and rustling leaves, feeling my own heartbeat, steadily ticking away, grounding myself. In life.


#tankespjärn, for those who wish to discover. More. Other. New.
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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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With a little help from my friends… or with money?

February 11, 2019
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When I have a need, say of a long ladder so the chimney sweeper coming for his annual visit can get up on the roof, or a car for a few hours or a day, or help to take care of Pop the cat for a few days, or whatever really – my first instinct is to think about my friends. Might there amongst them be someone who can help me, or at least point me in a direction that could solve my problem/tend to my need?

I think it always has been my initial reaction. But I’m not sure.
I know I started to get really good at asking for help once my first marriage crashed and burned five weeks before the birth of my eldest child. Have a hard time to recall if I was as good at asking for help before that, but have a feeling I was. At least pretty good at it. But ever since that crash and burn, I’ve gotten really good at asking for help, and am proud of it!

The other possible reaction is to look for a service provider to tend to the need. Buy a ladder. Call a taxi or book a car in a carpool. Get Pop a few days vacation at a cattery.

These two approaches to life, and to solving one’s needs, are just that, two different approaches. I for one instinctively go for the first, and if that doesn’t work out, choose a suitable service provider to ensure I get my needs met. Neither approach is inherently good or bad. But… at the same time, the benefits of the first approach, of asking near and dear ones for help, has some (perhaps not so) hidden advantages to it. If I ask you for help, and you can help, the likelihood of you asking me, or others, for help when you need it increases. In this way, we weave a tapestry of relationship, of friendship, of live, concern and care. If I always turn to a professional service provider to help me out, I am effectively not weaving myself into that tapestry of mutual relationships, and I think that’s a dangerous path to choose.

We know that one of the most significant indicators of happiness is the strength of a person’s relationships. Asking for, and responding to requests for, help, is definitely one important part of relationship-building. We are better together, that’s the superpower of human beings. If I don’t do my bit in giving others the chance to help me, I am holding back on strengthening relationships not just for my own sake, but also for those close to me, am I not? And what message am I sending, by not asking for help? Is it a signal I want to send?

So perhaps… I am wrong in saying there’s nothing inherently good nor bad in these two approaches? Perhaps there is more good to be had from asking for help, than from paying a service provider? At least if I never ever ask anyone for help. But perhaps people like that simply do not exist?

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In pain.

February 10, 2019
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Friday morning it started. Again. My lower back pulsating, sending small hints that soon, in a few hours or at most a day, there will be massive pain, making me so weak that getting out of bed, putting socks on, or sitting down is a major hassle. A painful hassle.

Lying on heated wheat bags, with hips/legs in a 90 degree angle to alleviate the pain.

I know to be in motion when this happens. To not freeze on account of the pain, but rather the opposite. To move as much as I can, to stand, dance, wiggle my body, apply heat (or cold, but heat is so much nicer…) and whatever other ways to try to get through the pain incident as quickly as I can. 

It used to be my neck. Freezing up every now and then… and I finally got the message: speak out, because you’re holding something vital back, that needs to be communicated. Once I got the message, I picked up on the cues, and as I often (always?) knew what it was I was holding back, and to whom, this problem has all but disappeared.

Now it’s my lower back. And it has been for a few years. And I haven’t gotten the message. I’ve gotten a strengthening program for my core, and that’s helped, but out of the blue (or so I thought until today), this back pain would flare up, making life really painful for a few days.

Invited to lunch at D’s place, I knocked, stepped in and exclaimed: my back is killing me! He continued cooking, we talked, we ate (oh my, delicious doesn’t even begin to describe D’s cooking!), had tea, and then he asked if I wanted to work with him on my back. An offer too good to decline.

I showed him, the difficulty I had in leaning down to touch the floor, and with a sense of disgust told him about the sensation of being totally weak, lacking strength and control of my lower back, effectively stopping me from functioning in the world in the way I normally do.

So we got to work.
Him asking. Me responding.
Him paying very close attention to the energies, where they took me, what they had me do.
Scratch my forehead.
Peck on his knee with my finger.
He had me describing the pain; the location of it; the size of it; the shape of it; the sensation of it.

For an hour (or so?! I don’t know…) we continued, with me sensing into the pain, discovering the connection to old Helena (the one I was, before… The one that started to transform into new Helena, i.e. me, a few weeks before the birth of my first child) as well as Warrior Helena, my longings, needs, fears. Delving into my relationship to these two archetypes of Me, as well as noticing the shifting sensation in my back. Melancholy, tears, disgust, disappointment, the disembodied feeling of being a Brain and a Body rather than an integrated Being. Coming to understand the need to make allies with both old Helena and Warrior Helena.

That’s the message.
With the neck, my body told me to communicate with others.
With the lower back, my body is telling me to communicate with me. All of me. All aspects of me. To make all parts of me my allies, and not enemies, or parts to be ignored, taken for granted or be ashamed of. 

It’s hard to put into words, but in a gentle way a lot of ground was covered, a lot of work done. When done, D asked: How’s the back now? I smiled at him, wiggled about on the sofa a bit, afraid to show him what I believed to be true: that the pain was gone. So after stalling for a while – wanting to live in the hope that what I sensed from my lower back was true, rather than the fear of trying it out only to discover it wasn’t – I stood up, bent over, touched the floor without the least bit of problem or pain, danced around a bit, grinning from ear to ear: The pain is gone. Gone!

Oh!
The relief – the constant background pain, similar to the low-murmuring noise of ventilation. The relief when the pain disappears equal to that which occurs when the ventilation suddenly shuts down.
Amazement – how is this possible? Talking, sensing, doing the work, and all of a sudden, the pain is just gone?
Gratitude – how lucky am I, to have a friend like D. Someone who can help me find out more about myself, the messages my body is desperately trying to tell me, guiding me in the process of discovery. He’s done it before, he’ll do it again.
Wonderment!

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Embodied.

May 23, 2018
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GroundedThe vibrations from the drums keep on reverberating within me, even though the last beat faded away an hour and a half ago.
Am still riding the wave of the energy from the vibrations; what a wonderful feeling.

Vibrations.
It’s as if all of a sudden, I’ve discovered a new world, a new dimension, the world of vibrations.

Setting an intention.
Heard. Voiced. Welcomed.

Receiving a clear message that this is to be embodied.
I need/crave/desire more body in my life.
It is where the direction I am pointed in.

The vibrations do just that, wake me up, body and soul, having me ride the waves of the drumbeats.
It’s all about energy.

I.
Am all energy.

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Where should we begin?

November 19, 2017
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in Tip
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I stumble upon the podcast “Where should we begin? with Esther Perel” and all of a sudden, Esther is everywhere. I read about her here and there, friends refer to her, and she’s even a guest on “Terrible, thanks for asking”. Her book Mating in captivity is mentioned as a possible future read at the latest GIFTED book club meet up, and I can only surrender to this onslaught of synchronicity:Message from the universe

Yes – I hear you, Universe.
I am listening to her podcast.
I will pick up her book.

I get the message!

Listening to “Where should we begin? with Esther Perel” is quite the special pod-experience, unlike most other podcasts I listen to on a regular basis. Most intriguing is the way Esther surprises me, over and over again – she provides a different perspective; focussing on things I would not have thought of; she picks up on small, subtle nuances and… somehow… now and again, magic happens. There’s insight, there’s laughter, there’s a release of tension that is palpable even through the airwaves. Well worth a listen!

In 2015 I ran a series on herothecoach.com with Sunday postings of podcasts to my liking. In 2017 I will be re-posting some of those blog posts, mixing them up with new podcast recommendations, such as this one.

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#blogg100 – Allow yourself the same.

May 19, 2017
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”Give your children time to play without agenda,
to read without purpose,
to daydream without limits,
and to discover without fear.
Allow yourself the same.”

In a society giving praise to the highest possible efficiency, constantly striving for better, more, higher, larger, cheaper, I suspect the lines above might cause severe discomfort.

Without an agenda? Surely not! Must there not be an agenda, always knowing what we are headed for, what the goal is?

Reading without purpose, just for the…. fun of it? For the pleasure of it? Simply because it’s something we want to do. Not to get better, to learn, to widen our horizons, to sharpen our argumentative skills…. but simply, because we want to?

Dream without limits – oh no! Stay down, little one, you cannot break any glass ceilings, you are the wrong color, gender, sexuality, religion, ehtnicity…

And the last one.
Discover without fear.
Perhaps the one raising the most objections?
Fear. Ever-present, and almost revered.

Oh no, surely I cannot do that, it might be dangerous!

What, me? No way, there’s no way I can give a talk in front of onehundred people, I’d surely make a mess of it.

Get out of that tree, you might fall down, son!

Watch out for strangers, you never know what they might be up to!

When faced with phrases like this, we commiserate, nod sympathetically and share the sentiments… all the while sending the signal that this fear is real, it actually is something to avoid, that danger might befall you and your loved ones. But is it true? Is there – truly – danger ahead? Or are we simply paying too much attention on thoughts that don’t serve us at all?

discover without fear

What might we – I – discover, if the volume of the internal fear-monger is lowered? What might be experienced, learned, lived, if curiosity is allowed to take the place of fear? What’s there to discover?

Allow myself the same… If I don’t – what message am I sending my children and those around me? Is it the message I want to send?

#Blogg100 challenge in 2017 – post number 80 of 100.
The book “The parents Tao Te Ching” by William Martin.
English posts here, Swedish at herothecoach.com.

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