movement

Disagreement as bridge

Disagreement as bridge

November 6, 2020
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The bottom line:
Disagreement, not to be feared, or avoided, but rather, providing an opportunity to learn, gain insight and lean towards one another, bridging the gap.

Disagreement.
Twelve people.
Monthly Zoom-call in the tankespjärn-community.

I had shared three plus one links, and another community-member added yet another link, pieces speaking to the topic on disagreement.
The Future of Marriage
Dare to Disagree
Extreme Listening
Befriending Radical Disagreement
How democracies fall apart

I did something new on this call, as I normally doodle during the hour. This time, I asked permission to record the call, so I could doodle afterward instead, while watching the replay. All in all, an interesting experiment, because the actual energy of the call, in real time, poured into a doodle, is energizing and heightens the experience for me. Now, 1,5 weeks after the call, I’ve yet to post a reflecting ”here’s the October Zoom-call-summary” (i.e. this blog post), and I wonder if this is not the reason. In a sense, I am in disagreement with myself, as I fear people experience me as distant and not paying attention, when doodling during the call, but not doodling during the call in a sense makes me less present. Interesting.

However, the call itself gave me many thoughts, as these calls are wont to do, as the doodle reveals to a greater extent than what follows. One of them being the signal disagreement carries, that here’s (possibly) a relationship needing my attention. The possibility lies in whether or not this is a relationship I care about. If not, perhaps the signal sent by the disagreement is to walk away. If yes, disagreement tells me here’s an opportunity to listen. Give the other person/s the gift of feeling heard, truly heard. Might be uncomfortable, within, but when listening, most often there’s the chance to find something to grab onto, something which connects us, something we have in common. A bridge, from you, to me, finding that place of sameness that you can then truly grow from. Where we agree on the foundational value but disagree on the how to get there.

The physicality of disagreement can take varying forms, one of the more subtle ones displayed in what happens when I put my hand out in front of me, like a stop-sign. If I then ask you to do the same, placing your hand up against mine, without fail, if I start to push, you will push back. I’ve yet to come across anyone n o t pushing back (except perhaps others who also uses this method to get their point across), and when I let go, when I release the pressure I am exerting, letting my hand fall away, the others hand follows along, because the resistance is gone. And with resistance gone, the stand-still comes to a close, and movement is possible. Again. Anew. If there’s a disagreement on the horizon, instead of sitting down opposite each other, try taking a walk. Side by side, disagreements have a harder time finding its foothold.

How the fear of disagreement might make me shut up, not express myself, not voice my opinion. Sometimes it’s not fear stopping me, sometimes I simply cannot be bothered. My take; this speaks to a lack of interest in the person and/or the argument.

Disagreement creates friction, which can initiate movement, making us come closer (or drive us farther apart), and how that friction often manifests as d i s c o m f o r t. How discomfort always, inherently, carries with it the opportunity for healing, which led to this powerful statement: Addiction is avoidance of discomfort. Logically, what follows then would be, with addiction, no healing?! If the path of least resistance (the addictive behavior) is chosen, facing discomfort not being chosen, the opportunity to burn through some emotional baggage gone.

And also, how thank god we do disagree. On what is beautiful, important, significant, thrilling, interesting. Without that type of disagreement, there would only be one type of art, and can you imagine a more boring world than one with only one artistic expression present? Disagreement thus helps generate change, providing the necessary friction and traction that makes movement possible.

Disagreement can make me lean towards, rather than away, and that to me, brings the feeling of hope, a feeling I naturally opt for, when given a choice (and when am I not given a choice? As the choice is mine, the choice is always given. I do not always choose it though.). All in all, I left this conversation with much greater regard, even fondness, for disagreement. Quite something, isn’t it?


#tankespjärn, for those who wish to discover. More. Other. New.
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Advent Calendar 3 – Letting my body sing with joy

December 3, 2018
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The importance of being in physical motion isn’t new to anyone reading this. Of this I am so sure I’d be willing to bet money. However – many of us (including me!) aren’t in motion even close to the amount we need, to do our bit to ensure wellbeing in all ways, physical as well as mental and spiritual. Because they are connected, as we as human beings are an integrated system, not a body separated from our mind.

I don’t have a car anymore (not since 2014), and live in Malmö in Sweden, which is a city well attuned to riding bikes as well as walking and with a fairly ok-functioning public transportation system. As I don’t need a car to get to work, being without a car works just peachy for me. And if I need one, I have friends who are wonderful, as they let me borrow theirs if possible. And if that fails, there’s always Sunfleet carpool.

If possible, I do use my bike, so this morning, when I had a walk n talk at a park in the center of town, I rode my bike there and back. All in all this means I have gotten two hours of movement in my body, and my body loves it. But not just my body – it’s the perfect “cure” for ensuring mental movement as well. As Anna Tebelius Bodin told me and the others at a seminar last week, just by standing up, our human brains are alerted. They wake up, going “What’s up? I am ready for what ever may come!”. Our brains were evolved to our current functionality approximately 40 000 years ago, when human beings were in almost constant movement, at least 17-18 000 steps per day. So when these ancestors of ours finally did sit down, their brains were allowed to take a rest. So the way us modern humans live and work today, with many if not most of us, being practically immobile for hours upon hours, sitting in front of a computer screen, or a lecture for that matter, we are not giving our brains an optimal setting to ensure learning. Because just by sitting down, the brain has already entered rest mode.

In the spring of 2017, my body all of a sudden started to tell me it wasn’t satisfied with “just” walking and biking any more. It told me to start to jog. Me, jog? Well… if the body tells me so, who am I to disagree, right? So I started to jog, slowly, and set a goal for myself this year of jogging at least every week. Which I have done, except for weeks when I’ve had a cold, but then I do two jogs the next week to compensate.

Come spring of 2018, my body whispered more and more, that it wanted about 10-20 kilometers of movement a day. So I’ve listened. Letting my body sing with joy at being able to move, at wanting to move, of being used the way it is meant to be used – for movement. That makes me feel great!


Advent Calendar 2018 – number 3 of 24 – on the theme of being gentle.

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Doing gentle – 13 – Treat yourself good.

April 10, 2016
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I recently realized I’ve managed to define a few basic ingredients for a good life, that can vary in size, shape, execution, but without them, I don’t know that I would lead a good life. So I treat myself good, by making sure I get these. Preferably on a daily basis, but that might be optional once in a while.

Sleep.
During sleep, the body heals itself.
I might be sleeping, feeling as if I’m not doing anything, but my body is busy at work.
Repairing. Strengthening. Nourishing.

So I make sure I get my sleep.
Once in a while I experience a sleepless night or two though, and during those, I rest. I might not be sleeping, but I can rest. Lie there in bed, and just enjoy the warmth, the closeness of my husband, the cat snoring in the cosy chair in the corner. Resting. Not as good as sleep, but a close second, and I would rather take rest than anxious worrying.

Sunshine.
Get outside. Sit in the sun. Sit in the shade. Take a walk. Go for a jog. Have dinner in the garden. Sleep in the hammock. Plant some flowers. Do whatever you want to, but get outside. Even when the sun isn’t out. The sun isn’t actually the thing, it’s fresh air, outside, being in nature, that’s the thing. But I love the word sunshine, I love the images it opens on the inside of my eyelids when I close my eyes, thinking about sunshine.

So if it’s raining – get outside anyway. Get dressed so you can take a walk in the rain. Or undress, and get out there in the summer rain, dancing away, naked on the lawn.

diving in

Movement.
We’re made to move. Something has to happen for us not to be able to move, because we are built for movement.
Dance. Run. Jump. Walk. Crawl. Ride a bike. Go swimming. Stretch, bend, exert yourself.
Your body is made for it, and the way of our times is not beneficial to us. Long commutes by car, train, bus. Sitting in front of a desk all day, hacking away at a keyboard. We’re not cut out for it. So if that’s what you do – get conscious about it, and treat yourself well, well enough to inject small bursts of movement into your day.

Take the stairs. Get off the bus a stop earlier and walk the last bit. Sell the car and get a good bike, by all means. Set the timer at 30 minutes and take a dance break, in the office, letting all your colleagues be inspired. Heck, you might start a weekly lunch-beat at the office, who knows! As long as you move. That’s what the body is made for!

Food.
Sustenance. We need it. Nourishment. Liquids and solids.
I almost laugh at myself now, but just a few years ago I had a great epiphany. I truly got it, that every time I eat or drink, I have a choice. A choice to eat or drink something that brings be closer to a healthy state, or something that brings me further from health. Let me tell you, that was a big one!

And you know what – sometimes a delicious piece of dark chocolate is just what I need to stay healthy. Or at least, that’s what I tell myself. And that’s fine. Health isn’t just about physical nourishment that can be ingested. It’s about more than that. But to a large extent, I think modern man has forgotten that the food we eat, is a sign of our reverence, respect and love for ourselves. And I think, we all deserve the very highest reverence, respect and love! Looking at how my diet has changed over the years, it’s reflecting that, more and more. And that makes me very happy, because I deserve the best!

Companionship.
We need to belong. Human beings are wired for it. Wired for connection. That’s why we care so much about what other people think of us. Even more importantly then, to actually create a life where those around you really truly love and respect you. We become like the five people we hang around with the most. So pick wisely. Deliberately.

I didn’t really catch on to this until a few years ago, and since then, the very companionships I cultivate are such a vital part of my expansion as a human being. I’ve co-created several arenas, where I can be me. Fully. Without holding back. I will be held in a loving space, encouraged to experiment and expand, to evolve and grow. Where I can get a hug and a sympathetic shoulder to cry on, as well as a kick in the butt, when that’s what’s needed. Make sure you surround yourselves with people like that. And the best way to make that happen, based on my experience, is by being like that yourself. Be a person you would want to hang with.

Sleep, sunshine, movement, food and companionship.
In no specific order. Neither is more important than the others, but rather, are all vital ingredients for a good life in my understanding.

Welcome to my new website, where the underlying tone centers around being gentle to oneself. On Sundays I share thoughts on how I do gentle, and I hope you enjoy it. If you do, please subscribe to updates so you won’t miss out on future posts in this series.

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