relationship

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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What if I never…

May 25, 2020
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What if I never…
find – or am found by – that ”special someone” that I long for?
get to fall in love, deeply, crazily in love, again?
find – or am found by – someone who can see me, feel me, hold me? All of me.
get to wake next to a loved one again?
find – or am found by – one who will walk beside me?
get to experience another long relationship, where we grow to know and love each other deeper and deeper?

Who knows?
I do believe, though.
That I will.

But rest assured.
I know this ”special someone” will not meet my every need.
That’s my job, to ensure I have my needs met.
It’s my job, to parcel them out, wisely.
Myself. Best friends, Mastermind-group, coach, family and friends, Buddhas and soul sisters, colleagues and co-workers, collaborators and co-creators. Assignments and workshops, books and podcasts, dance class and gardening. There are many people and arenas that help me meet varying needs.

But now and again…
As I watch some romantic tear-jerking movie, physical longing tugs at my heartstrings, so bad it hurts.
Physically, it hurts. Within.
The longing. Some day, some time.

I believe.
I will.

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If I die…

May 11, 2020
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in Tip
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Yesterday I posted a blog post on my Swedish blog, with the title ”If you die…”. It should probably have read WHEN you die, as we will all walk down that route, but the title is actually the first half of a podcast episode I was blogging about. My friend Jan did a post on what happens when you die, on inheritance and life insurance, on being married or cohabiting, or any number of different scenarios.

If you are Swedish or understand Swedish, please check it out. But if you’re not (which, honestly, most people aren’t), I would like to ask you to check out what the law says where you live. If your country has laws that even slightly resembles the Swedish system, it’s well worth checking it out. It’s very important to check it out if you have children (at least that’s what can make it extra complicated in Sweden), and especially so if either of you brought children into the relationship.


#tankespjärn, for those who wish to discover. More. Other. New.
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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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Divorced. Again.

March 27, 2018
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Here I am – divorced for the second time.
This is not what I intended. But it’s what happened.

Sad?
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.

I-carry-with-me-the-best-of-memoriesPerhaps 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.

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Wealth Warrior: The Personal Prosperity Revolution (book 5 of 26)

March 11, 2018
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in Tip
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Wealth warriorHaving met Steve Chandler as well as having listened to many of his audios (one of which, the one on Expectations vs Agreement has made a huge difference in my life!), Wealth Warrior: The Personal Prosperity Revolution reads in my mind the way he talks; this is Steve, straight up. And I really enjoy it.

Great literature this is not – but it sure is a great book! It’s easy to read, I get to laugh and smile quite often, and all the while, there’s this really important message sent, that I for one definitely receive: ACT. Or to quote the author himself: The transformation is in the actions you take. 

As I read, I see that to a large part, I do what Steve does. I use me. I am the tool I use, my experiences, my insights, my struggles, fears, stumbling blocks and aha-moments. All of what I am, all that I have been through, that’s what I use, when I am in service (the concept all of Steve Chandler‘s work centers around, service in his view being all about helping someone else, assisting another person, and delivering actual value). Steve does the same. And he is so generous, doesn’t hold back at all, neither in his books, audios or at trainings. He gives freely of himself, the up’s and the down’s, the pro’s and the con’s. And in doing that, he is gifting us all the act of being human, because that is the spectrum that the human experience span – from the high’s to the low’s, from us being at our very worst, to our very best. All of it. To me, that is inspiring. It’s also something I’ve gotten much better at enjoying – I mean: all of life, and truly, all of it. From the part that has me sobbing my heart out, to the part that has me laughing so hard I almost wet my pants. All. Of. It.

And one of the things that has enabled me to use myself and my experiences this way, is my transformed relationship to change. Generally speaking, it’s no longer something I shy away from, rather the opposite. Steve writes:
All change occurs outside your comfort zone.
This is true physically, mentally, spiritually and financially. No change can occur inside your comfort zone.
Push your body past the weight it is comfortable lifting and it will grow stronger. Push your self past its own comfort zone and you will grow stronger.

Mentally and spiritually, stepping outside of my comfort zone is something that I do. Regularly. Physically, well, more and more. I mean, hey, I did the running race in the fall, have started to run every week, as well as doing my daily Seven for no less than three and a half years in a row (!). Challenging myself physically is definitely on my this-I-want-to-do-more-of-list, so what about financial challenges? Well. I am on it, that’s for sure. Divorce is almost finalize now, and of course that has a financial impact. So it’s definitely something I am looking into seriously at the moment – taking great care not to do “serious as in no laughs” but rather “serious as in scheduling time to dig down deep and doing the math”.

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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A sucker for romantic love

August 27, 2017
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in Tip
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There’s one episode of Good Life Project that I’ve listened to over and over again, for the past year. It’s called When life partners become business partners: Linda & Charlie Bloom, and even disregarding all the wisdom contained in the conversation, it is one of those easy-going and flowing conversations between Jonathan and the Bloom’s, that makes me want to cuddle up and just sit listening to them all day long.

Linda and Charlie Bloom have a wonderful rapport, and their love, respect and awareness in what they do and say and how they act towards one another, makes me long to experience the same. I am most definitely a sucker for the all-encompassing, life-long romantic and highly conscious love, that’s clear to me. Especially so, after also having read Alain De Botton’s book The Course of Love last year, a book that I rated 3 out of 5 stars on GoodReads with this review:

An unusual grip, letting us follow along in a course of love, while being witnesses to a couple meeting, marrying, having kids and so on. Quite interesting, that’s for sure. And what a punch in the face for the all-encompassing romantic love… 

sucker for romantic loveSo I am stuck between a rock and a hard place. Is the Bloom-experience something which has happened for these two amazing people, making them outliers in a gigantic coordination system of human relationships, whereas the vast majority of us (the rest of humankind) will never ever have even the most minute of chances of actually experiencing something like it? Am I bonkers for believing it is within my grasp, that somewhere, somehow, there is the possibility of such a relationship for me?

I know the Bloom’s are not the only couple on Earth experiencing a romantic relationship as rich and rewarding as theirs; at the same time, I honestly believe relationships such as theirs is clearly in the minority. Most relationships likely never turn as deep and intentional as theirs. But is it because it’s “not possible” for the rest of up to attain that level of depth? Or is it more cause and effect; being in a minority, most of us have never witnessed anything like it, and hence most of us stumble along, in inadequately close but not close enough (not as close as they could be) relationships, never having had such a role model-relationship close by, to learn from, be inspired by, witness?

And even if we are lucky enough to actually be in the vicinity of such a relationship – would it truly benefit us? I mean – how to create a life together like this, how to be such a life partner, how to become a human, to evolve as a human being together with another soul – is not a topic that comes up a lot, is it? It’s not something we talk to our kids about: What works, what doesn’t work and what is missing from mum and dad’s relationship? is seldom the topic of conversation over dinner at home, is it? In my experience it’s seldom the topic even between the two (or more) souls directly involved in the relationship as such? But maybe it should be? Maybe there’s a lot to gain from having these conversations with those around us? Or am I totally losing it here? What do you think?

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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Longing for tomorrow

January 20, 2017
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So I found this article, with the long and cumbersome title:
I polled 1,500 people about their best relationship advice – and everyone said the same thing.

I read it.

Pondered a bit.

Wrote down the advice-headings, with the intent of writing my reflections to each piece of advice.

And now. I’ve been acting on it. And as I read the article a few weeks ago, for the past week, as I have been sitting with this, the content of the article itself isn’t top of mind… which I think is good. It makes it easier for me to let go and see what comes to me, when I read them:

  1. Be together for the right reasons
  2. Have realistic expectations about relationships and romance
  3. The most important factor in a relationship is not communication, but respect
  4. Talk openly about everything, especially the stuff that hurts
  5. A healthy relationship means two healthy individuals
  6. Give each other space
  7. You and your partner will grow and change in unexpected ways
  8. Get good at fighting
  9. Get good at forgiving
  10. The little things add up to big things
  11. Sex matters… a lot
  12. Be practical and create relationship rules
  13. Learn to ride the waves

There they are, the common threads of 1500 people giving Mark Manson the basis of the article, condensed into these thirteen statements. As I write, I agree with some, tweak others and cringe at a few. As usual, when writing, I observe myself. Seeing what happens, as I let the words form, spotting feelings, beliefs, wishes and desires, fears and sensitive topics, and – most of all – expectations.

sproutOh, these expectations! Seldom voiced, rather thought internally, with the hope that through osmosis or mind-reading they will automatically pop into the mind of the expectee. And how rarely it works. So I am thrilled at spotting them, getting them down on paper, sometimes even working out a draft agreement I would like to suggest, as a way to get out from underneath the trappings of expectations.

This weekend, I might just make good use of these observations and ideas, written down – visualized – dreams and desires.

It’s as if I’ve collected a fair amount of building blocks, that can be used to craft and create something new; letting it sprout, whatever it will be. Something that better serves Me, and You, and as a direct consequence; better serves Us (throwback to advice number five).

I breathe in. Breathe out.
And long for tomorrow, open to whatever will come.

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Space of Now

January 18, 2017
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Rereading Eckhart Tolle’s The Power of Now I am elated to read about what I am experiencing right now. Being in the Now. Not knowing what lies ahead, and not really bothering with it either. Being in the Now; Being happy here. Feeling content, in peace. Relaxed. In the space of Now, where things are good and I am at peace, I cook dinner. Eat. Talk to kids. Cuddle with them a bit. Feed the cat. Hang the wet laundry to dry. Ride my bike to a meeting. Knit on my woolen sweater while watching a TED Talk. Blog. Read. Talk to the school nurse of one of my legal guardians aka unaccompanied minor refugee. Light a fire in the living room stove. Walk to the nearest PokémonGo-gym, battling my way in. Pop the cat on the sofaTake a photo of Pop the cat while he’s sleeping in the most adorable way on the sofa. Text with friends and family. Write a quotation for an assignment that would be thrilling to get. Read a high-level guideline on quality systems. Order a few Christmas gifts. Light a candle and finish a Sudoku.

It’s good. Life.

I don’t know what will come, and I don’t have the sense that I need to, or even want to know. It will come. Or rather, life is constituted of moments of Now, and in those moment, most often there is peace, tranquility, excitement, joy, laughter, tears, thrill and connection. And when I simply allow myself to be there, in the moment, living, feeling, experiencing… Then life is good.

I especially don’t know what will be with regards to my marriage. But… it doesn’t hurt, at least not right now. And it hasn’t for the past few weeks. I’ve let go of a lot of would’s and should’s and why-not’s, and in return, I get to relax into what is. Yes, we are living apart. Yes, there is still love. Yes, there is a strong will to ensure that no matter where our relationship ends up, that it will be in a place of mutual respect. Yes, there is the longing for the familiar, and when I open my arms and invite him in, he comes. That way, I get to enjoy it. Him. Me. Us. And it’s sweeter somehow. No longer taking anything for granted; When I want a stronger sense of connection, I ask for it. Or he asks and I say Yes. And there, in the space of Now of the is-ness of life, it is all good and I am filled with a deep sense of inner peace.

Not bothering my mind with if’s, but’s, and what-might-be’s, but rather… breathing in, breathing out, letting go, letting come, and resting in the space of Now.

It’s good. Life.
Right Now.

The above text was written November 30th 2016.

As I reread it, I see the pivot I did sometime before writing this, with regards to my marriage, but also with regards to life itself. Something I am grateful for having experienced, a pivot I would not wish to be without. So. There is much gratitude for the way life has unfolded, and continues to unfold. In the most mysterious and unknown way. It’s good. Life. Right Now.

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