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A revelatory conversation on procrastination

A revelatory conversation on procrastination

September 24, 2020
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The bottom line:
Being in conversation with wise, curious and openminded people,
help me shift inner beliefs if/when they no longer serve me.

The September Zoom-call in the tankespjärn-community gathered nine souls to talk/explore/discover around the topic of procrastination. Part of what we brought up can be found in the doodle, part of it can be found within the nine souls present, part of it is likely gone with the wind, never to be touched upon again. Perhaps…

How do you define procrastination?
What’s the meaning of this word, for you?
Does it have negative connotations, or not?

Those were some questions we started off with, and then, in the way these conversations go, we ended up all over the map, which, for me, increases the chances that there will be a new perspective, a reframe, a tankespjärn somewhere to present new doors for me. Doors I get to choose whether or not I want to open, and then –next choice– to step through or not. Doors to new aspects of viewing life, of living life, of relating to myself or others.

Some of those doors read as follows:

  • procrastination, when I pick up on it consciously, holds information. For me to use or ignore, up to me. But contained within the sensation of procrastination there’s plenty of information.
  • how procrastination to most of us holds negative connotations.
  • an open-ended question/query as to whether there is a cultural aspect to procrastination: is it “a negative” in other cultures?
  • confirmation of my realization that there are more books to read than I will be able to in my lifetime (but here’s a bonus piece of tankespjärn for you: Nassim Nicholas Taleb has, since his teens, spent between 30-60 hours a week (!) reading. That’s massive!). The books that made it onto the doodle were AntifragileRest and Ever-Present Origin. But I swear there were a couple more mentioned…

Being in conversation with wise, curious and openminded people like these, help me shift inner beliefs if/when they no longer serve me. Given, of course, that I am open to it myself. Nothing shifts in a person with a closed mind. Nothing!


#tankespjärn, for those who wish to discover. More. Other. New.
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Secrets of the millionaire mind (book 6 of 12)

June 22, 2020
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Secrets of the Millionaire Mind by T. Harv Eker is one of those books written with tongue-in-cheek in a you-can-do-it-tonality, that usually irks me. And it did. Here and there. (Or honestly, quite a few cringe-worthy moments I am to be honest. And why shouldn’t I be?)

”[..] remember that thoughts and opinions aren’t good or bad, right or wrong, as they enter your mind, but they can sure be empowering or disempowering to your happiness and success, as they enter your life.”

But the basic concept of the book, as stated above, is one I do appreciate after all, and as the book is also on my twelve books to read and reflect upon in 2020-list, here I go.

Because yes. Thoughts do enter my mind, one after another, in a steady stream throughout my days (and nights…). And me understanding that these thoughts were thoughts and not Truths, was a pivotal moment in me becoming the person I am today.

Once I’d gotten that fact down, I started to re-program myself by asking How does this serve me? (or variations on the theme) over and over again, in any and all situations and moments. Silently. Within. I would ask Does this serve me? and it would provide me with the tiniest gap in my stream of thoughts, giving me a moment to observe myself, and decide whether or not this thought was one I wanted to partake in my life. Or not.

Having asked myself that questions tens of thousands of times, I no longer have to consciously think about it, because I truly have been re-programmed. My brain automatically takes me down that path, when called for.

The fact that you can re-program yourself is the message T. Harv emphasizes, over and over again. Starting with an introductory chapter on Your money blueprint, he moves on to the seventeen wealth files, which is his word for how to re-program your mind from a mentality and mindset centered on lack to one of abundance.

”The secret to success is not to try to avoid or get rid of or shrink from your problems; the secret is to grow yourself so that you are bigger than any problem.”

This I find truly interesting though, and I now know where a few of my friends have gotten this idea, they’ve obviously read Secrets of the Millionaire Mind themselves! And I have to say, this is a piece of first-class tankespjärn. Agree?

When I look back on my life, the moments of exponential personal growth and development, have – mostly – centered on big problems, to use T. Harv Ekers words. And as a direct result of those problems, I have grown. Immensely. Proof of which I’ve gotten, when somewhat similar types of situations have arisen, giving me ample opportunity to observe myself and compare Helena of today with Helena of the past. (And no, not judging Helena of the past as lesser, or bad, or wrong. Simply observing, from a place of self-love and -honoring.)

Have you grown yourself bigger than any problem of yours?

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Yesterday I went on a strike.

April 21, 2020
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Yesterday I went on a strike.

I. Did. Not. Blog.

I just didn’t feel like it. I had nothing on my mind worth saying, and no inkling of what I might come up with, and… most importantly, no desire to.
So I let myself off the hook and simply did not blog.

It’s not much of a strike really, but given the ease with which I stick to habits, deliberately not sticking to them once in a while is more of a stretch for me than sticking to them. So, in a sense, by not blogging I was putting myself on the spot, not letting myself off the hook as much as getting me on it, because it takes more for me to break a habit than stick to it.

And I need that.
Once in awhile, I need – want! Thrive on! – to stir the pot, to surprise me by not going on routine and habit, but deliberately, consciously, with engaged awareness, question my habitual choices. Like daily 1) blogging 2) morning seven-minute exercise 3) deep-breathing-practice 4) 10+ kilometers in my body, and a number of other things I do daily or weekly.

Do my habitual practices a l w a y s serve me?

Are there moments when I am best served by not doing them?

What happens to me when I do them without really wanting to? W
ithout being present to what I am doing?
Do they still serve me then?

Is there a threshold when habits go from serving to not-serving, perhaps even becoming harmful?
And what does it take for me to pick up on that?

Who do I need to be, in order to give me the nourishment I need, when what I need shifts?

So many questions.
And luckily, no need to actually answer them as such, but rather, just to let them be. Throw them out there, and see, if anything comes back to me. An answer? Another way to look at things? A new question, deepening my reflection?


#tankespjärn, for those who wish to discover. More. Other. New.
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Heed my own advice

March 26, 2020
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My idea to start a community for #tankespjärn has me feeling (at least) two things.

The first is the rush, the thrill, the excitement at sharing, at creating, at shipping. At making something of this brainchild of mine, of challenging myself by jumping headfirst into something which I’ve never done before (and being Swedish, I take the stance of Pippi Longstocking: I have never tried that before, so I think I should definitely be able to do that.). I know what I know, and what I don’t know, and eagerly look forward to the learning I know will come my way.

I like that feeling. It’s a good feeling.

The other one. Not so much. It’s the one saying What? You’ll never be able to have a #tankespjärn-community lift off. No chance. Why on Earth do you think anybody would be willing to spend money on #tankespjärn? On you? Forget it, right now! And do not even dare to start the ball rolling, because it will be embarrassing for you, when no-one shows up to support you and your work, because that would be the only reason they would ever do it in the first place. Because there’s no way it could be of value to them, and I don’t even know what makes you think there would be?

I don’t like this feeling. It’s not a good feeling at all.

So what to do?

Well.
Heed my own advice is a good start.

Meaning, know that these two different sets of feelings are generated by two different streams of thoughts within. And neither feeling is True, in the sense that neither feeling is a given. I don’t have to feel one or the other, neither is the correct or only way to feel about this situation, but rather two possible ways of feeling which I happen to feel.

Important note here. I am not saying it’s wrong for me to feel what I feel. I feel what I feel. Period. However, I do not have to be dictated by those feelings, regardless if I like them or not. When I feel something, I acknowledge what I feel, know the feeling is a direct result of thoughts I have, and can ask myself: How does this serve me?

Feelings are, for me, warning bells. Indicators telling me when I am headed down a deep hole, informing me I’d better get back up the road again. That’s the message the second feeling brings me through the discomfort it generates within me: You can continue thinking and feeling this, but what good will it do you? How will it serve you? Do you want to act based on the fear of what might happen if you start a community, or do you want to move through it?

And I think you know what my answer is.

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Fare-thee-well

April 12, 2019
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It’s as if I’ve awakened, after a long hibernation.
Or perhaps, I truly was born again, born anew, on the bus to Sjöbo, listening to Arvo Pärt giving a commencement speech?

Something has shifted.

There is more energy.
More drive. More guts.
Courage. Clarity.

More more more…
Yes.

But.
Not in a sense of needing more; that Sisyphus-like struggle to push the rock up the hill, only to have it roll down to the bottom again. Endlessly striving, struggling. A hopeless mission of trying to fill a void, impossible to fill.

Not that type of more.

Rather, the type where it is simply more because I’ve released yet another layer of limits. Of boundaries that no longer serve me. Of protective coverings, put in place at a time when I was served by them. Kept in place, year upon year, decade upon decade, if nothing else but for the fact that other layers of protection were added on top. Layer upon layer.

Slowly. Throughout these past twenty years, one by one, I’ve dismantled them. Torn at them. Ripping them apart. Tossing them to the side. Letting yet older layers be exposed to light, making me ask: How does this particular layer serve me?

And when the answer is It doesn’t. Not anymore, I’ve learned to thank it. Filled with reverence for what it has done for me. Because at one time or another, this particular layer has done me a service. But the time has come to shed yet another layer, and when time’s up, time’s up. 

With grace and gratitude, I bid that which is no longer needed to keep me safe, strong and sheltered, fare-thee-well.
With curiosity and care, I turn to the next layer, ready to ask that very same question, starting all over again.
All the while, I rejoice in letting my light shine just a tad brighter than before. 

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I write. But not lyrics. Yet?

February 9, 2019
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I write.
Not as much as I read. But I write.
Since August 2012 in the form of blogging, before that (and also after) more writing at work… the number of routines, and test protocols and reports of various kinds I’ve written during the years, you’d not want to know, neither would I.

This will be my 2105th blog post (Swedish and English, the latter 20% of the total), and I intend to continue blogging as long as I find value in it. It serves me, and I enjoy it. So I write and will continue writing.

Recently, a glimmer of an opportunity to write lyrics have arisen, and I wonder… how to write lyrics? Lyrics first, and then someone will put music to it? Or music first, and I put lyrics to it? Can I? Should I?

Smile at me, shake my head a bit, and know full well that the answer is this:
Try it. Experiment. Play with it. See what happens, how it unfolds, if there’s something there – it will become obvious. If not, that will also become obvious. Why make it harder than it has to be?

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Advent Calendar 17 – Putting a spin on things

December 17, 2018
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Selling.

In Sweden, the land of the Jante-law, there isn’t anything quite as bad as selling. The image of a slick used car-dealer comes to mind, a lowlife, busy talking, never listening, wanting to trick me into buying a cheap car for more than it’s worth…

As I am self-employed since October of 2007, selling is a vital part of my professional life. If I didn’t “sell myself and my competence”, I would not be able to continue to be self-employed. It just wouldn’t work. But the inner resistance to selling has been massive, let me tell you.

So when I heard from someone that selling isn’t about tricking people into buying stuff they don’t really need, it’s about inviting people to look at something that I have found provides value to me something shifted within! All of a sudden, instead of selling being hard, uncomfortable, and something I wasn’t really proud of doing, there was a free-flowing energy, champagne bubbles and a playfulness in its place. From this viewpoint – selling is like asking someone to dance. I get a Yes or a No, and either way, I know what my next step will be; Either I start to dance, or I move on to the next person, inviting them to dance with me.

Both these viewpoints on selling are simply stories I’m telling myself. Neither is Truth. Both are opinions. The GPS-facts of a sale concern a transaction between two (or more) parties. The negative and the positive spin I put on that fact, is my opinion on it. So, why choose to put a spin on selling which doesn’t serve me (making me feel like a slick car salesman, pushing you into a sale), instead of a spin which does serve me (Wanna dance? Yes? Whoop! Great, let’s dance! No? Whoop, great, thanks for telling me! I’ll ask the next one in line to dance.)?

And selling is, of course, but one of all the words, actions and activities I am involved with, where I place opinions on a fact that might or might not serve me. The more aware I get about this, the better choices I can make!


Advent Calendar 2018 – number 17 of 24 – on the theme of being gentle.

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Advent Calendar 2 – Help en route to become gentle with myself

December 2, 2018
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Pondering what has helped me learn how to be gentle with myself, I realize me, myself and I have been my foremost help and aide on this journey. I have let myself open up for insight, for new thoughts. For asking questions, and listening for the reply. I excel at intake, reading, listening, talking, taking in new stuff, getting hints and ideas worth trying, to see what I might gain from them.

Leonard Cohen famously wrote that there’s a crack in everything, and that’s where the light comes in. Then I recently read somewhere, that the crack is also where the light shines through from within. And that’s what I’ve let myself do (and become), a person where light can both enter, but also exit. I take in light – and I transmit light.

My loved ones have also been an integral part in me learning to be gentle towards myself. My ex-husband played a big part, and my children. They are the reason why I started therapy some 12-13 years ago or so. I didn’t want to be such an angry mom for them, and took help, because I was at a loss on how to transform myself.

I’ve attended a myriad of different courses, specifically coaching courses and summits of various kinds, but neither of these courses I’ve picked with the specific purpose of becoming gentle to me. And yet… they have all helped me reach the place where I can say, with complete honesty, that I am. Not 100% of the time and in all situations. Of course not. But that’s not a goal I strive for, becoming “perfect” in this sense.

My Mastermind-group and my #skolvåren back office-gang. Funnily enough these two major parts of my personal development (in many ways) both have their moment of birth in the first months of 2013.  The amount of stuff we’ve worked through together, sharing beliefs, knowledge, questions, fear, longings and bas the basis has been a general sense of curiosity, we’ve helped each other grow and expand. Enriching ourselves through continuous discussions  where the underlying love and respect we all have for each other sets the tone.

And then… all the conversations I’ve had. These have been a huge factor as well. Conversations with myself, as well as others. I have a few very intimate friends whom I’ve shared so much with – and thanks to their knowledge and wisdom, I’ve gained a deeper understanding of myself. And that in turn has also helped me become gentle towards myself.

And the benefits are massive. For myself, of course. Being harsh or gentle in my inner dialogue definitely makes a huge difference. For me. But it also impacts those I meet. If I am harsh with myself – it’s much more likely I will be harsh with you as well. Even thought that isn’t what I aim for. And logically, the opposite is true as well. The more gentle I am with me, the easier it is for me to be gentle with those in my vicinity.

Thanks to me opening up to both myself as those around me, letting these different avenues all help me learn to be more gentle with myself, my experience of life today is one which has me smile softly just writing these words. And I love how my body and my emotions so visibly guides me by showing me what serves me, and what doesn’t.


Advent Calendar 2018 – number 2 of 24 – on the theme of being gentle.

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Shame.

May 10, 2018
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Shame.

Hm.

Silence within.

Where to start? What do I want to communicate? What do I really feel after the 75 minute long session on Shame?

Held.
Seen.
Heard.
Acknowledged.

You did it well, long-distance and all. As if you were in the same room, the distance between Malmö-Stockholm annihilated by the SKYPE-connection that gave me your voice into my ears, straight into my head, into my body. When I closed my eyes, it was as if you held me, which you really did, with the help of the sofa I sat in.

I honor myself, and my choice to reach out to you, to start – in a pace dictated solely by the urgings of my Self – to deal with this that has been long forgotten, deeply hidden away; that which I have yet to shine a light on. A good start today, a start that did me good, and felt nice.

During the session thought upon thought was born, associations to various events throughout my life, memories slowly floating up to the surface, connections made – that I had never before seen – that docked into one another like a well-oiled mechanical machinery.

Went for a walk afterwards – just took off, letting the energy stream continue to flow; walked barefoot, threading softly on grassy lawns and pebbled pathways, earthing myself. Landed. Breathed in and let come. And more than that, breathed out and let go.

I can see how I did the best I could, under the circumstances. Clever was your word for it. Yes, I dealt with it in a clever way! But not just me. Others did the best they could, given their circumstances; they also acted clever, based on their perspective, needs, defense mechanisms and abilities.

I can see that too, and with tenderness I gaze into history, at both myself and the others. Not judging. That doesn’t serve me. Knowing there is a chance – in due time. I’m in no rush. This can take as little or as long time as it needs to – to let go, to let the ball dissolve, in the same way that I, with patience and calm untangle skeins of yarn that have become horribly entangled. I am good at untangling knots others believe were impossible to untangle, and that’s what will happen here as well. Only – without any demands for achievement. No deadline. No explicit goal.

And above all else, I do this for me. In my way. For my wellbeing.
Not controlled, not according to a fixed (time) plan. No. What will happen will happen, because it’s what wants to happen, in the moment. Not what I want to happen, definitely not what someone else wants to – or feels should – happen. But what wants to happen.

That’s where I exhale and let go – and enjoy the moment of Now!

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Judgment vs discernment

May 7, 2018
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With curiosity and a wish for more, Tess picked up on the distinction between judgment and discernment in the post on Intuitive living, and I can only agree: it is a distinction which piqued my curiosity as well.

Discernment-is-an-important-skill-to-develop“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.]

Judgment is a concept I am very familiar with. I have judged others, but more than that, I have judged myself. Over and over again. And harshly, at that. For me, judgment is centered around right and wrong. I judge you as being wrong – and instantly I place myself on the rung above you, because I know the difference, I know what’s wrong, and what’s right, and you are failing, miserably. And the same goes for myself, even though it’s an internal hierarchical set-up enabling me some how to place myself above myself.

I’ve let go of my default setting to judge, something which I know my surroundings also pick up on. In the words of a friend who’s known me for thirty plus years: “You used to be so black and white, Helena, but nowadays you reside in the grey shades in-between; you always see both sides of a situation, and are not prone to judge either side as right or wrong”, which I took as a great compliment.

I haven’t really given any thought whatsoever – consciously at least – to the concept of discernment, but I do find it intriguing. It does go hand in hand with my favorite saying though, that being: How does this serve me/you? That’s discernment for me, now that I think of it.

To discern (According to my Apple Thesaurus: perceivemake outpick outdetectrecognizenoticeobserveseespotidentifydeterminedistinguishdifferentiatediscriminatetell apartbecome cognizant ofbecome aware ofbecome conscious of) what works right now, and what doesn’t. What will further my path ahead, and what will not. What will serve me – or not. That, for me, is discernment.

And I can be very clear when I communicate from my place of discernment. I don’t have to be wishy-washy (Thesaurus again: feebleineffectualweakvapidmilk-and-watereffetespinelesslimplimp-wristednamby-pambyhalf-heartedspiritlessirresoluteindecisiveinformal wetpatheticweak-kneedBrit. informal half-arsed. Love that last one!) about it at all, I can stand very firm in what serves me or not.

Just because I don’t go for judging a situation any more, whatever it is, doesn’t mean I cannot make my meaning, my belief, my understanding, my needs even, heard. On the contrary. I can do just that but I come from a context of non-judgment, which to my experience, makes it so much easier for the people in my surrounding to accept whatever it is I am asking or pointing out. And this I think is the clue: I am not saying “I am right, you are wrong, and anyone who’s wrong is inherently bad!“. I am saying “This is what I need right now. You might need something other than me, which is fine. I respect your needs, and you respect mine, and we’ll deal with the consequences. Together.

Thank you Tess for asking me to expand on the concepts of judgment vs discernment – this has been most helpful. I feel elated to have discovered that my default setting of today (since letting go of judgment) of asking how this serves me, is an excellent guide in helping me be more discerning in life.

And by the way – as I look in the Thesaurus, judgment is a word that pops up to define discernment, so I cannot say that my understanding of these two concepts and how they relate to one another is accurate. For you, that is. Because it certainly holds true for me.

 

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