Advent Calendar – December 21, 2019

Advent Calendar – December 21, 2019

December 21, 2019
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The magic of this place!
Kenya. Kilaguni Serena Safari Lodge, inside Tsavo West National Park.
At sunset, with the view of the lit water hole.
As we stood there, birds came to drink, varying kinds of antelope, big and small animals of all kinds… and then, all of a sudden, an elephant.

It seemed so surreal.
Sure, I’d seen elephants earlier in the day, and yet.
Here, right in front of our noses, an elephant coming to have an evening drink, as we were doing the same, getting ready for dinner.

I FaceTimed my children back home in Sweden but they had a fairly lackadaisical attitude to it all. Desperate to share this with someone back home, I called my wives of sorts (yes, that’s what we call ourselves! There’s four of us and we’ve been a tightknit band ever since the days of the Twitter-born movement #skolvåren – which translates into school-spring – in 2013). And, as always, I knew I could trust them to match my wondrous state of mind, at witnessing this grandeur.

What a journey this trip turned out to be.
A journey of insights and new knowledge.
Greater understanding as well as gratitude towards life.
Friendships and new bonds formed with my fellow travel companions as well as our gracious hosts.
Laughter and singing and the occasional tear.
Erosion-stricken semi-arid lands, wildlife in the national park, a few hours of absolute relaxation at the splendid beaches of Malindi.
The plantations. The partner farmers.
The schools and microfinance banks.

A journey that is the result of a number of decisions made, starting with me buying my first trees in November of 2015.
Becoming an ambassador a year later.
Not really doing anything until yet another year had passed.
And then, slowly, getting more and more into it, simply because there’s so much about this that attracts me.

The path I’ve taken doesn’t have to be the path for everyone though. You can easily put aside a bit of your savings to buy trees – as a one-time-gig or monthly – and not think more of it than you do with your other forms of savings. But sitting here, getting to revisit Kenya again, thanks to this advent calendar, I am very happy that I did take on a more active engagement because this is not a trip that will ever be forgotten!

Advent Calendar for 2019: sharing pictures and stories/reflections from my trip to Kenya in June. I went to visit “my trees” and get a hands-on experience of the social entrepreneurship of the Kenyan forestry company that I buy trees through.

Full disclosure: I am proud to say I am both a customer and an ambassador for the company. If you are curious to find out more, let me know and I’ll gladly get in touch with you! Here’s my sponsored link: https://betterglobe.com/27216 

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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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Creating tomorrow’s schools today (book 2 of 26)

January 28, 2018
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in Tip

First time I met Richard Gerver he attended an ENTRIS-conference in Sweden, in 2013. Almost five years ago – time sure does fly by when one’s having a lot of fun! I started talking to him during one of the breaks, and then we continued the conversation over email. He also guest blogged for #skolvåren (aka school spring), a movement initiated by me and a few others on Twitter a few month before I met Gerver.

Susanne, Ann, Richard, yours truly and Therese, Oct 27th, 2014.

Susanne, Ann, Richard, yours truly and Therese, in Huddinge, in October, 2014.

A year and a half later I met up with him again, as he was talking at a conference hosted by the schools in Huddinge outside Stockholm. Four fifths of the #skolvåren back office attended and got a nice chat with Richard as you can see in the accompanying wefie.

Around that time, in 2013-14, I also bought two books written by him, but never got around to reading either of them, until now, that is. I tackled Creating tomorrow’s schools today as the second English book-I-already-own-but-haven’t-yet-read. I have a copy published in 2012, although the book was first released in 2010. And it is a bit dated, with references to Second Life as well as the hope installed in the US and the world by Barack Obama in his first term as President. That just feels a bit… well… outdated, there’s no other word for it really.

Disregarding that though, I did enjoy the read, especially the second part which tells the tale of the transformation of Grange Primary School – a very inspiring read I must say! There’s a lot I can say about the educational systems around the world, but one of the things I strongly believe in is the need for more diversity. It’s impossible to create one type of learning environment that will suit everyone. I just don’t believe in it. And in the diversity of educational settings that I envision (including both home and un-schooling), what was created (and is alive and kicking still today!) at Grange Primary School certainly fits the bill as well.

Or in the words of Richard Gerver:
“Up to now we have educated all children with one model, with one set of values and for one perceived purpose; that education is the answer. It can only be the answer if we understand that we are living in a different world and that the education on offer needs to meet the needs of the diversity of society. To do that we must stop believing that education is something that must be done to children and that one size will fit all. We must do more to value children, their cultures and their backgrounds.” (page 17)

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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