Sweden

…in the garden of Eden

…in the garden of Eden

June 26, 2020
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I am in The Creative’s Workshop, which surely has not escaped anyone (or… it probably has. Escaped hundreds of millions, even billions of people, but if you are a regular reader of this blog, you might remember it… Anyways…), where, on Friday evenings there’s an Open Mike-session on Zoom, where a bunch of people from the workshop gathers to read or show our work. I’ve only taken part in this for the last month or so, but I absolutely love it. The week before last, someone suggested we swop with someone, reading each others works, and I immediately reached out to Arlette Manasseh, asking if she’d swop pieces with me, having me read something of her’s and she read something of mine. She agreed and promised she’d write me a poem to read. I in turn sent her a few links to posts of mine, and she picked Open which I shared in my Dailies in the workshop as well.

The day of the Open Mike I nudged Arlette, and immediately, she sent me a poem. What she didn’t tell me was that she’d write the poem not just for me to read, but, actually, for me. It’s about me. I read it, and was both humbled and filled with joy because it’s a fun one.

So here goes, the limerick Arlette wrote to me:

There once was a lady from Sweden
who painted her toes in the garden of Eden
Then a panther walked past
Like a shadow he asked
Do you like cheesecake
Or swimming the lake?

There once was a panther from Hampshire
Who surrounded himself with laughter
It was the cheesecake you know
Which ‘elena eats with her big toe
And now she spends the weekends
In his Chateau.

(19 June 2020)

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Advent Calendar – December 9, 2019

December 9, 2019
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Meet Joseph Kimanzi, a farmer my two travel companions Jan and Jonatan met when they were capturing the problems of soil erosion. Joseph came upon them, asked what they were doing, and when he heard what they were up to, he scoffed, shrugged his shoulders and said: Come with me, I’ll show you erosion! 

So they tagged along to his farm, which 4-5 years ago was effectively cut in half by the monsoon, using a drone to take pictures from above, clearly showing what Joseph was talking about. I showed those pictures to a friend, and she replied: Can’t he just fill in the ditch? So I showed her this picture which had us both sighing.

This five-meter deep ravine cutting his farm in half is definitely not something one easily “fixes”.

Erosion.
A serious problem.
In Kenya as well as in many places around the earth.
It’s even a problem in Sweden, especially along the coastlines of Skåne where I live, even though that cannot compare with what I saw in Kenya.

So once again, I am filled with gratitude at living in a country where monsoon rainfalls and soil erosion isn’t a part of life, in the way it is for Joseph and his countrymen and -women. But also for having the opportunity to at least using my savings to try to mitigate and minimize something as serious and detrimental as this. Planting trees is one of the most effective ways to combat soil erosion, which is one reason why I do just that, on a monthly basis. I would love it if you would do the same!


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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Earth Overshoot Day 2019

July 29, 2019
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Every year, the Earth Overshoot Day, i.e, the day when we (on a global scale, all of us, together) will have used more resources from nature than the earth can renew in the whole year. In 2019 that date is July 29. That would be today, as I am writing this.

However.
I live in Sweden. Our national overshoot day occurred April 3rd. To quote overshootday.org, the national overshoot day is the date “on which Earth Overshoot Day would fall if all of humanity consumed like the people in this country.”.

April 3rd.
Not a lot to be proud of there.

It’s tricky, though.
To mention something like this, and instill inspiration, hope, drive, and willpower in people – not always the outcome is it? More often it might result in resignation, a sense of impending doom and the common “there’s nothing I can do anyway, so why even try”.

The #movethedate-initiative of the Overshoot organization, a solutions platform intended to share solutions of various kinds as well as connect people with one another, feels especially relevant to counteract that. I hope, more than anything, that this is something that will be looked at by individuals, organizations, businesses, local communities and national governments alike. We need the policy-makers on board, just as we need me, and you, and everyone else on board. Together!

Because this seems true to me: it’s not a matter of One Thing that will “save the planet” as it were (which in and of itself is oxymoronic. It’s not the planet that’s at stake. It’s humanity. Will humans as a species survive, that’s what’s at stake. And a whole bunch of other species, for sure, animals and plants alike.). It’s not a question of either-or, it’s a matter of both and.

What can I do, or stop doing, in order to have an impact?
What can you do, or stop doing, in order to have an impact?
What can we, together, do, or stop doing, in order to have an impact?
What can the society we live in do, or stop doing, in order to have an impact?
What can we, humanity at large, do, or stop doing, in order to have an impact?

I don’t know about you, but off the top of my head I can come up with plenty of things to do, or stop doing, many of which I have already implemented, and my friends, neighbors, fellow citizens as well. We need to continue. I need to continue, doing that which I know has an impact. And I need to – but more importantly, want to! – continuously try on new things to do, or stop doing.

Plant trees. That’s one of the things I do and will continue doing because I know what a huge impact it has.

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Beauty (book 18 of 26)

September 9, 2018
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in Tip
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Beauty. Pure beauty.

There. I could finish here. Because it’s true. Pure beauty, that’s what this book is – Beauty The invisible embrace authored by John O’Donohue. And the funny thing is – I normally abhor audio books, but this one, read by John himself… now that I might truly enjoy, I believe. His soft-spoken rolling sweet Irish accent is wonderful to listen to, and when I was reading it was as if I could hear him whispering in my ears, that which my eyes were taking in. That’s actually how I was recommended the book, by my former coach. She told me to find the audiobook!

Which I didn’t (not for lack of trying). All the same I am very happy that I bought the physical book instead.

Beauty John O'Donohue“These times are riven with anxiety and uncertainty, given the current global crisis. […] Our trust in the future has lost its innocence. We know now that anything can happen, from one minute to the next. The traditional structures of shelter are shaking, their foundations revealed to be no longer stone but sand. We are suddenly thrown back on ourselves. Politics, religion and economics and the institutions of family and community, all have become abruptly unsure. At first, it sounds completely naïve to suggest that now might be the time to invoke and awaken beauty. Yet this is exactly the claim that this book explores. Why? Because there is nowhere else to turn and we are desperate; furthermore, it is because we have so disastrously neglected the Beautiful that we now find ourselves in such terrible crisis.”

Beauty was originally written in 2003, yet, upon reading this paragraph, I feel John O’Donohue is talking about this very moment in time. Climate crisis. Refugees. Wars. Natural disasters. Nationalism on the rise in more places than I care to know. As I write this, the voting in the general election in Sweden 2018 is four minutes from closing time. Four minutes until the counting of all votes will commence… and I fear the results which is totally unprecedented in my life.

“The way we look at things has a huge influence on what becomes visible to us. […] Eventually the windows of the mind become blinded by an imperceptible film of dead thought and old feeling so that the air within becomes stale, life lessens and the outside world loses its invitation and challenge. When no fresh light can come into the mind, the colour and beauty fade from life. There is an uncanny symmetry between the inner and the outer world. Each person is the sole inhabitant of their own inner world; no-one else can get in there to configure how things are seen. Each of us is responsible for how we see, and how we determine what we see. Seeing is not merely a physical act; the heart of vision is shaped by the state of soul. When the soul is alive to beauty, we begin to see life in a fresh and vital way.”

Based on my social media feed, I am saddened and frightened by what seems to be visible to people. How they see… and what. And who’s to blame. Pointing fingers. Painting doomsday images, where Beauty is long since dead and buried. This is not what I need right now. And I don’t think it’s what you – or we as a collective – need either. We need the opposite:
To behold beauty dignifies your life; it heals you and calls you out beyond the smallness of your own self-limitation to experience new horizons. To experience beauty is to have your life enlarged.

Yes. Please, more beauty. For me. For you. How I wish for you – and you, and you, and you! – to experience more beauty.


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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That’s why!

August 29, 2017
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in Tip
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The so-called Migration crisis in 2015 caused too many countries, Sweden amongst them (much to my sorrow), to effectively shut their borders to refugees and asylum seekers. Countries close to these war-stricken countries have taken in so many more refugees than we could even come close to harboring.

In Lebanon one out of three is a refugee. One in three. Lebanon alone have taken in more Syrian refugees than all of Europe combined. All. of Europe. Combined. Can you imagine?

It saddens me beyond belief that Sweden, and too many other countries, are shutting people out, as well as denying asylum seekers a chance to settle down in a country not plagues by war, famine, poverty and apartheid (look into the situation for hazara in Afghanistan and the surrounding countries) that this is what it’s come to, and Sam explains why in but a few words:

FEAR”’We have kids who’ve come here from Perdido Beach. They’ve lost people on the way here, and we’re going to take them in and care for them.’ 

Some grumbling and a couple of defiant, shouted questions came out of the dark. 

’Because good people help people who need to be helped. That’s why,’ Sam yelled back.”

Good people help people who need to be helped.
That’s why.
And we aren’t helping.
Not enough, by far, with more than 65 million people forcibly displaced worldwide, according to UNHCR statistics.

Inspired to continue blogging on the theme from the #blogg100-challenge in 2017 I give you:
The book ”FEAR” (number 5 in the GONE series) by Michael Grant.

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