The Creative’s Workshop

2020, a year to remember 

2020, a year to remember 

December 31, 2020
/ / /

The bottom line: 2020. One of the best years of my life, in large part due to new connections I’ve made this year, as well as the old ones that have deepened. 

When asked, I say that 2020 has been one of –if not The– best years of my life.
I mean it. It has.
In no way does that diminish the fact that’s it’s been one of the worst years for many, which pains me. However, it is my understanding that my experience of 2020, all the riches, connections and insights I’ve been given, also means that I emit nurturing and nourishing energy to a world in desperate need for just that. 

If I had to single out one aspect of 2020 that makes it the best year ever, it would be connection. The depth of connection, of communion even, I’ve experienced this year, goes beyond any and all things I’ve ever experienced. Ever. Starting the year off with a hide-away together with my two Buddhas Caspian and Dominic certainly set the tone for just this aspect of 2020, and then, for some reason, I finally signed up for an AKIMBO-workshop, after having thought about it for years on end. The Creative’s Workshop started in February. The Corona-virus beginning to sweep across the world just then had some participants lean out and leave the workshop, whereas the rest of us leaned in, fully, completely, the global community a life-line in so many ways during the months to come. 

Covid also caused me, Caspian and Dominic to set sail with Buddhas by the roadside, our podcast. We’d been experimenting since the summer of 2019, but never got the ship ready to actually set sail. When covid hit, we all felt a great need to talk with each other with covid as a central theme. Deeming it better to get our conversations out there then not, made us release the pod into the world, no matter how rough, raw and rambling our conversations are.

The Creative’s Workshop also spawned a number of groups I am still enjoying the company of, the Monday afternoon Reading retreat being one of the most consistent of them all. The void left upon the closing of the Discourse-platform the workshop ran on gave way to a Creative Community that’s now as vital and natural a part of my day as air and breath is. But then again, TCW also gave birth to my tankespjärn-community, which gifts me one of the highlights of my life, the monthly Zoom-calls. I love, love, love the way tankespjärn flows freely from heart to heart, from head to head, from soul to soul. 

At the end of the year, my time is spent in another AKIMBO-workshop, The Story Skills Workshop, where yet again, I am like a little goat kid let loose on a field filled with interesting things and fascinating creatures to discover, play and have fun with. This part of me in not only on display in online-workshops though. I’d dare say this is an accurate description of how I’ve showed up in the pharma-project I’ve invested many working hours to this year too. And not just me, my colleagues were game to discover, play and have fun right alongside me.

A new website will see the light of day come the new year, and with Lena I’ve set up an advisory board, meeting every third week to dive deep into what’s and how’s, anchoring them firmly in personal why’s. And those personal why’s… identifying with the Upholder-tendency with regards to internal and external expectations, this year has helped me level up. May 17th as I planned to head out to get my daily 10K in my body… something whispered No. Not today. You are not to leave the premises today. I listened. And I stayed put, letting go of that intention of mine, to move at least 10K/day, one which I’d adhered to for the better part of a year. But no more. 

This was the final piece of the puzzle I needed to be able to see that for me, with my strong Upholder-tendencies, being open to letting go of routines and habits that no longer serve, is of vital importance to me. Otherwise, I risk running myself to the ground, doing things I rationally perceive to be good for me. My rational self serves me. And, if I am not careful, it might well topple me over at times too. Looking back at the summer, which is when the pharma-project was put on hold, I am grateful it happened as I was severely singed around the edges, not far from burnout. Doing absolutely nothing for the better part of not just three weeks of vacation, but a few more weeks, having learned how to listen to that inner voice that told me to stay put was of immense value to me recovering, regaining strength, energy and capacity.

Besides gardening, the only this I did over the summer was read. Being 10-15 books behind my Goodreads reading challenge for 2020 (to read 65 books) at the beginning of summer, by the end I was 10-15 books ahead instead. Today, I finished my 88th book of the year, having read 23 087 pages in all. folklore played more or less around the clock during the summer holidays too, and I’ve binged a significant number of series too, Vikings, Game of Thrones, Handmaid’s Tale, The 100’s and currently Orphan Black, to name but a few. Given that, my fingers got a bit restless so I’ve knitted, crochet and even started to mend my own jeans curled up in the cozy corner of the sofa, watching Netflix, HBO and SVT Play. 

The book that made the most impact out of the 88 was, without hesitation, Women who run with the wolves, a book I’ve dubbed my take-to-a-deserted-island-book. I imagine I could reread it every year for the rest of my life and still find new gems and gain new insights from it. I’m actually of a mind to start a recurring book-circle to help me get it on a deeper level. For sure, this book helped me finally take the plunge into what I call my deep dive into shame, that I initiated around the half-year mark of 2020. It will continue on in 2021, who knows for how long. I do sessions with D on the topic, as well as write. A lot. 53 000 words so far, and who knows what this will turn into. In due time. At the moment, I share it in a small and select community, where I’ve received endless support to continue diving ever deeper. Which I do. 

With my body in focus being my intention of the year, I started off with an undefined idea. I knew there was to be an element of play, but I had no idea how little what I thought the year would focus on (strength, suppleness, endurance) I have focussed on. Or… perhaps that’s not true. Perhaps that is what the year has been focused on, only not in the images I had in mind when I wrote it. With Wivan as my Walkfeeling-coach since April or May, I am not surprised that I’ve started to become much more attuned to the signals my body emits, and the cyclic pattern of them. Plenty of barefoot-walks, daily cold showers since October, starting to ask my body for advice, and even going indoor-climbing with Caspian. Lindy hop-classes have been sadly interrupted by Covid, not so surprising, and unfortunately the same is true for choir-practice. But not until we’d managed to do a live-streamed spring concert, and then, before the second wave was upon us, an All Saint’s Day concert too. 

Christmas Eve was spent with my children, at home, and turned into an evening I will forever remember, in sync with my sentiment for the rest of the year, possibly the best Christmas Eve I’ve ever experienced. (That’s a story all in itself, and one I will share, in time. Rest assured.) And today, as the children will have New Years Eve-dinner with their father, I look forward to an evening all on my own. Going deep within, luxuriating in my own company, I cannot imagine ending this year in a better way. 

I’ve already set the intentions for next year, which, for me this time around, won’t start tomorrow, on January 1st, 20201, but actually started already on December 22nd, 2020, the first day after the winter solstice. The intention reads Ask – Listen, to and with All of Me – Act, and it is with that intention top of mind and deep in heart, that I bid 2020 farewell. A year I will always remember.

 

Read More

Story Skills Workshop

November 15, 2020
/ / /

I did it.

I held out for four months, but finally, I could not withstand the pull to engage in another AKIMBO workshop. I signed up earlier this week, and am now, already, madly-in-love-with and knee deep into the Story Skills Workshop. (If you read this before the 16th of November, 2020, there’s still a chance to dive in with me!)

With a total of fourteen lessons dropping every other day or so, I look forward to learn a lot, discover even more, and get (and give) ample tankespjärn. The first lesson on Why, I responded to thus:

What brought you to this workshop?
A pull, the first since being on the first cohort of The Creative’s Workshop, the first real pull of a soft inner voice saying this, this is something for you. Just the way it was with TCW, which is the first AKIMBO-workshop I’ve ever taken, even though I’ve been drawn to them, drawn, not pulled, subtle difference, and yet, one I’ve distinguished between, ever since Seth Godin first started plugging the altMBA.

Small nudges in response to me putting out into the world my thoughts on joining the Story Skills Workshop, the universe aligning, making the pull ever-stronger, magnetic, harder to resist. Possible to resist, now and again, I do resist on of these pull’s. But not this time. This time I went for it.

What’s the story you want to tell?
If anything, this is what’s unclear, here I do step out into unknown territory (and what a treat that is!). I have blogged since 2012, resulting in a lot of personal storytelling published. Since a few months back I am doing a personal deep-dive into shame, using different modalities, writing being one of them. I am sharing these writings, not (yet) publicly on my blog, but in a smaller circle of creatives, and I know (owning it.) the power of this material.

However, I do not feel that material is what I am to share here. It’s too personal, in one sense, but more than that, it’s a bit too raw, too current, to share here, not sure I could take it being nitpicked and scrutinized the way I want to invite nitpicking and scrutiny to my participation here.

So likely, I will be sharing personal stories, blog-worthy stories, strung together solely by the fact of me. But who knows…

What are some of your challenges when it comes to storytelling?
Well, possibly my greatest challenge is how to distinguish between personal and private, what is too intimate to share. And the hurdle there involves others more than me, honestly. I am what I am, who I am, because of others, loved ones as well as mere acquaintances, or even strangers. Where do I draw the line? Who, and how, do I bring into my reflective ruminations? Where do I draw the line? Who do I describe in such a way that they, and others close to me, would be able to distinguish, to know, who I am talking about? What events can be shared, where identity is revealed? When does it make sense, when doesn’t it? When might it even be hurtful to the person/s? Does the end justify the means? What –how– can I do to tell my story in a way that makes the story worth telling, without telling someone else’s story, in a way they do not want their story told? Where/How do I draw the line?


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

 

Read More

The End.

July 10, 2020
/ / /

Oh.
The End.
(Of the Beginning.)

The Creative’s Workshop has been such a significant part of my everyday life ever since I joined on February 7th, some 154 days ago. So when I got home from work–having woken up early this morning expecting it gone, happy to realize the site remained even after the communicated cut-off-time of July 9th–and was met with this image… it was still a shock to see it gone.

Without question, the best-spent $395 of my life.


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

The way to live my life

July 8, 2020
/ / /

The intensity!
People are responding, daily-ing, responding to prompts, sharing shipping news and aha’s like never before.

TCW is going out with a bang!
A most fitting description of these final hours (?!) of The Creative’s Workshop. But alas, how will it work, the actual shut-down? ”The final day is on the 9th of July” but what does that mean? Will it be shut-down at the start of the 9th, or the end of it? And according to what time zone?

Luckily… soon we are to find out, all of us, participating in TCW until the very end (at least our perceived end).

I’ve downloaded the CSV-file with all of my entries, have the archive-link handy, and yet… there’s so much goodness written by someone else… I just will not, ever, have the time to go through it all, even if I could save the entirety of this very first cohort of TCW.

So I shake it off, the sense of regret, of loss, accept that the FOMO is not a fear, but a fact, and as such, I could spend my time and energy fighting it. To no avail. That’s the problem with facts like these. It’s not a problem to be solved but rather a fact to accept. So I do.

I accept that there are dailies-threads I will never, ever, get to dive deep into.
That there are responses to prompts that hold potential gems and insights that would be of such service to me, responses of beauty and wit, of honesty and humor, of confusion and clarity.
Not to mention all the responses to all of these posts. Responses filled with as much beauty and wit, honesty and humor, confusion and clarity.
Astute writings I won’t ever get to see.

Ah.
Bitter-sweet.
And so so welcome.
I cannot fathom living in a world where I would feel finished.
Imagine partaking in a workshop like this, with 400+ participants (not all active, but many), and after 150 days feel that I’ve gotten everything possible from it, that there’s nothing left to learn…

I wouldn’t want that.
Not for TCW, not for anything.
Especially not for life.

So I am letting TCW go, in order to let come other things, with grace. With loving acceptance, knowing deep within that this is the way I want to live my life.


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

5 steps in Honorable Closure

July 7, 2020
/ / /

Come 9th of July 2020, The Creative’s Workshop will be closing down, leaving me with… high points, low points, key lessons, loads of gratitude, and a definitive intention going forward.

This is the framework shared by the most wonderful Kathy Karn whose presence in TCW has been monumental – for me personally, and for many of the other participants in the workshop. She’s touched the heart of all of us. Kathy wrote about it thus: When we do our leaving in a mindful way our psyche gets notice and may raise up unfinished business that is worth attending to. Good closure prepares us well for new beginnings.

The details of my response will stay in TCW, with one exception:
I had forgotten what impact it has on me, on my energy, on my creativity, to be in a setting with such fabulous people, who, with grace and humility, share their work, their struggles, their questions, their praise, their warmth. It is something I never want to forget again!

This is my testimonial for TCW, which can be found on the site, where there’s a new session opening up soon. I have a hard time seeing how any TCW-cohort can ever be as amazing and special as the one that is just about to close, but… at the same time, I know it will be a most sensational experience for anyone participating in it. So if you’ve considered it, do so no more. Take the plunge. Enroll!

And even though the details will stay in TCW, I want to share the framework, for me to know I have it handy, and for you, to try it out, if and when, it’s time for an honorable closure. And there will be times for that. Now and again. There always is.

Letting go. Letting come.
Part of living. And loving.

5 Steps in Honourable Closure

  1. High Points: Reflect on the high points in your experience – this is a way of collecting memories and building an archive of turning points, gratitude moments, moments that touched your heart and or your funny bone. It is not a full recounting of the history of an event or time period, high points bring up the significant points that are worth remembering.
  2. Low Points: Were there any low points? Reflect on the tough parts, what was hard or challenging?
  3. Key lessons: What have you learned? How are you different, what has changed?
  4. Gratitude: Moments of gratitude may have already been mentioned in the responses above. If there is more then say more. If there are particular people you are grateful for, let them know, be specific about how that person impacted you.
  5. Intention Going forward: As an experience or relationship comes to an end what are your intentions going forward? How will you take the gifts, the lessons from this experience into your life? This does not need to be an exhaustive list, in fact, a couple of key points are probably more likely to get integrated into your life than a long to-do list. Take time to consider this – be specific.

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

The energy is rising

July 2, 2020
/ / /

The pace is picking up, the energy is rising, and more and more people are getting active again. Responding to prompts for the first time, or –as I am doing– revisiting them once more, generously (as is wont to happen in The Creative’s Workshop!) sharing insights and questions and cheerings-on in comments to prompts and dailies, engaging with others to ensure there’s ”connectability” once TCW shuts down in 8 days…

and I still don’t want it too!

And yet…
I know. I will be there, every day, until it’s over.
And I know. I will miss it dreadfully, when it does.
And I know. I need it too.
I need the break.
I need digital sabbats. For longer than I’ve been taking them these past months (barely, honestly).

The increase and decrease.
After a massive surge –not least this past month with a lot of work as well– both work and TCW are set to decrease around the same time.
A massive deadline at work in 7 days, TCW ends the day after.

Perhaps, it’s even a godsend?

Read More

Putting ourselves out there

June 28, 2020
/ / /

The Creative’s Workshop has been a truly transformative experience, partaking in something like this, especially during the times we are living in–the workshop started beginning of February 2020, just before COVID-19 and the Coronavirus-pandemic sort of became a reality for us all–feels like a meant-to-be-moment in my life.

As the workshop is coming to an end, many of us are reluctant to let go, a reluctance akin to that which I believe humans feel upon leaving the womb. It’s been nourishing and sheltered and has felt very safe and loving, and yet… outside, that’s where everything learned from within the bubble is to manifest. Because we do live in a world of form, a physical world, putting ourselves out there is of importance. That’s how we seed generosity, that’s how we share of ourselves, our fears and favorites, our mishaps and major wins, our questions, insights and creative outputs.

The very final Open Mic, organized by one of the groups created within the workshop, has a record turn-out, and even though I’ve only understood the beauty of the Open Mic these past 4-5 weeks, participating in them has been one of many highlights of my TCW-exploration.

So I want to share a bit of the glory of TCW with you, the out there-part of the world.

Here’s a new take on Arlette Manassehs limerick, put into visuals by Manu Satsangi:

Timmy Riordan sang the most beautiful song for us: Lean into Me

Laura Tucker of the Free your inner guru-podcast shared a bit of her experience recording an episode with Charles Wilson, which can be found here: Music is Medicine

Jayashree Krishnan, who painted Pop the cat for me, painted a smashing portrait of Seth Godin (who’s the man behind the Akimbo workshops, along with a crew of skilled professionals and coaches!) during the Open Mic, who’s also got a GoFundMe-project for a series of watercolors on care-workers that she’s been sharing within and without TCW. Please check it out, fund it, and share the word!

And then there was Isabel Núñez Cortés sharing a piece of her music, from a scoring competition she’s participating in. My take, listening to the music while watching the video was: But… What? This i s n ‘ t the real score for this video? It sounds just like it’s supposed to! 

I could go on, given the fact that there were 20+ people on the celebratory final OM, but… I won’t. Or. I might… in the future. But not now. I think you’ve already gotten enough to go around for a long time (cuz I am totally counting on y’all to click and view and listen and share and subscribe and fund and seed generosity in any way, shape or form you can!). And I want to make sure everyone listens to Charles Wilson (same one who’s participating in Laura’s podcast) on George Floyd and the Struggle for Equality which he played live as the finale of the OM-finale, and man… that was a m a z i n g to witness:

It’s been an honor to be a part of this workshop as well as these Open Mic-sessions!

❤️   

(But how can I stop here? When I haven’t said a word about Kathy Karn or Jim Grady, not to mention Amandawhom I have mentioned about before though!– or Jennifer or Sue or… 

Someone.
Please.
Make me stop!

But how can I?)

Read More

…in the garden of Eden

June 26, 2020
/ / /

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)

Read More

Seeding generosity

June 24, 2020
/ / /

She sent me an email, Alison, saying she’d revisited the conversation I’d had with myself, witnessed by her, in April. The one she created We need each other from. Enclosed a link and asked if I’d be ok with her putting it out into the world.

Without bothering to look, I hit Reply and said Yes, of course! and kept on working… until I couldn’t keep my curiosity at bay. And what I saw brought tears to my eyes.

Being witnessed by Alison is something special, and getting these created little movies back from her is a bonus, but oh, what a bonus!

The funny thing is, that on the following Saturday, this movie in combination with Alison courageously and vulnerable engaging in conversation in The Creative’s Workshop turned into a transformative moment, benefitting all the participants of that workshop.  Synchronicity at play!


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

I am not alone.

June 20, 2020
/ / /

Today we recorded another episode of Buddhas by the Roadside, spending most of the time talking about (dis)embodiment. Somewhere along the lines of conversation, jumping from bare feet, to menstrual cycles, to what gets schooled out of humans during childhood and in adult life, the amazement of the designs behind the human body as well as the bodies of tigers and penguins and house-cats, I was reminded of this passage, which I’d read earlier in the morning. It can be found on June 19th in The Book of Awakening by Mark Nepo.

”This is why it helps to share our journey with others, because in so doing we become a chorus of voices, and the stress of going solo lessens once we discover that we are not alone.”

I don’t remember what stepping stone(s) brought me to it in the Buddhas-conversation, but I remember why I’d snapped a photo of it upon reading it. When I went for the shotgun-approach *again*, caught myself in the act, and then sort-of did a combo shotgun/sniper rifle-approach instead, one of my fellow The Creative’s Workshoppers got inspired and wrote something along the lines of taking my lead.

”This is why it helps to share our journey with others, because in so doing we become a chorus of voices, and the stress of going solo lessens once we discover that we are not alone.”

As I read these lines, I was reminded of how happy that made me. The knowing (!) that I am not alone.

For some reason (I believe it to be deep, the need to know we are not alone. Deeply existential. The most basic fear of humans is that of being shunned. We are not solitary creatures.) knowing she’d follow along, had me exhale. In relief. Knowing (!) I am not alone.

And. If I hold it in, whatever it is that has me think I am the only person on Earth feeling this… If I hold it in, not giving anyone the opportunity, the possibility, to reach out a hand, tap me on the shoulder, and gently say Oh my friend, I know what you are feeling. Been there, done that. You are not alone.

Indeed, sharing is caring holds multiple meanings.
And I am enamored with them all.


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