The Creative’s Workshop

The End.

The End.

July 10, 2020
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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.
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The way to live my life

July 8, 2020
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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.
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5 steps in Honorable Closure

July 7, 2020
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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.
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The energy is rising

July 2, 2020
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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?

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Putting ourselves out there

June 28, 2020
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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?)

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…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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Seeding generosity

June 24, 2020
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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.
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I am not alone.

June 20, 2020
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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.
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Women Who Run With the Wolves (book 5 of 12)

June 13, 2020
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Women Who Run With the Wolves.
By Clarissa Pinkola Estés.

In a sense. That’s enough.
You should simply get a hold of this book and read it. Regardless if you’ve read it before or not. Read it.

”Creativity is a shapechanger.”

550 pages of gold. Pure gold.
I would estimate that less than 20% of those pages have escaped my pen, my marginalia is on most every page. And there’s probably at least 100 dog-ears as well, pointing to the absolute gems of the book. The pieces I simply cannot imagine not being able to easily find again.

”As we create, this wild and mysterious being is creating us in return, filling us with love. We are evoked in the way creatures are evoked by sun and water. we are made so alive that we in turn give life out; we burst, we bloom, we divide and multiply, we impregnate, incubate, impart, give forth.”

The quotes I’ve chosen are from the chapter named Clear Water: Nourishing the Creative Life, and this book will forever be intimately linked within me, with The Creative’s Workshop, which I started about the same time I picked up the book. Even more so the weekly Reading Retreats I’ve shared with a few of my fellow workshoppers, which is where I’ve gotten a lot of hours into this book.

”If you are scared, scared to fail, I say begin already, fail if you must, pick yourself up, start again. If you fail again, you fail. So what? Begin again. It is not the failure that holds us back but the reluctance to begin over again that causes us to stagnate. If you’re scared, so what? If you’re afraid something’s going to leap out and bite you, then for heaven’s sake, get it over with already. Let your fear leap out and bite you so you can get it over with and go on. You will get over it. The fear will pass. In this case, it is better if you meet it head-on, feel it, and get it over with, than to keep using it to avoid cleaning up the river.”

As this is one of the twelve English books I’ve chosen to do book reflections on upon finishing them, the simple fact that I’ve written not just one, but two blog posts referring to Women Who Run With the Wolves before the official blog post on it, says a lot.

The fact that I’ve brought it up in threads in The Creative’s Workshop more than ten times, adds even more weight.

And then there’s the realization that this is The Book I would bring with me to a deserted island if ever asked that somewhat cheesy question What book would you bring with you to a deserted island? I imagine I will be rereading it over and over again. Or simply use this book as my daily companion (replacing The Book of Awakening, perchance?), picking it up, flicking to a random page, and reading a stanza or two.

”A powerful way to renew or strengthen one’s intention or action that has become fatigued is to throw some ideas away, and focus.
Take three hairs out of your endeavor and throw them to the ground. There they become like a wake-up call. Throwing them down makes a psychic noise, a chime, a resonance in the woman’s spirit that causes activity to occur again. The sound of some of one’s many ideas falling away becomes like an announcement of a new era or a new opportunity.”

Now you’ve gotten even more, and yet, only from one chapter. And there’s. So. Much. More.
So. If you weren’t convinced when I wrote this to start with, I write it again:
Get a hold of this book and read it. Regardless if you’ve read it before or not. Read it.


The book I am blogging about is part of the book-reading challenge I’ve set for myself during 2020, to read and blog monthly about 12 Swedish and 12 English books, books that I already own.

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calling out for mama

June 6, 2020
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She showed me the trailer to American son on Netflix, and in no time at all, I asked if we couldn’t watch it. So we did. Had us frustrated, irritated, annoyed, upset and shocked.

Then a friend in The Creative’s Workshop discovered Stabat Mater, the piece Jens Bragdell Eriksson, my choirmaster, wrote in 2016 for my choir. Listening she wrote, having me put the album on myself, so I can listen knowing she’s doing the same, on the other side of the world. Together, at a time like this. Important. Vital. Rejuvenating. 

American Son.

Stabat Mater.
At the Cross her station keeping,
stood the mournful Mother weeping,
close to her Son to the last.

And George Floyd calling out for his mama, before dying.
(Click this link. Read it. Promise me, you’ll read it. Then come back here.)

The synchronicity of it hitting me hard.
Parents. Children.
Death. Dying.
Life. Living. 

Trying to make sense of experiences I cannot possibly experience, asking when I don’t, taking in the differences in what it is to be human, in someone else’s body. 

There’s so much to learn, and I intend to continue learning.
Listening. Reading. Watching. Conversing. Asking. Writing. 

Being. And Doing.

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