wisdom

Advent Calendar 14 – Caressed by life

Advent Calendar 14 – Caressed by life

December 14, 2018
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Caressed by life. 

The words popped into my mind as I was brushing my teeth this morning.
I feel caressed by life, and it’s the most wondrous of feelings.

Before brushing my teeth, I had already had a morning of letting come whatever wanted to come. Woke early, rearing to go. Settled into bed with pen and paper, and started to let words flow. Idea upon idea bubbled out of me; an explosion of creativity, captured on paper.

Went for a run, before heading into town for a creative meeting at Caspian’s invitation. A lovely meeting, making me tug at the bit, wanting to continue the exploration that we started today. At the end of the meeting, Caspian asked us for our take-away’s from the meeting. I couldn’t contain myself, blurting out I have just realized that I truly have a lot to contribute. I know stuff, have experiences and wisdom worth sharing, and I want to share it!

With another two meetings – as wonderful as my morning meetings (including the one with myself and my bubbling idea-volcano) and totally different at the same time! – during the afternoon, I’ve had a rich day. And I feel rich. Caressed by life!


Advent Calendar 2018 – number 14 of 24 – on the theme of being gentle.

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Siddharta (book 14 of 26)

July 15, 2018
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“When someone is searching, said Siddhartha, then it might easily happen that the only thing his eyes still see is that what he searches for, that he is unable to find anything, to let anything enter his mind, because he always things of nothing byt the object of his search, because he has a goal, because he is obsessed by the goal. Searching means: having a goal. But finding means: being free, being open, having no goal. You, O venerable one, are perhaps indeed a searcher, because, striving for your goal, there are many things you don’t see, which are directly in front of your eyes.”

Have spent the past week at Ängsbacka outside Molkom in Värmland, Sweden, at the No Mind-festival. Knowing I would not have a lot of time or the wherewithal to read something heavy, I brought Siddhartha by Hermann Hesse with me, which in and of itself seems a bit comical, now that I’ve finished it. I mean, the No Mind festival is filled with “teachers teaching”, which is one thing Siddhartha is continuously critical about in the book. Up until the end, when he realizes the value he actually has received from quite a few different teachers through out his life.

Knowledge-can-be-conveyed-but-not-wisdom“Look, my dear Govind, this is one of my thoughts, which I have found: wisdom cannot be passed on. Wisdom which a wise man tries to pass on to someone always sounds like foolishness. […] Knowledge can be conveyed, but not wisdom. It can be found, it can be lived, it is possible to be carried by it, miracles can be performed with it, but it cannot be expressed in words and taught.”

This difference between knowledge and wisdom makes sense to me, as wisdom, for me, has to be embodied. It is knowledge internalized, and transformed on it’s way through and out of me, into the world. If I am simply repeating words, without having put my own twist to them – making them mine, rebirthing them, enriching them with my onlyness -, is it not simply knowledge then? Regurgitated by me, rather than applied upon life, my way?

“[…] I prefer the thing over the words, place more importance on his acts and life than on his speeches, more on the gestures of his hand than his opinions. Not in his speech, not in his thoughts, I see his greatness, only in his actions, in his life.”

That last bit about greatness seen through his actions, seen in his life, is yet another way to describe wisdom, is it not?


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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Letters from a Stoic (book 4 of 26)

February 25, 2018
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Letters from a StoicTim Ferriss talks about it a lot.
My brother read it this summer when we met up at mom’s place.
And I got it in the fall, when picking up a few books from an online bookstore, so when the reading challenge of 2018 crystallized in my mind, including Letters from a Stoic by Seneca was an easy choice.

It’s amazing that this book is made up of letters written almost two thousand years ago, and here I sit, reading them. Two thousand (!) years later. That is mind-blowing. Aside from that, there are parts of the book that really resonate with me, and other parts I struggle with. I do like the Stoic drive to “learn in order to be a better human”, but at the same time, the prescriptiveness of the Stoic way of living jars with my fairly recent understanding that what works for me, doesn’t necessarily work for you.

But how can I object to advice such as this on reading:
“You should be extending your stay among writers whose genius is unquestionable, deriving constant nourishment from them if you wish to gain anything from your reading that will find lasting place in your mind.”

Or thoughts such as this on friendship:
“But if you are looking on anyone as a friend when you do not trust him as you trust yourself, you are making a grave mistake, and have failed to grasp sufficiently the full force of true friendship.”

And trust (in my naivety I do go for the first one, perhaps that’s why I like this line?):
“Trusting everyone is as much a fault as trusting no one (though I should call the first the worthier and the second the safer behavior).”

And this, taken from a longer conversation on traveling, which I find to be of extraordinary value today, what with the migration issues we are facing, which I believe will only get worse. Unless, that is, we heed Seneca’s words:
“Where you arrive does not matter so much as what sort of person you are when you arrive there. We ought not, therefore, give over our hearts for good to any one part of the world. We should live with the conviction: ‘I wasn’t born for one particular corner; the whole world’s my home country.'”

As I flip through this book that I just finished reading this morning, I gaze upon page after page of my scribbles in the margins, marking a passage here, a phrase there, a sentence or two and quote after quote, and I realize, here’s a book I want to re-read soon, at least once more. Makes me understand what Ferriss is talking about, when he says about Letters from a Stoic that “I’ve read it dozens of times, and I loved it so much that I turned it into The Tao of Seneca, a three-volume set of audiobooks. If you prefer a written version of the Tao of Seneca, you can find it here for free.

Throughout the letters, Seneca is clear on one thing above all else, coming back to it again and again, and that is how philosophy, the love of wisdom, is to be put to practical use:
“What we hear the philosophers saying and what we find in their writings should be applied in our pursuit of the happy life. We should hunt out the helpful pieces of teaching, and the spirited and nobel-minded sayings which are capable of immediate practical application – not far-fetched or archaic expressions or extravagant metaphors and figures of speech – and learn them so well that words becomes works.”

This cuts to the core of one of my pet peeves concerning the self-help genre, which is that many people don’t seem willing to do the work. Reading book after book, without actually trying it on for size. Somehow believing that just reading it, will make whatever the book is talking about come true? Laziness? An unwillingness to step outside both comfort and possibly safety zones? To use Senecas words, reading, but not applying the advice. And that will not make a change in how life is perceived, not in the least. And to finish off where I started this post, how will I ever know if what works for you (or the Stoics), might work for me, unless I try it?

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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#blogg100 – All that is to come.

June 8, 2017
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”Every moment is a death
of all that has gone before,
and a birth
of all that is to come.”

Here I am, in a moment that is the death of the #blogg100 challenge 2017 – writing one hundred blog posts over one hundred days. Challenge completed. One hundred blog posts later, I am thrilled at the theme I picked for the challenge this year: writing about and reflecting on sentences or phrases I have read in books. I’ve blogged in English and Swedish both, and have a hard time grasping the fact that this is the last blog post of the hundred. It’s been such a joy to dive even deeper into the chosen books – finally giving myself an outlet for all the wise, witty, funny, amazing, thought provoking, beautiful and moving passages that touch me, that I mark off with a pencilled in star, exclamation mark, wiggly line, or simply by taking a snapshot of the page, saving it in my Evernote.

Here I am, in a moment that is the birth of all that is to come. I will continue to blog in this style, the way I’ve done it during the challenge, because I have so much more to reflect upon around the books I am reading. I have but skimmed the surface, with reflections on snippets from seven books I’ve read and written about in English, and nine in Swedish. It will, likely, not be a daily post, but then again, who knows what is to come…

What I do know is that just from the sixteen books I’ve referenced so far, I’ve still got material for hundreds more blog posts! There is so much wonderfully written wisdom to be had at easy access in books – those I’ve read, and those I’ve not yet opened – that I could continue on this theme forever if it would suit me. There’s so much more I also want to share in my writings, that I will not limit myself to this – but what I do notice is how my ability to be fully present to the Now, to feel, to observe, to note what happens inside as well as outside of me, is expanding. I have been enjoying the books I’ve read, unusually so, and the same goes for everything else in life as well.

Hugging my kids. Sitting on a train watching the fast-moving and beautiful vistas outside the window. The color and smell of the blooming lilacs.

Enjoying life, because I can.

lilacs

#Blogg100 challenge in 2017 – post number 100 of 100.
The book “The parents Tao Te Ching” by William Martin.
English posts here, Swedish at herothecoach.com.

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Wholeheartedness – Reflection June ’17

June 1, 2017
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A month has passed, when I could no longer deny the soft whisperings of wisdom from within. I cried, I wrote, I refused to see the obvious, as it was laid out in front of me… but with the help of good friends, I finally opened my eyes, my mind and my heart, so that I could see – with all senses – what I have been trying to deny, for some time now.

I first spoke it into the world, in a sharing circle, with three wise ladies who simply held me. No words necessary; held in a loving silence, embraced by warmth and acceptance. A safe haven to give birth to this insight.

And, like with learning to ride a bike, or learning how to read, once it’s learned – it cannot be unlearned. The same is valid here. Once I’d spoken this truth into the world, it became solid. Impossible for me to continue to ignore.

farewell. and welcomeIt’s not been a fast process. It’s taken its time. Like a child in the womb, needing nine months to develop, this too, has been a period of gestation, needing months to develop. And finally – I was ready for it. In pain, in joy; both dreading and rejoicing in the occasion.

With my whole heart, I am taking steps forward, expanding into a new reality.

Letting go; letting come.
Farewell. And welcome!

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The wisdom of tenderness

May 7, 2017
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I can’t help it. Here’s another On Being-episode that I so hope you will listen to. Krista Tippett in a conversation with Jean Vanier, an episode recorded in 2007 when he was 79 years old. Jean is the founder of L’Arche, just having celebrated it’s 50th anniversary, hence the re-broadcast of the interview. And I am grateful for that, since I might not have discovered this particular episode in the archives of On Being otherwise.

(But there’s a thought – how many other gem’s are hidden in the archives? I might just set my mind to listening through all of On Being, every episode produced…. now there’s a quest!)

Being very interested and involved in the school debate and the educational system, I found this bit especially interesting to listen to:

The balance of our world frequently is seen as a question of power. That if I have more power and more knowledge, more capacity, then I can do more. […] And when you have power, we can very quickly push people down. I’m the one that knows and you don’t know, and I’m strong and I’m powerful, I have the knowledge. And this is the history of humanity. And that is all of what I’d call the whole educational system, is that we must educate people to become capable and to take their place in society. That has value, obviously. But it’s not quite the same thing as to educate people to relate, to listen, to help people to become themselves. 

BoldomaticPost_It-s-the-realization-of-how-t

There’s something to ponder, for me, and others, of whom I ask the question Why school? The reason for asking, for me, is to get people thinking about the society we create, through the whole educational system (as well as other structures, but for me, the educational system and family are the top two factors.), and if we are creating that which we want to see more of. Like Jean Vanier said, capable people taking a place in society is all fine and dandy. But then what? What else is needed/desired?

L’Arche, which centers on sharing the lives of people with intellectual disabilities, is new to me, as Jean Vanier is. I get intrigued, as I listen to what Jean speaks about, which is the thing I dream of. A world of people becoming themselves, relating and listening, sharing tenderness and love. A culture of welcoming. To and of all.

Fascinating to listen to the wisdom of tenderness this old gentleman has, towards life, all of it, regardless. And to hear him speak of growing older, and absolutely loving it. Witnessing the increasing frailty of his own body, being in total acceptance that his mind no longer can keep up as it used to, that his body demands an afternoon nap and so on. It’s just pure love. Magnificent.

What if…. I met the world from the wisdom of tenderness? What if…. we all did?

In 2015 I ran a series on herothecoach.com with Sunday postings of podcasts to my liking. In 2017 I will be re-posting some of those blog posts – and this is one of them, originally posted here – , mixing them up with new podcast recommendations. 
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Doing gentle – 12 – Talk to a wise one

April 3, 2016
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I have my coach. wisdom
Family and friends.
Co-creators of various things, movements and business ideas.
My Mastermind-group.

Where would I be without them?
Some more instrumental in me unravelling myself, becoming who I am, than others. But all, important. Playing a vital part on this journey of mine, to rediscover my Self.

Allowing me a space to go on an inner journey of discovery and exploration. Letting me try out thoughts, phrases, feelings. State what’s important for me. What’s not. I go naked in front of them, metaphorically naked. Bare myself. Sometimes chocking to myself, as I sometimes find parts of me I wasn’t aware of. And the people I’ve chosen to share with, they can hold this. It’s not too much for them. They don’t shy away. They welcome me, all of me. Making it easier for me to welcome me, all of me, as well.

They are wise. With them and their wisdom, my wisdom can flow, expand into the unknown. Explore. Discover.

What do you have? Whom do you have?
Where do you open up your thoughts, perhaps, so you get to see them as well as someone else, someone wise. An individual, or several, whom you know hold you in a loving space, and who are also open to what shows up for them as you share?

Welcome to my new website, where the underlying tone centers around being gentle to oneself. On Sundays I share thoughts on how I do gentle, and I hope you enjoy it. If you do, please subscribe to updates so you won’t miss out on future posts in this series.

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