Writings

Writing

Writing

August 24, 2020
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Third day in a row.
Sitting in bed, iPad in my lap, leaning against the headboard, supported by pillows.
Writing.

Oh!
At long last, getting back to this lovely routine.
Waking up, getting out of bed to go pee, and then sneak downstairs, fetching my iPad, before heading back under the covers. Setting myself up for a few minutes, half an hour, an hour, of writing.
Writing.

Writing, intentionally, a deep-dive into a topic (or rather, into an exploration within), a strong enough Why to get me to commit, to take action, to Do in order to match who I want to Be. An exploration I am, for now, keeping to myself, or at least, to a small group of people. Figuring things out, discovering, uncovering, not wanting to publish, as this specific baby is far from ready to meet the world. Perhaps it will be. One day. Perhaps it never will be. Ever. Regardless, it feels very good to be writing.
Writing.

And as always (often?), when I start to write, more wants to be written. It’s as if I open the faucet, and out it comes. Like this. Writings related to the experience of writing, or other; experiences, urges and insights, all of a sudden start to flow, wanting to come out, wanting to be written.
Writing.


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

August 21, 2020
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There’s so much on the inside, that I am not really getting out. Not on paper, not in conversation, not even in my internal dialogues with myself. Not in any way/shape/form I want to.

A tad frustrating.
But only for short moments.
Most often, I simply acknowledge it, allow it to be, and figure…
what comes out, comes out. What stays inside, stays inside.

In conversations, I get to try my thoughts out, practice speaking them out loud, trying to get unformed, unfinished thoughts to make their way outside of me, observing what happens within when I do. Being mirrored by those I am in communion with is like a rollercoaster ride. I get to listen (!) as they let my newly formed words move into them, twisting and turning, opening hearts and minds with any luck, and, if there’s resonance, voice something back to me, giving me a shot at the rollercoaster.

Sometimes, my mind takes a giant leap, far away from what I voiced minutes before.
Sometimes, I am brought much closer, strengthening my understanding, transforming those unfinished thoughts into more solid, tangible ones.
Sometimes, having me step an inch into the unknown, I come upon a somewhat new flavor, making me shift slightly from what it previously was, giving me an opportunity to taste my thoughts anew, new and fresh unformed, unfinished thoughts within.

There are blog posts I imagine myself writing.
Stories to tell. Insights to share.
Pod episodes and book reflections to flesh out on paper, publishing in the hope, the desire, for someone to share in the exploration.

And then.
Those depths within, as yet unexplored.
Deep, deep ones.
Cold. Dark.
Void of company.
I know it.
I need to go there.
I need to. Want to. Must!
For me. Not for anyone else, but for me. I want to, because I know (Know) this is what’s next in line, I am to take these depths on.
But how do I start?
When? Where? How, do I give myself permission to just dive in?

I sense how this, the discovery –the exploration– of these depths, acts as a plug. Unless attended to, they are keeping all of the rest of what’s on the inside trapped there, within, where nothing can get out, nothing can squeeze past. They are blocking the way.

Time has come.
Permission granted:
Dive in.


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

August 18, 2020
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I am no longer willing to let myself be used as the scapegoat. I am no longer willing to step up when others claim that my words, my deeds, my actions, are what angers them, what upsets them or what scares them. Because in truth, it is their reaction to my words, my deeds, my actions, that angers, upsets and scares them.

This never means I get to act like a brute, avoiding responsibility for my words, deeds and actions. That’s on me.

What’s on you, is to do the same. To own your reactions.

You might well be angered or upset, even scared. But own it.

Don’t go here:
”You make me angry, upset, scared.”

Or here:
”Your words, deeds, actions, make me angry, upset, scared.”

Rather, try to find something like this place within:
”I felt angered, upset, scared by what happened within me when I came upon your words, deeds, actions.”

When both of us own our reactions, progress is possible. Connection, understanding and respect is to be had.

And I know, I cannot make you choose this. And it’s not for me to tell you what to do, or not do.
What I can do though, are two things:
I can strive to live up to this ideal, myself.
And I can be very clear with what is OK for me. To not swallow it, to not take it, should you happen to put your shit on me.

And that latter one, is where I have an opportunity to improve. To learn how to live it, to actually be someone who doesn’t take others’ shit. The outcome of that might well be that I also choose to not be with you, simply because I get to choose my company. And as peer pressure is very real and we become like those closest to us, I honor me by being very specific and particular in choosing whom I spend time with. Because that choice will impact me, making me be more –or less– of the person I want to be in the world.

And there’s nothing I want more than to surround myself with people who see and encourage the potential harbored within me, who positively challenge me to –always and already– be and become the better me.


#tankespjärn, for those who wish to discover. More. Other. New.
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At Play in the Fields of the Lord (book 9 of 12)

August 17, 2020
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in Tip
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”Holding his breath, swaying drunkenly beneath a bulb which illumined little more than grime and moisture, Moon stared awhile at the cement wall; it took just such a hopeless international latrine in the early hours of a morning, when a man was weak in the knees, short in the breath, numb in the forehead and rotten in the gut, to make him wonder where he was, how he got there, where he was going; he realized he did not know and never would. He had confronted his same latrine on every continent and not once had it come up with an answer; or rather, it always came up with the same answer, a such and gurgle of unspeakable vileness, a sort of self-satisfied low chuckling: Go to it, man, you’re pissing your life away.”

I bought At Play in the Fields of the Lord by Peter Matthiessen in the mid-nineties, in Bangkok, Thailand, in an Asia Books bookstore. My brother lived in Thailand the last decade of the last century, and books were but one of the things I had a habit of bringing home with me (much rather books than the amoeba I took home a few years later). This book has managed not to get culled in my now-and-then book-culling events, but coming up on 2020 I decided its time was now. Either I read it, or I let the book go. I chose to read it.

”[…]; when his hands were in use, his whole face eased and softened, and a tentative humor would replace his tiresome sense of moral right. With the vanity evaporated, with sweat on his dirty face and his hip-pocket comb forgotten, the face took on a true handsomeness of strength.”

Throughout high school I had a romantic notion of becoming an ethnopharmacologist like Paul Cox, active in the Samoan Islands. I have an inkling that this book spoke to that part of me, even though it’s not about ethnopharmacology per se. Rather, it’s about man. And nature. And what happens when cultures clash, in more ways than one.

”How easily, in the absence of children, the whole experience of life became abstracted, a pattern of words and daydreams. Because the life in Billy was so fresh and immediate, he had served as a reminder of reality.”

Now and again, I read a book, that I don’t know how to rate in Goodreads, upon pressing the I have finished this book”-button, moving it from Currently Reading to Have Read. This is such a book.
Did I like it? No. Not really.
Did I enjoy reading it? Not particularly.
So it warrants a really low rating? Well. No. It doesn’t. Just because it’s not an easy read, and it’s somewhat confusing, incomprehensible at times, it’s not a book that deserves anything less than three stars (on a scale of 1-5, with 5 being the highest rating). Possibly four. Maybe even five, because I honor the complexity of it, the experience, or research that must have gone into the preparations.

There are sentences, passages, that I find extremely beautiful.
Some that are so descriptive, I can feel the green rotting smell of the jungle while reading.
Others that speaks of truth (perhaps even Truth?).

”Our Christian–that is, Western–outlook is rather lugubrious, do you not think? We have persuaded ourselves that abnegation”–and he touched his cassock, not without irony–”and self-sacrifice are superior to joyous self-expression, to the emotions simple being? Now… if we could just take time from our teaching of our poor Indians, we might learn something from them. After all, the Indians come out of Asia, theirs is essentially an Eastern culture; they do not seek for meaning: they are. They are not heavy the way we are, they are light as the air; their being is a mere particle of the universe, like a leaf or wing of dragonfly or wisp of cloud. Unlike ourselves, they are eternal.”

Perhaps it’s one of those books that I am happy to have read, rather than having been happy while reading?


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

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Feathered friend

August 16, 2020
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Lying on the bench beneath the apple tree, reading, a weird noise had me look up at the lime tree arbor, only to see a lovely red squirrel making its way up and across the arbor, into the neighbor’s trees. According to Animal-Speak Pocket Guide by Ted Andrews, the message from me is:
Balance your work and play. Prepare for the future, but do not get lost in preparations. Find ways to gather and to gift.

Given how my work plans for the upcoming 1-2 years has just gotten upended, and how I’ve not balanced work and play properly for the past year, I acknowledge that message. Then, dove number two for the week, comes into my life, as the neighbor texts me late at night, asking if I’ve seen the odd-looking dove sitting on the roof of the joint garden shed. I hadn’t but hoped it would stay on high ground to ensure Pop the cat wouldn’t make a repeat performance of the dove-incident earlier in the week.

In the morning, I opened the blinds, and there s/he was, perched atop the roof still. By the time I was headed off around lunch, the neighbor texted again, saying it had flown away… into my garden, unfortunately. Nervously, I let it be, and jumped on my bike, fingers crossed that Pop (or any of the neighboring cats) would stay away, as it sure seemed an easy target at ground level.

Got back in the afternoon, to see my youngest having spent an hour in the deck chair, hanging out with the bird, which definitely isn’t your garden-variety type dove, that’s for sure.

Luckily, in the days of internet, with a few clicks and shared pictures in SoMe, I got a DM and found out this type of dove is an ”Iranian dove, called baghdadi”, usually bought in pairs, and quite pricey at that. (It’s amazing the things you have no idea you will learn in a day!)

I took over the deck chair from Mr B, book in hand, with ears on high alert, scanning the area for the sound of Pop the cat approaching (thank god for that bell!), and all of a sudden, there it was! I jumped out of the deck chair and latched onto Pop so quick he must’ve wondered how come I was in such a hurry to get him inside, serving up a new scoop of kibbles without him having to make even the tiniest of miaow’s.

By now, we’re approaching 20 hours of this dove hanging out here, and it’s clear beyond any reasonable doubt that it’s 1) not gonna fly away on its own and 2) not a wild dove. I call the police, wanting to report the find, as well as check to see if anyone had reported it missing, but no such luck. So I bring out the kitty carrier, a blanket and Mr B, intent on catching it. After a few botched attempts, we borrow a net from the neighbors, and Mr B, quick as lightning, got him/her! I got it transferred to the blanket, we try to find a band on its legs, but cannot see any, so I pop it into the carrier and take it for a walk… a few blocks away, to my friend with chickens and both a winter and a summer coop. Luckily, that meant the winter coop was up for grabs, and the little one settled in perfectly, oohed and aahed over by it’s new (temporary?!) caretaker-family.

Knowing my new-found feathered friend would now be safe and sound (from cats and birds of prey), and extremely well cared for, I walked home with my empty pet carrier, quite pleased with myself, while simultaneously wondering at the message of the dove, as this was my second encounter in the same week. The Pocket Guide tells me: A new cycle of opportunities is at hand. They bring a time of peace and prophecy. Mourn and release what has passed for new birth.

I was curious enough to google and find some more, that resonates greatly:
The dove spirit animal is associated with transitional periods. It will usually appear to you if you need a break from your stressful and hectic life. The dove meaning is amplified when you are craving for peace and quiet, or stillness and clarity. When the dove totem appears, it’s a sign for you to make that new beginning and look forward to a fresh new start.

Also, this:
The dove represents peace of the deepest kind. It soothes and quiets our worried or troubled thoughts, enabling us to find renewal in the silence of the mind. Doves teach us that, regardless of external circumstances, peace is always a touch a way – within us – and always available. It is said that if a dove flies into your life, you are being asked to go within and release your emotional disharmony. The dove helps us to rid the trauma stored deep within our cellular memory. Doves carry the energy of promise. When inner conflicts are banished from our thoughts, words and feelings, goodness awaits.

Given the way my summer has evolved, with me more or less doing nothing, going nowhere (physically, at least), it’s definitely been a time of finding renewal in the silence of the mind. Given that I’ve not just got the one dove messenger, but two, in but a few days, it seems it’s time to release whatever emotional disharmony I am harboring…

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Ruffled youngster

August 13, 2020
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Pop the cat.
Lying on the bench underneath the apple tree, with the airs of one who Knows (!) the comfy cushion was brought out by me earlier in the day for his sake (and not for me to take a mid-afternoon nap on).

A dove lands beneath the black mulberry-tree, having me up out of my chair, shooing it away, not wanting to share any ripening mulberries with him (her? How can you tell?). Sit down again, only to hear more dove-commotion, together with the distinct tinkling on Pop’s bell, the small one attached to his collar, giving him a telltale signature sound when he’s approaching. Look over towards the garden beds filled with kale and squash plants, and there’s Pop with two dove’s, one of whom appears ruffled.

Rush over there, shoo at the trio, making the unruffled dove fly away, with Pop running after it. The ruffled one –looks like a youngster– hops away, perching on a stone next to the lime-tree arbor where I have set up my outside office. I sit down and continue to write, but before long, that same telltale sound informs me Pop is approaching.

Snatch him up, going into the house to give him his evening meal, and leave him eating. Closing the door firmly behind me, to give the little one some time to recover from the shock of the ordeal, hopefully, able to take off before long. So I sit down again, and lo and behold, all of a sudden it sets off, hopping, underneath the garden table, onto the small stone wall separating my garden from the neighbors, and makes a jump for it, landing, after a few flaps of its wings, in the neighbor garden, hopping away across the lawn.

I don’t particularly care for these doves.
They eat most of my red currants. Some of the gooseberries at that, probably mulberries as well (even though that might be me badmouthing them as I’ve never actually seen them in that tree), and generally poop all over the garden furniture.
But I don’t want them hurt.
Having a free-range cat running loose in the neighborhood, that’s a hypocritical stance to take, as cats are wont to snatch birds and small rodents of varying kinds, but hey… I still don’t have to be an accomplice in the actual deed, do I?

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Change is coming.

August 11, 2020
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Change is coming.
(It always is, isn’t it?)

The change that I know is coming, will greatly impact what I do, and how I make my living, for the next 1,5-2 years. Or rather, what I will no longer be doing for the next 1,5-2 years.

And again, I thank my lucky star, that I’ve worked so much with myself, with embracing what is, with finding new ways forward, that this news doesn’t wreak havoc within.

Yes. There is sadness, at not being allowed to finish what we’ve started. At not getting to face the hurdles that were sure to come, with the team we’ve built. At not getting to share my everyday working life with these people, whom I’ve come to care greatly for, value and honor, and have so much fun with. At not getting the ample opportunities for learning, that were sure to rain down upon me, on a weekly if not daily basis.

And. There is gratitude. At having come as far as we have. At getting a strong team to gel together in a most amazing way. At getting to know so many new people, people whom I definitely want to stay connected to. And not least, of having been able to amass some funds, which will take me through the upcoming year, without having to go desperate.

And, yes, there’s a bit of frustration as well. At stopping this at this time, wasting money already spent, for reasons I cannot fathom, or at the very least, disagree with.

But.
I can also see what opens up for me, with letting go of what was to have been, making room to let come whatever will come in its place. Being able to serve other existing customers more fully again. At putting more focus on building my tankespjärn-community and all of the ideas I have around that. Of picking up the work of other things that I put at a lower priority than this project. And the opportunity, once more, to give myself more me-time, which I’ve not done this past year.

I’ve learned so much, though…
I’ve seen my strengths in greater clarity. (And my flaws.)
I’ve been validated as being an ace trainer.
I know that I work best as a project manager when I do it in tandem with another when that other complements me.
I’ve got proof –again– that I do have a high capacity, and that there’s a limit to it, to what I can keep track of with regards to details.
And that I absolutely love working with professionals!

I will make good use of all the learnings, insights and experiences I’ve gotten from working this project, and I am, more than anything else, extremely glad that I’ve been a part of it!

And so, change is coming.
(It always is, isn’t it?)


#tankespjärn, for those who wish to discover. More. Other. New.
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24 Assets (book 8 of 12)

August 10, 2020
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in Tip
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”Success is less about your individual talent and more to do with the environment that brings out the best in you.”

24 Assets: Create a Digital, Scalable, Valuable and Fun Business That Will Thrive in a Fast Changing World by Daniel Priestly is, just like Key Person of Interest, another one of his books that I’ve read, an easy read, filled with actionable suggestions. Perhaps, a bit too easy if you know what I mean?

But, like with all other types of self-help-books (regardless of the genre, be it personal or business development, home renovations or learning how to play the piano), unless you actually take the author up on his/her suggestions, and give it a shot, nothing will happen. And I gather that’s what most people do. Read, possibly get a few insights, and move on, without actually doing the work. Constantly searching, and never finding.

”There’s no avoiding the work or the practice if you want the results.”

Priestly has a challenge directed specifically for me as well:
”I want to encourage you to stop reading new books, going to new seminars, consuming a wide variety of videos and podcasts. Instead, pick a style and run deep with it–get yourself into the environment and implement.”

Not sure about that one. In practice, that is. In theory, I agree to a large extend, but not completely. Also, going deep (becoming a specialist) is not necessarily what works for everyone. The generalists out there (and heck, is this ever me!) are also necessary, as generalists and specialists contribute differently to the world, and we need that diversity. But in principle, sure, forever jumping from one book to another, from one podcast to another, from one seminar or YouTube-video or TED Talk or… might not always be the healthiest of behaviors. If done without reflection, without pausing and connecting dots, it might well be a form of fleeing, of avoiding what-ever-it-might-be.

But never looking outside your style, probably isn’t that healthy in the long run either. So, as with most things, a bit of both/and is likely the better strategy. Going at it in cycles is perhaps the most beneficial strategy at that, skimming the surface for a while before heading down into the deep. Come up to the surface, rest a bit, before starting all over again.

In the space I find myself, with tankespjärn being a concept I want (intend!) to dig down deep with, I will definitely look into these 24 assets, and decide what to develop, how to develop it, with whom and when. Exciting times ahead!


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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The signal value of reading

August 9, 2020
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For me, ”doing nothing” for the past month has, to a large extent, meant doing nothing but read. 20 books later, I got to talk about reading with Caspian the other day, speaking about the signal value of seeing someone read a book, rather than knowing they read (most commonly before falling asleep, I assume) but never actually seeing them with a book.

Both my parents read, read a lot, and read whenever there’s a possibility to read, not just before bedtime. And that’s been true for as long as I can remember. My grandparents also read, all of them. My aunts, my cousins, my siblings. We read. It’s simply something we do. (My mom says that once I learned how to read, I never stopped.)

But what Caspian said made me realize that today, when there are so many other ways of reading a book than to actually be holding a physical book –audiobooks, Kindle/ebooks–, I wonder at the signal value of it all. If I’m listening to a book (using my headphones that is), no one knows. I might as well be listening to music or a pod or whatever. And if I’m on my phone/iPad/computer reading an ebook, well… no one knows either. It looks the same as if I am scrolling SoMe, flicking thru the latest headlines in an online news site, or watching something on Netflix. If I’m on an actual Kindle, perhaps someone makes the link, knowing what a Kindle is and what it looks like, but I’m not sure everyone does. (That’s not true. I am sure not everyone knows what a Kindle is/looks like.)

Now, I love the physical book, because the kinesthetic value of it enriches my reading experience. I retain a physical sense of knowing if passages that stick out to me were in the beginning, middle or end of the book, on the right or left-hand page, if it was at the top, middle or bottom of the page, as well as being able to feel how much of the book remains. I love that. Am happy if people are reading books though, regardless of the medium.

But the signal value of it… that one has me puzzled. Perhaps I would not be reading as much as I do if I hadn’t seen my parent read all the time? Or if they had read in other ways than the very visible and easily spotted physical book?

What about you, who were your reading role models? And are you one?


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

August 8, 2020
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Right and Wrong. That was the starting point for the monthly Zoom in July, in the tankespjärn community on Patreon. An hour of gentle, exploring, curious conversation and connection, along the lines of the attached doodle.

What became apparent quite quickly was that we all had a strong sense of either ourselves or a parent, being the one who was always right. Makes me wonder about you, reading this, if you, a parent, or perhaps a grandparent or someone else, held this role in your life growing up? The one always in the right?

From the doodle, I am thrown back to that Friday morning (CET time), the way our conversation meandered about, the way they do, those generous, rich, nourishing conversations. Across the distinction between Judgment (preconceived notions) vs Discernment (being open to what is), and how that latter opens up not just within, but also without, making room for all (people, ideas, decisions). To the impactful question: Am I worthy to get what I want? Which made way for insights of not nurturing oneself as one could (can!), and how, when the notion of having to be right (while fearing being wrong) leaves room for uncertainty, how freeing that can be.

Right and Wrong.
Where does it take you?


These Zoom-conversations are a monthly feature of the tankespjärn-community–and I know I speak for every member when I say, that you are enthusiastically invited to join in!

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