FLawesome

About the good and bad in people.

We are there because we long to be free, want to heal, discover a greater potential in ourselves, or maybe getting help to start the life we were truly meant to live.

The group has almost 30 participants, plus a wide range of different therapists each week, the miraculous masseuse and four assistants. Each course is filled with yummy vegan/vegetarian food (because my body is my temple), active and silent meditations (because all answers lie within), therapeutic work (yeah, we all need that) and loads of dancing (and we dance like no one is watching). One week at a time the group take on a different theme and play life with each other.

There are lots of hugs and tears, howling and roaring, as trauma, desire and secrets are shared in the group. Some people ramble on like there’s no end to it. Other freeze and can’t bring themselves to speak a word. Shame. Fear. Love. Silliness. Craziness. All kinds of crazy actually. Some hide the truth behind sad stories or permanent smiles. Some share their normal reality and don’t realize they’ve told the saddest story of them all.

Together with this group of young and old, male and female, mostly Swedish, very normal people (seriously, not a single freak just one or two groovy souls), I try to stay present, try to let go, try to hold on, and most of all I try to only go nuts when told to.

Thankfully there is silence at all times outside of the big room where we do all excercises. There is no small talk, no chitchat, and no need to make friends with anyone. All and any conversation should be held with oneself. Repeat your personal mantra and meet yourself!

Phones, laptops, books, candy and other distractions are surrendered upon checking in and is kept locked away until it is time to leave. Our only means of distraction are the journals we are given to write in. The surrounding nature is gorgeous and there is absolutely nothing else to do around this house. So we quietly sit and stare into space, journal frenetically, walk along snowy paths where few, very few, people walk. And when it is the right thing to do we walk close to each other, hug in the hallway, or whisper for hours in the dark.

I always get some sort of revelation about myself or about life when I am in that house. And I always spend a surprising amount of time fantasizing about very inappropriate things. I guess it is part of the package. To enable my maximum potential (yup yup, that’s why I am there, spiritual growth and inner peace is secondary) I must also discover and accept my flaws. 

I kind of thought I had it all nailed by now, especially considering how much of this hippie stuff I have been doing since the past couple of decades. Not to mention the many hours of therapy. But somehow there’s no end to what can be found and explored. Good and bad. Doing this course, is quite the sandbox of living. For me it is above all a chance to disconnect from my intellect and at a safe place go all in emotionally.

Because sometimes I have a serious problem with seeing the obvious, recognizing what I feel. I spend so much time in my head that I unintentionally twist my emotions around. Or shut them out. In life, what really matters is after all the people we keep close and the experiences we gain as we chose to live our life to the fullest. I do not want to miss out on that. I do not want to miss a single moment of ecstasy, boredom or whatever else is. 

On Monday the second course begins. I am ready. I am flawesome. It will surely be heart-wrenchingly fabulous.

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Photo credit: Bethany Chuah

I en busskur

Om att inte vara rädd.

En ganska händelselös torsdag höll på att lida mot sitt slut. Väskan med träningskläder hängde tungt över ena axeln. Spellistan hade tagit slut för ett litet tag sedan så han stod med tysta iPhone-lurar i öronen. Det var mörkt och så kallt att han inte ville ta fram telefonen för att sätta på något nytt. Bussen skulle ändå snart komma.

Han ville ställa sig inne i busskuren, någon liten grad varmare blir det ändå. Han sneglade in på tjejen som satt och pratade i sin telefon. Någon gång, han minns inte när, hade han lärt sig att ensamma tjejer, speciellt på kvällen, blir rädda av främmande män. Just nu var han kanske en främmande man? Det har ju mycket med plats att göra, och den här hållplatsen var ödslig. Omgiven av skog och den tråkiga stora bilvägen gjorde att ingen spontant promenerade förbi. Typisk en sådan där hållplats man kanske skulle undvika sent på kvällen. Som tjej alltså. Han hatade den där känslan av att vara misstrodd. Oskyldigt anklagad. Så han försökte se extra normal och ofrämmande ut. Tänkte också att det var orättvist att han behövde tänka så där, och anstränga sig.

Han huttrade till ljudligt och gick in i kuren. Ställde sig med blicken vänd mot det håll som bussen skulle komma ifrån, men försökte ändå se efter i ögonvrån hur tjejen reagerade. Om hon reagerade. Han lyssnade. Hon pratade norrländska. Verkade helt ointresserad av hans intåg i busskuren. Hon verkade prata med en väninna. Skrattade obekymrat och var så uppslukad av sitt samtal att hon inte märkte eller brydde sig om att han sneglade på henne.

Nu var det bara två minuter kvar tills bussen skulle komma. Han kom på sig själv med att önska bussen sen. Ville få lite mer tid med tjejen. Började fila på något att säga. Vart ska du då? Verkligen kallt ikväll! Snygg jacka du har. Ursäkta, jag undrar bara vart du köpt dina reflexer, jag behöver själv skaffa några till löprundorna, man syns ju knappt så här års.

Fan. Bara galningar och obehagliga främmande män pratar reflexer, eller över huvud taget pratar, på en busshållplats.

Genom tankarna hör han henne förklara med allvarlig och bestämd stämma, men med den där lite släpiga tonen som alla norrlänningar har “Men alltså, min kropp är ju mer van vid att få hamburgare och pommes frites. Jag måste värna om mig.” Han vrider ofrivilligt på huvudet åt hennes håll och kan inte dölja ett annalkande skratt. Hon tittar upp, möter hans blick och ler lite generat innan hon återvänder till samtalet.

Bussen kommer. Han vågar inte göra ett litet huvud knyck i tjejens riktning, som för att så där lagom coolt säga hej då, eller nått. Kliver istället på bussen med blicken ner i marken. Suckar över att man kan vara 15 och 35 år på samma gång. Struntar fortfarande i att sätta på någon musik, men låter lurarna sitta kvar i öronen. Inte för att han är för kall för att ta fram telefonen, mer för att han inte behöver distraktionen. Han värmde nog upp lite i busskuren ändå.

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När han kommer in i busskuren sneglar hon lite diskret på honom genom reflektionen i glasrutan. Han ser vältränad ut. Men lite obekväm på nått sätt. Det är bara de två på hållplatsen och sen hon kom hit för tio minuter sedan har hon inte sett en annan levande själ.

Det är mörkt och kallt, klockan börjar närma sig midnatt så det är inte mycket trafik, och bussarna går sällan. Hon sitter på en sådan där ödslig hållplats som det tjatas om att hon ska undvika på kvällen. Men just nu var det här det bästa alternativet, och hon vägrar att anpassa sitt liv efter en inbillad rädsla som försöker sälja lösnummer eller vinna politiskt stöd.

Men hon är glad att hon valt att prata i telefon tills bussen kommer. Känns säkrare. Mindre ensamt. Hon hatar att hon gör det. Att hon inte är rädd, men ändå tar det säkra före det osäkra.

Lovisa babblar på om LCHF dieten och vilka underverk hon redan har märkt. Hur mycket mer energi hon har och hur många kilon hon redan har tappat. Med en nyfrälsts övertygelse drar hon exempel efter exempel. Förklarar hur hon nu verkligen respekterar sin kropp och sig själv. Det är i ärlighetens namn ganska provocerande.

Till slut tröttnar hon. Säger något ironiskt och avslutande, skäms lite för att hon inte har mer tålamod med sin vän. Killen har sneglat på henne en stund nu, och har till sist vänt sig om med ett leende. Hon ler såklart tillbaka. Det sitter i kroppen och hon har ingen som helst kontroll över om hon vill le eller inte. Det går automatiskt, så hon tittar bort och fokuserar på att avsluta samtalet i den trevligare anda som det börjat med, innan LCHF tog över.

Här kommer 65:an, och strax bakom ser hon sin buss. Hon stoppar in reflexerna i fickan och slätar ut jackan när hon ställer sig upp. Tackar Lovisa för stödsamtalet och lovar att sms:a när hon är hemma i lägenheten. Huttrar till och noterar att killen går på den andra bussen. Det är verkligen kallt ikväll!

Going crazy in the morning

The sun is not yet up so the big room with its whitewashed wooden walls is kind of dark. But in about an hour’s time the first sunrays will join their dance, and when they all take of their blindfolds it will be morning. With the exception of some pillows here and there, the floor is empty and there’s a light smell of something clear and fresh that lingers in the air. A couple of guys are stretching, trying to rid the night and sleep from their bodies. Others sit still and stare into inner or outer darkness, caught in thoughts or emotions. Almost 30 people are about to die and come into existense again. 

She is cold and trying hard to covince herself that doing this morning mediation each and every darn day of this course will be good for her. Her mind has some serious doubts about it. Maybe she’s doing it all wrong, maybe she will waste all efforts by not giving her all for those first three horrible phases of the meditation, the painfully long first half hour. She loves the last two phases, so it’s maybe not that bad. But does she really have to breath, scream and die? Some people just aren’t very angry you know. At least they’ll work up a sweat. She will get her heart pumping. She tries to get herself into meditation mood. Observe what’s happening. That’s it, nothing more. No expectations. Ha!! Who doesn’t have expectations of dying? 

The meditation starts and for 10 minutes her breath is forceful and chaotic. There is not a lot of space for air to flow through her nose. Assisting the breath with her entire body she flap her arms, gently bouncing her knees. Keep focusing! All around her air is forced out in strong unrythmic pulses. It’s easy to loose oneself in breathing. To stop witnessing what’s happening, to stop meditating, to be nothing but air. But she knows its coming and her scared mind runs around high on oxygen. She hear dragons fly through the room. 

Catharsis. Go crazy. Go all in. 30 people scream their lungs out, hate, cry, talk back, laugh, kick matresses, hit pillows, push down walls, whatever you do don’t stand still. The room starts to get hot and energy levels are rising with each roar. Have you ever heard a bunch of respectable grownups shout as loud as they can? Hold nothing back. Let shit go.

She’s relieved when the next phase starts and now all she has to do is die. Jumping up and down with her arms stretched out over her head, each hard landing on the floor is met with the mantra Hoo! This brutal compression and exhaustion of the body shake things up. Shoulders start to ache, sweat drip, her breath is short and she feel strange. Her body feels weird. She is supossed to completely exhaust herself. She doesn’t dare. 

Stop! Freeze wherever you are, and be nothing but a witness to yourself. Listen to whatever comes up. Hear your true voice. Be real. Be perfectly still. She gets nauseous. Thinking she might faint. Again. 

The sun starts to find her way in through the windows, filtering the air, making the room glow. A group of 30 mildy insane people start to dance. They celebrate the day. Celebrate life. Knowing that it is good to be alive. 30 brave spirits twirl. It’s a new day. It’s a new life. 

A walk on New Year’s eve

About books and dreams for the new year

It was New Year’s Eve around that time in the afternoon when it starts to get dark, and though it wasn’t snowing it was freezing cold. They had decided to do the enchanted midnight walk ahead of time as both felt the roaring crowds hungry for fireworks might be a little too overwhelming.

Zigzagging between bouncers calling out menu specials, occasionally stopping to admire some colourful graffiti, they made their way through one of London’s nicer hipster neighbourhood. Hopes for 2017 were tried out loud in words, and 2016 was gently closed down by wrapping up memories, as they discussed what had been and what was to come.

At the end of the main street a small bookshop made the brave promise to stay open until 6pm all days of the year. With 15 minutes to go they entered for a quick look and perhaps some inspiration. What better way to celebrate a new year than by acquiring the promise of new worlds, adventures and experiences! A quick glance quickly turned into a dozen or so books.

Her friend had read modern classics for as long as she could remember and she herself was prone to authors that promised philosophical ideas or stories that unfold in slow motion. Because they had been friends since the beginning of time they also knew of each other’s guilty pleasures. One read harlequin novels and the other was constantly improving herself with self-help books. But this was not a shop one left with rosy cheeks. This was the type of bookshop one wanted to live in.

She thought to herself, as she had done so many times before, that working in a bookshop must be the most wonderful of all jobs. She had always idealised the romantic idea of starting up a small café, maybe set up a tiny bed & breakfast, or best of all; run a small bookshop that smelled of paper and where customers sometimes brought sweets for the dog (her dog) that always hung out at the premises.

6pm and the background music is turned off as a simple yet powerful message to those that kept picking books up for inspection. Upon paying for her books the young man behind the counter, perfectly hipster shaped and excited to leave 2016 behind, complemented her choices with “Excellent selection, and well done in such a short time!”. She thanked her newfound book-sibling and smiled about the instant feeling of comradery one gets with people that likes the same books as oneself.

As they walked back home she pondered upon the power of books. Isn’t it remarkable how books bring people together? She thought about the Tinder profile she had swiped right a few months ago. The one who in his presentation had expressed a curiosity for words. How they had shared favourite authors before asking each other what they do for a living. How they now were talking about reading books together, in a tiny book circle for two. She glanced down at her bag of books and felt her heart flutter. 2017 would be an exciting year!

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Jingaling around

About Christmas cards

I’ve got a thing for December. There is a certain greatness this time of the year. A communal sense of joyous wonder sprinkled with calmness, combined with bottomless loneliness, stress and agony. It’s a time of raw emotions. It is the most wonderful time of the year.

It is also the time when I reflect back on what has happened and where I am in life. I write myself a Christmas card that I read the following year. Earlier this month I happily wrote down lots of well wishes for myself, that I’ll receive in December next year. I wrote that I believe in myself, that I have the strength and bravery needed to fully commit to the personal development course that starts in January and ends in June 2018. I wished for clarity and calmness in my career choices. I hoped for blossoming love. I almost wrote down something about a dog. And I thanked myself for living my life with passion and as authentically as I possibly can.

A few days after finishing the holiday greetings I excitedly opened the card I wrote myself last year. It started something like “this has been a rough year”. The card continued telling me about some tough decisions, what good and bad had happened, and it ended with a note on how I was longing for, and looking forward to change. I did not know it when I wrote the card back in November 2015, but that wish was to be granted many times over.

2016 has been all about change, changes and changing. All for the better I would say. All courageous steps towards the unknown have been rewarding yet not always easy. There are of course days when I question my choices. When I wonder what on earth I was thinking. Why did I leave that perfectly fabulous life in Singapore? It stings the most when I get the feeling I am not quite here yet. When I realize that what I miss the most about my old life, is myself. Yet it is nothing but wonderful to be here, to find myself here, and I wouldn’t change it for the world.

 

This song of freedom

About starting up Christmas

O holy night, the stars are brightly shining, it is the night of our dear Saviour’s birth. Long lay the world in sin and error pining, til He appeared and the soul felt its worth.

A thrill of hope, the weary world rejoices, for yonder breaks a new and glorious morn.

Fall on your knees! O hear the angel voices! O night divine, O night when Christ was born; O night divine, O night, O night Divine.

It is when Nat King Cole start singing A thrill of hope… that I loose focus on the world around me. I put down what I have in my hands and turn my attention to his voice, and to how my body responds to what it’s hearing. Nat is singing about that feeling, the moment of insight, that I or we, will be making it. When letting go of that which keeps us bound, suddenly seem doable. When what was once out of reach has come closer and maybe, obtainable. That tiny and immensely powerful tipping point which takes me into and on to action. You know that split second before you jump, when you realize that you can chose to jump. And there you go. Hope. Belief.

Then Nat brings in the choir for Fall on your knees… and that is what I do. I surrender. The music carries enough to make me believe. For a couple of minutes I close my eyes, let the old Christmas carol wash over me and all I feel is love and connection. This is a message of kindness and about seeing the light within us all. It is absolutely about hope, and faith in the goodness of humankind.

I don’t want to let the song go, so I listen to other artists’ version of the song. O Holy Night repeat itself a dozen times in different genres, with different voices and in different languages.

I realize the song is about redemption. Or as Bob Marley beautifully put it; a song of freedom. When we chose to see ourselves in others, when we can emphasize, and also let others see our own light. When we dare to be all that we could possibly be. Then what we get is redemption. What we have and what we create is freedom. Do you know the worth of your soul?

Advent atmosphere joyfully provided by Starfish Design.

Kvällsmacka på ravinens rand

Om surdegsbröd och mentala snöbollar.

I Sverige äter man levain bröd. Alltså bröd bakat på surdeg. Folk har surdegar hemma i små burkar som de matar och tar hand om. Det är den absolut konstigaste formen av husdjur jag känner till.

Gott bröd vet de (svenskar) som lever i Asien, växer inte på träd. Men i Sverige finns de på varenda liten mini-Ica. Tur för oss som håller oss med andra husdjur än surdegar. Jag puttar undan farhågor om vetemage, min tolerans för lussebullar är ändå övertygande äkta. Köper Veckans Levain bröd i en sån där påse som är mest papper men också lite plast. Tycker det känns lyxigt. Jag har dessutom kokat egen pumpamarmelad. Den smakar höst med en föraning om julen!

Kommer hem. Det är kväll, mörkt ute. Kokar te till kvällsfikat och tänder ljus. Ska skära upp levain brödet, njuta av marmeladen. Skär mig istället rejält på brödet. Alltså, kniven ligger oanvänd. Men brödskorpan är så hård och vass att det nu längst med min högra hands ringfingerspets rinner blod. Häpnadsväckande. Blodet smakar salt i jämförelse med pumpamarmeladen.

Jag känner mig avvisad av Levain. Ramlar rakt ner i en ravin av “när det till och med är svårt att fixa mackor…”. Tycker oerhört synd om mig själv och tvivlar på Sverige som mitt nya hem. Kom ihåg att det här är minuter innan matintag, så humöret är något svajigt. Men generellt sett kan jag nog ändå erkänna att jag ibland gör så. Rullar mentala snöbollar så fort att jag inte hinner stanna vid Nu Har Du Gått För Långt För Snabbt skylten. Det kan vara så oerhört oviktiga händelser som blåser upp och tar över. Temporär livskris.

Men det går såklart över. Efter ett tag. Innan jag är helt framme vid att bröd från Ica inte har något inflytande på mitt liv att tala om, och i ett försök att vinna lite sympati, visar jag senare upp min krigsskada och kommenterar att liiiite svullet är det också. Såret får en puss och blir blåst på. Det funkar utmärkt. Det onda går faktiskt helt över.

På precis samma sätt som jag rullar över stup och springer in i rondeller utan utfarter, ett par gånger i veckan eller så, kan jag lika snabbt bli så glad, eller så medryckt i något lajbans som en kul tanke eller fina kottar, att jag flyger. Flyger högt och landar mjukt. Precis som när man var barn och det gick att återhämta sig med att någon blåste lite där det gjorde ont.

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