Saturday, January 27, 2018

we are

unicorn and friends, january 2018

You know when your professional life has turned into a reality show full of drama, secrets and lies, truths and semi-truths, misinformation, misunderstandings and unexpected let downs? No? Well, me neither until this past week when it seems to have gone down a new path of... interestingness.

The truth is out there. As we are. And most likely it's, as usual, hidden somewhere between the different stories I've been told. I'm still an outsider looking in, and to be honest I think that's for the best. One of the reasons I started my own business was to not have to deal with workplace dramas. Yet, it has been full of it these past months. And I find it a bit sticky and quite uncomfortable.

We all come from different paths of experiences, and I do try my best, from my experience, to not judge people for how they now and then behave - apart from when animal cruelty and other violence is involved, then naturally I'm both judge and jury all the way - even when I initially feel very hurt by it. There's probably more than meets the eye.

Still, an unexpected let down by a team member isn't a nice thing at all. Whether the reason was stress or otherwise, the trust has been seriously chipped. But when someone goes low, I try to rise above it. Not an easy thing always, especially not when you feel like a pawn, a hostage in a situation out of your control. But I find that the best thing is to not blurt out any harsh words immediately, words that can't be taken back. Write by all means, but sleep on it. And mull it over back and forth.

What I've also learnt from all of this, this week in particular, is that I possibly need to chill a bit. In the most intellectual zen sense of the word. It's interesting how every setback, every drama turns into another important life lesson, it's never the hassle free rides and successes that make you into a better, wiser person.

When younger I was much more inclined to see things as either black or white, not in all shades of grey that most things are painted in. That has changed with age, and a certain portion of wisdom acquired. But I'm also aware that I'm not really interested in being involved in basically other people's drama, not having all the information needed to base my own opinion, but desperately trying to put the pieces of the puzzle together from the odd word here and there. Being an unwilling mind reader is also one of my new skills apparently.

As I can't be relying on other people to get to the point where they sort the/ir mess out, neither from an emotional, professional nor financial point of view, I've put other professional wheels in motion. It's never good to put all your vegan eggs in one basket. So on Monday I'm going to a job interview. Yes an actual job interview. It's part time, but still, a job. A new position as communicator in a company with a very high sustainability profile, where my background as a lawyer is perfect. Sounds great on paper. I do hope it will be irl too. Fingers crossed we click.

I've also shamelessly offered my services to another company/organisation that I've only recently come to be completely smittened, impressed and inspired by. Such an amazing why story. Everything we do set things in motion, it may not be exactly the things we expect, but nevertheless I believe it's important to be active and open, never settle or just wait for others to get their things together. Maybe they do, maybe things will work out alright, but wait only, never.

Add to that the distinct feeling of being an odd figurehead and pawn with no information and influence, not to mention not really getting credit for all the work done. And here we are. Who knows what will happen next, what's meant to be will be. And that's the amazing as well as annoying thing with life, you can plan as much as you want, you can't control everything anyway. Life happens as life is meant to. However ungraspable and meaningless it seems at times.

As for music I'm still in love with Haevn, looking forward to their first album to be released in March, and Where the Heart is is now very much my new theme song. Both wistful, soothing and empowering. Listening to it I know everything will be alright.

I've also had a lot of enjoyment from the TV-series Younger, currently streaming on TV here. Smart, funny and relatable.

So conclusions from the week that was -

- A reminder that things are rarely black and white. More greys, pinks and sometimes there are even unicorns.
- One might think that men are more straight forward and problem solving, than they in fact are. It's probably good to get those reminders that gender stereotyping isn't very nice. But I have to say, it would have indeed been very nice to have seen a lot more straight talking and problem solving these past few months, from those who (ought to have been) in control of situation.
- I need to curb both my enthusiasm and disappointment a dash. But all the emotions from highs to lows are the prize you pay AND reward you get for having a passionate nature.
- The best way to not dwell too much on disappointments and nuisances out of your control is to keep busy with things that are within your control.
- When you have impromptu fika it can end in seeing something truly magical - an Eurasian Eagle Owl perched on a high building in the middle of Stockholm. None of us had the big gals' cameras with us, and when it comes to that kind of photography an iPhone is just a poor poor substitute. But trust me, it was an amazingly, heartwarming experience shared with a few die hard bird watchers with supersized cameras and binoculars on a backstreet a chilly January Friday. Such a perfect and beautiful way to end the week of both highs and lows.

Welcome February,
you know I expect greatness from you,
please do your best. And I'll do my mine.

Saturday, January 20, 2018

the meaning of 55

the meaning of 55, july 27, 2017

The major thing I've learnt this past week is that I am not willing to dance to the tune of clients that don't respect me, my skills, my time and only show appreciation when someone, I'd imagine, remind them they should. Too little, too late. To be honest my initial ship of great interest and passion sailed a couple of months ago.

What has driven me since has merely been the fact that I'm adamant to learn as much as possible and doing a great job. And not let anyone down, if I can help it. Now I'm just doing what I signed up for, being professional enough to hand over my part of the project in a fine shape for whomever will take over once my time in it reaches the end. Which will be by the end of February, can't wait. I'm just eager to start something new and exciting, whatever that may be.

Which is something I wish I didn't have to say, because project in question had every sign of being brilliant. And in this case my particular skill set is like a match made in colourful heaven for the job. Which isn't always the case, most of the time you may be a grand asset, but you can also be replaced with no great fuss. I'm curious how they'll sort this out, but I've also, finally, reached the detached phase and it isn't my problem anymore. I've done my part, and I have been angry, frustrated and sad half of the time.

Learnt loads, met fascinating people, had great fun, but at the end of the day, being appreciated, valued, respected and reasonably (not under-) paid are such important aspects too. And those aspects have not been met. Too late for that now. Moving on. Grateful for another important life lesson in the luggage. I would not have wanted to been without it. Because of the good good people also involved, the laughters, the sharing, the team and everything I've accomplished by challenging myself. But enough now.

The teamwork, when it was smooth operating, has been the thing I've treasured most and will miss dearly. But I do hope we'll work together with other projects in the future, with clients that appreciate hard work and know how to communicate.

It may not be a case of serfdom but close enough.

As a self-supporting, independent human being I obviously need to look after myself first and foremost, leaky roof or not. We all have to pay bills and put food on the table, run our own businesses without getting caught up in internal strifes that are not ours to deal with. Etc and so forth. Being happy and proud of our accomplishments, feeling appreciated. Communication, presence, authenticity. You know, the very basic needs in life.

I'm not sure what will happen from now on, professionally, yet. But I do know exactly what I want, which feels a bit a matter of fact strange actually. I won't divulge it in blog, I've only told a few trusted people including talking out loud to myself and the Universe. Yes, for some reason, things do become clearer and easier to sort out when you say things out loud, even when the (obvious) only one that hears it is yourself. I think I grasped how cathartic, inspiring, and emotional even, that is through the grief recovery process. And the Universe is listening, in some way or other. Things and people happen for a reason.

Which brings me to the meaning of 55.

You may remember I've attended a few seances the past 1,5 years. Of which two have been really very touching, the one in January last year quite mindblowing really. And again, completely anonymous and I'm not gullable. One of the written messages I got was the number 55. A number that has never had any special meaning to me, at that time, no year of birth, no age, no lucky number. There are still some messages that I have no idea what they mean, yet. And I may never know. But most of them have been revealed in some really surprising and unexpected ways during this past year. They have helped me to trust the process in a new way. Just when I needed it.

On July 27 2017 I had a brief text message discussion with a friend about the meaning of messages in general and numbers in particular. I was waiting in line at a cafe at the time and when it was my time to order I got number 55. (I remember the date because I took the picture above as a proof.) Which then obviously made me giggle a bit, nothing more.

But ever since it has been rather crazy, the amount of times the number 55 appears out of the blue. And it has intensified the last month, to an extent I now find to be somewhat disturbing. Walking down the street, suddenly I stand in front of doorway 55. How many things cost 55 SEK? In my life a lot of things apparently. How often do you look at the iPhone clock and it's 1.55, 2.55, 3.55, 5.55 ad infinitum? Obviously all the time.

How often do you wake up in the middle of the night, wondering what's the time and it's always .55 something? How often do you stand at traffic lights and the bus number 55 drives past? How many books and magazines do you open and it's at page 55? 55 view, 55 likes, 55 clicks, que tickets number 55, 55%. If I wasn't a reasonably sane and grounded person - but still open to the fact that there's so much more to life that meets the eye, dimensions our mostly limited and not fully used brains can grasp - I would probably feel somewhat haunted.

But, coincidences, life's little messages to say we are not alone. That I find to be a comforting notion.

And now I'm ready, more than ready, for the next phase in my life to begin. It's intriguing, exciting and a mystery waiting to be revealed. Bring it on, 2018. Where the Heart is.

Sunday, January 14, 2018

where are we a year from now

stockholm, sweden, january 2018 -

At the end of whirlwind busy week I find that I'm not the least bit wiser in some parts of my life and very much wiser in others. Every week some new insight, welcome or unwelcome, but all useful and part of the journey of growth called life.

As a friend simply put it, just go with the flow for while now, however difficult as it may be. So, hello flow.

I've never been the one to force things in life in general, but in hindsight I probably should have on some important occasions. When things really haven't worked anylonger I should have forced a decision. The gut said so, but I was a convenient coward. I have forgiven myself for that, because there's no way back only forward, though I would lie if I said a glimmer of that thought doesn't make me sad now and then.

But then there are situations, like meringue or otherwise, where forcing is simply not on the table in anyway. Where the process is pretty much completely out of your hands. The (in)famous trust the process. But what I've come to realise lately, which I've curiously not have grasped until now, at least not the extent of it, is how much of a control freak I am in parts of life. Not in every part, thank goodness, that would be awful, so much anxiety. But still, more than I have ever admitted before. To be honest I think it has been growing ever since that day. The need to control.

Simply because when you suddenly find yourself to be 100% in charge and responsible for every little bit of your life, down to every penny, every cost, every grain of kitty litter, every crazy leaking roof business, carrying every organic carrot you put on the table home yourself, well, then you're forced to be on top of things as best you can.

No one else can help you with the decision making, from big to small. Sometimes that is, to be frank, a pretty sh-tty feeling, sometimes it's empowering. Yes, this ongoing process of rediscovering and reinventing myself is pretty hard, exhausting work.

Admit to having a little professional melt down at the end of the week. The last straw of lack of communication within what I used to call the Dream Team - yes, the jury of one is still out on whether to keep the denomination or not, the honeymoon months are over and I'm not at all sure what lies in the future or even in the now. It hurts to be marginalised. Jeez, whatever where they thinking. And let me tell you, I was this close to saying sayonara, guys, enough now.

I think I got my enraged and disappointed point through, as much as you can on Slack. Apologies accepted. And as nice as it may be that someone says "was trying to protect our best asset", action speaks louder than words. If I am to continue to be part of the team I also need to get first hand information, not just being misguidedly pampered with selected information, out of the loop. Because not having first hand information means you're left to your own devices of an overthinking and imaginative brain.

Not my idea of decent teamwork. Regular updates, first hand information, essential and basic things to keep me onboard and interested. And how darn hard can it be? I haven't had any problems doing that myself all through this project. I do expect the same fundamental decency from everyone else involved, when a team, when (seemingly) working towards the same goal. Simple really. At least in my world.

And the much needed talk? Well, I am not less confused than I was before. That so much talking can give you a distinct feeling of "so weiter ferne, so nah" is confounding. Really good in parts, but also the lack of "real", that illusive feeling, encompassed the experience for me.

Which also brought a much needed look at myself, my actions, non-actions, my wants, needs, the wall I sit upon alternately hide behind, I wish I could shout a bit more from it instead. Or let it fall. I hope I will get there some day. It is after all the year of living and acting more bravely.

In answer to the surprising question I got (that I admittedly waffled away, so much for real), which lent itself to the name of this post - but I have not set my more specific personal and professional goals for 2018 yet - I would summarize what I want for this year like this - love, passion, laughter, realness, personal growth, inspiring new clients and jobs, having made and continue making the world a better place with likeminded good people and financial stability. If I say it, they will come. Not too much to strive for, right? Right.

stockholm, sweden, january 2018 -

Friday, January 05, 2018

finding out more

vegan food at home, dec - jan 2017/18 -

I do believe I have entered a brand new year a little bit braver than I left 2017. I've dared a dash, I've said yes, I've said no, questioned status quo and embraced possibilities. Only a week in. Which doesn't mean I've stopped overthinking things, as my usual self naturally does.

Then suddenly the upcoming week also holds a very tangible situation to talk things through, finding out more, figuring the complex meringue status out. And as much as I do look forward to it, there is so much I want to know, I'm admittedly more emotionally afraid than I've been in a long time. For that I blame this intense past plus year, which has amongst all its lessons taught me I can not be in control of everything, not even my own reactions to every situation, every feeling.

But though I wouldn't call myself a controlfreak, nope not no nah, I don't relish the notion of losing my calm, my control - I've come so far, can I afford to loose myself? Or perhaps the most important questions is, can I afford not to?

Shall I simply trust that life has a much better way to sort things out the way they should be than my fearful soul could ever do by itself? I'm still redefining myself I suppose, and what my gut feeling knows I want and need, it scares my overthinking brain. My little, brave analyzing bestie, who I am so grateful for, but who sometimes need to simply let go but desperately refuses to. Old habits.

Needless to say I'm really looking forward to my oxytocin galore caturday. There are rumours of sun,  there will be cooking, eating, sleeping, music, cat cuddles and if weather permits, walking. And hopefully the overactive brain has decided to take a weekend break.

new glasses, january 2018

The week before the much needed upcoming caturday was spent with an optician visit, where I was told my vision had only had a slight change but that I showed signs of age related sight change. Hrmf, I beg to differ, I thought we had agreed that age is just a silly number? I did order a pair of new glasses (which are not the pink ones in the photo, believe it or not), but I was pretty miffed about that age related statement so even if my usual thing is to order two pairs I didn't. I can always change my mind within a month.

food stockholm, january 2018 -

I've had an ipromptu fika with my childhood friend, which was extra lovely since we hadn't seen eachother for many months. I rarely do impromptu things like this, I'm such a planner. It's good to know I'm able to change little behaviours like that, all is not lost. Despite what the optician said.

new bff, alice, chihuahua <3, january 2018

I've spent time with a new fluffy BFF named Alice. Not my dog, not likely to be, but such a wee darling. Spending time with animals are always good for the soul. And mindfulness naturally rules.

I've worked, put my foot down, written, talked, cooked and done an interview about a fantastic sustainability project in Stockholm, that will be turned into an article (in Swedish). The Plantagon has such an interesting background, from vision, to founders, to organisation, to innovative solutions and technology. Sometimes people can be brilliant. And actually see that we are all connected. Which is heartwarming, in a rather overall bleak, disconnected world void of compassion.

Now, how about some music to get into a good weekend mood?

This week I've diversified a bit from my Haevn crush - but I do recommend Lovelorn (another piece with a mean guitar riff) and this wisfully beautiful We are

- since I adored the Kygo version of Take on me which made me so happy, I've discovered more remix favourites. Which basically are much better than the originals, as far as my ears are concerned. My four favorites are -

Let her go - Passenger remix, I don't like the original version at all, grown ups singing with baby voices does not rock my boat, just gives me the creeps.

I see fire - Ed Sheeran remix, admittedly a bit embarrassing I hadn't heard this before. But then again I really don't like the Lord of the rings movies. Loved the books, the movies are just overrated. And therefore I hadn't really paid attention to the music. Until now obviously. Adore this version!

I see you - Billy Raffoul, now that is on the other hand a great voice!

Seinabo Sey's original version is beautiful in itself, but this one fits my current mood better.

And now, welcome dear weekend, I need you. Let me relax a weary, overthinking mind and prepare to roll into a great week with invigorated steps, enliven thoughts and an open mind.
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