Loving Life Blog

Spur of the Moment Reflections

I got promoted! March 18, 2013

Filed under: coaching — Johanna C. Nilsson @ 3:27 pm
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IMG_5881One of the benefits of being your own boss is that you have full freedom of defining your job – and defining your title. As I started my business Herringbone, 3 years ago, I had the title “Coach and Consultant”. One year ago plus, I had one part time associate and two gals who wanted to join, one with a requirement of a more significant title. So I changed, and became the (more…)

 

Smokin’ Hot October 13, 2011

Yeah – Smokin’n hot! And I am not talking about a man – I could, but I shouldn’t – I am talking about freak’n awesome Urban Flow Yoga with Rusty Wells. I know, I love this practice. It makes me high. And I am not the only one.

Yesterday afternoon a little email came out saying:

Just a little note to let you know that I will be teaching tonight (Wednesday) at 6:15 and then again tomorrow morning at 9. Yipee!

After that, I will be in Europe for a wee bit
(*see schedule below).

Rushing to the class after a conference call, a tid bit late, I sneak in when the chanting has just started. The room is already smoking of heat. The windows are foggy. (What expression would you use?) And I wouldn’t say the heater was the contributing factor. You could think it was Thanks Giving. The room was packed.

Ahh – there are so many nuggets coming out of this class. I’ll pick three.

First: being back in to yoga gives a great and powerful feeling. Suddenly in one pose, which usually is a stretch, the vision of the Blue Angels photo from Tuesday’s post comes up in my head. Feeling like a blue angels airplane breaking through the wall of sound – that is quite a powerful pose! And picture. It is good to have metaphors, whenever you use them.

Secondly: There is a parallel with yoga and coaching – more specifically your body in yoga and circle of life exercise. You go through areas that are strong, happy, flow with ease – and others that are totally stuck. That particular area could make you fall out of the pose instantly, unless you hear a voice saying “Don’t let life pass by you. Breathe through it.”

Thirdly: I wish I had heard all the 15 reasons what makes the perfect yoga bicycle pose – hopefully you can see the transition: you are lying on the back on the floor with 150 other people, pumping, almost rushing through with the rather fast music, this abs exercise of crunching while paddling a bike with the legs in large circles and meeting your elbows with opposite knee one after the other. By now you have already gotten quite a good workout. Your face probably say exactly that. (See the picture…) Right then the guidance come of what makes “the perfect yoga bicycle pose… because you love it, you know it is right, you believe in it, you feel every part of the movement, you slow it down…” AND then I couldn’t hear more! ;)

But I am sure it was smokin’ hot!

I am just saying… try it. It may not be for you. But try it. Below is the schedule in Europe, for all of you over sea. Working on adding Stockholm for the June visit.

Enjoy,

Johanna

Global Bhakti Flow
Join Rusty in Europe this October!

Paris – Rasa Yoga Rive Gauche
October 15-16 (Saturday and Sunday)

Amsterdam – Svaha Yoga
October 21-22 (Friday and Saturday)

Antwerp – Antwerp Yoga
October 23 (Sunday)

London – Jivamukti
October 29-30 (Saturday and Sunday)

 

In To Me See September 12, 2010

Filed under: coaching,Health — Johanna C. Nilsson @ 11:33 pm
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I came across a facebook update by Brad who wrote:

Loving revisiting The Four Agreements book by Don Miguel Ruiz

1. Be Impeccable With Your Word.
2. Don’t Take Anything Personally.
3. Don’t Make Assumptions.
4. Always Do Your Best.

One of the 20 following comments was: “I had a junior high teacher say to me…“when you ASSUME you make an ASS out of U and ME…” I never forgot it and I am always very aware. Try the phrase, see if it works for you.”

That is such a good phrase, because it is so true. Another one that I find very telling is the meaning of INTIMACY – IN TO ME SEE. That is the spiritual level rather than physical. One resource on that topic is 7 Levels of Intimacy, by Matthew Kelly. Here is an “easy read” ;)

For a deep, connected, peaceful and loving life,

Johanna

 

Inspired… June 7, 2010

…by Iceland. Do I need to say more? Let’s go there!

Isn’t it an excellent example of a creation for a positive change in a time of economic crisis?

Go here fore more great videos, information and stories – don’t forget to add your own.

Inpired to travel to Iceland. Inspired to do something about any challenging situation. I hope you are too.

www.inspiredbyiceland.com I’m just saying…

Enjoy,

Johanna

 

Everything is Waiting for You June 3, 2010

I just finished a coaching call that had such a nice flavor. There was a calm peaceful clarity over the whole situation, role of self and the path forward.

One of the relief’s in the process for the client was the knowing of not being alone with the situation, the experience, the thoughts. That was probably the first step in breaking down one barrier after another to break free and get going on the path of creating what he wanted.

Witnessing the sense of freedom coming from the client, sticking hole in the bubble initially surrounding the old “reality” that no longer exist, is to me so beautiful and quite awesome actually. It makes my whole being smile.

After the session was over I came across a very nice and suiting piece from youtube on Facebook pointing out just that: Your great mistake is to act the drama as if you were alone.

This is an invitation to poetry as a life savior by David Whyte. An invitation to pay attention in a greater way. Everything is waiting for you.

Enjoy,

Johanna

 

My Word is Law. May 25, 2010

Wednesday night and I arrived in New York City. Staying on 50th Street and 8th Avenue, I was looking forward to finally getting my first chance to go for a morning run in Central Park.

Despite jetlag and getting to bed really late, I woke up at 6.30am EST. Was I tired? Yes. Did I think twice? Yes. Would it have been easy to go back to sleep? Yes. Did I still do it? Yes – and that was the best thing I ever could have done starting that day.  Such a beautiful sunny morning, so energizing, so many impressions…

How often do you say you will do something without following through? What impact does it have on you? At times when you do what you said you would do – how does that make you feel?

When running I thought of a recent conversation about this with a fellow coach who’s word of wisdom on the topic was:

“Commit Slowly and Complete Fully“. By consistently doing that, you will strengthen your muscle of holding your word and manifesting it as a habit. Your inner power is equivalent to the power of your word. Eventually you will get to a point where your word is your law.

Do I always do everything I said I would? No. And mostly something great comes out of what I end up doing instead. But absolutely – what a kick there is ‘completing fully’. Now – running was easy. It required a little will power, but that’s all. As I am writing this I am pepping myself for something much bigger. Because I do want to keep my word and have the impact that I am envisioning.

In what area would keeping your word have the greatest impact for you? What is it that you find daunting or continually try to avoid? And for what reason? What is the cost of doing that? What do you need to make it happen?

I am just wondering…

Let’s make it happen!

Johanna

Below are some photos from my morning run in Central Park. Enjoy!

NYC, Central Park, Loving Life Blog, Johanna Nilsson, Life CoachNYC, Central Park, Loving Life Blog, Johanna Nilsson, Life CoachNYC, Central Park, Loving Life Blog, Johanna Nilsson, Life CoachNYC, Central Park, Loving Life Blog, Johanna Nilsson, Life CoachNYC, Central Park, Loving Life Blog, Johanna Nilsson, Life CoachNYC, Central Park, Loving Life Blog, Johanna Nilsson, Life CoachNYC, Central Park, Loving Life Blog, Johanna Nilsson, Life CoachNYC, Central Park, Loving Life Blog, Johanna Nilsson, Life CoachNYC, Central Park, Loving Life Blog, Johanna Nilsson, Life CoachNYC, Central Park, Loving Life Blog, Johanna Nilsson, Life CoachNYC, Central Park, Loving Life Blog, Johanna Nilsson, Life CoachNYC, Central Park, Loving Life Blog, Johanna Nilsson, Life CoachNYC, Central Park, Loving Life Blog, Johanna Nilsson, Life CoachNYC, Central Park, Loving Life Blog, Johanna Nilsson, Life CoachNYC, Central Park, Loving Life Blog, Johanna Nilsson, Life Coach

 

WIK-KED – Liberation of the Scandinavians?! April 29, 2010

I’ll be short and to the point.

Recently I have been introduced to the Enneagram. For those of you who use Meyer-Briggs: this is a personality test and tool that is much more complex and has much more to offer.

I had a very interesting conversation with Roxanne Howe-Murphy last week. She is author of Deep Coaching – Using the Enneagram as a catalyst for profound change, teacher and coach at www.DeepCoaching.com. Right now she is participating in a book competition The Next Top Spiritual Author, for her next Enneagram book “Deep Living”. Please vote here: http://bit.ly/NextTopAuthor I will tell you why.

There is a gift and a danger with personality type tests. You can limit yourself by identifying yourself with the type. Roxanne specializes in working with the Enneagram as a recipe for liberating individuals from the type. With other words, using the Enneagram stimulating real transformation by unhooking individuals from beliefs, behaviours and thoughts that are no longer useful.

I told her a little bit about the Jante Law and limitations existing in the Scandinavian culture. “Oh, it’s interesting – you could actually use the Enneagram on a National level”.

Are you serious? Wouldn’t that be hilarious – “Enneagram – A recipe for Liberation of all Scandinavians from the Jante Law” – would you co-write that book with me? “Yes, sure” she said.

Now – are you curious how that would look like? Unless you vote now for her next Enneagram book “Deep Living” you will never find out… http://bit.ly/NextTopAuthor Do it now, share it with everyone you know, and help her spread the word and knowledge of profound change. Absolutely do it before May 3rd.

It’s a quick action. Thank you for doing it. Enneagram – now I am very curious… This is wikked.

Enjoy,

Johanna

 

Time to Steal Second Base! October 30, 2009

Late night and I am reading an email from Simple Truths promoting a book with motivational quotes… and there is a selection of the 20 best.  I stripped it down to 3 – for clear reasons they spoke to me right now:

Failure is simply the opportunity to begin again more intelligently.~Henry Ford

Makes me think back to the leadership program where we did a number of exercises that required true teamwork, creativity and persistence. Whether the task was to figure out the rules and each time we broke one we had to start over, or the rules were laid out loud and clear but the task was very difficult and each time we broke one rule we had to start over – the spoken word was “begin again!”; and that’s what we did.  (It’s like in yoga when meditating – as soon as your mind starts wondering away you tell yourself “Thinking!” and get back to focus on the breathing). Back to base line. The amount of energy that was created in the process was huge; all derived from the wanting to figure it out, to reach the finish line and make it happen. We had a purpose. And doing it over and over again creates a pattern – there wasn’t even a thought of failure – it was just a little recap and thinking and on it again! With that attitude you will reach the finish line.

You’ll always miss 100% of the shots you don’t take.~Wayne Gretsky

I haven’t come across this quote before, but a close friend of mine just told it to me an hour ago. With other words, as my father said on the phone this morning: you can’t win if you don’t try.

Progress always involves risks. You can’t steal second base and keep your foot on first.~Frederick B. Wilcox

That is so true. That quote brings me back to a couple of years ago when I wrote a proposal for a new responsibility structure for my group at work. I can smile at it now, but I was a little concerned thinking, “If I give all of these responsibilities away to my proposed direct report – what will I then do?” Did I make myself jobless? No. Did I get my plate full? Yes, and more than. Was there growth? Plenty. Was there risk? Probably not as much as I thought. But the lesson is still there – had I not created time and space by delegating responsibilities – or leaving the first base – there wouldn’t have been room to take on new responsibilities and expand the horizon with those. Which first base are you sticking to although you are long past due to move on? What is stopping you? How big is the risk really? What would the worst case look like if it didn’t work out?

You can’t steal second base and keep your foot on first… my tired slightly creative mind imagine the scenario of leaving the first base, full force forward – and then half way to second base pops this question up – then what?  What if you don’t know the rules of the game? Because I clearly don’t. My friend’s comment pops up in my mind from when we played tennis in Budapest 1993 “but Johanna – this isn’t ballet” [I was just reaching with the racquet for the ball, but apparently in a ballerina fashion]… which turned my imaginary scenario into a dance – free dance. What if you really would apply the principle of Nia, to dance your body’s way? To create from nothing… or from your own core. Then it will end up like a lesson with my legendary ever so energetic and enthusiastic statistic professor from Stockholm School of Economics, who would give us a lesson on derivatives, and very involved fill the black board writing this extremely long formula from top left to bottom right three times over that magically will end up with the solution. Tada! All the students will sit there with big eyes, quietly and frenetically trying to capture everything he says and write. And Professor Håkan Lyckeborg will always end up with a big smile, turn to the students and say “Isn’t that beautiful!?” Like magic. I like it. And I do need sleep – that is important!

Last day tomorrow as full time employee. It’s time to gradually leave the first base and create space for a new. A new.

Join me on the joy ride! At least The Ride. I’ll be happy to join yours (as a cheering, loving, kick-ass coach down in the corner)!
Hold tight!
Johanna

By the way – stealing the second base was not what we ended up doing after that I posted on Facebook that Keeva was looking for bases… But we did find two great bass singers – come and hear them at the concert tomorrow!

Date: Friday, October 30th
Time: 7:30 PM to 9:30 PM

Place: Noe Valley Ministry, 1021 Sanchez Street at 23rd, San Francisco
Price: Free for folks in costume; suggested $7 donation for all others
Food: Various tricks and treats will be available

 

Risen From the Dead October 3, 2009

Filed under: coaching,Health,Inspiration — Johanna C. Nilsson @ 12:22 pm
Tags: , , , , , ,

“I am in a dead man’s pose – not by choice. I agree that relaxation is important. We take too little time to do that in our everyday living. However, what is the recommendation for the opposite situation? When you are stuck in a “dead man” situation and can’t move out of it? Is there a…pose?…for getting yourself moving again? Energizing your brain? Stimulating your thinking to maximum creativity instead of numbness?”

This was a comment from Hannah on my previous postings “When Life Gets Busy” and “Dead Man Attracts Love“. There were 3 distinct actions that came to my mind as a response:

1. Stimulating the thinking – Yes! – The Artist Way

The Artist’s Way by Julia Cameron is a process that will unleash your creativity, and you can make it into a really nice routine. Read about the two basic tools here – they are 1. Morning Pages and 2. The Artist Date. I had heard about The Artist Way several times before, bought the book a couple of years ago, and kept seeing quotes from it (still do today) everywhere – during the passed spring a decided from curiosity to give it a shot – what could come out of it?

As often as I could I started the morning with making myself a cup of tea and a toast (or Wasa Hard bread with Swedish cheese!;), put some nice meditative music on in the back-ground, removed the blinds so I could see the sun rise over the skyline, and sat down comfortably in my reading chair by the window and wrote the 3 morning pages. You are supposed to just write whatever is on your mind, don’t stop and it doesn’t need to make sense, and what ever you write – you are not supposed to go back and read it. 3 pages. 12 weeks. Or however long you want; once you started you may want to continue.

The second tool is the Artist Date. Set a date with yourself once a week and do something that feeds your soul. It could be anything. Visit a museum, hike in the nature, enjoy a concert, paint a painting, cook food, dance on the roof… create a Burning Man Art Car! :O

All I know is – had I not gone through that process – this blog had not been created. Not that fast. ;) I knew I wanted to do it – just not how and exactly about what. And voila! Here it is. What would come out from your creative self?

2. Self-Healing Ritual to get moving – Nia and the 5 Stages

Nia is an expressive workout and lifestyle practice that uses the body’s way to achieve physical, mental, emotional and spiritual fitness and well-being. It combines the grace and spontaneity of dance, the power and explosiveness of martial art and the stillness and concentration of yoga and tai chi. One of the components of the healing art movement forms included is the Feldenkrais Method, which inspired the 5 stages exercise.

clipped from www.nianow.com
Nia 5 stages
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The Nia 5 Stages is an integrative movement practice based on the five stages of human development: Embryonic, Creeping, Crawling, Standing and Walking. Practiced with awareness, these stages have the power to facilitate optimal alignment, improved function and comfort in the body. Whether practiced at length or for as little as five minutes a day, this system provides a tool for reclaiming and sustaining mobility, flexibility, strength, agility and stability.

Basically, the story I remember was that Moshé Feldenkrais became immobile and reached self-healing by studying newborn babies, observing how they with very fine movements become aware of their bodies, muscles and bones, and gradually increase their ability to move and develop as human beings. Imagine that you are a baby in the womb of your mother. Supported, warm, fed. Moving in water. Use your imagination, be curious about your body, explore and seak awareness of all parts and see what you need to do to move through the five stages above. What are the emotions that arise in the different stages? The Nia Technique book elaborate a little bit on the excursive on page 306-308 for further reference.

This was one of the most profound exercises during my Nia White Belt teacher training in San Diego. Today Nia have developed a certification program for this movement practice alone!  If you want to find out more about that or to find a class in your area – check out the Nia website. This passed Monday Nia was featured in San Francisco Chronicle. I just need to add – Nia needs to be experienced to get it. For those of you who live in San Francisco – go to the Nia Jam tomorrow Oct 4th at UC Berkeley. Soon I will arrange for my favorite teacher Rocco from San Diego to come up and teach – that will be another treat.

And by the way – the five stages are pretty much as the reversed evolution of a photographer below… add that exercise and you can loop back in!

3. Pose that can bridge to action

The more advanced pose after bridge pose is the Upward Bowl or Wheel Pose: Urdhva Dhanurasana. I hear Rusty’s comments from the evening yoga classes “if you don’t won’t to stay up late tonight, don’t do this one [pose], it will give you energy”. Now, I don’t recommend to go straight into an upward bowl pose – the you can risk being stuck in a dead man’s pose even longer – but incorporate the pose in your daily yoga routine. Starting out with warming up your body in a few sun salutations would probably be a nice segway.

Here are the benefits that the Yoga Journal lists for the Upward Bowl pose:

  • Strengthens the arms and wrists, legs, buttocks, abdomen, and spine
  • Stretches the chest and lungs
  • Stimulates the thyroid and pituitary
  • Increases energy and counteracts depression
  • Therapeutic for asthma, back pain, infertility, and osteoporosis

These would be my personal tips and recommendations for a roadmap back to creativity, healing and activity. However, we are all different, and the bottom line is to listen to your body, get active your body’s way, and do what feeds your soul.

And finally, to rise from a Dead Man’s Pose: roll over to your right, put your right arm under your head for support and bend your knees in a comfortable position. Rest here for a while. Take a moment to think of an individual in your surrounding to whom you would dedicate your yoga practice, or for whom you would want to rise up, be present with and support. Slowly – your body’s way – bring your self up to a seated and standing position. Thank you for being here. Now, the practice of yoga begins – bring it to the world!

Enjoy,
Johanna

clipped from lh3.ggpht.com
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Dead Man Attracts Love September 10, 2009

Welcome! I thought I would become a journalist – what do you think of my headline? Seriously, please read on – there lies something in it, as we would say in Swedish…

I started writing this last time I came back from yoga. Relaxed and happy – the session ended with a nice Savasana – dead man’s pose. Apparently it is the most challenging pose of them all, although it’s the one that seems the easiest. B.K.S. Iyengar wrote: deadmanspose

In this asana the object is to imitate a corpse. Once life has departed, the body remains still and no movements are possible. By remaining motionless for some time and keeping the mind still while you are fully conscious, you learn to relax. This conscious invigorates and refreshes both body and mind. But it is much harder to keep the mind than the body still. Therefore this apparently easy posture is one of the most difficult to master.

Keeping the mind still. It is good to practice. Not only to learn to relax, and refresh your body and mind, but also to allow things to happen. As Rusty put it at that time: “the biggest favor we sometimes can do to ourselves is to step out of our own way. To stop thinking, forcing or manipulating something to happen. Sometimes the quickest way to create what we really want is to step out of the way and let it happen.

The following evening I attended an entrepreneurship event organized by TiE – The Global Network of Entrepreneurs in Silicon Valley.  The title was “Wisdom From Past Entrepreneurs – The Dirty Little Secrets that No One Talks About” presented by the CEO Freedom Fighter Christine Comaford. Christine is a business accelerator referred by individuals such as Bill Clinton and Bill Gates. She has track record like few – check this video for a taste of her wisdom to help you as an entrepreneur avoid the mistakes that keep you overworked, underpaid, and feeling trapped by your business. As a former Buddhist monk (aside from software engineer, geisha trainee, entrepreneur and venture capitalist) one of her key tips at the end was “keep the mind still daily”. She recommended Eckhart Tolles latest books “Stillness Speaks”, and she reiterated what I have said beforeit is so often in that stillness that you find a great idea or the solution you have been looking for.

Next morning I receive an email from my leadership group where one individual shares along the same lines on a personal level:  “Awareness is just that…staying without judgment, feeling without adding shoulds, and in the end, being able to look into my own eyes and see the joy and strength and beauty of the moment – awareness of the moment is the connection to the heart…. connection to the heart is connection to everything else that exists in the Universe.  [...] I have gained quite a swatch of grey hairs over the past year – and the peace I feel in my heart is allowing me to step into my role as an elder with courage and incredible enthusiasm.  While I have lost what I thought was the love of my life, I have gained what I know to be the life of my love.” So beautifully put. It made me think of the introductory words of a book I had just come across: Enchanted Love, by Marianne Williamson. “Forget logic. Forget your head. Open your heart, and come with me.” Now I am curious what more it has to say.

Dead man’s pose in reality – how attractive is that? Maybe more than you think.

With love,

Johanna

 

 
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