Loving Life Blog

Spur of the Moment Reflections

Who Sets the Limits? August 29, 2009

During my five years living in San Diego – nothing could beat kicking off the weekend with a 9am Saturday Nia class with Rocco Ragano at Eight Elements West. Outstanding Nia teacher and excellent dancer. Rounding it off with a Cafe Latte from Vahik’s Coffee brought down to Windansea Beach to breathe in the ocean breeze, watch the surfer pro’s and catch up on life with the girlfriends or myself. Unbeatable. Keep your eyes and ears open – Rocco will be visiting San Francisco to teach Nia this fall. I’ll let you know the details.

Rocco posted the below youtube movie on his Facebook wall. Beautiful and very touching. It is quite an inspiration and great reminder of: What is really possible? Who sets the limits? Take a moment to watch it!

In your situation right now – what is really important to you? What would you like to achieve or create? With a beginners mind, what do you commit to?

You set the limit. Don’t let anyone else do it. Lift the bar! You can do it!



It’s a Gift August 28, 2009

Filed under: coaching,Health,Inspiration — Johanna C. Nilsson @ 11:20 am

I had the privilege to spend a wonderful evening with a friend of mine from an “earlier generation” a couple of nights ago. We went for dinner at Fringale – one of the absolute pearls when it comes to French Basque-inspired food in San Francisco. Small and packed, but quiet, and delicious food. Perfect for good discussions and private conversations. Business or private. (Thanks Liz for the recommendation!)

I love when friendship is ageless. Meaning, age does not matter. Some of the most significant individuals in my life, whom I see as very close friends, are or were part of a different generation. I started with my grandma’s generation, and then my mom’s…  today I am getting friends in the younger generations, which means that I am getting into that “golden age” myself ;). Very cool individuals – and where ever I go I get one or two new ones.

What do they have in common? Young in heart and mind, with empathy, curious about people and life, heaps of experience and life learning’s and they do what they love – or they come across that way. Great attitude to life. They find pleasure in things – small things or big things that matter to them. Mostly it has been female bonding, with rare exceptions. The legend Gary Becker is one of those – the Danish/Swedish long-term car rental owner from San Diego, who thought I should take over his business when he retired. He always pulled my leg, posed intriguing questions and shared his life stories and reflections. It is a good way to get out of the box!

The TPE blogged about “44 ways to find a mentor!” which was mostly relating to the business setting of course. If you would want a life mentor – whom in your life would you turn to? Or, who could you inspire by sharing your lifestory and point of view?

At the end of the dinner Wednesday evening, I asked Les: “if you would give one advise to anyone you meet – what would that be?” “You know – life is a gift. It is truly a gift to be on this earth. Having had a husband who passed away at age of 42, I tell everyone to make the most out of it. What ever you want to do – whether it is starting a business or spending a year in Thailand or you name it – go do it now.”

Said in a different way – with my yoga teacher Rusty Wells words: “We yogis know that breathing is most important, and the number of breaths we have on this earth is limited. Take a breath, and make this one count.”



Full Stop August 22, 2009

Filed under: coaching,Entrepreneur,Health,Inspiration — Johanna C. Nilsson @ 9:17 am
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Time to reflect. I have gotten a lot of interesting and motivating comments and messages sent to me relating my blog. This one was sent yesterday, which made me want to comment.

“It is easy to be loved when one’s young, when employed, when healthy… when beautiful, when blond, when twenties, when wealthy. Actually one of the hardest thing for wealthy people is to find out who their real friends are. Who are the people around them, friends or beneficiaries of their wealth?”

Thank you for sharing! Several thoughts are coming to me as I read this and I am going to dissect this a little bit.

It is easy based on the look of things to assume that someone is young, healthy and wealthy. It is easy to assume that “love is easily accessible for them, but not for me”.

What does that assumption serve? Who is really talking – you or your gremlin? I would say that it is a limiting belief by the gremlin that would cut you short by listening to it. So please don’t. Open up for love. It is here for all of us!

And would it make a difference if that one person in reality were getting closer to the forties, gray hair and unemployment? Or is it the attitude and energy that the person is radiating that is of importance?

From that perspective I do agree on most of your points – it is probably easier to be loved when one is young, employed, healthy, beautiful and wealthy. Let me clarify my definitions when I say that: Young in mind. Employed by something you enjoy. Leading a healthy life. Beautiful soul. Wealthy at heart. We all can strive towards that.

Talking about Friends and Wealth…

I can’t personally relate to your example – but I have seen with my own eyes examples of friends disappearing when personal success or health is gone. It may be difficult – but it is the remaining friends that matter. This is another way to look at it:

To have a friend is great. But, to be a friend is the most helpful thing anyone can be. In doing so, the one who is being the friend is also the one who is for sure enjoying the friendship.

What is wealth to you? To me, being financially astute whatever amount of funds you have is far more desirable and attractive than being rich. I am not denying that money helps, but it is not the most important thing. “Rich is a matter of the heart”, as the artist and painter from La Jolla, California, Sally Huss expressed. I just visited her website, and would love to share some happy musings of hers:

clipped from www.sallyhuss.com
The accumulation of wealth looks a lot like a gathering of friends.
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What Real Wealth Looks Like
“The accumulation of wealth looks a lot like a gathering of friends.”
Better than a friend is a group of friends, the more the merrier. To gather friends is a great art. Dennis Wood is such an artist. Although Dennis has never met a stranger, he has also never met a person who was not his friend.
Dennis came to work for our company 20 years ago. It didn’t matter what he was asked to do, he figured out how to do it and do it well. But one of the best things that Dennis figured out how to do was make friends. Everyone who worked for us loved Dennis. The suppliers loved Dennis. The customers loved Dennis. UPS and Mail Clerks loved Dennis. There was not a place where Dennis went that he didn’t leave a trail of friends.
There was another interesting thing about Dennis. He had a key ring filled with keys. He was in charge of a lot of things, but there were more keys than there were things to be in charge of. The keys hung on Dennis’ belt and made their presence known as Dennis walked about.
There always seemed to me to be a correlation between the many keys and the many friends. I thought perhaps that Dennis had many answers, therefore many keys to creating friends. Maybe it was just one key – Dennis, who knew that being a friend first guaranteed that the other person in the equation was automatically captured. In this way they became a part of his inner key ring – the one around his heart.
Dennis has moved on to his own endeavors, but we are still attached with hardly a beat skipped, even though we may not speak with each other for months at a time. Dennis is one of the wealthiest people I know. And he makes me wealthier myself for having him as a friend.

clipped from www.sallyhuss.com
Your friends are your assets. Guard them well
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Count Your Friends, Count Your Assets
“Your friends are your assets. Guard them well.”
Friends are assets whose values are unknown. But they are assets for sure. I remember reading a story of a man of great wealth who lost everything he had in the great depression of 1939. At the moment the market crashed and he realized all his money was gone he remembered he had friends – and he had an idea.

Horseracing had become legal again in America and he wanted to build the finest racing establishment in the country. He no longer had financial assets, so no banks would loan him money. Instead, he took his idea and began knocking on friends’ doors. Many were not interested, but a few were, including the famous crooner Bing Crosby and the owner of one of the top racing stables, William Howard. Monies were gathered. Ranch land was purchased near the San Gabriel Mountains in California . And the magnificent Santa Anita Racetrack was created. It has been one of the primer racetracks for over 60 years and enjoyed by millions of people during that time. It came into being because a man with an idea had as his only assets, friends.

clipped from www.sallyhuss.com
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“You can find something beautiful anywhere you look, if you are looking for something beautiful.”

I remember long ago in Psychology 101 my teacher explaining how a need or intention alerted the subconscious to bring to the forefront those things that fulfilled that need or intention. The example he gave at that time was that if you were driving along a highway and became hungry, you would continually notice restaurants along the way. Naturally, that’s an easy one and one that we have all experienced. But, in the same way you can find something beautiful anywhere you look, if you are looking for something beautiful.

Right now, it is very important to look for something beautiful, something positive, something uplifting. These things are everywhere. The intention sets your sifting mechanism and the things you are looking for will be found. There is much to see and much to distract us from the better things in life. Sometimes those distractions are of the coarsest, loudest and most unseemly of things available in our realm. But we can make adjustments — change channels, change stations, change locations, change friends. As we do, we make way for the beautiful things.

The really good things are the subtle things, the sweet things, the things that lift our spirits. We need to look for them. They are there in our surroundings whether those surroundings are of nature or are filled with high rises and people.

This idea of looking for something beautiful must also be applied to ourselves. How important is it that we see our own beauty? Very. Not that we created it, but we can certainly appreciate it and find it by looking for it.

I knew a woman once who was brimming with self-appreciation. She and her husband ran a popular restaurant in Palm Desert, California. She was just beautiful! Yet her face was covered with wrinkles. She was a great skier, tennis player and swimmer and obviously, lover of the sun. Not one wrinkle covered her beauty. I always admired her because she was as she was, which was an exception to the local women who tended to try to correct every “blemish” with cosmetic surgery. Yes, it was easy to see this woman’s beauty, even if you were not looking for it.

When I look in the mirror, I could see only the wrinkles on my face. But then, I would miss the light in my eyes or the underlying beauty of the life that is within that is forever working towards well-being. So, I honor that life by smiling at this hidden beauty.

You can always find something beautiful anywhere you look, if you are looking for something beautiful because it is looking for you.

clipped from www.sallyhuss.com
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How To Get Your Man (or Woman)
“If you wish to have a love in your life, because you wish you will. And because you know this is true, smile until you do.”

There are too many people out there without a close friend or a loved one in their life. Yet as life on the outside gets tougher, colder and more demanding, the needs of the heart become even greater.

We all need warmth and we need to share our warmth. The sun in the sky warms us on the outside, of course, but it is the sun on the inside that really warms us. It is the sun in our own hearts that likes to shine, expand and share its contents. It also likes to receive the same. Why not? That’s the way we are constructed. A heart is not meant to languish. It needs to be used and exercised. Love is the answer.

Why are there so many people without love in their lives? Too busy? No! Too disconnected? No! Too discouraged? No! Too unworthy? Not really! Too afraid of rejection or being hurt? Not buying it! It is forgetfulness!! They’ve just forgotten how to use the heart. Again, love is the answer.

Love first and all good things will come to you, including that special person to be in love with. That’s the thing: be in love right here, right now.

What about love? Love is that effervescent feeling that wafts from the heart, leaving you on top of the world and better for it. The beauty of the heart is that it is so close. Open its door and let the contents spill out. Practice on small things like a flower, a peach, a dog, then move to grander targets like a walk on the beach, a starry sky, or a heavenly concert. Beyond this, that love can grow to all sorts of things and all sorts of people, until the whole day is filled with love.

Not only is the heart close, but it is in the center of a person, more precisely, is the center of a person. So, as a person loves, he or she benefits by its emanations first and foremost. Those vibrations go through the loving person on the way to something or someone outside. That’s how to be in love. Create your own ocean of this good stuff. Let it fill every nook and cranny of yourself and then spill out to all that is around you. At that point your special person, who is meant just for you, can’t help but show up. He or she will be caught up in the stream and whirled into sight.

So there, go ahead, be in love now, and then you’ll be ready to truly be in love with. Because you know this is true, smile until you do!

Much love to you all!


go Go GO! August 20, 2009

Low fares in the air!!! SAS has sales on tickets to Scandinavia – if you have a little extra time for vacation before December 16 – do check it out!

Just an example: San Francisco – Stockholm from $247 – THAT is hard to beat! I checked, and it is only one way… it is still a good price though. Pretty much half the normal cost. Click here to see the complete list of destinations and departure cities.

Do you need inspiration? Go to www.visitsweden.com. Read the “Take a chance on Sweden” article in Times Online and start dreaming about the future ;). Go in December and experience the light in the darkness – Lucia Procession December 13!

Just do it! go Go GO!


clipped from www.visitsweden.com
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Wrapped in Love & Devotion August 18, 2009

Vacation is over, summer is soon gone, budget season has kicked off – the fall is here. The great thing with living in San Francisco is that the annual Indian Summer is soon to arrive (September – November is the best time to visit!) What a bonus! Also; Rusty Wells is back with some loving kick-butt yoga. Last night I attended the more mellow class.

Mellow Flow is an opportunity to connect with the interiorization of ones practice. There is a strong emphasis on connecting the breath with each and every movement and micromovement of the body. Students are invited to work as deeply as they desire. The environment is set to complement the quiet nature of this all-level flow experience. Come find yourself wrapped in love and devotion.

That can’t be wrong?! The door opens at 8pm and I am met by this heat wave from a slightly heated room filled with 100 students. The yogis are soaking wet, with a relaxed smile on their faces, people are meeting and greeting, the lounge type music is pumping in the back-ground while they leave the room and a new group of 100 students are finding their space with their mats on the floor. Yep – those classes are popular.

The class starts. It goes from heartfelt chanting to pretty intense poses. I am keenly aware that the strength that I have built up needs to be focused and present. I am wondering where or how will the feeling of being wrapped in love and devotion show up?

Suddenly I find myself in a position as if I am trying to make a knot of myself. Some kind of Marichyasana – a squat position with the left arm thrown around my bent left leg from the front side and back, and the other arm in the other direction around my back, fingers locked together in the level of my waist. Rusty guides something like: “let go of all the struggle and breathe into this place. Let go of the intensity and density. Breathe deeply, relax your jaws and smile. Open up and make space and rest in that you are exactly in the right spot right now.” Mmm… that’s what the class description related to. It totally shifted the experience.

In what situation in your daily life can this serve you?

Wrap your arms around your self and give yourself a big warm hug. Let go of any struggle, take a deep breath and know that you are exactly in the right spot, right now.


  blog it

This Time I Dance! August 16, 2009

Filed under: coaching,Entrepreneur,Inspiration,Johanna Nilsson,Loving Life — Johanna C. Nilsson @ 10:50 am
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Two years ago my acappella group Keeva went to Portland to sing at Chris’s, one of the members, wedding. The day after we were strolling around and enjoying the city. To avoid the rain we stepped into a bookstore – and there is this book starring at me: “This Time I Dance! Creating the work you love.” If you’re this successful doing work you don’t love, what could you do with work you do love?

Move mountains. I know. I continued reading – “If you’re ready to make the journey into the life of living your dreams, Tama J. Kieves is the tour guide you’ve been looking for… Tama gives voice to the fearless spirit within each of us. If you want to wake up to your own passion, read this book. It will open your heart and guide you home.” Very nice – I recommend it!

The author Tama J. Kieves is an honors graduate of Harvard Law School who left her practice with a large corporate firm to pursue a writing career and embolden others to live and breathe their most meaningful self-expression. Today there is the book, workshops, study groups etc – look it up on meetup.com, I’m sure you’ll find some.  Or read the book and start one.

Start dance to your own music, or just add the instrument that is missing, and trust the journey. If something like this would happen – then we know what to do. Break down, get up, and move on!

Shake it babe! 😉 Hopefully the dance looks more like this:

I am just telling ya – get ready wedding party! (Imagine that – “Wedding party audition, this direction->” OK, let’s not get too excited – no pressure anyone.) THIS was the actual wedding we attended in Portland. (HAPPY BIRTHDAY Michell!)

Whatever situation you are in – keep dancing through life!


Oh – you want more?! OK – go for this – some real “Dirty Dancing!” Nobody will put Baby in a corner…


When I’m Gone August 13, 2009

Filed under: Johanna Nilsson,Loving Life — Johanna C. Nilsson @ 7:02 am

120_2050I have received two sad news today.

A student peer of mine got assassinated in Sweden in front of his two-year-old son.

My friends grandpa passed away unexpectedly leaving his wife behind after 68 years together.

In memory and honor of those, and sympathy and support for the ones left behind, I am sharing a poem that touched me at the memorial service in loving memory of my friend’s husband who also recently passed away.

When I’m Gone

When I’m gone from our side,
And all our tears have been dried…
Do not stand at my grave and weep,
I am not there, I do not sleep.

I am a thousand winds that blow;
I am the diamond glints of snow;
I am the sunlight on ripened grain;
I am the gentle autumn’s rain.

When you awaken in the morning hush,
I am the swift uplifting rush
Of quiet birds in circled flight.
I am the soft star that shines at nigh.

And when you stroll in the evening hours
And smell the aroma of beautiful flowers;
There’ll be no need to sob and cry…
I am not there, I did not die!

– Mary Elizabeth Frye –

Here is the Japanese translation:

千の風になって(A Thousand Winds)

私のお墓の前で 泣かないでください
そこに私はいません 眠ってなんかいません
千の風に 千の風になって
あの大きな空を 吹きわたっています
秋には光になって 畑にふりそそぐ
冬はダイヤのように きらめく雪になる
朝は鳥になって あなたを目覚めさせる
夜は星になって あなたを見守る
私のお墓の前で 泣かないでください
そこに私はいません 死んでなんかいません
千の風に 千の風になって
あの大きな空を 吹きわたっています
千の風に 千の風になって
あの大きな空を 吹きわたっています
あの大きな空を 吹きわたっています

Take really good care of yourselves.



When Life Gets Busy August 12, 2009

IMG_2238When life gets busy and starts running a little faster then yourself in terms of activities, ambitions, responsibilities, thoughts and ideas – then it’s very easy to fall out of a healthy track. It’s very easy due to the excitement or dedication to skip a meal, to eat at awkward times, to prioritize the “to do” and “just finish up” rather than the break, the fruit, the workout.

Whenever life has been too busy and there has been a sense of insufficiency or a problem unsolved my dad’s standard advice has always been: “go for a run!” Work out.

It is so true – whenever I do I come back relaxed with a sense of tiredness AND recharged, full of energy and strength – isn’t that an awesome combination?! How many times have I almost not done it, and afterwards felt like the happiest individual on earth? And how many times has THAT idea or solution come up during a run in the forest? Many. I shouldn’t need to remind myself. I’m sure you don’t need a reminder either.

With activities gearing up at my daytime job, coaching awesome clients in my spare time job, and ideas forming and contacts are being made for my future job… I do sense a need of staying close to myself in terms of routines and piece of mind. Having a structure in life that feeds you and keeps you on track can be immensely valuable. It may be going for a run, a yoga session or to the gym regularly in the morning. It may be meditating or journaling. Making sure you get your sleep. It may be cooking your own food and socializing with friends and family. It may be simplifying things and having a very tidy home. Clean car. It may be cranking up the music and releasing all your extra energy in a tribal dance in your living room!? :O

What tools or routines do you have to stay on track when life gets busy?



Welcome Home! August 7, 2009

Filed under: coaching,Inspiration,Loving Life — Johanna C. Nilsson @ 7:48 am
Tags: ,

AUSSI0020Just a reflection from having traveled far recently. To have someone waiting for you at the airport with open arms, a warm hug, a smile and the words “welcome home” – it is such a treat.

Being used to taking care of myself, getting a ride to and from the airport was something that I never even asked for. Having experienced it though, makes me realize how much it means.

So what does it take? A question! “Would you mind picking me up at the airport?” It could be a quick ride over for a colleague or a friend. It could be your family members or partner who would long to see you and do what ever it takes to be there. That is my mom – and it really makes me feel loved and longed for.

I know I am not the only one not wanting to bother others by asking for help – so now I will ask: Would you want a ride from the airport? Who would you want to be picked up by at the airport? [Ask them!] Or whom could you treat today by giving them a ride to or from the airport? [Go do it!] Count on me – I’ll do what I can to make it.

Share the flight info, date and time so that all involved can check for delays or changes and plan their time accordingly. It makes it so much easier and hazel free, and the likelihood that someone will do it again is so much higher should there be changes.

If you are traveling and have no one to ask, or no one available – read this:




Fine, Fair and Hot August 4, 2009

Filed under: Inspiration,Johanna Nilsson,Loving Life — Johanna C. Nilsson @ 9:56 pm
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Fine, Fair and Hot – that was the weather forecast in Croatia last week when I had the privilege to join the crew on Geja sailing. Thank you Andrew and Henkku for an awesome week together!

The sailing adventure in the northern part of the Adriatic Sea was fine in every which way. Beautiful sceneries, excellent sailing, high quality crewmembers, and fine dining… on board. It’s such a pleasure to sail with someone who makes every meal to a feast – breakfast, lunch or dinner. Actually – not only when you sail. And I don’t think that attitude only relates to food. It is an attitude about life, to enjoy. I like. I guess I teamed in to add what I could as well.





Of course – the treatment of flags was fair. “You must respect the flag!” both the Finnish girl and myself said seriously in chorus and pointed with our fingers as if “don’t you dare do anything else”, and then laughed. This was evidently something both of us had been brought up with – the flag should be raised at 7am, and taken down before sunset (9pm at the latest), it must not touch the ground, and should be neatly folded. Yes, there are flag rules to follow. What I didn’t know was that on a boat, the country flags of the crew members had to be at the same level, otherwise the upper one would be seen as more superior. So of course – we followed. The fact that the Swedish flag was torn was a different story…

Everything was hot. The weather was hot, the red wine was hot, the beach was hot – and so was the crew…

P1010376The Ibiza of Croatia - Plaza Zersie


At work today I waved and tried to make contact with a couple of colleagues in the cafe at lunch. They looked at me from a distance, but they did not react. I waved more and starred at them. They did not react. They didn’t recognize me! Is three weeks away that long!? Or does a little bit of suntan make THAT big of a difference? Eventually they came over and shockingly said, “You look different”. Anyway – someone told me that a suntan makes everyone look more attractive, so I hope it is for the better. 😉

By the way – on a slightly different note – having learnt the expression “pun” during the sailing I was curious what I could find and googled it. This was the first picture that came up:

clipped from www.cambridgenow.ca
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Ha! He could have been in an ad! Because that was exactly what the Swedish company Electrolux meant during their UK campaign in the 1960’s, right!?

clipped from www.crazy-media.se
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No?! Maybe this was a malapropism… Someone though who was full of puns and knew exactly what he was saying – or singing – was (still is) Robban Broberg with Båtlåt (Boat Song).

I am sorry – I won’t translate, and haven’t found an attempt to online – it’s just simply beautiful and as ingenious as can be. I wish I were sitting in the same boat as him…




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