Loving Life Blog

Spur of the Moment Reflections

When Ellen met Elias. “OMG” January 26, 2014

Filed under: Inspiration,Loving Life — Johanna C. Nilsson @ 7:23 pm
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A TV guest that won’t be forgotten – and a video snippet you would not want to miss. When Ellen met Elias.

I encourage all of us to “do an Elias” per day. Just blurb your excitement out! And if we can identify what we are awesome at, just like Elias – that would be amazing.

Be yourself. Be different, and cool. Be inspired.

Johanna

 

Today I am grateful for… October 27, 2013

I am Grateful forI saw her post the updates every day. Every day for a year. I knew that she was going through something. And she was up to something.

Although I sang with her every week, I never asked. I witnessed, I followed. I liked and supported. Got inspired.

What she did was to post every day on Facebook what she was grateful for. Publicly, for everyone to read.

Later the following year I got an invitation to TEDx Mission City 2.0 event where she would talk, that I couldn’t attend. 

Earlier this week I reached out to her and asked if there was a recording. Of course. It is a TED talk. Ideas worth sharing.  (more…)

 

Begin Again January 13, 2011

1.11.11 Begin Again. If you would write a new chapter in your life…

Herringbone path

THERE’S A HOLE IN MY SIDEWALK – Autobiography in Five Short Chapters
By Portia Nelson

Chapter 1

I walk down the street.

There is a hole in the sidewalk.

I fall in. I am lost. I am helpless.

It isn’t my fault. It takes forever to find a way out.

Chapter 2

I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I pretend I don’t see it. I fall in again.

I can’t believe I am in the same place.

But it isn’t my fault.

It still takes a long time to get out.

Chapter 3

I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I see it is there. I still fall in. It’s a habit.

My eyes are open. I know where I am.

It is my fault. I get out immediately.

Chapter 4

I walk down the same street.

There is a deep hole in the sidewalk.

I walk around it.

Chapter 5

I walk down another street.

 

…. what would be the different path you would take this year? This quarter? This month? This Week? Today? Starting now? Just do it. Try it. What’s the worst that can happen? Or the best…? 😉

Enjoy,

Johanna

 

Love Shower November 19, 2010

Have you ever gotten a Love Shower? It is a pretty nice experience. I guess you could give it different names. Appreciation Shower. Acknowledgement Shower. You can do it one-on-one, or in group. Privately or publicly. You can do it in different occasions. Situations I have seen it in are:

  1. During a personal growth workshop
  2. At the end of a group project
  3. At birthdays
  4. During a relationship
  5. At a wedding
  6. By the deathbed
  7. During a funeral

It is like the absolute feel good movie Validation (do you remember – did you see it?) – but more focused and concentrated and times 10. Or times 100.

Imagine sitting in a circle with 10 people who you know to a more or less extent. Your task is to sit quietly and receive while looking into the eyes of the person who speaks. The others task is to one by one express what they love and appreciate about you. The strengths they see. How you have contributed. How you impact them. The gifts you have.

It can be extremely powerful. It can be quite surprising. They can call on things you were absolutely not aware of. They can call on things that are totally contradictory to your own inner critic. (Inner gremlins in life coach terms). It can make a positive mark for life that you can forever lean on.

Imagine standing in a circle of 100 students with whom you have participated in a global international conference. Your task is to write on three different pieces of paper a message to three different people, fold it and walk over and give it to them, so that they can bring with them home to their country as a memorable takeaway.

You can make a friend for life.  Maybe someone feels like they have a friend for life.

I can give many more examples. Bottom line: you touch people deeply. You make people feel good. Appreciate themselves more. Be more aware of their strengths and their impact.

What if you, or we, do that more often. What if we by doing that shift a “bottom low” situation to “raise to the top”. Maybe leaving on a high.

Bring this ritual to that set of situations:

  1. Relationship breakup
  2. Divorce
  3. Lay-off

What if you would leave something that could be very sad and heavy, with a high head and warm heart, knowing that this past epoch had many valuable memories, made a difference to someone or something and you were part of it. And it is something you can bring with you and do again.

What if the mandatory SOX procedure in HR for all companies was to have a Team Power Shower annually in addition to the occasion of anyone leaving, for any reason.

I think I just came up with another business idea. I know – it sounds a little flower power and out there. But I live in California after all. And why do we do these things? Because we can. And because it has great impact.

Who are you going to give a loving power shower next?

I would like to end with the expression that Tim Nichols at the Hub Soma (where change to to work) uses in the member distributed emails:

Of everyone who read this, I like you the best.

With love,

Johanna

 

Back in Bounds February 17, 2010

Filed under: Inspiration,Loving Life — Johanna C. Nilsson @ 1:14 am
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I hardly put my toe on the land of San Francisco before I took off again… this time to a very pleasant weekend, skiing in Jackson Hole. A long planed 60th birthday celebration that was out of this world.

Great weather conditions, snow soft as feathers, mountain guide and back-country skiing, ski race, dinner at the cowboy’s mansion, lunch on the top of the mountain… Three Swedes in a suite – upgraded rooms at Four Season’s. Hot tub and warmed up ski boots… All together with thirty very nice friends and family members of the birthday boy. As he expressed himself: “At this point in my life – what matters most are friends and family – and what could be a better way celebrating my birthday together with you, in a place that I have always wanted to go to, doing what I really love.” How lucky am I to take part of this.

I was thinking with a smile of my previous outstanding ski memory, having been a  “wanna-be-ski-baum” for three weeks in the Alps exactly ten years ago. The situation was slightly different then. The skiing was still outstanding in Chamonix; instead of the mountain guide we made friends with the ski movie photographer and the ski equipment designers. Instead of Four Seasons we were up to four adults in a tiny studio – my mattress leaned towards the wall daytime, to take its place in the hallway nighttime. The only floor room that was free. (“If there is room in the heart, there is room for a butt” as we say in Swedish… of course we can squeeze in one more.) Together with great people – thank you Charlotte and Mark – and a memory for life.

It’s not about money – you can make a lot of things happen even with a small budget. And as long as you share of what you have, you will get so much more in return. If I could pull off such a celebration though when I turn 60, I would be happy to. I’ll save some for my 90th too, and do a dear repeat skiing with the grand kids. 😉

Apropos skiing – I like what the mountain guide said: “Why do we ski? It’s a perfect way to get peace of mind. To fully shut out the internal conversation in the mind and be truly present.” Such a gift in this moment of time. Dancing in the white room with the mountains – joy for my soul. There couldn’t have been a better segway back to “normal” again. So…

Back in bounds. Back to basic. Or as Michael E. Gerber express it: Stop and focus.

Johanna

 

Toast for Spontaneity! November 21, 2009

I so wish I had had a camera to capture the moment… I just came home from an excellent brunch at Pamelo, a small cozy place in Noe Valley. Accompanied by Fran and Zack.

Fran I know through four different connections. She showed up at my a cappella groups concert because she knew one of the singing group members, she came with a colleague of mine and recognized me from the Nia class. Most recently I met her when she was performing in a singing workshop that I also did a couple of years ago. The world is very small. Apropos spontaneity and singing – without getting to far out from the story line – the singing workshop we both did was led by jazz, R&B and soul singer Jesse Foster. The concept is very cool – you work with Jesse as a vocal coach in individual sessions and four Sunday afternoons in a row you perform with his band at  Rasselas Jazzclub on Fillmore in the jazz district together with other vocal students of his. Prepared in the sense that you have chosen and worked on the songs to sing, spontaneous in the sense that there is no practice with the band ahead of time. You just do it. And it is fun! So talented musicians, wonderful people, supportive audience. Safe. I can warmly recommend it!  (Check out the links if you are interested to step out of the shower singing stage and do the same!) Soon you will see Fran on the music scene in San Francisco.

Zack is a multi doer. I participated in one of his first Nia classes at Dance Mission when I was just about to move to San Francisco. The theme was “Transition” – how appropriate. Today he had another excellent class – the fact that he is also an actor and brings in that spontaneous playfulness in the room makes it a lot of fun. And so to the story… towards the end of the brunch today he suddenly reaches for the spoon in my cafe latte, takes his water glass, clinks the glass while standing up. The murmur in the room stops and he has full attention: “I just want to toast for spontaneity!” he says with a steady voice and a big smile and raises the glass. Facing the wall, I’m turning around and every face in the room cracks up to a big smile and a common toast, laughter and joy.  There are many ways you can show up in life. Such a small gesture – such a great impact.

The sense of joy created in the room reminded me of the sense of joy created by the movie Validation (below). Take a moment to watch it – get inspiration and share the beauty! Who can you make smile today?

Zack and Fran, you are awesome!
Cheers,

Johanna

 

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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