Loving Life Blog

Spur of the Moment Reflections

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,



Creative Attention! May 23, 2010

There are certainly fun ways to gain attention to and awarenes of something important. I started writing this post some time ago, and after a discussion yesterday at the Commercial Theater Institute Production Workshop in New York City it got new energy…

Not too long ago I was invited to a stand-up comedian show at the Punch Line in San Francisco to see the Pink Ribbon Comedy Tour, a group of four professional stand-up comedians traveling across the country to raise money for Susan G. Komen for the Cure and the fight against breast cancer. The San Francisco Examiner wrote about the tour here. I wouldn’t be able to share a good joke with you from the show, but below is important information that the female audience got on the way out from the theater.

This youtube movie however, is a fun way to raise awareness that I can share. It brings the joy of the JK wedding entrance I referred to in August “This Time I Dance” . What I know now is that there is a also a musical being written related to the same topic. Just make a mental note, and bookmark www.christinahelena.com. As a founder of her non-profit organization, Christina help motivate children diagnosed with cancer. She is also a talented actor, dancer, writer and producer…

May we all celebrate the cure of cancer one day. This week I celebrate that my friends Jenni and Karl had favorable or curable diagnosis of cancer.

One thing we can celebrate today is (the Swedish) Mothers Day.

Have a happy one – invite her for a dance!


And to all women – don’t forget to check the info below on your way out…

Breast Self-Awareness (BSA)

1. Know your risk
Talk to your family
to learn about your family health history
Talk to your doctor
about your personal risk of breast cancer

2. Get Screened
Ask your doctor
which screening tests are right for you if you are at a higher risk
Have a mammogram every year starting at age 40 if you are at average risk
Have a clinical breast exam at least every 3 years starting at 20, and every year starting at 40

3. Know what is normal for you
See your health care provider right away if you notice any of these breast changes:
* Lump, hard knot, or thickening
* Swelling, warmth, redness, or darkening
* Change in the size or shape of the breast
* Dimpling or puckering of the skin
* Itchy, sclay sore or rash on the nipple
* Pulling in of your nipple or other parts
* Nipple discharge that starts suddenly
* New pain in one spot that does not go away

4. Make healthy lifestyle choices
Maintain a healthy weight
Add exercise into your routine
Limit alcohol intake


The Day You Will Dance, Sing, Shout. May 8, 2010

Filed under: Health,Inspiration — Johanna C. Nilsson @ 6:41 pm
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The other day I came back from an errand. I am about to round the corner to turn to my street and realize that there is a new(ish) Irish bakery right there. My reaction was – this is funny, I recently left a full time job with an Irish company since 8 years, and now I have an Irish new connection right by my house, and it feels comforting. Coming home doing some unrelated research I stumble on a poem calling attention to the Parkinson’s Awareness Month at Guy Kawasaki’s alltop.com. Were you aware?

April 22, 2010

Parkinson’s Awareness Month, Day 21: The Poetic Truth About PD

The Poetic Truth About PD

Photo courtesy of Judy Hensley


Parkinson’s disease is a pain in the kazoo,

The neck, the rear and everywhere in between.

Why, I’d even say it’s downright obnoxious at times

From what I’ve heard, what I’ve experienced and seen.


It steals your smile and attacks your joy

causes you to fall, it can even make you drool.

Tries as hard as it may, throwing obstacles in the way,

Often leaving you to look like a fool.


Your muscles begin to weaken,

your voice may start to go

things seem to worsen day to day –

all the possibilities, you just don’t want to know.


Your shuffle turns to freezing

and doing things get much more tough.

Still – don’t give up and don’t you dare give in

Instead, determine to fight harder against all that stuff.


On days when the sky seems cloudy and gray

And you want to quit, throw in the towel and check out,

Have faith there’s a day when a cure will be found,

The day you will dance, you will sing, you will shout.


by Sherri Woodbridge

Alltop.com is a great resource in many fields, for more on Parkinson’s click here. Finding a cure for Parkinson’s is one of the treatments that “my” Irish company Elan Pharmaceuticals is focusing on in the efforts to define the future of neurological therapies. They are not alone. You are not alone. Have faith.

Have faith in the day you will dance, sing and shout.


Pole Dancing. Really!? April 28, 2010

Filed under: Health,Inspiration — Johanna C. Nilsson @ 9:14 am
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It was on Martha Stewart show and Late Night with Connan O’Brian… the “new” trend of fitness in Hollywood: Pole Dancing. Not that I watch TV, but I had to find some decent reference points…  😉 Because it can be. Thank you for Internet and youtube!

It’s probably not that new at this stage, but it seems to gain ground popping up here and there. It’s on the Bay Area National Dance Week program. It was offered through Groupon – from which I found that there are two studios in my own neighborhood! And of course I had to try it out. Forwarded the Groupon email to some girlfriends, and off we went 10am a Saturday morning. Per Groupon, there were 437 women who bought an intro class to pole dancing that one day.

I know – I ended the last post with the questions: Which dance do you want to dance? Whom’s dance do you want to follow? This was not quite what I meant. However… I would say it was a lot of fun, and it’s a perfect something to do with your girlfriends at a bachelorette party or a birthday. We were a group of 12 inbetween 30-50 years old. It’s done in a warm, safe, intimate and humoristic environment at S Factor. The lesson might start as any other yoga/Pilates session – and it brings the body awareness and body connection to a whole new level…

The number one quote I have from the teacher – especially when walking around the pole and doing the Fire Fly (see youtube movie above for demo) – is:

When in doubt – put your butt out.

For some creatures, this pole dancing thing seems totally natural… who knew.

In either way – it’s a really good workout for your core and provides excellent muscle toning. Of course.




Where did the Vikings go? March 17, 2010

Jantelagen – or, the Jante Law – I find it interesting. 1) How come that everyone in Scandinavia knows about it and refers to it as a limiting factor for self-expression and self-realization? 2) How come international analysts recognize Jantelagen as the factor holding back Swedish brands? 3) How come no one wants to be supporters of it, and yet it continues to permeate our society??? “A typical Scandinavian pattern of group behaviour that negatively portrays and criticizes success and achievement as unworthy and inappropriate.”

Don’t think you’re anyone special or that you’re better than us. That is the bottom line.

Isn’t it time to revert this, once and for all? I know, I know – change is in the air. And that is good. But I did get the comment when I was home – “Well, if you want to start your own business – do it in America. It would be much easier over there than here.”

In a conversation with Michael E. Gerber about entrepreneurship and the Jante Law, he asked, “How did it start? Where did Sweden come from?” I laughed and said “The Vikings!” He responded “Well – that is one kind of an answer – so, where did the Vikings go? Are you one?”

As my friend from Leadership said when reading the laws: “the Chinese culture is also very much about putting the “we” before the “I”, it is about sacrificing the self for the greater good of the group, and in reading these “laws” – it sounds more like degrading the “I” rather than raising the “we”.” Now that is a perspective to think of.

Another comment was “This sounds all very related to Shame… and what is behind it. Particularly taught shame, passed down from shame-based parents. If it is at the very core of your community, it may be that healing is required.” Could there actually be a connection?! Do we all need to heal the scars from the behavior of the Vikings?

What would it mean to bring the Viking Spirit back? Not to steal and rape, but to honor and collaborate? A Viking Spirit that has evolved from “power over” to “power within”.

And if I am a Viking? Of course I am. Are you? New Age Viking. How about that?

(Click for the documentary) And by the way – here is an example of a team in training, with Viking Spirit – the Swedish cross-country skiing team. In total 2 gold, 2 silver and 1 bronze medals in the Olympic Games. Remarkably well-edited documentary by Johan Serrander! Click this link for Gröt Svett och Klistervalla. The film is available on svtplay until April 5, 2010

While on the go, I can also recommend the documentary “In the mind of Anja Pärson” (available limited time on svtplay). Did you know that behind every successful athlete stands an outstanding naprapath? Today I came accross the article in Aftonbladet with heading “Anja Pärson is flying in her own naprapath”. That was true – Carl-Fredrik Andersson resides at Spinex Naprapater in Stockholm. Always good to know good-to-go-to people.

And if you are too late for the films – the below is the alternative I can offer…

Which medal are you off to win? Let’s celebrate!



Little Wonders February 2, 2010

Filed under: coaching,Health,Inspiration — Johanna C. Nilsson @ 9:41 am
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In the moment of leaving Sweden after my fathers passing sadness came over me. Sitting in the airplane, sending a last text message to my mom thanking for the ride to the airport and expressing my love and support to her the tears came to my eyes. The crying came like a wave over me and I was doing my best to hide it sitting by the window and breath through it – but it’s not easy to be quiet when you are hulking like a baby trying to get air…

Stillness came. Thoughts, impressions and memories of the last 7 weeks flashed by. And then emptiness. I tried to think ahead, what is waiting in San Francisco, start the creation of a new business… During the whole process of my fathers last weeks, the energy was still high, or constant, the ideas for the future came left and right – I was sharing some of them with my dad and he said “That is great, if you can make it happen”. Now I could see all the ideas, people, possible partners, supporters, meetings etc in a distance – knowing the existence – but there was no energetic connection.

I pulled myself together, wiped by eyes, took a deep breath and glanced to the right – there was a couple sitting next to me.  I noticed and thought: “Interesting  – she is using The Book”. And then I fell asleep. That helped.

The couple sitting next to me turned out to be teachers in music and preschool from the northern part of Sweden, currently working with music and cafeteria for the Swedish Church in New York, living in the top of the same building at East 48th and 5th avenue. They had done similar jobs over the summer breaks a few times at other places in Europe, and thought it would be an interesting break with 2 years on Manhattan…  I love it. I’m sure their story inspires other people to do something similar if the interest is there. Break out from the normal rythm for a period – so life enriching, and totally possible.

I had to ask about that Book. The Book that is the inspiration to my software idea. I have heard about it, I have seen it in the stores, I have used it, I have given it away – but I haven’t seen anyone actually use it. Maybe because you prefer to do it in your own private space. “Oh – my husband gave it to me before I got pregnant with our first child, and now I have used it every day for over 30 years! I am so picky about the one I buy, so last time I wrote on blank sheets for almost six months before I found a version that I liked and meet my needs”. A smile came to my face and I felt a little candle was lit. I told her about my idea, and she said “Funny that you say that – while writing today the thought came to me for the first time: How would it be if I wrote this on a computer”. I choose to claim: it’s a sign.

Layover in Newark and I had to charge my iPhone. Somehow I got contact with the guy at the power station who was just about done charging his Mac Book. Since mine was out of battery and the family’s dear puppy had bitten the power cord in two pieces, I kindly asked to borrow his for a few minutes. Another fellow Swedish traveler in need came and asked if he may borrow the USB port in my computer to charge his phone. And sure – life is about give and take – it all works out in the end! My savior was the drummer for Rob Thomas, on the way to tour Australia. When he heard I came from Sweden he got a dream like expression on his face with a big smile and said “Memories from Sweden…” They had played at a MTV Europe Gala at Hilton in Stockholm a few years ago. I know Sweden is outstanding. Still – it is not the first time I see that expression on a guys face thinking back to the visit in Sweden like if it was heaven on earth. It makes me feel like there is something I am missing…

During the small hours at home I woke up early due to jetlag and thought – who is that Rob Thomas anyway? Smiling when I found out – I’m so funny – I love music, it moves me, I promote it, sing it, listen to it, dance to it – it makes me high – still: I don’t mean to be ignorant, but I don’t know many of the artists or groups names. Must be information overflow or something. But who hasn’t danced to “Smooth” – Gimme your heart, make it real, Or else forget about it…

When searching on youtube I found another sweet song by Rob Thomas: Little Wonders.

Let it go
Let it roll right off your shoulder
Don’t you know
The hardest part is over
Let it in
Let your clarity define you
In the end
You will only just remember how it feels

Our lives are made
In these small hours
These little wonders
These twists and turns of fate
Time falls away,
But these small hours
These small hours
Still remain

Let it slide
Let your troubles fall behind you
Let it shine,
Till you feel it all around you
And I don’t mind
If it’s me you need to turn to
We’ll get by
It’s the heart that really matters in the end

What are the little wonders in your day, if you think about it?




The Most Beautiful January 26, 2010

Filed under: Health,Inspiration — Johanna C. Nilsson @ 7:49 am
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“Go Confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you have imagined.”
Henry David Thoreau (1817 – 1862)

One of my prior colleagues had this quote in her facebook update a couple of weeks ago as she reflected over the past and new year. Sitting next to my Dad’s side at the hospital in Sweden, I thought to myself – “that is exactly what I did, but this is not what I imagined”. Spending week after week caring for my Dad who is fighting a life threatening heart infection. After a little bit of reflection, I do think I got exactly what I was looking for. With one exception.

The lifestyle that I am about to create will bridge the gap in-between Sweden and where I live. It will allow me to be more free in terms of where I spend my time in order to still live my life where ever it takes me, work with what I love AND be present with my family in good and bad times. (July 4 2009)

By the time I get back to San Francisco from Sweden, I have been present for:

–       five precious weeks with my Dad
–       my Dad’s 74th (belated) birthday
–       the first Christmas celebration in my brother’s and sister-in-law’s new house
–       my nephew’s first Christmas, first step, and first “high five”
–       my parents 40th anniversary
–       my cousin’s 50th birthday
–       my brother’s birthday
–       my nephew’s baptism
–       my Dad’s passing and funeral

At the same time I have been able to work part-time in the evening on PST morning time, or sometimes any time with a wireless connected hospital, iPhone and Skype, and experienced the most beautiful white winter I can remember having seen.

After a little bit of reflection – given the situation with my Dad – there is nothing more I could have asked for. There are no words for how grateful I am to have been able to be present with my family during this time. In good and bad.

As I told my colleagues: “Thank you for all of your support and understanding during this period, and flexibility with me working from here during irregular hours. Thank you for encouraging me to go or stay here when the uncertainty or work ethics seemed to take over. I will do the same to you if possible.”

We all need some support along the way. There are many other’s who have been of great support, even with small actions or words. The same goes for you.

Take really good care of yourself and others – that is the most beautiful thing we have got.


This song is a tribute to my dear father who was nothing but positive, appreciative and loving to his family during the most difficult time in the end. We love you.

Det vackraste. (The Most Beautiful). To be loved by you is the most beautiful to me.


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