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…
Keeva! We just had the last rehearsal yesterday before our coming Friday night concert. With wide open windows after a truly hot Indian summer day in San Francisco, the neighbors across the street got a private performance. They seemed to enjoy it as much as we – because it’s fun! Music is good for you.
There is research showing that music is good for your health and well-being. A year ago there was a World Conference on Health held in the UK that aimed to pave the way for “singing on prescription”. Earlier this year, the Swedish Medical Doctor and Professor Töres Thorell released a book on music and health. Basically – whether you attend a Bruce Springsteen concert, sing in a choir or listen to a Mozart symphony – you’ll get reduced stress, improved immune system, and a sharper mind! If you enjoy music that is. My friend said “- oh, my dad is tone death, but he loves going to the symphony hall. Yes, it’s very likely that he will fall asleep – but he still enjoys it”.
Being brought up in Sweden, where we have a song for every season, the largest per capita number of amateur choirs in the world and being the third largest music exporter in the world (surpassed only by the US and the UK) – I know that music matters. During the first dinner in San Francisco with new connections I was posed the question: “Among all the things you used to do in San Diego – what do you miss the most?” “I’m looking for a group to sing with.” “I’m part of a small group of Talisman Alumni’s from Stanford who has formed an a cappella group. We are looking for a female singer – what part are you?”… Synchronicity – I love it. And I love singing not only because I enjoy it and I feel good doing it – it is also an excellent way to meet great friends, socialize and have fun.
In a different setting – going to a yoga session that incorporates chanting gives you all that. Meeting great people, having fun, feeling good. And by no surprise – I am having Rusty Well’s yoga as my reference. Recently the session started with the chant “Loka samasta sukhino bhavantu…” [May all beings everywhere be happy and free.] But the 100 students didn’t really give it all… Have you ever experienced a hesitation to sing? Rusty goes: “Do you care about being here? Give yourself the benefit – sing! Stretch your mind, stretch your heart, stretch your voice – what happens is that you stretch your breath. Just try. You made it this long, all the way here. Tall spine close your eyes, and chant before you can’t! All right…”
So where ever it is – in the shower or in the car… chant before you can’t – or you can come and enjoy the Keeva concert this upcoming Friday. See details below!
Come hear the Richter Scales and Keeva sing an evening of “Trick or Treat A Cappella” the night before Halloween in SF’s Mission District.
The Richter Scales: So what if many of us are a decade or more past our prime? We still possess the ability to bring an audience to tears. Whether they are tears of laughter or tears of horror is another matter. You’d best hope for the laughter tears.
Keeva A Cappella: A group of SF Bay Area professionals and graduate students who have been singing world music and other culturally significant songs (e.g. “Oh Mickey you’re so fine”) for more than a decade.
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
All ages are welcome. We’ll have candy for folks who want to warm up their trick-or-treating muscles. Costume-wearers welcome.
And as a bonus – why not use music changing one or two habbits?
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!
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.
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…
The last brushstroke got done on my own little summerhouse (for now). It’s beautiful. Such a treat. I am enjoying every second in it. Right now I am hearing the rain pouring, the wind blowing and the waves from the bay. It’s pitch dark outside – strange in the middle of the summer in Sweden. Must be the clouds of course. And it’s midnight.
I have given this little house different nicknames. Pärlan (the pearl) and Smultronstället (Wild Strawberry Place) in particular. After having assembled the lamp “Maskros” from IKEA today, which became the “dot over the i” (the finishing touch which makes something perfect) in the glass room outside the 10 square meter house overlooking the bay, it was clear: the name of this place will be given after the lamp. Dandelion. Dandy Dandelion.
The meaning of Maskros will never be the same again.
Someone told me once “Äh, sunsets are overrated. If you’ve seen one, then you’ve seen them all!” Ja, ja – I know – it was a joke. If you haven’t seen this one… here you go. The view from my summer house deck. Enjoy.
When I was on vacation in Sweden two years ago, I went into my mom’s office at one point to use her phone. While being on the phone my eyes swiped over the desk, and there was a book with the title “Hångla mer!” MOM! What is she reading?! She being a fairly conservative Medical Doctor and politician, that title surprised me quite a bit. Or maybe it was me being conservative?! I learnt that she got it as a gift from work, and it pretty much was mandatory reading during the vacation. Pfizer, as many other companies, had hired the audience celebrated author Klas Hallberg as a motivational speaker.
I started reading the book and didn’t put it aside until finished. Very entertaining, thought provoking and inspiring. And I am so excited – it’s about to be published in English! “The Art of Making Out!” Click here to read the first chapters.
In this book, what I’m inviting you to do is to understand “making out”
more as a symbolic expression of surrendering yourself to a juicier
experience of life.
It’s a metaphor for letting go.
The thesis of this book is that letting go is the meaning of life itself.
To make out.
To let go.
Hook, line and sinker.
To experience both grief and joy. Both pleasure and pain
Experience life fully. Your way. Let go, dare to be disappointed and go for your dream… otherwise you will never have a chance to enjoy it.
Do you want to enjoy the full version of “The Art of Making Out!” and Klas Hallberg live in the US? – LET ME KNOW! We’ll send him a collective invitation. Sign up your company, sign up your parents, your partner and yourself. Did you read the first chapters? Do it. And I am serious, let me know through my contact page or comment below.
Let’s dare to be disappointed… and enjoy!
[Update: the first chapter is not still available – but the full book is! Get ithere. Enjoy.]