Loving Life Blog

Spur of the Moment Reflections

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

 

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

 

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?

Johanna

 

Sweat Your Prayers! July 6, 2009

Filed under: Health,Inspiration — Johanna C. Nilsson @ 9:43 pm
Tags: , ,

What a weekend. It’s such a treat to have really good friends. Even better to have them nearby. Even if it’s just for a couple of days. My room mate from 10 years back when I lived in Geneva and her boyfriend came visiting. They were up for an American experience… sort of.

The first thing I take them to is my favorite French restaurant Gamine (prev. Chez Maman). There are so many great restaurants in San Francisco – but whenever I get someone close for a visit that’s where I steer my steps. It’s warm, familiar, friendly, intimate, fun – great owners and great steak. The menu worked out perfectly for vegetarians too we learnt.

And so comes 4th of July! How American can it be?? Beautiful weather, sun was shining, and jazz tunes were playing at the Fillmore Jazz Festival. We got a chance to take a photo shot with Obama. The big question was – where are all the flags?!!? We really had to look for them – oops, and there was one! The one who searches he will find… 

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Finally!The one who seeks he finds...!
Celebrating the actual independance day on a boat with a melting pot of nationalities, right by Pier 39, with the best view of the fireworks – that’s how good it gets. Thank you Einar for hosting!  

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In order to calm our mind and deepen the experience I took them to something very “Californian” Sunday morning. Sweat Your Prayers! – Five Rhythm [The Wave] Moving Meditation Practice. We arrive at the gymnastic hall in Sausalito where it takes place. You need to be there an hour in advance to guarantee a spot – the two 2-hour sessions for 150 people each do get sold out. There is a beautiful crowd of people, from all different paths of life. By the entrance sits a group singing to the guitar “… love is our religion…”   

The intention for the day was Celebrating the Freedom of Movement. The medicine of the dance. To move through limitations of our body. And to celebrate the near and dear who have left us, celebrate that they are no longer captured in their bodies. The moving meditation begins. The wave created with the different rhythms is impactful and the experience is profound. The joy is present. At some point it feels like this would be the best warm-up for the carnival in Rio. But what do I know – I haven’t been there yet. Maybe it’s the other way around! :O “This was a very personal experience. A very special souvenir that I will bring back from San Francisco.” was the comment from my friend. 

After Dim Sums in China town, shopping around Union Square and visit to the Apple Flagship store we go for dinner at Café Gratitude, another local special. Vegan, live food. River of Abundance game. Everywhere on the walls is artwork with different special messages. “What you choose to focus on creates the experience. Choice Choice Choice…. ”  All the menu items are in the form of affirmations – we had among other items “I am rejuvenated”, “I am succulent” and “I am cheerful!”. It was a very cheerful day indeed. 

Coming home today, the house was empty. My friends had left. I walked into the kitchen to make myself some tea and cereal for a light dinner. Opens the cupboard and finds a new green cereal bowl! With the text in it: “What are you grateful for?” Imagine looking down in that bowl during breakfast every morning. What would you say?

I am truly grateful for dear friends. Thank you Simone and Ramun.
Johanna 

 

 

What are you Grateful for?

What are you grateful for?

 

 

Take PRIDE in who you are July 1, 2009

I took the sub downtown Sunday to see a little bit of the Pride Parade. (I guess it is called Bart, but I never use it, that alone was an adventure. Now I am getting side tracked – but using the map quest app on your iPhone, and checking how to go from A to B by train or bus – it is so smooth! It tells you what bus to take and when it takes off, and of course how long time it takes. You probably already knew this…). Pride. What a colorful folk feast, full with joy and celebration! “I am proud of my straight parents”, “I am proud of my gay son”, “Let the sun shine… ”

It reminded me of when a very good friend of mine stayed with me for a couple of months, while doing a leadership program together two years ago. I had turned my storage space/walk in closet into a combined guest room. He was laughing one morning saying “This feels like coming out of the closet every day!” He is someone who takes pride in who he is, and he is a great role model for others in his community. Recently he opened what has become the #1 bar for lesbians, gays and other positive people in Iceland: “Barbara Sunshine”, where people dance their way out of the recession. I would love to join the dance floor!

What are you hiding in the closet? What talents are you keeping for your self, not sharing with others? Which piece of yourself have you not given attention that is time to let bloom? Share the beauty! Have fun with it. Join a community. For my own joy and self-development I recently joined a few Meet up groups: 1. San Francisco Entrepreneurs, 2. Les Ami(e)s des Francophone and 3. SF Karaoke! Meetup is such a great thing where you can easily dive into your area of interest together with others who have the same passion. If you can’t find a group or live in a country where it doesn’t exist – create it!

Creating joy. Yesterdays issue of the Yoga Journal had an article about Meditation to Invoke Joy. I was happy to read a formal “formula” for it that I could share – I have literally just gone through the process, and it worked for me. My bottom line prescription would be slightly different: 1. Connect with a feeling of absolute joy and happiness that fills your whole body. 2. Repeat it for 5 minutes, 3 times a day, for a month. It works. You simply reprogram your system and your cells get very familiar and addicted to the feeling of joy. Do you want what I have? 😉 Try it!

Take pride in who you are, and let the sun shine!

Johanna

 

 
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