Loving Life Blog

Spur of the Moment Reflections

One Thing Leads to Another February 6, 2013

Filed under: coaching,Inspiration — Johanna C. Nilsson @ 10:32 am
Tags: , , , , , , ,

There is a hidden gem in San Francisco called Jazz in the Basement. That’s what it is. And it’s the best jazz, in a very intimate setting, and with a very friendly ambiance. The singer Jesse Foster and his wife Michele host one concert every month with top notch musicians.

Just about a year ago in conversation with the pianist, we started talking about Swedish music – there was this one tune he knew… I sent him something else to listen to… and one thing led to another. (more…)


Coldplay from Heart January 4, 2012

Life is wild sometimes. These golden moments that pop up when you least expect…

So I am celebrating New Years Eve with the friends of Foster Goldstrom, in this beautiful Maybeck designed house, filled with exquisite art and interesting individuals. The New Year is greeted and toasted at 9pm PST and the music starts to play. There is maybe 10 people dancing in one end of the living room – so I join them. This groovy, almost 30 year older [outrageous, you would NEVER believe], African-American woman, dressed in black with a cool hat is starting to mirror me with a smile saying “oh you are so tall, and slim and can dance in such a cool way [stiff]”  – which is like pulling a Norwegian joke on me [pulling my leg big time] – so I let loose and start mirror her. Which makes her crack up and say “I need to leave for another party – but I need to give you my card – we should go out party in San Francisco!”

I am following up the next day with an email and she emails me back  – and calls me back next day eager to work on her social media. We decide to meet for dinner. “Oh – I had already committed to this jazz event, but if you don’t mind I can give you a free ticket.” So we go.

Entering this gem in Oakland – art gallery combined jazz club – I get the question: “Do you sing?” There is no way out – name on the list. #34 – probably too late in the game, so I am not too worried. [This is a love – hate situation – but for several reasons, I could not say no to this one.] This is a really cool place. Musicians are really good, and the majority of the singers as well. My dear new friend introduces me to a number of people passing by – and I start to realize that by now all the organizing people and half the band knows me [as number 34]. What the heck would I sing? And can I the lyrics? What happens if I don’t? The singer next to me, Lady Sunrise, responds to the last question and says “Just sing from your heart baby”. [At my dance school growing up in Sweden, we were always told “if you forget the lyrics, sing the Norwegian National Anthem” – not much love in that one…]

If you knew where I came from, you would appreciate the stretch and excitement this situation had. At Christmas we had a table card game going with various questions. One was “Which is the #one fear that you want to overcome?” My response: “Singing in public.” Solo that is. Hiding – and LOVING – singing in choirs is no problem. But I have had a desire and intent for a long time. Was I prepared now? Not really. But in some ways it felt like it. At one point my friend Valena and I was looking at each other smiling and saying in chorus: “This is not a coincidence”.

Second last at 11pm: “-Which song? – Summer time. – Do you know which key? – No”.  This is how it went.

It wasn’t perfect – but it was fun, and I have come a long way. If I can, you can. What is your dream and intention?

What ever that is – just come from your heart baby.

Happy New Year!


Notes to Self: November 7, 2010

1) Don’t you ever dare even thinking about quitting something that you gain so much energy and joy from. Love singing. Love these people. Free the time to do it.

The acapella group Keeva has resumed from the summer break and is now putting a set together with new world music. Groovy.

Celebrating Change IMOW

Last performed at the Celebrate Change! event at the Metreon in San Francisco, a fund raiser event for International Museum of Women exhibiting stories of change. And, yes, we can do it for you too! Email: keevasf at gmail.com.

Inspired by Tom Shadyac, I took my second hand bike to rehearsal for the first time… over the hill. Filbert street is at one point the most steep street in San Francisco. Union street that I took is parallel. Coming over the top, I realized that my bike probably is 5th hand… the breaks were no good.

2) When buying a bike – always test the breaks in steep hills. Fast forward – can do that! Fast downhill – without breaks – not so much. And yes, I had a feeling, so I tested it early – but the thought of it…

Downward facing dog however – I love that! Urban Flow Yoga has been written about in Wall Street Journal – being the best place for downward dogs in San Francisco! Can’t more than ditto that.

Maybe one day, the International Museum of Women will exhibit all the change created by the yogis at Urban Flow Yoga, much thanks to it’s practice led by Rusty Wells. It is plenty. Amazing small and big stories with ripple effect. To be told…

With love,



Perfect Union April 11, 2010

Last week I had the pleasure to go to a kirtan with Jai Uttal at Urban Flow Yoga. The room was full with people and the atmosphere was sort of upbeat, friendly and loving at the same time. Rusty Wells yoga teacher training had kicked off with the first session that very day, and those participants were in the room, with a big relaxed smile on their face. It’s interesting – I could see the same light in their eyes, that I feel when I come from his class. I can only imagine how the teacher training is… I so hope there is someone there that will open up a kick ass Urban Flow Yoga studio in Stockholm one day. I’m just putting it out there.

Jai Uttal opened up singing a mantra with us called Sita Rama. The lyrics mean, “you represent perfect union, you are love.” The introduction was that when Jai started with kirtans 30 years ago, he used to feel afraid initially sitting on stage with a room full of strangers looking at him. He felt that they would judge him, dislike the music, etc etc – and so he always made sure to know where the EXIT door was. (At this moment all of us knew where that door was!)

Today we started with that mantra through which he could greet everyone welcome. Singing Sita Rama, Sita Rama, Sita Rama Jaya Sita Rama, with that very message of perfect union and love directed to each and every participant; seeing them and inviting them instead of being afraid of them. I think we chanted two mantras in two hours, so I am sure we did it long enough for every one to get their personal greeting and feel that we were in it together.

How do you greet strangers, or handle a situation of discomfort? Do you always keep your back-door open, eyes on the exit door, or do you stay to meet the person or situation to find out what it really is about and create the best of it? Do you invite the connection to your audience when you are in the spotlight? Do you invite the perfect union?

The following day I walked on Union Street where there was a fair in relation to Easter. The golden moment was to see children in a fenced little area get aquainted with some animals. In particular this little British boy, who with curiosity and care really was seeking contact with this creature, for him something or someone unknown. That is a perfect example. The children are such good teachers and sources of inspiration.

Sita Rama, with love,

Perfect Union, You are Love, Easter, Union Street, San Francisco



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