Tag Archives: choices

I don’t have a television

I don’t and I never did. Yes, during the years when the children were growing up we had one though there were a few reasons why it never became a major part of our lives: We lived in the middle of the forest so reception was only good when weather was clear. Besides we lived in Sweden and only had the 2 channels that sort of come automatically, they don’t rock.

When I came to Luxembourg I planned to have one, sort of, but all the hassle, costs and my basic disinterest made it never happen. I had a cheap telly for watching movies, but that went out the door the moment I realized I could do it on my computer…I’m not picky, I just want to be entertained so screen-size, sound etc matters nothing to me. Besides, televisions are really big and ugly, even if they are fancy flat-screens hanging on the wall. Ugly!

And you know, if you are in a room with people and a TV, the people will constantly look at the TV, even if it’s not on and I find that irritating, weird and a bit crazed. There you are, chatting away, having drinks and snacks and the person you’re talking to is constantly looking toward the telly. So you start wondering if they are even hearing what you’re saying? HELLO, I’m here! The whole room is designed around that ugly thing, so wherever you sit (or stand) it’s the main focal point. My living room is a ….Living room. It’s made for movement, creativity and hanging out

I do stuff and I am a very creative person. I love doing stuff; sewing, reading, writing, dancing, drawing, gardening, studying and research…I love my own company and the conversations I, me and myself have are absolutely riveting. Since coming to Luxembourg “we” even do it in different languages… 🙂

People ask me how I get so much done, they think I am this totally speedy doer. I’m not. I just have lots of time to do stuff since there is no disruption of a telly. I do watch YouTube tutorials for things I like to learn; lately I have learned to make silk-flowers and pearl embroidery and I have made some beautiful stuff. I learn to sew better and create the pretty stuff I have in my head but can’t afford to buy. This is what I do when others watch television. Last evening I finished a pearl embroidered belt to go with my beautiful New Look skirt that I sewed a couple of days ago. Practice makes perfect and practice takes time. So if you have creative ideas or want to get stuff done; chuck that ugly ol’ thing and get into action. You will never look back!NewLookBälte

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Consumer responsibility

Over the past couple of years I have watched the internet explode with posts and articles about multimillion dollar companies exploiting us and the Earth. There are outrageous outcries about cracking, GMO foods, chemtrails, cruelty to animals…Just to mention a few.

Yes, I agree. But it didn’t happen overnight, did it? We are all responsible for this, we allowed it to happen. I can’t remember hearing more than vague murmurs during most of my life. And the people who complained back in the 60’s and 70’s when it was still ”sort of” reversible, were stamped as hippies, new age-people and ”green-wavers” which, at the time, was not a compliment. They were idiots to not get on the band-wagon of consumerism…Who on earth would ever want to go back to ”the old way of living”? Only crazy people. The Brave New World had finally come to mankind…

No to atomic power

No to atomic power

On March 23, 1980 there was a vote about nuclear power in Sweden. There were 3 options, none of them was for keeping or expanding nuclear power. This was a really hot subject and I remember demonstrations all over the country. People were divided, a lot of people really wanted nuclear power and there was fighting in the streets. This was a massive happening.

The options were:

  • 1) Nuclear power is phased out at a pace that is possible given the need of electrical power for maintaining employment and welfare. (18.94%)
  • 2) Same as option nr 1 but with the addition of excess profits in hydropower production are redeemed through taxation. All future energy facilities of significance would be owned by the state and municipalities.(39.12%)
  • 3) No to the continued expansion of nuclear power and the decommissioning of the reactors in operation within maximum ten years.(38.65%)

Option number 3 won, people rejoiced…

30 years later, March 22, 2010 (note the date), the government declared a new proposition saying:

Nuclear power – more responsibility and opportunities for generations. Those old units shall, with the fulfillment of certain conditions, get replaced by new ones on the same site as the old”

I haven’t heard any complaints, people are not hitting the streets to demonstrate against this proposition which is actually overriding what was decided through a democrative vote…YAY democracy…

Where are all those people who were protesting back in 1980? The people that really thought it mattered, that cared enough to take to the streets to make themselves heard? Maybe they are all dead or maybe they are just mumbling in their warm houses in front of the wide-screen telly, I don’t know. I do know that they are being very loudly horrified by Fukoshima, even more than they were about Tjernobyl, which actually hit Sweden rather badly.

It’s a sad state of affairs, but the truth. 

It’ same, same with almost everything; if it’s there, we’ll use it indiscriminately…God forbid that our comfort or consumer hunger would be threatened. Water, anyone?

We are responsible for our reactions

I read a story somewhere that goes something like this:

A woman steps on the bus to go to work in the morning and the bus driver is very rude to her. Her good mood plummets, making her upset and angry. As she gets to work, her mood infects those around her, creating a bad vibe in the office. Who’s fault is it? The bus driver or the woman’s?”

It is, of course, nobody’s fault. Fault is always an excuse for not taking responsibility. The bus driver was in a bad mood for whatever reason, that is his responsibility. The woman could have chosen to report him, ignore him or get angry. She chose to get angry and she chose to spread it on to her colleagues – her responsibility. If her colleagues react badly, that’s their responsibility.

We are all responsible, not only for our actions but also for our re-actions. We can always choose what we wish to have triggered in us. Our reactions are not put there by whatever/whoever triggered it, they are ours, that which we carry within. Nobody puts anything into us, or make us feel a certain way, we do.

There is no way of controlling that which is around us, none whatsoever. But, we can control how we react to it. By being centered in ourselves and keeping our balance within, we are so much more able to deal with what goes on around us. This is the only kind of control that is guaranteed.

Everybody can do or say or act in any way they like, but we don’t have to take it. If somebody is being nasty to me I walk away. I have no right to tell them they are “not allowed” and they have no right to demand that I take their nastiness. By unplugging from the person, I unplug from the bad situation and I can walk away without allowing it to destroy my day. My choice is to not allow myself to be triggered. Big lesson, not always so easy but oh so liberating!

The magic of age…

We have reached a time where people live and stay active longer. Gone is the grandma of 50 with one foot in the grave…She has turned into a funky go-getter who is hungry for life and action. The idea of staying young has invaded every aspect of being; how we look, act and dress…We want to stay forever young.

As a woman I am, like every other woman, influenced by society and the “forever young” notion. I look at my sagging jaw-line thinking; “Just a little tuck there and I would look younger”. Though I always know that I won’t do it, I have played with the thought just like every middle-aged woman does, whether she admits it or not. What is shocking is that the thought is there, as easily as the thought of buying groceries or a new dress. What happened to our self-respect?

Women have three very defined periods of their lives; girl-hood, the mature woman and the aged woman. The defining line between these periods is menstruation, it starts and it stops. In our society many women past a certain age feel washed up. It is difficult to find a job, especially if you have chosen to be a mother, even worse; a stay-at-home-mother. (If people only knew what leadership skills a stay-at-hom-mom has, not to mention the organization skills worthy of a general!) We are constantly compared to young women when it comes to looks and in the magazines the models in the pictures are teenagers.

Women fear the onset of menopause, this dreaded thing that marks the place of no return. It doesn’t make sense at all. Women should celebrate this, it is a mark of freedom for a woman. No longer will she have to be prepared to be a mother (and this, trust me, is a purely biological instinct), her children are more or less grown up, she has a stable situation in society and she has a wealth of wisdom. More often than not, this new funky woman is hungry for life and experiences; a new job, travels, trying new things. In the Cathar tradition this was the point when a woman could choose a new path in life, such as priestess (considering that she had more experience about life than most) or a clan-elder. Amongst nature-tribes this changing time for woman has no name, and women hardly suffer any physical symptoms.

Ladies, age is beauty. It looks different but is nonetheless beautiful. The beauty of age is the life-map drawn into a woman’s features; her joy and sorrow, experience, wisdom, knowledge and understanding. Age does not necessarily mean physical deterioration; this is the largest misunderstanding of all. We can stay strong and fit for as long as we like if we respect and take care of ourselves. I can still, at 51, do all the things I did at 20 and I am as strong and healthy as I always was.

Check out this lady for some inspiration: pkg-vassileva-yoga-teacher-guinness-record.reuters

I used to have a fear of aging and now that I have become the aging, I embrace it. The wisdom and patience I have acquired, the knowledge and understanding is mind-blowing. Yes, I miss the easy beauty of youth, but I also remember all my fears and insecurities that no amount of youthful beauty could sooth. In a way I feel like I can now start my life exactly the way I want it and I am counting on plenty of amazing and fun years ahead!

Stress management in 6 minutes

I was asked to do a short presentation on the topic of stress-management…In 6 minutes! I had a good laugh at this, thinking they were joking, they weren’t. As I have always had a weak spot for challenges, I of course agreed. Then I got nervous. The whole area of stress is huge and I am very good at it, but how to pick out a 6 min package that would make sense? Finally I settled on personal responsibility. That we are actually all responsible for our choices and how to handle them. This was a business-arena so I had to address both sides of the story; bosses (companies) as well as employees. Here it is:

As a boss you need to be very clear what you expect from your employe, and make sure that he knows exactly what his duties are and what is expected from him. The employe, in turn, must fill his duties. Most people have looked for their jobs, asked for them, so they should be prepared to fill the shoes. If you choose a high-performance job you must be aware of the fact that it probably will eat most of your time and the monetary gains will reflect this. To be able to cope with the burdens of such a position you need to be highly organized and disciplined or you will succumb to all kinds of stress-related trouble. Take for example a professional foot-ball player; he is payed a fortune but his life will be a life of discipline or he’s out.

If, on the other hand, you find that you can’t deal with the pressure or you find that you need more time for leisure, family or hobbies, you need to change your expectations. The monetary gains will be less and you will have to down-size your life and expenditure. It’s all about choices, there is no judgment here.

Constant availability is talked about a lot and it’s rubbish. It’s an impossibility. If your high-performance job demands constant availability, you deal with it and it should be made clear from the beginning. If not, you are creating something that doesn’t exist. Just because you can, doesn’t mean you have to.  So turn of your machines and enjoy some peace and quiet…Choices.

Finally, I consider work-time being just that – worktime. If I know I have a heavy schedule, I go to bed early, prepare my stuff the day before, eat properly and maybe I pop some vitamins 🙂 I don’t crash during my lunch-break.

Sometimes life throws us unexpected things that need to be dealt with, that’s just life and we deal with it as it comes along. But basic line is: Do your stuff, pay attention and get on with it. More often than not I find people have all kinds of excuses why not to change their lives and the more I’ve heard the more I am convinced that it is a question of laziness and/or victimization ideas.

There is a Right Place for everybody

I am Swedish, my papers say so and my parents are Swedish. I was born in Japan and lived there until I was seven years old when we moved to Sweden. I felt Japanese and considered Japan my home. My “mother” was my Japanese nanny whom I loved dearly , she was my “safe place”. Sweden was not a nice place for me to come to, I was treated like an unwanted immigrant and I kept waiting to “go home” (to Japan). Finally, at 11 years of age I realized that this would never happen and was thrown into despair. Life was unkind to me in Sweden, I was too different and just couldn’t fit in no matter how hard I tried.

As a young adult I traveled around Europe and felt much more at ease in other countries than “my own” and I “became” European. I lived my life in Sweden feeling constantly unsafe, as if bad things could happen at any time, I just didn’t feel comfortable. But I got on with my life. After 30 years in Sweden I finally went back to Japan for a visit and though I felt at home in my heart I realized that I did not belong there anymore, nor did I “belong” in Sweden.

Then life changed, as it does, dramatically and I chose to leave Sweden for good. With a little van I moved my entire life to Luxembourg (why and how is a whole different story). It was not very planned and the first years were extremely difficult, still I felt safe and happy here – as if the country embraced me in welcome and I felt happy even in my scariest and most insecure moments. I have now lived here 7 years and every day I thank myself for taking this step, every day I feel love and gratitude toward my new country. I don’t know if I will stay here always, I might find somewhere else I want to go, but I know for a fact that I will never return to Sweden (except for wonderful visits).

I have been judged and criticized for not liking Sweden by other Swedes, apparently you must love your country…These people will not give me the time of day, they consider me a traitor of the worst order. They also are not fond of immigrants. Lots of people love Sweden, and lots of people choose it as “their” country, living happy lives there no matter where they originally came from. Papers and genetics don’t define who we are, our personal selves do. Getting stuck on nationality and “MY country” is dangerous, this is what make people go to war. Nationalism was the cornerstone of Hitler’s political agenda and people bought it, lock stock and barrel.

Moral? There is a “right place” for everybody. Me and Sweden are just not compatible, it doesn’t make Sweden a bad place or me a bad person. I am compatible with Luxembourg. I have African, Turkish, Serbian, Indian friends in Sweden who are totally compatible with the country. Good for them. If you are lucky enough to find your right place, embrace it and stay in Peace.

JUST LIVING LIFE

My last child just left home. I have had children leave home for 10 yrs and have gotten sort of used to it. But each time before, there was still another child there…or a few. I knew, for many months, that this last one was leaving and I also looked forward to being just me, after 27 years of living a life that revolved around my children because, when they came, I wanted to be next to them until they left me and I wanted it more than anything else. I have used these many years wisely; learning craft and trade, patience and experience. Upon taking stock of those years I realize the staggering amount of knowledge I have accumulated and I wonder how it happened 🙂 I was just living life.

The last weeks before the Little One left, we spent much time together in conversation about all things between heaven and earth. She is as hungry for understanding as I remembered myself to be and kept pushing for answers, irritated by how complicated it was to get them.

“This is life”, I told her. “This, all of this. The answers to your questions; Life is the answer. The time, the frustrations, the understandings, all this is life and it takes a lifetime, no matter how short or long it may be. By living life we are answering our questions, life is what happens when we are living.” As I heard myself speak I felt a deep satisfaction over my life, about all I have done, learned and accomplished. And most of all I felt that deep sense of peace that I was looking for in my youth.

Experience and knowledge take time to collect and all phases in our lives contribute to who we become. From feeling impatient about the time everything took, I am now deeply grateful for that time so that now, when I enter a new phase of life, I have the tools and the knowledge to succeed in what I undertake. I am glad for all my years, for the overview it brings me and I am glad to see that every single thing that happened to me in life, good or bad, taught me something valuable. I was just living life.