Friday, August 18, 2017

the completion letter


Yesterday we had our last meeting in the grief recovery process group. Our last task was to write a completion letter to that person (or situation for that matter) we felt we had unfinished communication with. For every meeting we've had - 6 of them - I've felt lighter and lighter, until the 5th meeting last Monday. 

Suddenly I was really low for a couple of days, which isn't a surprising reaction. Grief recovery isn't a straight forward process, the only thing straight forward are the steps we take. And my dip came late in the process. Saying goodbye to a situation, a person (alive or deceased), a relationship you have adapted yourself to, that no longer serves you or have stopped served you a long time ago, that's a sorrow in itself. All these layers of sorrow, who knew they come in so many shapes and forms?

Good thing I know how to talk myself out of the blues and worry by now. And as sad as writing that honest completion letter was, I read it out loud to myself, cried, danced and slept well. It was easy enough to read it in the group but I did cry some more, we all did. It's strange how sad it is to say goodbye to sorrow, in this particular brooding form. But I can't stress enough how grateful I am to have been given this chance to this process at a reasonably early stage, but not too soon after either, and not after years and years of possible brooding and self-analyzing the whys and why nots ad finitum. 

Of course it isn't as turning on and off a switch and suddenly everything is hunky dory just because you've written and read that completion letter. But, at least when it comes to a deceased person, you have worked the unfinished things through via this process, you have said I'm sorry for, I forgive you for, I had wished that, Thank you for and farewell and that is quite a big deal for the recovery. Being at peace is too.

The relationship, the love that was will always be, the happy memories too. But I will not keep on processing the sad memories, the questions I will never get answers to. Dwell on anger, disappointments, the things that might turn bitter and toxic. The things I wanted more or less of, or different, the things I can't change, they are accepted now, for me to heal and be well.

Being where I am now, being more open to new beginnings, things, people, happenings, life in general than I've been in a long time - that is actually quite scary too. Like a veil has been lifted and I can't really hide anymore. At the same time it is wistful, saying goodbye to a loss is a loss in itself, it is also exciting. What will happen now? What will come next? My next steps in life? What will make complete sense?

After the meeting yesterday I had decided to buy some special tea, and biscuits, to accompany my own private ceremony of burning some significant papers when I got home. The reason for this was that one of the heartwarming messages I got at that seance in January - 11 in pictures, 14 in words (and even more in talk), out of which 15 made complete and mindblowing sense right there and then, some have made sense since and a couple have begun to make strange, serendipitous sense these past few weeks only. And for new readers; it's a completely anonymous group seance, noone knows who is coming, noone knows if someone is coming, it's a spur of the moment thing at least for me. I may be open to possibilities but I'm never gullible - was simply "English tea and biscuits. Go to a tea shop." (For you who know me, you know I drink so much tea it practically pours out of my ears.)

For some reason I got an image of an old tea shop in Stockholm that I strangely enough had never visited before, when I read that sentence back then. So yesterday was the day for it. And such a lovely lovely shop it was! In the posh part of the city, a place where little ol' ladies have bought tea and coffee since 1916. They only sell their own tea and coffee blends, the packaging is very colourful, basic and stylish and oh the scent, the wonderful tea scent. I will most certainly visit more regularly from now on. The friendly staff offered some teas I might enjoy (black or red fruity, flowery notes are my tea tune of choice) and I settled for one of each. Plus a package of shortbread-ish biscuits.

It was only on the train home I realised the black tea was called Angel tea.

Coincidences, life's little messages to tell you you're not alone.

And it's perfectly alright to be an atheist like me and still believe life is pretty magical sometimes. I just think most of us have lost that sense of openness and wonder in our busy, sometimes stressful, sometimes difficult lives.

I burned some papers, I drank the Angel tea (which was lovely and my whole kitchen smells with it from the paper bag), ate some biscuits, was exhausted in that liberating way when your brain is just completely empty and had a really good night's sleep. Today I had to ran some errands in the city, it was too rainy to go for a long walk, but I picked up some lunch and enjoyed it al fresco on a bench by the waters. Me and my semi-empty brain needed peace and time to collect thoughts and adjust to my shift in both focus and life. It was a perfect day for it.

Completion. Life. Gratitude. And tea.

Sunday, August 13, 2017

on being a free spirit


Someone said I look like a fairy today. As much as I can't for my life see why - dirty bedhead hair and shabby, old sun dress etc. - it was a fun and sweet compliment. Presumably one of those fairies who dance around at misty meadows on summer nights with flowers in their hair and not the willowy ones in Lord of the rings.

And it got me thinking  about how truly liberating this grief recovery process has been. How I feel lighter, brighter, strangely more me for it. So perhaps the (giggle worthy) fairy-like appearance is something that shine through from within rather than the outside appearance. When it feels like a heavy weight has been lifted off your tense shoulders, it's visible not just feelable. In fact I feel more like my free spirit self than I have in a long long time.

We have a few sessions left and I have to say, without exaggerating, it has been one of my best experiences in life. Sad it had to come through a heartbreaking event, but looking back at my life - and people that inspire me - it's not the happy days and circumstances - no matter how grateful I am for those - that has led to true growth, deeper understanding and compassion, a step up the ladder of becoming a better human being, fellow earthling. It is the hardship, the sorrow, the troublesome days.

Though I most certainly do not advocate a positive, upbeat attitude and outlook at all costs at all times, because I think that creates a false image of life, living and the world. However, the way you react to those tragedies we all go through in one way or the other, those hardship, setbacks, troubles and what we decide to focus our energy on, that's completely up to ourselves.

Don't become bitter, learn another life lesson and move on to greatness instead.

Which quite possibly is easier said than done for some, being born where I am, brought up in a loving family, being fortunate in so many ways and grateful for so much, I know I can't begin to grasp the hardship some, less fortunate people go through in life. But I'm sure you get my point here.

Since I wouldn't have had the chance to go through this process if it hadn't been for my British Shorthair breeding, - 

which as far as I'm concerned is a thing of the past, another thing I'm so grateful to have been a part of, all the lovely lovely kittens over the years, cat show successes, happy new owners, my own quirky, darling snoopervisors. But as much as I love the breed itself I also think there are enough cats, dogs, animals and yes, humans too out there wanting love and a safe family to call their own and no need to produce new ones. Quite the opposite imho. Oh, I digress.

Instagram and LinkedIn I posted this (in Swedish) in both channels -

"To work with this book has been a large and important part of my summer. Never would I have thought that I would share deeply personal things in a group of unknown people, but it has been an amazing experience. Liberating, cathartic, challenging, evoluting, healing and something of the most important things  I've done in my life.

And why do I write this on LinkedIn? Because partly, we are complex people, our private and professional lives influence eachother much more than we might grasp. And I know this book/process would make many people feel much better. And with that become better professionals, colleagues and business owners.

Partly, without (my British Shorthair breeding), Instagram and LinkedIn I wouldn't have had this valuable opportunity - you who have been a part of this journey, you know who you are, you are worth your weight in gold and I am so grateful to have been a part of your journey too!

..... "

Which brings me to the free spirit part of this post. Many many years ago, during my sick leave for burn out and as a part of the settlement with my former employer - situation briefly described here - I went to a career coach. I think we had about 6 sessions together, I don't think I was any closer to what I wanted to do after those sessions as such, but he was a likeable guy and I got some reasonable good advice and food for thought. 

At one of those sessions he suddenly went quiet, looked at me and said "Your skepticism towards authorities really is very deep. You're truly a free spirit!". I laughed and said that it was probably true, just that I hadn't seen it like that before. All these years later it's actually one of the best and most insightful compliments I've ever gotten.

I should have started my own business back then already I suppose. But at the same time I don't think I was quite ready for it. And for some reason I still had faith in the Swedish labour market. Many, many, many hard lessons later I took the jump and it has been fantastic in oh so many ways, still is. At the same time as I admittedly more and more miss working with others towards a common goal, you know, the my kind of people thing and fuzzy feelings galore.

In general the labour market has changed so much since back then, I believe that today, in certain organisations and companies, there is room for free spirits to flutter and sprinkle magic dust. So I remain hopeful and stoked that will soon be the next logic step for me.

The free spirit card above? Well, that's from a blog reader turned friend - the day I spent with you in Heidelberg in October was one of my best in 2016, thank you again! And yes, I will blog about the Schwarzwald trip one of these days, I will... - and arrived a while back. Apparently she thought of me when she saw it at Trader Joe's; hedgehog, pink boots, Midsummer flowers in the hair add a free spirit. I was touched! It's pretty amazing when someone actually pinpoints me that well by reading the blog. Even if I suppose nearly 12 years of wording is a decent source for pinpointing. Nevertheless, touched.

And tomorrow, the commuter trains are back on track - doing a special free spirit happy dance under the stars!

Friday, August 11, 2017

as close as i'll ever get to colin firth in a wet shirt


One of my favourite castles in the whole wide world, Skokloster, currently has an exhibition called 'Jane Austens värld' (Jane Austen's world), with original clothes from 'Pride and Prejudice', 'Sense and Sensibility' and 'Emma', with focus on women's roles in society back then (late 18th - early 19th century). And as much as I adore the television and movie adaptions of Austen's books, oh my am I grateful I live here and now...


The guided tour was really good but I have to say that this particular piece was the highlight of the exhibition. For all of you who, like me, swooned over a certain someone in a certain scene in 'Pride and Prejudice' - you know why.

After the tour we could play dress-up and try on regency clothes, for some reason it wasn't a popular feature for the visitors in my group. But I decided to try on some hats at least. With an ever present Colin Firth.


It was the wonkiest mirror ever which made me in an A-line dress look even wonkier and as much as I love playing dress-up it's not much fun when you just look weird and there's noone around to laugh with, but a stern Colin. - Oh why couldn't you have smiled just a little bit during our brief moments together?


All in all a lovely day though. You can't go wrong with castle + waffles + tiny dog company. And a close encounter with Mr Darcy's once very wet shirt.


PS On August 19 they apparently host a Jane Austen ball at the castle, tickets sold out, but it does sounds pretty fabulous, wouldn't you agree? DS

Friday, August 04, 2017

dancing under the stars


The long, light, warm summer evenings and dark, starry lit nights lately have been a truly treasured thing for me. In the perfect seclusion of my garden I put on headphones and dance like nobody's watching but the bewildered cats - who demand regular belly rubs, back pats and cheek scratches before they continue chasing night insects and eachother through the dry, summer grass and shrubs - and the ever watchful stars above. It has been a lovely source for me to collect my thoughts and impressions of the day, feeling empowered and inspired. 

And I'm so grateful nobody can see me.

You know how last summer in the city was kind of cancelled due to the chaotic, stressful public transport situation with replacement buses for the commuter trains? This has been the case this summer too (which makes it the third summer for it). However this time it hasn't been the same stations involved as previous years so the replacement buses and options have been a few more. Slightly less stressful, but very time consuming and annoying just the same. 

Since I did have a few business meetings during these summer months I had to get a travel card, because single tickets would just be ridiculously expensive. And with a travel card and no real plans other than a workation staycation kind of summer I've been experimenting with those different travel options, buying lunch or coffee to go, sitting myself down on a bench with a view and simply feeling very fortunate in life, circumstances and not least the beautiful city I call home. Always followed by a long, brisk walk with my own thoughts as company alone. Which make me all but alone. 

Those days when I have no particular job to finish, no particular place to be or time to meet, when I can just stroll, sit, think, take silly pictures and be mindful of my place in time - they've been blissful. Such a lovely breathing space and reminder that amongst worry and searching for my place in life, my kind of people, that special feeling, life is quite spectacular. 

Filled with tiny moments of wonder.

And then yesterday I had a job meeting. I'm not sure if it was an interview, because that was my mindset going there but in the end it was just a really great meeting for a position that I feel would be perfect for me, my background and skillset. And I got the impression that feeling was mutual.

What's extra fascinating is that pretty much a year ago I was involved in a recruitment process for a similar position in a similar company, which turned out to be so very awkward and completely wrong for me, with my gut feeling basically screaming at me to get out when I stepped into the room. I have never felt so out of place in an interview situation before or after. It was like we were from two different planets, speaking different languages. 

I really didn't get their product/service, they had basically zero enthusiasm and vision and how could anyone thrive in such an environment? And how was I suppose to be able to market and sell it with no passion to be found?

This meeting yesterday, this product/service (beautiful design, great potential), this vision, this enthusiasm, it was the complete opposite, this I completely got. And embrace. Without reservation. And for you who know me by now, irl or by words only, you know I'm not easily smitten - if it's not a furry animal - rather the opposite. So I'm *a bit* surprised, but perhaps this reaction is how it's suppose to be when it's right? And honestly, things are so much better when you don't have this and that reservation about the product/service you're supposed to work with and what value you can bring to the table, when it just simply makes perfect sense.

When someone actually seem to appreciate me for being me because of my particular skillset and broad background - where the common denominators have been communication and text production in various forms - and not despite it. Rather liberating. And surprising. As much as I got them they seem to get me. 

Not sure what will happen now, but I've decided to feel stoked because it's a great feeling. I've also decided to trust the process - which isn't my strongest feature (hello impatience my ol' friend) - and when things happen they are meant to.

My weekend will now be spent working with the next chapters in the grief recovery process handbook and prepare for our next group session, first after a month's break, next week. It is a time for healing, tears, laughter and meaningful insights. It is the time for moving on. 

And dancing under the stars.
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