The magic is in the in-between

Some of the positive psychology and positive thinking lingo that’s out there can easily be misunderstood as always being in perfect bliss or never going through rough times. That’s not it.

Life is brutal. And beautiful. Brutiful as Glennon Doyle would put it. But most of life is in the in-between. Just days passing by, mundane, in routine, gloomy, okay, nothing-special-at-all. This is where the magic happens.

Sure, we can do our best to sharpen our peak experiences and make them last or cut off the depth of our rock bottom, but I’m not so sure we’ll succeed. They’re part of life and are experienced best by letting go of resistance and accepting reality as it is.

I love how James Baraz describes this:

Mindfulness is simply being aware of what is happening right now without wishing it were different; enjoying the pleasant without holding on when it changes (which it will); being with the unpleasant without fearing it will always be this way (which it won’t).

The space where we have the most power over our life quality is in the in-between. While brushing our teeth on a Tuesday morning, commuting to work, in a job meeting, while reading emails, in the grocery line, cooking food, putting the kids to bed, cleaning up, in the sofa, the thoughts as we lay down to sleep. If all those moments are suffering or filled with worry your life quality is likely not very good. If most of those moments are present or filled with gratitude your life quality is likely very good. The magic is in the in-between.

If you want to start somewhere I suggest a gratitude list every morning and every night. It’s the surest way I know of to start building new neuro pathways that will, with practice, change your life. Because, gratitude is the gateway drug to happiness. If we can find gratitude in days passing by, mundane, in routine, gloomy, okay, nothing-special-at-all, we’ve come a long way.

With all my love,

Helena

When your no is clear, I'll believe in your yes

Boundaries. So important. Boundaries. So hard. I used to think that boundaries meant distancing, closing the heart, loving less, shutting out… Now I know it’s the opposite. Love without boundaries is weak, and non-accountable, and less that what it has the potential to be.

If you say yes to everyone and everything all the time, eventually your yes is eroded. When you take a breath, listen in before you respond to any request I will know that you’re following your intuition and being real with me. When your no is clear, I’ll believe in your yes.

Some of the most powerful people I know have really clear boundaries. They also happen to be the most loving people I know, because they don’t deplete themselves in the false pretense of service. When they serve or give they do so from an overflowing heart, from abundance of energy and love and care. Brene Brown found in her research that the most compassionate people are the same people that have the strongest boundaries. Because you can only give what you have and boundaries is self-compassion. It might be surprising but also so obvious when you think about it.

No one else can be responsible for your boundaries but you. No one will thank you for not having any. And no one else but you knows where they are.

I believe we all need to practice, I know I do. But the next time someone asks you to do something, give something or go somewhere; take a pause. You always have five seconds to spare. Take a deep breath and listen in; is this aligned with what you need or have to give right now? If you don’t feel a ‘hell, yes!’ or a ‘No.’ right away, ask to get back to the person. They can usually stand to wait a couple of hours or a day.

And remember, ‘No.’ is a full sentence. If you want to put a lot of effort into explaining yourself, you can, but you don’t have to. Usually it just mashes your no in with a lot of maybe’s and unnecessary words and you end up being unclear.

When your no is clear, I’ll believe in your yes.

With all my love,

Helena

Wasting life, is that possible?

Sitting on the Gatwick Express going into London, an action packed week ahead of me; staying with friends, meeting Danielle Laporte, taking the train to Paris for the weekend to spend time with my nieces who live there, going back to London for some more friends and a big talk on Monday night before I fly home on Tuesday night. Some kind of calm always come over me in situations like these. Calm because I know I’m living fully.

Summer vacation is always a bit stressful before I have planned everything out; knowing who to be with when and where. It’s not that I constantly have to do, do, do, but it needs to have some kind of purpose. If the purpose is relaxation then I’m fine with that.

But no purpose, no doing, no plan, that feels like waste. Anxiety-producing. I didn’t even know that that’s what I felt about it until I articulated it to a friend. She asked me why I was constantly running, learning, exploring, adventuring, moving… and I said it: “Otherwise it feels like I’m wasting life.”

It’s been lingering, since I said that. Can you really waste life? Is a life filled to the brink a life better lived than a more quiet one? Is doing a virtue at all?

Life quality is not about doing things, it’s about how you’re feeling as you’re doing what you’re doing (Danielle taught me that!). The more you get to feel the way you want to feel the better you’ll perceive your life quality. And the trick is to learn how to produce those feelings in the small things in your everyday so that you don’t have to wait for the few and far between grandiose moments in your life (which usually are overrated anyhow).

I don’t have an answer to this yet but her question is certainly getting me thinking. And this is where I’ll be for a bit I think. Enjoying the question without having to have a clear answer. Figuring out the balance between doing and being, between thinking and consciousness. I know where my edge is, where’s yours?

With all my love,

Helena

Summer blogging

Summer’s here and it feels like a lot of people are running around in a frenzy as if the world will end right after midsummer. I know mine won’t because I just started a new big HR consultancy projects that will run into the beginning of July ;)

I love this time of year, and I also get easily overwhelmed by all of it. Fun things happening all the time, feeling some stress over how to plan a meaningful summer vacation and feeling accomplished with what I’ve done in these first six months of this year. None of which are my real metrics of success, but my mind is really active right now and that’s the KPI’s it’s working under.

Alignment before action, I know. So that’s what I’ll focus on when it comes to my blogging, newsletters and social media the next coming months. If it feels aligned I will write and share, if it don’t I won’t. Usually I produce more when allowing myself to feel into it, but if that won’t be the case that’s okay too.

You always know where to find me, I won’t be too far off the grid. But I also wish for you to get some time off your phone/ computer/ tablets or wherever most of us spend a lot of time these days. Enjoy the people around you, nature and your own company. And remember, your mind is just a tool that you can choose to detach from if you want.

With all my love,
Helena

ps. I’ll probably re-launch the online course for one more round over summer vacations, more info about that on my Instagram within shortly!

Lessons from two years as a solopreneur

This past weekend I celebrated 2 years as a mostly digital solopreneur, by hanging out in the woods with no wifi :) And I reflected a bit about what I’ve learnt on this journey. It’s been a wild ride of course, mainly emotionally, but it’s also been so rewarding, teaching me things about life more than about business. I could probably come up with many more but these are three main keys that’s worked as guideposts to my entrepreneurial journey so far.

Alignment before action

I’m a very action oriented person. Or, maybe, I used to be. The first six months of my journey was a lot about getting things done. Creating for the sake of production and getting the word out to as many people as possible. I hustled. Very little happened.

At the beginning of 2018 I took an online course, with Jess Lively, called Flow with intention. It was all about the law of attraction and talking to my intuition and I realized one main thing; alignment needs to come first. When I get into action from a space of forcing or striving or needing to be “the good girl” I attract tension, and neediness and guilt. When I first focus on my alignment; meaning feeling the way I want to feel and taking care of myself properly, I’m a vibrational match for all that I want more of.

As I started focusing the first hours of every day on alignment things really started flowing for me. Opportunities showed up from unexpected places, creativity started flowing in a new way and most importantly, I was so much happier in my life in general.

Focusing on alignment first doesn’t mean that it’s not okay to have a bad day. It’s about adjusting schedule, plans and goals when needed. We can force and strive and do as much as we like, but if we’re out of alignment doing it it’s time wasted. At the same time, one email in alignment can change the whole trajectory of your business or life.

My main commitment every week is still this: Alignment before action. And I still forget sometimes. And when I do, I’m reminded by the way I feel and by things not flowing as they normally do.

So many people say that you need to work day and night, and so hard as a solopreneur to make it, quite the opposite has been true for me.

Community is everything

Just as I was leaving the uncomfortable but safe cocoon of my corporate career two important things happened; I connected with Intenco and I walked into the castle. I was clearly lead to both places.

My “door opener”, who called me the night I knew for sure that I could no longer stay in my current job, collaborated with an HR consultancy firm called Intenco. Getting to be part of this community of senior HR professionals with so much love, confidence and experience has had a huge part in my first two years being so rewarding.

The Castle is a co-working space located opposite the royal castle in Stockholm where a new acquaitance invited me in the spring of 2017. I knew, the moment I stepped foot in the door, that this was the kind of energy I needed in my life. This is where I go to feel at home, to meet my family/colleagues/friends, and this is where I get so much inspiration for my creative work.

Following the cues when it comes to building my network as an entrepreneur has lead me to so many amazing people, experiences, lessons and adventures. I’ve grown so much from all the community I have around me everyday.

So many people say that being an entrepreneur is lonely and isolating, quite the opposite has been true for me.

Intuition leads the way, authenticity is key

I started blogging about my health journey seven years ago, in the midst of my own despair. I continued blogging because I wanted to log everything I learned and share it with others who might benefit. I’ve always written with an intention to serve, myself or others.

As the blogging grew and I grew as a teacher, student and communicator with different tools I slowly realized that I was growing a business. But as soon as I realized that I thought I needed to change. And I have, of course. But there’s a lot of do’s and don’ts out there when it comes to digital entrepreneurship and so many self-proclaimed gurus in the field.

I love to get inspiration and some advice is really great, but whenever I get too influenced I lose my footing. I wanna be real with you. And, I wanna reach the people who really need the advice/ inspiration/ knowledge/ hope that I can offer. It’s a balance I’m still trying to find, and it will probably always be a balancing act.

So many people say that there’s a proven formula for how to do this thing, quite the opposite has been true for me.

Two years has felt really long and super short (there’s that paradox again). But I’m so grateful, most days, that I get to do this, that I get to be here. And to be able to conclude that I work less, feel abundant, have more fun and feel like I’m actually making a difference in peoples lives is worth it all.

If you’re an entrepreneur - what do you think of my lessons above, have they been true for you too? If you’re not an entrepreneur - what did these lessons bring up in you? How could you translate these into your current job?

With all my love,

Helena

When the worst thing happen and it feels like relief

We generally spend a lot of time in our heads, thinking about life rather than living our life. And our minds are so creative. Whether we’re daydreaming about what vacation will feel like or we’re worrying about the future, it’s the same thing; fantasies. Not reality.

I talked to a friend the other day and she told me about this guy she’d been dating for a couple of months. At the beginning it was awesome but quite soon she felt as if he was drifting away and she started feeling a lot of fear for it to end. It was a grueling couple of months of worrying for it to end. And then it did and all she felt was relief. Because when what she feared would happen actually did it turned out to be so much easier than she had expected. Her conclusion was that the fear of them breaking up was worse than them breaking up. She felt relief because she didn’t need to be afraid anymore.

Here’s the thing: In the now we always deal. Moment by moment by moment. In especially grueling experiences we are forced to be completely present which usually is a huge relief no matter what it is, because we don’t have to deal with anything else at that moment than the present one. We can always deal one moment at a time.

When we’re living in our mind we can’t deal because it’s not in the present moment where we have the power. So, we feel powerless and full of despair, fearing a possible future moment that we would, in fact, deal with perfectly fine if that moment would come. Because, again, in the now we always deal. We’re always okay.

You’ve survived every day so far. All is well. Come back to now, where your power lives, and realize that you have nothing to worry about.

With all my love,

Helena

All of a sudden I felt okay with my body

I’ve had two photo shoots this week. Not that I do a lot of photo shoots but for various reasons two coincided in the same week. And it made me realize: I don’t hate how my body looks anymore.

I learned to love the function of my body during my healing journey and I’ve grown to respect it tremendously. It works its ass off every day to serve me. It does the best it can. And since 7 years back I also do my best to serve it back. We’re a good team.

Still, I didn’t like how it looked. As many women learn to not like the way they look. We’re daily fed with the idea that there’s something wrong with the way we look and that we need to fix that, with various products or diets or fixes. There’s a lot of money involved in the industry of making women feel as if they need to change the way they look. Like millions and trillions.

I’ve been part of that circus and probably somehow still am. But it was a huge realization the other day when I noticed I was actually enjoying being photographed as I focused on the energy I sent out. I wasn’t focused on how my tummy looked or if the angle was good for my thighs or to tense the muscles in my arms. I was totally relaxed, knowing that my worth is not in my looks and that I’m okay.

Nothing has changed with my body. A lot has changed in my thoughts about my body. I’m not sure which have been the main causes for me healing my relationship with my body (and don’t get me wrong, it’s still not a completely uncomplicated relationship). These are a few of the practices I’ve put into to place and I think they combined and over time have helped:

  • I’ve dug into the areas of #healthateverysize and #bodypositivity and listened to podcasts like FoodPshych with Christy Harrisson and Insta accounts like @danikabrysha, @bodyposipanda, @aerie .

  • I’ve unfollowed all the triggering accounts online. Content that makes me feel unworthy or makes me compare instead of inspire are gone.

  • I read the book “Women, Food and God” by Geneen Roth.

  • I’ve started questioning all the “truths” portrayed in media or in the beauty industry. I look for the source, I ask my heart, I select my intake.

I think body love is a gradual process and that it goes back and forth depending on where we’re at in life. But one thing is clear to me; looking a certain way that external sources tell me to look it’s not worth my peace, happiness and mental health. That’s it.

What are your best tips for healing your body image and start loving every part of you?

With all my love,

Helena

This too shall pass

This might be the most helpful thing to remember in times of distress. I really love this quote from James Baraz:

Mindfulness is simply being aware of what is happening right now without wishing it were different; enjoying the pleasant without holding on when it changes (which it will); being with the unpleasant without fearing it will always be this way (which it won’t).

We’re so afraid that the good day is gonna be gone too soon and that the bad day will last forever. Nothing is gone too soon and nothing lasts forever. Everything changes. All the time. That is the only constant. We know this.

Living life with an open palm means being with what is and witnessing it come and go, without grasping on or trying to push things away. We know that most unhappiness lives in the gap between reality and our expectations of what reality should be. How can we practice being with what is instead and spare ourselves from unnecessary suffering?

I don’t have a definite answer, because I definitely do both grasp and push, on the daily. But I do notice my daily awareness practice through meditation helps. Talking about it with other woke people helps. Showing compassion with myself as I fail is instrumental.

Some say awareness is 50% of change. Well, let’s celebrate every second of awareness then, shall we?

What are your best tips for letting go and letting be as life moves through you?

With all my love,

Helena