Keep the baby when you throw out the bath water

“What do you think, general?”
The general had his wide back turned towards me. He was looking out the window. Even though we were on the 8th floor, I understood he did not really see anything of the big, broken city under us.
“Can we ever get peace in this city?” I continued. “All we see is hate and revenge. Over and over again.”
Finally he turned around. The look in his eyes was as tired and grey as the sky outside.
“We can only get peace here if everyone gets amnesia.  So we can forget everything and start all over.”
With heavy steps he passed me and walked out of the room.
I went to the place at the window where he had stood before.  I saw kids playing in the debris after a building that had been blown up only last week. Once, maybe not even long ago, the ones who killed each other now, had played together just like these kids.
“No general, that would not work”, I mumbled. “We don’t want to throw out the baby with the bath water. “

I recently read Kazuo Ishiguro’s The buried giant, where Merlin tried to solve wars by making people forget. The only problem is that all memories go away. Also the great ones. The ones that make us happy, the ones that make us remember why we love someone.

Some want to leave all of their past behind, all of their memories.
Others want to avoid certain feelings. Anxiety, grief and loss… Today there are medicines available to numb these feelings. The only problem is; we can’t numb selected feelings.

When we numb feelings, we numb all of them. When we want to forget the past, we forget all of it. Like using pesticides in a garden to get rid of the weeds and killing all the roses too. 

Maybe, instead of forgetting everything, or numbing everything, we can all learn to live with both darkness and light. Appreciate what life brings, also when it is not what we want. Only then will we fully experience – rather than avoid – this amazing, difficult thing called life.


Is your life the way it was supposed to be?

She stared at the e-mail, blinking rapidly to remove the embarassing tears.  She was in the office for god's sake, she could not sit here crying like a little girl.
But she was crying. Quietly and carefully, making sure the colleagues in the open plan office would not notice. She fumbled around in her pocket, but could not find a tissue. She quickly removed the tears with her finger. 
The organizational message in her inbox was taunting her. Someone else had gotten the job she had applied for. A man, three years her junior, both in age and at the company. And they had not even bothered to tell her, they had not  contacted her after the interview.


She had been in the same position for five years. She - the ambitous one, the star student, stuck in a job she was overqualified for.
This was not how her life was supposed to be. 

There is a simple formula for disappointment.
Expectations ≠ Reality  =  Disappointment
When we expect one thing but life gives us something else, we get disappointed.
Even if the formula is simple, the feelings can be hard to deal with. Sadness, grief, loss of confidence...

When you feel disappointed, take a step back and look at what caused it.

Once you understand what your feeling of loss comes from, allow yourself to be sad, to be angry. To let go.

Then move on.

Accept your new situation, get used to it and make the best of it.

At some point in time, you may notice that what was not supposed to be - was exactly that.  


Does your box of time have holes in it?

How do you visualize your time?

Snowman in Margaret Atwood's Oryx and Crake talks about time as a box.

"He has to find more and better ways of occupying his time. His time, what a bankrupt idea, as if he's been given a box of time that belongs to him alone, stuffed to the brim with hours and minutes that he can spend like money. The trouble is, the box has holes in it and the time is running out, no matter what he does with it." 

I don't think the idea is so "bankrupt".

We all have boxes of time and time is steadily running out of them.

Some live long and have large boxes. Some only live shortly on this earth and have small packets rather than boxes.

The holes in the boxes let time through in an equal pace for all of us though. 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

Are you happy about how you have used the time that has run out of your box until now?

I hope so.

If not, remember that all the time that is still in your box can be used the way you want to. All you need to do is to realize that your box contains your time. You get to decide how to spend it.  It is never too late to become the master of your time, the master of your box.

May you make the most of all the time you still have in your box.


See beyond the explanations

Have you heard someone call a man hysterical lately?

Or ever?

Chances are you haven't, but you may have heard someone call a woman hysterical.

I recently read Rebecca Solnit's Män förklarar saker för mig / Men explain things to me.

In the book Rebecca describes that the word hysterical comes from the greek word hysteria which means uterus. When women were "hysterical" and showed extreme emotions and confusion, an explanation was needed. So an explanation was made up.

Hysteria came from - prepare for this explanation - "a wandering uterus".

Meaning that men could not be hysterical.

Today it is easy to laugh or shrug at this ridiculous explanation. Wandering uteruses. Who on earth came up with that?

Coming up with an explanation to prove what you believe, or what you want others to believe, is not uncommon. It happens all the time. 

Women cannot... because...
Men cannot... because...
Black people cannot... because...
Jews cannot... because...

Explanations are not proof. They are justifications for something someone believes in. 

Don't buy into explanations without using your own common sense.
Don't let anyone fool you.

And most of all - don't let yourself fool you, by explaining why you cannot do something you could do - if you weren't afraid of failing. 
Look beyond the explanation.
That is where you will find the truth.


Give your 2019 goals a chance to succeed

We have a bright new year ahead of us! Have you set goals? Any new year resolutions?

Many of these resolutions don't last, and far from all goals that are set, are reached.

Let's look at how you can increase your ability to reach the goals you have set.

For now I will assume you have set the goal to train more this year.

Write down what your life would be like in an ideal world. 
If you could have, do and feel everything you wanted, what would your life be like?

Make sure your 2019 goal is connected to this vision. 
Will achieving your 2019 goal move you towards your vision? Is training more related to the vision of  your life? If not, consider another goal, or a re-phrasing of your goal.

Next, make sure your goal is connected to who you are.

Who are you? You are a person who takes on several different roles in your life. Like being a child, a parent, a spouse, a friend, a colleague...

Choose the role that is related to the goal you have chosen. 

Write down what your mission is for this role; what your reason for being is.

Make sure your 2019 goal is connected to your role and your mission. 

Let me give you an example.

My husband and I have several visions for our lives. One of them is:

Happy, Healthy, Loving, Family. 

Two of the related roles are Parents and Lovers.

Our mission for Parents is

Providing Love, Security and Guidance. 

Our mission as Lovers is:

Side by side through good times and bad
Love and attraction forever. 

If I set a health goal with all the above in mind, I will be a lot more likely to achieve the goal than if I just set an isolated goal like "I will train more 2019".

Connect your goals to your vision and your mission and you will achieve them.

Good luck!


How to unclutter without getting rid of things you love

Lots of books have been written about the importance of uncluttered homes.
Get rid of clutter, get rid of stress.

I value the efficiency of an uncluttered house. Like being able to find things fast and easy rather than wasting time looking for what I need. 

I also like beauty. To me beauty can include pretty precious things that remind me of places I have been or people who are dear to me. 

It took me a while to find out how to combine these two desires. Uncluttered and efficient, yet enjoying many things that matter to me. 

Like the two sets of china we have. One is a wedding present, the other  is a present from my late, beloved grand mother. 

Since a few years I keep one of the sets in the vitrine in the kitchen, while the other is stored in the attic. Every autumn and spring I switch between them, so we have a "winter china set" and a "summer china set". 

That way I can keep the look in the vitrine tidy and I get two keep both sets. Also, when I change I get a "new look" in the kitchen.

Of course the switching, including carefully wrapping the china and putting it in a box, costs some time.

I have decided it is worth my time.

When I talk about Holistic Time Management, this is one of the pieces. Looking not only at what costs time, but at what gives you energy and happiness. And then decide how you want to spend your time. 

For me, it is a good time business case to store some things and switch now and then. I do it not only with sets of china but also with clothes, coffe table books and other things.  

Your way of managing your things and your time may be different. And that is OK.

That is also part of my approach to Holistic Time Management - the only right way is your own way.  

If you haven't found your way yet, let me know and I will gladly help you find it :).


Where did my 8 hours free time go?

It was May 1, 1890.

Av Herr Axelsson i Skönvik - Klass i rörelse

 In Sundsvall in Sweden the workers demonstrated, demanding:

8 hours work
8 hours free time
8 hours rest

Maybe you work about 8 hours a day.
Maybe you sleep 8 hours or less every day.
Does it feel as if you have 8 hours free time per day?

I don't know how you spend your time.
But I know that one difference today compared to 1890, is that we spend a lot of time going from one place to the other.

In Sweden 1890, many people would work at home or close to where they lived. The kids would be at home or in a school they could walk to.

Today a lot of time is spent on bringing kids to school, going to work, picking up kids, bringing them to activities, going to the gym, taking the car to go to a shopping center etc.

Some of your "free time" may be spent transporting yourself and your family members to different places just to make life fit together.

Marta Vaidla has found another way. A way that makes it easier to manage the "work-life balance" we so often talk about.

If you want to get some ideas about how to balance or even integrate work life with family life, listen to my interview with this mother of four who works as a real estate agent.