Chinese whispers and emerging strategies

spor ivann

If you wrote me a letter, to tell me who you are, would I recognize that person if we met?

If you were able to shadow me for a day, would you see the connection between my words and my acts?

Or do we play an internal game of chinese whispers? To me at least, what starts as a perfectly well-defined intention, might go through tiny alterations through my acts, and end up as something totally different.

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Using my Ipad for instance. I grab it to get some information on a project I really want to do, I just check the news, then Facebook, then my mail…..you know. I would tell you that it is important to set goals and focus on them, my acts will tell you that what truly is important to me is checking out what my friends are doing. Or looking for antiques at eBay or catching up with the news.

Nothing wrong with that. As in chinese whispers, the word coming out at the end more often than not is a perfectly normal word, it is just totally unrelated to the initial one. How fun it is to hear everyone saying, “I thought you said” or “really, that’s not what I heard” .The surprise is fun when playing and disappointing when living.

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In business language we call these surprises an emerging strategy. We may print our strategies on glossy paper and publish them on our webpages, they still are just words. Our true strategy is the one emerging from our choices, priorities and acts.

Happily there are times when our bodies are wiser than our minds, what we do is what we really should do, and will take us to a surprising goal we will be happy to reach. The emerging strategy might be the best possible way. How would we know?

Just now I am backtracking my internal whispers, trying to recognize the first whisper. What is truly important to me, will my acts take me there? Or do the innocent, perfectly normal, diversions take me somewhere else, perhaps the place I should be?

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Meddling, minding, caring?

What’s in the walls of a city? As we walk through Berlin I ask myself, would we be able to feel the sinister atmosphere if it was not for our knowledge of the dark history?

Just 20 years ago this country had spies on every street, 90 000 people fully employed by talking notes on the “wheres” and “whens” and “with whom”s of their neighbors. Of course these people are still there, somewhere. Are they minding their own business or listening, remembering, abiding their time until another regime demands intense surveillance of their people?

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As this guy, looming on the street, looking in, waiting, for something to see that can be reported.

Or is it a joke? A story about scale and perspective, making a toy world of all the things we believe are big?

Then I visited the emergency room in Trondheim. This hospital has a remarkable art program, you’ll see interesting, thought provoking or just beautiful artwork wherever you go. This one is a puzzle though. Why is a bear banging its head on the wall of a hospital? Is that the feeling you get as a patient in there? Or is the bear trying to break in? A tale of the fact that even concrete walls can not protect us when life hits hard?

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Or as my brother said, she has pinched her nose, and the doctors will set her free! Then a friend said. Go look at the other side of the wall!

Today I did, for the first time.

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It is still a bear though. Even if it just wants honey.

Our society is free, isn’t it?
When you discover someone’s poking their head into your communications, they are not spying, they are doing it for your safety. If everything you buy or say or write is stored for someone to analyze later, no one is invading your privacy, they are protecting you, so that you can keep playing in your small, ordinary, safe, world. One could not expect ordinary people to understand that, it is just a kind bear.

Of course anyone can say whatever they want to in a free society.
Anyone will understand that calling freedom of speech a constitutional right, does not prevent the defenders of the constitution from gathering, sorting, analyzing and storing all these free statements. You are free to say what ever you want, as long as you accept that just how free you are, will be decided later. When everything gathered are sifted, balanced and compared to that day’s priorities and doctrines. What if we are not allowed to take part in deciding these criteria? It is just a funny guy, don’t worry!

What if the bear starts growling?

 

 

 

New beginnings?

For some reason New Year is the time for resolutions. “I am going to do this, or I’ll stop doing that” To me it is the most important de-cluttering, habits grow on us, and could make us settle in routines that will not take us where we want to go. What puzzles me is how we tend to adopt popular resolutions, and allow other people’s goals  be our defeats. Why should any article in any magazine know what I should focus on this year?

Dawn at the first day at the new year

Dawn at the first day at the new year

It is quite simple really, nothing can grow from nothing, a failure to deliver on prescribed goals may not be my failure, but an attempt to force nothing to grow. Magazines and even self-help books do not know which fruits  can grow when the seeds of my abilities and limitations interact with the people, challenges and tasks that I will meet during this year.

If my life is a garden, the perennials need weeding and dividing, the fruit trees need cutting back, and the flowerbeds are spiffed up with new seeds. I do not expect any apples,even if my neighbor will have them, as I have no apple trees. I do not wait for roses where my daffodils are, and I am experienced enough to know that dirt, water and sunlight are as important as the toil and fertilizer I will add.

New beginnings

New beginnings

I also know that some seeds may wait in the ground for years before they start growing. Nothing new has been added, only the possible beginnings have been given room.

My new year garden will have this plan, give room for growth and expect to be surprised by the seeds sprouting in your garden. Perhaps allowing other people or accepted standards to define my goals is not taking charge of my life, but avoiding taking responsibility?

 

What I forgot to tell you

IMG_0775I have my own advent calendar. No, that is not true, I have two advent calendars,if you do not count my calendar candle, that makes it three, I guess.  I am the only one in the family still childish enough to enjoy counting down to Christmas.

IMG_0313To me it does not have so much to do with expectations anymore though, it is my tool to stay present, to enjoy each day and take time to stop, reflect and pray.

The third calendar is the marked candle on my kitchen table. I light it when we are in the kitchen, for meals and for work. It’s single flame, reminds us, be here, now.

The second calendar is my music collection. For years I have collected Christmas music. Every day, when having after dinner coffee, we listen to one CD. Another reminder to take time, to listen, to be here, now. Not rushing ahead thinking of all the things that could have been done.

IMG_8333 julemarkedThe first calendar is our advent blog. My brother Trygve, and I write every day at Julefryd ,our norwegian advent blog. This is our fourth year. This year we are pondering and wondering on the theme “gifts and giving”.

As I try to calm down before Christmas, I do not write much on my other blogs during advent and Christmas, I’ll be back in 2015.

Until then, peace be with you in the holiday season and in the new year, see you!

 

Driving in LA

IMG_1680 trafikklysYou will not be able to drive in LA, it’s the craziest traffic, our friends in the Midwest told us, just as we were going to move to California.

I believed them. The first week I got my CA drivers license. Did I go anywhere? Hardly. Half a mile for groceries doesn’t count does it?

The first month I gradually drove further afield. All the way staying away from the highway, taking the very scenic route for everything.

Then one morning I was going to the doctor’s office, and I could not find it. I drove in circles, the GPS insisted I was close by, I was getting late, and suddenly I was on my way onto the highway. I stopped.

Then a police officer on a motorbike drove up on my left side. He stopped too, leaned over, and said, very quietly :You may go now….

And I did. I still did not go into LA though.

Until the last week of our stay. My husband was driving down to have  his Harley shipped and I took the car to pick him up. And suddenly I was driving alone in LA. The tarmac was just like any other paving. The signs were the same as the rest of the state, the cars behaved like cars all over the world. The sun was shining, I had the top down, and I was driving through LA. I even arrived at the shipping company way before my husband did.

I keep telling myself that story. Never let others define what you can do or not. At least give it a try! And I’ll let you in on a secret, a lot of others were driving in LA, and they do it every day….

Now, when a whisper tell me it can’t be done, at least not by me, I get my LA cup, have a sip of coffee and just go for it. You can see me on the cup can’t you!

IMG_7579 LA cup

Great expectations- the heart beat of Christmas

IMG_0782In april we were working like crazy to hand in a tender for a new clinic. The deadlines were looming, no breaks, little sleep and intense teamwork. In the middle of some calculations I heard myself singing Christmas carols. I was not surprised. My favorites are songs like “In the bleak Midwinter” and others with a slow, calming rhythm and with texts that places the Christmas wonder in the middle of our lives. No matter how hectic Christmas preparations may be, I hum these carols and know in my heart that it does not matter at all what you do or not do. Sooner or later Christmas will come, and I will be happy and content.

In fact Christmas never leaves my heart completely, and as I was finishing the spreadsheet in the spring sunshine, I hummed along, “Frosty snow did fall” .My song reminded me of all the times chaos has ended in cosmos and all the times we have been able to finish in time. Of course we did this time too, working through weekends and nights, but we did it, and succeeded. The new rehab clinic will open in January.

In december I write an advent blog in Norwegian together with my brother, Trygve. This year our theme is Gifts. My thinking will go along these lines, how to strain the ears of your soul to listen through the stress, through what you have to do, to who you are. Having read the books by Jan-Phillip Sender this fall, I call it listening for the heartbeat of Christmas. To me, that is the peaceful, comforting, steady pulse that makes me able to stay through real challenges. I just have to listen past the jingle bells, through to the falling snow.

I will occasionally post the texts in english too, but not every day. For those of you who want to see my photos in advent or who understand norwegian, this is the link www.julefryd.com see you there!

 

 

A new day, a new world

IMG_8083 julefuruOn friday I was in hospital. The test, to walk for six minutes without collapsing! And I did fine. I am well enough to travel, I will be well enough to start working on Tuesday. I am well enough to  live and enjoy one day at the time, which is actually the only way for all of us. We just tend to think everything is different when words like crisis, diagnosis and serious are uttered.

IMG_8087forventingFriday night we drove into the mountains to spend some days in our cabin, my husband, me, the dog and a vast unending winter sky. Celebrating new beginnings, hope and joy.

Saturday we woke in magic. I did not even wait to get dressed to start taking pictures, and it only got better. It was cold, damp and sunny. IMG_8108The fog from the lake and the river froze to crystals that covered a broad band down in the valley, then there was an equally broad band of frozen golden fall, from there the mountains were towering dusted by the first snow. Then night fell, early as it does in november. The stars came down almost to be touched, the northern light was dancing from one end of our world to another.

Filled with awe, gratitude and peace, ready for the world!

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