Reflection Archives

You will be judged.

Being judged is annoying at least and excruciating at most.
It is disturbing, perplexing and painful at times.

You will learn about your faults, mistakes and wrong decisions.

You may not like it.

There is one-sidedness.
There is misunderstanding.
There is injustice.

There are also dislikes, prejudices, intolerance or unfairness.

You may not like it either.

Through preconceived notions of others and their filters of reality:

  • You will be looked at, down or upon.
  • You will be reprimanded, scolded and rebuked. 
  • You will be aspersed, deprecated and disapproved.
  • You will be pointed at, criticized and attacked. 
  • You will be backbit too.

You may not like it at all.

The alternative is of course sound and safe.

You will be ignored.

Is it what you will like? 😉




Lines, circles and spirals

Imagine a straight line. It can be used to measure a length or a distance. It is there. It defines a boundary. It divides.

A straight line is about the number 2. Two points, the beginning and the end or moving along from the point A to the point B. It suggests a steady progress.  It is stable. It is predictable. Perhaps, it is an ideal.

Imagine a circle. It is created when you join the two end points of the straight line. It is about the number 12, as we usually divide the circle into 12 equal intervals, each 15 degrees, similarly as we have put the 12 hour measurements on the clock.

The circle is a closed and complete system. It goes around and never dies. There is an endless repetition, a change of hours, months, seasons or patterns.

There is a balance. There is a circular movement of a pendulum, a swing between polarities and everything in between. Perhaps a circle is about perfection because we capture symmetry, balance and the repetition of patterns.

Imagine a spiral. It is created when you attempt to connect the straight line into a circle but you finally don’t. The end becomes a beginning to something new, moving away from a circle. There are 13 points, at least. The 13th point is the step out of the balance and repetition. And then we may extend this spiral to grow bigger and bigger or contract it to make it smaller and smaller.  Alternatively, you may also think about a spiral in which each circle is a similar type of repetition as the one before but on a different level.

The spiral is an open system with the beginning and the end.
It is disturbing, because it is unsure where it leads to. There are new things on the way. Perhaps a spiral is a pattern of reality because we capture both the repetition and the change.

The symbols

The straight line is here a symbol of a stable life, with steady growth and progress. There is a daily routine, a sustained effort which directly translates to appropriate results. Life is perhaps boring but things are under control. The point, however, is that it doesn’t happen this way. And if it does, it is for a short while only.

The circle represents the balance between the polarities and everything in between. It is a symbol of repetition and going through the same stages. It is a symbol of life in balance between qualities and quantities, always the same. There are no or little surprises and this may be comforting for some.  There is however little learning too.

The spiral represents the change, learning and growth. Certainly, a conscious growth.  It is here a symbol of life. Not surprisingly, we find the pattern of spiral in the plant and animal kingdoms, as well as the formation of galaxies. They speak to us about growth!

What do we want to believe?

We want to believe in an illusion of a happy life, with stability and good income, perfect health, great kids, wonderful marriage, joyful friends and little problems. We want things to be predictable. We want to identify life with steady progress, reliability, moving from A to B. We want to think straight line.

It is not so.

We want to believe in the repetition of patterns, maintaining the balance between polarities, moving kindly between our needs and responsibilities, managing compromises, being patient and kind and always in control. We want to believe that when we balance things well, we live our perfect life of a circle.

It is not so.

On being whole

What we need to believe, or in fact accept, is the reality which includes the repetition of patterns for the sake of routine and order, but also unpredictability, chaos and confusion. Every day encompasses the circle of hours twice, yet every day is different. We change, from moment to moment, from day to day or from year to year. Even our solar system moves in the space, so the earth rotating around the sun doesn’t come into the same place ever again. It spirals in the space!

Spiral is about movement, change and evolution.

I think that spiral is a good symbol for life. When we are tired or lost, when we question our difficulties or events, when we dream about control and progress, let us remember that we are changing and growing. We are becoming. We are expanding in our consciousness and understanding. 

Every moment is different. Every moment is new. Every moment is to live it through. 🙂

If we take a spiral as an idea of growth, we become to understand that balance is flexible, being practiced in a moment. When we gracefully accept what comes and look at things with an eye of an enthusiastic learner, we begin to approach wholeness.

The secret is that we don’t need to change or improve or heal or suffer to become whole. We accept ourselves as a whole and start from there.

We then stop dividing and judging ourselves and others (the line approach). We then stop expecting the same movement between polarities and the control of events (the circle approach). Instead, we appreciate surprises, unpredictability and a little confusion. We learn from patterns, yet we choose to live in a moment to the best of what we can.

Confusion and chaos are welcomed as a part of life, similarly as health and diseases, births and deaths, progress and regress or work and rest. We understand that change may be difficult and scary and we are gentle with ourselves. The spiral approach is to accept and nourish ourselves and others. It is simple and effective as we both let go and go with the flow

Let us grow happily!


Photo courtesy John McStravick, available under the Creative Commons license on Flickr.


Some weeks ago I decided to treat myself with a full-body massage. It was not a usual Swedish massage I sometimes go to, but a special healing massage. It was something new for me.

When I arrived at the place, the Lady, I saw for the first time in my life, welcomed me with a smile. After the courtesy hello’s and a small talk that happens on such occasions, she asked whether we could start. I said “Yes”.

“What is your intention?”, she looked into my eyes. She was all ears, giving me a full attention.

I was surprised, perhaps even shocked. No masseur / therapist has ever asked me this question, neither in this way. And all over the years I visited various therapists on various occasions. The standard question usually evolves around “What’s your problem?”, “What brings you here?”, or “How can I help?”

I was surprised because asking about the intention is a coaching question. I loved it, of course. And you may imagine I’ve immediately liked the Lady too.

She was tough though.

“I want to release all negative emotions from my body”, I answered.

She looked into my eyes and said:

“No, this is not your intention. Look deeper. “

She was right. Negative emotions were only at the surface. They were important but not the real thing. So, in order to move closer to the real issue I decided to name the main emotion.

“It is about anger”, I said, “I feel it all over me.”
“I’m angry about the chain of events in my life that knocked down all my foundations.”, I added, “I am empty-handed. I have nothing to built on.”

Then I started to describe my issue in more detail. She stopped me half way.

“I’m not asking about the details.” She said. “They are not important.”

“What do you mean?”, I asked.

“What you describe is not about your intention”, she continued.

She was right again.

First, an intention is not about problems. It is not about what you don’t want or what you want to avoid or release. Intention is about whom you want to become, what you want to have, what you want to do or experience.

Secondly, I was not sufficiently specific. I moved deeper under the surface of my skin, so to speak, but what I was describing was not my intention. These were issues around my intention.

“Search deeper”, she commanded. “Name it.”

Of course, I knew what my intention was. I did not formulate it with words, but I knew what I came with. I was simply afraid to bring it into the light and to name it.

I was afraid because the intention was huge. The intention was encompassing the unknown. The intention was about something totally new. I was scared.

“Name it.” She repeated.

And I did. I made it explicit. Personal and positively stated. 

Suddenly my eyes were filled with tears. I touched the real thing in myself and I felt both relieved and vulnerable in that moment.

“That’s the point”, she said. “I recognize this is the truth.”

Then she continued,  “Let’s work on it.”

And what followed was an amazing massage.


I want to make two points with this story.

Point 1. First, there is the initial thought and/or the initial intention behind our actions. It is impossible to be conscious about all our intentions, but I believe that growth becomes natural when we realize our key intentions. We need to make them explicit.

What is your intention for this day?
What is your intention for this work?
What is your intention for this action?
What is your intention for this meeting?
What is your intention for this relation?
What is your intention for this complaint or excuse?
What is your intention for this visit/travel/journey?

Point 2. Secondly, massages act wonderfully on the whole person. It may seem that they only work to relax the body,  but it is a partial view. You may think that we can achieve similar or better results by other means, e.g. fitness, team sports such as tennis, football or volleyball, stretching exercises, prayer, going to the movies, meeting with friends and so on. I don’t think so.

Massages are a different modality that cannot be easily replaced. While regular exercises make wonders, while friends can lift our spirit, we cannot address all tense and difficult areas in the body.

In the very old times, the (healing) massage techniques were kept secret. They were available to the privileged ones, such as kings, gurus, leaders or priests. Why? Because massages were meant to re-model the person: help her to get rid of all patterns and beliefs impressed by upbringing, experiences or community. The goal was to prepare a person for an advanced and fast learning.

Nowadays we have a plethora of manual therapies and massages available, but we don’t treat them with respect. They can help you change, abandon limiting beliefs and transform the patterns that hold you in the past.

Give it a go and enjoy the flow!

I encourage you to ask around for a great masseur. Great massages can literally change your life for nicer.


The image above shows a beautiful quilt by Inge Duin. See more of her works on


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We have been looking for answers.

What is the point of all this?
What is the essence?

Some say it’s about selfish genes.
Others say it’s about game.

Some say it’s about development.
Others say it’s about enlightenment.

Some say it’s about experience.
Others say it’s about sacrifice.

Some say it’s about success.
Others say it’s about love.

Some say it’s about good and bad.
Others say it’s about salvation.

We are looking for new goals and new challenges.

We hope a new job will give us satisfaction.
We hope children will add meaning to our lives.
We hope degrees and diplomas will make us rich. 
We hope a new car will make us happy.
We hope exotic holiday will bring us joy.

All these things can bring us joy, happiness and fulfillment, indeed.

Yet, they are not the answer.

Goals are important because we know in which direction we go. We plan, we act and we optimize our efforts.
The road is important because it defines our experience. We either enjoy it or suffer moment by moment.

Yet, the point is not in the goals, not even the road we travel.

The point is in a moment when we stop.

It’s too trivial you may say.

Have you ever climbed a mountain? Or a rock?

When we are walking or climbing towards our destination, we focus on what needs to be done, step by step. There is a plan of action or a routine to follow. There is a sustained effort.

Yet, there is a moment when we stop. Then we take a full breath and look around. We appreciate the beauty and acknowledge what is behind us and what is before us. It is exactly when we stop to become present in the moment.

We appreciate sore legs, pains in the calves, sore fingers from grabbing the rock, or shoulder aches from carrying a backpack. In such a moment we feel fully alive.

We appreciate the goal, the path and the effort.

What is a stop?
It is a moment between our out-breath and our in-breath.
It is a moment we are to wait. For an appointment, a bus or a friend.
It is a moment we become ill. A common cold or a serious disease.
It is a moment we make a turn when we lost our way.
It is a moment we make a choice.

It is a moment of coaching, therapy, massage, dancing, tapping, prayer, pilgrimage, meditation, travel or volunteering.

You may say that none of the above makes sense to you. You may say that such modalities do not work in your life. You tested all the tools and there is no improvement, but only problems and unhappiness. It has become worse instead of better.

How come?

All depends on how the external stimuli affects you. It does not matter what the stimuli is.

Will it make you curious to search for answers so that your inner playfulness is awaken?
Will it make you paralyzed from fear so that aggression is encouraged?

Natural curiosity is one of the greatest inner resources you have. If you suspend disbelief, disappointment, bitterness and grief, your curiosity will open new horizons. And such a curiosity leads to playfulness.

When children are eager to play, they learn fast. The same holds for you.

On the other hand, lack of learning leads to frustration. Fear fires hostility. Rage becomes aggression. When aggression has been suppressed for a long time this self-aggression turns into an autoimmune disease.

When children are timid and uncertain, they are more prone to aggression. The same holds for you.

Sometimes the external stimuli is not to your liking. You don’t welcome it, neither appreciate. However, it comes to you and it comes with a powerful impact.

Perhaps your friend betrayed you.
Perhaps you lost your job or a house.
Perhaps your child became a drug addict.
Perhaps you had a car accident because somebody run into you.
Perhaps your parent, friend or a beloved one was diagnosed with cancer.
Perhaps you made a deal with dishonest people and run into huge debts.
Perhaps your company lost liquidity and you are on the way to bankruptcy.
Perhaps your hard disc suddenly crashed burring all your projects, data and files alive.

You are lost.

It is a moment when you stop.

Have you become fearful?

Whatever the difficulties, in the moment we either stop or are made to stop, we can make a choice.

Do we want to subscribe to fear and become bitter, hostile and aggressive? Or, do we want to spark our curiosity to look for new possibilities? Are we searching for transformation or progress? Can we move from glory to glory?

We cannot change the event. The stop is there. But we can change our perception and response.


Photo credit Fe Langdon, available under Creative Commons on Flickr.



Today was a day like many others, yet it inspired me for some deep thinking.

In the afternoon, I was going to travel by bus with my kids. There is nothing exceptional about this, except that my kids adore buses and trams. They can easily enjoy a half a day in buses, given that we change them a few times. Yes, they are still pre-schoolers and love simple experiences.

So, we arrived at the bus-stop and had about 7-10 minutes of waiting, even though I usually plan to wait for five minutes at most (otherwise small kids get too impatient).

Today, however, was a different day. We had a bit more time than usual.

At the bus-stop, what I noticed first, was a small, nearly invisible fume coming through the hole of the public trash-bin. I thought the fume was caused by a cigarette which was not properly finished off. I decided it would diminish by itself, which made me decide to ignore this.

I focused on entertaining my kids.

In the following minutes, however, the fume began to grow slowly heavier and darker. Basically, more intense.

It became clear to me that the little fire had started there. Things were not going in the right direction.

Still, I told myself to ignore what was happening and wait for other people at the bus-stop to take action. I justified myself as having kids on board and having to arrive on time for the medical appointment. As a result, I subconsciously waited for somebody else to put down the fire.

There were many potential candidates for action, including teenagers, young men, old men and women.  A kaleidoscope to choose from. Yet …

Nothing happened for a while.

And then it suddenly became crystal clear to me. My conscious thought that had been kicking at the back of my head got sufficient attention. I said to myself “Ela, this is your life and this fire has manifested in your life.  You did not invite it, but it is there. You see it. You know where it leads to. You are responsible for taking action.”

There was no more excuses.

I decided not only to act, but to make it educational. I explained to the kids that there was a fire developing (which they noticed of course, anyway) and we were to play the fire brigade.

I made a little performance and we all run, while making noises (remember we were the fire brigade) to the nearby shop to buy water.  Then we run back to the trash-bin to put down the fire.

We were excited because we had a mission to fulfill. And we put the fire down. I did the job first, but let the kids have their water flushes as well. They felt important and were very pleased, as well.

And, we managed to catch the bus too. It was a few minutes late.

The moral of the story

When you first notice something in your life, don’t pretend it was not there, because of ease or convenience. You are there to act.


When a person on a street begs you for money or food, don’t pretend he was not there. You don’t need to give him money, but look into his eyes and respond with respect.

When your car engine begins to make strange sounds, don’t pretend you have not heard that. Perhaps it is the high time for a repair.

When your body communicates to you that something is wrong with your internal organs, don’t neglect the message. Find a way to relax and look for appropriate help.

When you feel that something is really sleazy with your business partner, don’t excuse his non-transparent behavior by tiredness or personal problems. Confront him with your feelings and seek to understand.

When your child is more and more withdrawn, don’t push this thought away. Make the time to listen to her and help her to overcome the difficulties.

When your job is boring or makes you truly unhappy, don’t explain to yourself that this is the way it is supposed to be.  It isn’t. Don’t pretend things will improve one day. They will not. It’s up to you to find a job that brings you joy.


No more excuses.

If something shows up in your life – it belongs to your life. When you notice it, even briefly, you are responsible.


Photo credit Kevin Dooley, available under Creative Commons on Flickr.


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