Fånga dagen på en båt 

En tisdagsmorgon
   bland många andra
 på väg till jobbet

Min blick stannar
   vid Finlandsfärjan i hamnen
Tänk att en dag bara åka med...

Bara boka en resa
   åt mig själv, ett par böcker
En dag för avkoppling,
   lite livsnjuteri

En tisdagsmorgon
   bland många andra
är jag nu på väg

Min blick stannar
   vid Finlandsfärjans
svarta spegelglas
   i vilket livet just nu
Återspeglas

Tänk att jag idag åker med...
DSC_2294
Utkast från en bänk på soldäck

 

I have a dream… (på svenska)

I have a dream…
   sa en gång en känd
   amerikansk politiker i sitt tal

Jag har också en dröm
   om att kunna bidra
   till den värld jag vill leva i

Jag sörjer över brustna relationer
   över tillit som förloras till misstro och hopplöshet
   Och över kärlek som vänds i hat

Någon har dock sagt
   att hat bara är kärlek som gått vilse [1]
Och jag skulle så gärna
   vilja knyta ihop
   trasigt till helt

Jag skulle vilja vara en del
   i undret som sker
 När tillit byggs på nytt
   och försoning kan ske

Vägen dit
   tycks mig dock
   så skälvande skör

Om jag vågar mig på
   att gå den
är det nog i tanken på
att jag inte behöver vara
   själva lösningen
utan en del
   av ett större sammanhang
Likt pusselbiten som,
   hur svårplacerad den än tycks vara,
skulle saknas i helheten
   om den inte fanns där.

Och jag är inte ensam…
Vi är flera…

 

Under sju månader har jag gått en kurs i att medla i konflikter med Nonviolent Communication. Medlingsprogrammet, i regi av Friare Liv (http://www.friareliv.se/sv/), har varit förlagt under 4 tillfällen med tre kursdagar per gång. Därutöver har vi alla övat i två mindre grupper, en som träffats vid sex tillfällen och i en annan som övat varannan vecka i telefonkonferens.

I lördags, den 20 maj 2017, den sista kursdagens morgon läste jag upp den här dikten och spelade sången Si av den franska artisten ZAZ. Det var just den sången och erfarenheterna från medlingsprogrammet som inspirerade mig till att skriva dikten.

Sången finns på ZAZ hemsida:
https://www.zazofficial.com/en/music/

Samt på följande länk med engelsk text:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2qWX9p6SXZo

DSC_1679

Körsbärsblom i Kungsträdgården, Stockholm

[1] Ett citat som jag fann i en tidning någon gång på 80-talet, sagt av någon vid namn Bell Wall

I have a dream… (In English)

I have a dream…
   said once a well known
   American politician
in his speech

I also have a dream…
   of contributing to
   the world I want to live in

I mourn over broken relationships
   over trust lost to distrust, to despair
   and over love turned into hatred

Someone has said
   that hatred is only
   love that has gone astray [1]  
And I so much want
   to tie together
   what is broken to a whole

I would like to be part of
   the miracle
When trust is restored
   and reconciliation can take place

The road there
   just seem to me
   so tremblingly frail

If I dare to walk
   this road
it will be in the awareness of
that I need not be
   the solution itself
only a part
   of a bigger picture
Like the piece in a puzzle
   seemingly difficult to place
Which would still be missed in the whole
   If absent

And I am not alone
We are many who share a dream
   of a better world

During seven months, I have attended a course in mediating in conflicts based on Nonviolent Communication. The mediation programme, organized by Friare Liv (http://www.friareliv.se/en/) has been held four times with three days in a row. In addition to that we have all practiced in two small groups, one that has met at six occasions and another that have practiced every two week in a telephone conference.

On Saturday, May 20, 2017, the morning of the last course day, I read this poem and played the song Si by the French artist ZAZ. It was this very song and the experiences from the mediation programme that inspired me to write the poem.

The song can be found at ZAZ official website:
https://www.zazofficial.com/en/music/

You may also find it here with English subtitles:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2qWX9p6SXZo

DSC_1679
Cherry blossom in Kungsträdgården, Stockholm.

[1] A quotation I found in a Swedish newspaper in the 80’s by someone called Bell Wall

Duolingo

My trip to Berlin was booked and now I wondered:

-How much will I be able to speak if I do the whole Duolingo course in German?

My previous knowledge from the evening course in German 1983-84 was since long forgotten and when using a Univerb CD and book course in 2015, I mostly listened and seldom opened the book.

Before going to Germany on May 3, 2017, I actually did all the exercises and reached a level of 35% fluency according to the Duolingo application.

The greatest advantage with Duolingo is, in my point of view, to get a sense of the order of words in a sentence. The vocabulary increases of course too. I wasn’t however that accustomed in creating my own phrases and started to do it on my own out of situations in my daily life before the trip. Duolingo is for me a bit like listening to music and singing along, knowing all of the text by heart. Ask me to sing the same song without the help of hearing it simultaneously and I will know perhaps about half of the text by heart.

Looking back now at my seven days in Berlin, I did feel more at ease speaking. It still happened that I needed to change to English, however less often than in my week there in 2015.

Writing produces an imprint in the brain and as I often wrote the same faulty sentence AGAIN (how irritating!) I started to sometimes copy the correct answer from up in the top of the window by writing it accordingly. Thus my 35% of fluency needs to be taken with a grain of salt.

Using Duolingo this time[1] intensively for a month I was very content with the practicality of the application. It is easy to use and as the exercises only takes about 5-10 minutes, it is easy to keep up the continuity of training.

Yet, there are things I would like to find and this is therefore my wish lists for future updates:

Technical related wish list:

  • Ability to see the amount of exercises I’ve made in a day. No matter how many exercises done, the application only shows “Practice complete +10XP”.
  • Ability to save phrases in order to create my very personal phrase book.
  • A possibility to choose the amount of repetitions that shows for each day. Getting 25 new every day was stressful. Perhaps though, this might be due to the amount of exercises I had done the previous day?
  • When having finished a repetition, it sometimes takes a about 10 seconds before the color change to orange and the text “No more week words/Strength full” shows. This could perhaps be my phone being slow.

Language related wish list

  • A module with pure grammar information in order to get the bigger picture of a language once in a while. I especially missed that in the beginning.
  • A part of this grammar module would be a table with the auxiliary verbs, to be, to have etc
  • Orderly exercises corresponding to this grammar module. With this I mean sentences being in the order of I, You, He/She/It, We, you, They. As this suggestion might be what many like least with language learning (plodding through, just like in school) it could be a bonus skill for nerds who want to dive deeper, just like the exercises “flirting” and “idioms”.
  • When studying French, a decade ago, there was a vocabulary test, Maximots, built by a professor at Stockholm University on the 1600+ most used words. I’d be delighted to find a similar option also in Duolingo.
  • I have often had a good laughter by some of the sentences, especially in the Danish course. Some of my favorites are: The squirrel is our captain, the ants import rye bread, I am the queen of France, and Why does the bear conduct the orchestra? In the same time, I really don’t know when I would use them. And, Good Heavens, what would an answer be if I did?

 

New languages wish list

Some years ago, I fell in love with the Breton language and in 2014, I went on a five days’ language course in Brittany.

According to UNESCO, the Breton is a severely endangered language with an estimate of only 250 000 speakers[2]

The Duolingo newsletter of May 18, 2017 tells a hopeful story of another endangered Celtic language, the Irish. With only 44000 speakers it is classed by UNESCO as “Definitely endangered”[3] and now “3 million people are learning Irish with Duolingo” [4]

What an advantage! Except for the opportunity in learning new languages, the Duolingo application is also contributing to save endangered languages. How many more can be saved? What about being able to learn as well e.g. Sami languages and Occitan?

My first wish is to soon find Breton as one of your courses. With the facility of the Duolingo application more people would have the possibility to learn Breton, thus helping also this language to stay alive.

Here is the link to learn new languages[5]:
https://www.duolingo.com/register

DSC_1904
Berliner Dom, St. Marienkirche, Fernsehturm and the Humboldt box.

[1] I discovered Duolingo in 2016 and started with the German course, then changed to do some Italian and finally the whole course in Danish.

[2] www.unesco.org/languages-atlas/index.php

[3] www.unesco.org/languages-atlas/index.php

[4] https://www.duolingo.com/comment/19407224/Irish-President-meets-with-Duolingo-and-course-contributors?utm_source=newsletter&utm_medium=link&utm_campaign=save_irish

[5] This blog post has been sent to Duolingo on their “Submit your Duolingo story!” https://docs.google.com/forms/d/e/1FAIpQLSfAnfVmCB7UftggiS0pMAtN4ctX1yZuW3wGRG6MfCyAFrHEgQ/viewform?c=0&w=1

An afternoon in Stockholm

It seemed like an ordinary day. 
Until a stolen truck came rushing
   straight into the crowd of people.

How to comprehend what  precede 
   when a human being choose to kill?
What if we could all be close long before, 
   to be a friend to each and one of them 
   who need support. 
What if we then could prevent 
such a sadly choice that was made today.. 
Stockholm Town Hall, Photo from February 2017

Centralens Café

Liksom bara måste
   skriva
Minnen av resor,
   avfärder... ankomster

Visselpipan
   som föregår avgången,
Tåget som sätts igång
   med ett ryck

På väg
   mot okänt eller känt

Framtiden är
   alltid oviss
Livet självt
   är en resa

Café au lait och en muffins
Gemenskap för en stund
   med ett resande folk.

Bokstavsfotografier

Sommaren 2006 förde jag över en ansenlig mängd dikter från diverse anteckningsböcker till datorn, sorterade de jag gillade bäst i olika teman och skickade in min samling till tre förlag.

Att diktsamlingen inte gavs ut tog jag med ro. Det som var viktigt för mig var att jag faktiskt hade försökt. Nu tar jag saken i egna händer och kommer att publicera en dikt i veckan här på bloggen.

Vissa av dikterna hade idag blivit annorlunda, en och annan hade jag kanske inte ens skrivit. Så småningom hoppas jag hinna leta upp datum för när varje dikt skrevs. Den här första är skriven 2006 som en presentation av samlingen:

Bokstavsfotografier (Inledning)

Dikter…
… för att förmedla en känsla
eller för att själv göra sig av med en.
 
Vilken paradox egentligen,
att kunna släppa en känsla fri
   genom att fästa den på pappret.
En hälsning till framtiden,
   där jag läser mig tillbaka
   till det som var nu.

Jag omvandlar i ord
   det som berör mig,
möten med människor
   och de spår de lämnar inom mig
   av lycka och vänskap, oro och sorg.

Hemma, i lugnets trygga vrå
   eller mitt i folkvimlet,
kanske på en främmande plats
   någonstans,
   någon annan stans
mitt i världen,
   omvandlar jag till ord,
det mina sinnen
   just för stunden registrerar.
 
Färger, dofter, smaker,
   ljud och förnimmelser,
blir till ett
   Bokstavsfotografi
som bär upplevelsen med sig,
uppenbarar nuet
för att ge liv
   åt framtidens minnen.

Empathy vs Codependency

Face to face with a person in need, I often tend to immediately react to that need. This reactivity of mine has also been pointed out to me a few times “That someone needs your help does not necessarily mean you need to do it right away” and “Hey, just because I mentioned what needs to be done, it is not necessarily YOU who need to do it. I am also here, you know…”

What is this urgent need in me to FIX, to SOLVE?
A friend of mine called it “Identification”, identifying with the other and thinking it is my responsibility to solve the other person’s dilemma. I have started to think of it as codependency.

A while ago, I attended a conference about empathy. The speaker indicated how fixing or solving is to protect the other person from his/her own development also quoting a saying: “No true transformation without suffering”. In a way, fixing the situation for the other or telling him/her what to do is, if we bring matters to a head, to try to steal away the self-power and initiative from the other. We all have our very personal way to walk. To put one self in the shoes of the other is NOT to be understood literally, it is only meant as a way for our imagination, helping us having an empathic understanding of the other person’s situation.

So what is empathy? Well, I know what it is not: When identifying, I lose the border between myself and the other. My lack of integrity makes me vulnerable and leads me down into the other person’s pain. I start to feel the same feeling.

In a booklet, Getting past the pain between us, Marshall Rosenberg compares empathy to surfing as it is a question of following the other person’s energy, like if the state of mind of the person being listened to, is a wave to surf on[1].

If I take this picture of empathy being like surfing a bit further on, surfing is about following the wave ON the board, not diving into the water. The surfing board can thus be a picture for my integrity, keeping myself intact instead of diving into identifying.

One thing Marshall Rosenberg says, that I find very challenging, is that empathy requires “learning how to enjoy another person’s pain”.[2]

Enjoy???
Well, maybe it is the fact of us not identifying and taking the responsibility for the other person’s case, the fact of instead just BEING THERE for the other, to know that I can be a space for the other to rest in for a while, a support, like a mirror of warm attention to the other person to look in where he or she can find clarity by being heard and rephrased in order to find his/her own solutions.

Rephrasing is something that has not come natural for me until now. As I am discovering it, using it more and more, I begin to believe that it helps me to “stay on the surfboard”, i.e. helping me staying intact by reflecting back instead of identifying.

One of the most challenging things for me to hear is when someone expresses a feeling of hopelessness and I’m not sure of having ever had the strength to rephrase back this feeling. To put these very words into my own mouth has seemed to me like I would surrender to the feeling of hopelessness. Yet, surrender is exactly what I have been doing when my conditioned reflex has made me try to solve the situation for the other. Identifying and taking responsibility in codependency is an obvious way to drown myself in the other persons feeling.

Is this maybe my turning point?

What if reflecting back the other persons feeling with my own words is not only helping him or her to see in the mirror of warm attention but also the way for me to abandon codependency. And a way to start living empathy.

[1] Rosenberg, 2005, Getting past the pain between us, p 8

http://www.growingempowered.org/wp-content/uploads/2016/02/Getting-Past-the-Pain-Between-Us.pdf

[2] Rosenberg, 2005, Getting past the pain between us, p 9

wp-image-1966742938jpg.jpg
Sunrise on June 6 2016, 03:41

Lycklig resa med SL

På väg från jobbet,
småspringer
   för att hinna med tunnelbanan.

Men redan på rulltrappans
   översta trappsteg hör jag
   tåget bromsa in.
Mina odds är små
   men jag springer ändå
bara för att få se
   hur dörrarna stängs och tåget sätts i rörelse.

Ändå springer jag vidare...
   söker förarens blick.

Tiden gör ett uppehåll
och jag känner mig sällsamt levande
   när han bromsar
   hela det långa tåget,

bara för att släppa på mig...

~*~

"Byrålådsdikt" från någon gång på 90-talet om en kväll jag hann med tåget 
från Fridhemsplan. På den tiden bodde jag på Ingarö och hann antagligen 
med en buss tack vare den vänliga tunnelbaneföraren. 
Dikten finns publicerad i boken 101 ord till vårt Stockholm

Mer info på:
http://101ord.se/

The beggar

(På svenska)

He sits outside the store where I buy my groceries.

– Hey hey, he says. How are you?

Meeting him awakes a lot of different feelings within me. First, I feel sad and discouraged about the fact that a fellow being has to sit outside, day after day, in the cold to beg for money in order to provide for himself and his family. Then comes the feeling of guilt because I have everything I need while he is sitting there… Together with the feeling of guilt, there is an awakening frustration, making me uncomfortable when encountering this man. I have a need for freedom of choice and leaving a coin in his cup is not the way I wish to contribute.

Instead, I have sometimes bought him a grilled chicken in the store or paid for a kebab and a Coca cola in the pizzeria while changing a few words with him. Maybe that is why matters are brought to a head. One thing is to buy a sandwich and a cup of tea to one of the beggars in the city that I will probably not see again. It is completely different to start buying food to the same person.

Meaningfulness is important to me as well as contributing to a better world. I do ask myself however, how meaningful my gift to the beggar really is as it is not based on a relation of reciprocity and equal conditions. The fact that I give from my abundance the times I choose to do so creates a relation based on my advantageous position and him being at a disadvantage. Besides, I see my gift as a drop in the ocean. How much would he need to change the situation for himself and his family? And there are so many more in the same state as this man sitting by the store. How can I help so that what I do actually do help?

This February (2016), the final report, Framtid sökes (Wanted: a future), was presented by the national coordinator for vulnerable EU citizens. This report has given me a lot of clarity and hope. The remit of the national coordinator for vulnerable EU citizens has among other been to “support work being conducted by government agencies, municipalities, county councils and organizations that come into contact with vulnerable EEA citizens staying temporarily in Sweden, i.e. no longer than 3 months, and who do not have the right of residence.” [1]

In the English summary of the report one may read that ”Giving money to a person who begs is likely to cement the role of the beggar and not lead to any long-term change for the group. Children’s education is likely to suffer and the role of the beggar is likely to be passed down to the next generation.” [2]

The report encourages instead Swedes to support the several Swedish NGO’s that are active in the beggars’ home countries, Romania and Bulgaria. The strategic and methodical work of these organisations does lead to improvements of peoples’ living conditions. Organisations mentioned in the report, having increased their support during the last year are: The Red Cross, Heart to Heart, Star of Hope, Läkarmissionen, ERIKS Development Partner and SOS Barnbyar.

The organisation Heart to Heart has a development project aimed to help 4000 peasants out of poverty. The project includes, among others, education, health care, and courses for creating your own business.  Together with a local foundation, Heart to Heart has started a social company where 25 people are working, manufacturing traditional baskets. Paying tax on their salary, the employees are now as well included in the country’s system of social insurance. Heart to Heart has also supported a commune’s peasants to start an association in which they cooperate about e.g. purchases. Thanks to the positive development in this commune, many migrants are now returning home. Here you may find more information about the project:
http://english.hearttoheart.se/the-team-roma-project-2/

What I want to do now:

Since the late 80’s, I support the international work of Church of Sweden. After reflecting on how I can contribute to a better situation for the vulnerable EU citizens that come here, I have contacted the administrative centre at the church and asked for my monthly contribution to go to project P220 in Romania. This is also a project including education for children and young people as well as employments for adults[3].

Last summer I created a photography portfolio. Having no business of my own, I have decided that payments for prospective sales of my photos should go to some of the organisations with which I sympathize. My idea is also that, if the buyer agrees on it, a note will be added on a photo blog about what picture has been sold, to whom, for how much and which one of the organisations that will benefit from the sale. The portfolio is here:
http://www.karin-blomqvist.fotosidan.se/index.htm

 

More to read for those interested:

The complete report from the national coordinator for vulnerable EU citizens:
http://www.regeringen.se/rattsdokument/statens-offentliga-utredningar/2016/02/sou-20166/
(The Swedish report includes a 5 pages English summary)
Ladda ner = Download

Press release about the presentation of the report:
http://www.government.se/press-releases/2016/02/national-coordinator-proposes-giving-coordination-responsibility-for-vulnerable-eu-citizens-to-county-administrative-boards/

Church of Sweden – International work:
https://www.svenskakyrkan.se/international

DSC_0221

[1]http://www.government.se/articles/2015/02/coordination-concerning-socially-vulnerable-eea-citizens-staying-in-sweden/

[2] Framtid sökes. Slutredovisning av nationella samordnaren för utsatta EU-medborgare (SOU 2016:6) p. 16.

[3] http://blogg.svenskakyrkan.se/internationelltarbete/2015/11/03/rumanien-projekt-for-romer-gor-framsteg/  https://www.svenskakyrkan.se/p220  (both links are only in Swedish)