365 ways to energize – a daily companion to living with health, purpose, and joy

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Geneva is a great place to ‘leave.’

Day 147Less than 24-hour travel-dive – my new thing.

We jokingly say, “Geneva is such a great place to leave”. And it is true that, in addition to it being ranked this year as the city with the highest quality of living in the world, Geneva has another advantage, it is in the middle of Europe, which makes it so easy to – leave – and feasible to make quick trips to other places in Europe within an hour or two, either by car, train, or plane. Since Geneva is a quiet and small city, I find that leaving this little place from time to time and get a dose of some energy and pulse is very refreshing.

It is not always feasible, nor desirable, to be away for several days when traveling. Traveling often eats up a lot of time and it is easy to loose momentum with the projects one has going. That is why I decided to only do a 20-hour trip to visit a good old friend who has taken a sabbatical year in Paris from her hectic and busy life in Stockholm. She has lived in Paris with two of her children. This was a creative and courageous decision, and the year has offered her and her children tremendous value.

I spent 20 hours only in Paris, and I feel energized and inspired by this quick dive into my friend’s world in this mesmerizing city. I arrived yesterday in time to share a lovely lunch with her and another Parisian friend. We sat outside in a courtyard and had a glass of rosé and agreed, “this is life” – to have this opportunity to sip rosé on a Wednesday in lovely sunshine and eat a delicious French meal in Paris.

It might sound like too hectic to be away only 20 hours, but we truly spent quality time together (and I worked both on my way there and back, so I did not loose any time). One of the fun highlights was that we exercised with a fantastic personal trainer in a nearby park, which was filled with lots of people. It was great fun to be amongst all the local Parisians who were running and exercising or just lying around in the grass. We ate a delicious dinner outside in the courtyard/terrace at Costes, (we Scandinavians are very fan of eating outside when possible, for obvious reasons) a beautiful restaurant with super food, interesting people and an almost mystical ambiance, (rare to find in Geneva).

I had a good night sleep in my friend’s lovely apartment and even had time for a nice chat at breakfast before taking a 40 min flight back.

Short trips can quickly give you inspiration and energy, and can easily, and maybe even preferably, be done alone.

“The world is a book and those who do not travel read only a page.” St. Augustine

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The weight of your thoughts

DAy 146One day quite soon, I believe that we will be able to measure the weight of our thoughts; the things we talk about and the impact it has on us.

Science is great at measuring the impact of unhealthy living habits, such as stress, eating unhealthy processed food, too much sugar, hydrogenic oils, smoking, drinking too much alcohol etc., but to my knowledge the impact of our thoughts and chosen words and it’s impact on our mental, emotional and physical wellbeing, has not yet been measured scientifically. I think that when scientific studies get publicized around this topic, then humanity will have a chance to make a leap in consciousness and human potential.

If people only knew how negative thinking, moaning and groaning and negative talk impact their energy and wellbeing, they would get scared, and begin to rethink and more carefully chose what thoughts and subjects that dwell in their mind.

I am convinced that negative thinking is as deadly for us as negative physical living habits. This could be negative thoughts about ourselves, our life situation, or about someone else.

Pay attention to your energy level next time you have a negative thought! Notice how light versus heavy you feel. Notice how powerful versus powerless you feel. Notice how happy and peaceful you feel as you are thinking those negative thoughts.

Heighten your awareness also around the things that you talk about with others, either directly to them or about others behind their backs. How light or heavy do your body and mind feel while and after having been critical and negative?

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How sweet it is to be loved by you

Day 141How sweet it is to be loved by you

I have a lot to celebrate today and even this year.

Today May 22,nd is the 22nd wedding anniversary for my husband and I.

We have been a couple for 25 years – so a quarter of a century this year.

I have spent More than 1/2 of my life with my husband.

This year, it is also 30 years since I left Norway and became an adventurous expat.

My recipe for living in a happy, loving, and fulfilling relationship:

  1. Being real with one another
  2. Speaking our truth
  3. Sharing things with one another that feels heavy in our heart.
  4. Supporting one another.
  5. Taking responsibility for our own happiness
  6. Taking responsibility for our own growth and development
  7. Praising one another
  8. Showing and expressing gratitude towards each other
  9. Consciously giving the love our partner long for to feel loved.
  10. Understanding that intimacy and connection is of primary importance in our relationship when having a conflict and argument – not that of being right or bright.
  11. Having understood that love is a verb. Love is engaging in kind actions, which brings about feeling love for the other.
  12. Giving one another freedom to be ourself and to do our own things (from time to time).
  13. Family meals
  14. Quality one on one time almost every day.
  15. Spending a romantic weekend away at least ones per year.
  16. Dancing together
  17. Sharing positive experiences together and also sharing the family work-load
  18. Intentionally being positive and uplifting towards one another.
  19. Having the heart to say, “I am sorry.”
  20. Warm hugs, sex and physical touch.
  21. Being happy, proud and grateful for one another and for what we got.

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When a woman praise a man

DAy 140We all have an innate need to be seen, appreciated and make a difference.

Our work can bring us a great sense of meaning and purpose as well as recognition. At work we often engage in activities where we have strengths and talents and where we make a difference. If we are lucky, we have colleagues, or a boss, that see and appreciate the work we do, and deliver praise for the contribution we make. Many of us connect our identity with our work. We relate who we are to what we do. Perhaps men do this more so than women.

I just came back from a wonderful classical concert in The Victoria Hall in Geneva. As we all applauded the vocalist and musicians, I reflected upon that there are few professions that receive as much applause and praise as performers and professional athletes. They often bathe in praise and I’m sure they appreciate it. They also get publically criticized when their performance is not to the level or taste of the audience. Performers often suffer when judged negatively. But don’t we all…?

We all like to feel competent and strong. But that is not often the case as we return home after a day at work. Many men feel out of place when they come home, where domestic activities are being performed. Women to this day, even though it has changed radically over the past 40 years, often take on a larger share of the work at home with children, keeping the home tidy and clean and preparing meals – despite also having a profession. Since women for generations have done more of this type of work, men don’t feel as competent, and this might hold them back from engaging more, especially if they are criticized for the efforts they do make. How a woman treats her man will most likely determine his future engagement.

Many women get tired and in a bad mood when they end up with double work. This imbalance often creates conflict and distance between partners and can be one of the major obstructions to a loving connection.

What can be done to bridge the gap that often arises between couples?

What can we do to stop fighting over imbalances?

In environments where we feel valued and receive praise, we become inspired and motivated to change our behavior and actions. A woman can truly make a difference to inspire her man by giving more praise.

If both partners become more conscious of and notice all the things that each one contributes with – both outside of home and within the home – as well as recognize the qualities they each one has and give more praise, we can bridge that gap and take the relationship to the next level. When we notice and share positive things with our partner, it inspires more of the same behavior. It also makes us grateful and happy, and we feel more love towards our partner when we think about their positive characteristics.

How much praise verses criticism do women deliver to their men at home? I think that men thrive on praise and will be more inclined to take a greater share to make a difference at home, if they feel that what they do is appreciated and valued. Women may need to get used to giving more praise than what they receive, if they want to share the work at home. Women might not think this is fair and reasonable. My advice is to eat your pride and just do it. It will be so worth it!

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When a man loves a woman

Day 139

How much love can you give?

Have you heard the touching song “When a man loves a woman,”sung by Percy Sledge? You can listen to the song here:

The lyrics goes like this:

When a man loves a woman
Can’t keep his mind on nothing else
He’ll trade the world
For the good thing he’s found
If she’s bad he can’t see it
She can do no wrong
Turn his back on his best friend
If he put her down …

When a man loves a woman
Spend his very last dime
And trying to hold on to what he needs

He’d give up all his comforts
And sleep out in the rain
If she said that’s the way, it ought to be

When a man loves a woman
I give you everything I’ve got
Trying to hold on to your precious love
And baby baby please don’t treat me bad

When a man loves a woman
Deep down in his soul
She can bring him such misery

If she is playing him for a fool
He’s the last one to know
Loving eyes can never see

I think that many men can relate to the words in this song when they truly love their woman.

Men have a huge capacity to love their woman despite what women often think and say. They have the capacity to perhaps love a woman more than a woman can love a man. How do you like that perspective…?

So if men has this great capacity to love, why then do men fall out of love? As in the case in the story I shared yesterday, it is quite obvious. If we give our man no attention or affection, love will not and cannot grow. Men need to feel loved as much as women do, if not more – in order for them to feel satisfied and not “run away” and get busy with other things, such as work or sports, or even another woman.

Men often feel it is complicated to love a woman… and they often fall out of love with their woman because she has changed and become different in the relationship.

Too many women forget to love and show love towards their men, as they are so busy doing everything they “think” is essential… especially after having children. This is partly because mothers are genetically wired to take on the responsibilities to love and nurture their children. Mothers’ love for their children often satisfies women need for love, while their children are young. But then once the children are more independent, they wonder where their man went…?

Well he got busy doing other things….

But children are not the only “obstacle” to loving acts towards their man. When the initial romantic stage is over, and women do not know how to love deeper, they can exchange their need for love by investing their time at work or with friends instead with their man.

Many men rely on their women only, to fulfill their need of being loved. They do not have the deep connection with their male friends that women have with their girlfriends. Sadly, men do not have the same capacity to find love somewhere else, and therefore can feel very lonely and sad in their relationship with their woman.

Women often feel that their children’s and friends’ love fill them up, and in that case they do not need as much love from their man…, which makes them more susceptible to not be so loving towards their man.

I believe that most women do not know how to love a man. If you are a woman reading this, you probably are reacting strongly now…, because you feel that it is just the opposite, that your man does not know how to love you. That might be true as well, but I think that women, who have generally a greater ability to sense their feelings and put words to them, also have a greater capacity than men to understand their man and find a way to make him feel loved.

If it really is so that a man that feels loved will do anything for their woman… what more then can you do to love him?

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When a man leaves a woman

Day 138Will she really be happier living alone….?

Today I spoke to a woman, let me call her Lisa for the purpose of this story, whose partner had just left her. I asked about how she felt and how it was now living alone. She replied this was not the first time a man had left her, and now she was fed up with men and had decided to be happy being without a man and focus on her work and herself.

Hum… In my mind I felt sorry for her for having had such a bad experience with men. I believe that we are not wired to live alone and that she most likely will not be happy in the long term being on her own.

Lisa and I ended up having a long conversation, where I learned a lot about her personality. She also learned about herself from the realizations that she made while sharing her story with me. At the beginning of our conversation she told me she did not understand why he left. Our meeting opened her up to understand why her partner, as well as her ex-husband, ‘probably’ had left her.

Let me share a little bit about Lisa’s personality and story.

Lisa is a hard working woman. She runs her own business and actively grows it, and loves the work she does. Lisa hardly ever takes brakes. When she comes home after a long day at work, she often does grocery shopping and errands. After this she starts all the necessary work at home – and the list is long….; she makes dinner, cleans up, does the laundry, irons, cleans the apartment – until finally she almost collapses and head for bed. And so it goes, day after day.

IMG_4848I was wondering how much time and energy she has had for her partner? “Well, not much”, she said, “because he did not help me and just watched TV or sat with the computer, which I thought was so unfair and since I did not receive any help from him I became angry with him.” Lisa felt that she was serving her partner and that he was lazy and unhelpful. She had had a similar story with her ex-husband.

How often did you have sex, I asked? I got the same answer, “Not much. I was either too tired, or had no desire.”

Regretfully too many people recognize themselves in Lisa’s story.

It is quite interesting that we actually believe and think we can have a rewarding relationship if we are constantly busy. It is also interesting that one person in the relationship, and often the woman, accepts to do all the household chores with joy at first, and then end up bitter and complaining about it.

What are the solutions, what more is possible in our relationships?

Tomorrow I would like to explore ways to a rewarding relationship with our spouse or partner; where we share positive energy.

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Syttende mai

Day 136Today is Syttende mai (17th of May), Norway’s National day.

I grew up in Norway and the 17th of May, next to Christmas, was the far most exciting day during the whole year. The constitution of Norway was signed on this day in 1814 and the huge celebration the Norwegians partake every year is like nothing else, as it brings the whole nation out into the streets and touches the hearts of every young child (it is also called the children’s day) and to those of the elderly. As a child, I would look forward to this day for months. Not only in Norway but in every Norwegian community around the world is this day celebrated with great parades with music corps, speeches, loads of fun games for the children, traditional food, and of course the national anthem being sung with joy, pride and devotion.

I moved abroad 30 years ago this year, and I have only been back a few times to celebrate Syttende mai since then. Last year though, a dream came true when I was back to celebrate the 200-year anniversary weekend, together with close to 50 of our friends that my husband and I had invited, from mostly Sweden. We were super lucky with the weather and had the best time on a gorgeous sunny and warm day.

IMG_9590Today, one year after the celebration I have received so many thank you messages from my friends that all remember the day and weekend we had with such joy and gratitude. How sweet and kind of them to share and let me know! I am forever grateful that my dream to share my cultural tradition with good friends was such a success.