Category Archives: Titania

Titania’s twelfth month: Doing something for the world

Gosh, I just realized that half of July has already passed, and I still haven’t got going with my twelfth and final project month. The most important reason is that I’m (almost) on holiday (hard to say now that I’m self-employed and don’t get any money for staying away from work), and thus life has less structure than otherwise.

2013-07-12 12.56.04This last week my mind has also been completely filled up by a camp, Circle Way, that I’ve been organizing (OK, so there’s been a bit of work, anyway…) together with my best friend, and where I brought my whole family. In the Circle Way camp we were around 70 people of all ages, coming together at a beautiful place in the Swedish countryside, listening to the wisdom of Manitonquat (or Medicine Story), an 84-year-old North-American Indian, and his Swedish wife Ellika, and practicing supportive listening – in circles and in pairs. It was a challenge arranging the camp with so many people (we did it last year as well, but with less than half the number of people), but I still managed to get a lot out of it for my own personal benefit – and the kids loved it, again!

The atmosphere of Circle Way is very warm, loving and respectful – towards other people and towards Mother Nature. So, the Memento Vivere challenge for my twelfth month seems to fit in very well in the aftermath of the camp. In two years from now, my family and I plan to go staying somewhere abroad for a longer period of time in order to try to do something good for the world. We have talked about India, but might turn up somewhere completely different. I would like to devote what’s left of this month to finding more information about where we could do and what we could do.

The original idea of the Memento Vivere project was to address twelve different areas. It hasn’t turned out exactly like that; sometimes I have needed two months in order to really get going with something. I have also come to realize that I don’t want to stop now! Using the project frame has been very beneficial to my development; I have got started with meditation and physical exercise again, and I have done many other things that make my life richer. I really believe in the idea of focusing on one thing at a time when you want to make a change, rather than trying to do everything at once, with the risk of ending up without having done anything at all.

So, I will go on with Memento Vivere, perhaps for another year, perhaps for life. Whenever it’s useful and feasible, I will use the one-month format. Whenever I need more time, I will use more months. Finding information about what to do for the world will take time, so, unless something else that feels extremely urgent turns up, I will use the coming months (uncertain how many) to dig into this area, until I feel confident about what we will do. If you have experiences of international volunteering – or know someone who does – I would really appreciate your suggestions for where to start looking!

PS. My Spirituality month went great! I’ll tell you all about it some other time. 🙂



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Filed under Challenge, Circle Way, Titania, Volunteering

Miranda’s eleventh month: Spirituality

2013-05-07 21.19.47-1Ever since I was a little child, I’ve been interested in things that we cannot see. My grandmother used to tell me stories about strange things (some spooky and some wonderful) that had happened to people in our family. I’m not psychic or anything, but I believe – and hope! – that, for instance, death isn’t just a dead end. A few times in my life I’ve been to see psychics, not really because I want someone to tell me about my future (as many other people who visit such a person do), but mainly because I’ve been curious to see if I would be able to get in touch with someone from the other side. Once I was told that two of my four children, my oldest (Miranda) and my youngest, have special gifts.

I often hear people say that they cannot believe in anything that can’t be proven, and I fully respect this opinion. In my world, however, I don’t want proof of everything. To me, affirming what I cannot see – without really knowing – brings magic to life. Over the years, I’ve spent quite a lot of time reading about spirituality, in different areas. I’ve also taken courses, in crystal healing and reiki healing, the latter proving very effective in many situations (especially when I cannot sleep, and when my kids complain about growing pains in their legs). During my fifteen years working in Academia, I usually kept quite about this spiritual interest of mine; surrounded by researchers to whom evidence is everything.

Working as a freelance nowadays, I have no such problems any longer, and this month I’m going to take a new step in my spiritual development. Tomorrow, I will start following a distance course where we’ll practice a lot of different things related to strengthening one’s intuition and spiritual abilities. The course will run for a month, and besides practicing, I will have the opportunity to chat – via social media – to other course participants and our course leader. At the end of the month I will also take a whole-day course, and that night there will be a private seance with the course leader. I’m so excited!


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I just did it!

The focus of my April month was Just Do It!, with a hope not to procrastinate as much as usual, and dare to do somewhat scary things. On my list was, for instance, PR, phone calls, albums and my annual accounts. I’m proud to say that I’ve put quite a lot of photos in my album and that my annual accounts were finished today (one whole day before deadline!), whereas there haven’t in fact been any scary phone calls to make, and there hasn’t really been time for PR this month.

photoThe main reason for my lack of time for PR, however, is something that goes very well with the theme Just Do It! When I planned my April month I had no idea that a few weeks later I would be invited as a speaker at a TEDx event in my hometown. Having been a fan of the TED talks site for ages, this was a dream come true, and of course I had to say yes – and just do it! I’ve been giving lectures and talks for several years, but even though this was a local independent TEDx event (not the big conference of course), it felt really big to me. The fact that all talks are filmed and put on YouTube and the minuscule chance that your talk will in fact end up at the REAL TED website makes it extremely exciting to be one of the speakers – and quite scary as well. In spite of some technological problems my talk went well, I had a lot of positive reactions afterwards and the local newspaper wrote about it as well, which was great fun. The talk is being edited at the moment, and I might even dare to put it here later on… 🙂

Another challenge, a just-do-it thing I did this month without thinking about it when I decided upon the theme, was to sing in public. Together with my friend and colleague I made two presentations including talking, reading from our book and leading group discussions, and in both places we decided to finish our event by singing a song that tied in very well with what we had been talking about – time and how we use it. I also played the guitar, and even though singing and playing are things I used to do quite a lot before, it’s been about twenty years since I did it in public. And I so very much enjoyed it – and, it seems, so did our audiences. I think there will be more music in my life in the future… I’ll just do it!

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Titania’s eighth month: Culture – here we go again!

Just as in my sixth month I revived an old focus (body), I will extend my culture focus yet another month, since I haven’t been able to give culture as much attention as I would have hoped. I haven’t read more than usual, I have only watched one film BUT I went to a stand-up show performed by a wonderful female comedian, and I really enjoyed it. It even inspired me to thoughts about – some time in the future – creating a show of some kind with my best friend, with whom I share a blog, lead a discussion group and give lectures on how to make the best out of life. Perhaps the next step in our development is to combine life wisdom with humour?

The good thing about this project is that there is only plus, no minus, which means that I’m not disappointed or blame myself for not doing as much as I had planned. However, since I feel that culture really is important to me and my well-being, I would like to give it another go and let March as well be focused on music, literature and film. Perhaps I will be able at least to squeeze a few more films into my life (there’s still a huge pile of DVD:s that I’ve borrowed from a neighbour next to our TV set).


PS. My focus on body and health is still active in my life to a great extent. It’s interesting to experience how something that used to be really difficult to find time for in the autumn now easily prioritizes itself. I so very much enjoy having gone back to a healthier lifestyle, and to feel that my biggest addiction right now is yoga! 🙂


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Titania’s seventh month: Culture

After a failed attempt at focusing on a healthier lifestyle in the autumn, I can happily conclude that NOW was the time instead. January has been my body month, and so far things have gone greatly. I’ve eaten less, and especially less unhealthy food, and I have managed to find those little time spots for fitness training in spite of a lot of other things going on. I’m back on my jogging track, I’ve been to a body combat class and two yoga classes, I’ve taken a lot of power walks and I have even (finally!) got started with doing yoga at home. The result: a four-kilo lighter me and I’m certainly motivated to go on.

One of the two yoga classes I took focused on ashtanga yoga, a form I had never tried before, and after hearing people talk about the high tempo I must confess I was a bit nervous about going there, since my yoga experience is quite limited. But since there was an open-house ashtanga class available, I decided to give it a go – and I fell in love. In fact, I think I could become one of those yoga nerds, devoting my life to yoga. Let’s get back in ten years time and I might be a yoga teacher myself. There’s something about the body control…

Anyway, new month, new focus coming up. February will be devoted to culture. December was my music month, and now I will widen the focus to also (I hope!) include more films and more books in my life. I have a HUGE pile of DVDs lying next to our TV-set, and this month I will try to watch at least one each week. I am part of a book club, and in February I plan not just to ready the book club book, but also one or a few more. Perhaps one of them will be about yoga? Finally, I will end this month by going to a stand-up comedy show. My first one ever – exciting!

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Titania’s sixth month: Body revisited

My last month was devoted to music, and – as usual – I didn’t manage to do all the things on my list, but I’m very satisfied anyway. I felt that my December was full of music: Christmas songs on my Spotify list, Music Aid on the radio, guitar playing (finally!) to prepare for the New Year’s Eve party, where I played and sang with my two younger daughters. Unfortunately, Miranda had such throat problems for her great grandmother’s funeral that she couldn’t sing the songs that we had planned to sing in parts, but we sorted it out anyway. She played the piano, while her father (my ex husband), his brother and I sang one of the songs, and the other song all the funeral guests sang together.

Now it’s a 2013, and time for my sixth focus month. I’m not very fond of New Year Resolutions, but instead I usually make a wish list (very much like the type children make for Christmas) for every new year: things that I hope to do more (or less)  of. I had other plans, but since my body focus earlier in the project didn’t turn out quite as I had expected, I will give it another go. After studying a university course last autumn, I now know more about change processes and – particularly – have been much more inspired to make a real, well-planned effort this time.

Just as Miranda’s January focus is simplicity, I will make my focus simple: more healthy food (e.g. fruit, vegetables), less unhealthy food (e.g. chocolate, ice-cream, cookies) and more physical exercise (body combat, yoga, running, power walks). As opposed to my last try in September, however, I will go back to my good old tradition of making notes of what I do, since that seems to be the only way for me to actually manage. And this time my most important goal is to make my change into a healthier lifestyle sustainable! Not only do I want to put on those nice black jeans in June, but (unless they are completely worn out) I want to be able to put them on next June as well!


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Titania’s fifth month: Music

I’ve really been out of Memento Vivere focus for a while now. It’s eleven days into my fifth project month, and I didn’t make the final decision about which of my project areas to apply to December until yesterday. Hm. Anyway, here I am, having realized that Music is the perfect area to focus on a little extra this month. Music has always been a very important part of my life. As a child I sang in a choir, played the guitar and my parents taught me a lot of traditional Swedish folk songs. Growing up I started going to concerts and music festivals.

The most intense part of my music life was when, in my early twenties, I sang and played the guitar in two small music groups. We made a few gigs, but – more importantly – we went on a busker tour in Europe. Our goal was set low: we hoped to earn enough money from our busking to pay for our food (three grown-ups and a child), and then we didn’t go for expensive meals in restaurants, but very simple food, eaten in the streets or at the campings where we were staying. We usually managed! The bands split up, but a few years later I did a new busker tour in Paris with a newfound friend. We earned extremely little money, but we had a great time, meeting a lot of other buskers. I especially remember one very late night at a party where my friend and I sang beautiful Swedish folk songs in parts. The other buskers were amazed.

I can even say my husband and I found each other through music. We were students at the same university course and soon discovered that we had very similar taste in music. Our first real date started by a picnic where we played the guitar and sang together, and one thing led to the other… We went on playing together at home for some years, but then we were drowned in housing, parenting and all the other stuff that tends to come between people and their hobbies at a certain time in our lives. We have continued to listen to music and we go to concerts every now and then but we never take the time to sit down with our guitars. That’s a habit I hope to get back to this month.

Other pieces of music to fill my December:

  • On Friday my husband and I will go to a concert.
  • The Friday after that Miranda and I will sing and play two songs at her great grandmother’s funeral.
  • For six days (starting yesterday), one of the Swedish public radio stations is (for the fifth year now) devoted round the clock to a music project called Music Aid, originating in a Dutch project (Serious Request) starting 2004. Listeners donate money and have their music requests played on the radio. Famous artists visit the studio (a glass box on a public square in Malmö in the south of Sweden where the three presenters are locked in for these six days) and make live performances. This year the money goes to helping children living in slum quarters worldwide get access to fresh water. I will listen as much as I can and donate as much money as I possibly can instead of buying a lot of Christmas presents.
  • I will finally try to figure out how to import music into my smartphone. I usually listen to the radio, but – especially when I go for a jog – music is a better alternative.
  • I will also try to listen to some new music. Particularly my daughter Miranda, is a great source here. For my birthday I got a CD with some of her favourite artists which she thought that I might like – and I did. I will listen more to this CD and to other music made by these artists.
  • My seven-year-old and I will go on learning songs made by a famous Swedish singer-songwriter, who wrote a lot of songs in the mid-1900s – a project we have been devoted to for more than a year now. I knew a lot of these songs as a child and I’m happy that my children (especially this daughter of mine) have also taken an interest in learning the songs, which are an important part of Swedish cultural heritage.
  • On New Year’s Eve, my family and I are going to a Christmas party where there will be an Open Stage. It’s just a small party and we’ll definitely take the opportunity to do some kind of music performance. That will be a great way of closing my music month.

Now time to go on listening to Music Aid while working!


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