“Yeaks!”, you might have just thought. “That girl is stupid/arrogant/self-centered/fill in the blank.” While you are still thinking that thought, let me intervene and explain. And maybe by the end of the post you will like the idea or even want to follow my lead?
So, let’s roll back to 2013. I get to know about a guy called Steven Covey and his super popular book “The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People”. I get the book and start reading. The first habit is all about being proactive. Taking control of our lives. Mr. Covey introduces a concept of circle of concern vs circle of influence. You can read up on it on the internet or get the book (highly recommended). In the nutshell, the idea is to focus your energy on the things you have a direct influence on. And while you can still be concerned about many things in the world, all your actions have to be directed at the things from within your circle of influence.
I start practicing this concept. In small things first. I have to learn to meditate on letting it go. I fail often. But I also succeed sometimes. I slowly learn to focus on the right things – the things I can affect, not just worry about.
Fast forward to summer 2014. The war in Easter Ukraine has been going on for several months now. People are dying. Young, smart people, who go to war to protect their families further back in the west, get shot. I keep living my comfortable life in Sweden. We go to Peru for our vacation. While in Peru, I read news about a KLM plane crashing in Eastern Ukraine. About around that time I get to know a brother of my group mate died on the front. A younger brother.
It gets too much.
I want to help but I cannot.
I want to stop the war but who am I?
I support volunteer initiatives back home but my nervous system is still breaking down.
I stop reading news.
And the time and energy I suddenly got now, I put in the things I can affect.
Like doing guided tours to Ukraine for my international friends – as a volunteer on my free time.
Like engaging in the local Ukrainian society to subtly change focus from celebrations to education and cultural promotion of our country.
Like organising Ukrainian film festival in Gothenburg. Twice.
Like pulling through an educational project for Ukrainian journalists and activists fighting for gender equality in our country (while being on the ninth month of pregnancy).
Did these actions of mine radically change the world? Or even life in Ukraine?
But they did radically change my life and positively affected my wellbeing.
And some Swedes got to know Ukraine as a modern fascinating country with its own challenges – but also its own beauty and amazing people and initiatives.
Some Ukrainians got a chance to see Sweden for the first time. Broaden their horizons. Receive appreciation (like the directors of the movies I have screened), or get the knowledge and inspiration for their hard work (as the journalists on their study visit).
And I was meanwhile putting my efforts into the things I could change. I was finding new friends, getting deep meaningful connections to people I would have never met otherwise. I was learning – about myself, this world and humanity. I was not stagnant, I was not getting stupid or arrogant just because I was not reading news. I kept growing instead.
Fast forward to spring 2020. I live in a fairly new to me country – Iceland. I have a husband and a 15-months-old daughter. I am still employed in Sweden and am on maternity leave. But in my free from family time I am starting and trying to grow a business.
Covid-19 becomes a pandemic. All the people in the world are facing an unprecedented situation. Panic, uncertainty, and fear are all around.
I am still not reading the news.
I stay calm. I become determined as probably never before. I want to share my knowledge and experience of self-growth with people around me. I am scheduling live streams and opening up free coaching sessions compromising my wellbeing routines. I know I will find the way to fit my sports and movement in – somehow. But helping others comes first now. Because I seem to be much better equipped for this crisis than many people around. And I am determined to change that.
Only now, five years after stopping to read the news, can I connect the dots clearly – while facing another crisis – a global one this time.
I don’t remember a day and minute when I decided that I will never read news again. Probably that particular day and minute does not exist. I just focused on my circle of influence instead of living in the circle of concern.
So I stopped reading news. And I started living my life out loud.
One of the important ways for me to live out loud is to teach you Gals to live YOUR life out loud as well. The more happy, calm, and resilient human beings we are – the stronger our society is.
I don’t have all the answers. But I want to teach you that YOU have the answers YOU need. And I have many questions and practices to help you fish out those answers.
I am not a guru. But apparently I am much further (not better – just further!) in my self-exploration than many people around me. And you know what? It’s amazing being here but right now it’s very lonely. I want you to join this bright side of life full of hope. So come join my program starting Monday, March 23rd, and let us together work on your wellbeing.
We all deserve some peace of mind. And if you don’t have yours now – join the program to get it back. For me not reading news is one of the essential practices to protect my peace. And in the five days of the program we will find your ways too, shift your mindset towards those, and set up structures to keep you on the right track – the one of peace of mind.
With all my love and care,