So much love, so much pain

You have "always" been here, at least from the view point of our kids who grew up with you.
And now, suddenly and unexpectedly, you are not.

You are not here to wake them up by licking their faces or jumping on their beds. You are no longer here to play with them, something both you and they loved.

All are shoes will from now on be where we put them. No longer gathered, unharmed, in your basket along with other things you decided to carry around.

You are no longer here to walk these long lovely walks, without pulling, enjoying the smells, the surroundings and our time together.

You will no longer steal the food from the cats or from us and the newly bought bag of dog food will never be eaten by you. We will no longer see you walking around with your food bowl, sometimes dropping it in the middle of the stairs so it will loudly go cling-clang all the way down.

You are not here to push around the furniture by stroking yourself against it when you wake up or when you are wet. The most comfortable arm chair will no longer be occupied by you, with all paws up in the air. At times snoring in a loud but yet cute way.

When I sit at the desk you will no longer come pushing, asking me to move the chair so you can squeeze in and lay at my feet. You will no longer put your nose between our legs so we can scratch you properly on the neck.

I will no longer brush your fur, your teeth or cut your claws, all of which you accepted easily, making others surprised about how kind you were.

Of you course you were kind. You are the one who raised our kids, our cats and our youngest dog Lola who will not know how to behave without you. You did it because you loved it. You loved playing with the kids in the snow, with balls and with pine cones, you loved running with them and cover them with kisses when they were on the ground. You were their best friend, and they were yours. Oh, how you loved them.

You showed many kids and grown-ups who were afraid or hesitant around dogs, that dogs, also rather big ones, can be kind and careful. Your smiling face could always convince the hesitant ones.

You have been with us on adventures, taking on the leadership role of the animals in the family. Now you are no longer here to protect the cats from other cats or from dogs. You will no longer lie on the stairs to the house or in the garden, protecting our property.

We will no longer have our bed sheets all entangled after you make your nest or after you go lying on your back and curl yourself all over the bed, doing "krulle-krull". We will no longer see you sit under your apple-tree, like Ferdinand under his cork oak, and just enjoy your life.

You have always been here, and now that you are not, the void is enormous, as is the pain. It is hard for us to eat, to sleep, even to breath.

Our pain and our loss is great since our love for you, and yours for us, is great. I am grateful you knew how much we loved you, grateful for every single day we have had together.

Jaspis. Our grisebjörn, gossegris and Jaspepas. You are no longer here, yet you always will be.


Let time stand still this summer

By the time you read this my family and I will most likely be on an island deep in the Swedish woods. Being there -  without wifi, electricity and other people - makes me feel as if time stands still. A great opportunity to let my mind wander.

I have spent a lot of the spring writing and I am looking forward to sharing the result with you in the autumn. I hope we can meet at a book release or two and in a webinar about how to free yourself from the faulty notion that "you don't have time".

We all have time. 

For now I will enjoy my time and my life in the warm embrace of summer.

I hope you will too and I am looking forward to being in touch with you again this autumn.

Enjoy your summer!

Me on the island, 2011.


The Beauty of Art - part 10 : The answers

The painting in the Beauty of Art part 10:

is indeed Composition with Red, Blue and Yellow painted 1930 by the Dutch artist Piet Mondrian. The painting is oil on canvas and can be found in Kunsthaus Zürich, Germany.

I did not know Piet Mondrian was Dutch until I lived in the Netherlands and learned more about Mondrian when I passed by a museum with some of his paintings.

It was not that strange that I did not know, since Mondrian changed his name from the more Dutch sounding Mondriaan (double a) to Mondrian to "emphasize his departure from the Netherlands, and his integration within the Parisian avant-garde" in 1911.

Just like we saw in the Beauty of Art part 9the artist had created other paintings in completely different styles before finding the style he became known for. This is one of Mondrian's earlier works:

Willow Grove: Impression of Light and Shadow, 1905

He wanted to create paintings that would express what he called Neo-Plasticism and he was one of the founders of the Dutch modern movement De Stijl.

His most known paintings consisted of white ground upon which he painted a grid of vertical and horizontal black lines and the three primary colors - like in the Composition with Red, Blue and Yellow.

Unlike Carl Larsson, who found the love of his life and stayed together with her until death parted them, Piet Mondrian had a short marriage - only three years long - with Greet Heybroek and after that he never re-married.

He died in peumonia, leaving unfinished paintings behind. I can imagine that is a good time to go for an artist, right in the middle of creating.

As always with art, there are different opinions. Some of you love the art of Piet Mondrian. Lisbeth for instance describes how his art talks to her and makes her want to sing, while the fish art is more like her mother's knitting: beautiful but nothing that appeals to her.

Others expressed that they can somehow understand the beauty of  his art, but that it is not anything they would like to have on their wall at home. Some would like to have his art in their home, if not as a painting than on something else, like a chair.

Heike, who is an artist herself, says that she feels a lot of admiration for Mondrian. She understands  how much courage it takes to choose your own way, stick to it and create something that deviates so much from what has been created before.

Personally I can see the beauty of his art, a great expression of  "less is more". For me, the simplicity I perceive can get in the way of my admiration. So to me it is pretty and clean, but it does not leave me impressed.

The work of the fish on the other hand impresses me. I love when I get reminded about the greatness and complexity of our fellow creatures.

Thanks for your participation!


The Beauty of Art - Part 10

I got the idea to this Beauty of Art from a fish. A fantastic fish that shows us how little we understand of nature and its greatness. This fish creates amazing art, and we get to see it thanks to BBC-Earth.

I recommend the 3+ min video if you have not seen it already.

The resulting piece of art is an amazing pattern:

This inspired me to choose a painting based on a pattern for this week's Beauty of Art quiz:

What is the painting called?
Who is the painter?
What type of art is this?
Where can this painting be seen?
How does this painting, and the art by the fish, make you feel?

Let me know your answers / guesses!

A summary of the answers will come in the next blog post.


Be like a bee at work

When I urge you to be like a bee, you probably think I mean you should
Be busy as a bee
Many are busy. Busy managing their inbox, attending all the right meetings and ticking off items on their to-do lists.

Sometimes people keep themselves busy rather than making a difference. Like checking the mail instead of taking on the difficult task that really needs to be managed.

These people are busy doing nothing at all.

That is not at all what I mean when I say you should be as a bee.

What I am referring to, is what bees do in the winter. They gather into a ball of bees to keep each other warm. The ones that are in the outmost layer will be colder than the rest. Here comes the nice part; the task of being in the cold - of being in the outer layer - rotates.

Photo: PaoSan
The bees make sure they take turns doing the hard work. So should we.

Where I work, we do this by limiting the amount of times one person takes on certain tasks. Like task force work that I have handled many times:  intense work to solve a problem that shouldn't have reached our customers in the first place. Or tough transformation projects where a lot of significant data, related to how our customers bill their customers, is moved from one version of a product to another one and absolutely nothing may go wrong.

We ensure these tasks are rotated between people, just like the bees rotate the task of being in the outer layer during winter.

Another thing we can learn from bees, is the way they risk minimize by letting just a few bees go away to find new places to gather nectar. They do not all go away on a whim, leaving the bee hive empty.

Bees make sure the bee society keeps working at the same time as they explore new possibilities. 

Similar to what we do at work when a few persons investigate future technologies and work with innovation and disruption, while the rest make sure the company continues to develop and sell the products that make money today.

One thing that bees do - and that we do too little where I work - is to tell where the nectar is by dancing. The bees come back and dance in 8s. The longer they dance, the further away the nectar is.

The bees communicate by dancing. I would like to see more of that at work. 
To conclude:
this is what I mean when I say we should be like bees at work:

  • Taking turns doing the hard work
  • Let some colleagues investigate the future possibilities while the others make the most of the current ones
  • Use dancing as communication. That will be a lot more fun than the standard power point presentations. 


ThIS to shall pass

As we add yet another city to the list of places where terrorist-attacks, supposedly carried out by the Islamic State, have caused anger and grief; it is easy to think our world is less safe than before. Some even think we are doomed to live in a world of continuous and unpredictable terror.

Of course IS, or Daesh, wants us to think so. They may even believe that we will live under their terror several years from now. We know better.

We know that thIS too shall pass, because we see the reactions after the attacks. The kindness, the generosity, the feeling of unity.

Don´t let the fearmongers get to you, do not participate in the spreading of fear.  Let the world know what the people in Paris, London, Stockholm, Manchester and many other places have already shown:
  We are not afraid. We are in this together.

As I wrote in Stand by Paris - feel no fear, terrorist organizations come and go. When I was a kid we heard about ETA, IRA and Bader-Meinhoff. Today they are bad, but faint memories.

By the time my kids are adults; IS, ISIS or Daesh will be like these organizations. Bad, vague memories of an organization consisting of desperate persons who have lost their ways.

Each attack makes me angry at first, then sad, then determined.  Determined and certain that thIS too shall pass. Terrorists want us to hate, but their horrible actions cannot turn us into haters. Nothing can turn us into haters because we know hate comes from fear and we are not afraid.

ThIS too shall pass.


Wisdom and knowledge

She watched her husband as he took off his uniform. His hanging head and slumping shoulders showed the tiredness his smile tried to disguise.
"Good evening my love", he said as he kicked off his shoes. "How has your day been?"
She rolled towards him in her wheelchair, returning his smile.
  "Better than yours from the look of it."
"Oh", he lifted his shoulders half-heartedly. "It hasn't been that bad. Just a normal working day for an old policeman."
He was in his forties. Not particularly old. He had started calling himself old when he teamed up with a new partner. A women in her late twenties.

Rose rolled to the kitchen table, she had set it before he came.
"Maybe you can bring the stew, it's on the stove."
He turned off the stove, brought the stew over and sat down. Reached out and touched her arm. She put her hand over his.
"You say it was a normal day, but you seem more tired than usual."
He pulled back his hand, put some stew on her plate and then on his own.
"Today I arrested two young boys. I kind of know them, or at least I know their parents; we say hello when we meet. One of the boys is stupid as hell, but he thinks he knows it all. He was able to convince the other guy, who actually has some brains, to join him in a robbery. It was meant to be easy, no-one was supposed to be there and all that stuff. It annoys me that the guy who has some brains lets himself get fooled by the guy who knows nothing. Just because the airhead is cocky and more confident than a horny rooster."
She put a spoonful of the stew in her mouth. It tasted exactly right. The way she liked it. She knew Rob liked this seasoning as well, but he was too pre-occupied to notice.
"It is the Dunning-Kruger effect", she said, stopping herself mid-sentence to swallow before continuing. "You know, the most ignorant have a great self-confidence since they do not understand how little they know."
Rob grunted, his mouth filled with stew.
"This is really good", he pointed at the plate with this fork.
 She smiled; he had noticed. Then he continued:
"That is a good description of my new partner. Incompetent and confident at the same time."
"I thought you said you would give her a chance?"
"How can I, when she is such an idiot?"
"She is not an idiot. The two of you just do not see things the same way all the time."
"That is because she is wrong and I am right!"
Rose put down her fork and knife.
"You have had an argument with your new partner for weeks now. Maybe it is time to let it go? Would you rather prove her wrong than get along with her?"
He filled his mouth to the brim and chewed long before answering.
"I want both. And she is an ignorant prick."
"Sorry. But she is."
"I fail to see how a woman can be a prick but I guess that is not the point. Sometimes you are just so hard-headed you don't even listen to other people's opinions. You decide that they are wrong even before they open their mouths."
"No I don't."
"Yes you do."
He sat back, his stomach filled. Cleaned his chin with a napkin.
"So you think my ignorant partner is right and I am wrong?"
"Sometimes she is right, sometimes you are. Sometimes neither one of you is. Anyway, it does not matter who is right. And ignorance is not even the problem. The illusion of knowledge is."
She dropped her napkin. He picked it up from the floor, remembered too late that she did not want to be treated like 'a handicapped person´. He couldn't drop it again just to let her pick it up herself so he gave it to her, avoiding eye contact.
"So you think I believe I know things but I don't?"
"You know a lot of things my love. And so does your partner. If you would work together instead of bickering like an old couple, you would both be a lot better off."
He leaned over, gave her a kiss on the cheek.
"I don't bicker with her. I bicker with you."
He showed off his teeth in a big smile.  When he did, he looked just as boyish as when they met more than twenty years ago.
She rolled her wheelchair backwards, turned it around with ease and moved into the living room. While he cleaned up in the kitchen she came back, a book in her lap.

"You are very street smart", she said, "but to become wise, you should learn a thing or two from Sokrates. Check out the quote on page 28, in the middle of the page."

He finished stacking the dish washer and dried his hands on a towel before picking up the book.

I am the wisest man alive, for I know one thing, and that is that I know nothing. 

Rob put the book on the table, put his hands on the armrests of the wheelchair as he bent down to kiss his wife.

"It is not completely true, you know. I do know one thing. I know I love you."