That benevolent force

How would I know of that benevolent force – that we may call God – unless I let myself have the experience of living on the edge? How would I know of a miraculous turn of events, beyond my control, if I hadn’t let go of the outcome and let that bigger-than-I force take over? In order to experience that Grace, I must be willing to let go of security first. It takes one thing: Trust in it. Things will be alright. Have faith in that which will hold me, and give up the idea that I need to hold myself. I am already held, always already supported, but the paradox is that I won’t find out until I am very close to experiencing the exact opposite of that.

It doesn’t always have to be extreme situations that we put ourselves in to reach this awareness within ourselves. Our rock bottom needn’t look like a complete misery. For some people it will – and for others it is enough to experience a much milder lesson to grasp it. I know people who are living seemingly functional lives with a lot of blessings, but who are so scared of the uncertain that they wouldn’t risk anything to step out of the comfort zone. Not a single penny. And they will never get to experience that moment of Grace.

I was in a place recently that felt hopeless and dark. I am not used to experiencing this because I am naturally hopeful and optimistic as a person, but it was a valuable lesson for me. I knew that I wasn’t in a good place to make any decisions during this period, because they would come from a place of fear – one in which the faith in that benevolent force was excluded. But to know what it’s like to have it, I must also know what it’s like not to have it – then I know what it is. And it takes my faith. I must believe for it to exist.

I see the value of living on the edge as someone who can witness that there is something benevolent out there willing to hold my back. If I am looking for a life of a lot of certainty and if I need to be able to predict everything beforehand, then this isn’t the right path. But I think it is my path to walk.

Will the hunter-gatherers inherit the Earth?

It’s a bizarre heading, but let me explain. The line ‘Shall the religious inherit the earth’? came to me today as I was doing nothing in particular, and is a book title of a book written by a former professor of mine (Eric Kaufmann) that talks about demographics and the future population. Then, after this line impressed on my consciousness, I started thinking about the Hunter-gatherer as an archetype that I have written about before, a type of person that is different from the Farmer (also an archetype). Basically I have argued that those who are Farmers are much more able to cope in our current, capitalistic society and its focus on labour and obedience, whereas Hunter-gatherer types, who are nomadic, are much more inclined to defy and/or dislike and suffer from the rules of our current system because it is so much at odds with their instincts as nomads. What’s the point in gathering resources that one may capitalize on if I am programmed to believe I can only carry my possessions in my own backpack? Why would one want to strive for dominance if I am simply surviving day to day, at the mercy of the forces of Nature?

Coming back to the title, ‘Will the hunter-gatherers inherit the Earth?’, of course not. We are all here and the whole point is – nobody will inherit the Earth – because it is not ours to own to begin with. However, that knowing is much more likely to be known by the nomadic person who it has never occurred to that we can commodify the resources of Mother Nature and make a living out if it, compared to the Farmer whose instinct it to do precisely that. None of these instincts are necessarily in an of themselves wrong or bad, however my argument is that the thinking of the latter – which is the one that has shaped our current system – has now come to a time in history when it is no longer healthy for any of us to keep going in this direction . Instead, it is the other type of knowing that needs to be instilled in us all and be our guiding star, i.e. the knowing that the resources of our Living Earth are finite and that we must cooperate and share rather than compete and capitalize.

I therefore see people who embody the Hunter-Gatherer archetype as our new thought leaders who must step up and share their voices while people who embody more of the Farmer archetype – who have been our leaders up until now – must understand that they have a new role to play and can share their gifts to the world in new ways, but other than behind the steering wheel. Because the old thinking will sink the boat that we are all on, and nobody will benefit from that. While nobody will inherit the Earth, I think most of us would like to stay around and enjoy life while we are here.

My Story

There are many stories of course, but I call this one ‘my story’ to catch your attention. Yes – I need your attention to be able to communicate my messages, and yes – I am afraid of being viewed as an attention seeker therefore, as well as being judged for it. I care what others think of me, because I am still afraid.

I am afraid. That will be the strand running through this story. I am mostly afraid of being falsely accused of something, when I am in fact innocent, and that nobody will believe me.

This particular story takes as its point of departure my work with essential oils. I think I ordered my first batch of essential oils about four years ago. I hardly knew anything about them, but a voice inside said I should order them. I was sick during this time, exhausted and feeling lost after a divorce the year before, and struggling with my commitments as a mother of two young children. My daughters loved the oils, they used to fight over who would get to choose the oil for the day to diffuse in our flat. I would also use lavender oil on all three of us at night to calm down before going to sleep, which was a good routine for our neurodivergent family with hyperactive brains and sensitive nervous systems.

A few years later I came in touch with a woman, Maria, who was working with essential oils and through her I was introduced to a larger group of women whose calling I shared. It was no other calling than the calling to know God, but in a ‘feminine’ way that had previously been unknown to me. I decided to partake in a two-year long priestess training, which I am about to finish within a few weeks from now. During these two years I have gone through a number of initiations, passages from one stage to the next, where I’ve had to face fears to reach a more expanded place on the other side.

You might wonder what my fears have to do with essential oils, what is the ‘red thread’ (Swedish expression meaning core idea or theme) here? Essential oils are pleasant, have a lovely scent, and the pursuit of working with them seems harmless and kind of sweet, no? Perhaps this is true for many people, but for me it brings up deep seated fears of persecution. I’ve worked very closely with the 1600s witch hunts for a number of years and through this work it’s become very clear to me how this collective trauma still hasn’t been cleared, and I suppose some of us are more attuned to it than others. Claiming to possess any ‘earth based wisdom’, for lack of a better generic word, might not get you killed nowadays, but it may very well lead to the accusation of quackery, heresy or ridicule.

I have been afraid to publicly announce that I work with essential oils precisely because of those fears, and oftentimes when we summon the courage to face such fears, what we are scared of will take place. This happened to me a few weeks before Christmas last year when I announced on Facebook that I would take part in a workshop with essential oils, to make Christmas gifts. (This was also a time when the Covid and vaccine public debates polarized us into “good” and “bad” citizens in a very toxic way.) A male relative saw that I was going to attend this workshop and attacked – verbally and virtually – my friend and indirectly me in a disrespectful, shocking and totally inappropriate way. He later apologized and is forgiven, and I know many of us carry (internalized) contempt for ‘the feminine’ (I do too), so me telling this is not at all to make him look bad – he is on the contrary a lovely person – but to make the case that these fears that I am talking about still have a meaning to this day.

I am going to co-host an essential oils-infused workshop later this week and this is the first time I publicly announce that I do this sort of work, on a larger scale at least, and yet again it brings up fears in my system. I am scared of being judged or publicly ridiculed for what I do, even though I know I am called to do it. I am especially called by the Rose and her medicine, and I can trace this calling back to my early childhood. In February this year, I woke up in the middle of the night and I could feel an intense smell of rose in my nose although there wasn’t any around. In both Islam and Christianity, smelling the scent of roses when there are none nearby is said to signify the presence of the divine. The same day I received the message that I should call my healing treatments ‘Rose healing’ instead of reiki (which is only a part of what I do).

I don’t want to remain scared of the work that I am called to do. I am Ellinor Cajsen Maria, three names with the meanings ‘God’s Light ~ Pure ~ Beloved’ (Maria is also said to signify a title of a priestess).

I am a Dragon

I may have mentioned it before, but many neurodivergent people feel as though they are aliens dropped on Earth trying to figure out how to be human. Some people believe this in a literal sense while others take ‘alien’ as a metaphor. I myself am very fond of the Symbolic and often use the creatures from the Lord of the Rings to illustrate what I see as different wiring in humans, and for my online course Highly Sensitive & Neurodivergent Life I’ve chosen a picture of an Elven woman as a symbol for the kind of person I am speaking to. I wonder sometimes if Tolkien did the same, i.e. if his characters were made in our image?

Lately I have been playing with two new ‘types’ – dragons and bears. I have done so in the context of love and relationships and based on real life ‘cases’. Basically I have observed the incompatibility of these two types in relationships as the reason for many of my own difficulties with coming to terms with who I am, what I need and what I can and cannot give.

I used to think I was a bear, I was dressed as one and I was playing with the other bears, doing their bear games and the stuff that bears naturally like to do. I of course didn’t know that all of it was so natural for them and so much more ‘mechanical’ for me, because I was never aware of the fact that there are dragons and I really believed we are all bears – I just happened to be a somewhat clumsy one!

But then I slowly discovered I am something entirely other. I don’t have that warm and cuddly fur – it was just a fake costume – I have weird scale and feathers, and I have fire within! I may be able to walk on my feet but my natural place is in the air, stretching those large wings that I had to keep tucked in the bear costume all this time and never put to use. I finally understood that I am a dragon, and that there are other dragons too!

What am talking about here? I am referring to my past relationships with bears and the pain of not being able to enjoy the ways of the bears as much as I was expected to, and never really fulfilling their expectations of me since it never came naturally to me. Don’t get me wrong – I also love to hang out with the bears and come visit their dens sometimes. I just don’t want to have to live in one myself. I want to be free. Free to be my dragon self. And I am longing to play with my fellow dragons!

It is not always easy for people like us to have fulfilling relationships – because we are weird! So we have to go out and find other weirdos, nothing else will truly make us happy. That is why I see the need to reclaim our identities and our spaces so that we can stop hiding from ourselves and each other, and so that we can start playing our own games, not pretend to be bears that we may love but aren’t fully compatible with.

Cyclical life

To me, living in harmony with and honoring our natural cycles in this world is a true act of rebellion. I have really suffered from my conditioning to be doer in the world, in the traditional sense of the word, which I take to be active constantly. I am also a doer though, but in a different way, but to be a doer in that commonsensical, constant tasks kind of way absolutely drains me and leaves me temporarily exhausted or – if ongoing for too long – burnt out.

To claim a different life for ourselves we have to give ourselves permission to actually explore our preferred rhythms, which in turn means we sometimes – I guess often – need to rebel against conditioned and internalized norms as well as actual, concrete stuff like a 9-5 job that isn’t in our best interest for instance. Once we’ve done that, we’ve created a container for authentic exploration. What we find then will differ depending on who we are.

My own rhythm comes across as “unbalanced” to many people who don’t have the same wiring, and I used to believe I need more balance because people said so. But what happens for me if I listen to other peoples well meaning advice is that I cannot channel all the energy I have when it’s time for Crazy Creativity – “balance” here would mean stifling that energy. Similarly, if I would get out of the house to go for that “healthy walk” when I have my three days of decadent indoors time in my pjs I wouldn’t get enough of my kind of rest. I understand that my way of life isn’t compatible with a normal job – and that is why I don’t have one!

A cyclical life is one in which we are attuned to the phases of the Moon, our menstrual cycles, the cycles of the year and so on. Most of my readers are familiar with this stuff. But we also have to be able to individualize them and sometimes you might be in an inner state of “Winter” when others are in their “Summer”. In the Winter things are happening under ground, and we have lived in a world where we are taught to live as though it is Summer all year round, so we try to achieve that. But it simply isn’t sustainable! That’s not how Nature works, that’s not how life works, and that’s not how we function either.

I suspect that all people suffer from the abovementioned expectations more or less, but highly sensitive people suffer more from them. I truly believe that we who are sensitives will be able to create a positive ripple effect on the world if we ourselves summon the courage to create a life for ourselves where we honor our cycles fully. It doesn’t mean that everyone will end up living like we do, but it means opening up a space in which it will be possible for more people to live in accordance with their own preferred rhythm.

For the Love of Diversity

The name of this blog and the slogan I use for my company – For the Love of Diversity – carries multiple meanings. One can interpret a love for diversity as a position within a political context – one in which one endorses human diversity as cultural, religious, sexual identity and orientation, etc. This is an area I’ve worked within for much of my adult life – on different levels and in different capacities. It’s only relatively recently that I’ve discovered my own neurodivergence and found that my thinking on cultural diversity in terms of different ethnic cultures (typically oppressed minorities and indigenous peoples) actually can be more or less directly applied to the neurominority that I myself – unknowingly for most of my life – belong to.

What I’ve found, and what I’ve argued previously (outside the context of various neurotypes, that is), is that we have a right to know, explore, cultivate and be proud of ourselves on our on terms. What do I mean when I say “on our own terms”? I mean that we have the right to claim ownership of our own self-expression – not in relation to/in comparison to the majority culture, neurotypical culture, the norm, the state, the official religion, etc. – but in a standalone container. This is essentially what I am trying to create through my advocacy work, mainly directed towards the highly sensitive and neurodivergent population as of lately (however I still care deeply about those groups I used to advocate for).

I actually care for everyone! I often get questioned regarding my separatist groups – I also work a lot with women only – on the grounds that it is leading to separation and division. But I disagree. I’m sure it can lead to that, but it all depends on the intention. If the intention is to create safe space for those who belong to a certain category of humans with certain shared experiences, because there is an need for doing so among those affected, then it is a need that should be accommodated. People who belong to a majority typically don’t feel this need, but it doesn’t mean they are less important – it simply means they have a different set of needs.

To love diversity is to understand and appreciate that we have divergent perspectives, preferences and needs. It means that we appreciate people for who they actually are, not who we want them to be. We will not compare a lily to a rose to determine who is “better”. We will not argue about the usefulness of an insect in relation to a lion. We understand that all creatures have their own and very specific role to play as a part of the whole.

In human terms, it is not just on a group level that we need to love diversity, we also need to do so on an individual level. If we think about a tribe, much smaller than how we organize society today – but also larger that a family unit – we can more easily imagine how every individual needs to be specializing at their “thing”, whatever that is. And leave the things that are not theirs to those members who are designed to do them. If we start to trust that we are made by Divine Design to be who we are and do our designated tasks, there would be less wasted potential as well as overuse of human resources.

Loving diversity then, is a way to restore balance and cultivate peace. It is to view all beings as inherently Sacred.

Withholding our gifts

Perhaps our gifts weren’t valued because they weren’t understood properly, or sharing them may have felt uncomfortable or even dangerous for other reasons. Perhaps we noticed that people didn’t like our honesty so we found ways to not share what we had inside of us.

We have all been gifted with something that we can offer to others. What we have been given to give doesn’t look the same and some of the gifts are more subtle than others. Being highly sensitive is a wonderful gift if treasured appropriately and if one is given the right support to deal with the difficult side of it. In my understanding, this has rarely been the case for must of us and so we come to experience the sensitivity as a curse rather than a blessing.

This past week I have been reflecting on some of my own gifts that I and others have often viewed as more problematic than as beautiful gifts. Which isn’t strange considering the nature of them. I have began to think about them as weapons – a spear and a hand-grenade – but they aren’t used from a bad place at all, but from a place of love. Sometimes, I suppose often, they fall into the category of “tough love” rather than the soft and gentle type of love which is equally important – it just depends on the context. I had a reading a few months ago by a very talented woman who I trust a lot, and she said one of my core tasks in this life is to be a catalyst for other people. That really resonated with me and the more I’ve thought about it, the more I can see that I do this when interacting with people (not everyone of course – but those who need it). Often these people are stuck in some way – in confusion, stagnation or fear – and they (often unconsciously) seek me out for me to set that dormant spark in them on fire. This is the hand grenade.

The spear works in a similar way but this is more connected to someone being very stuck in a false narrative that they hold on to, either because they took it on willingly or because they had to for survival in their cultural context. What I do then is that I poke them a little with my spear, not in a harsh or violent way but they have to feel the sting a little bit. This one is very much connected to my autistic identity for me and I have to say it can be quite uncomfortable to carry this spear around, it’s not always received very well. Between perhaps age 17-37 (37 being last year) I have been trying very hard to hide my spear, or to compensate for it with being overly – and faked – nice to people. However, even though I’ve tried very hard sometimes it hasn’t worked anyway – I just can’t help myself – and the spear has come through my thick layers of synthetic cotton. That word of truth that feels like “ouch”. But the thing is, it is medicine. It just tastes a bit bitter, like some medicine do.

Then there are other kind of gifts that we may hide for other reasons. It can be our own beauty and magnificence or our wonderful talents that we hide because we don’t want to show off. Perhaps others will be offended.

My whole point with this text is to say that whatever the reason we are withholding our gifts from the world it is that – an act of depriving others from our medicine, a medicine that they need. It may not always be comfortable for us to share it, but it is what we are meant to be doing.

What are my boundaries when I’ve stopped fawning?

I’ve had a revelation this week regarding boundaries. There are outer boundaries, and there are inner boundaries. I’ve worked very hard on my outer boundaries during the past few years, and I have come to see myself as finally quite good at placing outer boundaries in relation to others (barring a few examples, one of them being my children). I now realize I don’t actually know much about my inner ones.

You’ve probably heard of the trauma responses fight-flight-freeze. There is a fourth one, called fawning. This survival response is an attempt to avoid conflict by appeasing people. It is apparently common in neurodivergent people as it is a way for us to hide our neurodivergent behaviours and appear what is deemed to be “normal”.

I realized this week that I fawn all the time. It is so normal to me, that I don’t even think about it. So how can I have boundaries when I don’t know what they are? What would I be doing if I wasn’t fawning by default?

I’ll give you an example. I am very sensitive to being around lots of other people, where the place gets crowded with lots of noises. When I am in such a situation, I am already in a strained relationship with my own senses. I am already uncomfortable, and when I am negotiating my needs vis-à-vis the needs and preferences of another person (for instance, the volume of background music) I don’t know where to place my boundaries – because I am already feeling uncomfortable to start with. Meeting a person “halfway” in compromises are often at my expense and I don’t know whose standards I am comparing mine to. How much are you suffering in comparison with my suffering?

If I were to listen to my inner boundaries that are not in relation to another person, that aren’t relative to something other, I might quit a lot of things, because when I have negotiated my true needs things that I used to put up with won’t pass anymore. Perhaps that is what I will come to experience in the future. I wonder what that will be like, because I truly don’t know yet.

When wellness is bad for you

How do I begin to describe this? I am someone who is in favor of what we call ‘holistic health’, i.e. a view on health that takes the physical, mental, emotional, social, intellectual, and spiritual aspects of a human into consideration. However, I often feel like advice that are branded as ‘holistic’ – and should therefore take more than one of these aspects into account – are instead overly simplistic, does not always take context into consideration and operate from a ‘one size fits all’ kind of world view. This can lead to more harm than the good it is aimed for, especially if it is received by individuals who are internally very complex human beings. Sometimes something is good advice only given that the external conditions that are assumed to be in place are in fact, in place. If not, they can have the reverse effect.

I have witnessed many friends who all share that they have a perfectionist trait, who – depending where they are at in their lives – seem to have suffered more from certain health advice than the health they gained from them, unless they could do it all perfectly. This doesn’t necessarily mean that the information in and of itself was wrong, but that the net effect on the person absorbing this information turned out to be negative.

I personally don’t struggle with this particular kind of perfectionism, but for much of my life I’ve had this terrible feeling that there is something wrong with me that needs to be fixed. Coming from this place, and desperately looking for answers, makes one try all kinds of things in order to overcome the thing. I’ve tried so many different therapies, diets, supplements, healing modalities, treatments, classes etc. and I’ve learned a lot and I don’t think I would not recommend any of them. My concern is rather “who I was when I was asking for help” and what I hoped that the therapist or practitioner could do for me, and/or what they said they could do for me. If I think I am broken and ask for a remedy to make me whole, and they say – yes do this thing and you will be – then wellness can become nothing but a rabbit whole. I am not saying that most therapists and practitioners work like this, but sometimes we have hidden questions and this is going to be the answers that we hear, irrespective of what they actually say or intend to mean.

I have booked an appointment with an alternative medicine person on Friday, just like I have so many times. I am a bit lost regarding something and I hope she can help me. Perhaps she will be able to help me, perhaps she won’t, but I am more than willing to seek help both inside and outside of the conventional health care system if I feel that I need it. In this case, I need advice from someone who is able to look at the physical, emotional and spiritual, not just the physical body although that is also important.

But I am no longer trying to fix anything, because I know I am not broken. Knowing that makes me meet any practitioner – whether a physician or psychiatrist in the medical establishment, or in the complementary and alternative sector – on the same wavelength. They probably know something that I don’t, otherwise I wouldn’t seek out their help, but they don’t know what it is like to be me and what really works for me. I do, and I am finding out more from a place of knowing I am worth to live my best life.

I see people go into polarized positions when it comes to health issues, one side vilifying the other, but I don’t think either of those ‘sides’ have the right answers. What I do think though, is that many simplistic answers are not good enough for complex humans.

Is time to be managed?

I am hosting an online course for the first time, Highly Sensitive & Neurodivergent Life, with a group of people who are either hsp or both hsp and also neurodivergent. I have promised to teach them all I know about boundaries, as this is an important skill for people like us to master if want to spend our very precious energy on the right things and to be able to feel good in our lives. Ironically, because I’ve had the guts to claim that I know something about boundaries, I’ve been shown this week that I am absolutely clueless. But in a specific case, with my own kids. I find that having children is what challenges me to look at the areas in my life where I need improvement more than anything else, they are – through their very existence – my best teachers in the school of life, and they are not letting me get away with things.

One could question then, why I would teach something that I seem to really suck at. However, I don’t necessarily think that is how it works. Often the very things we struggle with the most is what we come to know best eventually and what we can then teach to others. Think about a person who is learning a foreign language, who needs to study the grammar and get acquainted with all kinds of things that a native speaker knows instinctively. Who will be able to pass on the tricks and the analyses of the language that another learner of this foreign language will need? You’re right, the one who didn’t know how to do this instinctively!

By the same token, I have said I will teach time management in this course. Which is perhaps true and not true, because is time even something to be managed? Are we to conquer it and be masters of it, or is there another way to engage with time? If we talk about time management in a mainstream kind of way, I totally don’t know how to manage it. I get lost in time all day every day, and I absolutely abhor the feeling of being governed by it. So in that sense it is different from how I know/don’t know boundaries, because I haven’t gotten any better at managing time. If anything, I am probably even worse than I used to be.

What am I here to teach then? I want to say I have come to know a way to dance with time. I am not always in that dancey space – if thrown out of balance I cannot access it – but when I am in alignment I don’t feel stressed about what I am supposed to do with my time, or in my time. Perhaps this is simply an experience of flow. Everything that needs my attention is flowing to me at the right time and place, and if it doesn’t it means it isn’t meant for me to focus upon that thing in that moment, but it might come later. This way of being in the world requires a huge trust in life. I noticed yesterday when I was very out of balance due to both sleep deprivation and difficulties with my children that I was thrown of this trustful flow-state and into a metallic, controlling state when I felt as though had to push through and use force, and how sick this state makes me feel.

I don’t know to what extent this way of being in the world can be taught, or indeed if it is for everyone. We all function differently and have different preferences. But what I can do it to bare witness, and I can also share the outer conditions that seems to me to be necessary to make this work. So here is my recipe for a system of non-management of your time:

~ Don’t mix it up with other systems. Either you go for the trust-flow system, or you try to manage your time the conventional way. Mixing them just creates confusion.

~ Live a decluttered life. Don’t include ingredients in your life that you don’t actually, really really want, and that are based on other peoples expectations and preferences. This may involve quite dramatic life changes such as leaving your current job, ending certain relationships and learning to say no (boundaries).

~ Create a solid container based on your true preferences. If we want something to flow, we need something for it to flow in to give it direction (otherwise it is just all over the place). For me, this can be to dedicate time to nothing. For example, having an empty day when absolutely nothing in particular needs to happen. Some of these days nothing does happen, and other of days these turn out to be the most productive and get-shit-done days ever. With flow, never with force.

~ Know what you really want in life. What is truly important to you, and what is outside of the essential. Cut the crap.

I suppose non of this is a quick fix, and as I said – it may not be a recipe for everyone. I think if this text sparks a longing inside of you, then there might be something there. If not, then this is probably not your medicine.

Next time I offer my course, I will not put “time-management” as one of the features in the course as this is actually false advertising (sorry to anyone who feels misled!). I will call it non-management of time instead.