Free E-book about Compassion Pancakes

Today is International Pancake Day – the perfect day to launch my new book: Compassion Pancakes. I hope the book will inspire you to use pancakes as positive motivation to spread joy the whole year round.

In honour of this day the book will be available for free download via this page: www.pandekage.atwork.dk

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The book is written in Danish and in English – 100 pages including the history of the pancake, pancakes as positive psychology, and 18 amazing recipes for e.g. Danish, Icelandic, Argentinian, and American pancakes, pancake-cake, and Christmas pancakes.

The book also describes how to host a Compassion Pancake Party, that combines the pleasure of cooking and eating pancakes, with a positive pledge to an act of kindness, and the desire to share this with others.

I hope you enjoy reading the book, and that you will cook some pancakes!

Pancakes are Positive Psychology

For the last 6 months I have been studying positive psychology, and I now feel confident to say that Pancakes are in deed positive psychology in action.

Just think about it. Actually – just think about pancakes! Are you smiling a little? Feeling good?

My point! And let me elaborate.

The father of positive psychology, Martin Seligman, defines well-being as a construct with five measurable elements (PERMA) that count toward it:

Positive Emotion

Engagement

Relationships

Meaning and purpose

Accomplishment

You get ALL these elements, when you bake pancakes for someone.

Positive emotion

Just thinking about pancakes made you smile! Pancakes are comfort food, we make them because we feel good, and because it makes us feel good to eat them. The anticipation when we bake them is a positive emotion – and not only do we look forward to eating the pancakes, we enjoy the thought of sharing them, the thought of making someone else feel good, when we serve them these round cakes of happiness.

Engagement

Engagement is really about flow. It is a present moment, where we are challenged and our abilities are just enough to face that exact challenge. Flow is when we are deeply engaged in something, and loose track of time.

Baking pancakes is a state of flow – especially, when you bake the Danish or French crepes, that are thin, and where precision is needed to flip them without breaking them.

Making great pancakes require presence and focus. Flow.

Relationships

Pancakes are social food. We (almost?) always bake pancakes for another person or for a group. You bake pancakes for people you love, and you know, that someone baking you pancakes is an act of love.

Eating pancakes strengthen our sense of togetherness and makes us feel socially safe.

Pancakes are a part of every close relationship – or at least they should be. #lovetoshare

Meaning and purpose

What could be more meaningful than feeding yourself, and the people you love, great food? I suggest, that it is always meaningful to cook food, since we need food to survive – but in this case there is added meaning and purpose, because of the positive emotions, engagement and social benefit that comes with baking pancakes specifically.

Well-being is the purpose of pancakes.

Accomplishment

Just think of the huge stack of panckes you have baked – that sure feels like an accomplishment! I know, that it is not something that is going to change the world, but it sure feels like an accomplishment, when you put that last baked pancake on the plate. You feel content and proud in a good and non-selfish way.

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Need I say more?

Pancakes are positive psychology in action. Now go bake!

 

 

Creature of habit

“Whenever you meet new people, you have the opportunity to be a little more you.”

Someone told me that many years ago, and I have remembered ever since.

The thing is, that we are all creatures of habit, and not only when it comes to eating habits, what we watch on tv or how we brush our teeth, but also when it comes to our psychological and social behaviour.

Habits are a great concept! We save time and energy, when certain behavioural patterns happen automatically, without the need for awareness, pause and deciding before action. The problem is of course, that not all our habits are in consonance with the life we want to live, or our true personalities.

This last year, I have had the chance to look into the subject of Positiv Psychology. I attended the Fourth World Congress of Positive Psychology in Orlando in june, and I have had a lot of inspiring discussions with people who have studied PP for a long time. A lot of them encouraged me to take a test to map my character strengths. Actually I was overbearingly laughed at, and thought to be the only attendee at the conference who had NOT taken the test.

With awareness is the key as one of my mantras of course I had to take the test. Getting a closer look at my character strengths might not surprise me, but surely it would be a good reminder. And a chance to reevaluate my habits.

I took the test! And my top 5 character strengths (there are 24 in all) turned out to be:

  1. Creativity
  2. Integrity
  3. Social intelligence
  4. Bravery
  5. Perspective

At the bottom of the list (but still strengths I mind you..)

  • 22. Humility & modesty
  • 23. Appreciation of beauty & excellence
  • 24. Self regulation..

Hmm… No –  it was not surprising. But it did make me reconsider some of my habits and especially what I focus on in my professional life.

Working with tasks where I use my top strengths bring out the me in me. That´s where I feel energized and do my best work.

Am I in the habit of using my top strengths when it comes to my work?

Well, not as much as I would like to – I will work on that!

Back to the part about meeting new people, and the opportunity to be a little more you.

As I am sure you experience it too, my relationships become “habits” pretty fast. They get stuck in patterns in the shape of roles; I am the boss, sister, friend, daughter, lover, ex-wife, best friend, niece, etc.

Depending on who I spend time with I have a “fully-prepared-social-behaviour” package ready, and the package seldom changes.

In every individual relationship and in all group relationships, we usually have the behaviour “set” – and once it is set, it becomes a habit that can be really hard to change.

Just think back at a reunion you have attended. Even 20 years after highschool or university, when a class meets, they instantly fall into the same roles and behavioural patterns that they had when they went to school together. They have all changed, but they keep each other (pretty much unaware of doing so) stuck in old social habits.

Can the habits be changed?

I guess it is possible, but it surely takes awareness, time and effort. Not only do you have to change your actual behaviour, you also have to “make” the other person (or even harder; group) see the difference, because he or she is in the habit of seeing you in a certain way. The change has to be quite noticeable.

When I meet new people I remind myself to be as authentic as I can – from the beginning. And in the relationships I am already in – i do the same, and try to create small changes of habit over time.

Who, and doing what, brings out the you in you?

“Choice is creation. To choose is to create. Through my choices I create my reality. At every moment in my life I have a choice. Moments add up to a lifetime; choices add up to a life. What kind of life do I want for myself? What choices will create this kind of life?” – Tal Ben-Shahar

Seek those who fan your flames

“Set your life on fire. Seek those who fan your flames.” – Rumi

Spending time with people who fan your flames, is a key component in a happy life. At least it is to me!

I spend time with a lot of people, and I enjoy the company of most of them, but there are some who stand out and really fan my flames.

These people inspire me, I find pleasure in their company and they challenge me to grow as a person. And I sense that they feel the same way

Awareness, compassion, inspiration, synergy, love, pleasure and meaning are words I would use to describe the essence of these relationships.

I am sure that if you look at the people surrounding you, you will also be able to pin point some of them as “special” in that sense.

It is only recently that I have proactively been seeking the company of people who I can relate to in this way. Attending TED Global in Rio last year was probably the first time I made it a priority. But it is something that I now value and strive to integrate in my life much more than I have done so in the past.

Don´t take this the wrong way – I am in no way devaluating the relationship I have with most of the people I know – I am just acknowledging, that some relationships or connections, or whatever you choose to call them, have a special quality and intensity that stand out.

As I have mentioned a couple of times before, I have not been the most social person you can imagine, so initiating new relationships is not something that comes natural to me. BUT in respect of my (new) life rule about taking a step forward and not backwards, when I hesitate in a situation – I try to do the same in my interaction with other people.

I am no longer (that) afraid of telling someone, that I value their company, that I find them inspiring, and that I would love to spend more time with them.

And what has the consequence been? My life is on fire!

You can do it to!  Prioritize the people you already know who fan your flames, and seek to find more.

“The meeting of two personalities is like the contact of two chemical substances: if there is any reaction, both are transformed.”
– Carl Jung 

Enjoying the transformation, I wish you all a great weekend!

P.s. Feel Free

The paradox of a restriction making me feel free, inspired me to write this P.s. to my post A Silent Perspective.

The 2 hours of Silent Sightseeing guided by Bastian Overgaard reminded me, that awareness and selfobservation are key to understanding, that the thoughts in our heads do not define who we are. They are thoughts – thats all! And we are all free to agree or disagree with them, and free to choose our own actions in response.

Being restricted to silence very quickly made me aware of how often my thoughts just turn into speech. The urge to react to my own thoughts by saying something became crystal clear, and having to stop myself from speaking changed my focus and gave room for awareness.

“When you recognize that there is a voice in your head that pretends to be you and never stops speaking, you are awakening out of your unconscious identification with the stream of thinking. When you notice that voice, you realize that who you are is not the voice — the thinker — but the one who is aware of it.

Knowing yourself as the awareness behind the voice is freedom.

– Eckhart Tolle

This is the point, that the silent experience reminded me of. And yes, we do need to be reminded. Well, at least I do!

There is a big difference between knowing something to be true – because you have read and understood it – and then experiencing it to be true. And sometimes we forget a little..

Inspired by silence and feeling free – let me end this post with another quote;

“Man is condemned to be free; because once thrown into the world, he is responsible for everything he does.”

– Jean-Paul Sartre

With freedom comes responsibility…

Wondering about the flowers in my hair? I felt free!

Feel Free

Picture Perfect Now

A picture says more than a thousand words – but it also captures the now and becomes an elegant reminder that the present moment is all there is. It is always now!

Sometimes looking at a great pictures is just what we need to become present. In a way it makes time stop – or at least makes the storm of thoughts in our mind stop. A great picture lets us feel the moment. We can not truly enjoy a picture, or any other form of art, without being present.

In that way a picture is a “double” now. It captures a now – and you can only enjoy it now.

Please join me, and take a look at some great pictures, that 3 photographers very generously have allowed me to share with you. And stay on until the end – the last one is my personal favorit.

The first three pictures I will share with you are taken by Thomas Gregersen – my (dear) ex-husband. Me, the dog and a beautiful spring forrest. Open each picture – and feel the now.

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Victor

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Now – now – now! And how Thomas has kept reminding me of that..

Twice within the last month I have had the pleasure of working with Photographer Elona Sjögren. I needed some portraits and some pictures for a special work project, and Elona came highly recommended.

Elona challenged me in a great way, when we made the portraits. This first picture is not what I imagined – but it is me. She caught me!

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The next picture was actually taken after we had finished the photoshoot, and it is one of my favorits. What a now! I was getting up from the floor, and almost lost my balance. Look what she captured. So very unexpected.

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Elona, I love how you inspire and capture the now.

And now, let me keep you present!

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That should get your attention!

This picture, and the ones to follow, are the genius work of Lin Sebastian Kayser. I met Lin at TED Global in Rio last year. One afternoon we where standing in line to get in to the talks, and he showed me some pictures he had taken. Time stopped. When you see these next pictures, I am sure they will make time stop for you as well.

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I promised you the best for last, right?! Well, here it is. This picture by Lin Sebastian Kayser was taken at the Memorial to the murdered jews of Europe in Berlin. Lin, this takes my breath away!

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One last note of thought; look around you now! The now is picture perfect – you just have to stay present, and see what is there. It is always now.

Upside down in California

I love to travel! Meeting new people, seeing new places, getting inspired and having my world view challenged.

And of course; awareness, compassion and pancakes – makes every journey a joy.

This last week in California offered all that, and at more times than one, I felt like my world was turned upside down.

You know the feeling, when reality hits?

I experienced that, mentally, emotionally and physically – and it was a pleasure.

Anthony De Mello wrote (something like this) in one of his books: “We see the world as we are and not as it is.

We get caught up in our own view of everything, and run on autopilot!

But when we travel – we usually don´t get away with that. At least I don´t let myself get away with that.

For instance I had a nice little wakeup call, when we where looking at the stars one night, and I said out loud; “Something is wrong with the stars, the Big Dipper Constellation is turned upside down!”

Obviously nothing was wrong with the stars! I was just looking at them from a different angle on the other side of the world.

So there Camilla! Stop thinking that you are the center of the Universe.

I have nice little tales to tell about my week in California, and I will do so in the week to come.

For now some pictures to inspire:

San Juan Capistrano

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San Diego

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Manhattan beach

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Santa Monica Pier

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And did we have pancakes? Almost every day!

I will give you just one shot to make your mouth water – it os strawberry season in California;

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More to come. Love to share.

Kids and compassion in the kitchen

Some of my favorite childhood memories involve cooking with my grandparents and eating pancakes. How about yours?

My childhood was far from picture perfect, but I do have some very clear and happy memories, and a lot of them involve my grandparents, cooking, and pancakes.

In many ways I find, that cooking with kids, and cooking for kids, is an act of compassion.

I remember feeling challenged and valued at the same time, when I was allowed in the kitchen, and allowed to take part in the cooking.

Alone in the kitchen

I was very focused – especially when knifes where involved – and very eager to learn. And most important I think, I experienced cooking as something we did together! We cooked with each other, and for each other.

And the pancakes….

I remember my sister and I sitting in the living room, reading, drawing or maybe watching TV (one channel black and white) – and then suddenly we would smell the pancakes. “Mom is baking pancakes!”

The surprise because she had said noting about it, the joy because we loved pancakes – but primarily the feeling of love and compassion.

Don´t get me wrong, I am in no way saying, that cooking is the primary way of showing kids love and compassion – you can do that in so many ways – but for me, those are the memories that stick. And probably why I love eating and baking pancakes so much.

Recipe for Happiness?

Today is the International Day of Happiness, so the topic for my post seems given.

Since one of the categories here on my blog is Recipes, it made me think if there could be a recipe for Happiness?

If someone asked me, what would my recipe be then?

The first thing that sprung to mind was: Don´t take anything personally!

I got this Sentence of wisdom from Don Miguel Ruiz and his Four Agreements;

1. Be Impeccable with your Word

Speak with integrity. Say only what you mean. Avoid using the Word to speak against yourself or to gossip about others. Use the power of your Word in the direction of truth and love.

2. Don’t Take Anything Personally
Nothing others do is because of you. What others say and do is a projection of their own reality, their own dream. When you are immune to the opinions and actions of others, you won’t be the victim of needless suffering.

3. Don’t Make Assumptions
Find the courage to ask questions and to express what you really want. Communicate with others as clearly as you can to avoid misunderstandings, sadness and drama. With just this one agreement, you can completely transform your life.

4. Always Do Your Best
Your best is going to change from moment to moment; it will be different when you are healthy as opposed to sick. Under any circumstance, simply do your best, and you will avoid self-judgment, self-abuse, and regret.

Out of these four (wise) agreements, I find the second one to be the most important in regards to happiness – but they are all important, and if you keep them in mind, they will truly make a difference in your life.

So there! Put on the spot, this would be my recipe for happiness.

And then the dog said…

…. It is always now!

Well, he didn´t really say that, but close enough.

The story about Katrine is a hard one to follow. So I thought I would mention my daily inspiration to live in the moment, and to remember that; It IS always now!

Victor is my dog. And he is that inspiration. Just look at him.

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Animals are a great reminder of living in the moment and being present. The present moment is where they live their entire lives. They don´t get caught up in thoughts about the past, or thoughts imagining the future – like most of us humans do.

It has been about 12 years since I first realized, that “now” is all there is, all there ever has been, and all there ever will be. It is always now.

I realized this, reading the book “The power of now” written by Eckhart Tolle. A book that I can highly recommend if you need to really understand this very important fact of life.

So what does Eckhart Tolle has to do with my dog?

Nothing really, but he did write the words to this great cartoon about the spiritual teachings from our cats and dogs.

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I have taken the liberty to show you just this one of the cartoons – it is my favorite;

The now

Just remember; it is the NOW now!