Why I don`t like to cook

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I am a terrible cook. If somebody puts a knife in my hand to cut up vegetables, you can be sure that the vegetables will soon be on the floor. If you put a mixer in my hand, the content  will start decorating the kitchen walls.I am a terrible cook. I have even been on two cooking classes, but something always goes wrong. I burn what I am frying, overcook vegetables and add to much spice.

When I was at school, I was bullied when we were learning to cook. It started innocently, by a boy bringing to my attention that I had not set the table right. But it developed into commenting on everything I did: That I should not use scolding water when doing the dishes and that I cooked something for a minute to long. After a while, I dreaded those cooking lessons. I felt so stupid, and that is why I don`t like to cook today.

But two days ago, I decided to challenge myself after watching Masterchef, feeling inspired for once. So I bought in some new ingrediens for a salad and food for the grill. The weather was for once perfect so I could sit in the sun and chop to my hearts content. I tried to mix flavors that I was not sure would go well with each other, and chopped up the vegetables with just some minor accidents. No fingers were cut, instead heaps of  carrot, paprika and squash grew in front of me.  After 30 frustrating minutes of chopping, I was done and could eat the dinner I cooked for my boyfriend. Discovering that it actually tasted good, really surprised me. And my boyfriend, who cooks like a God, was satisfied too! A minor victory, but still an important one for me.

If you feel like giving up because you`re not good at something, don`t let that stop you. You might find you like it as you get better at it. Our sense of not being good at something, is too often linked with hopelessness. We often think there is no reason to try something we are not good at, because it feels frustrating to invest time and energy in something you feel you should do without any fuss. But that`s exactly why you should try. The feeling of mastery after struggling is indescribable. Nothingham describes this very well in his book “Challenging learning”. By doing the things we`re not good at, we grow. And even if cooking food won’t change the world, it will surely give me joy when I can start experimenting and actually produce tasty dishes that my friends can enjoy. And life is about these small victories. Its about reaching our potentials and learn as much as we can.

The Learning Challenge with James Nottingham from Challenging Learning on Vimeo.

James Nottingham 

Without me

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I am not the lash in your eye, the impediment in your mouth.

Without me you have no companion but your own shadow.

Jack Weatherford, Djengis Khan

No-drama discipline

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The sound of five wishes

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I have just read “Five Wishes” a book that spoke directly to my psychologist’s heart.

Five wishes ask the question: Picture yourself on your deathbed. did you accomplish everything you wanted to accomplish? if not, what were the things that you regret not doing ?

5 Wishes is a simple way to get what you want. Each step is plainly made and easily followed. Reading it I can feel some of what he is saying flow over me, and I’m getting those occasional twinges of excitement which are all too rare as I become more cynical. Reading 5 wishes let me be innocent again, and ready to accept the changes into my life I need to make so when I’m asked the question at the beginning, I can say “Yes.”
If you’re in a rut, read this book. If you are not feeling satisfied with life, read this book. If you are not totally happy and connected with yourself, with the joy of living and with the rest of creation, you need to read this book.


An encounter at a party changed Gay Hendricks forever. A stranger asked him to imagine himself on his deathbed and to consider this question:

“Was your life a complete success?” If not, then “What would be the things you’d wish had happened that would have made it a success?” Hendricks said his deepest wish was for a loving, lasting relationship with a woman. The stranger said, “turn that wish into a goal, and put it in the present tense.” On the spot, Hendricks came up with this goal, “I enjoy a happy marriage with a woman I adore and who adores me. I enjoy a lifelong blossoming of passion and creativity with her.” This goal helped him create his marriage to Kathlyn, the date he’d taken to the party, and during the past 27 years they’ve become well-known relationship experts and co-authors of 9 books together. This short, focused book shows readers how to discover their own five wishes for a fulfilled life (as well as to read the stories of all five of Hendricks’s wishes). Neale Donald Walsch’s thoughtful foreword explores the power of this approach and explains why he insisted Hendricks share it with others.


The book on goodreads

Help for the helper

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We have many great therapists in Norway, and through courses and education I sometimes meet some of them. It`s often very inspiring, since they knit their theories together with their work in exciting tapestries. Last year we were on a lecture by a therapist called Per Isdal. He worked with violent men, and talked about compassion fatigue and the perils our work entails.

Yesterday we had a meeting were one of the lead psychiatrist at our clinic, talked about the same theme, and we had to fill out a questionnaire that asked about felt tiredness, stress and satisfaction with our work. Luckily I was in the “no risk” group, which I think comes from the meaning I derive from my work. I truly feel that I can help, and nothing is better than seeing my clients blossoming. To see them walking towards happiness inspire of the pain, is an honor, and I try to remember that every time I`m afraid, have too much to do, or just think about everything that is wrong with the world. I also think that going to lectures and reading relevant books, has helped support my sanity and ability to help.

Help for the helper

I`ve read many good books this year, and one of them is “Help for the helper”. It is packed with quality advice and knowledge, and is also easy to read. P. Isdal recommended it himself, so I immediately ordered it and prioritized reading it. The ideas from the book were reawakened today, after reading “treating complex PTSD`by Courtis and Ford. I came to a part about sensorimotor psychotherapy, and it reminded me on features from “help for the helper”. I then remembered one of the sessions where I applied the theory, and wanted to share it with you. Some have said it would be good if I shared more from my clinical practice, and I want to do that, at the same time as I keep the privacy of my client and duty of confidentiality.


We all have needs

We have thousand needs that we need to navigate around like a surfer keeping his balance in the waves.  Trauma-patients who dissociate find this harder than most: They can be immersed in something so intensely, that they forget to eat, be social or even sleep. When this happens a lot, the body and mind`s needs create a state of constant tension.

Most people know that balance is important; If we only eat sugar, we need salt. If we never saw white, we wouldn`t understand black. This principle of balance also has a name: Homeostasis. Homeostasis regulates a lot of the body`s needs, and also kicks in when people develop addictions and is generally alarmed when we start to veer too far away from the golden “middle way”.

When we struggle for balance

But what if this fine-tuned system malfunctioned, since you had to keep needs separated to survive? For children who`re abused or neglected, it is indeed often necessary to ignore certain needs because having them is associated with danger. If neglect and abuse has been severe, they might split feelings, needs and actions apart from each other, and the machinery that once went smoothly, starts to misbehave. Many of them don`t register what happens with their bodies at all, especially after sexual abuse. It`s better to  float above the body and it`s feelings, than to experience and face the abuse. The only problem is: Some part of the body remembers anyway, and those parts also have needs.

Working with abuse is a lot about listening to signals from the body again, and that means that we have to explore memories and feelings that might awaken fright or terror.

How I used the book to help both myself and my clients

To help my patients explore their own needs, I have to use myself: What happens inside me? What can I notice from their words and body-language? For example: When they talk, without  emotions about how they could not escape from a violent father, and at the same time raise their hand a little, I might say: “I see you`re raising your hand. What do you want to do with that hand? Can you complete the movement”? If they do, they might discover that they wanted to raise their hand, to protect themselves. By directing attention to this movement, and asking them if they could just do what they want, they might actually do just that and then feel better afterwards. Instead of frozen terror, some control returns.

An example of an emotional reaction I often see with clients, is shame. It can for example come when they finally manage to say something that scared them to say. Their initial reaction will often be looking down. They “shrink” together as if to protect themselves, and don`t meet my eyes. This is understandable, since their innocent gaze was met with hatred or ridicule before. Shame is many clients middle name, and I wish I could have been there when the mis-labeling happened.

Unfortunately, I can`t go back in time, but I can do everything I can to help them live the life they never had.

So there they sit, weighted down by shame and fear. I look at them, seeing the little child that never got what it needed. And so, softly I ask: Do you dare to look at me now? Painfully slow they turn their heads toward me.

Changing yesterday by being in the now

In addition to using their body-signals as a compass that shows me where they are and need to go, I also use my personal reactions to enlighten me about their feelings. I might sit there, and suddenly realize that I`m gritting my teeth. My reaction to this can be telling them about it. “Do you know what just happened? I suddenly find I`m sitting here with my teeth clenched”. A client can then look at me in surprise and say: “I do too!”

By being observant on what happens inside me, I actually help them realize what happens with them. It can be subtle things: That I suddenly breathe slower, or that I need to push my chair back, or maybe that I feel uncomfortable. When I get unusual reactions like, I ask myself like Rotschild recommends: What is going on right now? Maybe I have picked up on something they are feeling?

Working and thinking about this has been as surprising for me as it for them. It shows how easily we are influenced by others.


Homeostasis Refers to More Than Just The Planet

Interview with Patricia Smith: Founder of the Compassion Fatigue Awareness Project

  Review: Hem Helpers Do Their Job at a Great Price (

How Do You Know Your Shrink Is Helping You? (

Some part of the body remembers

Courtis and Ford

You Will Help Others 

Daily Prompt

Want a preview of my book?

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This eastern I will work with completing my book. It`s based on this blog, and I have now come so far that I want to publish the first part. But: I need to proofread it, and doing it myself is quite hopeless as my writing-skills are still at a basic level. So if you want to have an exclusive preview of my book, please do contact me at

You can also reach me on Facebook by following this link




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This is a reblog from Ken Dickson, the Author of detour from normal. I recommend the book for everyone who want to read a story about being committed to a psychiatric hospital. It is a touching story of how tough it can be to get listened to, once somebody decides that you are “crazy”.

You can get the book here


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What is Resilience? According to the Merriam Webster Dictionary, it is an ability to recover from, or adjust easily to misfortune or change. Resilience can result from severe trauma, like a switch flipping in a person’s mind—a kind of wakeup call that closes a door to their immediate suffering, often opening a new one to latent passions.

That is what happened to me following surgery, adverse reactions to medications and resulting temporary mental illness. Within months, I embarked on a writing career and published my first book, Detour from Normal, just over a year later.

I asked doctors, psychologists, psychiatrists and counselors about my experience and was met with blank stares. The best they could offer was a pill to numb my mind and make me forget. Family and friends were no better—they either longed for the day I would fully recover, made fun of me behind my back, or shunned me.

I could have let that hurt my feelings or taken an easier route and pretended to be the old me. Instead, I chose a new path, convincing others even more of my continued lunacy. I desperately needed to understand why I changed so much.

At first, there seemed no answers. Eventually, however, I painstakingly assembled the pieces to the puzzle, one that perhaps only I could solve. Along the way, I discovered that few people in the world understood resilience, a fact that left me feeling isolated and alone.

As time passed and my desire to share my knowledge grew, I decided to write another book. I knew from my experiences that readers would likely be skeptical, so I hatched a brilliant plan: I’d divulge everything I’d learned in the form of an entertaining story, a kind of parable. If readers thought it crazy, I would tell them “It’s just a story.” Who knows, a crazy story might prove more popular than a sane one. On the other hand, suppose that my words changed lives and others became resilient without having to suffer trauma? It seemed a win-win proposition. I began writing.

More than anything, I wanted to live and breathe my story–experience what my characters did first-hand. Over the ensuing years, I travelled from the desolate to the exotic through Arizona, New Mexico, Utah and Idaho. I hiked down dusty desert roads; four wheeled through rugged wilderness, and gazed upon some of the most beautiful scenery in America. I even joined Toastmaster’s for a year to overcome a fear of public speaking, following the path of my protagonist. Frequently, I carried a notebook. On one road-trip, I pulled to the side of the road repeatedly to record notes–sixteen pages in all.

Although I aspired to be a great writer, I paled in comparison to any number of famous authors. Seeking tutelage, I found a local English teacher. Over the next year, we painstakingly dismantled two years of work and created a new story unlike any other—a story of a formerly mentally ill man’s quest to make sense of his new life; of finding others like himself; of his burning desire to share his gift with the world to end suffering and open doors to endless opportunity; a story that I believe is our destiny.

Thus was born my second novel: The Road to Amistad. Soon, I will proudly present it to the world. I hope that you will join me then on an incredible journey into the unknown and test your own convictions about your mind.

UPDATE: The Road to Amistad was published on February 19th, 2016.

– See more at:

Protected: Listening to what your brain and mind tries to tell you

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Protected: Close to the edge

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The sound of crawling out of a black hole

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Recently, I wrote about a book called “Emotional Blackmail” by Susan Forward. At the end of the book, she writes about traps people fall into, that makes us vulnerable when dealing with difficult relationships. One of those traps, is the fear of falling into a “black hole” of loneliness and unhappiness. Forward describes this as a normal reaction that many can have, the fear is often worse than reality, but this fear can be so powerful that people stay in unhealthy relationships or situations. She has a concrete tip on how to handle those insecure feelings. First, she sits there with the patient and ask them to go “into” the black hole in their thoughts. While there, feeling vulnerable and like life never will be okay again, she asks the client to bring forward a good memory. In the book, a woman who is afraid of loosing her husband even if she wants a divorce herself, tells Susan that she feels so alone and afraid that she never will have anyone around her again. Forward then asks her to come up with a positive memory, and to think about what makes her happy in her day to day life. For this patient, a memory of when she was a child and got a horse, comes up. Susan asks her to remember this memory, and the patient immediately feels better and stronger. In this more positive mood, it is easier for her to remember other good things: She has friends, family and pleasurable interests, and she realizes that she can feel afraid and helpless, and still be able to get out of that feeling by thinking about happy memories and what she has today.


When reading that paragraph, I remember a dream I had many years ago. It started as a nightmare. I didn`t know where to go, and felt completely disoriented. I was trying to find my way back after walking in the mountains, but everything looked unfamiliar. I kept on walking, with panic growing inside. Suddenly, I followed a path that lead my to the most beautiful waterfall I`ve ever seen. It was surrounded by a tranquil space that made me cry because it was so wonderful. I felt completely safe and protected, and when I woke, the afterimage of this beautiful place, was still there. I can still feel relaxed and reassured when I think about this place, because it reminds me of beauty in the most difficult of circumstances. Whenever I feel down, I can bring that memory back, and it reminds me that sometimes, you just need to walk for a bit longer, and you will find something that takes your breath away and makes you happy.

So, are you afraid of falling into a black hole you can`t get out of? And do you have happy memories or good things in your life that you can bring forward if you feel alone and helpless?