Me, Myself and I . . .

So many words have been written of the Ego; the egoist, the egocentric, the destroyer of values . . . what, who, where is this beast? – and how can we recognize him (I’m talking about me here . . .)?

Indeed, how can we begin to master this “beast” if we barely know him (or her)? And isn’t it the ego that is telling us what is right, what is wrong, what we should do, and not do, all after careful (and sometimes very complex) intellectual deliberations about pros and cons, advantages and disadvantages to ourselves, what we stand to gain, to lose?

We compare, judge, create expectations, make assumptions . . .  for what? Does all this make me happier?

I don’t think so.

I am writing these words with my conscious ego (I am thinking), so how can I know? What makes me human however allows me to ask these questions and using the same intellect of the ego, to observe the mental activities that have brought me here.

I remember my childhood: Sweden, Easter eggs behind a tree in full view and my mother waving from behind the tree; did she know I had already found all the eggs? What do we know that we know, – that we don’t know?

Different cultures, countries, languages; seven before I enter college after more than twenty moves on three continents. Everyone I meet is different; who is right, who is wrong?

It was difficult to settle down with so much to see, so many fascinating, beautiful, mysterious people, places, pleasures. I listened so many times to stories of how wrong the others were and thought: they must be right, these persons are old, wise, experienced. But I wondered . . .

After Universities in the USA and then Sweden I began my own wanderings; Marriage and back to USA, California to write screenplays, then Spain after our first daughter was born; real estate and property development, then Austria where I became involved with humanitarian aid for Former Yugoslavia; learning first hand the tragedy and sorrow of war in Croatia, Bosnia, Serpska Krajna; and that nobody wins. The UN was there representing the non-warring countries and very much a part of that war. Sadness, disappointment, frustration; I remember thinking: maybe one person who can save the world is here, what will happen to that person, what will happen to the world? And the cancer continued to spread across the globe. Those were my thoughts. From Austria we fled, finally, to Sweden again, only to meet professional disappointment through the crash of the Asian Tigers in 97´; newly arrived, with a liquidated Hong Kong company and jobless. After many fruitless attempts to find employment I get a phone call; start a company in South America? Interested? From the blue.

South America and Brazil was not on my plan, the furthest from my plan, actually, if there ever was a plan. Yet it was a homecoming. The energy is good there. The people, nature, the sounds and scents all agreed with me.

As I sit on this island north of Stockholm, this archipelago of more than 40,000 islands, I feel privileged to think about these things, to have the time to sometimes Stop, Reflect & Listen . . .

It was a choice I made before leaving Brazil. Soon eight years ago I am still learning about my conditioning, the programming of my life, the marks of my experiences good, bad, ugly and beautiful.

The ego is a handy tool to get things done in this practical world or worlds. A useful friend we can choose to listen to, or not. I have learned much from my ego, my ego has taught me volumes, and I am thankful. Mostly, my ego has shown me what I am not.

Now 52 springs later there are 9 countries on four continents I have lived in, experienced and learned from. I have much to learn and more to unlearn.

My experiences are not who I am. My thoughts are not who I am. My ego is not who I am. Many things I am not, yet all of these things I am.

And I am grateful.


About christersoderberg

Living and growing up in nine countries has left strong impressions on the background of Christer Söderberg, helping to create an awareness of the impermanence in life and the uncertain value of knowledge; illustrating the paradox between knowing and what we may do well to “unlearn”. Christer has worked with companies in six countries on four continents, most recently in Brazil where between 1998 and 2002 he started a subsidiary for a Swedish Multinational. Studies in business and a lifetime of social entrepreneurship have further cemented his belief that the only thing we can change is ourselves. This lifelong endeavor expresses itself in creating the conditions for change through places, physical and virtual spaces where the individual can feel safe in him/herself; at least enough to stop, reflect and listen to the world we live in. We exist in our relationship to each other, our environment, and ourselves. Through observation and silence, preferably in close communion with nature, a “zero perspective” can help stimulate the questions surrounding our purpose and a meaningful contribution while on earth. Increased awareness of individual potential plants seeds for long-term success; Open World initiatives help awaken the hidden potential in individuals, creating new perspectives on cooperation and personal development. Increased focus and balance help provide a strong base for individual and business growth, with a deeply ingrained sense of responsibility, respect and awe for the power in nature.
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