Saturday, 12 November 2016

Swedish Anna lost her home in the earthquake in Italy but will stay to help rebuild

My Swedish friend Anna has been hit by the recent earthquakes in central Italy.  She and her family have lost their home and there is almost nothing left of the village where they lived. It will take time to build everything up again and in the meantime thousands of people are homeless, including Anna and her family. They now live with relatives, but are of course very concerned about the future.

Anna Pilotti is a strong and brave woman. She and her family were hit by the earthquake on August 24 when she managed to save their children and run out at the last second. Swedish media wrote about her. Since then she has been involved in further quakes and now the family has no home left. When I called her after the quake on October 30th, they had not slept for three nights.

The situation is desperate. 40,000 people without homes in central Italy. Many have no jobs left, and there are still people alive in the affected villages because they can not move. Anna tells me about a family that has animals there and can not just leave them.

Anna - how are you and your family?
We feel pretty good .... As you understand, certain moments are dark and sad, and everyone in the family has a different way to cope with those moments so it is not always easy. From extreme situations like this we learn to talk, to always tell the truth, to be patient and listen - and also to understand one another perhaps more quickly than before. There is no time and space for trivia - you understand what I mean? This is positive, we are living more in the moment and we also live moments with much laughter and we can see the value of love and awareness that what makes you strong and make life easier.

Nearly 300 people died in the earthquake in August, yet you have chosen to live near your home. What has it been like to live with this fear?
I have been thinking of what you call fear. And I can say that in the moment when you need to escape, to save the family - you don't feel fear! You are so 100% in the moment that nothing else exists than just that you have to act. A radical presence where all thoughts disappear and you know what to do. Fear is something that can come to you when you hear and see things that remind you of fear, when you see the devastation on TV and other things that remind you of what has just been. Most people talk about fear. I know there is another side to fear, I have tools that allows me to easily get out of the "hypnosis". I have respect for nature, I know that I have to share this place with the forces of nature, and I know I have to make choices like nature. Can I accept it will not work to stay here. I am not afraid but I do have respect.

How do you see the future?
Obviously it is very hart sometimes. It is tough to have to leave your home with all the things inside that you don't know if you will ever get back again. I had moved all my things from Sweden there too so all everything is left in there; photos, memories, clothing, household goods. jewelry .... everything.  Maybe I can get photos from friends and family but some old ones it is not possible to have because they are too old. I'm happy if I can have some pictures of my children and family - for the rest, we will manage. 

Furniture is sad but it is weird to say that clothes feel more important. For my husband, it is different. The house had belonged to his family for over 100 years... But now that he has seen that the "soul" of the house no longer exists, that it is unsafe and and can't be rebuilt to what it was before and he got miraculously released! And you should know that he is a person who really loved his house his house, and ... well, it was his castle.  So he made a journey within himself that I would not have thought he would make. Now he is ready for something new and that is positive. We have much more to share now than before. We have a project together that we believe in, even if it will take time to reach our goals.

Picture of Anna and the children's room after the first earthquake in August.
How is it to live on a camping / tent village?
Well, after two months of camping for people like us, who absolutely had never thought to stay at a camping, I can say that I still would not choose it as a conscious choice for a holiday. Yet, I am extremely grateful for the support and generosity of these people have demonstrated to all of us. We have been sleeping wonderfully well!  4 people in 15 square meters! Maybe because we were close, perhaps because we knew it was made of wood. You feel the quakes more inside wood but you know it will not collapse.

In such a place you hear everything from everyone ; everything from lovemaking, people going to the toilet, children playing and people's conversations - as if you all were together in the same room! We have laughed a lot - you can not do anything after a while - it's like Faulty Towers x 10 :)

How can we help you? You, your family and the other victims of these earthquakes?
Oh, Annika, I do not really know right now. I think there are projects to help the villages. We want to ensure that the village will be built in wood so that they won't fall, because rebuilding in stone, mortar and cement would be a disaster! So this is a job where we need to work a lot to change Italy and the decision makers. This is big!

I have been in contact a bit with IKEA on how they might help with the schools, benches, reconstruction, we'll see. For me and my family the first priority is to find accomodation in the short term and things that our children need first of all. We have 2 girls of 11 and 13, so everything from games to clothes are of course welcome. We as adults are ok.

Good luck, Anna! And please let me know if the readers and myself can do anything in the future!

Anna and me in Rome in October 2015

Saturday, 8 October 2016

Yngve Bergqvist - a man who inspires me! The creator of the Ice Hotel in Sweden.

There are a lot of interesting and goal oriented people mentioned in most of the inspirational motivational speakers' presentations, but I have so far not heard any of them talking about Yngve Bergqvist! Who? Yngve Bergqvist! The man who invented the Ice Hotel in the land of Lapland - Sweden. Wow! That is a man who inspires me!



Don't you think people thought he was crazy when he got the idea of building a hotel made of ice that would melt every year? They probably did. Just as they thought Karl Benz was crazy when he built the Benz patented Motorwagen or Henry Ford when he wanted to put people in cars instead of on horses. People probably looked astonished at the Wright brothers when they told the world they wanted to build an airplane. I can imagine how people looked at Yngve and I am happy that he was stubborn enough to conclude his project.

Photos of the ice hotel 2016

Jukkasjärvi is a small little place near Kiruna in the very north of .Sweden, 200 km north of the Arctic Cirle. In summer there were some tourists coming there fishing and walking in the mountains, but in winter the tourists were very few until some years ago. Yngve was inspired by some Japanese ice artists that held an exhibition in Jukkasjärvi in 1989. In spring 1990 a French artist Jannot Derid came to hold an exhibition in an igloo and one night some visitors didn't find an accommodation in town and asked to sleep in the igloo in sleeping-bags on reindeer skin. They slept very well and the following winter the first ice hotel was built. 

Yngve had travelled around the world, studying some very cold places and understood how to to this. The entire hotel is made out of snow and ice blocks taken from the Torne river. Even the glasses in the bar are made of ice! Every spring the Ice hotel harvests tons of ice from the frozen river and stores it. The hotel has a hall, a reception, about 100 rooms, an ice church, a bar and a restaurant. Artists come from all over the world to be part of this project. There are now about 50.000 people that sleep at this hotel every winter and many go there just to visit it. 

                                            Video from National Geographic 2008

The hotel melts every year and the year after it is built up again with 30.000 tons of snow and 4.000 tons of ice. 

”Om man kan bygga ett hotell av is, i en liten by 200 km norr om polcirkeln, och få människor från hela världen att gapa av hänförelse - då är ingenting omöjligt.” – Yngve Bergqvist.

"If you can build a hotel made of ice, in a little village 200 km north of the Arctic Circle, and make people be with "open mouth" of astonishment - then nothing is impossible." - Yngve Bergqvist. 


Saturday, 7 May 2016

The Dreamers - a B&B for dreamers in Rome

I first met my friend Rabah some years ago when we worked together at an international company. He patientely tried to teach me some words in Arabian that I soon forgot. What I can never forget, though, is his wonderful smile. 

He reminds me of Charlie Chaplin since he always smiles whatever happens. I have been lucky enough to have long, interesting chats with Rabah and he has also been at my place cooking some very good meals from his home counry - Palestine. How can a person come from a country like Palestine and smile every day? He has seen so many terrible things and injustice? I don’t know but it gives me hope and joy. 

Rabah changed his carreer in Rome and while still studying on his master at university he worked on and opened the Bed & Breakfast called "The Dreamers". I love the name! The B&B is near the center of Rome and is pet friendly, has a nice kitchen and cozy rooms. 

There is a terrace where one can sit and enjoy the Roman evenings. I am happy to read very good comments about “The Dreamers” on The rooms and the atmosphere at "The Dreamers" are very special and should you need a place to stay when in Rome do not hesitate to contact my friend. You will be met by a smile.

 Do you want to know more? Take a look at their website:

Good luck with everything, Rabah! Keep going strong!

Thursday, 7 January 2016

Love is the answer!

Have you ever thought of how angry you get when you see a picture of war or violence? Don't you experience that when politicians talk with hatred about the opposition you feel that they are bad too? Don't negative messages make you feel in a bad mood? What do you do to improve things after that? Nothing. What about bringing up positive things? What about talking about love? Love brings hope and strength!

I have a few heroes, even in very modern times. One is Geir Ove Kvalheim. He comes from one of the wealthiest countries in the world, Norway, where he could live a very comfortable life in front of the TV every evening. Instead he is living in Lesbos - helping refugees to survive! Because he thinks that we are all worth to live! And he thinks that he can help people! So he does! Isn't that a fantastic message? Doesn't this picture give you a feeling of LOVE and HOPE?

Another hero living in my heart is Gino Strada, the founder of Emergency. He and his peace troops are doing their very best to fix what wars are destroying. They are present in the hospitals where the worst wars are. Loving everyone In peace. With peace. With love. 

I try my best not to get affected by the messages of hatred that people are sending. I do not care if a person is a Muslim, a Catholic, an Atheist, a Protestant, a Jehova's Witnesses, a Buddhist or a Hindu. I don't care. I can love everyone. I have friends of all religions and opinions. I don't want hatred. I want love. Because love is the answer. I have a wise man on my wall reminding me of this every day.

Tuesday, 8 December 2015

About weddings and bride bouquets - white roses

I help Scandinavian people plan their weddings in Italy. I love this work! I love watching people looking deep into their eyes saying "yes" to each other's love. Love is amazing! Right now we are under "planning season" and it is fun and inspiring to help the couples organize everything from hotel, restaurant, music and - of course - flowers!

My favourite flower is the rose. A lot of brides actually choose this flower for the bouquet and the decoration of the restaurant. What do you think of white roses?

Tuesday, 13 October 2015

The power of our mind - Interview with Dr. Dain Heer

I had the great opportunity to meet the inspiring author Dain Heer when he was in Rome for his European Tour, A taste of Being. I had read his book "Being you changing the world". Dain is a great example of how a person actually can change their life. He started his journey in 2000 when he was depressed and thinking of suicide. Very few people really understood him, since he seemed to have a good life; he worked a doctor in Santa Barbara and had a beautiful girlfriend, but yet – he felt empty and sad inside. He actually explains the feeling like "dying inside". He decided to do something about it and found some really good tools from a person named Gary Douglas who had founded something called Access Consciousness.

I met Dain at the hotel where he was staying and he came towards me with an incredibly warm smile and it felt as if I had always known him. He took me to a quieter place and we started the interview talking like old friends.

Why Access Consciousness?

Gary Douglas founded it many years ago. In the beginning it was called Access Energy Transformation because we had the power to transform energy in any situation, but since what we were transforming the stuck energies in people's bodies and lives they had more choice for consciousness. The difficulties come from unconsciousness or from consciousness when we choose against it. The only thing we wanted to bring into the world was consciousness. Then we got the definition of consciousness as it is in our world: Everything exists but nothing is judged. This is exactly what we'd like to access. The name Access Conciousness really indicates what we want to reach. Consciousness is not only about seeing, as many people think. Consciousness creates ease, but most people are struggling.

Photo: Monica Soma

One of the tools you use is putting questions. Questions not answers – why?

Because a question always empowers while an answer dis-empowers. By putting questions you open up possibilities beyond conclusion. When you come to a conclusion, nothing that doesn't match that conclusion can come to your awareness. We have such power that when we decide that something is reality – that's all we can see. Even though it doesn't have to be that reality, that's what it becomes when we create it. Reality is something limited because we decide so. The universe naturally functions from questions. It's like the sun exploding and the molecules go where they are most attracted to, but without a plan. Some people think that our mind is our greatest asset when it often is our greatest limitation.

Can you give some examples?

Of course! Who thinks that money is a struggle will always see it that way, whereas who grows up with a lighter idea of money will feel ease about it and see it come and go. I have seen friends growing up with these different point of views about money, that have changed their feelings about money. It's all about the point of view that somebody takes. The question empowers because it opens up greater possibilities and gets you out of the points of views that you are functioning from.

I read these questions in your book: "What is this?", "What do I do with this?", "How can I change it?", "How do I change it?". Can you give me some examples of how these questions have changed YOUR life?

Oh! Literally, everything! I travel a lot and when I first started travelling, I was tired all the time and my body was exhausted. I asked myself: "What is this?" and I understood it was everybody else's projections and opinions, not mine. Then I asked "What do I do with it?" and I answered that I would get rid of it. In a couple of weeks my body started feeling better. I had more energy and felt better. I actually looked at a picture from 12 years ago and I could see that I looked dense and fat. It is weird because we are told we should get more wrinkles and get uglier as we get older, but it doesn't have to be this way!

A lot of thinkers talk about visualization, do you think that works?

If you visualize from getting the energy from what you want to create you are no longer limited to the image you want to live up to. You can visualize your goals, but by doing so with open questions will make it more powerful. Everything can come to you!

"Who does this belong to?" is one of your favourite questions. You talk a lot about us carrying around somebody else's thoughts and behaviours. Can you develop this?

Yes, of course. 98% of your thoughts, judgements, feelings and point of views are things you picked up from other people. There is a very powerful tool that helps us get rid of these. If you put the question "Who does this belong to?" and you feel lighter afterwards – this is because or thought the feeling was not yours. By doing this for three days you will stop believing that all this stuff is yours and get to know yourself better. We pick up a lot of things from other people during our path. That is one place to start. Then there are tools to clear this out. You are welcome to watch this video:

Can we keep things we like even if they come from other people?

Yes,we can! But it has to feel good for us! When a feeling is right it is light, when it is wrong it feels heavy. The same thing happens with truth and lies.

How do you cope with hindrance and objections? Does it happen that people say you are crazy?

Of course I do! If somebody says I am crazy, I just shut up. I am not here to convince anybody. I am here to help people you are willing to change and looking for a change in their life.

We always have a choice

The worst thing that can happen to us is that we have no choice. Believing you have no choice is a recipe for depression, for suicide – for total unhappiness. We have to start to change the lie that we have no choice. All of us have choice to a greater degree of acknowledgement that we have been choosing! When we have the courage to leave then universe supports you. This does not mean you should leave stupidly, but however we have to choose what is good for us.

How can people use this technique to improve their lives, for example to lose weight?

Every time you get hungry you should ask yourself: "Who does this belong to?" And if it lightens up at all, it's not yours. You have to be willing to do this, though. There was a lady who used to eat do-nuts at work and started putting this question to herself. By using this question she lost 25 pounds in a month! To lose weight we should also get our bodies moving, of course! Our bodies are not meant to be sitting. When we move our muscles we also get a better connection to our bodies. We often just stand and watch our bodies, judging it all the time. It is time to get connected to our bodies and stop judging ourselves! Also start asking your body what it wants! It will tell you! And remember that moving makes us happier since it gives us endorphins.

Ask and you shall receive
So few people really believe in the words written in the Bible "Ask and you shall receive", but it actually works. But if we ask without believing we can receive, we won't. We tend to ask but then just leave the question behind.

                                      Video: Monica Soma Adaptation: Leonardo Imperatori

Intimacy and relations. You talk about not separating from ourselves. What do you mean by that?

Very often we tend to do things that we think makes our partners happy. When we start a relationship we want to show how much we love them and we stop doing everything that is nurturing for us, everything that is fun, we stop hanging out with people that we like – especially if our partners do not like them. So we divorce from ourselves. This does not work. This is the recipe for the end of a relationship. It is like excluding yourself from your relationship. We should instead recognize that doing things that make us feel good improves our relationships! Ladies, if you have the feeling your partner suffers when you go to the gym, or something else you like doing – just let him know that you are doing this because it makes you happy. Tell him you can play when you come back. Have sex when you come back! Most men feel so appreciated when a woman wants to have sex with him! If a partner pretends you to do as they want and don't care about you – just leave!

About domestic violence and abuse. You have written and talked about these topics as well. Can you tell me about it?

Domestic violence is both about men and women. When talking about physical abuse it is more often men that are violent to women, but in emotional abuse it is very often women who are violent. If you are in a relationship where you are being abused, remember: there is always a better choice for you! I am saying this, because I know. I have experienced many kinds of abuse because I have experienced it myself. We have to make a choice and we need tochoose what is best for us! Projections are often used in violent relationships and can be a signal for you that something is wrong. If somebody blames you for their failures, don't take that. You will get a heavy feeling which means that it is a lie. Truth always feels light.

What about Dain? What are your passions? What do you do in your freetime?

Wow! I have a lot of passions! When I have time I love riding my horses. I also love riding my motorbike fast. I also like working out in the gym or go running.

Now you are in Rome. What do you like about this city?
I love history! And I actually like the mixture between new and old that can be found here in Rome. You can really feel the past here. And where you feel the past you can also feel the future. I also love the good food and wine here. I even love being driven here! Everybody uses each space of the road and has a lot of fantasy. You have to be a really good driver to drive here! There are also other places in Italy that I love as Venice for instance. It is amazing to think how such a town can exist. The whole town is built on wood!

And what about Sweden?
I love Sweden! The first time I landed in Stockholm it felt as if I came home. I also like the people and the architecture. Of course, I also enjoy the meatballs! I get amazed of how people in Sweden really are curious and dig into Access Consciousness. At first I thought that people in Sweden were used to live in a box, but actually they are very curious and open minded.

Photo: Monica Soma

Finally: You travel a lot. Do you think people are more open minded in some places than in others?
There are definitely cultural differences in different countries, but being open minded is about being curious and having courage. Brave and curious people are everywhere and a lot of them are willing to change. When a person has the courage to make a change in their life they most often create a path for somebody else. People who want this are everywhere.

Photo: private

Thank you so much for taking your time to talk to me, Dain. I truly wish you best of luck for all your endeavours!

Sunday, 6 September 2015

Believe in your dreams! - Graffiti painter Adam is only 22 and runs his own business

I love meeting people who let their dreams come true! Adam Algotsson is only 22 years but already has a very interesting story to tell and an exciting background. He is a graffiti artist and has his own company! I could not miss his latest art exhibition in Borås, Sweden.

Adam was born in 1993. He has always liked painting and while he attended high school he started with graffiti. In the beginning, he painted illegaly and he was caught by the police once when he was just 14 years old. After that, he began painting more and more on legal sites, while the paintings became increasingly sophisticated. His passion for the art grew and he also began to paint on canvas. He sketched, drew and painted every free moment he had.

Adam's wall at the Roskilde festival 2014

One day he received a commissioned work of a guy also named Adam. He was asked to write the guy's name on the wall of his bedroom, with silvery text and black outline. When the job was done the boys's father came to pay Adam. Guess Adam's surprise when he got to see who the boy's father was! It was the policeman who had arrested him! He had become fond of Adams art and wanted to show him that he could live on his gift instead of ending up in jail!

Adam is now happy that this happened. Since then he has performed more than 150 custom orders! He has provided his art to private companies as well as to the Municipality. He has also painted skating halls and private individual walls. A wall at the Roskilde Festival was also made by Adam's and he designs wallpaper to Mr Perswall and labels to Boras Brewery. He is also known for having painted a long gallery in his home town.

Adam hasn't studied art. He is completely self taught. He is meticulous and he paints never the same thing twice. My favorite painting is probably the one called the return of Vinyl. I said that it feels right for "my age". Adam says that people of all ages love graffiti. Today's oldest customer was around 70, he said, and the 40-year-olds like cartoon characters.

I asked Adam when he decided to open their own business. He says that he has his sister to thank for this. He received an order from a company three years ago and was then forced to open a business in order send the invoice. “I have never gone minus" he says proudly.

Finally, I ask Adam what message he has to give to young people worldwide. Adam smiles with his clear blue eyes and saying: Believe in your dreams! Do everything to achieve them! But be prepared to lose some friends. You do not have to hang out with friends every day. You have to work hard and be able to be alone. Previously buddies were important to me, but now my self confidence has grown and I also like staying on my own. 

Good luck, Adam!

Want to know more about Adam and his art? Please visit his website: