This page will give you some glimpses about my roots and the sources of inspiration from where Wider Embraces sprung.
Cosmology and the vast Universe
When I was four years old, I was looking at the stars with my father. He told me that no one knew where the universe ended. It blew my mind, and since then I’ve tried to understand infinity …
I’m still struggling to grasp the vastness of the universe, although science has made tremendous progress during my lifetime and today we understand so much more.
The book The View From the Center of the Universe, by Primack and Abrams, made me feel more at home in our beautiful and vast, complex yet simple physical Universe. With the Wider Embraces method – I can become aware of the Embrace of the Universe, I can rest in that Embrace, and I can change perspective, and be the Universe.
Our diverse and beautiful Planet
To notice closely a straw of grass opened my eyes to the tender beauty that is all around us. Learning to distinguish between different kinds of moss while walking across wetlands trained and focused my awareness.
During my teens, I spent my free time outdoors together with my friends in our local Field Biology Club in Södertälje outside Stockholm, examining flowers and birds, lichens and butterflies and just enjoying the sunrise, the snowfall and the colours of the autumn leafs.
We were also a part of the growing environmental movement during the 1970s, when I had my first political insights and realised that the grown-ups didn’t have a clue about how to solve the problems our modern lifestyle caused.
The Environmental Movement
From my first job at the Field Biologist Organisation, up until I started my web company in the year 2000, I mainly worked in different environmental organisations in Sweden, from the Anti-Nuclear Campain to Friends of the Earth and The Green Party.
During the last twenty years, I have been more or less away from the environmental scene, exploring other aspects of life. With the Wider Embraces project, I’m back again, but from a very different angle.
Aikido – Connecting to Others and Other Cultures
For twenty years the aikido dojo has been a significant part of my life. Spending about ten hours a week on the mat exploring the depths and limits of my body and mind and how to relate to others with both force and harmony.
For most of those years, I also taught the practise and was running one of Swedens largest Aikido dojos together with a friend – Lunds Aikido Dojo.
Diving deeply into the Japanese martial arts culture, which is very different from the Swedish way of equality and consensus has broadened and deepened my view. To make it work practically in our dojo and at the national and international level was a real challenge.
Computer Science and Web Design
There is a way of writing code where the function is calling itself in a deep loop; it’s called recursion. It’s a very special way of thinking, and my mind learned how to switch into a different mode of working during that segment of my learning development. It was the first time I really became aware of my mind.
It was in the mid-80s that I studied computer programming at the university and got my degree. Since then I’ve worked with computers, mainly with databases, communication systems, websites and graphic design. Since the year 2000, I have been doing all of this as a self-employed consultant.
Healing, Morphic Fields and Dowsing
In the mid-90s, in every new group I joined, there was always one person to whom I felt particularly connected to. After a while, I realised it was always the one doing Reiki healing. So, I learned it too and later became a Reiki Master. It took me a year of practice before I could feel the “energy”, but eventually, it became a natural part of how I perceive the world.
Around the year 2000, I met Rupert Sheldrake and learned about Morphic Fields. These ideas and all the experiments he has done have contributed enormously to my understanding of our profound connectedness. I see Wider Embraces and Morphic Fields as overlapping concepts.
Both my parents worked a lot with dowsing, measuring lay lines and other types of “energy” around ancient constructions but also helping people find water and a good place for the bed. So I have always been immersed in a worldview stretching beyond the plainly visible.
Zen Meditation with an Open Mind and Heart
When I moved to a cottage outside Höör in 1998, I found out that there happened to be a zen centre five hundred meters down the road. After a while, I joined, and bit by bit became a dedicated practitioner.
Enekulla Zendo is run by Pelle Bengtsson, and he was the perfect zen teacher for me. The zendo is a beautiful blend of traditional Japanese culture, with strict rules on the one hand and a lot of open mind and heart on the other.
Zen was not my first encounter with meditation. My whole family learned Transcendental Meditation (TM) when I was in my early teens and we all practised twice a day for some years. After that, being out in the forest, alone or with friends, became my way of connecting with something more vast and still.
To See Beauty Everywhere – And Catch it
My camera connects me to the planet and its beauty, and it allows me to share that connection with others. I love being out in the forest by myself, and also to offer courses and to create slide shows and exhibitions.
Thanks to my first digital camera and the internet, I found other photographers who saw images in a similar way I did. In 2005 I was accepted into The Swedish Association for Nature Photographers, as one of the first two female members.
You can see some of my photos on my site www.deurell.se
Integral Philosophy and Friends
Integral philosophy by Ken Wilber offers a useful toolbox for thinking about almost everything; to understand more about how different areas of Life and Universe relate to each other and have developed over time.
I’ve been part of the integral community since 2008 and my first four years was a deep dive into complex thinking and meta-theories, together with my wonderful friends in Malmö Integral. We studied Wilbers work, Subject-Object theory by Robert Kegan, Spiral Dynamics by Don Beck and Chris Cowan and much more. But most of all Malmö Integral was a safe, yet challenging, place to share our ideas and applications, to experiment, meditate, move, and discuss.
Fear of Domesday Despite a Secular Upbringing
I’m a third-generation non-religious person, living in the most secular country on the planet, Sweden. Despite that, when I started to challenge the Christian Doctrine, I found an intense fear of God, of Domesday and eternal punishment deep inside me.
Around 2009 I read the whole Bible, and the Koran and I had to ‘blaspheme’ from the bottom of my heart, to push through the fear and get out on the other side, free. Now no one can threaten me with God’s punishment, I know there is no judgmental God, but there are a host of wider Embraces.
Integral Coaching – Out of the Comfort Zone
Suddenly one day, an offer from Integral Coaching Canada appeared in my inbox, and the photo of James Baye looked at me and told me, that if I was ready to move out of my comfort zone, he was committed to challenging me. And he did, for sure.
We worked together for three years, more intensely during some periods and less during other. During the intense periods, I had daily challenges, and I wrote reflections in my journal every evening, we met over Skype every second week, and I received new tasks.
Looking back, I’m amazed that I took on all the challenges, but most of all I’m so very, very grateful for the beautiful, skilful, precise and invaluable coaching I got from James.
Big Mind and the Fear of Insanity
I don’t think I ever have felt such an intense fear, as when my arm rose by itself at the Big Mind seminar with Genpo Roshi in Copenhagen in 2010, and I received the microphone. We were exploring ‘owned and disowned emotions’ and had come to insanity. I have no memory of how he walked me through my terror, but on the other side, there was light and love and freedom.
As a result, of that experience, I’m no longer afraid of being ‘insane’. As many have pointed out, to be insane in an insane world, is sane. So I don’t care if it’s insane or not to take collective perspectives and rest in the wider Embraces, and to dream of a world where this is normal and sane.
The Dojo Ladies – Playful Exploration
The Dojo, a gathering of a close circle of female friends, has been my most creative and beautiful playground. A place to experiment and dive into the Embraces in a very profound way. Dancing, meditating, eating, talking, all with open minds and hearts.
Big Heart of Humanity – The Journey Begins
In May of 2011, I ended my apartment contract, got rid of my stuff and went out the door, free. But it all began in October the year before when I received my marching orders during meditation.
Before I left, I made one of my regular Eastern exhibitions with the theme The Activist and the Big Heart.
I travelled for a year, through Europe, to Egypt and South Africa and I wrote a blog during the journey. At Anafora in Egypt, I had the privilege to be able to make a much larger, exhibition with the theme Big Heart of Humanity.
Who is Embracing? The Founding Question Arrives
A year into my journey, when I was in Cape Town, I got the message that my coach, James Baye, had died. He fell down a cliff in Joshua Tree National Park in California.
He was one of the most vital people I ever have known, and he had been a great support, before and throughout the journey. I fell into an existential crisis, mourning a person I only met online, but who knew more about me than anyone else, wondering if his coaching of me, was a path to my death?
A week after I learned of James’ death, I was walking on the beach when the question “Who is Embracing?” came to me. It came to me in such a way that I knew instantly that this is what my journey is all about.
Exploring and Developing the Wider Embraces Together
– Who is Embracing? I repeated the question over and over, letting myself sink into it, and after a while, I started to experience brief glimpses of another perspective.
After a while, I brought the question to my friends, and we started to work with it together, in different ways and constellations. Because Wider Embraces is about our collective side of being, it can only be fully experienced, explored and developed together. Without my friends and their open-mindedness, playfulness and commitment, there would be no Wider Embraces.
Developing the method, exploring the new terrain and drawing the map has been a challenging and beautiful journey. The Wider Embraces project has undergone several iterations, and this version of the website is only the current one in a row, as new people join, new things will happen. I’m looking forward to the next steps.