Time to meet an expert for asking questions that can change your life: Number 22, Henrika Jansson Tonder, coach and yoga teacher.
Where are you from? I’m originally from Finland, born in Kokkola and I’ve lived in Oulu until I was 18 and then moved to France. I just wanted to finish my school here and leave for some adventure time somewhere and I like the French language, so I ended up in France. I left when I was 18 and I stayed there for 18 years. My family and I moved back to Finland 1.5 years ago.
So how many languages do you speak? I have Finnish and Swedish as mother tongues and then I speak English, French and I used to speak some German.
How do you like Helsinki? Having lived 18 years abroad, I had the time to reflect on what I love and miss about Finland. For me Helsinki represents an amazing combination of having access to nature and at the same time having the city life and the possibilities to meet different people and this sense of creativity and ongoing things all the time. I absolutely adore Helsinki for those reasons, as well as for the cleanness, the space and the closeness to nature, whether it’s forests, sea or lakes.
Do you have a favourite place? I have many favourite places. I love being near water, and it just calms me down to sit outside and look at the sea. I also like being at Mattolaituri. The name actually means ‘the place where they used to take their rugs and wash them’. So the tables for the rug washing are still there and people still do it. You can just sit there, have a glass of champagne and have this combination of the old and the new, the luxury and the basics, all while having an amazing sea view.
I know that your speciality is asking questions, so what is your favourite question? My favourite question is ‘How does it get any better than this?’. It’s a question that is amazing whenever something bad happens or also something good. You can always ask it, because it opens up new possibilities and often, when something bad happens we conclude this is bad. When you ask this question it changes the energy of a situation, you don’t judge, instead you ask for something more. And you start looking at it in a different way like ‘Oh, what’s good in this?’ without answering it immediately. Also, when something really amazing happens, we tend to label it as the best thing that ever happened and this also stops the flow.
Do you have an example for this question, something related to Christmas? For example, if you want to spend time with your family or whatever you’d like Christmas to be, and then it’s not. Instead of complaining you ask ‘How does it even get better?’. You can use that question all the time in situations that don’t turn out the way you expected.
What have you been proud of lately? Usually, I reflect on that question at the end of the year, also what I’m grateful for and what I’d like to change for next year. I’m really proud of committing to myself and for having had the consistency of choosing for me and following that path for the last years, to just have confidence to do this constant creation of my life. Even if it has not been comfortable and easy all the time; just by having this attitude, it can often mean to go against everyone and everything. Oh boy, how much fun that is, when you really start to enjoy that ride!
What is your dream? My biggest dream for the world is to become a conscious place, where people allow themselves to be the joy and the magic that they are. My dream is to create spaces, communities, tools, whatever is required that people are inspired to create awareness and to wake people up in a funny way. That’s joyful for me, to be the difference that I am that people can be the difference that they are.
If you were a different person for one day, whom would you pick and why? Why would I choose to be someone else? I truly enjoy being me. But if we just play that little game for a while, I’d like to be someone who speaks in front of many people, a famous singer or actor, let’s say I’d be Jim Carrey, everybody knows him and now that he has built that up, he can speak about whatever he wants. People will just listen, ‘ah, Jim Carrey, he is so funny, let’s listen’.
So you like Jim Carrey? I love him! I like his humour and I like the way he always went for what he believed in and what he knew was possible; and the way he has been exploring and observing his life through his career and has fun all the time.
How will 2015 be? It will be awesome. For me, Helsinki is the city of possibilities, it’s not too big, it’s not too small and it’s the perfect sample of a city. When something happens in Helsinki, this happens in Finland. This can happen really fast and what I’m sensing is that people are having hope and want to choose something different. I’m really looking forward to that.
Very inspiring. I love her favorite question!