A Swedish expatriate
with a curious mind.
Moving abroad gave me space
I’ve been cultivating a deeper connection, my intuition, and my gut-felt sense since 2005, the year I moved back to the UK. Since then I’ve come to integrate practices of listening to my intuition and deeper wisdom into all areas of my life.
Below are snippets from my journey and how I found the space to explore the depths in me that I, at first, had no idea actually existed…
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My humble beginnings
I grew up in Sigtuna, Sweden, a small town just north of Stockholm. Raised in an upper middle-class family in a fairly posh town, in the latter part of my school years I attended the local boarding school, Sigtuna Skolan Humanistiska Läroverket (SSHL), as a day-student.
My deeper interest was humanistics and languages, but I was convinced to opt for studies in business and finance administration as this would provide me with a career path. My three years at SSHL was a great learning experience as I was surrounded by lots of history as well as a few hundred students from many different parts of the world and walks of life. It was during these years that I caught the independence bug and awakened my interest for living and working as a global citizen.
A curious mind
My family isn’t especially religious and so spirituality wasn’t something that was discussed much around the dinner table. Looking back, I don’t quite know where my beliefs that there’s more to this world than that which we can see, hear, and touch, have come from. I felt an affinity for astrology growing up and I was secretly fascinated by the spirit world (to the point of being afraid of it). I was quite sensitive to environments. That said, I wasn’t aware of it at the time. Balance and – what I today refer to as – “a good energetic vibe” has always been key for me as I perceived anything out of alignment very clearly.
Early on in life my maternal grandmother (“mormor” in Swedish) said to me, “Maria, don’t get married too soon. Make sure you get to see the world”. I suppose this was her way of making sure that I didn’t settle down before I’d had the chance to do the things I wanted to do and experience in life. Having said that, the world has changed a lot from when my grandmother grew up, and so expectations and limitations aren’t the same now as they were then. Still, I’ve followed her advise and explored that which interests me.
When it all kicked off…
It seems that my “awakening” started around 2003-2004. You can read more about this here.
In 2003, my mother turned 60. My parents had invited the immediate family to come with them to Egypt to celebrate my mother’s birthday. Mormor wasn’t well, she was in hospital and we all knew she was slowly coming to the end of her presence here on earth. It was decided that the family would go to Egypt anyway, and my aunt would look after mormor while we were away.
A couple of weeks prior to us leaving for Egypt I fell ill with the flu. I was in pretty bad shape and I felt I couldn’t go. My mother was disappointed, as was I, however, it didn’t feel like I should travel. A couple of days after they had all left for Egypt, I felt well enough to contact my aunt who was staying at my grandmother’s flat. It was decided that I would drive to see them both the coming Sunday (on my mother’s 60th birthday). Mormor had been moved to a hospice home. She was very weak, her heart was failing and she had trouble breathing. She was so tiny and frail: Still, her 93 years of experience and inner strength showed in her eyes, and although she couldn’t speak much we communicated what needed to be said in other ways. The following morning I was awoken by the phone at 5AM. It was my aunt. She’d received a phone call that mormor had passed in the early hours of that morning. I drove the 100km to be with my aunt and to begin the practical work of collecting my grandmother’s things from the hospice home. I was overcome by emotion as we collected her things. It wasn’t until then that I realised what a gaping hole her presence had left as she moved on to other realms.
My grandmother had managed to hang on until my mother’s 60th birthday. It felt significant somehow. The phone call we had to make to Egypt that morning was the most difficult thing I’ve ever had to do. As my aunt and I reflected on things, we both had a strong sense that me having fallen ill and not being able to travel with the rest of the family was somehow the way it was supposed to be.
At my grandmother’s funeral is when I for the first time felt like I could feel the presence of another world. At the time I thought I was making it up as a way of coping, but deep down I knew I wasn’t.
A way of life
My grandmother’s funeral
My grandmother was very loved. I was deeply affected by her passing. She was the last of the ‘old guard’, the old generation. Sure, she had a firm mind and hand as she was steering her surroundings forward, lovingly but firmly. I still remember the sound of her laughter. She laughed a lot and it was totally infectious. She’d been there for my brother and I when we arrived home from school while our parents were at work. She’d given me some interesting advise considering the times during which she grew up – don’t get married too soon, and make sure you get to see the world before you settle down. There had been enough synchronicities and odd events taking place just before and after her passing for me to take notice. At my grandmother’s funeral I shed a ton of tears. Suddenly, in the middle of the service, I felt nudged to look above her coffin, slightly to the right. To the naked eye there was nothing there. Yet, while I placed my focus on this spot I felt calmer and I “knew” that her spirit was with us, hovering slightly to the right and above her coffin. At first I thought that I made this up, that I’d created this as a coping mechanism, but my gut told me differently.
Round about the same time as my grandmother passed away I started to feel “tingles”, or pins and needles in the palm of my hands. I was oblivious to anything spiritual and although I was puzzled by this sensation in my hands, I didn’t perceive it as something serious or something that needed to be looked at. In the year that followed, the Universe conspired to get me to a point where I decided it was time for me to move back to the UK. It had been five years since I left.
On Midsummer’s Day morning, 2005, I left Stockholm. I’d spent Midsummer’s Eve with a group of friends and the following morning I drove into the sunrise. Towards my new adventure. I’d sold my flat, put my belongings in storage, and packed my car with the things I’d need in the coming couple of months while I looked for a place to stay.
The world opened up!
My first couple of years in the UK, after my return in 2005, brought with it seeming seamless exploration in areas such as Reiki energy healing, channeling, automatic writing, crystals, tarot cards, and working with a pendulum. Already three weeks after I’d moved in to my new place I came across a shop called Isis Crystals. I walked past it a number of times, and each time I felt drawn to go in, however, my mind was telling me that it was woo-woo. Eventually, I mustered the courage to go in. They had just printed their new booklet for upcoming talks and courses. I took the booklet home with me and flicked through it. To my surprise I found around 20 different activities or talks that sounded intriguing and interesting. Already the following day there would be an evening talk by a well-known local medium, where she would talk about her work. I decided to register and take the plunge.
My first encounter with the unknown
As it happened, the evening with the medium turned out quite differently than planned.
Due to a communication mis-hap, not very many knew about the talk and so there were only 8-10 people there that evening. Suddenly, there was enough time to work with each of us individually. When it was my turn the medium surprised me when she started to describe my grandmother, the tingles in my hands, and a few other things that she could not possibly know. I was floored. How could she know these things…I was new in town, I’d moved from another country, for gods sake!
Circumstances and people continued to show up in a similar fashion. As I was pondering everything I’d come across in the short time I’d been in town, I made a decision to consciously believe that it was possible – that it was possible, that there’s more to this world than what we can see, hear, and touch. The worst that could happen would be that nothing changed…or nothing happened. But I didn’t have to worry – a lot happened in the years to come. Looking back, I don’t regret my decision in the slightest to consciously allowing openings out into an expanded world!
A whopper of a story. Learning? My gut can be trusted.
The question to the right is foundational for the story and the experience that I am referring to.
This experience is – hands down – the most significant piece of learning for me in teaching me that my gift of listening to my gut can truly be trusted.
Have you ever felt the answer to a question in your gut, while the world around you is saying something different?
There is lots of learning linked to this part of my journey. The three main insights of the deeper learning can be summarised as follows:
- We’re always part of someone’s journey.
- View both sides to avoid tunnel vision.
- Having stood by my gut, it’s made a friend for Life!
You can read the complete story on the Sourcing The Way blog: When I knew that my gut is to be trusted + 3 things I learned along the way!
Stretching beyond ego…
In addition to the area of gut-feel and intuition being high up on my list of exciting things to practice, there’s another area that is of equal importance and this is the dance beyond ego.
In 2007 I ventured into expanding my awareness further. I was introduced to a book called, “The Disappearance of the Universe“, by Gary R Renard. This taught me about practicing forgiveness, non-judgment, and exploring non-duality. In its extension I continued to expand further by exploring body-awareness and using sensing and sourcing as a tool and a technique for making decisions. I have continued to evolve my understanding from there and the work that we do at Anna Maria Bäck and in Sourcing The Way today, has been empowered by this learning.
To learn more about how I got to know and learn about my ability for feeling resonance and accessing deeper wisdom, visit the Sourcing The Way blog.
Communication is key
An excellent beginning
I started my career in Stockholm, Sweden in 1986. Freshly graduated, I’d landed a job at one of the global Japanese companies in the semiconductor industry, in their finance department involving book keeping.
After 8 years in Stockholm, having covered roles in finance, purchasing, and sales, I was put forward for a role at the company headquarter in Düsseldorf, Germany being responsible for marketing co-ordination and co-leading a pan-European marketing end-user group for computer mainframe system improvements. The European organisation was centralising certain functions and was bringing in people from around Europe. In our department of 20 people we were 9 nationalities! From there, I was offered a role in the UK involving procurement and inventory management serving the UK market.
After 13 years and three countries, which provided the foundation and set the tone for my professional career – as well as taught me invaluable lessons in business – I decided to leave the Japanese company and return to Sweden and continue my career on “home turf” in Stockholm.
From global to local, back to global
I shifted to a position as Business Support Manager at a Swedish company in the high-tech electronics industry. It was the year 2000 and the market was soaring. In 2002 the market crashed and the company had to adjust its costume. I made the decision to stay on even though my role would change drastically. As the company shrunk in the aftermath of the crash, the crew that was left began to piece things together to move on.
Once again – it had been present in all my roles to date – I found myself being involved in refining and improving business processes and systems, as well as a big office refurbishment project. In 2004, I was offered to take on a role in key account sales and become a global liaison for the company’s most successful product line. Working together with one of the founders we created, implemented, and deployed a new global business modeI and I supported him in the development of a customized CRM and webshop platform.
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Stepping into the exciting unknown
In 2013, I co-founded Sourcing The Way with my dear friend, Jeff Vander Clute. This was the beginning of a serious push for developing tools and technologies for bringing together intuition and analysis in the human decision-making process. Sourcing The Way is about radical consciousness transformation and presents an opportunity for individuals and organisations to raise the bar for their own participation in making themselves and their organisations radiant. The combination of what Jeff and I bring makes for an interesting and very powerful mix.
A core theme – “the mechanic”
Based in the Wealth Dynamics framework I’m a “mechanic”. At first I was completely confused. I’m not the least technical and so “mechanic” seemed like the most far-fetched way possible to describe me. That said, I learned that the mechanic is very good at bringing things to completion and to refine, adjust, and evolve existing systems. This I know very well as my career has been filled with projects and responsibilities involving refining and improving processes related to business and sales operations.
With this understanding it started to make sense and I could clearly see how I’d filled the role of the mechanic in more or less every job I’d ever had during my 30-year long career.
The marriage of old and new
For a long time, the bigger question for me was, how would the mechanic be useful in the work that I love doing – supporting women to connect beyond the ego and integrate their innate gifts and abilities into all areas of their life? It dawned on me that when I’m engaged in an inspired conversation, or I engage in deep reflective listening, or I offer support through resonance-based facilitation, we are in the process of seeking, uncovering, making visible, and refining what my clients think to be true for them. Once this knowing about my role had landed, it made perfect sense that I’ve spent as much time as I have throughout my corporate career perfecting this ability!
In 2016, I set out to better understand what it is that I bring and what is ‘mine to do’ in this life time. The result is this website filled with content and learnings about leadership and freedom/spiritual freedom (inner & outer), and a decision to communicate my philosophy and work under the flag of Anna Maria Bäck.
To sum me up career-wise…
My interest in exploring new perspectives has been a part of who I am for as long as I can remember. These days I refer to myself as a Mentor, Guide, Teacher, and Coach among other things, and I consider my expertise to be in deep reflective listening. My aim is to help shift perspectives – to provide my clients with the space, the tools, the support, and the inspiration to expand their horizon.
A varied career and life as an expatriate has equipped me with a landscape view, extensive knowledge and experience regarding intercultural and subtle communication, and an aptitude for reading the nuanced layers of communication in business and in life.
I understand systems as well as people. I’ve learnt to appreciate that external factors don’t determine our experience nearly as much as internal ones do, and that attitude and inner awareness are what hold the keys to our sense of fulfilment, empowerment, and freedom.
Along my corporate journey I have built a successful track record in sales operations, business administration, and leadership roles spanning continents and cultures. My current work include empowering women who feel called to do more, give more, and be more; to inspire leaders to create a foundation for practicing purposeful and graceful leadership; and continue to share my learnings around how to live our lives with inner & outer freedom.
Still engaged in the high-tech industry and the corporate world, I also serve as an advisor to several charitable organizations, and I’m a member of InClaritas. Although I’m based in the UK, I consider myself a global citizen.