Just gotten on a bus from Turku to Jyväskylä, I feel like reflecting on the past weeks’ experiences.
This Europe trip has already taken us to far corners and interesting encounters. In Cologne we got together with the “nameless music group”, braved ourselves and got to playing in the streets of Cologne and Heerlen. After some days of family-friends time there we set on a journey towards Finland.. driving through Poland, Lithuania, Latvia and Estonia to reach our one destination. We camped on a lovely family farm in Latvia and got to admire the quite chilly Baltic Sea. In Tallinn we had a brief one-hour stop that was enough for a stroll through the beautiful Old Town and a 15-minute busking on an old cobbled stone street with Shariah. From there the ferry took us across to Helsinki, and from there we drove to Kintaus. Welcomed by my mother and Arttu we were able to enjoy lovely days of Finnish summer in the little Kintaus and nearby Jyväskylä.
During these weeks we have all gotten to know each other a bit differently and also are happy to have some new friendships. Travelling and living closely together makes us ponder on ourselves and our relationship with other people and the rest of the world.. It has for me been yet another important set of lessons that are only going home with enough repetition. I am reminded by some of the not-so-healthy ingrained behaviour patterns that take place with these dear people that I have lived or do live with, and how I could constantly learn more to be the loving, peaceful ray of light I aspire to be. Sometimes this is frustrating, realizing that the journey still is a process and maybe always will be, but the lovely thing about connecting deeply with some people around is that they can actually encourage you to accept yourself and be the loving, patient mother and friend to yourself that you always can be, while growing and changing. I am grateful for these friends, lessons and reminders.
Finland in summertime has also offered wonderful chances for connecting deeper not only within oneself but also with the surrounding environment. For me these places in Kintaus are in my heart and soul wherever I go, the forests, hooks and nooks, lakes, little hills and places; light and fresh warmth of still summer nights as well as quiet, freezing days of deep winter, and all in between. I realize that these aspects of space, stillness, natural sounds and working outside are those that I most am drawn to everywhere I go. It is a wonderful source of strength actually that I have with me, developing, that has to do with trusting oneself and ones companions as well as trusting the world around, or trusting in something greater, everywhere. Perhaps learning to adventure, explore and trust myself as a child in the natural surroundings have contributed to this trust, as have the love and caring passed on by our parents and family.
The other companions found the aspects of the environment soothing and attractive as well. The experience of having a sauna by the lake and taking a swim in the cool, calm waters seemed special for them as for me. They seemed to enjoy the quiet, space and slower flow of life. It is nice that for Petra, Shariah and Mekhala these days provided such experiences and resource that they, too, can perhaps draw from and be reminded of in their days. And we had wonderful adventures! We had dinner with my brother in town; went for a horse ride; busked at the “Compass” in Jyväskylä city centre, providing light entertainment for the afternoon crowd; took Shariah to the airport and she almost missed her plane but made it just in time, to spend some holiday time with her daughter in Cologne; took part in a friend’s birthday party near the Russian border.. and we made a trip to an island by the lake in Kintaus, sitting by the fire till late at night and sleeping in the forest with birds, mosquitoes and other island creatures as our company.
Well, for me at least this has all been highly invigorating, inspiring and enjoyable. I have managed to continue some work for Lunchbox Theatre as well, and finished one more funding proposal, hoping to acquire some funds to start further research on the theme of nature connection. And there has been some time to connect with my mother, Arttu and the dear brothers whom I will hopefully see more of still during this last week in Finland. Now we are off to see my grandmother, uncle and aunts in Oulu, more to the north, while Mekhala and Petra are just boarding a ferry for Stockholm, ready to drive down to Germany.
On a final note, even music making itself provides fantastic chances for self-reflection and the practice of living in the now. We have been doing some voice opening before performing and realized this is a chance to let go of some of the tensions in the body and tensions of the mind.. let yourself look and sound funny; it actually feels very liberating. While playing or singing, sometimes the mind wanders, or gets agitated: am I doing it right, what are those people thinking, my voice is cracking.. these tiny moments can be chances to stay in the present, live through whatever is taking place and continue from there still with peace in mind, steady hands, calm confidence and smile on one’s face. While at other times one ends up feeling tiny, unimportant and incapable of doing music at all. J So these moments are wonderful opportunities, to choose how to be and what to give power to! At the same time, the music making moments out in public can at best be inspiring and even healing both to the musicians and those around. Not that everyone will ever enjoy any specific music, but we had one such day in the old town of Porvoo where the environment, easy atmosphere and happy people all contributed to a very enjoyable musical experience. At least some of the on-lookers really enjoyed; this photo was taken by a market stall holder who said that our music had been a lovely remedy to lighten up his not-so-profitable market day and ease an aching head.
Feeling a little sentimental, I also just remembered a dream from last night, in which we prepared a celebration of some kind for my father. When I met him and hugged him in the dream, we looked at each other with great warmth and connection and the whole celebration afterwards was very warm. Our father no longer lives, and indeed, I can imagine that those whose loved ones have passed away would know the feeling of that kind of a dream in which you meet them and you truly feel their closeness. Now I also realized it was on this day 5th of August that we heard of his passing in the previous day 12 years ago.
So these things, leaving, travelling, feeling the presence of those who have passed and the love of those dear ones nearby, are all contributing to this one specific moment in time for this one person.
That is life itself; breaking down, fractured, changing, and at the same time, completely connected and whole.