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To be connected

Dedicated to Mariska Rahikainen

If Finnish wikipedia has it right, today it is birthday of a talented Finnish lyrics writer and artits, Mariska. Those who have been following by blog might already know that she's my favourite artist and lyrics writer. And, already at this point I have to admit that I find it bit difficult to write this entry. I feel bit uncertain, as if someone is trying to tell me that anything I say will sound annoying for the others, and that the world is already full of text, everything is already said and that there is nothing for me to add. "Who do you think you are? Do you think that your stories are of any interest - you idiot! Are you again planning to write about yourself - pretending to be intellectual when you actually are just begging for attention? It is stupid to beg for attention, as everybody is busy with their own things and it is just a waste of time to pay attention to your obscure ponderings." Oh, OK. So, sorry about that, folks. I'll write about communication.

Once again, I guess this goes back to my childhood, as far as I can remember. Most of the time it was so that if I said what I think or how I feel, my parents and my elder brother didn't quite understand what I tried to communicate, and so many times they just got upset and angry at me. So I learned to keep my mouth shut. Yet that wasn't self-doubt. Inside me I knew that there is nothing wrong with my feelings or thoughts, it is just that for some unknown reason there is a filter in between me and the others, and this filter makes it so that is impossible for me to properly communicate with the others. And that was all I knew of the world - our family didn't have that much contact with neighbours or relatives, so we were pretty much living inside our own isolated bubble of alternative reality. And for a child that means a jail with no escape. I remember that sometimes I slipped into a frozen state of mind - just staring at the ceiling, not being able to move even my finger, and not responding to my parents asking me questions. I just laid there completely still, maybe hoping that if I wait long enough, then all of this madness will fade away and I'll wake up in a better place.

I don't remember exactly, maybe I was at early teenage years. It was a funeral of our grandmother, and after that the family of my uncle stayed at our home. Their daughter (our cousin, naturally) is about my age, and she had her friend with her. Already at that age I was interested in writing, and had been drafting a phantasy world which was supposed to be a metaphorical representation of human mind. Somehow the girls found a booklet containing my drafts. They read it and laughed and asked: "what is this?" I didn't feel like trying to explain, as I already knew that everybody is just going to laugh at me, no matter what I think or say. So I just said: "oh, actually that is not meant to be read by others." And to my great surprise the girls said: "Oh, sorry! We didn't know that." And with that they returned the booklet and went on doing other things. Sounds like nothing special? But for me it was a life-changing event which turned my world upside down and inside out. It was a sound proof that the reality of our family was not the final truth - that there are people who can listen to what I say, and just respect my opinion without any nagging, bullying, negation, anger or ignorance. That a smooth and effortless communication is possible, provided that people just show some understanding and respect towards others. Honestly, I guess it was first time in my life I really experienced anything like that. And it made me believe. (Naturally, I never told my cousin how much that one single moment meant to me. But I'm going to do it today.)

Well, I particulary remember one evening when I was about 15 years old. I was at school, and I had something which I needed to discuss with a teacher, outside the classroom. It was not anything big, maybe just a small practical detail concerning some arrangements of a school event, or whatnot. Anyhow, I remember the strange feeling as I just could'nt force myself to enter the room where teachers were having their break. I made small circles behind the door, and the more I thought about the words I had to say, the more I felt that I'm losing control of my bodily functions. It felt as if my consciousness is again drifting away from my body, and I'm just a spectator watching my mindless body making idiotic circles behind a door, unable to take any meaningfull action. And that was it. I finally decided that it is not that important, and somehow managed to escape the site without ever speaking out what was on my mind. Once again, naturally, I didn't discuss about it with anyone. I had a feeling that everybody things that a human has a free will, and the will controls all of our actions, so all there is to do is to make decisions. But what I experienced was a moment of my consciousness being nearly totally disconnected from my body, and some uncontrolled functions taking over. I didn't understand what was going on inside me, and I didn't have any idea what to do to make things bit easier in my life. I only knew that I don't trust anyone and that I want to escape all the people and live in complete isolation so that I don't have to speak to anyone, ever.

It was only later on in my teenage when I began to experience a deep connection with myself and with the physical world out there. And it was magical. Eyes closed, softly touching a tree I could feel in my fingertips how the form of the tree was, how the branches reach up and the roots grow down. I asked myself that where is the boundary which makes myself separate from the rest of the world. Like, when I breathe in, oxygen molecules enter my lungs and get absorbed in my blood. Is there a sharp and clear line where an oxygen molecule ceases to be a part of the atmosphere and becomes a part of my organism? I don't think so. All the contours and boundaries are just constructions of our mind, but in the deeper level we are all connected. Just like blood cells swimming in the plasma - they might seem like separate entities, but we tend to think of them as little parts of a bigger organism called a human. And, from this point of view, a single human is just a little part of a bigger organism called The Earth. This was not just a theoretical thought in my mind, but opened up a deep spiritual experience. I was so happy and moved, it was just wondefull! Until I asked myself: "now can I share this feeling with anyone I know? Nope. If I try to tell them how I feel, it is likely that they think I'm just insane." So, once again, I felt that at the same time I'm connected to the great universe, yet totally sperated and isolated from my fellow humans. I might be physically present, but I can't feel any inner contact with them.

But my isolation was not just because the others failed to understand me. It was even more about me failing to communicate and to share. Especially my younger brother was actively trying to make a true contact with me. He came to me, suggesting we talk or do something together, but I was unable to reply. I was just all too stuck with my inner fears and traumas - I only knew how to hide my soul from the others, and I had no idea how to open up and to share, how to be honestly present with the others. I only had a vague idea that something like that might be possible. Around these times I felt that self-doubt was creeping in. So, struggling with inner uncertainty, I was working to learn to be honest and open - for twenty years and more.

Now, there has been a lot of wonderful, great and helpful people and things in my life. If any of you happen to read this, I guess you know who you are and how much I like you. I won't go into details here. I'll just say that Sami has been my friend through all these years, and creating art together with him is good medicine, no doubt. For him it has never been a problem, no matter what kind of an emotional wreck I happen to be - it is not a big deal, not a special issue. Every time we meet, we just take the current situation and see what we can do with it. And that's an attitude I like.

So, but how are these things connected? I kind of a hated my parents. I failed to respond to my brothers attempt at creating a connection. But our cousin, without doing anything special, managed to deliver a life-changing message which touched something inside me. And Mariska, who I hardly know, just by being honest with her own art, has managed to unlock a door or two inside me. Now, with these doors unlocked, I have been finally able to start creating a deeper and more honest contact with my younger brother. Yes there still are moments of self-doubt, but generally speaking since last summer I've felt so much easier to feel deeply connected with other people. Somehow I feel like being a part of a constellation of stars. There a countless of stars in the night sky, some brighter, some dimmer, some close to each other, some seem like being connected to form constellations - and all together the starry sky is beautiful and full of mysteries. We are all connected - for me it is at the same time the most self-evident fact and the greatest mystery.

Well, I'd like to finish with one little story. As, when I discovered a band called Zepparella, at first I was just watching many of their youtube-videos. I saw that during the years they have had dirrerent lineups. I liked them all, and to me it seemed that each member had some unique talent contributing to the band performance. The current bass player, Angeline Saris, caught my attention by her immersive way of playing. A moment of self-doubt; maybe this is just my own imagination, my false interpretation? These are just you-tube videos, so don't try to pretend that any kind of true inner feeling could be transmitted. Then I went to read her blog. Oh, I see. Also, in youtube comments I saw many people telling that they liked Anna Kristina as a singer and wanted to get her back. In one comment the guitarist Gretchen said asked people not to make hasty judgements by amateur videos, also kindly explaining that Anna left the band to pursue her true passion. Well, I have absolute no problem with the current singer, she is great. But I felt that sure there is something special in Anna, the way she feels to be deeply connected with the rest of the band. I found that she also has a blog. (Her current blog, for some reason, comes with a different title. But I bet you can find that in case you are interested in following her writings. I chose to link that older post, I guess you'll figure out why if you read it.) I went on to listening to her material that I could find in the net. What can I say? Of course I also liked her way of covering Led Zeppelin together with the rest of the band, but I'm not here to say: "that was good, why don't you keep on doing more of the same stuff?". As, I like her art because she aims for a deep connection with herself and with the others. And with that attitude there just isn't any other option than to follow ones inner passion. Without further thinking I sent her a quick note with few lines of positive feedback. Only after posting that I was once again hit with self-doubt: "I'd like to encourage the artist I admire, but maybe my words are just annoying and I only make her pissed off, no matter how good my intention was." Blah. I already know that most of the time that is just a left-over trauma reaction from early childhood. As, shortly after Anna replied, saying that feedback gave positive energy for her work.

Really? Is it really just that easy to smoothly communicate with other people? Even with remote people who I don't know in person? That if I express something of myself, it might actually have positive effect on other people? I thought that it is plain magic, which seldom happens. But it seems to be just an ordinary, natural, every-day thing. My rational mind always wanted to believe that, but my emotional side preferred to keep all the doors locked - just to be sure. So, today with this message I'd like to say a big thank you for Mariska, a talented artist who has been singing powerful runes to unlock a door of two.

Ps. I always liked Mariska's band, Pahat Sudet, too. Especially my favourite musicians were Luis Herrero, Klaus Suominen and Jaakko Jakku. Thumbs up for you guys!

Mariska ja Pahat Sudet, the finale of their last gig
Mariska ja Pahat Sudet, the finale of  their last gig
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