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No more ewes

Woah, it has been a while since my previous blog entry. There are two reasons for that:

1. I felt that nothing happens - I'm just circling around the same old questions I've been writing about so many times.

2. So many small and big, funny and strange things keep on happening in my life, that I've failed to pick some of them to write about.

What, did you say that those two reasons somehow contradict each other? Well, that's my life =) So, for this blog entry I try to pick one story from both slots.

1.

Days go by, weeks pass, everything is nice and comfortable yet somehow I constantly struggle with managing my life and tasks. I've been doing a lot of things, yes, but guess what? Those logs I already mentioned, most of them are still resting in the nearby forest. In the spring I thought that I can haul them away in the summer. Summer is gone, most of the logs are still there. That's mostly because I failed to reserve enough time to haul them, but so many times chose to do something else instead. Like partying, swimming, meeting friends, devoting time to self-therapy. And then on the other hand I always find that those things actually make me feel better and more energetic, so in a way they are necessary. Yet I feel slightly bad about failing to do many of the things I'd like to do. What bugs me most is failing to regularly work with UrW. Grrr... So instead of always complaining about this same issue, I have to find some real solutions to make my life better. If I can't find a magic key which would unlock everything instantly, then at least I have to find small steps to take, going to better direction.

One of those small steps was a decision to slaughter the ewes. That means no more lambs the coming spring. Now I only have Pekka The Ram, and three of his sons. I think I'll keep them for the winter, and butcher some of them before the next spring. This solution makes my life a bit more simple. Before slaughtering the ewes I had three different pens for the sheep. One for the ewes, one for the young rams, and one for Pekka. It was necessary to keep Pekka and his sons separate, as I was afraid that otherwise they might fight till death. That meant three water buckets and three shelters, all of which should be maintained on daily basis. Now I only have one pen with one shelter, for Pekka and his sons. That means less daily maintenance work. And eventually all the sheep will be gone, which would mean more pasture for the horses and even less daily maintenace work for me. And less slaughtering.

I think that with the sheep I've learned a lot about rearing animals. But I've also realized that it would suit better if I had a small community around me. If I'm doing it mostly for myself, a lot of resources get wasted - I feel that I don't have enough time and energy to process the wool, to make soap of animal fat, to harvest all the bones for crafting, or to learn to make sausages... No, I'm mostly harvesting the meat, wasting the rest. Which feels stupid to me. Either I need to quit working for money, or to have more friends regularly helping me with all that kind of traditional work. But to make things simpler I decided to quit rearing sheep. Also, I feel that they produce bit more red meat than I like to consume. I really could do more gardening and fishing - and asking my friends to come help with gardening and then sharing the harvest. Ah, and these things are connected - it was nice to let the sheep roam free in my yard, but that meant that I had to keep fences around everything I grow - the sheep like especially broad beans, they like them so much that they constantly tried to work their way under, over or through the fence to raid my field. With no more sheep in my yard I hope to have bit more easy gardening.

Butchering the ewes meant several days of work - it is not just the killing part, it is also cleaning and storing the skins, cutting the meat, getting rid of the wasted parts etc. Now the skins are hanging in my outdoor shed, waiting to be tanned. If I ever have time to try tanning them, that is. It would be extremely nice to learn tanning, and to have cozy warm sheep furs of my own. But even more nice would be to regularly have time to work with UrW. I mean, like, one or two days per week for programming, constantly each and every week. Shouldn't be impossible for a self-employed person like me. Most of all, it is just internal problem of mine, I know I know...

2.

There was a gig I wanted to see. It was Astrid Swan and her band, playing on a thursday night in Helsinki. I had already booked a lot of customers for that very thursday, but I just cancelled it all and bought a train ticket to Helsinki. Usually, when I go to a city to enjoy a cultural event, I often meet my friends also. But this time I somehow felt very introvert, isolated, fraqile, tired, unsure, slighlty depressed. So, I wasn't very active at contacting my friends beforehand. And I was slow and lazy when leaving my home, so I realized that I'm going to catch a train which takes me to Helsinki just half an hour before the gig starts, so there won't be that much time to see anybody. So, I drove to Tampere and parked my car at my friends. It was equally half an hour before the train would leave from Tampere, so I decided no to ring their doorbell. Just collected my stuff and headed to the station. But on my way I realized that I have time for a quick coffee, and I was walking past a restaurant which used to be my favorite when I was studying at the University. So I opened the door and when I stepped in I saw one of my good friends with yet another friend. I enjoyed my coffee with them, together with a merry chatter which made me feel so much more happy and alive. Then I rushed for the train to Helsinki.

The gig was great, uplifting, inspiring, fine, beautiful, touching - most likely one of the best gigs I've ever seen. When the gig was over it was something like 10 pm and I was in Helsinki with no idea what to do next. I spent a while buying records and chatting with the band. Then I left to the station to check if there are trains to Tampere. As soon as I got there I heard an announcement saying "Express train to Rovaniemi via Tampere leaves from track 8". I made a quick decision; I didn't waste my time buying a ticket, I just ran to the platform, knowing that I can buy a ticket from the train personnel. In Finland we have such a system that every train ticket comes with a numbered seat. But that system only works when you buy the ticket before the train leaves - the train personnel only sell you the ticket without a seat number. It seemed that it won't be a problem, because there were plenty of empty seats. So I picked one, bought my ticket, and thought about my situation: I'll arrive at Tampere around one o'clock in the night. I sent a message to the friends whose parking place I was using. (In their house every apartment has a parking slot, but since my friends don't have a car, they said I can use their place when visiting Tampere). "Hello, I'm coming to Tampere at 1am - do you think you'll be awake at that time, is it OK if I come to sleep at your sofa?". There was no response, so I mentally readied myself to driving back home in the middle of the night. And fell into comfortable slumber.

Until I woke up to the feeling that someone stands next to me, looking at me. I heard a calm voice saying: "That's my seat you are sitting on." It took me a second to realize that it was one of my best friends from Tampere. Out of all the free seats I had randomly picked the one which was marked in the ticket of my friend. It was a nice story why my friend didn't board the train already at Helsinki, but hopped in only on a later station. Well, anyhow, there we were, meeting in a not-so-likely way on an express train to North. We spent the rest of the journey chatting and talking about everything. And my friend said that I can come to sleep there. Which I didn't refuse to do.

In the morning I woke up on a matress on the floor of my friend's apartment. As I slowly got up, I heard my friend answering a phone. It was an invitation to meet at a nearby cafeteria for breakfast. I agreed to go with them, and only then I realized that the person who called was from that place where I parked my car. We spent an unhurried breakfast, eating together with some more merry chatter. Finally, when I was driving back to my home, I was rather amused to realize that when I left I was inactive and failed to arrange any meetings with my friends - which then resulted me randomly meeting my closest friends three times without any pre-arranging. Somehow that fit perfectly with the mood of the gig I went to see - the feeling that life flows on, despite of unpleasant things happening there still is that positive current which carries life.

---

Allright. Yesterday I was coding for UrW. Let's see how it goes =)

harvesting tenderloins
harvesting tenderloins
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Comments

Maybe one of those small steps you have to take is to change the way you see your own life. Depression has this mean way of only making you see and remember the negative things in your life, instead of looking at all the good things and enjoying them. You could choose to look at a summer full of friends, fun, relaxation, self-therpay and work you got done, which would give you a good feeling about the summer you had. Instead you look at what you failed to do, which in turn gives you a bad feeling about the summer you had.

I'm not saying you shouldn't work on the way you plan your life, but sometimes it just helps to look at things differently. Maybe those logs aren't so important? Or it's just not yet the time to haul them. Or maybe you put it off, cause you don't really like the hauling, even if you need those logs.

I've been circling about the same problem for many years of my life. I can hardly ever appreciate what I did do, cause I just see what I failed to do. I keep looking at the problems instead of finding solutions. And I feel this is partly due to my mind working in "depression mode" and partly due to the way my parents look at their own life. I have this huge highway in my mind that's so easy to use but only leads into negative thinking. Instead I should try time and again to find those little pathways in my mind that lead to positive thinking. Eventually those pathways will get bigger and turn into a highway as well. But sometimes I'm just too tired to fight it and let it happen, which makes me feel bad about myself again.

I always feel depression is a vicious circle that's incredibly hard to get out of. And everytime you think you did it, it just lurks around the next corner again.

I guess I understand what you mean, and I also felt pretty much like that before I bought my house. Before moving here there was kind of a culmination point in my crisis - it hit me so hard that I finally let go of some things, realized that it didn't kill me, rose back on my feet and just kept going =) Of coure it has been a slow process, but generally speaking I feel that it was a big turning point in my life.

So, I don't feel bad about the summer I had. The logs are not a big issue - if I fail to transport them, it won't be a disaster. And there is not yet so much snow, so I haven't given up yet. I just accept it that it has taken longer than I hoped, and it doesn't make me feel that my life is ruined. No, life is good. It is just that there still are things to improve, things I'd like to change - not because I hate my life the way it is, but just because I'd love to spend more time programming UrW =)

And I very much agree with the metaphor of a highway and little pathways - sure! Nowadays I feel that I don't so much suffer any emotional pain of depression. But there is some other issues still left. Like, when I was kid, most of the time it was my older brother who told what to do. He was always more clever, more skilled, stronger, better (and 3.5 years older) than I was, he was the boss, it was always his projects and he needed workforce. Most of the time he was also frustrated, angry and pissed off because his workforce (=me) wasn't as skilled as he was. And when I tried to evade work, he was always strong enough to physically force me back to doing what he wanted me to do. Sometimes I felt like being held a slave in my own home, and since it was our only home, there was no place to escape (we lived in the counryside and I didn't have that much contact with the families living nearby.) - when there were rare moments that I could enjoy being alone, I often found out that I felt strangely exhausted, uninspired and shattered. Years of trouble had obviosly left their mark - at some point I remember I could just lay on my bed, staring at the ceiling and hoping I'll turn insane so that they will take me away and I can rest in the safety of a hospital...

Oh, so, why I am telling this? Because I recognize that there are still echoes left of that feeling. A lot of time I might feel somehow uninsprired, and sometimes I get very exhausted quickly, there is this eerie feeling of meaninglesness or being outside of my own life. My rational mind tells me that there is no reason - I have no boss; I'm self employed. I have my own home which is a safe place and nobody is coming to beat me up, I'm completely free to do what I want to do - and then my emotional side says: "OK, fine, I want to lay on my bed and stare at the ceiling!"

I think this is related to the freeze-reaction I described in some of my earlier posts. In a dangerous situation, if an animal can't fight nor flee, it just goes to freeze state. And I guess that freeze-state comes with some hormones making the animal feel indifferent and numb, no terror no panic no pain, just the restfull peace of the final moments before the predator bites its neck. (Once again I saw this reaction in one of the young rams I slaughtered this autumn. I had already slaughtered one of them, and when I went into the pen I caught the next one. With a bowl of dry bread I was leading him away from the pen, but somehow he knew what it meant. Suddenly he was no more insterested in the delicious bread, nor did he try to fight back nor to break free. He just collapsed down, rested his head on the soil with a blank stare in his eyes... Oh my, poor creature! I gently lifted him up, put some bread to his lips which made him bit more active, we walked farther away, I fed him some more bread, but somehow he wasn't that interested in eating, just lazily chewing the bread in a mechanical manner.

I feel that this freeze reaction goes deeper than my thoughts. It is not just matter of how I look at my life, not the way I think. It is stored deep in my brain and hormonal reactions and all that. So, it is echoes of this freeze reaction which so much contribute to my difficulties of maintaining my own timetables and tasks. I need to find back to that clear state of mind when I felt that my life is mine and I feel both inspired and able to make my own decisions (instead of just passively drifting in the mist, waiting for the killing blow to come).

Oh, umm, yes =) But the whole slot 2. was there to balance things out. At the same time I'm working with that kind of somewhat heavy stuff - but it doesn't make me feel bad about my life. I accept that this is how my life is now. And I can go listen to music, meet my friends, to dance to and to be social. As, those are also the small steps which help me to regain the sense of "no more danger, no more need to stay in the freeze mode - this is my life, this is my body and my mind, so let's rock!"

I´ve seen your post on freeze-reactions and it all sounds familiar to me. Whenever there´s a problem that feels too big for me to handle (which happens a lot), I tend to act like an ostrich: burying my head in the sand and waiting for the danger to pass...

I´m glad you like your life, cause it sure sounds good. And URW rocks, so everyone understands you want more time for that. :D

It took me couple of years to recognize some of my things as a freeze-reaction. (Before that I thought that the fundamental reaction is Fight or Flee, but those two alone don't quite capture the essence of freeze-reaction). Nowadays I feel that instead of the darkness of depression there is just some mist left; a layer of numbness, and some emotional indifference. But luckily enough they don't totally block my ability to enjoy life =)

More time to regularly work with URW - that will be my theme for year 2015!

Its crazy how things just happen like that isn't it? I have had many a situation like that happen to me. Must be hereditary for so did my father.

For example, as a child in school I once had a bus driver who just so happened to be my father's drill sergeant from when he was in boot camp. And it just so happened that her boss was my step great grandpa's cousin! How or why does/did this happen?!

Many say things always happen for a reason, that its all planned out. I frankly have to disagree at times. Things don't happen for "reasons." They happen to teach you something (in my opinion, believe what you will).

Referring back to my dad now. When he was just nineteen, living on his own in a cruddy flat in Florida, there was an old man who he helped out. This man's wife died years before and he was left alone. My dad took care of him, drove him to a local jazz club every Sunday night (my dad hated jazz, he was quite willing to help this man out and make him happy), et cetera et cetera. Anywho, my dad eventually moved away, back to his hometown. Years later the old man died and left in his will (he hadn't a penny to his name) his wife's wedding ring which had been given to the man by his mother. My dad eventually proposed to my mother with that very ring. All because my dad helped him out. My dad strived to be a better person after that.

Now what am I saying this for? Because I feel there is probably some reason a lot of these things ar happening to you, just try and find them.

Now I'll stop myself before I stop ranting.

Oh, such a beautiful story about your father and the wedding ring!

Most of the time I don't know the reasons why all things happen - and I'm fine with that =) As, yes, for me the question is "what can I learn from this?" - this whole theme is so big, that maybe I could write a blog post about it...

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