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Reconnecting

Last week we had a horsemanship clinic by Noora Ehnqvist. The clinic was held in the middle of the week at my neighbours' place. And the coming week will be mostly a holiday for me. So I was mentally prepared to work seven days this week. But today it turned out that a group which was booked for this Saturday had to postpone their times - which was completely OK for me. I got one free day for this week.

One of the good sides of being a self-employed small-scale entrepreneur is the freedom to choose ones working hours. If I want to attend a horsemanship clinic on Wednesday and Thursday I don't have to ask anybody - I can just make the decision and tell my customers that I can't take reservations for those days. Theoretically speaking, yes. But I have painfully noticed that sometimes I slip into such a state of mind that I don't actually care about my life; I just take in any reservations my customers happen to ask. Well, doesn't that mean a lot of a work = a lot of a money? Not necessarily, as it might also mean the same amount of work scattered around the week, seven days here and there, late nights and then early mornings with no logic. And several such a weeks in a row make me even more exhausted, which makes me feel even more indifferent towards my personal life.

I mean, this might sound like a simple task of controlling ones timetables. But I feel that this is one of the core questions of my life - what do I want of my life, can I make decisions concerning my own life or am I just a bag of dirt being thrown here and there by the others? When I was a child most of the time I felt that it is the others who control what I can do and when - and they were using both mental and physical violence to secure their decisions. Enough of that kind of a stuff can lead to an emotional state called learned helplesness. A healthy organism will fight for its survival, doing its best to avoid pain and death; the basic response to an external threat is Fight or Flight. And when those alternatives don't work, the third option is to freeze. The freeze-reaction is the last resort, effectively making the organism to give up its willingness to live, releasing such a hormones which make the final moments as pleasant as possible. Now, learned helplesness can be seen as a state where an organism gets stuck in the freeze-reaction. Typically this happens when there is no way to avoid pain and suffering - finally the organism gives up all the effort to escape the pain, and just surrenders to any amount of pain inflicted, maybe passively waiting for the death to come. And I guess something like this is what I learned in the first 25 years of my life - no matter what I do, I'll get beaten, bullied, insulted and mocked by my loved ones. There is nowhere to escape, the only way to survive is to freeze, to fall into a state of being numb and indifferent. And to hope that the future would offer a possibility to escape somewhere, to get rid of the pain, to lick one's inner wounds.

Well, it has already been many years of peace and safety. I don't have to be afraid of any violence, and there are no external threats. I have had plenty of time to lick my inner wounds. But still, especially if I have been working too much, I find myself being back in a mental state of being indefferent towards my own life. And in such a state I just accept any timetable my customers ask for, which quickly leads to having not enough free time to recover. Oh well. Actually, this year has been quite good; in the beginnig of the summer I was severely exhausted and realized that I have to do something about it. I decided to go see a gig of my favourite band, which was good. And I felt that I'd also like to see their final gig before they quit - but I realized that I had already booked customers for that day. So I called the customers and arranged a new date for them. Seems like a small simple thing. But for me it was a symbolical moment, reconnecting with my life, actively making a decision and taking care of my own life.

So, what did I do today? I had only three customers in the late evening, so I slept long in the morning. Spent some time with my horses, cooked a stuffed pumpkin and enjoyed my meal outdoors. Went to see my customers, visited a supermarket and bought some beer, and returned back home at nine o'clock in the evening. It was already dark, the sky was lit with stars, and there was soft wind humming in the trees. I lit a small fire and drank couple of cans of beer by the fire. Listening to the wind, watching the stars, feeling the warmth of fire I began singing. As there was no-one listening, I didn't have to think how my singing sounds like - I could just concentrate on how the sounds feels in my body.

Theoretically speaking, I guess there are several ways how using ones own sound might be therapeutical, especially when improvising. First of all, improvisation nourishes creativity; there is no right or wrong, there is just the flow of the sound. And when nobody is listening, there is no good or bad, there is just the inner feeling. If I feel like wailing or throat-singing, or just experimenting with nasal tones, I can do that without a worry. It is OK to be just the way I am, it is OK to feel the way I feel, it is OK to make such a sound I feel like making - and that is one of the keys to recovering from depression. Also, the way a sound vibrates inside my body is like massage for deep muscles. And the deep muscles are connected to one's emotional states, no doubt. When singing alone I become more aware of how my body feels, how my breathing flows, and which kind of tensions am I carrying. Concentrating on the way my sound vibrates inside my body helps me to work with those tensions, to release them.

Also, I think that it is coded in our genetic memory that a camp-fire means safety. Imagine those early humans who learned to tame the fire. Gathered sitting around a camp-fire in the night they knew that the predators don't dare to come into the sphere of the light, and next to the fire they are safe. Well, there might be a bear or two in the forests surrounding my yard, but I'm not afraid of them. I'm just carrying memories of unsafety, and feeling the fire with all of my senses helps me reconnect with the safety. And safety means that I'm allowed to be myself, to live my own life the way I want it.

I started to write this late in the Friday. Now it is already past midnight, so techically speaking it is already Saturday. Maybe I'd better go get some sleep.

a silhouette of a rider
a silhouette of a rider
Eating outdoors
Eating outdoors
tags: 
depression
diary
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