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Taming panic

When I was thinking about writing the previous blog entry, this was what I had planned:

In an interview Mariska has said that she completely lost her voice while recording the vocals for their album 'Kukkurukuu'. Not because of any physical illness, but more because some sort of an emotional block. So, how to unlock an emotional block, how to regain ones own deep personal voice? She couldn't find a remedy, until her friend Jenni, a talented female singer, came with her to the studio. At first they were singing together and that way Mariska regained her voice. The album sold gold. Sure, the album is fine and good in many ways. What makes it special for me is not only the brilliant lyrics, but also the way Mariska sings. As, while singing she is in the very process of unlocking her emotions. Maybe this affects the way she breathes, the way her deep muscles get relaxed, making her voice soft and effortless.

Also, I think that it is not a coincidence that Jenni's presence helped Mariska. For, both in my own work and in my own therapeutical process I have learned that sometimes it is of great help when another person is able to tune in with emotions of the other. It is as if this moment of sharing opens up a bridge of communication, allowing the emotions to flow and to communicate. For example, I spent a year talking with a professional psychoterapist, once a week. It was mostly OK, but all of time I felt that we are just discussing about my problems - there wasn't a sense of presence, instead I felt like describing some items in a museum display - observing them as an outsider. Which actually made me feel that maybe it isn't even possible to share a feeling of being frozen and emotionally blocked. Next year I went to another therapist, who worked in a different way. I felt that she is able to understand what's hidden in my soul, helping me to get in contact with all the blocked emotions. Well, and in Mariska's singing I found something which made me feel that "oh, this is how it feels to let your fears melt away, this is how it feels to regain your voice." A sense of emotional presence works magic.

Well, but I didn't write that, because I started to panic =) I felt that there is something wrong with my thinking. All this I've already exchanged with Mariska in a fan mail, so there is no point in repeating it as a birthday card in form of a blog entry. And although she has said all those things in an interview, but maybe it still is somehow wrong if I write about her personal matters and difficulties she has experienced? And all in all, maybe all of my writing is just an idiotic affair, doomed to make other people pissed off? - So, with these thoughts I realized that I'm pretty much back in a state of an emotional block. My fears making me panic, unable to think clearly, not willing to write anything. (It is always more safe not to say anything - that way you don't run a risk of accidentally saying something which makes others annoyed, right?) So, instead of writing anything so intelligent I simply allowed myself to get immersed into the panic - and then just dropping all of my defenses, writing in the very process of overcoming my fears, making my fragile emotions visible and open for the others to insult or to judge and to misunderstand. And only now, couple of days later, I realize that maybe there was an inner logic - in order to write a "thank you!"-card for Mariska's art, I didn't just describe it like an item in museum - I went into the actual process of overcoming fears, allowing myself to be open and honest. Which is one of the themes I greatly admire in Mariska's art.

This brings us to an another reflection. As, overcoming an emotinal block or letting go of inner fears might not be a matter of "do it once and then it is done." It is not like switching lights on. No, especially when there are many layers of fear, doubt and panic, built already in early childhood. Then it just might take some time to peel them off, layer after layer. Or, in a kind of a spiral-like movement, where you work with some inner questions, one after one, and then realize that from time to time you return to the same old questions you thought you had already solved. But the trick is that with each round of the spiral you have learned new things, and are able to face the old question in a new way. And round after round you spiral deeper and deeper into the essence. (And, occasionally, there are moments of pure radiance. They help you to see where you are going.)

Just before I bought my house I was visiting a close friend of mine. My friend cooked coffee, opened a cupboard full of mugs and turned to me asking: "What kind of coffee mug would you like to have?" - I felt myself freezing inside. "I should make a decision, and to say what I prefer. It is a dangerous thing to do - something bad will surely happen if you ever let out a word of how you feel. It is a trap! It is evil, it is dangerous! Now lay down and pretend to be dead, maybe the danger goes away." The freeze reaction was so strong that no matter what I tried I couldn't deal with it. Seeing the puzzled look on my face, my friend kindly smiled, chose a beautiful mug, poured the mug full of tasty coffee and handed it to me. Like, I have been working with this same question for years and years, but luckily enough it feels that my panic fits and freeze reactions are milder and milder, and I find more ways to express myself.

Today I felt that it is time to start teaching Raiku how to wear a bridle. If it goes well, I could later on show her how to pull a cart or a sleigh. At first Raiku was bit uneasy; couple of times she bared her teeth and made a biting gesture towards me. Each time I gently told her that nothing bad is going to happen. Working slowly we managed to wear the harness. We went out for an easy walk, Velmu was free and I was leading Raiku. This allows her to get familiar with wearing the harness. How it feels, what kind of sounds it makes, how it adjusts to her movements. It all went surprisingly well - she was at ease. Couple of times we had to stop to adjust the harness, and that is a good practice also - she learns that it is normal to stop and to stand still while I'm adjusting a strap here or there. And, also, I learnt that she won't bite me if I go adjust those straps.

As, couple of years ago, when Raiku came to my place, it wasn't easy to touch her. She felt a strong need to defend herself, ready to bite or to kick any human trying to touch her. From that we started to work slowly - at first creating a small sphere where she feels safe and comfortable. Like, in the beginning I didn't even try to touch her - just to stand near her head and waiting her to relax while I'm there. And when we got that, I softly touched her and immediately took my hand away. A simple but effective strategy - and an another example of peeling away layers of fear and panic, slowly, one after one, making room for peace and tranquility. And, I feel that one of the keys here is that things go better the more I'm able to tune in with Raiku's emotions. It is of no help if I'm hit with self-doubt like: "Oh, my horse is angry at me - what I'm doing wrong? Is it lack of my authority, should I be stronger? Or should I be softer? Or maybe she has physical pain? Or maybe everything I do is somehow wrong..." Yup, been there done that. Slowly I gained more confidence, and learned to trust my own feelings. When she offers me a gesture of panic and self-defense, I reply with an energy of: "Oh, it is OK to feel that way, I guess I know how it feels. But I'm here with you, let's not make a problem of this. Look, everything is safe, and this way we can go on smoothly." Just like my friend selecting a mug for me when I was unable to do so. With that gesture my friend showed that it is OK to feel the way I do, but we still go on and enjoy the coffee. This way the panic gets tamed.

Now, when I started to write the previous blog entry, there was no-one around to tell me that it is OK to feel the way I do and that it is safe to go on writing anyway. But, luckily enough the panic wasn't too strong, so that I could handle it myself. In a way, to look at myself with acceptance and peace. Instead of trying to tell me: "You shouldn't feel that way, now stand up and write!", instead of wailing: "why this has to happen, why I'm again in this freeze state, I don't want this!", I just go: "Oh, OK, Erkka. I guess we already know that it is not going to be the end of the world. So let yourself feel the way you do, and then just write it out. One day someone with same kind of emotions might read this and feel something like you did when listening to Mariska ja Pahat Sudet -album. Or maybe someone gets annoyed at you, but that happens anyway all the time, so it doesn't make a difference. Yeah, easy go, start with the opening paragraph and see where it takes you." Finally, this takes us to yet another song, "Liekki" from the said album. It is about sorrow after a relationship has come to an end. The lyrics are just that, sorrow in a pure form. But there is no energy of "oh how I regret everything, why did this happen, what did I do wrong, what did he do wrong, how things could have gone differently, maybe I'll never be happy again" - no, there is just a soft acceptance of "this is how I feel now". There is not a single word about the future, yet I've heard people telling that this song offers comfort in their own sorrow, making it easier to believe in a brighter future. I think it is the same old magic which works here; starting with honest emotional presence and acceptance "it is OK to feel this way", and from that the positive current of life carries on to the new phases of life. As, in a way, saying to oneself: "No problem, here, have a cup of coffee. I chose a beautiful mug for you."

Raiku wearing a harness for the first time
Raiku wearing a harness for the first time
tags: 
depression
diary
horses
music
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Comments

if i have to place the emotions while i had read this entry, in one emote it would be this on, :'), my eyes are getting slightly wet. it's always a pleasure to read about your stories, with self-reflection, the cultural trained insecurities, the light which will guide one if you are together with a good friend while you lost your self ( great mug "example"[these kind of similarities are sometimes really hard to differ with fictional examples, real ones and self experienced ones sometimes :') ), and here i ran out of vocabulary to express my self again, normally i would had deleted this text, but not by erkka, not by a person who has seen darker places than i could come up on my mind.
And Today he owns his own small "farm" where he tries to live as sufficient as possible step by step each year a Euro less which needs to be spend, and along with the planned summer pause, with the idea it can't go worse than to be in high debt and surpassed the last down phase. :) ... wait i should read the blog in the other direction atfirst the next time ( just now recognized that i goes from the newest to the oldest entry ^^')... my argument is still the same :)

actually i do this dance which you had describe really good: "This brings us to an another reflection. As, overcoming an emotional block or letting go of inner fears might not be a matter of "do it once and then it is done." It is not like switching lights on. No, especially when there are many layers of fear, doubt and panic"

while i still search the essence or the new way about the old questions. --- the unability to talk to persons sits deep in my personal pattern(along with a speech disorder) , i don't say a disability to communicate, i mean talking to each others, or to recognize expressions of the other, (tune gestures etc.). And i may interpret to much in journals. but that may be the translations from Finnish to english and than in german too.
Kudos from Germany, Near Bremen

not Finnish comfort *hug*, thank you again that you had started this Blog, along with personal entries besides daily life etc. :)

no problem which ever direction one reads the blog - my control panel will anyhow show me the latest comments.

I'm glad to hear that my writings resonate with you. I always loved the story about Bremen musicants - the animals were rejected by their humans, they accidentally grouped together, and together they were strong enough to claim an new home for themselves. And it is tiny bit the same with my blog - together with you, dear readers, we are strong enough to keep the journey on!

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