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Wasting my time

Today I harvested some nettles, boiled them brielfy, and mixed them with onion and eggs to make an omelet for breakfast. I was thinking that so many years have passed when I didn't manage to gather fresh nettles for food. I always felt somehow exhausted - that there are so many things to be done, and I have such a limited amount of time and energy that I can't possibly do everything. And in such an overburdened state of mind even a little task can feel like all too much. Which is weird, as nettles contains iron, vitamin C and other healthy nutritiens. So, cooking nettles for food should be one of the best things to do when feeling exhausted - and many of my friends suggested me to do so. Yet I always felt it easier to drop that idea and do something else instead. Imagine having a small basket full of marbles - and then people offer you one more marble, a pretty one. You try to put it in your basket, but it just falls down, taking one or two of the other marbles with it. You realize that you can't carry any more of marbles in that small basket, you either need to throw some of the old ones away, or then get a bigger basket... Well, today I felt that harvesting and cooking nettles is a small nice thing to do. But after eating the omelet I felt that I need a nap, in the middle of the day.

So, there I was, sitting on my sofa and thinking about the same old question. It was going to be mostly a free day - only one customer in the evening. And there are quite a many things I would like to get done sooner instead of later; hauling timber for firewood, tidying and cleaning the yard and animal pens, starting to renovate the old sauna and the cellar... and then the usual stuff; training Raiku to pull a cart, programming for URW, cleaning up, mending broken stuff etc. And since the time is limited, I should just pick one or two tasks for today, and get something done - right? Only that I once again felt like trying to carry too many marbles in a too small basket. My body was asking for a nap, and my mind offered some nasty childhood memories to be worked with. And, actually, there was a memory when I, as a little kid, wished that my mother would spend a moment playing with me - but she refused, complaining that she has so many things to be done, and so many things which should've been done by now, and she is exhausted and she'd better go do those things. That wasn't just a single incident, but more like the overall mood and atmosphere of our home. Our fahter's salary was enough to sustain the family, our mother was a house-wife, and she was constantly over-burdened with too-many-things-to-be-done. And I, for one, felt that my personal emotions and thoughts aren't as important as those things-to-be-done. So better just stop asking, stop wishing that someone would have time for me. Today I (once again) asked myself if I'm just repeating this same old pattern myself. Creating this list of things-to-be-done, and then thinking that the list is more important than my inner feelings? And that, for sure, is a one good way to make the basket wear smaller and smaller... If I want to recover, I'd better allow myself time to sleep when sleepy, and to work with old memories when they ask for attention. I have learnt that it works - I just have to remind myself every now and then that it is OK to feel exhausted, and that recovery is essential...

With these thoughts I spent nearly an hour on the sofa. It was not a proper nap but more like a self-hypnosis or kind-of-a-shamanistic trip to old memories. Finding that little kid inside me, the one who feels rejected, and telling him: "No problem, Erkka. I'm here with you, I care about how you feel, I want to play and to spend time with you!". That helped - after a while I felt ready to do some practical work. I went to haul slender tree trunks for firewood. I used a hand cart, in an old fashioned way. I'd guess nowadays most of the people living in the countryside use a tractor or an ATV to haul trees. And they use machines to cut and to chop firewood. I like to work with a bow saw and an axe - it might be ten times slower than using a machine. So am I just wasting my time when I stubbornly work with traditional tools? If I used modern machinery, I could get a lot of job done in a single day, so that I would have more free time to... well, to... to do something else? Like drive a car to get to a gym to do some physical exercise which is good for my health? Yup. As I was hauling a load of slender trees, uphill with a hand cart, I felt my heart beat faster, I was sweating, and it felt good to strain my muscles. Also, working for firewood is not only symbolical, but a very concrete way of securing my survival for the coming winter. (I wonder what would happen if I went to a gym, watching people pumping iron, and then offering them a piece of advice: "you know, if you just install a motor here, making it operate that machine, you could get that iron pumped much more efficiently, with no need to waste your time straining your muscles." - yet more than once I have heard people telling me exactly this, when they see me working with firewood.)

Actually, I think that physical exercise is not only good for physical health. Especially when I can work for myself, without any external pressure or timetables, simple physical work is an antidepressant. Having a coffee break, leaning my back on a heap of trees, makes me feel simply alive. Life is simple, and simple life is good - and I could both listen to my inner feelings, work with my psyche, and still get some practical work done. Some previous years there have been friends visiting and helping me with this kind of work. But this year I didn't ask for anyone to come, somehow I felt that my own timetables are so unpredictable that I prefer not to arrange anything with others. Yet, working together is even more therapeutical, as it gives a tribe-like feeling. (Although, this isn't always so - it so much depends on how people are able to tune in with others, to focus on a common goal with a good energy. In my life I have also experienced a lot of work which leaves people feeling frustrated and disconnected. But luckily things have been a lot better during these years I've been living alone in my little house. This spring I've been working mostly alone, yet I feel that I have a bunch of good friends willing to help me when I ask for help. It just was my decision not to ask.)

Ah, and after that one customer I stopped by my neighbours. They have a young horse who is afraid of having his hooves trimmed - so we do our best to help the horse. Before I started working with the horse, the kids there asked me to come leap with them on a trampoline. I agreed, and soon I was jumping and laughing and playing with the kids. And that, I guess, is even more therapeutical than doing physical work together with adults. Once again, I could have choosen to say "no, I don't have time to play with you, I have work to be done, I need to train that horse and then go home because there an endless to-do list awaits" - pretty much repeating the pattern I learned in my childhood. But that, I believe, would have been wasting my time. As time spent on the trampoline with the kids was about the best moment of the day - I'm glad that I didn't miss that! So, thank you, my neighbours!

a coffee break
a coffee break
tags: 
depression
homesteading
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Comments

I loved that entry. Please don't stop writing, you are very interesting and inspiring to me. These days i think i will find the time to read your whole blog and get to know you better!

I have a question. I think that you asking us to name one of the four seasons, in order to prove we are humans and not spamming, is also working like a covert psychological test of your commenters. Isn't it? :D

Haha! The site doesn't save nor analyze the captcha replies. But maybe it should? Over the years we could then have nice graphs showing what seasons do people prefer when answering =)

For a moment I was considering to write only questions which are movie citations. Things like: "WHAT is your favourite colour?" or "Describe in single words only the good things that come into your mind about... your mother."

Lately I've sunken into a very one-dimensional state of being, habitually following a mundane, perpetual lifestyle only hoping to spontaneously produce music that speaks of my spirit. If I don't break free from the leering responsibilities and boring lifestyle than there's little chance of creating such art..

Reading Sami's and your posts/blog have reminded me of what it's going to take for me to feel alive again. There's nothing like trekking through unfamiliar forests, during the night of a full moon, to make me feel invigorated. It's been a long time since I spent substantial time outdoors, or chopped wood, fell trees, fished, or even jumped on a trampoline! Parts of the brain and spirit begin sleeping while we spend too much time working unfulfilling jobs and getting insufficient rest. It's so important for every one of us to force ourself out of our comfort zone from time to time, lest we allow time and opportunities to pass unnoticed, because our life force is half-dormant..

Anyway. I just want remind you, Erkka, that you and Sami are both very inspiring, badass and totally free to enjoy the enthralling joys of a simple life. Enjoy!
-Tim

Hey, thanks for the feedback. I'm glad if our work and writings offer inspiration for others. Please feel free to post a link to your music if you have some tracks available in the net.

https://www.dropbox.com/s/6msm6wf1o7m135s/hallowed%20pass.wav

This is all I'm willing to share right now. It's not much, an ambient background setting for a Resident Evil or Silent Hill horror type of thing. It's not complete but still feel like sharing it with you.

Nice! It is thick with creepy atmosphere - everything is seemingly calm, yet there is a sense of looming catastrophe or something. Thanks for sharing.

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