Day 10 and onwards…

Interesting finding when trying to write a blog about each day in isolation. This truly is a one type ”human test” and I guess we all find different sides from ourselves during isolation. Depends how much we´re willing to listen of course.
But at least I have found several things – one of them being the language that I use when writing. I clearly realized that blogging about love and emotions in English is not necessarily my thing, I like to write about deep feelings, relationship and life and write poems that reflect my life. To be able to truly express myself, I guess I would need much much more rich vocabulary than I have. It has started to feel like a high mountain to climb when writing in English. So conclusion is clearly to get back to writing in Finnish only, that I guess gives me more variations to paint the current picture with words.
But to summarize these last days ever since day 9 – which seems like a distant history already. Quite a rollercoaster emotionally I have to say. Being isolated in a big apartment, not seeing and talking with anyone for a month now.. that is tough itself. When I add my big life changes, including the move to the other side of the world, it´s for sure an interesting mix. And there have been times when melancholy hits big, the desire to just call someone and say ”I would need a shoulder now, let´s go and have a coffee”, has been quite big every now and then. Luckily the modern technology enables us to talk online and see each other smile, that brings so much joy and it makes these day easier to manage. One thing I also have started to enjoy a lot and sometimes it surprises me with a tear or two – it´s the kindness and shared love that us humans have all of sudden been able to show. All these online concerts to honor front line workers, the effort people make to send a note to the other side of the world to say ”I miss you”…they are just so beautiful and give plenty of hope for tomorrow.
Here in New Zealand the big motto in the beginning was ”be kind”. It has become quite a leading thought to everything people do here, makes the country very united and people have that feeling ”we´re in this together”. I truly truly hope that when this madness is over, we won´t get back to normal emotionally, but we rather keep this new behavior model and be kind to each other.
To summarize the cornerstones of love – since I won´t be writing this English blog anymore – I´ll just share my thoughts on the ones I didn´t write yet. And let´s see how the ”hole package” looks like 🙂
The cornerstones left are trust, curiosity, passion and rhythm. Out of those trust builds a lot to relationship, or let´s say it can easily break all the foundations if the trust is gone with the wind. Isn´t it funny though how the first topic, self love, affects so many other things in our life, trust included. When we understand who we are and we accept our selves first, it´s easier to have that balance in life that is needed to trust. Lack of trust often is due to own internal fears and insecurities – applies for trust towards the other person or trust towards tomorrow. They day you can spread your wings and fly knowing that you trust on everything in front of you, that is just beautiful.
More our individual capabilities are curiosity and passion. Not saying that curiosity is needed for long term relationships, just saying that in my world it is 🙂 I think being curious towards everything just means we´re very much alive and if only one in the relationship is very curious, the other one not so interested in anything around him/her, not sure how well that works. But if both are equally curious, towards each other, life, emotions, can become a beautiful and endless exploring journey together. Then passion – one of my favorite topics for sure. I love passionate people – at work, in relationship, in sport, in art..just everywhere. It makes miracles happen and same goes into relationships, when two souls share the same level of passion energy and it´s complimented with same values and same curiosity, it makes two heart beats fast but as one.
Last but not least is the rhythm – same thing again, rhythm related to many things, how we live our life, what´s the rhythm to wake up in the mornings, read a book, run in a park, make love etc. If everything is out of sync, it will be difficult to walk through life together.
All those things mentioned would build a beautiful relationship in my mind. Finding that soul mate who lives in balance, shares the same values, appreciates same beauty and colors, is passionate towards life and love and curious to still understand more, is capable of finding words to explain all fears and joys and walks with me through storms and sunsets trusting our rhythm – that´s the dream I dream.

Be safe people and keep loving – now harder than ever.

Day 9

Another day in the ocean of these sunny, but so unique days. Every day you wake up thinking ”what will this day bring”. More and more I start to think that even if it´s difficult to be away from my two sons and old friends, it´s in a way blessing to be in New Zealand during this time. I´m just very impressed every day of the way the crisis is managed and how human and humble the Prime Minister is in the middle of all this. Somehow it gives a calming touch to this mess.
Another joy for the day was two long video calls to Finland, it´s so nice to see familiar faces and discuss common topics. The other call was with my ”coach” who helped me a lot when making the difficult decision of leaving Finland. And yes, it was a super difficult decision to leave, many sleepless nights when thinking about the options. But luckily and had this coach who was capable of helping me to see with my heart. A unique skill to ”walk” me into situations and make me see it through feelings and emotions. I´ve had many coaches and mentors, but this for sure was the first time ever that someone could guide me to my feelings this way. Always grateful to Niina for this..

And then back to core values – think this time it´s ”appreciation”. Which in my books is one of the main values of all. Also it´s a wide topic, but for that exact reason it also relates to my ultimate dream in this life. I´ve often dreamed about the morning when I wake up and every single person in this world has changed. They have woken up heart full of appreciation. How different would everything be in the world where people would all of sudden appreciate different religions, different opinions in politics, differences between sexuality, skin color etc. And everyone would appreciate all the small things they have, all the beauty they have around.
In relationships appreciation is of course firstly a sign of that important self awareness and love. Once you are truly satisfied with yourself, you stop competing with others and can start appreciating all the great things other people can do. Especially the loved one – in the best relationships it is simply beautiful to watch people who just admire the things the partner does, value the opinions they have, appreciates the likes and dislikes she/he has etc. I have had the privilege to watch a couple like this for years and every time it´s like a dream. I´ve spent some weekends at their summer house and it´s so great to wake up in the morning when you know what to expect. Those small gestures to lend a helping hand, those loving looks, those small words to let the other person know ”how much I appreciate you exactly the way you are”. It is just amazing to watch and for me it has always been a ”relationship role model”. I´ve seen it in action with my own eyes for years, so I know that it is possible 🙂
Appreciation also relates into very many areas in relationship – we can simply appreciate the way our partners treats other people, the kids in the family, how she / he remembers all small things that are important to someone else, how positive mindset the other person has etc. I can really enlighten every single day, so make sure you sit down and think about this one. Think to your self – what are the things I appreciate – in myself, in this world, in the family, at work, in the person you love the most. When you write ”I appreciate” over many things in your life and relationship, love starts to grow..

Be safe and keep loving folks.

Day 8

Yet another day in the ocean of isolated days. We are so lucky that sun still keeps shining and this beautiful city keeps showing it´s best sides. And we for sure need that, living these most weird times of our lifetime. Every single sight of light, hope and love is needed now.

It´s very interesting to see how this ”online world” brings new innovations and new ways of connecting. As a small side note, we have been doing a Toastmaster course here for several weeks and obviously also got caught by the lock down. That course is about public speaking, but I´m glad they decided to go ahead with it even if we can´t meet onsite (usually super important ´cause you´re learning about body language etc). Has been truly interesting to see how people use the online tools creatively to engage better, how they can deliver feelings and important messages and love to each other. Unique moments that I will for sure remember for long time.
My speech today was about the importance of the human touch – the ”skin hunger” I wrote about earlier..can´t shout out loud enough how much I already miss a hug from an other person. That´ll be the day!

Let´s carry on with the cornerstones of love. Maybe to reflect a bit yesterdays first topic of self awareness and love. Think I did not emphasize enough the love part in that. Yes it is important to know yourself, but it will only turn into something good, if you truly learn to love yourself, the whole package. Obviously I mean very healthy love relationship, it needs to be an aware type love, where you see yourself through realistic and open eyes, understand the possible weak spots, but can still accept and fall in love with yourself. Wrong type of self love can be complete opposite, truly blinding and destroying

Then the second topic, building the foundation with same values. This one is a wide topic, values of life. Can mean some many things to different people, but guess that´s the whole point. If they are too different, if they mean too different things, slowly but surely the foundation will start collapsing – if it was ever built.
Think about value for equality, not only between men and women but on everything. If the preferences on this are too extreme, it will be very difficult to build solid ground. Or what´s your opinion? Could you see a problem rising in a relationship where the other person thinks women should be paid the same as men. While the other half…well, is just not smart enough to think the same? 🙂
An interesting one in my mind is also the overall value towards other people, the appreciation of good manners and treating people nice. Being kind and gentle. Maybe I have just seen too many examples of people who live in their own world and cant´t treat others nicely, don´t open the door for elderly, always remember to make that nasty comment on someone else etc. If they couple with someone who values manners high, always treats others nice, spreads to good will and kindness etc. most likely the clash will happen very soon.. and this value often is build quite deep inside us so it might be hard to change.
Goes somewhat hand in hand with overall gratitude and appreciation, the ability to be thankful of what you have today. Makes life hard if two value this differently, relates also much to the rhythm of living – being grateful tends to make days peaceful, being annoyed and wanting more tend to make them uptight and restless.
One very important value is also forgiveness, are we able to let things go or do we have the habit to store everything in our minds and hearts and collect dark clouds. That for sure one day will create a storm.
These values, cornerstones of love often tie together quite nicely. Forgiveness is closely related to self love, it requires good communications skills and willingness to communicate, to understand. Also plenty of self confidence to look deeper. Strong people are brave enough to ask questions, understand why something has happened, before making any judgments. Strong enough to walk away if treated badly, but also strong enough to stand still and listen to understand.
Anyway, idea was not to list all the important values, so I´ll pause here. Idea was more to underline that values are – or at least should be – built so deep into us, that changing them might be a high mountain to climb. Instead it´s a matter of being awake and making right decisions. I would like to quote one Finnish media person who has been married for a looong time. He was once asked what is the secret of their long relationship and he answered:
”just make the right choice” 🙂

So love can be super simple 🙂

Now it´s time to dream a little dream about a world where people can hug each other.
Be safe and keep on loving folks.

Day 7

Yet another day. In the ocean of these unforgettable times. Will be interesting to see how long it takes before days really loose their ”meaning” as such.  When will it become just a grey set without any variation.. takes plenty of self control and efficiency to keep a schedule in a day. And another portion of imagination to keep each day interesting and different from the others 🙂  
BUT – even more so this should be a wake up call for all of us. There´s so many of us who are used to the luxury of being alone by choice. When at the same time around us there are thousands of people who have no choice, their life has been like this already before the lock down. Only exception being they don´t have anyone online dialing into all those funny video calls. So please, let´s do not forget after this is over, there still are many many people who would just need that one person to listen to them, asking ”how are you today” and that one hand reaching out to touch.
Before diving into the ocean of love and the first topic of cornerstones of love, I have to highlight one topic that is not so love related. Well, it kind of is..since I´m from Finland and I do love my old home country. And now live in New Zealand that for sure is a veeery easy country to fall in love with. Some interesting comparison between these two similar, yet so different countries:
My dear friend Olivia linked an article where a Finnish newspaper Helsingin Sanomat is writing a daily ”diary” on issues around the world caused by COV.  There was some comparison and analysis on the government leadership style during crisis. We have a bright Finnish brain here in New Zealand, Mr Storbacka, in Auckland University and he has been leading this research work.
Interesting findings how NZ government can make much faster decisions when there are not so many ”sensitive toes to step” as Finland has (SO true, Finland just has created a public sector system that soon will eat the whole country for breakfast, it´s impossible to scope with..).
But they also analysed the leadership style and language used by the Prime Ministers. And how different it is. I also wrote a post about this on Linkedin week ago, since I truly appreciate the leadership style in New Zealand and PM is a great role model.
She is just so humble and close to people, avoid the political jargon, speaks from the heart. People understand and feel secure. Role model of communication and engagement style for many, both at work and in private life. 

But back to the cornerstones and the most important of all, the cornerstone for everything – loving YOURSELF.
That very old phrase from airplane, always true:
You need to use the oxygen mask first yourself to be able to help others.
And that´s exactly how it is in life. And love life. If we´re not in balance with ourselves, if we can´t love and accept ourselves as we are, we will sooner or later get that feeling of being threatened by something or someone and the hell breaks loose. Competition over power starts, the jealousy raises it´s nasty head. The blame game towards the other person begins – why are you doing this, why do you need to go there, who was that person… 
All questions related to the other persons behavior. In reality very often caused by our own insecurity and fears that we haven´t been able to deal with. When we don´t fully trust ourselves, we don´t feel secure in our own skin, it appears as doubts – ”that other person must be better than me” and it often causes also the challenging silence in love, the lack of communication. More insecure person, more difficult it is to speak up and say, ”when you do that I feel bad and I think it is because of my own fear of…”
It´s the first attempt to reach out arms open to your love ones and say ”I feel weak about this, please work this through with me…” Instead too often our mechanism in those moments of fear is attack, animal instinct I guess but rarely works in love..
Very different story if there is a person who has spent enough time analyzing ”who am I, what are my weaknesses, where do I shine, what do I have to offer, what am I missing, what am I afraid of, what do I absolutely love, what makes me happy  etc”. All that also needs to be accepted, not only analyzed. Through full acceptance follows that true self love, the ability to be who you are, play no roles and most importantly in relationships, give the other person the full freedom to be exactly who they are as well. 
Just pay attention to this – people around you that you identify being very self aware, they rarely are extremely demanding towards other people. Simply because they don´t have to, they have realized that changing other people is not their job – people can be helped if they ask yes or if it´s jointly agreed. But demanding changes from selfish reasons, not something balanced individuals ask.
I guess in my dreams that ”soul mates” mean is of course the full balance of all the cornerstones, full understanding of them all. But it really starts from the fact that two people that are fully in balance with themselves meet. It brings that silent harmony into the relationship, both parties trust THEMSELVES enough to understand that my happiness is my own responsibility, it starts from MY acts, not the other persons. Which brings amazing freedom into the relationship – not freedom to go and have other relationships, but freedom to be just there, just the way you want.  There is no need for competition, no need for jealousy, there´s full understanding that ”you are there because I make you feel better than anything or anyone. And I fully understand that when that no longer is the case, it´s your decision to leave. My job is to be who I am and make you feel amazing”. 
With that understanding in place, all the other cornerstones start to build up much more easily. More about those tomorrow. Now it´s time to go and explore the beautiful evening of Auckland. With the right level of social distancing or course.

Be safe and keep on loving folks. 


Day 6

Like any other day in the sea of these different times. Wake up alarm in the morning and slow routines, morning yoga to wake up the body and especially the mind. How important it is now to make sure your mind is awake early enough in the morning. Not trying to join any 5am club here, but just trying to keep up some rhythm for the day. And be mentally awake to make the best out of each day.
First week has been surprisingly active, especially in terms of the social contacts – online.
We´re now getting so good in using the online tools, that soon I´m worried are we really starting ”the new normal”…less and less human contacts, more caring and sharing online. I do hope we never get there…we still need to be close to touch, smell and breathe the same air, we still need to be hugged.
On the daily routine side I have to say that I´m truly grateful that we still can go out, especially for me the bicycle rides are a real life line. Getting on a bike and cycling to different parts of the city, finding a peaceful spot from a park or next to sea. It is just so calming. Really easy to dive into my own bubble, just enjoy the beauty around and dream that none of this is happening around us.
Since this is a blog about love, I will indeed start reflecting some of my thoughts around it – also in English I mean 🙂 And yes what would be a better starting point than the foundation, the building blocks of a relationship..

I have been thinking quite a lot about this topic. Guess it´s natural, after a long marriage ended several years ago, few attempts to have a relationship etc. Plenty to think about, mainly trying to study myself, is it because of me when relationships don´t work? Is it the other person? Is it the combination? And what would the ultimate combo be, what would make it all last? And through many conversations, many experiences and plenty of self reflection, guess I start to have my own view. Finally. 🙂 Even if more and more my friends ask the same question – ”is that even the meaning of love, are we meant to be together with one person forever?”. Don´t know the right answer, but guess I´m romantic and old fashion enough to believe in it. I want to believe in it. And I still believe that there is that ”soul mate”. That person who is not asking ”where” when you say ”look”.
But yes, what do I think soul mates would have in common. What would make the perfect relationship in my mind. This is my conclusion, these are my building blocks for loving relationship:

  • Self awareness and love
  • Life values
  • Appreciation
  • Communication
  • Trust
  • Curiosity
  • Passion
  • Rhythm

No special order of importance or anything. Just maybe some logic behind the order. I´ll dive into the first one tomorrow. If you´ve ever been reading anything I write, you know that it´s my number one topic of all. Without knowing who you really are, understanding your capabilities and accepting, it will be very hard to offer unconditional love.

And is there really any better time to start studying your self than NOW? Not really, this is it, today it is. Now we have more time than ever to find that mirror and start asking some good questions. And not be afraid of any answers..

Be safe people. And keep on loving.

Day 5

Day 5. As good day as any other. Except it´s Monday. Just don´t know what it is in Monday´s but they just are more difficult than any other day 🙂 Even on this lock down period, where it should not matter what day it is. But who ever came up with the idea of having Mondays in the calendar – well done. You did create something quite unique 🙂
Went for a short walk today, again to the beautiful Domain park. Super happy to see how people respect this difficult period and stay very distant from each other. Except of course the couples and families who live in the same bubble anyway. Watching those couples exercise together, did make me feel – for the first time during this whole madness – bit lonely. I sat down under a big tree and just watched them, felt the love and care between them. And thought how different our days are during the lock down. They can walk home together, hand in hand, talking about small and big things in life while walking. At home they can decide what kind of bubble they today want to live in today, is it caring and loving bubble, is it more practical ”let´s make sure our home is clean” kind of bubble. Can also be more like ”let´s take our clothes of” type of bubble but I won´t get there..yet 🙂
But the point being that when together, you can create so many variations of your day, the emotional side of it. And I´m so happy for all the couples and families who can do that. Who can spend a quiet evening just reading a book, or listening music. No need for words, just the ”awareness” that the other person is there. Or they can have a conversation, lay out all the anxiety and fear that life at the moment brings.. and they can comfort and touch when it becomes hard, having someone to dry your tears is precious.
It´s very different when being alone. There of course is online tools for talking, seeing smiling faces on the computer screen etc. but does it replace the need for another human being in the same room. Not really, nothing beats that touch. With few friends we actually discussed over the weekend what are the important things in other person when dating. Touch and smell were high on the list, not to of course mention kissing 🙂

One of the beautiful souls I´ve met during my #newlife here, Kaisla, sent me a quite relevant New York Times story about this topic. It was called

”What do we lose when we stop touching each other”. What a GREAT question that is!

The story said that psychologists call our longing for human touch a ”skin hunger”. I think it´s a great name. Just think about it, what feels better in bad day that a warm hug from a dear friend, or moment of love when someone gently touches your face. Or with your small children, those moments when they walk with you in a park and all of a sudden want to hold you hand – that little hand in yours. It´s the shape of fragility and eternity of love right there.
There was some interesting details about us humans and how touching impacts us – physical touch triggers the orbit of frontal cortex in brain and that leads into compassion feelings and releases oxytocin, regular touch reduces levels of stress hormones and University of Nort Carolina has even studied the impact of hugging – scientific prove that it stimulates the white blood cell production and helps fight infections. Also been studied by Carnegie Mellow that women who are hugged often, have fewer flu symptoms. How ironic is that? We should touch and hug more to avoid infections, but can´t due to the crazy isolation, most likely caused by too much touching in wrong places. Life has a twisted sense of humor AND romance.
But really loved that story since the writer was rightly concerned with future ”what happens after this period”. Have we lost our natural ability to touch other person, are we too afraid to hug and shake hands again?
I truly truly truly hope this is not the case, let´s just be the same old loving us and reach out to others. No, let´s actually agree to be just slightly more skin hungry in the future!

So yes, quite clear that melancholic Monday has made me miss that touch bit more than normal. And since it made me think about the relationships, dating and love, maybe during the week I´ll write about my views around relationships. What does it take in my mind to create a strong couple, what are the building blocks and cornerstones of love. Let´s see if you agree or disagree..would love to hear your comments during the week.
Now just enjoy the evening / day with your loved ones, touch them just slightly more gentle than yesterday, but just bit less than tomorrow.
And keep on loving folks.

Day 4

Another day in different kind of paradise. We are so lucky here to still be able to do limited amount of outdoor activities, as long as you do it with enough social distance. So I´m still able to jump on my bicycle and wonder around this amazing and breathtakingly beautiful city. That photo is taken from Domain park, where you can find stunning spots to sit and admire the view (I have promised myself to NEVER get used to these views..)
Before the cycling trip, I of course enjoyed Sunday morning. For me Sunday´s are special days, there is something very majestic in them. That´s why I always need some decent classical music to start with (this morning´s choice was an Estonian dude Arvo Pärt, amazing composer who has created some of the most amazing classical music pieces into this world).
While floating in the waves of calming music, I managed to forget the outside world, all of it´s troubles and worries. I managed to escape into that famous bubble for a while. There was only the present moment, no past, no future. It felt safe, I felt happy and balanced.
Don´t get me wrong, I´m not saying that we need to ”escape” the real world, it´s always there with it´s sorrows and pains. It´s just nice to sometimes take a little break of it and focus on the moment, let your mind and soul rest. Just let the music and thoughts carry you to the calming waves and let sun cherish you all over.
For me music has been a great way to ”escape”, books as well. And now with older age other forms of art, photographs and paintings have become a super important source of ”emotional power” as well. Funny enough, I can´t play a single instrument, I totally suck in singing, drawing, painting..just everything that relates to art. But maybe that´s why it´s so easy for me to love it..for me it´s purely a ”heart and mind” thing, I don´t have to analyze a single beat or line in the painting. I can just feel it.
From very early on music has been a strong element of my emotional life. I was born and raised in a farm, which was not too easy for me. For reason I still haven´t been able to figure out, I wanted out to the ”big world” from very young age. Easier said than done back in the days, so I used music and books a lot as my wings to wonder around the world.
Useful skill to have now, during this total lock down. Being isolated in new country I´m really happy that I can jump on those wings, close my eyes and let the emotions flow. And there is plenty of emotions right now, melancholy is one, actually very interesting one. Not a big surprise that it has been very present in my life lately. Being far away from my own boys, those great monkeys that I love to the moon, is sometimes super hard. Missing our evenings together, our great and deep conversations, our super bad jokes etc. One very big source of melancholy for sure. But I have learned to like it. I honestly think that when melancholy or sadness knocks, just open the door and let them in. Make them some coffee and have a chat. Listen carefully ´cause most likely every time you learn something new about yourself.
It´s not all sad and tears though, even these crazy times, I can still find tons of happiness and joy in my life. As I´ve already said, new friends here are just amazing individuals and I could not be more grateful to have them in my life. AND – I can´t wait those moments when the ”new normal starts” and we can get together at my ”K Road Love Lounge”, i.e. this apartment, put on some great music, talk and laugh endless nights, get drunk both from wine and life.
So many other things to smile at, but maybe I´ll save them for next times – those will be topics for maaaany days 🙂
So guess what Í´m trying to say is – what ever your method, vehicle or tool is to fly little higher, see around little wider or cry little louder, just use it. Find it and use it. These days of isolation are the gold en opportunity for all of us to learn just a little more about the most important – ourselves. That´s the key to ultimate happiness. Only when you love the face in the mirror (in a healthy way), can you love others.
Be safe. And keep on loving.

That´s some random thoughts from Day 4.
I also got some beautiful text from Tracey today, want to share it with you:

Be still my cherub.  Be still.
Let the loving arms of Mother Nature wrap around you. 
Feel the embrace of the sun’s warmth, of birds singing and chatting.  Be a part of that conversation.  Listen to the whispers, the secrets of the leaves. 
There is magic in their message.
We are one.  We are connected.  The parts make the whole.  Who am I to think my part is greater, or that of another. 
We are the same.
The love exists there.  In that space.  In that quiet inner conversation. 
That’s where the love is.
A melting pot of compassion, darkness, vibration, and color. 
How do we stir it.  Or should we just observe the swirls and allow it to mix. 
Be still child.  Be still.

Day 3

Third day turning into an evening. It´s just so amazing feeling to wake up or go to bed in this place now. I live in ”K road” which is maybe the most wild street of all in Auckland. Every evening and night I hear music, people singing, loving, hating, laughing and having fun together. When I step out on the street on normal evening, it´s full of lights, it´s a full circus of life in it´s all possible aspects.
Now there´s total silence. Walking on the street in the evening is like walking in a ghost town, no music, no people, no nothing. If there´s a place in New Zealand where you can feel the impact of this lock down, guess this is it. In a way very sad feeling, also scary, but so new and exiting that even don´t know what to think. Silence is calming in the evenings and mornings, but i truly truly miss all the signs of LIFE here, this place is just so colorful..
Today I did go out, bicycled around the city and what also was a weird experience. Usually this city is not optimal for bicycling, lacks lot of bike lanes etc. But now – what an experience it was to go around the empty city. Yes it was also bit spooky when there was hardly anyone there. But it also woke a totally new ”emotion” in me, new kind of love towards a city without cars. What a feeling of freedom it was to cycle around the empty streets..felt like I was in a movie 🙂 Movie about the future where people are happy and sun shines brighter 🙂
Wonderful experience also from yesterday evening was to use modern technology and video chat with several friends. Our catch up call ended up being a quite emotional 1.5. hours, mainly reg. the challenges this situation brings to each individual. The ability to express fears, worry about the future together and support each other in an online meeting – new experience for me, but very powerful. Demonstrated in beautiful way how in difficult times we do find that extra layer from us, we step out from our shadows, we reach out to others and unite virtual hands to be stronger together.
On a personal note – think I´m still waiting how this isolation will truly ”hit me”. I have of course spent so much time alone already before this, so experience is not new. But the lack of choice, the fact that you´re forced away from your natural choices of meeting people, going on a date, hoping for a kiss for goodnight etc. That I´m not sure how weeks will impact. How much I will start missing just the possibility to ask someone out, just for a walk, gallery visit etc. Yet, this difficult period is a great reminder of the ”first world problems” that we have. Things that I worry and ”complain”.. so many people in this world don´t even have a change to dream about them. So I go to sleep tonight with just a grateful mind, thankful of everything I today have and tomorrow will bring.
To finish of this diary day 3, I´m trying something new. All my poems in this blog are in Finnish, but for the first time ever, I´ll try something in English

Where would I go
All these windows
my gate to fly
but where would I go
just keep whispering the same
no, shout I try
just so quiet don´t want to wake
next door, strangers they are
baby is cute, innocent, I let it be
sitting here, I hear them
the gate is open
lights behind the window
just an invitation, is it green
that I wait
but why
where would I go
so many times before
this quiet shout, my voice is gone
you know what I mean
why can´t you hear
you know my words
why can´t you guide
light the right light
shall I fly now?

Day 1

This is the first day of total lock down in New Zealand. Everything is closed, except supermarkets for food and pharmacies for medicine. Everyone needs to stay home, no social contacts outside own family allowed.
Sad enough, I wrote about this topic in this blog recently. It was about being alone by choice vs. being lonely. And sooner than I thought, I found myself in the middle of it..

”Being alone by choice is a privilege, being alone without a choice can be a misery”

It´s so popular in our modern world to have ”quiet moments” and ”travel to inner me”. And even better when you can choose the time for it. But now all of a sudden we´re in a situation where we don´t have a choice. Be alone and deal with it.
I´m still gathering my thoughts around this. I have landed into this country 2.5 months ago, so many things are still new. And you now how our mind works, more familiar environment, more safe you feel. So in a new place, with none of my personal stuff yet here, in total isolation, it´s quite a new situation for me. Especially when home for me is important, it has become my safe harbor where tears, fears and laughter go hand in hand, I´m far away from my boys that I love to the moon. Obviously there is both the worry about their health and the fear of being so distant if something happens to me. In the moments of emergency you need your love ones close.. Of course I know that I´m still privileged, so many in worse situation and so little we can do to help. But still, I´m only human and my small mind takes time to adjust. And actively working on finding the silver lining on the situation. Which I truly think there is..
There is this completely NEW side of things – many of us have been self isolating already for several days so there is some experience on how this all works and feels.
Some interesting findings – it truly feels like the difficult times are finally uniting people more than ever in our lifetime. Even if the connections are only via chat, video calls, phone calls etc. it seems like we´re sharing so much more of ourselves already. Like in our office that has been virtual for days already – we share a lot about our homes, families, pets, fears, there´s jokes, competitions etc. Think I´ve learned more about my colleagues during these few ”online days” than during the onsite days at the office. Love it!
Not to mention friends, how many creative ideas regarding sharing and caring. And just before lock down yesterday, I got some beautiful prove that I´ve met some fabulous people here. Without asking I was offered some help with food shopping, got them even delivered to my door. And had caring soul to deliver extra heaters to my door just before the lock down by midnight. Just to make sure I don´t get cold during this crazy period. What can I say, difficult times bring the true beauty out of people. Not gonna mention any names here. You know who you are Sophie and Kaisla 🙂
Love you both!
This is a block about love, so of course I need to mention it..and have a feeling that during these days I will be writing quite a lot about it 🙂 Both the lack of it and the new ways of feeling it. This quiet time for sure is a perfect time to investigate the most important form of love. The ability to love yourself.
So let´s use these difficult times to get back to basics, spend that extra time to get to know who we really are and look around to appreciate what we have.
I will do my best to observe and understand more, stay safe, stay fit, work hard and keep the loved ones virtually close. On these daily updates I can hopefully also share some loving words and thoughts from you all, there´s so much beauty and love that we need to share!

Final thought on love for the Day 1:
I´ve said many times that my dream is both desperate and hopeful. I dream of the day when everything has changed overnight. There is no more hate, there is no more discrimination. There is acceptance. There is a world where love has beaten all the wars.
I always thought this dream is utopia. Now I think it could be tomorrow.

Love Lockdown – Day 1

Yksin vai yksinäinen?

On niin ihanaa olla yksin, omien ajatustensa kanssa. Niinhän  usein sanotaan. Yksin olemisen ”retriitistä” on tullut lähes taianomainen modernin maailman henkisen pelastumisen keino. Vetäytymiset luostariin, pakomatkat paratiisisaarille joogan ja mietiskelyn pariin, ne ovat arkipäivää. Ihmisille joilla on mahdollisuus tehdä tuollaisia valintoja. Entä sitten kun yksin oleminen ei olekaan oma valinta? Entä kun yksin oleminen muuttuu raastavaksi todellisuudeksi, jokapäiväiseksi yksinäisyydeksi vailla mahdollisuuksia aitoon ihmiskontaktiin?

Oman elämänmuutoksen ja toiselle puolelle maailmaa matkaamisen mukana nämä ajatukset ovat taas palanneet mieleen. Olin keskellä tätä ajatusprosessia työmatkalla Lontoossa ja söin yksin lounasta keskellä päivää. Silloin jäin miettimään pitkästä aikaa, että mitä sitten jos näin joutuisikin tekemään ilman omaa valintaa ihan jokaisena päivänä. Kuvittelin itseni tänne Uuteen-Seelantiin ja tilanteeseen jossa en saakkaan kontaktia muihin ihmisiin, koen itseni jotenkin erilaiseksi tai minun seuraani ei muuten vain kaivata. Millaiseksi elämä silloin muodostuisi, millaista olisi elää jatkuvasti vain omien ajatustensa kanssa.

Yksin vs. Yksinäinen on aihe josta ainakin omien ystävieni kanssa on jonkin verran juteltu, mutta sisältöön todella syvälle sukeltaminen on vaikeaa. Varmaan monasti siitä syystä, että se ”viitekehys” missä elämmme (siis puhun nyt omista ystävistäni), ei oikein joudu kohtamaan tätä haastetta raadollisimmillaan. Itse koen siitä suurta kiitollisuutta, että on saanut elää ”etuoikeutettua” elämää, on aina ollut töitä, suuret tragediat ovat kiertäneet itseni ja läheiseni, ystävät ovat aina olleet lähellä. Ja on ollut mahdollisuus tutustua yksin olemiseen juuri omien valintojen kautta, opetella tuntemaan itsensä yksin olemalla, kohdata omat surunsa ja pelkonsa yksin. Mutta aina tarvittaessa on lähellä ollut joku jolta on voinut kysyä neuvoa, joku jonka kanssa käydä pitkällä kävelyllä ja pohtia asioita, saada tukea omaan neuvottomuuteen tai suruun.

Vapaaehtoistyön kautta sitten kohtasin toisenlaisen maailman ja ehkä nämä omat suuret elämänmuutokset ovat taas tuoneet ne ajatukset ja kokemukset lähemmäs. Työ jota vapaahtoisten toimintaa koordinoiva taho, Helsinki Missio tekee yksinäisyyden poistamiseksi on jotain mittaamattoman arvokasta ja ansaitsisi paljon enemmän rahoitusta ja resursseja kuin mitä nyt on käytössä. Sillä niinkin modernissa ja onnellisten ihmisen kaupungissa kuin Helsingissä yksinäisyys on todellinen ongelma, lienee kohta kansantauti. Ja sama ilmiö taitaa kohta vaivata kaikkia Suomen kaupunkeja ja kuntia..

Keskuudestamme löytyy paljon ihmisiä, joiden jokainen aamu alkaa yksin. Aamupala omien ajatusten kanssa saattaa kuulostaa ihanalta, mutta entä jos sen jälkeen edessä onkin pelkkä musta putki samaa yksinäisyyttä. Epätoivoisia ja kaipaavia hetkiä saada puhua asioistaan toiselle ihmisille, tarve kysyä neuvoa tai saada tukea omille päätöksilleen. Ajatus ei enää tunnukaan niin houkuttelevalta? Toki joka paikasta löytyy ihmisiä jotka ovat tehneet oman valintansa ja ovat yksin syystä. Mutta päälle päin onnellinen suomalainen kansa taitaa kohdata yksinäisyyttä tänä päivänä enemmän kuin koskaan. Ja sitä löytyy ihan kaikista ikäryhmistä, vanhuksia jätetään todella kylmästi yksin hoitokoteihin, hämmästyttävää kyllä myös omiin koteihinsa, yksinhuoltaja vanhemmilla ei ole päivässään mitään muuta seuraa kuin oma lapsi, nuoret ja teini-ikäiset joutuvat kokemaan yksinäisyyden julmalla tavalla kun heidät suljetaan kiusattuina ulos ringistä. Jäljelle jää vain mielikuvitusmaailma tai netin ihmeelliset syöverit. Ja valtavasti aikaa istua yksin, kaivata toisen ihmisen läheisyyttä ja mahdollisuutta vuorovaikutukseen.

Muistan kun istuin muutama vuosi sitten kesällä paneelikeskustelussa jossa aiheena oli juurikin yksinäisyys ja syrjäytymisen ehkäisy. Sen keskustelun aikana ajatus iski minuun todella voimalla ja se oli pakko kyllä myös sanoa saman tien ääneen – ”miten meille on käynyt näin?”. Ajatus ja hämmästys iski todella kun siinä pyöriteltiin erilaisia viisaita ajatuksia siitä miten syrjäytymistä voisi ehkäistä..miksi meidän ylipäänsä pitää istua kaikenmaaiman foorumeissa ja työryhmissä miettimässä tällaista asiaa? Mitä on tapahtunut ihmisen luontaiselle tarpeelle ja halulle pitää huolta lajitoveristaan? Miten ylipäänsä on mahdollista, että me näin jätämme ympärillä havaitun yksinäisyyden noteeraamatta. Maailmassa on kuitenkin monia asioita joiden ehkäiseminen tai ”parantaminen” on haastavaa ja vaatii paljon voimavaroja – mutta yksinäisyys? Sehän ei tarvitse mitään muuta kuin toisen ihmisen joka antaa omasta ajastaan vähän. Onko meillä siis yksinäisyyden lisäksi myös toinen kansantauti, itsekkyys?

Joten tästä eteenpäin voitaisiin ihan jokainen miettiä sitä, mikä omassa elämässä on arvokasta. Voisiko yksin olemisen sijasta jokainen tehdäkin päätöksen olla mukana edes vähän poistamassa yksinäisyyden haastetta? Kun katselee ympärilleen ja kyselee muilta ihmisiltä ”miten sinä tänään voit”, saattaa joskus saada vastauksen joka yllättää. Sillä joskus ihmisillä on tarve sanoa ääneen ”auta minua” tai ”juttele mun kanssa hetki” mutta kun kukaan ei kysy.. Tässä voisi siis meille kaikille olla hyvä ”missio”.. antaa omasta ajastaan vähän niille joilta puuttuu ystävä. Kysyä kuulumisia, tarjota hetki kuuntelua tai keskusteluseuraa. Silloin alkaa ne omatkin yksin olemisen hetket saada toisenlaisia piirteitä, kokee merkityksellisyyttä eri tavalla ja alkaa nähdä enemmän. Ja ne yksinäiset ihmiset joille sinä hetkesi lahjoitat – heidän maailmaansa astuu uusi aurinko. Toivo.