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perjantai 16. helmikuuta 2018

New Beginning

At the end of 1990s I read a book called Anna, Hanna och Johanna by the Swedish author Marianna Fredriksson. We were reading modern Swedish literature as a part of our education and somehow I instinctively chose that book. The book tells about three generations of women in the same family, the patterns directing their lives, the choices they made. How the society changed during those decades and affected the life’s of these women. How in Sweden like in Finland it has been journey from the countryside to a town and then to a life of a modern career woman during the 20th century. It is actually the only thing I remember about the book, the patterns. Back then it was only something that interested me on thought level. I guess I have to take a look at the book again, 20 years later. Will I see it differently now? Here you find one review in Finnish if you are interested to take a look at the book. 

With this introduction we get to the point I’ve been arriving for a longer time. It is time to leave these previous generations behind me, name Hilja like I already wrote last summer, and the first step is leaving this blog. The name that went wrong in the beginning already – or perhaps it was just the right one back then forcing me to look inside and why I can’t get the right energy behind the name. I’ve needed to do the work to release these generations inside me, to release the name and I am grateful for what I have learned. Perhaps some of us need to do these kind of journeys, for some of us there is a heritage and a legacy to be cherished and nurtured going forward through the generations. Perhaps I have also been releasing the meaning of the word Hilja, the word “hiljaisuus”, “quietness” in English? I leave it with a question mark and find an answer later. I think I also have to loan the Danish author Karen Blixen here. She has a place in this last text. I visited her home in Rungstedlund in Denmark five years ago and it all fits in the pattern now that I look backwards. Anyway, Karen Blixen has said that perhaps the Earth was made round, so that we wouldn’t see too far down the road. I think there is a beauty and wisdom in that.   

I also thought that I keep this blog going until I have figured out a new name and a direction for my creative projects. Perhaps it is rather so that it is wise first to give up on the old one – only then there is space for anything new to develop. So I have been writing this text for quite some time. At some point I got fed up and thought: “Oh, I just put a couple of pictures and a few sentences”. Somehow I didn’t see this text coming together. It didn’t feel right though, to leave a 8,5 years old blog just like that. I had to respect the long journey and to reflect on what the lessons have been. I think this goes for closures of all sorts. Only then we can make a new beginning without any burdens, and perhaps only then we can really find to a right path? My reason to end this journey here is not only emotional one of course. There are also technical reasons and everything behind this change. I want the links to still work so I can’t change the blog address etc. And I have the feeling that the future will be more pink :-), even though I think there has been that colour here too, all the other colours too.      

When looking back these 8.5 years this blog has existed here, I think I can look quite proudly the journey. I went through some of the old texts, I can’t quite understand anymore who that girl and woman was back then – and it is as it should. Perhaps the common thread is the need to find new colour combinations and especially a need to make things myself and see and look if I can find any beauty through making and also observing them through a camera lens. When reflecting on what I have learned during this long journey I noticed I better go back to my rug metaphor, because I think that it helps me to tell my learnings in the best possible way. 

Whenever you are starting a new rug with a new pattern, it takes time to find the right amount of stitches, colours and the right proportions for the pattern  - and you may have to start again a few times, change materials and hook etc, before the process starts going forward like on rails. This process of going back and forth teaches your resilience. After you have figured it all out, found the right balance, you just follow the stitches. Then it is just a matter of patience and muscles to continue making. Every now and then you look at the rug from different angles, reflect and see how it is turning out, your emotions towards it. Is there beauty, which colour to add next, does it fit to your home? You often feel proud of yourself, you feel joy. Perhaps you even have to jump a few times every now and then. Sometimes you leave a rug on the floor for some time, when the project is not going forward for some reason. And you learn that everything is a work in progress anyway. You also learn that the rug will be finished when it is supposed to if you aim for the best and sustainable result. Forcing seldom leads to anything good. And even if you are using a pattern someone else has created, we all have our beautiful and individual handwriting, different tools and materials in use. It is so with the patterns of life as well. The result is never the same and we always build these patterns forward. 

So this is what it has been for me, a journey towards - resilience, balance, patience, reflection, developing an understanding for beauty of my kind, self-esteem, joy, and tackling the uncomfortable feeling of everything being a wip, a work in progress, in life. I guess it has been about self-love. And I hope I managed to turn around the content in the rug metaphor I used before, from the difficult emotions into the positive ones, from the past into the future.   

I also have to add that so often we only see the end result, not all the hard work and processes behind a craft project or a pattern of life. How it takes 10-15 hours to make a rug or 20 to make a teddy bear. Some projects on this blog have probably taken 100 hours to make. It has all been time spent well though. And I wonder if it so often is this which causes us the feeling of not being enough, when we on social media etc. so often only see the polished and finished versions, not all the work and the stories of small successes and especially countless failures behind.  

I think it is also wonderful how whenever we learn something in one field, it often helps us in other fields. This blog has f ex helped me professionally, it may even have helped me to find work. When I started giving distance courses in Swedish back in 2011 it was easy to start using the online platform we used back then and to start creating courses and materials after using Blogger for a couple of years. So you never know what these things build, what kind of abilities. Nowadays I think that if I have managed to learn something each day, then the day has been good.   

I guess I don’t have any need to explain, but now when ending this blog, I took away all the texts related to the “Curious Case of the Rug Maker”. I may take away some other texts as well. These texts served their purpose. I started to feel that too much of my mind and heart were open here on the blog, and the level of vulnerability was too high. It is always tricky to find the balance, how much of yourself to show on social media, the one you meet in real life with good friends. Especially when some of your topics are difficult, but also a part of our common humanity. And when it comes to “real me”, I don’t think there to be such a thing. We all have many faces and our level of presence varies each day. Sometimes our own behavior can also surprise ourselves, us sensible adults. When we end up in an abnormal situation and our survival strategies are activated. Related to this, there was a very interesting article in the Flow-magazine issue 20 last Fall about the Chinese philosophers way to look at the world. According Michael Puett, professor in Chinese history at Harvard University, the western view on a good life is based on the assumption that we have to find and know ourselves and then live accordingly, be true to ourselves. In the Chinese tradition though, the view is the opposite. We are considered to be rather messy beings consisting of a variety of emotions and tendencies which often contradict. During our lives we develop habits, also called patterns, which we use in our interaction with other messy beings. So inside us are patterns, we don’t find our true selves. (Here I would add that I think that we also inherit these habits, patterns.) Therefore, living a good life means breaking these patterns instead of trying to find ourselves. The key is in small everyday steps, being open for new opportunities on how to be in this world. Quoting the article directly: “Living a good life means constantly working on creating worlds in your everyday life in which you, the people around you, and the world can flourish.” I find this to be beautiful, I find this to be a tremendous task as well. It needs to be done together. I wonder if this kind of thinking can lead towards a kinder and gentler way to look at ourselves and others though? I wonder if this is what making also teaches you, these small steps? I wonder if some parts of this kind of thinking is also related to my texts about the rug maker? I leave these thoughts here with a question mark as well. 

I have now reserved Michael Puett’s book called: “The Path: What Chinese philosophers Can Teach Us About the Good Life”, through the library system. Such big thoughts may call for making some more rugs, some more new patterns ;-). And I may be in the jungle again, losing my sight from the word enough – but when you see a sparkle in your eyes and your fingers are itching just like when getting an idea for a new craft project, what can you do. So many new thoughts to think about while making. And I am only talking about thinking, actions are then a different rehearsal ;-).       

And to go back to the beginning of this text. I think we can learn so much from the stories of others, women and men – from the literature, movies and magazines, imagined stories or not, and from every encounter with other human beings. We can learn to gain a wider perspective, but most of all, we can learn about ourselves. As I wrote last summer, when we heal, others can heal too through our stories. I think there is need for healing inside each and one of us to the end of our lives. And how I find that to be the ultimate form of beauty, healing. Or should we rather use words like “becoming” or “arriving” instead of healing? And also change the point of view from growth (which may have perfection as the target) into becoming and good enough (giving our best effort, but most of all accepting ourselves). I hope I manage to go to that direction, acceptance. I think it is important to tell our stories of all kinds. I think that is the way to own them, live them by. I think that is the path to love and belonging.  

I feel now that I am in a good place to leave this blog behind. I hope there has been some inspiration for someone else as well, some (crocheted) diamonds. 

We leave this here. 

And begin once again.


6 kommenttia :

  1. Hello Pirjo, Not so long ago I started to follow your blog because of your crocheted diamonds. Now you leave this blog with such a great diamond! I read this last story twice (also because my English is not so good to understand everything at once). I am moved by how you describe what is important: not the result, but the way we walk in our lives. That's how I see it. Something I am looking for and also struggle with. Thanks for this. You gave me things to reflect on. Now I keep following you on Instagram. :-) Greetings, Alyt Vlieg

  2. Thank you so much for your words and your English is perfect! Those really give me energy to go forward and thank you for summoning up so beautifully "the way we walk in our lives"! I think life has been teaching me trust and to trust my inner voice, intuition these last years. I may not have been the one who has made that much result in work life in recent years, there has been struggle and I have just tried to take it and think what can I make of it, how to make the best and enjoy/create little pleasures. I unfortunately have some concerns with my physical health, different tests, and there are old feelings coming out which also take their time and energy at the moment, so life is pretty much about cherishing each day and letting myself be when necessary. Perhaps because of these things this creative writing also seems to be the only thing in my life which makes sense at the moment. I will start a new blog, a new text about a lighter topic related to our personalities and also making is coming together - and there is always some crochet/making. I think though, that I may want to keep the blog private for a while, or more anonymous, and explore what it will be. Perhaps I am also writing myself into the future and writing helps organize my thoughts and hopefully reveal the right path forward. English is my third language and I also fight with the vocabulary and expressions, but for some reason these texts have all been coming through in English. Go figure :-). I've also had to ask myself, what this new creative side in me is which is coming out. I went to see a psychotherapist/art therapist and read through the most delicate text about myself before publishing and asked her what does she think I need now. She rather asked me if I find our meetings to be useful for me. And I understood that I am just fine, just fighting with the inner critic/ghosts of the past and I felt myself so vulnerable when writing about my wounds. So your words really meant a lot to me, thank you once again and see you on Instagram!

  3. Thanks! Seems the path of our lives go a little bit similar. Maybe that's why your blog affected me so much. I am in a proces of triying to release fears from my youth. Looking for more self confidence also and learning to listen more and more to my intuiton. Searching for myself and what is important for me in my live. I crochet a lot. It helps me to find rest and to think about my proces. Last year I did chakra drawing. It helped me al lot. On my weblog you can see my drawings. I am not talking about my proces on my weblog. That's too personal. I only tell about and show my creativity. Instagram is pretty new for me. But we keep in touch a little bit there. Nice!

    1. Thank you for sharing your story! Crochet really does help a lot. I've noticed that if I don't crochet for some days, the energy inside turns towards negativity and then I am up to nothing good for anyone ;-). There is something in the repetitive movement, a form of meditation I think - but you also get to create something concrete and beautiful at the same time. And thank you for linking your blog address, I'll come and follow that as well! <3