Thursday, 10 January 2019

Feet in the water

roses, wood and a dog:)

I wish I would have dipped my bare feet in the cold water on the first day of January, the day I took these pictures. It is easy to be brave and spontaneous in theory, but often we need a few inspirational examples before the great ideas are landing to our consciousness. 

my children are often my biggest inspiration

A wind beaten walk at the beach of Castricum was like a wake up walk  after the silent christmas holiday. The Sea is a powerful force of Nature, the changing elements like the wind and the huge waves pointing out the challenge of life. It is a yearly tradition for many dutch people to go and swim in the cold water on the first day of the year. A ritual of washing the old days of previous year and starting a new fresh year like this has become a big event for many people. In 2016 over 51 000 people joined the new years dive in the beaches of Netherland. Originally a small group of people started this tradion in 1960's and somehow it grew to a big happening during the decades. Maybe the challenge and the shock of the cold water is pushing ones boundaries and makes it feel like a clear start for the next coming seasons. 

A brave dutch woman having a new years swim.

The challenge is pushing the human mind further. It can be easier if you have clear goals and a directions you want to work on. The motivation and the reason for this motivation are the keys for being able to focus on the performance with a long time commitment. It can be easier to listen to what other people are saying than really start to listen to yourself - making steps and choices of your own. The reality hits of course in many ways, because we always have to think of other people as well. A good planning can make miracles and make us more happy. Making space to personal goals, connections and plans - giving time to ourselves and giving time to others in a decant balance. 

We need the silence every now and then to really stand on our own feet. The noise is everywhere and so are the mysterious or direct expectations, the motives and needs from the other people. To be able to trust to one another in all human connections, we need to be honest and trust to ourselves first. In the best conditions we can trust in life and we feel there is a meaning in our existence. To be  able to grow and feel this vital force of life, making ethical choices and choosing a direction are needed. The best inspiration can be having other people around and getting impulses and ideas from this interaction. We have to let that interpersonal light to reach our mind and soul, but at the same time be able to separate the unnecessary weight of the individual, personal process that someone else is going through. We can help, listen and live along the journey...but sometimes we have to let go and focus on our own path. We all have a "work called life" here to do :). With all respect, we have to focus on the good process and make better choices for ourselves, for the loved ones and for our environment. It is never too late to say something better than the last time and do a better choice than the last time.

Sometimes I feel I repeat myself with all the silent talk made loud in these written notes. Then I comfort myself: we need endless repetition on the skills to be masters of something. Being a master of our own mind could be a helpful skill, but learning to make more  honest and better choices is good enough for me. 

Sunday, 7 October 2018

Beach mood - IJmuiden aan Zee

the glitter of the autumn sun 

is playing with the waves

the collection of summer sand
travelling in our shoes
We walk further
without any hesitation

making plans for the winter journey

the ball will roll
the day goes by
being unique
like all days

often forgotten

the most important things in life..

...are free

choosing the point of view
how I see my environment
my life

Thursday, 20 September 2018

September silence

September is one of my favorite months and Autumn is the time for the fresh starts. This year a lot of energy has gone for preparing and starting a new step along with my son. He started a secondary school (middelbare school) a couple of weeks ago. He will stay in this school for the next 6 years if everything goes well. A lot of new information to absorb and a path of new independence in creation, spread horizons ahead of us. At the same time happiness and joy of seeing my son to grow and making long steps, making new friends. I am learning to let  go and at the same time to support him in this change. This is also inspiring me and reminding me of my old school years. I think I appreciate the school more now than I did during my own school career:) 

Instead of just reading the books and learning new words in French, English or Latin, we have to remember to go for walks in the Nature. Last weekend we went for a "green round" in Amsterdamse bos(the forest of Amsterdam). You can't find a total silence or peace in this lovely area thoug - The Schiphol Airport is too close, but you can find nice walking & cycling paths deeper in the forest. You can also borrow a canoe or a boat, swim with the small kids or visit the goat farm. There is so many sporty activities you can join and many sport clubs for regular hobbies.

Play time for the whole Family

Sometimes the air traffic is very noisy in Amsterdamse bos

one of the 116 bridges in Amsterdamse bos

Living in a city can be a challenge sometimes if you love to be connected with the Nature and teach your children to appreciate the living world around us. Luckily we can see trees through our windows at home and the dutch school program with the period of "schooltuinen" (school gardens)is supporting with the natural education. In the groups of 6 and 7 in the elementary school, some schools are taking part to this opportunity to teach the children some basic elements of our close green environment. Every child gets her/his own little garden to grow some vegetables and flowers. This process of planting the seeds to the soil with your own hands and taking care of the growing garden, is a good thing to do in this modern world. 

In the end of the summer I got wonderful gifts from my daughter: flowers, potatoes, eggplants, zucchinis, carrots, beans...and many other organic products to our kitchen. Every child was very proud of their garden and their own vegetables. They even learned new recipes for cooking. I am very thankful for this dutch idea of letting kids to explore and learn about environmental issues in a practical way. As I was there with the kids a couple of times, I noticed that some children were afraid of getting their hands dirty or worried of their clothes getting some earthy marks. But mostly I saw happy faces and enthusiasm. 


And I started jogging again after a summer break. Sometimes I just like to listen to the birds during my run, but every now and then I need some good instrumental music to keep me going. This is one of my favourites at the moment. Not only for jogging, but also just relaxing and escaping to my own world for a while. Finding the silence from my mind.

Monday, 20 August 2018

Before and after

It is good to hang on to the good memories. Bad moments and periods come and go, but the positivity and kindness in life is worth to protect. It doesn't mean being kind in the cost of honesty or cheating our heart or being afraid to change. Real kindness is based on the empathy, but appreciates the spine of truth. I see it as a guide to help ourselves and others to find the real needs and ambitions of our soul. Being able to listen is one of the most important ways of being kind, but the most challenging is to compose the truthful worlds with kindness.

Sometimes we have to see the roots of our story to be able to see further again...and notice what was before and what came after. Many doors on our way opened, stayed open or closed, periods of growth, silence, noice, battles and peace. If we are still able to laugh and smile, we are on the right path. 

I am back to Netherlands and a lot seems to be happened during those 3 weeks away. The water in the nearby canal has changed the color from dark blue to poison looking green. The hot summer days brought some other sort of life to the water. I do not know if it's blue-green alga, but the swimming in the canal is over in this season. It is funny how effective the visible change is and the most of the dangers and threats in life are often invisible at first (without any color or visible form). A sudden illness, accident or slowly developing change...sometimes it is impossible to notice any signs.


During the last two days in Finland I was visiting good friends of mine. We stayed at their summer cottage in the South coast. On one evening they were burning some pine cones and other natural "garbage" from the yard and I flew back to my memories just before I moved away from Finland to Germany. We had just sold our home in Helsinki and I was burning some old items and unnecessary papers at their cottage back then. Having this deja vu brought me back to one of these before moments. Looking at this fire as a photo now gives me some funny is a good memory. I feel like passing to the other side of another meaningful door after the summer.

Before and after

serious in this catch ;), but..

I will keep on smiling

Sunday, 5 August 2018

Laituri rocks - on the pier and more

For a one week, our days has been starting at the pier and ending at the pier. The heat wave has been hanging in Finland for many weeks and the best way to cool down is to swim in the lake and let the summer breeze and the rays of sun to dry the skin. We are back to our favorite pear in Kainuu. Early morning breakfast by the water and late evening dip after Sauna are our daily highlights. The Simple things are the best.

Sunset at Nuasjärvi

The bigger the children get, the more challenging and more important it is to show the beauty of lazy, creative summer days surrounded with basic natural elements. We did not choose the 0% tolerance with electronical devices, but we chose a location without too much modern luxury. The water seems to be the most interesting place for play, at any age. The presence of Nature is making us more calm and more attentive for  the details. The dragon flies, the rabbits, the bees, the fishes, the butterflies and even the annoying mosquitos are here with us, no matter what. We also have had our fun at the local activities like adventerous climbing park Seikkailupuisto and down hill car racing, still some sup boarding in our plans. 


Sunset and GT at the pier.

Therapy for the tired feet.


I want to see something traditional and learn from the past of Kainuu during our yearly summer visits. I can recognize my earlier pre puberty self when the kids are demonstrating against visiting another road church or museum. But even in the presence of that noisy or quiet protest, I am happy to give a flash of history for them. I know they will remember that and maybe get more interested in their Finnish roots later on. I remember many the places I visited as a kid, even just the atmosphere or the smell of the old wood can be a lifetime memory with importance. 

We drove today to Paltaniemi, which is a little village belonging to  the town of Kajaani by the Oulujärvi lake. It is a nice location with a few interesting spots to visit. We went to see the beautiful, old wooden church called Paltaniemen kuvakirkko (Paltaniemi church of paintings). The church was build in 1726 and the characteristic  ceiling & wall paintings were made by Emanuel Granberg during the years 1778-1781. I really like the interior and the nice light toned peaceful feeling in this church.

Paltaniemi is a green village with charming old houses, rural landscapes and a cute museum road near the lake. The local boat harbor and the swimming beach is very nice with small children. It seems like you can walk a huge distance from the beach before you really can start to swim. Lake Oulujärvi is the fifth biggest lake in Finland and called as "the Sea of Kainuu" by local people. 

One of the nicest thing in visiting Finland is that the water is never far away. The only thing I miss sometimes is a nice cafe or a good restaurant near the summer nature. In Paltaniemi you can visit the home of poet Eino Leino (1878-1926)and have a coffee in this historical house. In the summer time there is also a summer theatre and you can listen some poetry in the glow of summer evenings. Also some local artists have their exhibitions in the barn of this lovely garden of Eino Leino talo

an Art exhibition of a local painter Heli Jauhiainen

And as the sun goes down 
it's time to do the last dance on the pier

As I'm walking the path in the woods
in one of these Summer nights
walking in my thoughts
and my chest is pumped with joy
and I am singing...just singing 

(my free translation from Eino Leino poem:))