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Managing my timetables

A week ago I visited Sami. At my place there were hints of first snow, small white patches here and there. I had already changed winter tyres for my car, which was good - as the more I went towards North-East, the more there was snow. At Sami's place it was something like 15 cm layer of snow on the ground.

Tuukka came also for a visit. Tuukka is the one helping Sami with mac and linux builds of the UnReal World. It must be couple of years already since we had the whole crew together. And this time we had no particular project at hand - we had a good balance of doing computer stuff, eating, chatting, walking outdoors and having a sauna. It was full moon, and it was especially nice to chill outdoors after the sauna.

When I returned back home I found that indoor temperature had fallen to +6°C. Well, I stayed up late, burning wood in the fireplaces and doing some programming. When I went to bed it was something like +18°C, which is comfortable.

After that I had a row of three long working days. Like, leaving my home at about 9 am and returning after 9 pm. Feeding the animals, heating the house, cooking food and eating, sleeping and then doing the same again. This is doable, yes, but it just means that there is no time for programming, fishing, cutting firewood, or working with the horses. Well, luckily enough I then could enjoy a long free weekend of three days. But once again I realized that it takes about a day to recover, before I have enough energy to enjoy doing things of my own. Also, it takes some balancing, as it would be so easy to feel a stress because there are so many things I'd like to do, and the free days go quickly...

Yesterday evening late I went to my neighbours to have a traditional smoke sauna. I spent about three hours bathing in the sauna, enjoying the soft warmth slowly easing my sore muscles. Now it is Sunday morning and I feel easy and relaxed. But when I take a look at my calendar I realize that for the next week I have already booked four long days of work - then a weekend attending a horsemanship clinic, and then the week after that has equally four full working days and two days trip to Helsinki to visit my brother, and one completely free day, and after that the rest of the November seems to be filled with weeks like that. Ummm, I guess I should manage my timetables a bit better. I mean, take care that I have regularly completely free days at home with nothing special - as such days are precious not only for rest and relaxation, but also for programming. Well, learning to manage my timetables (and working hours and money income / spending) has been one of the questions I find myself pondering again and again.

When I was kid it was most of the time that someone else made the decisions on what to do and when. At school there were readymade timetables, and at home my older brother usually had projects of his own, asking (read: forcing) me to assist him. So, I learnt to do what the others told me, and wait for freedom to come someday. My adulthood has been a rollercoaster ride of regaining and losing the sense of control of my own life. I so easily slip back into the state of indifference, where I just let things happen without taking the initiative myself. And the worst is when I find myself being so passive that even when I have free time I feel uninspired to actually do anything of my own. I know, I've been writing about this already, but that's my life. Thinking about the same things over and over again, feeling that each round yields some new insights.

Somehow this makes me think about some of my customers. For example, there was an elder man living in a special unit for people with memory disorders. He was seriously injured in WWII, having a splinter hit his heart, flown to a Swedish hospital where they managed to save his life. After that he had made his living working hard and raising a family. Now, with his memory already slightly failing, he was living in a small room along a long corridor. I never heard him complain about his life, no, instead he spent a lot of time cutting colorful pictures from magazines and glueing them into an album, thus making picture books of his own. And so many times he put a c-casette in a player, turned the volume up, listening to old dance music - and when he did so the nurses working at the unit opened his door so that they can also enjoy the music. And that was his life to the very end, having good time and creating a cheerful atmosphere around him - until his heart finally just stopped.

So, why is it that some people manage not to fall into a state of negativity or passivity? Where do they get that energy to be positive and to create a sphere of a good atmosphere around them? As, I have seen so many people - not only elders, but adults and younger people too - who seem to be constantly unhappy about almost everything, just complaining and feeling that there is nothing to do to make things better. And myself, yes, I'm somewhere in between, trying to find ways back to this indestructible, pulsating and radiating feeling of sheer joy of life. It clearly isn't just a question of decision, and not even about adjusting ones attitude.

Again, thinking of my childhood I so do remember how our mother had a clear image how she would like to be herself, and how us kids should be. To be always energetic, happy, helpfull, behaving nicely and having a good time together. Only that we always failed, and she was angry and disappointed at herself, at us, and most of all angry at our dad. In so hard trying to live according her beautiful ideals she effectively created a complete opposite - a strong sphere of anger, guilt and disappointmet. So what did we learn? At least I learned that all of this makes absolutely no sense - forcing oneself or others clearly isn't the way to make the ideal picture come true. I turned to look for other alternatives, and at the age of 12 I was reading about zen-buddhism, which seemed much more promising. The idea was simple and tempting - practicing meditation could slowly learn to lessening of anger and increasing of peaceful wisdom - and possibly even a sudden break-through of enlightenment, a new level of awarness and peace of mind.

And I feel that without my experiments in meditation I would only had a long steady down-phase in my life. But meditation, and self-therapeutical singing and wandering in nature helped me to find a feeling of peace, joy, safety, happiness and love. It felt like finding a new foundation to build on - and then slowly trying to abandon all that which was built on a rotten foundation, re-building in a different way on a different foundation. That process kept me alive. As you see, nowadays my ponderings about managing my timetables are essentially part of this same project. Learning to live my life the way I like it, not just repeating the old patterns learned in childhood. This is the way how deep spiritual experiences get connected to daily reality; when a customer calls and asks for a time, do I give him any time which happens to be free in my calendar? Or should I pre-plan my calendar so that some days are regularly reserved for a holiday, and only three or four days a week are available for massage work? And, if a day is available for work, does it mean that I can give reservations from 9 am to 9 pm, and end up working 12 hours a day, three days in a row, and being bit too exhausted after that? And all this might sound clear and easy when planning it in theory, but in practice it seems that there always are exceptions (like going to see a gig which just happens to be in the middle of the week in a nearby city), and changing situations, which easily leads me to lose my focus, making reservations here and there and losing the regular rhythm and balance of working hours / free days.

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I travelled North and West to the Islands of Coll and Tiree to run some storytelling workshops last week, beautiful places! There is snow on the mountains and a dusting on the ground on the mainland (around about where we travelled to to go hillwalking) but none in the lowlands yet! :)

Here we have seen a long, warmish and rainy period. All the snow is gone, the soil is not frozen, days are short and dim...

I'm glad to hear that your work takes you to such beautiful places!


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