Saturday, June 29, 2013

I'm sitting on the floor of the studio in Poblenou, Barcelona, where I am working with two brilliant artists Charlie Harjulin (director, visionnaire extraordinaire, camera man) and Margarita Leonore (filmmaker, art director, master puppeteer/puppetmaker). We are making a music video for a new song of mine, Traces Upon Your Face, and my role is to be a volunteer assistant: helping out with lighting, simple puppeteering, props and filming the "Making Of" on an iPhone. Charlie and Margarita are filming a scene as I write this, and I'm taking a short break to share this experience with you, and to press it into my own memory in writing. I don't know if I need any help in that department actually... This is bound to be, and already is an utterly unforgettable experience.

Sidenote: my song has been playing in the background constantly for the two days that I've spent here. So far it has apparently played 369 times (!!!) on Charlie's computer. This takes some dedication, people...!

Despite the fact that I'm in Barcelona for the first time and won't be able to do much of the classic tourist-stuff here due to being at the studio from morning to evening, I do not feel the least bit deprived. I consider it such a privilege to be able to witness and to assist in the extraordinary work that Charlie and Margarita are doing. Together they have created a magical, haunted forest on top of a square surface supported by three tables; all materials found on the street and in local nature. In that enchanted forest, a curious yet timid puppet we have collectively named Miloลก, experiences a number of disturbing incidents that test his courage and his will. Judging by the footage created so far, this is to be a very special and emotional video.

I love that the music that I currently make lends itself to such beautiful artistic interpretation. I also love that this project gives me the chance to connect with my friend Charlie, who I've known ever since I was 5 years old. Once upon a time we were childhood sweethearts! It is heartening to find an artistic kindred spirit after all these years of knowing each other.

There are moments when I feel especially grateful for having kept treading my path--this is one of them. To work with other artists on such a high level is inspiring and fulfilling in a way that I had never imagined. I eagerly await to share with you the finished product some time in the coming months!

Sunday, June 23, 2013

This is the second blog I've written on a plane from New York to Helsinki. I was just trying to sleep, but all of a sudden got a serious case of restless legs... Fuck. I could crawl out of my skin right now. And I'm sure I'm annoying the heck out of the dude sitting next to me by fidgeting... I can't sleep and I'm tired as hell. Frustrating combo.

Anyway, here I am--once again, headed to my home country Finland. I am a different woman from who I was when I last visited a year ago, and I look forward to seeing how that will change my experience... The biggest change in me I think is boundaries. I have boundaries now and a clearer sense of what I want and what I don't want. I know that my buttons will be pushed on this trip, as usual, over and over again. After all, Finland is where my buttons were installed..! But I kinda look forward to the challenge now. I look forward to dealing with situations and people in a different way. I think I may even have a really good time! I will also take a brief trip to Barcelona next weekend to work on a music video, which I will write about in my next week's blog for sure.

There's a saying: 'once you stop pleasing people, people stop being pleased.' I have a feeling I may have a bit of that ahead of me on this trip. I am not so malleable and moldable anymore; I am not a pushover. That may initially rub some people the wrong way...

I feel like I travel back to Finland for the first time as an adult, as weird as that sounds. I know that challenges await, but right now I don't feel scared about it. Even in my tired state I look on all of this as an exciting challenge. This 'being an adult'-thing....I'm starting to like it..!

I have since landed in Helsinki and spent some quality time with a part of my family. Particularly two young children that I love immensely. Man, this feels different already! I've never felt as peaceful here..! Never felt more connected and loving. This is a wonderful beginning.....

"Boundaries are to protect life, not to limit pleasures."
--Edwin Louis Cole

Saturday, June 15, 2013

This week gave me an opportunity to discover strength within me that I never knew I had. I gained the experience of being the rock for someone else to lean on (for a change)--a position that I've never truly been in before. My instinct in the past has been to tell the other person what to do while they've been in the middle of their pain, instead of listening and allowing them to feel whatever they were feeling (which is what would have actually been helpful). Perhaps I was too scared of their feelings, because I didn't know how to handle my own? Well, this time was different. This time I was able to trust that simply being present, warm and understanding would be enough.

I'm not freaked out by other people's pain or problems anymore like I used to be. Having begun to come to terms with my own tragedies, and also having heard a lot of fucked up life-stories from other people, I've come to understand that we all have our burdens to carry in this world. I'm realizing that I don't have to carry other people's baggage--it is not my job. It is enough for me to carry my own. But I can be of support and I can give love.  And every once in a while I can be Sam to someone else's Frodo, if needed.  It is quite a privilege.

“Frodo: I can't do this, Sam.
Sam: I know. It's all wrong. By rights we shouldn't even be here. But we are. It's like in the great stories, Mr. Frodo. The ones that really mattered. Full of darkness and danger, they were. And sometimes you didn't want to know the end. Because how could the end be happy? How could the world go back to the way it was when so much bad had happened? But in the end, it's only a passing thing, this shadow. Even darkness must pass. A new day will come. And when the sun shines it will shine out the clearer. Those were the stories that stayed with you. That meant something, even if you were too small to understand why. But I think, Mr. Frodo, I do understand. I know now. Folk in those stories had lots of chances of turning back, only they didn't. They kept going. Because they were holding on to something.
Frodo: What are we holding onto, Sam?
Sam: That there's some good in this world, Mr. Frodo... and it's worth fighting for.”
― J.R.R. Tolkien, The Two Towers

Saturday, June 8, 2013

I was in need of a story like this today. I hope it lifts the spirits of someone else as well...

Abraham Lincoln never quits.

Born into poverty, Lincoln was faced with defeat throughout his life. He lost eight elections, twice failed in business and suffered a nervous breakdown.

He could have quit many times – but he didn’t and because he didn’t quit, he became one of the greatest presidents in the United States history.

Here is a sketch of Lincoln’s road to the White House:

1816 His family was forced out of their home. He had to work to support them.
1818 His mother died.
1831 Failed in business.
1832 Ran for state legislature – lost.
1832 Also lost his job – wanted to go to law school but couldn’t get in.
1833 Borrowed some money from a friend to begin a business and by the end of the year he was bankrupt. He spent the next 17 years of his life paying off this debt.
1834 Ran for state legislature again – won.
1835 Was engaged to be married, sweetheart died and his heart was broken.
1836 Had a total nervous breakdown and was in bed for six months.
1838 Sought to become speaker of the state legislature – defeated.
1840 Sought to become elector – defeated.
1843 Ran for Congress – lost.
1846 Ran for Congress again – this time he won – went to Washington and did a good job.
1848 Ran for re-election to Congress – lost.
1849 Sought the job of land officer in his home state – rejected.
1854 Ran for Senate of the United States – lost.
1856 Sought the Vice-Presidential nomination at his party’s national convention – get less than 100 votes.
1858 Ran for U.S. Senate again – again he lost.
1860 Elected president of the United States.

Saturday, June 1, 2013

Summer is in full swing in New York, and I spent today wandering around Prospect Park and the Botanical Garden. I may even have fallen asleep on the Cherry Esplanade, where occasionally the wind would blow a scented breeze from the adjacent Cranford Rose Garden, in full bloom right now... Mmm....

I've been in denial about certain things about myself and my life, (quite sizable things actually...) and I'm waking up now. This week brought a couple of hard-core realizations, and it's been challenging, for sure.  There have been many levels of waking up within the last few years, for the sleep was deep. Kind of like a real-life "Inception." I don't know which level I'm at right now, but I am certainly more awake than ever. And part of that awake-ness is knowing when I simply need a day amidst the flowers and the trees.

I'm creating a new life for myself. The Janita from a couple of years back would be in awe of the Janita today. A day like today would have been impossible for me then, as I wouldn't have been peaceful enough to enjoy it. And this in the middle of quite a lot of turmoil... But I'm proud of having given myself today the gift of unscheduled time and relaxation. I am learning that I deserve it.
With gratitude, I send you summer vibes from Brooklyn.

“To regret one’s own experiences is to arrest one’s own development. To deny one’s own experiences is to put a lie into the lips of one’s own life. It is no less than a denial of the soul.”
― Oscar Wilde, De Profundis