Sometimes everything changes in one month….
Sometimes it seems that years go by and nothing major or particularly life-changing happens. Conversely, every now and then everything happens in the space of a few weeks and you feel like your life has shifted unexpectedly and significantly in a new direction. I just had that kind of summer… one wedding, two or three new beginnings and a funeral.
It all started off in a fairly predictable way with the usual summer migration from Bali to Europe. First priority was quality time with my parents and family in Helsinki. This time I observed a look in my Dad’s eye – something between love and sadness and a heightened obsession with cleaning up his beloved garage, workshop, tools, wood shed and generally getting things in order. Also a new habit of explaining how things work in the house – the heating system, the blocked drains….
When the time came for a short trip to visit my partners mother in London I felt mixed emotions about leaving my dad. But I needed to go because suddenly there was a green light in processing an elusive marriage certificate which has been a 17 year long challenge in the making. Well, that’s another story. All I can say is that trying to get married with someone from a different country and then constantly shifting location every few years is immensely tricky!
While in London, we enjoyed loads of yoga and chanting and also participated a summer’s day bhakti retreat with the lovely team of Kirtan London led by the always so kind and sweet Radhika at the Bhakti Vedanta Manor.
For the yogis out there I discovered also a great new yoga shala in London….check out www.YogaWestLondon.com
Spontaneously we made a weekend trip to Brighton and good old Airbnb provided us with a room with a sea-view and easy access to the beach where we discovered an authentic Finnish sauna made from a converted horse box and drift wood! Lovely cool dips in the English channel watching out for jelly fish. Highly recommended.
Cycling on the south downs was a highlight and on that trip we were informed that our son had just won a place to study at the top school in Finland and further all of the five schools he had applied to. I had to gasp and was so immensely proud of this young man who already has developed the Finnish sense of ‘sisu’ aka never give up, sheer determination.
Cycling on the South Downs near Brighton.
Another highlight and ‘coincidence’ was running into a kirtan chanting circle on the beach organized by the Brighton devotees and GangaMatas from London …I mean what were the chances ?
Back in Finland, the Natural High Healing Festival in the middle of the magical Finnish countryside in Uusikaupunki kick started the Finnish yoga events in July with the theme “adventure to the magic of love and an exploration into your own heart”. I shared my Tibetan Heart Yoga here and connected with so many wonderful beings.
I also taught at the Magnesia festival in Helsinki on the beautiful Unesco Heritage island of Suomenlinna. 4 am and a few hours before I was due to teach on the main stage in front of hundreds, there was a gentle tap on the bedroom window. ‘Sanna, father is leaving us, we need to go and see him’ my mother whispered in a shaky voice. My dad would only have now a short time to live. In the hospital, I held his hand, told him what he meant to me and that he could leave now in peace. No need to fight back anymore. We will look after the house and the garage and the toolshed and the wood burner. The struggle was over.
I had to leave the hospital for the festival in order to make it on time to the island and to perform. Cancelling was not an option. I had the commitment to be on stage with Vijay Krsna. I couldn’t let the Magnesia team down. Staying longer in the hospital wouldn’t save my dad either. So I had to go.
On my way to the festival, my dad had finally given in and passed away. I had a list of work commitments lined up so I had to stay strong. The show must go on. Vijay and I did our thing. I was in two minds if I should share with the audience what had just happened or not. I decided not to but instead quietly dedicated the class to him.
The next day Vijay had his kirtan gig in Joogakoulu Shanti in Helsinki where I supported him.
In two days started our joint Bhakti Yoga Retreat Finland. I focused on one thing at the time (or tried at least) and all went pretty smoothly. We had a real bhakti blast and it was probably meant to be that I had the friends over at my place when I lost my dad. I felt I was surrounded by love.
And in the days that followed, I got married after a 18 year long engagement and our son started his new school against all the odds with promises of a bright future. I also agreed to teach in Helsinki in Joogakoulu Shanti in September and in Paris run a session at Warrior Woman Festival plus teach some studio master classes.
So, new beginnings, one wedding and a funeral all in one month. The Finnish forest for the green Balinese rice field. As the saying goes ‘the only constant is change’ and we must embrace change like these birch leaves twisting and dancing in the late summer Finnish wind.
Much love, Sanna x