My top 5 core values.

I haven’t written in quite a while, so I thought I’d do some longer piece today using one of the journaling workbooks. This time, I chose a prompt from The Year of You by Hannah Braime, which goes as follows:

What are your top five core values? Core values are the qualities and experiences that are most important to us to embody and have present in our lives. These might include things like trust, love, connection, freedom, growth, etc. (…)

I’ve written such a list of values already in my diary a while ago, but here I’ll try to expand on the topic of each of them at least a bit so that this post is more substantial. In my diary I also mentioned some of my negative core values, but here I decided not to do so for a few reasons, but mostly because typically when we think core values we think about the positive and helpful ones.

   Belief in God and Christian values

This is extremely important to me. As I wrote in the post about the roles I play, I may not always feel like I’m doing a great job with this, but nevertheless, I’m trying to do my best and do and think what and how I believe a Christiann should do and think. Obviously I don’t only mean things like praying or going to church, but also things like being helpful to other people, not judging them, making big and small decisions in my life so that they’re intact with my conscience and Christian rules, like not voting for a party who promotes killing unborn children or not celebrating Halloween. It’s also an important quality for me in other people which I deeply respect, but at the same time I have no problem associating with people who believe in God differently or believe in a different God, or don’t believe in any God whatsoever. Some Christian people have a weird problem with that but I think that, while common values of this importance in friendship make things way easier, having some different values and beliefs can make things more interesting, as long as both sides are willing to respect each other and not argue about that. Which sometimes means it’s just safer not to discuss the topics in which your opinions differ, or otherwise you just most definitely will argue, while at other times exchanging your different beliefs can be enriching and fascinating. In short, this is the most important value, or perhaps I should say set of values I am always trying to follow in my life, with varying success, also probably the most difficult to follow, but normally if something I’m making a decision about is contrary to these values, I am not going to do this.

   Intelligence, versatility and open-mindedness.

I’m putting them together because while they’re three different things, I think as values they have a whole lot in common. Intelligence is a quality I really appreciate having, as it’s proven so helpful for me in countless situations. I guess it’s my biggest strength and one of my most effective protective mechanisms, and seems like one of the things that people value me for. My brains are a crucial part of my identity, therefore my brain health is important to me and I’m utterly scared of all sorts of neurodegenerative diseases. I also very highly value intelligence in other people and love having such people around me. It’s a very important quality in a friend for me. As for open-mindedness, I value thinking outside of the box, outside of my own perspective, or just in some unobvious way. It isn’t always easy, as it’s in our nature to think from our own point of view, and it can feel very abstractive to do it the other way around, but it’s an intriguing brain challenge and can be a powerful experience. Similarly, I appreciate people who are capable of doing so. The more so that, as a blind, mentally ill and just all round very quirky person with strange experiences and ideas, it seems like my perspective is not always easily understandable for other people, so it’s great when someone does take an effort to try and understand things from my point of view. Or even not from my point of view, but generally when I see someone who can easily think very flexibly, I have a lot of admiration for such a person. I think the most open-minded person in this way that I know was my Swedish teacher and I often think that if not his open-mindedness, his courage in taking up different, weird challenges with me and his flexibility of thinking my Swedish learning may have been much more difficult, or I may have even become completely discouraged from learning languages altogether, and this is not at all an overstatement, in case you’re new here and don’t know my a bit tumultuous language learning history and are wondering. 😀 By versatility I mean taking an interest in lots of different things, as well as having knowledge about them, or being capable of doing lots of different things. This is a very impressive quality for me and I always say that it’s one of the most important qualities for me in a faza object, haha, or at least they always do end up being quite versatile people. I do have a whole lot of different interests, and I believe I know a fair bit also about things that don’t directly interest me quite as much, but I am somehow not sure I am quite as versatile as I would like to be. Still, I am probably more versatile than most people I know in person.

   Traditions.

Yeah, I often say when someone asks me about my views, usually in the context of politics, that I am an open-minded traditionalist. I like combining innovation with tradition. In any field, be it music, religion, food, politics, baby naming, language, fashion or interior design, etc. Always with a bit more of tradition than innovation, but enough innovation that it doesn’t feel plain, boring, or, God forbid, totally backward, but tasteful, fresh, niche and unexpected. I’m thinking about tradition and traditionalism here as a very broad thing. My religious beliefs are very traditional, apparently these days they might even classify as orthodox for some Christians, though I personally don’t consider myself orthodox, however I admire truly orthodox (not to be confused with fanatic, as these are yet another kettle of fish) Christian people. I love folk music, which speaks for itself, folk is obviously traditional, though just as I said earlier I do like tradition with innovation so things like neofolk, electrofolk, folk pop, folk metal etc. are close to my heart and brain just as well. I am passionate about keeping endangered and minority/indigenous languages alive, and same applies to all sorts of cultural traditions. I love learning about folklore of different areas and people’s customs, and always feel sad whenever I hear about such things extincting, though a lot of such traditional treasures – especially languages – are so unbelievably resilient and can thrive in the most unfavourable circumstances. – By the way I think we humans can really take an inspiratioon from languages, when we’re going through rough things in life. 🙂 People typically think of trees, especially oaks, as symbols of resilience, but I think of languages. Oh yeah and on a more personal level I absolutely dread changes and have a hard time adapting to them, which I think also goes in line with the whole traditional thing, though probably has a bit different etiology. 😀 However it’s not like I’m totally against change, if I can see its positive aspects, just that it’s a totally dreadful process and adjusting to it usually takes me ages and a lot of rumination in the meantime.

   Helpfulness.

I even like the way the word helpful looks in English. I have fun synaesthetic associations! 😀 Would describe them to you but it’s too complicated and would take up too much space and this post is not about this. That’s why I wrote “helpfulness” rather than “helping people” which would probably look a bit more natural. I really like that feeling, when you know you have helped someone. Well I guess it’s a natural thing for all of us who are empathetic beings to have that feeling and to like it. This thing alone can drive us to want to be more helpful. I don’t know, however, if I help people as much as I could. I often feel effectively inhibited from doing it by different factors. I am rubbish at helping people in person because of all the difficulties I have with communicating with people like social anxiety. I have a hard time initiating the simplest conversations with most people, so while I am a good observer and very often easily notice that someone may need some kind of help, I don’t know how to offer it to them, or how to ask them what they need, or don’t know what to do about it altogether, or maybe even know but it feels too scary and overwhelming a process so I only watch the situation from a distance hoping that there will be someone else who can help them and feeling awful for not helping them myself. If I do try to make the effort and help them, I feel awful for helping them not the right way, or not adequately, or making things worse rather than better. Also I usually feel like I’m not even the right person to help people because of my own various limitations and that I just won’t be able to give them the help they need. Thankfully there are some areas where I do feel a bit more confident when helping people, like listening to people (unless they clearly expect me to say something, as then I usually feel like there’s nothing I can say that could be particularly helpful), or supporting people online, or helping people financially, or sharing something with them, or sharing some of my skills with them, with the latter I’m thinking things like translating something for my Mum, for example. These are usually very small areas and I feel like most people help others much more, but I comfort myself in that at least a lot of the people whom I have helped have said I was helpful to them so perhaps my help is more a quality over quantity kinda thing. I’ve always lived by that rule, as quantity is something largely abstractive to me, so if it seriously works like this with my help, it’s probably not as bad as I usually imagine. 😀

   Family.

I actually wondered whether I should really include this value or perhaps leave it out and write about something possibly more interesting, because this whole family thing is complex and I’m not sure it’s indeed this high among my values, but I decided to write about it nevertheless, because even though I struggle with sense of belonging and don’t really feel a strong connection to my extended family, my closest family are pretty much the only people in real life that I’m close to and they are important to me, also I do respect all of my family, and am loyal to them, never mind that I don’t really feel anything more towards most of them. Also family as a more general term – as in roots, origin, heritage etc. – is an important thing for me. Loyalty towards family is, as I said, an important thing to me and I think family members sort of owe it to each other. I try to keep good relationships with them as muchh as it’s possible, though I don’t give a shit about it if they don’t try as well. My most immediate family – by which I mean my parents and siblings and grandparents – are people for whom I am capable of making a lot of sacrifices, for example attending family gatherings even when I don’t feel at all like doing this mentally and have to deal with the consequences of this afterwards, which include a substantial increase in Maggie’s (my inner critic) activity, feeling mentally and physically drained and a general brain overload. I know they won’t really care about my actual presence there in itself, but if I won’t be there they’ll have a problem either with me that I am so unfeeling and neglectful, or with my Mum, which I don’t understand, it appears that some of my family think that somehow my Mum is to blame if I don’t appear on their birthday party. I want to spare her that, because she has so much stronger ties with her family, so unless I really really can’t, or it’s someone I can’t be bothered about, like some people from my Dad’s side of my family whom I have a hard time genuinely respecting, I just deal with it and go. It’s awful, it’s pointless and I don’t think they realise how much mental energy it sometimes can cost me while it’s happening as well as before and afterwards (though perhaps it’s not okay that I actually expect people to care, and most likely makes me sound terribly whiney,) but I do this because I feel obliged towards them as my family. I also deeply value the connection I have with my Mum, she is so very important to me, as well as Sofi. Sofi is very valuable.

So there you have it, these are the top five of my values.

What are yours? Have you thought about this before and made a more comprehensive list?

 

My Bubba ft. Elsa Håkansson – “Uti Vår Hage” (In Our Garden).

This is one of Swedish folk songs I really like! I first heard it in the interpretation of Sofia Talvik, which is also lovely, then another one I like is Hanna Turi’s, but it’s something about My Bubba’s version that I love the most! The song is very joyful, but their performance of it quite melancholic which I think complements very well.

My Bubba is a Swedish-Icelandic duo consisting of My Larsdotter and Bubba Tomasdóttir, and the song comes from an album they’ve made together with Elsa Håkansson, containing Swedish folk songs, or visor as they are called in Sweden.

As for this song, I’ve heard that it’s frequently sung in schools, especially nearing summer holidays, and is generally very well-known by Swedes. I like the idyllic feel about it, and also, all the plants names that are mentioned in it, especially in the chorus – “Komm liljor och akvileja, komm rosor och saliveja, komm ljuva krusmynta…” – (“Come lilies and columbine, come roses and sage, come sweet peppermint…”) don’t akvileja, saliveja and krusmynta sound so lovely and evocative?! As a name nerd, I immediately thought that they would make such gorgeous names, although probably they wouldn’t in the real life, because I can imagine that Swedes would find them too fancy, while in most other countries they wouldn’t be too usable. 😀 But they are beautiful anyway. 🙂

Kate Rusby – “Little Jack Frost”.

Hi guys! 🙂

So it’s Advent, and Christmas is coming, so we can listen to our favourite Christmas music again! This is one of my personal absolute winter classics. And Jack Frost is one of my favourite characters in European folklore. He has arrived here for good as it seems, so I am welcoming his with this lovely little song, hoping you will like it too. Kate Rusby is also one of my most favourite English folk singers, she’s really amazing! I love her voice and her accent, most people who know her seem to love her accent haha, and she does this song so very well. It just makes my brain melt. 🙂

 

Martin Simpson – “The Cruel Brother”.

Hi people! 🙂

Today I decided to share another very interesting Child ballad with you. I know many versions and interpretations of it but for some reason I like Martin Simpson’s the most. Somehow it always makes me imagine what’s happening in it very vividly, unlike other versions of it. I hope you will find it very evocative as well. 🙂

Song of the day (13th August) – Loreena MCKennitt – “Down By The Sally Gardens”.

Here is another song by Loreena MCKennitt that I love and want to share with you. Originally, it was a peoem written by William Butler Yeats – Irish 20th century poet and Nobel Prize winner (it was “Down By The Salley Gardens” in the original I believe). – Apparently, Yeats based some of it on a folk ballad “The Rambling Boys Of Pleasure”. It’s been recorded as a song by many artists though, and especially those making Celtic music. I think Loreena’s version is one of the best I know. b

Song of the day (12th August) – Loreena MCKennitt – “Annachie Gordon”.

Hi hi hi lovely people! 🙂

It feels like I haven’t written anything in quite a while again, so let’s first catch up on some music, as I haven’t posted any music for a particularly long time.

I’d like to show you a few songs of one of my very first favourite Celtic music singers – Loreena MCKennitt. – Alongside Enya, Aine Minogue and a few others, she was keeping me sane during a time that was particularly difficult emotionally in my life, and she was one of the first artists associated with Celtic but also generally folk music that I’ve started to listen to a lot, and one of the first harpists whose music I’ve heard. I really like her dramatic soprano, my friend Jacek from Helsinki loved her and he used to say her voice is chil inducing, it indeed is very very expressive. I love the wide range of inspirations Loreena uses in her music, she’s not only into Celtic music but also oriental music, she has adapted various poems or pieces of literary work into pieces of music or has written her own music inspired by literature, legends, myths, historical/legendary figures etc. It’s like her each album has a bit of a theme that is going on throughout the album. I like how self-sufficient she is. Apart from being a singer, songwriter, composer and harpist, she has also her own record label – Quinlan Road – and also plays a few other instruments other than harp, she’s her own manager and seems to like running the show just on her own. And I like her harp play so very much. She’s one of the better Celtic harpists out there in my opinion.

Loreena MCKennitt is from Canada, she has Irish and Scottish roots (and her father’s name was JACK! that explains everything, doesn’t it? 😉 ) and she currently lives in Ontario.

The song I want to show you in this post is a ballad called “Annachie Gordon”. If I remember well, this is one of the balads in the collection of Child’s Ballads, and it is English. I like many contemporary versions of this piece but Loreena’s is the best, because of her vocals and because of the magnificent harp! It was also the first version of this song I’ve heard, and I immediately fell in love with it. The plot of the ballad is quite, um, cliche, and now as I’m older than when I discovered “Annachie Gordon” it’s hard for me to listen to it without my sarcastic brain commenting and criticising the storyline (I basically think looking at it from these days perspective, the heroine, Jeannie, makes an impression of someone quite manipulative, I understand her pain when she was faced with having to live being married to a man she didn’t love instead of her beloved Annachie, but the scene where she falls on her knees before her father and dies looks, well, yeah, manipulative, you start to wonder if she’s going to suddenly rise up as soon as everyone leaves her alone and run away with Annachie as far from lord Sulton and her family as possible. 😀 I know, I know, I’m crazy and overanalysing). I also think life would be so easy if we really could just switch off and die when life throws sh*t at us as in the case of Jeannie and Annachie. But well, it is a ballad. And still, it is a beautiful one. I remember being absolutely fascinated by it, and for some reason because of it I really loved the name Annachie, which, you must admit, is a very unusual name, I’ve never heard in any other context or on anyone other than Annachie Gordon. I’ve even named a character in one of my short stories Annachie after him. Though now my tastes have changed and I think it lacks masculinity and looks like a fancy elaboration of Anna in the style of Annalee or Annamae, but of the more kreativ kind. 😀 Well, I guess it was apparently recreated from some old feminine name actually. Anyway, here’s the song. Hope you’ll enjoy it too. 🙂

Kate Rusby – “Benjamin Bowmaneer”.

Kate Rusby is one of my most most most favourite English folk singers. I know her music for yers, practically ever since I’ve began immersing myself in celtic music and then even more when I delved deeper into English folk music as such. I love her crystal clear, light vocals and her very distinctive Yorkshire accent, and generally her approach to folk music suits my tastes I think. Here’s a song from one of her newest albums “Life On A Paper Boat”, it is a traditional English ballad.

Catrin Finch – Lisa Lân (Fair Lisa).

Hi! 🙂

Another tune from Catrin Finch I want to share with you. It’s just so stunningly beautiful. Not so long ago, I showed you the same song performed by the band Alaw and my current music crush, Gwilym Bowen Rhys. That one was a song, not an instrumental, so if you haven’t seen it before, you can check out, as well as the lyrics

here

Catrin Finch’s version is a harp solo arrangement of this traditional Welsh love song and it’s very creative and beautiful and relaxing and just so sooo beautiful it makes my brain melting and falling to pieces almost as much as Gwilym’s version.

Here it is:

Question of the day.

If you could bring to life one type of fantastical entity, be it a fairy or a dragon, what would it be?

My answer:

I think I’m gonna be a little bit predictable, for those of you who’ve been reading my blog for a while, so I think I’ll give you a chance to guess lol. Do you have any ideas, what entity am I thinking about?

*** *** ***

My actual answer: 😀

The answer is… Jaaaaaaaaaack Frooooooost!!! 😀

For any newbies who probably are a bit confused, I’ve always had a weird liking for people named Jack, Jackie, or Jacek, or Jac, or almost anything beginning with Jacek, or names related to the name Hyacinth. Being a very socially anxious being, very often i somehow end up getting along with Jac- people, sooner or later, and most of them really do deserve my liking. There is just something very special about them. Can’t explain.

So yeah, Jack Frost… Fantastic topic for Easter time, huh? But we had snow a few days ago, so I feel kind of justified. 😀 As long as I know about Jack Frost, I like him. My contact with Jack Frost started with hearing Kate Rusby’s song “Jack Frost” which I really liked and wanted to get to know who Jack Frost is. So as I found out, my first thought was something like: “Wow, he sounds so cool. I’d love to meet him. He’d be so interesting and funny and cute, why don’t we have him in Poland?” Or actually, why so few people here know about him, as he isn’t our tradition? Yeah, I just like Jack Frost for his mischievousness and how artsy he must be.

But I also have another idea. I’d love to bring Selkies to life as well! I love Selkies! Again, my relationship with Selkies started with song – this time with Aine Minogue’s “The Selkie”. I loved the lyrics but i was curious what this Selkie actually is and it took me quite a while to find it out. I guess Selkies are much less popular than Jack Frost, so let me tell you a bit about them.

Selkies are mythical creatures of Celtic regions and Scandinavia. They are told to be seals, which can shed their sealskin when on the land and then become humans. There are legends about female selkies that were forced to marry a man who then was hiding her sealskin, not wanting to let her go back to the sea. Apparently, Selkies were very good housewives and mothers, but as they were seals primarily, they still wanted to go back to the sea and missed their true home. When such unhappy Selkie finally found her sealskin, she came back to see and to never leave it again, only to play or breastfeed their children. I don’t actually know why I like Selkies so much. Apparently there are also male Selkies, but I don’t know much about them. And I also love hulders, which are similar beings, but living in the Scandinavian forests and only females, and I would also bring them to life willingly.

And there’s still one more entity… The Sandman! OMG Sandman is so inspiring for me. I am generally easily inspired by dreams and stuff like this, so I just love everything about the Sandman. I would really, really like him to be real, maybe if I could bring him to live, he would take all those scary dreams from me and my fantastic friend named Sleep Paralysis who decided to visit me last night and make this week even more of a shit for me than it already was. Awww it would be so great… And I love that Enya’s song – “Song Of The Sandman”, too.

So, as you see, I can’t decide. I’m too in love with folklore and different mythological beings to pick just one, I could talk about them for ages.

And hence I’m very curious what your choices would be. 🙂

Bella Hardy – Cruel Mother.

Oh, how I love English folk ballads! I could listen to them… don’t know for how long, there are still other brilliant kinds of music, but anyway I just love them. I like folk ballads in general, but British have something special to them. I could actually even put them among one of my smaller interests, I had the stage in my life, when I was reading Child and Roud ballads all the time and comparing different contemporary version of them. Because of both these collections – Child’s and Roud’s – British ballads are very popular among folk artists, even not British, and they can be truly inspiring, beautiful, weird, magical, and so on.

This one is very interesting and amazing and picturesque. It is a murder ballad. About a mother killing her children, so the topic may seem a little bit scary. But the song is wonderful, and I chose my favourite version, sang by English artist, Bella Hardy.

What’s your favourite?

Thanks for hosting to Eve over at Revenge Of Eve

. This week she asks us about favourite fairytales.

It was a pretty hard choice because although I’m not a child anymore I read fairytales pretty often and I love them. I read fairytales from all around the world and I suppose I could pick my favourite fairytale from every or almost every culture. I think I have it after my Mum who also loves lots of fairytales and she read many of them to me.

As a little girl, I loved Little Red Riding Hood. I don’t really remember why I loved her so much. I just could listen to it over and over and over again. So now I am not as big fan of it as I was back then because it’s not so interesting for me now since I’ve listened to it so much in my early childhood. Which doesn’t mean I don’t like this fairytale at all.

So as my all time favourite I think I would pick a fairytale by Hans Christian Andersen, but since I always read it in Polish, I’m not sure its English title, its Danish title is “Ole Lukøje” and it was based on the myth about the Sandman, a creature who was believed to give dreams to children. I’ve loved this fairytale my whole life and was always kind of inspired by sandman in general.