I Hear You My Friend


“Do I want to choose life with less pain or more pain?” That was basically the question I needed to find the answer last winter. By the time it had become painfully clear that my slow and sensitive nature would not be a perfect match with the business world that is…well, not that slow and sensitive.

Two weeks ago when I was standing on the stage, I thought about my decision. I was happy that I choose the latter option.

mari-and-henri-pennanen-saimaalife-finland“All battles leave some bruises but they don’t mean that life is worse. With them, you can also live more meaningful, mindful and wiser life.” Those words I wrote to my post last autumn.

Yes, I have my bruises too. My bruise is fibromyalgia. It means nerve, muscle and joint pain from top to toe. It started during my depression. For long I thought that the pain would go away as I healed. Now I have slowly accepted that the physical pain will be my companion in one way or another for the rest of my life, reminding me of the toughest years of my life (so far).

Stress triggers the pain. That is why entering a business world was not an obvious decision to me.

10-IMG_0056“Maybe my blog was just meant to be the thing that helped me to grow personally and nothing more? After all, I’m at peace with everything and everyone now. I feel the happiest when I can just split firewood and see my children playing. This would be a good place to quit Saimaalife and start living simply good life. The kind of a life I have been dreaming of. It would probably mean less pain too.”

That kind of discussions I had with myself last winter. If I had thought only about my pain, my decision would probably have been regular life and monthly salary.

mari-pennanen-saimaalife.comBut I decided to continue Saimaalife. So, next month I started applying for seed funding, established the company Quality To Life Naturally Ltd and became an entrepreneur. Hand in hand with all that I started more actively to put into practice everything that I had learned about wellbeing and my mind & body.

I wanted to find a way to live at peace also with my physical pain.

How to keep the pain under control and away with the help of more suitable day and work rhythm, diet, physical exercise, mental relaxation techniques, etc. Thinking about all that became an essential part of my everyday life.

Some weeks I succeeded, some I failed. During the spring nature became even more important place for me. In the middle of its peace and silence my pain relieved.mari-and-henri-pennanen-saimaalife

We can either let our bruises limit our life and prevent us from being happy, or we can learn to understand and accept them as a part of our life story. 

I have days when I hurt so much that I can’t think anything else than my pain. If I focus on thinking about it, the pain paralyzes me and gets even worse. But if I listen to the pain and take time and effort to find ways to relieve it, the pain gradually melts away. I also have days when I have no pain at all even though I feel the financial and other pressures on my shoulders. Those moments give me great joy and hope for the painless future.

We all have our bruises, mental and physical ones. The main thing is to learn to shape our way of life so that we can live a good life and pursue our dreams in spite of the bruises.


Two weeks ago, I and my husband participated in Start-Up competition. In our Start-Up pitching, we represented a demo of Saimaalife virtual reality nature relaxation product. We won the audience voting and got an invitation from Chinese technology park to join participate their Start-Up competition in Beijing. In many ways the day was an amazing experience for us.

On the stage, I felt pure happiness that in winter I didn’t let my pain to decide the future of my work and life.

saimaa-summit-start-up-competitionOn the Start-Up competition day, I also thought how many have lately commented our family’s life to be perfect. It is not. No one’s is. We all have our bruises. I have mine, and no day goes by that my husband feels the nerve pain that the leg injury left him.

It’s up to us how we think about our bruises and pain. Do we see them as our enemy and something to be angry at or something that can help us live more meaningful, mindful and wiser life.

My pain annoys me often but more and more I feel that it actually protects me. It prevents me from burning myself out again and reminds me when I need to rest.

In the future, I want to talk more about the pain. I know that there are a lot of people who suffer the same kind of stress-related symptoms than I.

But now it’s time for a small blog break. Big changes are going to happen on this site. Can’t wait to start the next chapter in this story! 

So many people have shown their support for Saimaalife. Thank you. Without it, I and my husband would not have been on the stage two weeks ago. Without it, I would have probably made the different decision last winter.

The work days of beginning entrepreneurs are often extra long. Because of my bruises mine simply can’t be. But I believe that is better for everyone in the long run. Also for the future of SaimaaLife.

And no matter what happens in the future I think that the business world needs examples where people’s wellbeing has priority over just making business. 


Photos: Marianne Ahonen Photography

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