#2 So…My First Blog Post

Taken from Jeff Foster

So much of our lives are spent running – from pain, from vulnerability and from everyday struggle. Shed your resistance and step into the limitless ocean of the present moment.

Be yourself; everyone else is already taken

– Oscar Wilde

I used to have this idea that there was something wrong with me for not being able to accept the waves and make them go away, like I wasn’t strong enough. But it’s not about me being strong enough to accept the waves. The waves of present experience are already accepted in what l am. I don’t need to accept them. I just notice right now that they are already allowed in. I don’t have to be strong enough to accept them. I’m simply too weak to prevent them from coming in anymore.

– an unknown Dutchman

#407 So…Self Trust or Self Pain

The hardest relationship that we have is with ourselves. It is so very challenging and continuously tricky to find the right and just path. Without pain. And a crucial part of our relationship is self trust. With self trust being easy to damage, as we navigate our lives, we sometimes don’t get the outcomes that we think we deserve that creates distrust. That creates pain. And this pain, caused to others can quickly revert to self pain and distrust of ourselves. We lose self trust when we let ourselves down. It very quickly leads to our self critic coming to the fore and holding sway over proceedings. The consequent result is an erosion of that part of us that we call self trust.

Self Trust

Was it because we didn’t say the right words or phrases that led to messing up a relationship or just not being the authentic person we know ourselves to be? Why were we unable to project ourselves out of the mêlée and see the wood for the trees? If only we took the time to slow down and realise the pattern we are in.

We lose self trust when we drop the ball, or do not act in the way we should have. Always the “could have, should have, would have” syndrome.

When we have a number of these events, these scars, it is understandable to lose trust in our judgement , in our abilities and even our dreams. And it certainly doesn’t help when we begin to beat ourselves up following these past mistakes or errors of judgement. It just serves to compound the original hurt.

So the question is how can self trust be repaired and then lead to the (re) creation of trust towards and from others?

A first step is according to Tamara Levitt, who cites Jon Kabat-Zinn, an American professor emeritus of medicine and the creator of the ‘Stress Reduction Clinic’ and the ‘Center for Mindfulness in Medicine, Health Care, and Society’ at the University of Massachusetts. Kabat-Zinn was a student of Zen Buddhist teachers such as Philup Kapleau and Thich Nhat Hanh. His practice of yoga and studies with Buddhist teachers led him to integrate their teachings with scientific findings. He teaches mindfulness which he says can help people cope with stress, anxiety, pain, and illness.

Kabat-Zinn recommends starting by cultivating a “trusting heart”. We should focus inwards and find out what is trustworthy in ourselves.

He suggests, according to Tamara Levitt, the following exercise: Travel back across the memories of your life, and become aware of the things that you have accomplished, ways you have contributed and challenges you have survived and or you endured. Or think back to a specific event, recent or long ago. If certain events have not progressed as we would have hoped, then we need to address the thoughts by trusting in this moment, this instant of self awareness and this moment of self reflection. At least we got on the path, however painful, to make this important effort. That is cause for trustworthiness. As we gain back our self trust, it starts to radiate outwards. We have more trust in the people in our lives and their inherent goodness. And as important, those people start to see the inherent goodness in ourselves…again.

As we have so many qualities that we want to project outwards, it is important to realise that trust starts from within.

“Once you are able to trust yourself, you will know how to live.” Wolfgang Johann von Goethe

#406 So…Chitta

And in Sanskrit, the same word for heart is used for describing the mind. Chitta. It means mindfulness of the heart. Or heart mind.

Our mind isn’t solely responsible for our happiness. It is significantly determined by the state of our heart. If you are heartbroken or grieving, changing location will not bring about renewed joy. You will simply be struggling in a new place.

Healing can be arrived at by opening up a connection between heart and mind through meditation. By arriving at stillness when we meditate, we connect to our heart. This then allows the mind and heart to connect and we are able to see how the heart significantly impacts everything in our lives.

Viewing the heart and the mind as one provides answers and allows for progress.

In the wonderful words of Antoine de Saint-Exupéry, “Here is my secret. It is very simple: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly: What is essential is invisible to the eye”

My heart is trying to see rightly. Is trying to be healed. It is a long and winding road, full of twists and turns but I am on the road, facing forward and moving in the right direction. Albeit somewhat tentatively. One never knows what may be around the corner. Or what will I see if I turn around. What I will feel. What I will experience. Tears of sadness or of joy. Caught in a trap. My own trap.

An old Chinese proverb states: “If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a life time, help someone else.”

I will end with Ho’oponopono . I have been reading about Ho’oponopono, the well-known Hawaïen practice for the miracle it does in clearing negativity from one’s mind and thought. Ho’oponopono is an ancient Hawaiian practice still in use today. It is based on reciting 4 phrases: I love you, I’m sorry, Please forgive me, and Thank you.

One of my all time favourite tracks

#405 So…Spring

Today is the first day of spring. Beautiful blue sky, a little breeze, buds in evidence everywhere. Luscious vibrant green grass, trips to the garden centre to get jasmine and magnolia creepers. Walkers smiling and a genuine feeling of optimism in the air. I love Spring. It brings out the best in me.

And then I cross other people who are in different states. In different moods. And this brings about changes in my mood, changes in my sentiments, and how I feel.

Now a few days later and there is hope in the air but I can’t catch it. It is alluding me. Almost avoiding me. Does that mean that there is no hope for me? And that makes me sad. Despondent. But now it’s my turn to say “Kent’s never give up”. I will continue to believe that you get back you give out. Loving kindness breed’s loving kindness. Put it out there in the Universe and leave it up to the powers that be to make their decision. I believe that there is righteous good in everyone.

So I am trusting very much. Hoping as well as secretly trying to manifest my own loving kindness.

So what happened? I can’t really explain it. It has appeared following my last two visits to Antibes. But it is what it is. I am living in the present moment and it’s up to me to change and make the running. I cannot wait for someone else to show me the way.

Even if I fail, I will learn from it and I will look to make it right the next time.

I have just learnt that Finland again, for the sixth year running, has been elected by the United Nations as the happiest place in the world. Based on a whole different array of factors, it’s good to appreciate that this country that is shrouded in cloud and snow for at least six months of the year, has a temperature that goes down to -20°C, still tops the world league of happiness and happy places.

“A Finnish saying is “Onni ei tule etsien, vaan eläen”, which translates as “Happiness is not found by searching, but by living.” Happiness doesn’t always have to be a soaring sense of bliss; instead, there’s value in enjoying what you have and fostering a feeling of contentment, rather than chasing those sometimes illusive dizzy highs. That’s not to say that you can’t aspire to big dreams or try to make improvements – just that you shouldn’t beat yourself up about striving for some elusive ideal.” How true is that!

Other aspects of the Finnish culture include not gloating! It’s so important to live the experience, rather than take time to brag about it on social media, because you will probably miss out on the experience of that particular moment. It’s called humble bragging!

Sisu- the Finnish word for Courage

Sisu is another trait where the Finns, despite temperatures that go down to below 20°C, they persevere and get on with it. “It refers to a strength of will or persevering against the odds. That means heading out to brave the elements instead of waiting for the perfect sunny day or not being afraid to try a cold water swim.” I believe that I have Sisu blood running through my veins as I go for walks every day in spite of the cold.

In fact, the real experience is being outside, and enjoying being in nature. Which brings me back to Spring. The clocks go forward. There is greater optimism and joy in the air, and as the people around me, replace the winter blues and put on their bright spring clothes, there is abundant happiness everywhere. And I’m all for that!

#404 So…Merry Go Round

It just takes so long. I go around around and around. That makes me more anxious. And I am anxious already. More perturbed. And I don’t know whether it is a good thing or a not so good thing that I never give up. It is just so incredibly time-consuming and always seems to be on the back of a bad night or several bad nights sleep. And I am having difficulty sleeping at the moment but more of that later. This merry-go-round is also my strong point. It’s a never give up, never say die attitude. Always looking and trying to find a way! In the end, it works out. I finally remember the password by going through the multiple Google checks ad infinitum across multiple devices. The iPad, the phone and the computer. Despite them all being Apple. I acknowledge that it is right to be wary of society and to have multiple protective layers in evidence. It is a shame that we are now in a more distrusting society. still, I will concentrate on the areas that I can influence and exert some form of control. My own domain, my own perimeter, my own bubble. But it is excruciatingly tiring to be continually taking over an hour just to get going. But the never say die attitude has worked and I am in now but it’s time to leave. Brilliant!

I’ve just been swimming and I’m enjoying it so much more every time. As I am going very often, Many of the lifesaving staff know me by site which is really rewarding and boosts the morale. Even the infamous Joel was there, Very happy and forever laughing and making jokes. It was he who said that one of the life-saving staff was asking where I was as I have not been seen for a few days. Instinctively, I turned to her and said I’m going to give you a kiss. But it’s all harmless fun, especially as she was on her life-saving station which was seven steps higher than me. So we just pretended to give each other a kiss on each cheek from afar. But it is what makes the experience so much more fun and enjoyable. Having people who I know and who know me, really makes it worthwhile to keep coming back and carrying out the mundane swimming exercises. And I continue to improve little by little. But always with a smile on my face.

I then went to the post office and then I met Madame Barets, whom I have not seen for a month or so. And she absolutely had to talk to me and tell me of her experience at the beginning of January. She caught COVID-19 and she had to be hospitalised three times in the space of 10 days. The first time, she fell down and hit her head and she had to go to the nearest and local hospital to have stitches. This local hospital currently does not have a very good reputation and treated Madame Barets as a number rather than as a person. No compassion for the fact that she was a pênsioner in her 80s (A gentleman never asks a lady her age!) She was tested for COVID-19 positively but was allowed to go home and self isolate. The next day, she was in the bathroom and fell over and bumped her head again. But not wanting to get up, she waited until her cleaner arrived and helped her to her feet. Instead of going to the same hospital again, she decided to go to a geriatrics hospital which was a considerable distance away that would be more amenable and caring to her so she thought. She stayed there for two days and on the second day she received a frozen meal! She had to read that because there was nothing else and it was absolutely disgusting. And while she was in this hospital, she fell over for the third time next to the bed. She could not stop laughing today in recounting these sorry tales.

For me, it put things into perspective when an 80-year-old falls over three times, goes to hospital three times, has six stitches, a frozen meal and still sees the funny side of these events. that is someone after my own heart!

Suffice to say, the day got better and better and coincidentally so did the weather!

And finally, I came across this vibe (not quite sure what that is), but it was a list of 10 elements that spoke very much too me and putting myself in my life into perspective

I love this


#403 So…Happiness

“Happiness is a butterfly, which when pursued, is always just beyond your grasp, but which, if you will sit down quietly, may alight upon you.”

Nathaniel Hawthorne

So there I was out walking, in the wonderful park de Sceaux, trying to reduce and even eliminate my grumpiness. This is due to not sleeping very well and certainly not enough. But while out walking, I saw a butterfly that kept circling around me. And then on the way back, I saw a macaw 🦜 parrot. And then three more.

I take that as a sign of hope and courage. Coincidentally, the grumpiness disappeared.

I have been writing my book and I am up to 5 July, 2021. When I went swimming for the first time since leaving L’ADAPT. I found a recording made on that day where I managed to walk to the swim pool and, albeit a long story, I managed to make it into the pool but I did not swim. I just did exercises to strengthen my right side, especially my arm. Having been swimming this last week every other day, and buy swimming I mean actually swimming, I was amazed that I have been able to go from getting into the swimming pool to now swimming. Okay, it’s a bit ungainly but I managed to get from one on to the other. And now I just concentrate all the time on swimming and arm exercises. On the time I have finished, I’m exhausted but this time a fellow swimmer came up to me afterwards and said, “It’s incredible what you are doing and how are you are swimming. Seriously, I have tried to copy you and I keep sinking!” Frankly when you hear those kind of comments, it just motivates you enormously.

I must be careful do not overdo it today, Sunday, as I woke up thinking that it was Monday. I panicked as I could not remember what happened at the weekend and also I need to get ready for my meeting with the lawyer as well as pack my case for going down south. I was immediately thrust out of my comfort zone. The panic was from not sleeping enough and from finally going to bed or going to sleep at 2 am because my arm was aching so much. I don’t think it was anything to do with the fact that England got slaughtered by the French at Twickenham and I watched this humiliating spectacle in the company of three other Frenchman! Still it’s been a long long time since I have woken up thinking that it was a different day to the day that it actually was. Fortunately, this Sunday was designated as a rest day. No press ups, no arm exercises. Not even a cold shower. However I did go for a walk around the canal when I saw the butterfly and the green parrots. And only then was I able to shake off this kind of hangover feeling without having a hangover.

I have been thinking about this other quote from Karen Salmansohn and I’m trying to get it into perspective. “The best things in life are often waiting for you at the exit ramp of your comfort zone.” There’s a lot of meaning for me in this. I think it sums up my attitude as I am every day taking myself to the exit ramp. Whether it be walking, cycling or swimming or any combination of the three, I am always endeavouring to push boundaries. But sometimes I need to rest. Just this once. Just today. Hopefully I will be in a better place and in a better mood with a lot less pain.

Finally, another quote which also sums up my attitude at the moment.“There’s no one to impress. Improve for you. Live for you.” Unknown. I cannot remember when I wrote this or when I heard this as I tend to write these quotes when I hear them and then carry on doing what I’m doing which is typically walking and listening to podcasts. I forget where I heard it and what the reference is. Still, I will endeavour to remember the context next time I write something down. But I love that “Improve for you. Live for you.”

Off to go and rest on my day off!

#402 So…Self Care

This week I managed to jump up repeatedly with both feet off the ground at the same time. That is progress. Amazing progress. I went back to the flat in Antibes, put my hands on the sink, and started to jump up and down, acting like a little child. It felt brilliant 🤩

Now I am back to reality. Back in Sceaux after a intense but enjoyable week with my ladies. It was cold. Weather similar to Paris or England at this time of year! As an aside, I think I talk a lot about the weather. I think it is an English cultural trait because we have four or five seasons in a day. Even though the weather is less turbulent in Paris and certainly very stable in Antibes, I do talk about it a lot. But I like to talk about it. As I say this, I’m looking out of the window at the cloudy Parisian sky with the tops of the trees moving gently in the breeze. And it makes me feel at ease and interestingly, it fills me with hope.

Anyway, back to my week in Antibes. A short visit by my standards but one in which I managed to see all of my ladies except Rikke, who was in sunny Manchester after going back home to Norway. I also did not have such a full agenda of treatments as I am concentrating on progressing my book blog as I call it. I am managing to progress it every day, little by little. However, I am halfway through 2020 and still have a few years still to narrate.

I want to take the opportunity to thank Carol, Elena, Emma, Laura and of course Charlotte for all their continued support and enthusiasm towards my rehabilitation And look forward to seeing you all as well as Camilla and Nicky next time I am down.

Jumping up with both feet off the ground at the same time has been very motivating and a game changer for me. Since that day, I have increased my exercises in the morning. In fact they are now doubled. I’ve also been swimming and I’m looking to increase the amount of time I spend in the pool because I can see and I feel the difference.

It’s quite strange that the surfaces here in Paris are much flatter. That appears to be my deduction but quite honestly I’m not sure. I think that all of the exercises that I am carrying out in Antibes, plus the swimming and increased daily arm exercises, must be contributing to my ability to walk faster and straighter and more fluidly. It really is noticeable for me which is a huge motivation and plus in itself. I am concentrating so much on my arm at the moment and look forward to hopefully seeing some progress in the coming weeks.

With the new strap

The new strap has been put on my stationary bike and I look forward to getting back on that this evening.

I am feeling strange. Strange in a good way. But I believe that this exercise of writing my book is having a profound effect on me. Going back and reading the posts in the early months, following the accident, moves me a lot towards having not only compassion towards others, but also self compassion. And with that comes reflection and then an inherent and unnerving desire to progress. Now.

But reading about famous sport stars, we tend to only see a snapshot of the effort, the pain, the grit and determination that has led them to that moment. The moment when they are making the winning injury time drop goal to win the World Cup for England. Or becoming the first man (or woman for that matter, maybe human is more appropriate) to run under 2 hours in the marathon. And that is fine. It’s just that there is so much hard work that goes on in the background. That leads to that marvellous moment.

Eliud Kipchoge running under 2 hours in Vienna 2019

I am no Eliud Kipchoge, but I’m running my own race. My own marathon. And this race will go on and on. Perhaps it will never finish. But I am okay with it because I am realising and noticing a lot of improvement every day, however small. The fact that it is noticeable fills me with a deep sense of inspiration and that’s how I would like to encourage others. Who are perhaps less fortunate than me at this particular moment.

At the swimming pool, I met a 15-year-old girl called Emma who was handicapped and in a wheelchair. She was learning to swim and it was incredibly moving for me. I remembered immediately how I wanted to shout at everybody around me when I was in a wheelchair. Screaming and crying, not wanting to be with anyone because no one could understand my pain. And yet I was beholden to the nursing staff doctors and staff and patients around me to encourage me through these excruciating times.

So I approached the girl in the pool and introduced myself, saying that she was very courageous. Her mother acknowledged the compliment, and the girl kept on screaming and shouting and crying because she was in her little world, in her own bubble.

I then ran into her afterwards, and said hello again. And what she said next completely surprise me. “I know who are, please say hello to your son.” I was so taken aback, but at the same time full of compassion for her and her ability to have friends, and also the fact that my son had made an effort in one way or another to talk to Emma, the person. A very moving time.

It reinforces the fact, I believe, that I am on the right track and that in sharing my experiences and relating to people in less fortunate circumstances, I will be able to be of service. Call it service, giving back or whatever. For me, it’s the other person’s ability to have the courage to (want to ) progress, even if it’s a tiny little stepping stone, it’s still considered as progress in my eyes. That they can progress. That they are progressing. And if I can help in that progression, so much the better.

#401 So…Anxiety followed by Love

I keep saying Hakuna Matata, no worries, but it doesn’t work all the time. I take deep breaths yet remain tense. All because I am being taken out of my comfort zone. And that’s good as it makes me learn and develop, but I do have secret worries about my ability to integrate. Going into Paris, negotiating the metro with thousands of people is anxiety making but it needs to be done. This is my continual journey of re-integration by moving forward.

I seem to remember writing about this sometime ago. This secret anxiety. It wells up inside of me and becomes noticeable when I am engaging in new activities or when I am not following my normal routines. Meditation and journaling really help me baseline my fears and anxieties to the point where I can be grounded and try and live my life. I don’t say live my normal life because there’s nothing normal about my life now. I accept that. I have to. Hakuna Matata.

My son and my daughter are unwell due to food poisoning, we think, when they ate out with me in Paris. And I am running to chemists, making sure there are enough bananas and rice to eat because that’s all they can eat. And again this makes me anxious. Learning to control my emotions and dealing with them in the moment, taking deep breaths and forging on makes this new reality very engaging.

But its an experience all the same and it’s taking me out of my comfort zone. That’s okay! In cinemas and theatres for three hours or more, three times in the same week, without moving at all in the seat or getting up to stretch my legs is a new new new new experience.

It’s hard but then nobody said life was ever going to be easy. It really isn’t. But it is enjoyable because I relish the moments that make me happy, contented and loving in the moment. By appreciating what happens, I’m able to remember and recount positive memories to make me smile and fill me with heartfelt warmth.

This week has been all about my kids who have stayed with me while they are on holiday.

On Friday night, staying up until close to midnight, I organised the whole week. Choosing the activities, identifying how to get there and get back, eating opportunities with you in the flat and also before after activities. And it was very important to leave time to rest and recover for all of us as well as time for them to do their own thing in their own time. It sounds easy or not very complicated but these are all challenges for me, ensuring that the planning is done but there is flexibility in case plans change. Which of course they do. Especially if food poisoning comes into play.

We went to see Babylon, The new Brad Pitt, Margot Robbie, Diego Calva and Tobey Maguire film, which lasts over three hours. Right from the first minute, I was taken by the intensity of the cinematography and that carried on for the whole film. What an amazing and extravagant Ruby it’s Fons with the all-star cast who were all outstanding. There are many different interesting stories that you want to follow which one of them succeeding and then just as you thought it was all perfect, they failed just as much. A real rollercoaster of a ride! And given that we were approaching Mardi Gras, we decided to go for pancakes which were at the time very enjoyable in the pancake district of Montparnasse in Paris. Delicious until the next day when unfortunately the kids suffered from food poisoning!

Babylon' review: Sex, drugs and elephant diarrhea - Los Angeles Times

The next outing was to travel to North Paris to see Avatar 2. The way of water. In 3-D! For 3 1/2 hours, we wore glasses that transported us into the make-believe world of Pandora. The first film was launched in 2009 and this is the long awaited sequel which has been delayed due to the pandemic and also due to the enormous technological requirements to film in 3-D underwater. This film did not disappoint, And was truly exceptional. This sequel is visually breathtaking and incredibly engrossing. Story, respectable, spirituality and above all the shooting make for me a film and story that is probably one of the best I have ever seen. The level of detail in scene is beyond belief. And there are more sequels coming as shooting Avatar 3 has already commenced. Awesome!

Avatar 2 : on en sait un peu plus sur le film Disney | MOMES
James Cameron compare Avatar 2 au Seigneur des anneaux et justifie son  retard : nouvelle image

The final activity was to go and see the French adaptation of a Mel Brooks classic Les Producteurs (the Producers). So completely different and a wonderful time spent with the kids enjoying it was a very good musical with phenomenal actors. And directed by Alexis Michálik who is very well-known in the theatre circles of France, It is the story of how a team and producers try and create the biggest swindle in insurance by putting on the worst musical comedy ever seen! Very funny and very entertaining!


Three very good choices and a wonderful week was had by all of us. My legs hurt from all the sitting but it is a small price to pay for the amount of love and entertainment we have all had.


#400 So…Where Am I?

Sitting on the park bench, surrounded by green grass, blue sky, wonderful sunshine and a lot of people out walking, running after children or just running.

And me? I’m running on empty. I’m trying to switch to the positive. But it’s not happening. I’m going to try and force it. Well that didn’t work , did it?

It’s tiredness. It always is. Or that’s where it comes from. I was up all night with Orlando and now I am so tired. I’m upset that there is a nice guy, a normal man, who decides to come and sit on my bench outside. In the park. It’s not even my bench. And yet that makes me upset. It just happens so quickly. He then took a call and started speaking really loudly. Because I was in the process of dictating my blog, his words started appearing in my blog . And then I get more upset, and he looks at me and then apologises. Probably because I look at him with an awful stare and then straight down to my phone, giving the impression that I cannot concentrate or dictate onto my phone with him making so much noise. He then gets up to take his politeness and person on the end of his phone away.

Once finished, he comes back and sits on the bench. Tilting his trilby to avoid the harsh rays of sunshine, he turns to me and smiles. And I begin to apologise for my behaviour.

I am ashamed of how I behaved. Extending my problems, guilt and personal issues onto a kind gentle man whose sole intention was to sit down and wait for his son so they could tour the park together.

I don’t like myself. For the unjust feelings that I had and still have. So I apologised explaining that my son was ill and up all the night and with my accident nearly 4 years ago, I am not in the best space or places today. He replies, as most people do, by asking what happened? I tell my story and he interrupts asking if I live by myself. I replay yes, but I have a solid network of friends and family, here, down south and abroad. And he is comforted by this news as he insists that people should not be alone. And with that he leaves with his son, whom he presented to me before leaving.

WOW!!! This is no coincidence. For 2 days I have been trying to reconcile myself with myself. Who am I? What is my purpose? Am in the right place? Etc.

I believe that these instances, are meant to be. These occurrences. Because now I am reflecting on that chance encounter and already feel different. It’s like I have had a weight lifted away from my eyes. There is clarity now. A sense of drive. Dare I say purpose? I don’t question it deliberately as I am too tired. But I will leave it up to the Universe to sort it out. All I know and feel is this tremendous sense of relief.


And then there is a new man and his wife who come and sit down on THE bench. Their granddaughter comes up to get a biscuit and some water. The grandma asks if she is having fun to which the granddaughter replies that they are playing football and one of the players hit her friend in the face with a football. To which grandad asked if the friend’s head was still attached. The child replied of course somewhat puzzled by the question. To which the grandad added that all must be ok then and returned to his crossword puzzle.

I couldn’t but laugh to myself. This proves that there is and are wonderful people in the world and that it’s important to take the time to notice them, recognise them and even thank them.

And then I think immediately of my chance meeting with Pierre and Claude at lunchtime who were so concerned to hear about Orlando’s stomachache and his vomiting ad infinitum that they recommended coke, banana and dried biscuits, which is exactly what I bought and brought back to Orlando. Now returned from my walk in the park, I see that the biscuits and the Coke are still standing on the table, but there are no signs of the bananas. At that moment the phone rings, and it’s my ex, who after learning what happened and after appraising the situation, confirmed he’s a veritable monkey. Which just happens to be what my cousins call me. Uncle Monkey. Too much symbolism. Too many coincidences. I think not.

I have just had 3 expériences with wisdom. 3 separate meetings with 3 wonderful gentle older men who understand the need not to rush. Who impart their wisdom at their own pace. We or I can learn so much from these occurrences. From these men.

Now I am smiling again and back on my road to recovery. Off to see the wonderful wizard of Oz. Or should I say my son!

#399 So…The Blame Game

The blame game is something that we are really good at. It almost comes naturally. I certainly know how to do my share of blaming on myself. But there is a solution, and I’m learning that is more important to focus on defining and resolving the problem, and finding a solution rather than pointing the finger and attributing blame. It’s good advice as it means that you don’t stay in the difficult situation of circling like a vulture looking for its prey. It’s much more productive to understand and resolve the problem and move on.

By not focusing on who what why, I can concentrate on moving forward, on defining and even resolving the problem. Which in itself allows me to free up the space to define and appreciate new elements in my day. Hence my appreciation of my walk in the mimosa heartland, near Cannes, France. With the common sight of a phenomenal blue sky as a backdrop, all I could see on this wonderful walk with Charlotte was the bright yellow mimosa flowers.

It changes all perspectives and creates freshness and the feeling of being alive.

I find myself in cloudy and somewhat gloomy Sceaux, having fallen yet again while climbing up some wet and slippery steps after a marathon time in the swimming pool as well as walking around the park. I can see the funny side of it but in all seriousness it’s that dangerous time of year when the slippery steps or stones from the rain make it increasingly difficult to climb or descend safely.

I was walking up the steps, very tired, which perhaps I should not be doing in my condition and in their condition. But, always in keeping with the positive side of things, as I miss my foot and started to fall backwards (a feeling of déjà vu), I was in my slow motion state where I had incredible clarity. While falling backwards, I was able to hop back down using my left foot to stop me from falling onto the stone steps. My sole objective was to get back down to terra firma which I did. But I did not think about what would happen next. Not having the momentum of hopping down the stairs, I continued to fall and landed on my back with my head smashing into the ground one second later. I let out enormous scream of pain that was heard by no one. They were some men on my left cheering a game of bowls, While on my right three guys were playing with their telephones absorbed in the air sharing of a game or some funny video on social media. So I gingerly got up and walked very slowly to my flat where I promptly lay down to rest.

I am writing this 24 hours later and I still have pains in my leg and my elbow. My head hurts but I am alive, smiling and happy that I have a kids for a week for the holidays.

Obviously, stair stepping has taken on a new meaning and been promoted to another level. Big lesson learned about how you can’t do everything all at once in one day. Not even me! Shall Charlotte keeps saying to me, “One little step at a time!”

#398 So…We have Liftoff

Things have been happening to me lately. Positively. It’s like I have given out to so many people and now I am receiving back. In droves.

After having my extraordinary and wonderful conversational experience with my doctor, I finally returned home. After cooking wonderful vegetarian spaghetti Bolognese, obviously without the Bournas :-), I am sat down to watch randomly chosen Netflix film. This one was about Jessica Watson, a 16-year-old Australian who has become the youngest person to sail around the world single-handed with no stops.It was an incredibly motivating, exhilarating, and tearful story.

True Spirit. Teagan Croft as Jessica Watson in True Spirit
Jessica Watson on Netflix

From a very young age, she was fascinated with sailing and dreamt of sailing around the world single handed. A story of courage, determination, in the face of adversity, is a story that I recognise. There was even a point when she was flipped over in her little boat, and almost dragged to the bottom of the sea. But she managed to, or rather the boat managed to right itself.

What I was very taken by the story, and there is an enormous amount of internal joy and confidence that resonated with me. Today I went swimming, and saw the usual suspects including Joule, the man who laughs all the time, and is permanently happy as a joy to be around

As I was passing him doing my front crawl, he shouted out “Do you know Mike, you are a pretty good swimmer?” I stopped immediately and turned and ask him “What do you mean?” He then said that I was swimming in a straight line with no deviation which meant I was using both arms. So I asked him if I was lifting my right arm to which he replied “Absolutely. It’s coming out of the water for the first time. At least, I haven’t seen you do that before!”

I asked him to repeat what he had said as I was not sure if I had heard him correctly. And he repeated ever so loudly and smiling and laughing at the same time that I was lifting my arm out of the water and it’s very good to see.

I mean WOW! That’s incredible! I was so proud and pumped that I swam more lengths than I have ever done before. And now I am really tired. But that did not stop me from going for a very long walk and then going out to dinner with some very good friends in my appartment block, André and Diana.

Sunset in Sceaux

I cannot begin to say how energised and motivated I am from a series of events in the last couple of days that have and are profoundly improving my drive, grit and determination to carry on. It really is so rewarding. I am smiling from cheek to cheek as I write this.

These are the stepping stones of progress.