Featured

#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

#363 So…Differentiability

So this is a short post about life elements that are being welcomed into my consciousness. That sounds very grand. But it’s another way of saying that many little things are happening each day in my life. And I would like to share them as they make up my day. They are me. And they are my day. What makes me smile, cry, be cautious, be grumpy, makes me optimistic etc. Of course I am grumpy for only part or some of the day. But by acknowledging that I am grumpy, I can take myself off to another part of me, another experience that brings forth another emotion. And that puts the grumpiness in its place. In its rightful place. In the past.

Over the last few days, I have been taken aback by the little things that are happening in my life.

Trying to lead an uncomplicated life is hard work. That sounds weird. The idea of an uncomplicated life might be considered as an easy life but it is anything that. It is only now, given my

accident and drive to attain awesomeness, that I am acutely aware of how busy it is. How long each day is and how much I pack into it. I no longer multitask. That’s in the past. I am 100% in the moment and giving all my attention to what is either in front of me or around me. It means that I achieve less in the grand scheme of quantity but I am all about quality now. And I am ok with that.

Does time ever stand still?

Days are long. Filled up with hundreds of precious moments. I struggle to remember what I was doing this morning let alone have recourse to a chronological order of all the separate events. No chance! But I do realise that I am in the most important part of my day, every time I become aware of my present moment. And that in itself is beautiful.

I have just listened to a podcast with Elizabeth Day talking to Gina Miller. Who is Miller? Gina Miller was born in Guyana on April 19, 1965. Entrepreneur and activist.

From Wikipedia, Gina Nadira Miller born 19 April 1965 is a Guyanese-British business owner and activist who initiated the 2016 R (Miller) v Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union court case against the British government over its authority to implement Brexit without approval from Parliament. In September 2019 she successfully challenged the government’s prorogation of Parliament.

Yet away from the public gaze, there is another, more private but much more significant battle for Gina Miller, one she must continue fighting long after the arguments over Brexit have faded into history.

And that is bringing up her eldest daughter Lucy-Ann, 28, who has serious learning difficulties.

It is, Gina says, the most important challenge in her life. ‘She is perfectly beautiful and, although you can’t really tell from looking at her, she has special needs,’ Gina explains. Even those who have so much drive and place so much emphasis and determination in their lives, also have enormous uphill battles to continually test themselves. A very inspirational story.

Another podcast com from Lisa Bilyeu was very eye opening. She said “If you never start the journey you will never get out of where you are. One step at a time.” I resonate so much with that.

“Fill up your heart and then you can carry on.” Her avourite track is Lust for Life by Iggy Pop. Awesome 👏

Lust for life

That sums up my attitude.

What a film. Swimmers. About two girls from Syria, who are refugees and are threatened by Russian attacks in Syria and try to escape to Germany. Its a tale of how one of the girls wanted to realise her dream. To swim in the Olympics. A very moving and poignant story that includes hope and sadness , courage and despair. There was one line in the film where the father says to his daughter “just swim. Stay in your lane and keep going.” Awesome 👏

In these reflective times for me, there is much to ponder. Sometimes it’s nice to just ponder.

Onwards and upwards together in ponder 🤔

#362 So…Sunday Sunday

My favourite view

Calmness personified. Beautifully picturesque. The ocean depicting, countless dreams. Scattered sailing boats serenely enjoying their private moments. A pigeon nestles into an opening of the stone wallis while a cormorant is perched on top of rocks, weathering the onrushing waves. Beautiful 🤩.

Pigeon perched in a familiar place
Enjoying the view

This serenity puts me in a very peaceful state of mind and serves once more to elaborate on my meditation practice earlier. Or does it enrich? Probably the latter.

I’ve been for a lovely walk with Charlotte in the grounds of Abramovich’s mansion on the Cap d’Antibes. So incredibly peaceful with nobody around and only Charlotte and I to experience this wonderful moment together..

Abramovich’s palatial gardens

I am sitting on my bench, looking out to the sea dreamily. The Sun is going down and it’s time to move on. I’m thinking all the time about my project and how it can manifest itself. If I was a Painter, this would be a painter’s paradise. I’ll see if I can turn it into a Reuters paradise.

Onwards and forever upwards together

#361 So…Far

A fear of being disliked and a fear of being straight with the truth or a fear of being honest. How do I see fear right now? I don’t subscribe to these points of view but that doesn’t mean that I can’t be wary of falling into their clutches. We are all fallible but I am in a new place right now and being disliked, not being honest or straight with the truth never crosses my mind. I am happy and full of self compassion for my lot. I am what I am. It is what it is.

My vision of Fear

Fair enough, it has just taken 3 1/2 years but that’s the point. Time is a great healer. I thought I would never say that or rather I didn’t think I would hear myself saying that.

I listened to a podcast earlier about how the smallest of change made to our choices can have a monumental impact further downstream. This can be visualised by thinking about an Atlantic crossing shipping tanker. If it changes its course by a mere fraction of a degree, it is likely to miss arriving in New York and find itself in Caracas, Venezuela. That is very pertinent to me as I want to get started on my project but am finding every excuse in the book to not do it. It’s so easy to take the simple road and not bother. And just at that time, I hear a band of sailors singing the Marseillaise, probably one of my favourite national anthems and a very dear friend, Pierre, calls me just to say “Courage and carry on.” I am so moved and humbled by these events as I firmly believe that they are signs from the Universe. Impeccable timing and so absolutely inspirational.

I certainly don’t want to give up even though I sometimes feel that life is against me. In fact, I have a thought that is tantamount to desperation every day and more than just once every day. But they never last and I come bouncing back like a boomerang or Tigger in the Winnie the Pooh stories by A.A. Milne that were an integral part of my childhood. This inbuilt natural courage to face up to whatever my wonderful and dear mind has to throw at me is incredibly tiring and at times, soul destroying. But the soul is never destroyed. In fact it always comes back stronger than ever.

I read somewhere “Explore the home of the present moment, (it is ) spare, clear and utterly simple.” We all have different needs at different times. Especially as we face the ebbs and flows of life and all that it embodies. Does life throw elements at us? Or do we experience what it has to offer? The latter comes from a place of abundance, the former from a place of scarcity. I am continuing to try to be gentle and kind with myself and others.

I feel that I am returning from another space. Literally. Not coming back from somewhere but evolving into my space. Entering my enlarged space with joy and anxiety. Joy because of my courage and belief about this incredible journey I find myself on. But also anxiety because I am continually in the unknown. I keep repeating the mantra “Give everyone time and space to climatise. Be gentle and kind to self and others.” It helps cross the bridge, the chasm.

Another mantra is “You are not alone. Embrace fear and be compassionate and be grateful and full of understanding.” Believe.

Finally , I think I have said this more than once before. “Perfection does not exist. Good enough is good enough. Doing something badly is better than not doing anything at all. Jump in.”

So I choose to be an example for others to derive strength and motivation and compassion from my ongoing story. It never ends. It never ceases to amaze me. New chapters get conceived and previous ones represent the story so far. Everything happens when it is meant to happen. Everyone is always where they need to be. What goes around comes around. Keep your circle positive. Speak good words, think good thoughts. Do good deeds. A the boomerang of goodwill and goodness come bouncing back. Tigger!!

Tigger

I am off to jump in! I am motivated. Onwards and upwards together!!

#360 So…Fade to Grey

Visage Fade to Grey

So to be straight, the memories and the memories are surely coming back

Who would’ve thought this monumental time classic actually has as a significant other meaning for me today. What a title Fade to Grey. It reminds me of my memory, fading, as I get older but the band Visage which is French for Face which also reminds me of my pre frontal cortex memory difficulty. But then again, I’m not sure where the bleed took place. I think it was on the right side of my brain, but it does seem that the immediate memory pathways have been affected. Moving on please.

In a new space I am, says Yoda I am 😂. I am very hard on myself and I am consistently challenging my memory and memories to deliver. I have just come out of a session with my favourite psychoanalyst, Carol, (she is my favourite, because she is my only one) and despite my talking the hind legs off a donkey, which is a very curious expression in its self.

In the session, clearly, although what is clear is not clear, is that I waxed lyrical (lots of weird expressions coming to the fore at the moment) on about many different topics and things and sometimes at the same time. And I have left feeling that my life is making a little more sense. Springs to mind a Talking Heads favourite of mine “stop making sense”

Talking Heads classic with David Byrne in an all time classic suit

Where is it all going? Every time I pick up my phone so to speak. I am in a different room in mind and so there is a feeling of not being full of continuity. I paused because I didn’t know what the opposite of continuity was. Maybe it’s discontinuity? Whatever!

Suffice to say the feeling is passed, and I have subsequently learned that the planets have misaligned a bit and the last couple of days until the beginning of next week. There is likely to be blockages, periods of confusion and conflict and possibly even denial. How does this manifest itself?

That’s another post as I am already late for my session with Emma. Forest bathing here I come.

#359 So…Not Sure

I am not sure. No, not sure of myself, but of how I am trying to figure things out. Actually, I think it is close to being a miracle to be in the right place at the right time. I am referring to my sessions with all my gorgeous therapists. Even though my memory is getting better, little by little, I am having quite big blanks when organising my sessions with all my women!!

Currently, I am trying to plan for my next visit and I have just realised that I have already planned it up until Christmas. Very efficient of me, especially when I hadn’t even booked my flights. Now with the flights changing and not completely remembering who has agreed to see me and when, I have a few double bookings as well as empty days.

And what’s more complicating is that I’m making these changes between 3 and 4 pm in the afternoon, which most people know is my least good time to be effective. Unable to think clearly and precisely, it becomes extremely and extraordinarily frustrating and takes a long time for me to organise myself as well as synchronise my calendars. Making the calls, noting them down, changing them to fit in with the availability of my wonderful women . Doing all this with the left hand. It can be very taxing. In fact, it really is taxing. For me, in this moment. What would happen if I was taken out of my bubble and put in a very big bubble called life? How about something to pose on, think about for another day.

It sounds very easy I know. Take a piece of paper, write down the dates of the week and assign names of the therapist that I would like to book, contact them and given they are very fast to reply, confirm the booking and make the appointment in the diary.

How can that be difficult? What it is when I am missing a little bit of my immediate short-term memory!! It renders what I have just done, be it 5 minutes ago, 10 minutes ago or even 5 hours ago, unrecognisable .How do you say it? I have no recollection of what I have just booked. Nothing, rien, nada. So if somebody does not come back to me immediately, which would be the case because all these wonderful women are very busy, when they do come back, I have already become confused and agree to a date or time that I have perhaps set aside for somebody else. Not only is it frustrating, it is emotionally draining as I am consistently or constantly endeavouring to rack my brain for what is happening at any given moment.

I mean I know it’s not amazingly complicated or difficult in terms of the subject matter. But for me at this moment in time, I’m trying so hard to remember what I have agreed. It makes me wonder how I’m going to be able to maintain concentration in a level of conversation. 

Turn on the little voice in my head, that has a south Swedish accent, and I hear “One little step at a time”. And that immediately works for this particular problem, however I immediately start thinking about skiing and the difficulties that is going to manifest.

Oh well, I will cover that event (note I didn’t say issue or problem) in due course. Another day.

I think it’s time to go back to reading “everything as figureoutable.”

Because everything takes up time. Don’t get me wrong, I’m very happy that my time is being filled, it’s just that the days pass quickly and the year is almost done. Now I will get on my bike and do an hour of cycling knowing that I’m not advancing in all of the elements that I wish to do as quickly as I would like to do them.

Years since my accident

It has been three years six months seven days 16 hours 38 minutes and 39 seconds since my accident. Not that I’m counting!!! It makes me smile, which is always a good thing, when I see that counter because the picture is of people celebrating. And that fills me with hope and drive and determination to keep on going. To keep on trucking.

Where did that come from?

Go Eddie

So, I changed my duvet and bed today, went for a long walk, did my exercises this morning and am now going on my bike 🚴. No ice creams tonight…….well maybe one!

I will go after the biking to the shops, obviously not going to buy loads of heavy stuff so as to make me fall backwards again. OUCH 🤕

Tutti Bye 👋

#358 So…Ranting of Confusion

My mood swings. Like a seesaw. And so varied in spite of all attempts to try and keep calm and serene. I use these words a lot ag the moment. I may be getting better each and every day little by little. But it still does not dispel the feeling of fear I live with every day. The fear of not knowing how this will all turn out. Of course I don’t know the outcome. I don’t know what is the plan. I’ll leave it all up to the universe and just go about my business in my same old merry way. And therein lies the issue of right-now-ness. It really is not merry, I am old and I am alone. By alone, I am more alone with the difficulties right now. I can be strong, I can be confident, creative and make it look as if it’s all going in the right direction but it does not take away the feeling of despair that I currently feel.

So let’s try and examine this. Heloise and Orlando have left, I’m still hurting both emotionally and physically from my horrendous fall last night and I am suffering from the fear of missing out by not being in Antibes with Charlotte and celebrating Aidan’s 50th, I am lonely and seem to be retreating into my shell and I am always tired. My arm and leg hurt and it is so hard to continually come at all this from a sudden place of abundance. There is what we aspire to think and feel and then there is reality. Oceans apart.

I keep thinking that good news follows bad news and the same goes for moments. So I am just waiting for the moment to pass. But it’s such a long wait.

I am not at peace with myself because of my emotional and physical pain. I don’t expect to be happy and smiling all of the time. I know that I’ve got the courage and volonté to drum up couragio and take the necessary steps to try and combat this painful feeling. But, well it just doesn’t go away. If that could be written in capitals , I would do it. IT JUST DOESN’T GO AWAY.

I am now in the park surrounded by a multitude of heavenly autumnal colours as the leaves on all the very big oak trees are gradually turning. There is a fountain with a single jet that is pumping out lots of water into a pond and I find it is very calming. In fact the whole scene has a tranquility to it.

It is Sunday afternoon and that means lots of families are out walking. Grandmas with scarves and boots wrapped up against the cold , loving couples arm in arm smiling and laughing into each other’s eyes, young boys out riding bikes, racing against each other, and that makes me think of Orlando, the loneliness of the brightly coloured long distance runner, little scurrying kids with all the energy of the world. Life is normal. Their life is normal. And I am in it. I am a part of it. But I don’t feel that I belong. Am I a loner? I think I am.

I know that everybody has their aches and pains, their difficulties. Life is not a bed of roses for anybody, all of the time. In fact it is a bed of roses if you consider that a bed of roses could contain petals that are beautiful as well as those that are dying and all those that are already dead. Happy conversation rich families walking the dogs and puppies. Impatient yet eager to please Dads going for a walk with their young children on bikes. I don’t need to belong. Just recognise the scenery and lap it up.

This is exactly what I needed.

Forest Bathing

This is what I imagine forest bathing to be. I am so tired but I am very grateful to be alive in this beautiful beautiful world. Whoever said it was going to easy.

I cannot sit still. I am always wanting to be on the move . It’s not always wanting to go somewhere because I am not looking for a destination. No, well maybe possibly in a metaphysical type of thought. Now I’m getting lost. Part of my frustration is typing with my left hand when I am used to doing it with my right. I am always having to re type what I have written as the voice to texting is far from perfect.

Off I go again. This time and to a podcast on plastic recycling from TED. These talks are so inspirational and suddenly I am back home, lying on my bed, feeling warm from a lot walking, forest bathing having spent a wonderful time with Orlando and Héloïse.

Downs and Ups. As usual. This is life as we know it. The talks on plastic have got me thinking 🤔 and I will explore. Especially a company called WeDo.

Onwards and upwards together

#357 So…Skyfall

It’s a combination of a set of circumstances. One of our friends in the south, in Antibes, Aidan, he’s having a 50th birthday party 🥳 today and is celebrating it by inviting all his friends and family to a extravaganza with a theme of James Bond. It should be loads of fun and there is even a massive blown up cover over his swimming pool so the kids can keep warm while playing in the pool and around the pool.

I think there are about 30 or 40 couples and 30 or 40 kids. With poker tables, roulette and other James Bond type gambling attractions, coupled with the inevitable shaken not stirred cocktails, I think fun will be had by all.

So why Skyfall? Obviously Skyfall is the name of the fairly recent James Bond film with Daniel Craig. But it is also a play on words with what happened to me yesterday evening. I went shopping in the evening (which I never do) and rather than put half of the things in a rucksack and the other half in a plastic bag that I could carry, I put everything into my rucksack. It included a six pack of 0% beer, a 2litre bottle of Schweppes 0% and other bulky items that all constituted quite a bit of weight on my back. Okay, lots of weight. But manageable. And walking up the steps to the apartment block main door, I paused in mid step. I’m not sure why. I thought about something. Perhaps I was intent on ensuring that I could make the next step. What happened next was almost like being in slow motion. I was in the midst of making that step and the pause when I stopped and with all of the weight on my back, I gently and serenely started falling backwards.

In a normal situation, I would attempt to correct my weight balance and remain on 2 feet. But the extra weight on my back was the problem and with no elements to break my fall, I literally fell backwards and I landed on the rucksack, on my back. There was a loud crack as I landed on the rucksack and the beer bottles hit the pavement. And then one second later, the whiplash on my neck meant that my head hit the pavement. Fortunately no damage done as I am getting used to controlling my fall or reducing my damage limitation by effectively going into slow motion and consciously entering into protecting my body arm and leg and head as much as possible.

Where I fell

Quite bizarrely, the first thought that I had was to protect the beer. Typical English man. I was making quite a lot of noise and as a result a few of the neighbours came out to see if I was okay. All I could think about was the noise I was making. Asking if I was okay, they wanted to call an ambulance and take me to hospital. But I said I was okay and all I was concerned about was in that moment finding my headphones and saving the beer. Bizarre. 🫢

I was a bit in shock as I had literally fallen backwards and down the steps so my head hit the ground with a big bang. But I knew I was okay because I could feel everything. There’s a lot of bruising and pain but I knew nothing was broken or damaged. Spikey Mike has turned into Stubborn Mike as all I was interested in was walking up the stairs to my apartment and not taking the lift. I mean I have never taken the lift in all my time there and was not about to start now. Seriously 😳

Fortunately, both Heloise and Orlando arrived soon after and we had a fun evening. Painful but fun all the same

Rather than Onwards and Upwards Together, it was more like Backwards and Downwards Together 😂

#356 So…Time to get Creative

Two key questions I am asking myself. “How do I want to contribute to the world?” and, “Can my mission inspire others to go after their dreams?”

Inspiration

I am not a drifter. I feel like I have a purpose. It is gradually taking shape. What shape, who knows but it is in my head. Breathing down my neck. Taking up valuable space and demanding that it receives attention. My attention.

It’s this positive fear again. I am anxious but in a real good way. I can feel it manifesting itself more and more. I am excited by this.

Watch this space!!!!

#355 So…Chocolate

Well it had to happen. The fall from grace, the slippery slope towards excess. The chocolate binge!

Passionate about chocolate

I went shopping yesterday and in between the aisle of tea and the aisle of biscuits, I was called by an unknown voice to the chocolate aisle. There I have the pleasure of meeting Mr Lindor from Lindt, pictured above.

They seem so innocent and being 70% dark chocolate I thought they would be good for me. Little did I know that following a very appetising healthy vegetarian meal of courgette and soya burger and new potatoes and salad, my attempt at a healthy meal collapsed into oblivion. 

I ate the whole packet while watching six episodes of Netflix. Think I finally went to bed about 1 o’clock and I’ve been paying the price this morning. But in my defence, not that there is any defence to be had, I did space out the time that I ate all these chocolates. Taking four hours to eat 237 g of chocolate is really big but I thoroughly enjoyed it and it kept me company while watching TV. Or did the TV keep me company while eating the chocolate? 🫢😋

The next day, being today, I have carried out all my exercises including my press ups where my right arm bent much more than usual. Which is perhaps the only good news of the day so far. I have called the swimming pool and it’s open so off I go to swim. I’m tired from the walking and the biking yesterday but I have to say the 10 minute cold shower, that I have taken for more than a year now every day, is extremely invigorating, refreshing and leaves me with an inner heat and glow that radiates through the whole of my body.

The fat man has left the building!

#354 So…Time to Slow down

Well it probably is because of the full moon that is expected to show its bright and shiny face tonight. Whatever is the reason, things are changing again.

Things are always changing aren’t they? Well it seems to me that they are. But it really isn’t plain sailing. Not a walk in the park. But there is a realisation that I am changing and I imagine to the relief of you all, for the better 😋.

I had my third yoga session today, this time at Camilla’s wonderful studio in Valbonne. The town is simply gorgeous. In the country, lots of wide open spaces with large houses interspersed with forests and parks and all nestled in the hills above Antibes. It truly is an idyllic setting and it is where I find Camilla and her yoga studio.

Is this me? One day! Soon!

I’m making a very big effort to be at ease out of my comfort zone. Many things have been testing me over the last few days and I am experiencing an awareness and recognition that these are possible events being sent to try me but I don’t react… Much!. That’s not fair or true as I’m very pleased with my ability to remain calm and zen and not get roped into inappropriate and meaningless discussions about nothingness that I can’t change anyway.

So what does this have to do with yoga? Well, I did not sleep too well in anticipation of travelling up to Valbonne in time and in the right frame of mind. And the last time I saw Camilla she came to Charlottes place in Antibes so this time I committed to going to her yoga studio. It meant a 30 minute walk to the bus stop where there was no guarantee that the bus would appear on time or at all. But it did. Thankfully 😅.

Camilla was in a frame of mind that necessitated concentration, attention and no flippant comments that I am prone to make to alleviate my anxiety. Still, the 1 1/2 hours passed really quickly as usual and during the wind down meditation, Camilla was very positive about my commitment, progress and desire to continually push myself.

She asked me afterwards how I was feeling. And I said that I was frustrated by not being able to do everything that I wanted to do and she said something that I have not heard before. She said that other clients of hers, who are novices at yoga, sometimes come with a lot of baggage and a past set of experiences that weigh them down. I come to the session with just myself, being 100% in the present moment and 100% giving attention to Camilla. I am dedicated and in the zone. That’s really interesting. And hugely motivating to hear.

When I left I really did feel very calm albeit tired. But I was very much in the zone and it was if time was moving slower. I was not consumed with getting from a to b as fast as possible and accepting and acknowledging that the bus would arrive when it arrives and that I will enjoy the time going through the streets of Valbonne on the way to Antibes.

I feel different. There was an energy inside me but it wasn’t making me speedy. It was a recognition of who I am and who I am today and accepting that I’m enjoying that feeling. Suddenly people all around me smiling, smiling at me and life appeared beautiful and enjoyable. So much so that I was very happy reading my book that I missed my bus stop. but very happy and smiling.

It’s a very calming feeling and yet I am progressing and managing to move my leg and my arm more than ever, irrespective of how tired I am. And that fills me with lots of hope as well as happiness right now.

Thank you once again Camilla for putting me in this space and being the wonderful and inspirational teacher that you actually are. Thank you thank you thank you 🙏