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#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

#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.

#395 So…Charlie Mackey

What a lovely man.

“I’m not on one side of the river saying “this is how to get across.” I’m on the same side of the river as everybody else saying “I wonder how we can cross this together.”” said Charlie Mackesy in a recent podcast on Bryony Gordon’s Mad World.

Charlie Mackesy is a British artist, illustrator and the author of
The Boy, the Mole, the Fox and the Horse.

Very poignant and I completely agree with the message. I am also very focused on achieving results together.Something else he said, was not so much about trusting in the process, but take time and enjoy the process. It is obviously the journey that is important but the key is to enjoy the process, not just to trust in the journey. This is why I like to smile and say “Bonjour, how are you?” to everyone that I pass in the street. Walking around with a smile, is so much more enjoyable than walking around with a grimace. And I am a great believer in what you give out, comes back to you fourfold. And it doesn’t hurt to smile. It costs nothing. And it provides so much pleasure and enjoyment instantly to the receiver, as well as to the giver. Good news all round.

It reminds me of the idea that if you give a smile to 5 people during the day, then they will pass on that smile, laughter, the notion of goodwill to 5 other people. And those 5 pass it on to 5 other people, and then, those 5 pass it on to another 5 people, etc. So it’s a multiplication of happiness, laughter and contentment. You can’t want more than that.

A sample illustration from the book
“What is the best way to be happy?”
“Be kind” said the horse

Be 4 years old. Not 44 years old. Don’t do things for how they look or how they make you look, but more for how they make you feel. What does your gut say? Love is the central element here, and that if you are passionate about something, then just do it and enjoy the process. Don’t worry or obsess about what it looks like. Enjoy the moment. Enjoy the passage of time where you are able to love and create your passion, whether it is leisure, work, art or something completely different. However, it manifests itself, it is the journey that is the enjoyment. If you are really loving doing it, then you can screw up the masterpiece at the end and not care about it because you have enjoyed the journey so much.

“Switch off the editor in your head and just have fun for an hour.”

#396 So…Hakuna Matata

Literally “No Worries”. Hakuna matata is actually a phrase in the East African language of Swahili that literally means “no trouble” or “no problems”. But I like the translation of “No Worries”

So in the spirit of getting better, focusing on improvement, I have been reading a book called The Source by Dr Tara Swart. It’s a book about how to train your mind, to seize the life changing opportunities that could pass you by every day unless we do something about them. Recognise them. And it relevant adopt them. As I have previously said, “Doing something is better than doing nothing” and “Good enough is good enough!”

Dr Tara Swart, a neuroscientist and executive coach with a background in psychiatry, is convinced beyond all doubt of our ability to alter how our brains work – and transform our lives. According to Amazon, “In The Source, she draws on the latest cognitive science and her experience coaching highly successful people, to reveal the secret to mastering our minds.’

She outlines a four-step plan to awaken the power of your brain that comprises of the following elements:

– Challenge ‘autopilot’ thinking and rewire your brain’s pathways to fulfil your potential

– Manifest the things you want by directing your energy towards your deepest values and ambitions

– Harness the power of visualisation to prime your brain to grab opportunities and take control of your future

– Attack life with confidence, dispel fear and avoid negative thinking

If you could have anything you want in life, what would it be? Although I’m still reading the book, it really is not one of those books that promises you the world and good fortune by following an impossible four step process. It is all about harnessing the power of your brain. And she approaches the subject from a neurological competence point of view. Very interesting!

I went to the doctor today, whom I haven’t seen in many many months. I went to get some prescriptions for my physio and my memory counsellor. And the doctor, upon hearing that I went skiing at Christmas, was so bowled over and impressed that he began recounting stories of other patients with remarkable turnaround stories. It was a wonderful moment. And the one story that sticks in my memory is about a man from Paris who was 68 years old, who had never done any sport in his life and was weighing 100 kg. Diabetic, gallstones, and many other illnesses, He went to see his Doctor who said that he needs to get some movement into his way of life. So the man started with just walking around his kitchen table, and then progressed to walking around his flat and then around the residence where he lived. All the while improving his ability to walk faster and faster. If we fast forward to 5 years from that moment, he is now the senior French champion for running 1500m. It sent shivers down my spine when I heard that and throughout my entire body. overweight and in serious ill health, and yet he completely turned around his life incredibly. In the space of seven years, Wow!!

That is enough to inspire anybody. And then the doctor said he would like to use my example of skiing to create inspiration and encouragement and motivation to those that are in need of it or are lacking in it. I was very humbled by hearing this. But I know that I am meeting very special people at important moments in this new life of mine that are reinforcing my capacity to carry on and pursue my dreams.

The clear skies of Sceaux

And then, when I walked outside, I stumbled (not literally) across a woman who I let through the gate first, as a gentleman would do. She very politely thanked me, and then I wished her a wonderful afternoon to which she replied that she was going to watch the ending sunset 🌅. Lovely!!sunset. Lovely!

Hakuna Matata.!!

#394 So…Pain is Pain but Suffering is Optional

I’m not sure where I heard this saying from, but what a wonderful saying! Everybody has pain one way or another. And by everybody, I mean everybody. Either physical, emotional, or mental, or a combination of all three.

I have just searched on the Internet and the actual quote has been attributed to the Dalai Lama amongst others. And the actual quote is “Pain is inevitable. Suffering is optional.”

Neither pain nor suffering but pure joy!

According to the city of Hope National Medical Center in California,“Pain is a physical sensation or signal, indicating an event within the body. Suffering is the interpretation of that event and involves thought police judgements..”

So pain is physical and suffering is an interpretation of the pain. By acknowledging that we have pain, just like we have love, difficulty, sadness and joy etc, we complete our reality. But it’s what we do with that pain, that love, that joy, that defines us. The acknowledgement of it defines us.

So is joy a physical sensation? I think it is the momentary experience of a positive emotion. So, moments of joy, I would think of a smile and for me, that is a physical sensation.

Back to pain. We can suffer in silence,or we can make a lot of noise or demonstrate in a myriad of different ways and emotions. The pain is still a reality. Someone said to me that if you run from an issue or problem, it will follow you. But if you stop, turn around and look it in the eye, it will run from you. How true.

So, for me, it becomes a question of living with what we have, embracing what we have, loving we have and endeavouring to make the most out of what we have. I do get caught up from time to time in my own thoughts, issues, dilemmas, etc, but more and more I can often find a way out or a way round the issue. And bingo, I thought about the pain has disappeared and been replaced by a another daughter motion. And so it goes on. I live in the present not in the past.

I often have thought that my blog and the posts that I write are too positive. What I mean by that, is that I have thought that perhaps I should mix it up a bit with some more soul-searching,Introspective emotions that are quite simply depressing and depressive. But I realise is that is not me. I am a glass 3/4 full guy, Who naturally find the positive in many things. Everything. It’s kind of bizarre, as I chuckle to myself, that I am actually articulating a desire to be depressed, knowing that I am not depressed.

I don’t deny that there is never say die attitude is tiring. That my right side gives me pain and it’s certainly uncomfortable. But I do not dwell on it. I have too much that is going right for me. Both in my body and in my life.

Beautiful!

Nice one geezer!

#393 So…Universe Calling

Patience is not the ability of waiting but how you act while waiting. A quote by Joyce Meyers

Patience is all around. It is something that, as my Eurostar is speeding through luscious green fields on the way back from England to Paris, France, that I have more and more. Albeit it is hard to see through the grimy window of the racing Eurostar. Still it is mood enhancing. I read somewhere that it is very good for neuro plasticity to dream while looking out if the window.

So what am I dreaming about? Well I have a “Mona Lisa” half smile on my face as I remember a beautiful Blue Tit bird quietly pecking at the seed stick outside the window of my Mother’s kitchen. The bird was seemingly oblivious to its surroundings and was interested solely on pecking at the wonderful food stick on the cold but fresh and bright Sunday morning. It was liberating. The bird was free.

And immediately the phone rang and it was my brother John from Turkey. I took that as a sign that all will be well in this world. I am praying very hard to the Universe for the best possible outcome given the circumstances. We shall know more tomorrow.

Blue Tit pecking away

My mother worries. Of course she does. Any mother would. So I believe that it was meant to be that Charlotte and I spent the weekend with Muv and Nige to help them through the difficult time and situation by bringing a different energy to their lives.

It was a beautiful visit packed full of surprise events and gentle moments of complicity and compassion.

Poor Charlotte, arriving by plane at Gatwick and getting a train via London, did not arrive in Canterbury until 8.30pm. I arranged for a taxi to pick her up and that is where it started to go astray.

The woman operating the taxi desk , when I mentioned where my parents lived, was adamant that they had recently dropped off another Kent to the same address and more coincidentally it was with the same driver. Apparently I even used the same directions to avoid some roadworks. So it did seem like Dave but I didn’t manage to confirm it as the line was suddenly lost and I was left hanging on the end of emptiness. Still I was kind of spooked that it might have been Dave, my twin. And the receptionist adamantly had confirmed that he even sounded like me. So it must have been him.

Speaking to Charlotte, she was reassured that the driver knew where to go. The time ticked on and it’s still no Charlotte.

There were quite a few phone calls that really didn’t advance the ability to understand where exactly she was. as she’s never been to my parents place before, it was dark and she is Swedish. Still, to cut a long story short because it was a very long story and a long night, me and my father eventually found her in the middle of nowhere outside some persons house, who was lodging there and didn’t know anyone in the area.

Furthermore, my father and I had driven to another part of the valley to try and find where she had been dropped off by the taxi driver, assuming this will be the place most logical to have dropped her. I even pinned the location of where we were to her. Still, we eventually located her and came back and all is well that ends well.

Walking on the Minnis

The rest of the weekend was delightful, and certainly less eventful. It’s sad to have left, but I am very happy to have visited my parents with Charlotte and we shall certainly be back.

Very happy 

#397 So…Patience is a Virtue

I received this from a dear friend,Tony H, who had it sent from a friend in the USA. Amazing and wonderfully motivating. Thank you Tony thank you 🙏 

There was a farmer who grew excellent quality corn. Every year he won the award for the best grown corn. One year a newspaper reporter interviewed him and learned something interesting about how he grew it. The reporter discovered that the farmer shared his seed corn with his neighbors. “How can you afford to share your best seed corn with your neighbors when they are entering corn in competition with yours each year?” the reporter asked.

Tony in Malaga

“Why sir,” said the farmer, “Didn’t you know? The wind picks up pollen from the ripening corn and swirls it from field to field. If my neighbors grow inferior corn, cross-pollination will steadily degrade the quality of my corn. If I am to grow good corn, I must help my neighbors grow good corn.”

So is with our lives… Those who want to live meaningfully and well must help enrich the lives of others, for the value of a life is measured by the lives it touches. And those who choose to be happy must help others find happiness, for the welfare of each is bound up with the welfare of all.

Awesome 👏. Tony is a Spurs fan and yesterday his team engineered a fabulous victory over Manchester City.

And the upshot of the victory is that my team, Arsenal, remain top of the league!! Thank you very much, Tony.

#392 So…Peaceful Retreat

Peaceful Retreat sums up exactly where I am because it is so idyllic. So tranquil. I sometimes forget how beautiful it is and how calm it is.

And suddenly the sky seems to light up, and this amazing sunset appeared.

Beautiful Sunset

I have arrived at my parents’ beautiful home after travelling from Paris to London and then down to Canterbury. It was a very uneventful trip, but one that was full of memories that kept on flooding back.

Nothing really in particular, but memories all the same, half baked or fleeting glimpses, dipping into my reservoir of past experiences. It reminds me of the sieve and how Dumbledore used to pull out memories using his wand. And it has made me very peaceful and content to be here.

I was welcomed by Zorba in a very boisterous and beautiful way.

Zorba after the walk

And it followed the warm welcome from my parents at the station.

Wonderful hot soup with baked fresh bread with a myriad number of different cheeses and a salad with an unbelievable vinaigrette. I was in my element.

I’m really happy to be here. And Charlotte arrives tonight. 🥳🤩

#391 So…Am I Becoming A Writer?

I know this sounds very pretentious, but it is not with that in mind that I am saying that I am a writer. It is the manifestation of a future event. I really hope to be one and the weird and wonderful path that I’m on, is leading me towards that.

On Monday, I took the plunge and contacted a publisher in America, whom I had been recommended to contact, asking her for guidance and giving her the bare bones of what had become my story in the last five years. And she replied immediately setting up a call yesterday, which I duly had. WOW 🤩

It went well. Sort of well. I had prepared a very brief synopsis of what happened before the accident, the details of the accident and my life since the accident. The bizarre element here is that she already knew about me. She had obviously read my letter, accessed some posts from my blog, and maybe even reached out to Edy for some clarification.

Sharon Lund is from Maui and greeted me by saying Aloha. The greeting is a traditional Hawaiian greeting and is in essence, the combination of representing or symbolising love, peace, compassion, and mutual understanding of respect. Aloha means living in harmony with people and land around you, with mercy, sympathy, grace, and kindness. When greeting another person with Aloha, there is mutual regard and affection.

Sharon has had 2 near death experiences and before the second one, she had been assisting people infected with cancer and dying from AIDS complications to share their life stories by leaving their legacy and then assisting them to create a memorial honoring their lives. It is an incredibly moving story, and one that greatly humbled me.

Sharon Lund

And then she went on to found Sacred Life Publishers, helping people all over the world who have a compelling spiritual story to tell, to make a difference in the world. Amazing!

One of my affirmations is all about receiving needs and information before I even ask. I really feel like this has just been answered by the universe. Thank you 🙏. And now the work must begin.

To be honest, it’s really exciting. Nervous excitement, but excitement all the same. Let’s see where this goes.

#390 So…Cloudy Coffee

This post has nothing to do with coffee. I’m not even drinking coffee. Lots of herbal tea but no coffee. It’s more about a state of mind. The realisation of what has brought me to this point in my life. It brings to mind song by Stevie Nicks includes the phrase “clouds in my coffee.”

Verveine Tea

I don’t want to change the past. It is what it is. And it is what had lead me to where I am today. Who I am. Right now, I’m very happy with the wonderful people that have come into my life as well as those who have continued to remain in my life. Many have come and gone.

Laughter, happiness, joy, and fun. These have all been present in my life to date. As has suffering, pain, sadness, and selfishness. The latter being much more present than the former. I am talking about pre Coma. Post Coma, I am reshaping who I am, rediscovering what makes me tick and creating new memories and activities. And friends! It’s like I have a new zest for life and I am embracing it as much as I can.

This is not the time to go into the details, but it is a moment to reflect. Reflect on the how and on the why.

“Are you happy with who you are and what you’ve got?”, “How do you feel about what has happened in your life and how are is it going to manifest itself in the new chance that is to become your new life?” Good questions. It is exactly what I am contemplating at this moment.

I have just come out of my meeting with my Orthophoniste, Laura. And we had a great discussion about my cognitive abilities and how I am different with my new experiences. And how I am endeavouring to enjoy the new Mike. And to treat him as a new beginning, with new hope and enjoyment.

I have been almost obsessed with the old Mike. Cognitively. By this I mean I am trying to remember how I was and how I was able to process information so quickly. To get back what I have lost or rather the level of intelligence I believe I had. “Believe” being the key word here as I have an impression of where I was and how I was. But it is only a supposition. I , in reality, have no actual idea or recollection. I have a notion (of where I was and how I was) but no real memory of this state. I am not even sure that this state is something I should be even contemplating as it is not a fact. Not a fact that I can validate. In to deep. Getting lost. Man overboard. Throw him the life vest. Yadda yadda yadda.

But now it’s as if the page is turning. I would love to say that I no longer obsessed over my past abilities but that is not true. The obsession has been reduced enormously. It is still there but I am managing it so much better and hopefully it will have its place in my memory only. Soon I hope. Soon I believe.

I feel ashamed of certain parts of my life. The dark side. But it has made me who I am now. Whether that is due to the surgery and resulting coma that led me here, or that I’ve got to this point in my life through my experiences in the past, the point is that I am here. Loudly. Loud and clear. Well, perhaps less of the clear.

Off to talk with Carol, my psychotherapist. I really appreciate these sessions. But it has been a while and much has happened in between. But I am in a good space. The rain has been replaced by sunshine. Rain here means snow in the Alps so I wish my twin and Nick and Dick a marvellous week of poudreuse and fantastic skiing ⛷️.

Life is getting better. Slowly but surely. But it is. 🙏

#389 So…This is Weird

I am in a really funny place. I’m sorry to say that I’m talking about my head. And not about where I am in terms of physical location. Actually where I am, in the park of Sceaux is anything, but funny. It’s beautiful, tranquil, friendly and quiet.

So the only sound, I can hear, is the distant chiming of the call to service at the local church, a far off aeroplane up up up in the sky, and little birds, tweeting and chattering, because they have so much to say.

Beautiful

So why is it a funny place? Maybe I should use the word strange or odd. The point being that there is a real healing factor when I embrace nature. Everything just suddenly feels a bit better. And by everything i mean life. My life at the moment. In this moment. So much better. More approachable. More amenable more digestible. I can’t seem to find the right word. But this the feeling after getting to the park. Walking lots of kilometres. Or so it seems like it.

Every day I manage to go for a walk in the park. It’s my go to place. One where I can find serenity, calmness, and be able to reason with myself in a calm manner.

Why do I come to the park? What is wrong or rather what is troubling me to necessitate going to my go to place? I am feeling anxious, uncertain, unsure and lost. Charlotte tells me that its a reaction to the full moon in cancer, and that many of her patients and friends are also experiencing similar symptoms and issues.

That may be the case in explaining the what and the how but doesn’t explain the curiosity of understanding the feeling yourself. The specifics appertaining to me.

I have a small circle of friends. All good friends, but they have their own lives to lead, problems to solve and memories to create. There are times like right now where I feel alone in my journey and fight to get better. Very alone but I just gotta get on with it. No one else is going to do it for me. I mean! Seriously! And I do. Get on with it. I’m not looking for sympathy. Everyone has their own difficulties and problems every day. So my therapy is in expressing my feelings, positive or negative, in this forum. It really helps me. Helps me to deal with my feelings and thoughts. It allows me to be curious about what it is and then move on.

I have an application based on my time of birth and certain other factors that throws out every day, sensible and motivating, and sometimes exciting challenges based on my horoscope. Called the pattern. And it has been pretty accurate. In fact, it has been very accurate the last few days informing me that I am going to be full of emotions and that I should take it easy today.

As I have said a few times before, why do I not treat myself and in the same way that I treat my most precious loved ones. I am too hard on myself. I need to show myself some love and kindness and self compassion. It’s just so bloody hard. Doing this. All this. Exercising. Walking. Thinking. Dealing with lawyers. Being nice and kind to myself. Being nice and kind to others. That last point comes naturally which is good to know. There have been really quite a few times when I would like to have given up. Even give up. Now! Dark depressing moments of despair.

But I choose not to. I don’t entertain dark negative thoughts. At least I try not to. And I know how to banish them but they always come back. So there is a lot of banishing going on around here.

So here I am, once again in the park, by myself, accompanied by my thoughts as always. Where is all this going.? I would love to know. But I believe in the flow of life and living my own personal journey towards awesomeness. To have “highs” you need to have “lows”.

Always the sun

I’m not sure there is any conclusion here. It is what it is. It comes and goes, it passes. Time for me to continue my walk and get some lunch. And continue with my day. Always full of experiences. Never a dull day.