#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.

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