#352 So…Footloose

Well hello! Hello foot! You have really come alive and become responsive and I am really proud of you! Absolutely incredible feeling.

My foot has just started to bend, to be responsive and it’s an incredible feeling. I think I have just said that but you know? So What! It’s progress and makes me have a beaming smile 😃.

It wouldn’t be right if I didn’t include THE song

Back in time

Been working so hard
I’m punching my card
Eight hours, for what?
Oh, tell me what I got

I gotten this feeling…

Tonight I gotta cut loose, footloose
Kick off your Sunday shoes…

Wonderful feeling

Happy Sunday

Thank goodness for the small things in life. It’s so beautiful to be aware and cognitive of these small changes

Onwards and upwards together

#351 So…Reflection

There is always good news. It is whether it is preceded or followed by bad news. We do know that after bad news there is always good news. So, when life is not going so well, I have learnt to lean in and commit and accept it, knowing that good news is just round the corner. The bad news doesn’t really last all that long and it is always followed by good news. Or at least different news other than the bad news that is consuming me at a particular time.

And guess what? It’s all related to sleep. By that I mean the quality of sleep as well as the length of sleep. If we are tired the gremlins arrive and take you down the slippery slope to the quagmire which is where the bad news lies in wait. And it’s all about how you deal with the quagmire in the busy moment and find the right method to get up and out of it to the happy safe space called good news.

Last night we went out for a wonderful meal. A thaï meal 🥘 that comprised of my favourite starter, Tom Yum Gung, followed by Prawns with lemongrass and coconut milk 🍤 and then ginger ice cream. Yum 😋. Tom yum or tom yam is a type of hot and sour Thai soup, usually cooked with shrimp. The words “tom yam” are derived from two Thai words. Tom refers to the boiling process, while yam means ‘mixed’.

It was a long time since I’ve had such tasty and wonderful Thai food and I really enjoyed and appreciated it. We just sat chatting for hours in each other’s company. Wonderful.

And then thats when the difficulties arrived. We didn’t sleep that well and with my tapping foot that I was thinking unconsciously unaware of as I was sleeping, sending Charlotte to the other room in the middle of night and then my waking up twice in the night due to the cold night and lack of warmth. Suffice to say, this morning was hard work and, for the first time since I started doing my press ups, which must be over a year ago, I almost didn’t complete them. But I did. But it was a sign of things to come. The downward spiral into the bad news section.

We took Winton to his kickboxing class and I saw that it was a trip down memory lane with my Krav Maga days. And it immediately reminded me of happier days and then immediately the reason for why I am walking how I am walking. A blow to my nose that led to an operation or three, led to my coma, my wheelchair and how I am today. Add to that the three different conversations that were being called to my attention all at the same time, in French, while Charlotte was talking to me in English. Massive brain overload. I couldn’t cope, I started feeling nauseous and had to go for a walk outside. To be by the sea is my pacifier and so I immediately headed for the marina just to catch a glimpse of the sea and the bobbing boats sandwiched between the clear blue water and the rich blue sky. Aaaagh! Bliss.

My paradise

The afternoon was spent in Charlotte’s company, just following her from health food shop to garden centre to the vet, in the hope of leading a life with a semblance of normality. It worked to some extent. And then I get back and see some friends who are having their own difficulties and it puts it into perspective. Everybody has gremlins. Everybody has issues and problems and it’s how you overcome them that creates the difference between people.

We had a wonderful little moment in the vet where we were early for Lucky’s appointment with the vet, so we ended up meditating for 20 beautiful blissful minutes. It was like being in another world in another time and so restorative.

I saw this book at the vets
“The life of Lucky – no worries”

So what does this all mean? First of all there is an enormous relief in writing this blog. With what I have been going through in my days, recounting these moments in my blog relieves me from keeping the pain and moments locked up inside me. I also use this blog as an aide mémoire to help my memory come back. And it’s working. Albeit slowly. And thirdly it serves as a opportunity to share with people in similar positions and situations that what I am going through every minute of every day is bearable. Tolerable. Good days lead into Bad days that get transformed into Good days again. And so the cycle goes on.

And in my meditation this morning, there was so much wisdom. Ariana Reines said “ Come to me with all your imperfections, warts and all, and I will tell you what is real.” Wabi Sabi is the Japanese word celebrating the beauty of imperfections. I am a universe of traits and peculiarities and features and only when they become fused together do I become me. Ariana said “I see what you cannot. I see that you are absolutely, maddeningly, irrevocably perfect 😍.” Beautiful!! You are you. I am me!!

What a day. As they all are. Maddeningly, irrevocably, absolutely perfect 🤩. Now I have a massive smile and I am in the good news part of my day.

So be it. See to it. Just do it.

#350 So…Yoga

What an amazing experience. What’s more, what an amazing teacher. A big big heartfelt thank you goes out to Camilla, my yoga teacher.

Camilla

So I am a Yogi. Yippee 🙌. Who would have thought that a few years ago. I mean, come on, give me a break! But it’s true. I am a Yogi. Albeit a novice one. But you have to start somewhere.

A Yogi is a person who follows and believes in the basic principles of yoga, which is all about cultivating healthy relationships to oneself, then to others, and then to the universe. Practice is best served up regularly. A Yoga teacher is a person who creates a safe space for others to practice (aka being welcoming and nonjudgmental) and facilitates the yogic process (teaching deep breathing and postures and giving students space to have their own experience.)

Camilla is an absolute exemple of this. She is so full of encouragement, always smiling 😊 and totally nonjudgmental and incredibly experienced in Yoga teaching. In fact she has over 20 years experience. It is an absolute pleasure to be taught by someone with such a positive perspective and outlook on life with so much experience. It makes for a really enjoyable experience. And I asked her today, if she really enjoys teaching yoga. And she replied in no uncertain terms “absolutely, I love it!”

Camilla practices Iyengar Yoga. “The teaching is oriented towards gradual progress and to achieve the maximum benefits in your practice. Iyengar yoga is recognised for it”s thorough exploration of asanas or yoga movements. Props may be used to develop or improve the postural actions. The support allows injured, elderly or ill students to experience the benefits of the postures.” That’s me! 🥳

On Camilla’s website is the following: “Change is not something that we should fear. Rather it is something that we should welcome. Without change, nothing in this world will ever grow or blossom and no one in this world would ever move forward to become the person that they are meant to be.” What a truly inspirational quote from B K S Iyengar.

BKS Iyengar

This is my second session so I am truly a novice at this. I am a great believer in passion, grit, determination in my journey towards my goal of awesomeness. And every day I am thankful for the small amounts of progress that I witness every day. Physical and mental progress.

I think back to the time when I never thought I would get out of a wheelchair. And I did. And then there’s the time I thought I would never be able to walk properly, without the aid of walking sticks. And I did. It’s kind of ironic that three years after the accident, I am back using walking sticks again , this time to help me become much more mobile and dexterous in my desire to go skiing this Christmas.

Whatever happens, this journey that I am being taken on, never ceases to amaze me. It continually throws up surprises and puts me into situations that I would never have thought possible. And with the mantra of “Kents never give up”, I am very willing and able to try my hand at anything. This is because this is my journey. And I’m living it to the best of my ability every day. So that includes Yoga 🧘‍♂️.

Back to the story and the script. Back to Camilla. It’s going to be interesting to see how I progress but I am relishing the challenge and I’m really looking forward to whatever comes next. It’s all part of this fabulous journey.

Quote from BKS Iyengar

#349 So…Hallowe’en

💀👻🎃💀👻🎃💀👻🎃💀👻🎃💀👻🎃

What a day. What an evening.!!!

Winton in full preparation
The Scary 3
Shop decorations

Wonderful Halloween. So many people in states of fancy dress. Shocking, fearful, frightening costumes. Lots and lots of children and teenagers rushing around collecting sweets. It seems that nobody asked for Tricks these days, they all just give Treats. It’s a mad rush and grab at every shop with all the kids in scary costumes holding enormous buckets, almost demanding sweets. To shop keepers happily oblige. The parents accompany the children to begin with to ensure they don’t get up to any mischief until it just becomes totally unmanageable and a resort to finding a table and chairs to sit down and have the obligatory Halloween drink while the kids run rampant. But it is a controlled rampant.

All in all and really happy and scary night was had by all

#348 So…Work Out

“You cannot swim for new horizons until you have the courage to lose sight of the shore” said William Faulkner

“People may forget what you said. People may forget what you did. But they will never forget how you made them feel” said Maya Angelou

Two very inspirational quotes. Two quotes that mean a lot to me and resonate most appropriately in here and now.

I am thinking about how far I’ve come on this amazing incredible journey of mine. I’m leaving today and I talk about being in a coma for eight weeks, waking up the day after the doctors when does it turn off my life support because of their needs for beds, fills me with pride and determination and courage

Since that fateful day in May 2019, I’ve been on a very personal and emotional journey. And I am still on it. I believe that the journey is the most important element of my life and not the destination. I’m so grateful and thankful to have met so many truly exceptional and wonderful people. Some of you have a figured prominently in my life. Some of you have passed through and some of you have been very fleeting visitors. But you have all had an enormous impact on me and my life. You have helped me get to where I am today..

My meditation today amongst other elements, focused on the fact that people might not always remember what you did or what you said and they will always remember how they felt with the words that are used to communicate with them, written or verbal. How true!

Yesterday, I went to the woods for a walk with Charlotte and Winton and her parents, and I started trying my luck out on the exercise machines that are conveniently placed in and around the park. And while being able to get on each machine and keep my feet and my arms attached and able to actually perform some exercises, I was reminded how far I have come.

I don’t take any of this progress lightly. But I am hugely proud of how far I have come and humbled by the incredible support that I have received and continue to receive.

Working out

Of course there is still a long way to go. But I am now in my state of awesomeness. I’m so grateful for what I have and how that continues to improve day after day. I don’t look at what I miss, and I still do not have. For me that is foolish and does not help or serve me in the way that I look to improve.

My paradise

As I am writing this blog post, I’m looking out onto my favourite paradise, and I feel calm, at peace but also very resilient and eager to continue progressing.

Onwards and upwards together!!

#347 So…Change of Scenery

According to the Pattern, which I subscribe to but unfortunately at this moment I don’t remember when or why 🙃. But all the same, I thotoenjoy it and moreover I am inspired by the content. After reading it, I feel unbelievably energised, invigorated and alive. Actually, I think it is all down to having a good night sleep as well.

Here is what the Pattern said about today according to my specifics and astrological chart based on time and place of birth etc.

“This is an incredible time to act on any dreams and wishes that you may have forgotten about. If you’ve recently been feeling pessimistic about the future, right now you may feel as though you have more options than you’d thought.”

That is so uncanny. I forget about most things although it’s getting better every day. It’s just incredible that I have an app telling me that I forget things and I should act on them now. Right now. So true. And very inspiring.

My first meditation today was focused on change of scenery. The second started off saying that gratitude, astonishment and awakening of consciousness are important to my development. In creating awe. I am in search of awesomeness. I’m in search of awe. Creating awe. Awe inspires. How can awe be described ? It’s like we can consider ourselves very small but at the same time a part of something much much bigger. Like the Grand Canyon or a skyscraper. I believe so much in awe. It has been and continues to be part of my daily set of affirmations morning and night which is the basis of my get up and go, my motivation and desire to improve and get better. To me, my state of awesomeness is where I’m fully in tune with my mind and my body and accepting of it. And loving it. And most importantly, no longer hoping or searching for improvements.

Awesomeness. Inside this new reality, improvements can surely and will certainly continue to occur although they will be no longer be part of my hopes and dreams. That is because I will have achieved and reached my state of awesomeness. My dream. Total acceptance of the person that I am or will become.become. The one that I love. Me myself and I.

And right now I am reading my book, you can heal your life by Alison Hay (very inspirational) and I am in the middle of it. While seated at the airport, I opened my kindle and Alison was recounting how a mother’s son wanted to become an actor but only had 3 months to live. As he learned to experience the joy of being himself, the parts in plays opened up for him. And he lives to this day. WOW !

How is this happening ? I am going with the flow of course. Which means I know that all my life is already pre-written and I am just enacting it out. But it’s so incredibly amazing that these events and occurrences continue to happen. If I am honest, which I always am now, it’s kind of scary. But then that immediately reminds me of the fact that there are 2 types of fear. I think I wrote about this before. Positive and negative. Positive fear is an early warning system by our bodies that something amazing is about to happen. Lean in to it. But it manifests itself as fear , the kind that we are hard wired to feel and it’s easy to think that all fear is negative. But it’s not the case. No way.

At the airport

As an aside, I also choose to love myself. I may think that better photos of me have been taken at other times but this is the best representation of me at that particular moment and I am ok with that. It’s not often I see myself in glasses 🤓.

Now we are boarding. Onwards and upwards together in this brave new world of mine. And I am loving it 😍

#346 So…A Trip Down Memory Lane

I am in England, at Staddlecombe with Muv and Nige. And I am embarking on a trip down memory lane. I’m looking to rediscover my childhood and with that regain another part of my memory. At this moment, I don’t remember very much and have very sketchy details of my time in Patrixbourne, England.

Muv (my mother) showed me all these photographs that John has very kindly sorted and arranged into different folders. They were all photos of certain events while I lived at Hode Farm, in Patrixbourne, where I was brought into this world and brought up.

Hode Farm

These were emotional times. These were also very happy times and I have good memories of certain times and events in my childhood, characterised by wonderful, moving photos that depict my life when my mother came back from Australia to give birth to me and my twin, David.

It is turning out to be a very informative discovery of my childhood. And the overriding feeling of safety and love and warmth permeates my spirit when looking at all these photos and having discussions about them with my mother.

My Grandfather

Furthermore, I really enjoy walking in the countryside, going to see my newfound friend Rusty the Shetland pony and taking Zorba for a walk, many walks, in the woods and fields around where my parents live in Staddlecombe.

Having a surprise visit by Esther and hearing all her news was beautiful. We even went for a walk down our own memory lane. She is indeed and will always remain a truly wonderful and close friend of mine.

Esther

Evenings are marked by wonderful meals produced by my mother. With much love and laughter we are then entertained by Orlando and his card tricks. Tonight we went out for a pub meal which was delicious

Parents and Orlando

And I bumped into a surprise friend from Antibes in the pub in Bridge. Incredible. A big shout out to Sophie, Nick Sevier’s darling sister.

We have just had a lovely visit from my cousin Margaret who is always so full of beans, positivity and enthusiasm. A real ray of sunshine.

It is a very special time for me to be here. One full of reflection and lost thoughts while walking in the woods interspersed with fabulous visits from close friends and family. Much appreciation of time standing still and acknowledging and appreciating what is and what was. There is no urgency, no need to rush. There is time to do everything. It is indeed a very simple and agreeable moment of time that I am enjoying immensely. And the Sun has just come out and put its hat on.

Standing still, having fun and enjoying the time with my parents. Beautiful scenery and backdrops of rolling hills and valleys, swaying branches with rustling leaves. So idyllic.

Autumn in full swing
Staddlecombe
Fields next to Staddlecombe

#345 So…A Totally (Un)Believable Experience

Wow!! WOW!!! 😮 UNBELIEVABLE WOW!!!!!!

So what happened? I made an appointment to see a Magnetiser, a friend called Smail, who practices Magnetism. What is Magnetism I hear you ask? Magnetism, and Reiki, which is the brother to Magnetism, are healing methods using the laying on of hands, or rather the use of hands to create or stimulate a healing energy to relieve pain.

I made an appointment to meet Smail on Friday lunchtime. During the one hour session, I have never been as still as I was, lying on his healing table, while he conducted his practice. It consisted of moving his hands up and down and over my body, occasionally touching it and sweeping the painful energy out, all the time accompanying his actions with many swishing and swooshing sounds.

Smail the Magnetiser

He was incredibly thorough. And at the end of the session, Smail told me to note and recognise my different changes of state and feelings that I would inevitably go through over the next few days.

Upon leaving, I immediately felt a lightness in my right leg, almost a floating feeling but nothing in my arm. And then, for a bizarre reason that I cannot explain, I started to have a full on cold. I could not stop sneezing, shivering and feeling rundown. And yet I had an incredible sense of energy and vitality in my body. The rest of the day, I spent having a siesta, walking, and shopping. I felt drained and therefore decided that I would not do too much today.

After an okay night sleep, not superb, I went about my normal daily routine of exercises and journaling. I felt curiously alive in spite of my heavy cold. I mean, where did that come from?

So I decided to go swimming, where I actually swam with my arms and my legs carrying out a large number of different exercises, much much more than what I would normally do in a swimming session. As usual after swimming, I felt on top of the world go by despite my raging cold.

After swimming

After swimming, I went home to a very large bowl of pasta, five minute siesta, and I then thought I would go for a walk in the park. It was a glorious day and I met so many people that I knew, who all commented on my progress. It’s so encouraging and motivating to meet people who, without any prompting, let me know how much progress I am making as I am not able to benchmark my own progress due to limited memory at the moment. But it is getting better. Much better.

Crazily, I walked around the park, up and down the 50 steps. All this after my tiring swimming session. I met Veronique two times and had a long chat with her under the Parisian sun. I met Dominique and husband, and people that I’m not even sure where I know them from, who kindly said hello and informed me of the progress I was making.

I walked much more than I would normally walk and coupled with the swimming, was beginning to feel very tired. But my mind was in a different state. Just wanted to continue and not giving in or succumbing to the pressure of wanting to do nothing. I went shopping and bought the customary chocolate dessert and ice creams.

I was in two minds as to whether I would go biking or not, but then I remembered I had mentioned that I would go biking to Veronique and so biking it was.

45 minutes later and still with my full on cold, I had a shower and made dinner and settled in for the evening. And evening of football followed by watching a fabulous series about the creation of Spotify. I didn’t even realise the time and I believe I went to bed at 1:30 am.

I had a really bizarre night. I had a sensation that I slept seven or eight hours, and yet I remember getting up a couple of times to go to the loo. Or at least I thought I did. It’s all a bit of a blur. But the one thing that I noticed when I woke up was that my cold had gone. WOW 😮.

It is almost as if much of the bad energy in my body has left. I’m not sure if it has been replaced. What I do know is that I feel different, bizarre, wanting to understand but just going with the flow.

Obviously I still have the pain in my right arm and right leg but overall it feels reduced. It’s like I have a coping mechanism inside me allowing me to function as normally as possible in spite of these ailments. Interestingly, I did not use the word pain.

So it’s Sunday morning, we shall see what will happen today. Suffice to say that I feel energised spiritually, mentally and physically, albeit in different ways.

Thank you Smile. 🙏🙏🙏🙏🙏. Thank you very very much and I look forward to seeing you again when I’m back from my visit in England and the south of France.

#344 So…Cloudy Mindset

The common theme here is tiredness. I know, I know. I am perhaps overdoing it!! But I am of the mind that my progress is down to me and only me. I rely on many wonderful different people to help me, but it is me who books and makes the appointments. It is me that sets the pace. Set my pace and there is much activity in between the different sessions with my wonderful women that constitute real progress. The continued walking, the press ups and exercises that I have been doing for more than a year now every day. The cold shower, the biking, the electro stimulation therapy with the Saebo etc. Is it an obsession? Has it become an obsession? Put it this way, I am very committed to reaching my state of awesomeness and I am endeavouring to maximise my time in order to accelerate my recovery. Call it an obsession? I call it perseverance and grit. I am very passionate about this.

Yesterday was no different. Having got up very early, following an emotional and exhausting day the day before, I took the plane to Paris and immediately fell into my Parisian schedule. The difference this time was that everything happened on the same day. That is swimming, walking in the park and bike riding.

Pleasure after pain – swimming

Don’t get me wrong, I thrive with these somewhat gruelling schedules because afterwards I can see and experience the difference in my mental and physical capacity. And once more during the exercise, be it at the swimming, walking or biking, I have real moments of pleasure and enjoyment. Moments of reflection, noticing specific details like the green macaw parrots, while on my bike, flying to avoid the raindrops outside my window. How the wind rustles first the tops of the trees and then progresses down to the smaller trees. I really appreciate these moments of perception and clarity because it is like time is standing still and all that I am noticing is this particular detail. It was the same on the walk where I just stopped and looked onto the ground where I saw a wasp that was upside down. It was struggling to right itself and with a little help from myself, it was able to get back onto its own feet and then fly away. I really felt at that moment that it was smiling and saying thank you to me.

I keep bumping into people that I know who are very gracious in their motivating comments regarding my progress. It seems there are lots of men and women in my residence who are looking out the window and watching me walk. It was the same again in the swimming pool. While I was carrying out my exercises at one end of the pool, there was a lady getting out of the pool who turned and said “you are making incredible extraordinary progress”. That was such a kind and benevolent set of words and yet all I wanted to say was “how are you progressing?” What is curious is that I did not say that and up until this moment I am berating myself for not having said it. I don’t want to appear as selfish yet I think the comment was made in the moment out of pure recognition for the progress that I had made. So why do I beat myself about this.? It probably is because of the fact that I’m tired.

Following the walking and the biking, I was extremely hungry and watching the football (which we won 🙌) , I prepared a tasty and copious vegetarian boulgour meal. And of course that’s when it all started to go wrong. Two ice creams, one chocolate gateau and one Greek yoghurt later I forced myself to go to bed to read to avoid plunging myself into more culinary delights!

I was so tired and aching all over that it was very difficult for me to find a comfortable position to go to sleep. Where is amazing idea to take my other enormous pillow and use it as a support for my arm to avoid the pain in the disc vertebrae. And it worked. I slept well until 5:30 am and then again until 6:45 am.

Now the cloudy mindset is because I woke up and it was pitch black. I have these exercises, my routine, that I go back into, to help pass the time of day. The cloudiness is based on the while I exercise. Even in the 10 min cold shower. Thoughts that are going around in my head about being in France, what’s going to happen next, and this incessant desire to worry about controlling the uncontrollables. Yeah they are controllable through an ability to forward plan. However, for me right now, at this moment, it is not possible. I struggle even to get my head around my planning for next week with my mother in England and my subsequent visit to the south of France to see Charlotte. Which still has not been planned or organised.

Clouds in my coffee by Carly Simon comes to mind. You’re so vain.

Clouds in my coffee

#343 So…The End of a Season

It’s a beautiful day in paradise. Waves very gently lapping the seashore, no wind just a tiny little breeze making the tops of the reeds waver. Sun worshippers lying reading e-books, playing with the telephones, walking the dogs kicking the football. No noise. No shrieking kids. No loud raucous drunken behaviour. This is Salis beach with only the people from Antibes here. Gently going about their day. It is indeed a beautiful day in paradise that is also a very sad one

Last day in paradise 😢

Today is my last day on the beach. Emma, my Aqua gym instructor, who has been working me very hard in the water here in Antibes, is now switching upon my request to Forest work or should I say forest bathing in anticipation for skiing with the kids at Christmas, I am not sure that there will be much skiing, at least for me, but I’m going to give it a go. More about that another day.

We walked up and down the waters edge with the water just below the knees on the way out and on the way back just above the knees. Tiring. Followed by lots of arm and leg exercises in the water left my left leg 🤣 tired and my right leg exhausted! And then floating on my back where Emma is holding onto my right arm and then i performed many different exercises like raising my legs rising up and down and in and out and left and right. This was then followed by a series of exercises on the steps and carrying a weight in my right hand. All in all a very tiring work out that was over in a flash. The time passed so quickly.

The steps

This is awesome. This is the first time that my right leg has actually gone up and down like my left leg. In the sea. So I am incredibly grateful and happy about this phenomenal progress. This outweighs all of the pain and aches that I am feeling from not having used these muscles for three years.

It was a particular strenuous workout because I was exercising my right knee muscles that have not really been exercising for at least three years. This is because my leg, when lifting it out of the water, would tend to go to the side. But today was different. Today, my leg rose up as it should do and not at all to the side. Yippee 🙌

I think this is the result of all of the exercises that I have been practising over the last few months. And I am enormously grateful to the wonderful women who are making all this amazing recovery possible. A big thank you 🙏 goes out to Rikke, Nicki, Charlotte, Elena, Laura and Emma.

I am very humbled and also very happy to have received this change in state today. I had this impression that following my acupuncture yesterday evening, from Rikke, that I was walking perfectly for the first time. When I woke up this morning, I walked to the shower and I realised that it was not the case. It was only when I was in the water with Emma, then she pointed out that in fact I was lifting the knee straight up for the first time I’m not hitting her leg. Then I realised that in fact I really was walking much better. Huge beaming smile 😊

Well, time to walk back to Charlotte, which will take at least an hour and a half. But I will be smiling all of the way.

Onwards and with my right leg lifting upwards together

Beautiful