Sunday 18th September
Took the Subway to Grand Central Station and from there we caught the Metro-North Railroad, to Cold Spring NY. Cold Spring is a Village that is in the town of Philipstown NY, it is in the Hudson Highlands and sits right on the widest part of the Hudson River. It has a population of around 2000 and it has preserved its historic features, it’s like stepping back in time to the early 1800’s. The train passed through several small picturesque towns and villages as it travelled north alongside the Hudson. The scenery was breathtaking as on the other side of the river the hills and mountains mostly covered with forrest land were constantly in view. It was a welcome break from the City and I could just tune into the scenery as we hurtled along, very relaxing, very grounding in the moment.
We had a wander around the Village and ate at the Saloon. I had Volcano(hot sauce)Shrimp for starters and Haghati Fillet Steak pieces with deep fried Asparagus and Wasabi Mashed Potato all in some Barbecue style sauce that had Cabbage and Mushrooms in it. Spent an hour after in “Doug’s Very Good Pub” that boasted a sign outside that said ‘Best Burgers in Town as voted for by some Dude who likes Burgers’ – shame, I was stuffed and struggled to drink a glass of water.
I enjoyed the experience of somewhere new and different and allowed myself to take it all in, staying in the moment and not letting my thoughts overtake me and transport me off to somewhere else in my head. It was a great day and I’m feeling the pace now, been up extra early every morning so going to chill at the hotel tonight and hit the pit for 10pm. Tomorrow its time to travel back home, but thats for tomorrow, thats another day.
Monday 19th September
Up sharp for the 6am at 96th Street and when I get off the train on Broadway its lashing down with rain, I stood under the covers and watched it bounce back up on the pavement. I get an Alert! from NYPD on my mobile about the recent explosion, giving the bombers name and description, telling me to report it if I see him. I enjoy the downpour staying in the moment and concentrating on breathing. It’s a welcome change from the tropical heat of the last few days. I feel very awake and present.
After the meet I call in at the Manhattan Diner for a breakfast of blueberry pancakes and a bowl of grits, very nice! Back at the hotel I decide to take a couple of hours siesta before checking out. It’s one of them were we had to check out by 12 but taxi to JFK isn’t until 4pm. Normally that would have meant 4 hours solid drinking time, not nowadays, I made a meeting for the second time today.
Walking up Amsterdam avenue afterwards, I paused to take a look up and really take in my surroundings, knowing it would be a while till the next time. I just stood and stared for a good 5 minutes or so, thinking to myself how much I love Manhattan.
Met up in the bar on the corner and had Chicken Kabob (that’s how they spell it). Followed by a perfect opportunity to practice been patient and tolerant whilst stuck in traffic in the taxi. The me of yesteryear would have been chomping at the bit and really irritable but I just rolled with it staying calm and relaxed knowing all is well.
Tuesday 20th September.
After a long flight I made it home absolutely shattered so went to bed and slept for 4 hours.
Got up and meditated.
Went to catch up with “Mutual Friends” through Jesmond.
Back to bed.
Wednesday 21st September
Woke at 7:30am with the usual crazy s**t show performing in my head. Painful as normal! But for the first time ever I saw it for what it is, a perfect opportunity to connect to something bigger than myself. I settled down for some meditation. The uncomfortable mindset I’m in when waking gives me the motivation to do something about it and the only thing I’ve found that helps is meditation so I’m grateful for the head hurt I feel because let’s be honest I wouldn’t be meditating without it and that would be a shame. I have took to it in a big way and would have missed out on something special if I hadn’t found it.
No sooner finished and my youngest son FaceTimed me all excited that I was picking him up from school. It’s beautiful been sober and able to enjoy experiences like that, truly blessed I feel.
Headed through to Newcastle to see “Mutual Friends”.
On the train I’m reading Stephen Kings “Dark Tower”. I’m onto book 5 of 7 in the series, it’s an epic and it’s helped with my spiritual practice of living for the here and now. The combined sum total of the books is over 4000 pages and I’ve always been one for needing everything like yesterday, but not with this. As much as I’m looking forward to seeing how it all ends I’m just enjoying the ride as it unfolds bit by bit. A good friend told me “Life is all in the doing, just focus on the next thing and leave the results to themselves”. I then spent the afternoon with both my sons, awesome.
It’s wonderful to feel ‘Awake’ – one day at a time.
Every closed eye is not sleeping, and every open eye is not seeing – Bill Cosby