Familiar Ground

Tuesday 20th – 27th September 
Getting back from NYC I had a full day and a half before going back to work. First things first, I jumped into bed after getting home and had a power nap. I was exhausted after the long trip and my mind was already trying to hijack me into projecting into the future. I felt noticeably better after a siesta. Plenty coffee either side of a bath, some clean clothes, a short meditation, then I’m away on the Metro to meet up with “Mutual Friends” through Jesmond. Done me good to touch base with like minded people. It helps to ground me in the moment, like I said before listening is a skill – a work in progress. That kinda set the tone for what I need to do, have come to enjoy, as I toured the meetings in both Sunderland and Newcastle until having a night in after work on the 27th.

I picked my youngest son up from School on the Wednesday afternoon, a real joy. I can feel myself reverting back to been a kid when there’s just me and him. I’m right there with him. It’s not constant, but it’s enough that all cares and concerns go out the window for a short while, I feel truly awake to what’s real and important. We met up with my oldest son and after I gave them a little present each from my trip they settled down for an hour on the Xbox. I love watching them together, it warms my heart seeing them effortlessly bounce off each other in a way friends do.

We stopped off at McDonalds before walking down to the local boxing gym, my oldest boy is a fighter, been in the game since he was at school and has been very successful. I know the coaches, and hung around for a quick chat, the little fella just stood terrified at the sights and sounds. I love the smell of a boxing gym reminds me of when I was a kid, and there’s just so much activity you can’t help but be aware of everything happening at once. I called into the bar downstairs to catch up with an old friend but unusually he wasn’t in. 

Thursday saw me back at work. Felt good that people were genuinely pleased to see me. I had a bit catch-up stuff to do but managed to squeeze in scripting a press release I had to forward to the WCMT about my Travelling Fellowship experiences. Friday we finished the working week off going for an Italian meal in celebration of a pier to pier walk the staff had done to promote recovery.

The weekend was very much meeting up with “Mutual Friends”, reading the Dark Tower on Metro’s in between, and meditating first and last thing of the day. Jet lag showed up!!! I had felt ok and normally suffer it bad for a week, so I thought I had escaped by the time I got to Friday. I felt I could no longer be bothered with people and started to feel distant and closed up again. Not good for me that. But sometimes I’ve just got to get comfortable with the uncomfortable and remind myself it will pass. I didn’t feel the need to drink them feelings away, It’s progress not perfection. I made a conscious decision to slow down my walking pace, look up and be present with my surroundings, get in the here and now. It helped but I still felt whacked. It’s so easy to fall backwards into the everyday hustle and bustle so Saturday afternoon I went back to bed for an hour. Afterwards I went to the local pub and had a large mixed grill, a feast always helps. 
I had the weekend to myself and my flat needed some TLC. I can procrastinate (Fear in 5 syllables) badly when it’s time to do housework. I find it impossible to be present in the moment when it needs doing, but can still torture myself putting it off for another hour, another day. It got done and I instantly felt refreshed when it was over. Feels great sitting back to an ice cold coke and a smoke just taking in the shine of the place. I’ve been invited to a dinner in December at the House of Lords through the Churchill Trust, so I filled in the paperwork and sent it off. 

Back to work and the most notable events of the day were a hospital appointment and my coffee machine packing up. I felt two steps behind all day with the lack of caffeine. After work I headed to Tesco to buy a new one. Out of nowhere I could suddenly feel pockets of anxiety trying to take hold, that’s just the norm and it usually has something to do with my head wanting to be in some future situation, preferably better than the current one. I breathed my way through them until I saw the gym. I’m going back next week and the thought of the treadmill just filled me with doom. I done a lot of running when I was younger and used to enjoy it, not now. My knees, ankles and hips are shot, plus I’m carrying a bit weight. Then the thought went through my mind (normally an alarm goes off at this moment), sack the treadmill, if it no longer serves you in a good way say goodbye. Instantly I felt enthusiastic about going back, I enjoy everything else about taking some exercise and it always amazes me how quickly I start to feel the benefits, anyhow that’s next week.
The coffee machine I wanted was sold out – disappointed! Then at the checkout, the helping hand decided to move me to the next lane, then instruct me on how to load up the conveyer belt. Just as I was about to inform her that she was welcome to do it herself I realised an opportunity to practice my patience and tolerance had appeared, so I just smiled and realised I was back in the swing, no longer distant and closed up. People eh, it’s fascinating knowing them, no wonder I stayed drunk for years. 

“When nobody around you seems to measure up, it’s time to check your yardstick” – Bill Lemley.
John

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2 thoughts on “Familiar Ground

  1. Was listening to a 50 cent song while reading and he sang …sunny days wouldn’t be so special if it weren’t for the rain ,joy wouldn’t feel so good if it wasn’t for the pain …reminded me of beautiful time with your boys and a frustrating time at checkout ,cheers mate helped me be present and not wish the day away

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