One Step Back

One Step BackSince starting the medication prescribed by my doctor on Monday, my cough seems to have been getting better day by day. But as with many things in life, with a little progress also comes the odd setback, and so it was today.

I was looking forward to the Men’s meeting this morning. The chance to see Ken, Jack, Boots and the others after much too long an absence. But settling down to sleep last night was fraught with problems from the start.

To begin with, the communal light in the stairway of the apartments, that is supposed to turn itself off after five minutes, refused to do so and shone in persistently through the skylights above the front door and my bedroom door.

I made myself respectable, and went up and down the stairs, trying to find a switch that was either jammed, or taped in the on position. It has happened before, but usually only when someone is moving in or out of one of the other apartments. There were no signs, so I went back to bed, tried to shield my eyes and sleep.

It must have worked, because the next thing I remember was waking up with a choking coughing fit. Sitting on the edge of the bed has worked in past, but it took ages for the coughing to subside, heaven knows what the neighbours thought.

Throughout the night I got a succession of interruptions, though nothing as bad as the first, but by morning I was feeling like I hadn’t slept at all. Chanting didn’t help either, each time I tried, another coughing fit ensued, so I ended Gongyo in a silent mental chant.

I know we have to expect setbacks on our journey back to health and fitness, but it is rather disappointing that it happens to have coincided with the weekend, and particularly the meeting. I will chant for more progress and to ensure that I am hail and hearty in good time for the next.

Good News Friday

Mark Cahill - Hand TransplantAmid all the usual doom and gloom of the news stories, there were two shining rays of hope to brighten the day. The first was regarding the UK’s first hand transplant patient, Mark Cahill, who is making excellent progress after receiving a donor hand on Boxing Day.

Malala Going HomeThe second, and for me even more exciting news, is that 15 year old Malala Yousafzai, the young lady who was shot in the head by a Taliban gunman, for campaigning for education for girls, left hospital today to join her family in their temporary home in Birmingham.

The attack on Malala, back in October, sparked outrage around the world. The resulting press coverage and negative reaction towards the Taliban, promoting the cause of girls education in Pakistan still further. Another case of this misguided radical Muslim group metaphorically shooting themselves in the foot.

Whilst we can only wish Mark good fortune and a speedy recovery from his surgery, we should spare a thought for the family of the donor, who having lost their loved one at Christmas, bravely allowed the hand to be used for the benefit of another. Can there be a more compassionate act?

Higher Priorities

The Final StepSpending the majority of the day waiting for news regarding Charlotte’s latest, and hopefully last operation, on her path to defeating cancer, puts life’s priorities into proper order. The reconstruction procedure sounds almost barbaric, and worse even than the operation to remove the cancerous tissues in the first place.

Having had Charlotte recovered and well after the chemotherapy had lulled me into a false sense of well-being. This final part of the jigsaw, albeit necessary to finish the job the oncology specialists started two years ago, shows yet again, just how brave Charlotte really has been.

The news from the hospital, news that took rather longer than expected, is that although she is rather poorly after the procedure, all went well, and she is expected to be able to come home in a few days. Actually, that will be the start of a long and painful period of recuperation, during which we can only offer her our full support, and chant and pray for a successful outcome.

Nam Myoho Renge Kyo

Lots Of Nothing

Busy Doing NothingToday has been a day of doing nothing. Well not exactly nothing, but no exercise or work, more rest and relaxation, making the most of a drab autumn day in Dorset.

Most of us are in the unenviable position of having to make the most of our holidays, generally working five days out of seven to pay the bills, so having a day where you set yourself no goals can be very healthy.

Of course, I shall be back on the bike tomorrow and pushing myself hard to make up for today’s relaxation. The up-side of having a restful day today, is that I shall be starting with full-tanks tomorrow, and that means I can do even more.

We all need to rest, both physically and mentally, in order to push ourselves on to the next goal. Even top Olympic athletes have rest days. They give the body and mind the time to recover and repair the damage caused by pushing ourselves that little bit too far.

So I am looking forward to a nice early start in the morning. I may pay an unscheduled visit to the office, albeit in full cycling gear. The journey is quite testing, and it will give me the chance to catch up on what has been going on in my absence. Time will tell whether it proves to be as productive as I hope.


BarleyThere is a saying that the earth upon which we fall is the same ground which enables us to push ourselves back up again. There is another which maintains that barley grows better after it has been trampled on.

Human relationships are sometimes painful, but there is no such thing as pain from which we cannot recover. It is up to us to decide to live a life free from self doubt and despair in spite of our doubts and failures.

Indeed, it is during our most humbling moments that we should show the greatest poise and grace. Then the dignity of our lives will truly shine forth.

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