Tag Archive: freedom


Within the last couple of weeks, I have discovered something that I thought was true, but now I have experienced it, I know it to be true.
Six months ago I was diagnosed as having testicular cancer. Thankfully this was caught early and after having the offending anatomical item removed and analysed , I was told that I was in the 5% to 10% bracket of not having to do anything else.
Great news!
However, this was not to be true. Four months later I got the call that a CT scan showed that three lymph nodes in typical positions for the spread of this cancer were a little enlarged and I was going to have to go through a course of chemotherapy.

After following the sad demise of a friend who suffered from a far more aggressive form of cancer (Cholangiocarcinoma), and her experience of chemotherapy, I was more than a little anxious as to how bad this experience was going to be.
The course I was put on was a nine week course of three lots of three week cycles, back to back, with the chemotherapy drugs known as BEP. The first five days of each three week cycle was as an in-patient, then on day’s nine and sixteen I would go in for a top-up of one of the chemo drugs in particular.
After the first cycle I went home and felt a little under the weather, but to be honest it wasn’t anything more than the feeling of contracting a heavy cold for a few days. I was still able to function and think and do all the usual day-to-day tasks, just without the energy to do any physical activity.
Not too bad.
The second cycle was a little heavier, and so when I came home on day five I went straight to bed with a low level of energy, then was pretty incapable of anything useful for a couple of days after that. By day nine I was feeling a lot more alive and able to do most things slowly.

However, the ‘something I discovered’ that I speak of in the first line was learned after coming out of the third cycle (and I’m still in it at the moment – I’m typing this at day ten).
Until last night – day nine – my energy level has been so low that even sitting up was an immense effort. To walk would require something to hold onto every ten metres or so. Even just standing was so exhausting I couldn’t do it for any longer than a couple of minutes.
For a person who is used to leading an active life, I found this complete physical inability emotionally and spiritually draining. Being dragged down so low and not being able to do anything was quite possibly the worst experience of my life. It was like the essence of me had been removed… it was quite literally draining my life–force from me.

…and this is where the lesson was learned…

Something so important to my life… my feeling of purpose… my method of achieving self-worth and accomplishment… the ability to be physically active… having had it so completely removed allowed me to see that that ability is the very essence of what makes my life worth living. The loss of it is something that I NEVER want to experience again.

If life is most profoundly experienced by doing that which makes the spirit soar,
then death is to have that ability removed from ones being, and mere existence is all that is left.

For the rest of my life I vow to be active to whatever degree my body allows… because if I am not, then I am already dead!

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Untied

Lying supine,
the notes drifting gently into my ears,
eyes closed,
my soul caressed, lifted, freed unnoticed from earthly encumbrance.
Wings expanding, flexing, testing,
catching the breeze of floating notes,
turning skyward…
Whoosh!
Upwards, outwards, everywherewards,
expanding, speeding, soaring, accelerating, twisting, turning,
pure expression of being glowing intensely,
trailing a wingtip through Jupiter’s gas clouds,
speeding a hairsbreadth above Saturn’s rings,
teardrops of blissful ecstasy falling onto the sun,
then out and up past the stars, eons flying by, in a second’s passing,
flying alongside icy comets on their way to fiery deaths,
their icy glittering trailing plumes, a witness to their brief existence.
The notes of musical magic resonating in perfect harmony with the tuning fork of my soul,
finally reaching pitch in the glass of my being,
shattering, exploding firework-like into a thousand million pieces of glittering stardust,
falling, returning, drifting down through a peppermint sky,
completely and utterly untied.

Traveling daily on spinning wheels of freedom,
I pass so many faces in their steel boxes,
all with the same expression of spiritual deadness
…but making me feel all the more alive!
I smile inside… not at their loss,
but because I am not them.
My mind, coming from another place,
my soul’s energy buzzing, singing, responding to the beauty of life all around,
seeing and feeling Mother Nature,
in the form of rain and wind, sunlight and smells,
bearing witness to her wrapping herself around those steel boxes,
each of them a barricade to her,
each of them individually trapping a small part of the universe,
making it false,
holding it still, unchanging, stagnating,
changing nothing, creating nothing, feeding nothing,
and with no spirit being fed,
the spirit behind those faces lies dead.

In relation to yesterday’s post (see here), there is another point that I choose to believe is true (I say ‘choose’ quite simply because there is no way of proving it true, but my observations and experiences suggest to me that it is true…).
My friend of the previous post, and I used to train together as teenagers as part of the local Track and Field team. Some of the winter training was pretty tough, well certainly for the age we were at, and I have distinct memories of the expression on her face when she was gritting her teeth, fighting hard against fatigue and the effects of lactic acid flooding the muscles… showing way back then the characteristics that are helping her today.

Since those days, I have continued to train in various disciplines, but for the last 16 years it has been in traditional Martial Arts.
Being constantly active, and being forever surrounded by the same type of people, I have seen some of them grow old, but never really suffer much from illness, and those few that have, seem to have the presence of mind to attack their illness like it is just another hard training session; i.e. something to grit your teeth against; something to fight against, and most importantly, something to overcome!

Similarly, it seems that my distant friend has also continued to train in one way or another over the years, and before she was diagnosed with cancer, she was training hard in Crossfit, and taking part in daft events like Tough Mudder’s.

In the light of what she is going through, but more importantly, how she is handling it, it further reinforces my belief that those who take part in tough physical training; tough enough that it also becomes mental training through having to develop the will to overcome the body’s desire to rest; will be those who are best equipped to deal with the worst that life has to throw at them.

I believe that something grows within those who regularly fight the little battles by choice, something that enables them to find the will-power to overcome the bigger battles likely to come later in life.

So… my advice to those of you who enjoy sitting back and watching the soaps on TV a lot more often than stepping up and staying active, is quite simply – you need to make a decision as to whether you would regret the easy, fun life when a bigger, unavoidable battle comes along.

Read this [The old man in me], and think hard, then make your chosen future happen!

There is a friend of mine (not yet 40 years old) that is currently fighting the battle of her life against a rare and aggressive form of cancer.
In doing so, she is proving to be one of life’s special people in that she has instinctively turned to face it head on and obviously has no intention of backing down!

I haven’t seen her for over 20 years, but through the wonders of Facebook, have fairly recently got back in contact… even though she is now the other side of the world!
In her own inimitable fashion, she feeds her Facebook friends with regular updates on her condition and progress, and in doing so has revealed her true colours… and incredible colours they are!
As much as it was nice to get back in contact with her, I’m am now so glad that I did as she is proving to be the sort of person I admire the most – she has what I consider to be a warrior nature – a willingness to fight for what is right, with an unremitting strength of spirit that simply doesn’t know how to give up! – and I now feel honoured to know her.

So many of her friends regularly reply to her updates by saying how amazing she is, how inspirational, and what a fantastic attitude she has toward beating the illness.
One of her replies was to say thanks for the comments, but really she’s just getting on with it, that there’s nothing special about her, and that anyone would be able to do it.

But that’s just it, isn’t it.
She is the only one in the wrong position to see what’s see’s doing. She is the only one inside the cocoon of the illness, all others are outside looking in. I don’t think she realises what this illness has brought out in her. Inversely to the debilitating effect of the cancer and the treatments, it has made her shine so brightly that her positivity is almost blinding. It is truly awe-inspiring.
If she was right that anyone could do it, then people wouldn’t react in less positive ways than she is, people wouldn’t give up, everyone would have that ability to soldier on regardless… but her friends are seeing something different to the norm, they are seeing something greater… and that, of course, is what they are astounded by.
She has unwittingly become a leader to her friends, a leader by example, an inspiring person, and one that makes the greatest of leaders.

At the risk of losing the last remnants of my manliness, I’ll admit to being in tears as I type this, but not through sadness of her suffering, emotional weakness of my own, or any other such anti-masculine reason, but through some kind of resonance I feel that makes me smile and feel so alive and good when I encounter people like this lady, and hear of their experiences that to me, epitomise the very essence of life.

No matter what;, today is a good day… some other days may be even better, but rain or shine, if I’m breathing, then every day is a good day!

I hope that if I ever have to fight a big battle that could cost me my life, that I’ll be able to show the same strength of character as my friend… and I hope I can be even partially as inspirational as her.

“Another week done!” said my boss on my way out the door.
“Yep, another week of my life gone.” said I.
“Aww, don’t look at it that way.” he said.
‘Why not? That’s what it is.‘ I thought, but said “Yeah, but it’s just the way you choose to use it…”
“That’s it!” he said… implying ‘That’s a better attitude!’

Couldn’t help but think that he is using the culturally accepted way of justifying a ‘waste’ of life time. [sic]

Each hour of our lives belongs to us and only us. How we choose to use those hours is a matter of choice.
It may not be a direct choice, i.e. you may have previously chosen to commit to a mortgage, and in turn you committing yourself to having to pay for it… which, for most of us, means working. However, it is still a choice!

To my mind, I choose to work for the amount of hours needed to pay the mortgage and bills… and to pay for future dreams!
I do NOT subscribe to the idea of the accumulation of money as being a goal worth substituting my life hours to.
Each hour that passes will never pass again… what I’m doing in those hours better be bloody worth it!

One cannot plan a journey of discovery,
just as one cannot plan a sculpture.

Sculptures, paintings, dance, music and other arts come from a process of creativity,
each step revealing its own self, ready for the discovery of what the next step will become.

It is the same with the discovery of the self,
each new step of awakening revealing the start of the next.

If you are working to a pre-determined plan, you are unlikely to discover anything of worth.

Open your mind, let go of plans, and choose distant goals instead,
for they provide direction, but do so with the anticipation of an unplanned journey.

Life is a journey, not a destination.

The rate of the passing of time is something that we decide for ourselves.
How we choose to perceive the passing of time is entirely dependant upon the way we choose to view the events of the moment.
A child waiting for a bus will entertain themself my spinning around, singing songs, watching raindrops run down the bus shelter… generally just finding a way to enjoy themselves.
Suddenly the bus is there, and that moment finishes and the next begins.
Meanwhile, their parents are simply standing there waiting for the bus. Afraid to be like the child and have fun with the simple things… because of what others might think.
The passing of time goes so much slower for them. They are not involved in the moment, they are only waiting for the bus.
The child climbs on the bus and always wants to go on the upper deck… it’s more exciting! They see things from a new vantage point, a new way of seeing things that they are already used to.
The parent moans “Oh, do we have to? We’re only going to have to walk down the steps again…?”
They are blind to the fun that can be had.

How do we stop this from happening to us?
We must try every moment of every day to find that which is amusing, entrancing, bewitching, unusual, entertaining, heart-string tugging… anything at all that make you smile, or cry with joy, or stare open-mouthed in wonder…
As I type I am travelling on a train through the rain. I find it amusing how the stretched raindrops on the window look like little tadpoles wriggling horizontally back along the train, then suddenly a patch of blue sky shows through the dull grey low clouds. Life at over 100 miles per hour is different to what I usually experience. The speed of movement gives a greater appreciation of depth within the layers of cloud, it creates the wriggling tadpole raindrops. Oh! I just saw a radio telescope I’ve never seen before, just north of Cheltenham… It’s pointing straight up. I wonder what they’re looking at…

This is where the wonder of the internet comes in. It allows me to quickly find out about something new; a little extra knowledge enriches my life further.
Surely this is what the internet should be for… not for filling time with nothing better to do, but for enriching lives with knowledge and understanding.

Don’t just look at things, look a little more closely, see what’s different to what you usually see, use the internet to find out more, build a greater knowledge and understanding of the world around you… enrich your life any way you can… build a greater experience of living… never grow old and bored… there is fun to be had everywhere!

For those of you that know me well, you’ll have heard me talking of my belief that training in natural movements is the best possible way to train body and mind. In fact, I would imagine that this may come through within the essence of this blog… I hope it does!
A few months ago, I discovered that there is a man who came to the same conclusion years ago, and has since developed a method that is becoming popular across the world.
This is certainly a training method that I intend to pursue, but currently am trying to adjust my lifestyle in other ways as well… but it’ll happen fairly soon 🙂

See the links below for an interview with Erwan Le Corre… maybe you’ll understand my belief after reading this – enjoy!

Part 1:
http://breakingmuscle.com/interviews/featured-coach-erwan-le-corre-part-1-roots-movnat

Part 2:
http://breakingmuscle.com/interviews/featured-coach-erwan-le-corre-part-2-freedom-movement-and-mind

From a young age, we start to learn the importance of monetary wealth.
“Mummy, can I have one of those please?”
“Sorry darling, we don’t have enough money.”

We are taught the ‘value’ of something that is destined to be detrimental to our health.

Modern schooling is designed to lift us up high, to positions of responsibility and power,
but is not designed to teach us the importance of spiritual health,
and the well-being that comes from being free to do as you choose,
without feeling restricted by the expectations of others.
The enrichment that comes from the satisfaction of self-sufficiency,
only really requiring help when you truly cannot do anything more.
The joy and fun that comes from running in the summer rain with no shoes,
and climbing trees just because you can.
The freedom that comes from being able to choose not to work just because the sun is shining,
And the mental health that comes from being free of the trappings of responsibility and power…
the very thing that you were taught would be your greatest achievement!

The more I see the benefits of greater monetary wealth,
the more I see how restrictive that wealth becomes.
If you had no money, no possessions, and no responsibilities to anyone but yourself,
then how much freer would your life be…
how truly wealthy would you then be…?