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#UniversalChildrensDay

I spotted the hash tag for Universal Childrens Day on Twitter this morning and had to smile at the relevance to recent events and discussions at The Costello dinner table during the last few days.

Daughter aged 17.

I’m tired about all the comments at school about what it means to follow certain BAC* programmes. According to students and teachers, the only programme worth anything is the BAC-S (mostly science). They think ‘S’ students are the achievers and above the rest.

*Baccalaureate

She doesn’t follow the ‘S’ programme but is a high achiever. I’m not saying that as a doting parent, I base it on facts evidenced by her grades. For several years she has said that her goal is to be a surgeon. Sadly though, teachers don’t support her goal, they are consumed with the idea that you have to reside in a particular box to become a doctor and Kalyani is one box below. We have heard (and ignored) their comments at parents evenings because we know that our daughter will follow her path and, with 100% support from us. Some doctors too don’t support the teacher point of view and good news from the president.

A review of the system is underway. Exactly where that will go we aren’t yet sure but will it force a change of attitude on the coal face where teachers’ seem to push young people away from their life-path?

I told the class tutor that I am going to university in Toulouse to study to become a lawyer. She said I wouldn’t be able to achieve that.

That came from a dinner discussion with our son, Sasha. He is currently in the final year of a BAC course that last years class tutor said he wouldn’t be able to manage. He is scoring grades above the class average.

At the end of the semester (Christmas), the class council will meet and decide whether or not to support Sasha’s choice. The tutor will vote against, other members of the council are expected to follow her lead.

What does this do to a young persons confidence?

Facing judgment and disapproval for our choices can be painful. But over time it becomes clear that others’ judgment often has more to do with their own fears and insecurities than with our shortcomings. They might feel betrayed, confused, or even envious. Seeing things from this angle can help take negative comments less personally and increase our understandings of others.

We encourage our six children to follow their dreams and impress upon them that not all dreams are created equal. The life we want to means making choices that may go against the expectations of communities or culture. Stigma, isolation, and uncertainty might occur as a result but the less travelled road has its advantages.

While nothing in life is risk-free, some paths have clearer roadmaps than others. Carving a difficult path involves trial and error, which can also mean greater potential for failure. Experiencing failure can help us change our relationship to it, and see it as a learning opportunity rather than a verdict on our ability.

There’s no shortage of opinions about what it takes to make life meaningful or the path we ought to follow. Some argue that life doesn’t have meaning until one gets married or has kids, others place a higher value on professional success. Personally, I follow what can be described as a mystical path. Meaning is a deeply personal, subjective experience guided by my intuition. Research suggests that the types of experiences that give us a sense of meaning—like kindness or overcoming adversity are not constrained by culturally-defined milestones or opinions.

On this Universal Childrens Day, we should be promoting the needs and goals of our children and helping them achieve rather than pushing them toward paths we see rather than those they hope for. At any given moment, it is they who ought to decide how their story will progress.

Under Attack

Is that an overstatement I see in the header above me? From  my position  on this hospital bed, I say, “understatement,” So the question is, how can my recent articles have been true? They were sprinkled with lashings of positivity and, genuine it was too. I ask again for my benefit more than yours; how can positives like those I enjoyed last week take such a serious nosedive? Slightly different phrasing brings the following thoughts:-

  1. Everything I write in here, and certain aspects of my fictional works are true. That said, those lashings of positivity were an accurate reflection of the state of the nation at the time of writing.

I can’t move on to number 2 just yet because I need to point out what Sherlock Holmes referred to as his question of sobriety. Well this is my ‘QOS’ not that belonging to Holmes. Anybody who has been treated for a medical problem with high doses of morphine will know what I mean. Why didn’t I move to number 2? Oh look at the view of the mountains and the old city (La Cité) of Carcassonne (I can’t see them but I know they can be seen through my window).   Blue sky, a few high, streaky clouds too. I’m still not sure of what I was saying, I really can’t remember. Now I,ve been distracted by a nurse who has told me to type one-handed because blood is getting into the line. I know what I wanted to say.

My sobriety has been challenged, memory dimmed far more than usual, don’t expect miracles here but i will do my best. Sigh, following a visit from doctor’s junior and senior, I’ve completely lost the plot now so I’m going to do a virtual Tardis tour of the end of last week (easy to remember because the posts and other tasks are here on my notebook).

Leaving out the detail, it’s clear that last week was one of those that I am very happy to sign off as a great week. A couple of blog articles, positive action on social media, excellent strides forward with the edit of my current WIP and chapter 1 belonging to the book following the WIP, written and waiting impatiently for what will follow. I don’t usually jump ahead like that but sometimes it just has to be done.

My Twitter followers had also taken a substantial leap and I had been interacting with many through DM. Some were various types of publisher who would like to have my trade. Others were readers who have said they have or, will be reading my work. I’m not a follower counter but I value the relationships building in the Twitterverse. Note past tense just moved in.

Shortly before logging out on Friday, a new follower caught my eye. ‘Wow, he looks young for a US Army general. Surely not a day over sixteen. So, that set off the alarm bells and more so when he sent a DM not five minutes later saying, ‘hi, how are you and the family?’

‘Fine, thanks. How’re you and yours, ‘Sir;” Note the respectful sir. That was around 18:00 hours and I needed to logout to make dinner.

Strange thing; at 20:00, Twitter locked me out for breaking terms and conditions. I never did discover what I had allegedly done and support didn’t respond to my query. I sorted it out and it happened again at 21:00 and 07:00 on Saturday. There was two more re-runs on Sunday and Monday but the earth may have ended and I doubt that my awareness  would have registered on the most sensitive of scales. So those went unnoticed. But, David P. Perlmutter (not the doctor, the one who wrote the cool true story), I may need that ‘get out of jail free card.’ I know it’s rude to ask for the return of gifts but, needs must.

Seriously, I was not alone last weekend. Other Twitterversians had their accounts interfered with. Using third party programs to reach people on opposite time zones may be the cause of some of that interference but wait!  Oh dear, we are back to lists of two items again, although the previous one did get a bit confusing didn’t  it. So much so, I promised two items and left you stranded searching for that ellusive number 2. Not this time!

2. Using third party programs to promote your tweets is not allowed. So, I have been using commun.it  for several months because it enables my tweets to go live when folks are online in NZ, Aus, etc. As people who see my tweets will be aware, they advertise my books, this blog and a range of tweets to inspire and motivate (nice little non-earners).

That number two has potentially turned into something quite large. What about the widget I am about to use to post this to Twitter, Facebook . . . ? It is after all, third party software. Golly! Following the publication of this post and subsequent third party mention on Twitter, I will let you know with a brief follow up post about what happened.

First I have a huge favour to ask. I would dearly like to contact my Twitter friends to let them know I am not sulking but infact, laying on my back, typing with one hand to a screen above me. The Carcassonne Hospital network uses a version of Firefox that is so old, Twitter flatly  refuses to open on such a relic. So if a few people would be so kind as to put out the word I would be very happy. Please also let me know if I get sent to jail again.

Designing and building a simple wardrobe with my son caused a disk hernea and the disk is pushing against the sciatic nerve. Raising my head 4 cm off the pillow causes nasty pain in my legs . . . but I still seek those Positive, Dynamic Solutions. I have a book tour planned in The UK in four weeks so healing energies gratefully appreciated. My meditations will be on fixing the problem so the doctors don’t have to.

Getting to this point was a challenge, more so in the last couple of hours because a new medication has been added. These guys really are on my side. Perhaps we should all stop for a moment and meditate on the good health of healthcare workers across the world. Without them we would be lost.

 

 

 

Insights from the universe

Several years ago a physiotherapist taught me how to breathe through a pain site.

The most significant area of pain was in my left knee. So, “how on earth do you expect me to do that?” Well, as it turned out, it was not quite as weird as it sounded and after some practice, it started helping relieve some of the pain.

The physio taught a simple form of meditation that I’ve since developed into something far deeper. Jon’s method began with sitting in a comfortable place; eyes closed and focussing on breathing. Deep breath in through the nose, hold the breath briefly and, out through the mouth. After a few of those breaths when you feel relaxed, locate the site of uneasiness with your mind. Don’t think about it, just locate it and then imagine the inward breath going through the pain or discomfort. After a little practice, you will sense the breath entering your body through the place you imagined. It works, give it a go.

The first time I meditated, I felt light, positive and relaxed. I experienced freedom from my thoughts in a real way for the very first time. Of course, I had no idea what was in store once I learned how to really meditate. The deeper I went, I started discovering insights that drove me forward.

I started forming questions, ‘how am I going to rebuild my life?’ Insights came relating to the question. Not direct answers but things I knew I could use. They felt absolutely right and, as it turns out, they were.

This may sound strange but I wasn’t at all surprised at the things I received through meditation even though the true state is a completely blank mind. I have explored meditation through books and articles. Everything I’ve been able to read supports what I’m telling you. The entire process is amazing that’s why I’m sharing it here.

Opening a ‘Portal’

The key to achieving a state to receive insights is through a place of stillness and free from your regular thoughts of the day. Just gently blow your thoughts away with your mind until you have finished meditating. I suppose everybody has a different method. As I am relaxing into the meditation, I allow one key thought or question to float through my mind. Eventually the volume of the thought fades as it goes deeper and deeper into the universe.

It doesn’t need to be earth shattering. A simple question with a little substance will do.

I meditate at my desk with guided meditations from YouTube: in the garden, during a mountain bike ride break, any place where nobody will disturb me. As you master the art you become aligned with the present moment. Your mind expands, and a beautiful feeling of peace fills the entire being.

The goal isn’t to control your thoughts;

it’s stopping them from controlling you

The answers to questions begin to form. Sometimes I find myself doing something that didn’t appear to originate from a conscious thought yet I have been moving forward in a positive way. There are other occasions when I sense clear, ‘this is what I need to do,’ messages.

You may wish to argue that a little thinking can produce the same results. I counter that by saying, meditation speeds up the process and brings clarity that ‘on the run’ thinking wouldn’t have presented. Added to that, I feel completely relaxed afterwards.

There are people who teach meditation and most of them are genuine. I couldn’t afford to pay a teacher so I am entirely self-taught. We are all connected to the ‘great all,’ we just have to learn how to tap into it.

Meditation has been life changing, and it is an essential part of my life that I wouldn’t do without. Ten minutes every morning gives me a boost for the day. Sometimes that’s all I do, yet it makes a profound difference.

I hope this has been helpful. Don’t hesitate to message if you would like guidance or have a question or two.

Namasté always,

Steve

Positive, Dynamic Solutions

I’m not feeling at my best today. A rather negative way to begin an article but really, we all have that feeling at some point or another. I guess you know what I’m talking about.

When I feel this way, I search for escape. The problem is though; I have a nervous system illness that is irritated when the air pressure drops.

Finding my way out . . .

Chronic pain is extremely distracting there is no doubt, and so far I’ve not managed to find a way erase it. That said, there are ways to push it into the background so I can get on with my life.

Adopt a growth mindset. I read and engage with the work of Deepak Chopra and many others. Deepak said research has shown that when adversity strikes, happier people tend to see creative opportunities, while unhappier people see adversity.

“It’s programmed through childhood through a phenomenon called mirror neurons,” he says. “If you saw people complaining all the time when you were a kid, that’s what you do. Your neurons mirror the behavior.”

Going back to 1999 when I had the accident that started this illness, I adopted a mantra and repeated to myself whenever the going got tough.

Positive, Dynamic Solutions

When it went off the1 to 10 scale, I searched for something positive to distract and distance myself from the pain. Sometimes I failed, there were times when I stumbled but I always picked myself up.

The Internet was a shadow of what it is today but there were opportunities and I seized a few and developed an ‘eZine; ‘ I guess you might call it a motivational blog. Writing positive articles was life changing; the positive comments from almost 5000 readers were almost secondary to the learning I experienced through researching and writing the articles.

A visit to the doctor one day slammed my positive attitude so hard that I fell into a deep slumber for several months. He increased the so-called pain relieving opiates to the maximum dose and staying awake during the day was a challenge in itself. He also told me it was “unlikely” I would ever walk again. The diagnosis forced my employer to retire me.

Nevertheless, I changed my drugged mindset, stepped away from the problem and looked for opportunities by increasing my input to KEYZine, my online blog. It wasn’t known as a blog yet, that term hadn’t surfaced.

I also decided to engage the enemy by learning everything I could about the illness. I started to accept it and get on with my life. I engaged what Deepak calls the “unfriendlies.” He talked about them as people; my unfriendlies were an illness causing debilitating pain and a society discriminating against me because I couldn’t participate as expected.

It took a while but with lots of study and incredible support from my partner and our family, I am back on my mountain bike and skiing Pyrenean slopes when the snow falls. I have dozens of books to write and thousands more to read. Medication is necessary at very low levels and like today, following a long journey yesterday evening, the pain occasionally resurfaces only to be forced back again after I engage and challenge.

Deepak Chopra said,

“Adopt a growth mindset

Engage the “unfriendlies

Read”

I do those things every day and they have led to Positive, Dynamic Solutions

 

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