Sunday, 27 May 2018

Across the River - Peter Gabriel

The Flood in Darling - Piguenit 1890
This rare Gabriel collaboration was written with guitarist David Rhodes, Stewart Copeland from The Police and violinist Shankar for the 1982 WOMAD compilation ‘Music and Rhythm’. I particularly love the 1994 Secret Life’ tour version which builds to a dynamic climax, featuring drummer Manu Katche. It’s well worth a listen as then you’ll understand where I’m coming from in today’s blog.

You see, I think you really get the idea of a journey in the song. And yes, I know I write a lot about ‘journey, ‘change’ and getting the most out of ‘life’, but I believe that the notion of crossing a river, can conjure up so many positive thoughts. For me, it’s as if I’m standing on the bank of a river, somewhere in my own imagination, pondering if and how I can get to the other side.

I’ve been on that riverbank a few times too both mentally and physically. Once in the Atacama Crossing Multi-Stage Ultra, at high-altitude, before plunging into waist-deep, ice-cold melt water wondering what the hell I was doing. I mean, there was no choice really as the only way to the finish the stage that day and the race for that matter, was to cross that particular river well over fifty times it turned out.

Not knowing how deep the water was, how limb-numbing it would be, being melt-water and how fast the under-current was, took a leap of faith. A leap of faith that would stop some folks in their tracks perhaps but in real life can prove to be a complete barrier to progress.

Being frightened leads to uncertainty, procrastination or plain nervousness and making decisions a proverbial nightmare.

The thing is, the more you know – the easier the right decision is to make. Thinking about my river analogy, knowing how deep the river was, that it had been recced, that it was safe to cross and that I wasn’t alone meant it was a simple decision to make.

It does amaze me however that people will throw themselves into the deepest raging flooded waters without a hope in hell of surviving. Don’t get me wrong, I’ve dived in where others have feared to tread and regretted the decisions I’ve made at leisure but over the last few years I’ve stood and pondered rippling the waters for a long time before diving in or retreating to higher ground.

I’d like to think I’m very sure of which rivers I cross nowadays and how solid the bridges I build can get me to the other side.

How are you getting on crossing your own River?

1,018 Marathons - 246 Ultras - 15 Marathon des Sables - 9 Guinness World Records

Friday, 18 May 2018

Why Worry? - Dire Straits

I see this world has made you sad, some people can be bad, the things they do, the things they say…

Taken from the 1985 Multi-Platinum DDD (Digitally-Recorded, Digitally-Mixed and Digitally-Mastered) Brothers in Arms, this track is a great opportunity to take 8 minutes and 31 seconds out of your day to consider the simple question, ‘Why Worry?’ Or perhaps you can ask yourself more directly, ‘Why do I Worry?’

For some, even the word ‘Worry’ can be ‘Worrying’ enough to avoid the question without investigating the reasons why we waste so much of our time over something that is totally out of our control. I mean, throughout life, there are so many things that really do matter, there’s hardly time to waste on things that simply just don’t IMO.

I'll wipe away those bitter tears, I'll chase away those restless fears, and turn your blue skies into grey…

I’m sure the lyrics here should be more about turning ‘Grey’ skies into ‘Blue’ Mr Knopfler! - I meet a lot of people who live with very cloudy-grey outlooks on life, that after some deep soul-searching with my help, lead to a much bluer sky with prolonged sunnier periods and fewer scattered showers.

It’s getting to the root cause of ‘Worrying’ that’s interesting for me and as someone that genuinely doesn’t ‘Worry’, it got me thinking why the emotion has escaped me or is in fact ‘Worrying’ an emotion that I plainly ignore to admit to and something I believe I don’t suffer from.

I mean, what is there that I need to really get ‘Worried’ about? Even when I was really ill with GBS a couple of years’ ago, I can’t say that I was ‘Worried’. Was I scared? - Perhaps. But it’s hard to remember if I was or if I wasn’t and that’s where the waste of energy in ‘Worrying or being Anxious’ is highlighted for me.

Sure, I’m not without any form of trepidation or fear, I’m not made entirely of steel, but if I really think deeply about what’s driven my desire to compete and complete, you could say it’s ‘Fear of Failure’. And that’s my ‘Deep Driver’, it’s the thing that keeps me heading full-steam ahead, still wanting to achieve and maintain the world I’ve created that surrounds me.

It's done me proud too and I'm happy to admit when I need to change things and be prepared to do something about it, rather than soldier on.

For instance, I know folk that are in ‘love-less’ marriages where admitting to their failure and the cost of divorce both to their children’s well-being and also to their finances are keeping them in a constant state of flux and ‘Worry’, rather than battling the ‘Elephant in their room' that will create a much happier, more care-free world for all concerned. The action is less painful than the 'Years of Worry' hoping for a solution that is in fact always there.

There should be laughter after pain, there should be sunshine after rain, these things have always been the same…

Because there is always a solution, there’s always a future. And there’s no need to ‘Worry’ if you are prepared for change and open for things not going to plan and willing  to adjusting plan to accommodate life’s ups and downs as they happen.

Things nearly always turn out for the best I’ve found or even better than you thought they might. I’m someone that believes it’s better to regret having done something, than regret not having done it at all. Okay, there’s always a risk attached but standing on the edge ‘Worrying’ whether to jump, doesn’t get you anywhere.
But baby, just when this world seems mean and cold, our love comes shining red and gold, and all the rest is by the way…

How right Knopfler is, as I’ve found out. There’s always someone or something when everything had turned brown and hit the fan, that comes along and changes your world for the better. I’m not saying it will happen today or tomorrow, if that’s where you find yourself today – but take it from me, it will and when you look back you’ll know exactly when that moment was. I know when that was and can't say I've ever 'Worried' since.

And you'll find, the World isn’t mean and cold, people are. And a lot of time we are scared of what folk might think of us and that's what stops us taking the plunge. But take it from me that the sun will shine again for you and go and chase your dream, it's right there within your reach waiting for .

Try listening to the track and see if the 8 minutes and 31 seconds can make a difference to how you see the world around you.

So why worry now…

1,016 Marathons - 246 Ultras - 15 Marathon des Sables - 9 Guinness World Records

Thursday, 10 May 2018

Changes - David Bowie

CHANGE isn't A-MAZE, it's A-MAZE-ing...
Taken from the 1971 Album ‘Hunky Dory’, the lyrics of ‘Changes’ are often seen as a manifesto for Bowie’s chameleonic personality and for the frequent changes in the world he was living in back then. Some 45 years later, and ‘Bowie’s World of Change’ is now travelling at warp-speed towards the 2020’s where no doubt, things will ‘Change’ at an even more alarming rate. Keeping up with those ‘Changes’ are key to a successful future and something to put into practise rather than just to consider from time-to-time and remain unacted on ‘If Onlys’.

I still don't know what I was waiting for, and my time was running wild…

So why is it that we stand still hoping that things will magically change for the better? I mean, what isit you are waiting for? It’s tragic but we all do it, and there isn’t a ‘Magic Bus to Success’ passing right by your particular door at a time that suits just you in the near future which will follow the optimum route to take you to your own perfect Utopia in double quick time. Don’t even bother waiting because I’m telling you, it ain’t coming not today, not tomorrow, not EVER in fact. Sure, it’s time for a ‘Change’, for you to ‘Change’ perhaps and it’s a lot easier than you think, if you make a plan and start becoming the ‘Master of your own Destiny’.

A million dead-end streets, and every time I thought I'd got it made…

Bowie is SO right here and there’s nothing worse than heading down ‘A million dead-end streets’. It’s only human nature after a while to just give up and let ‘Life’ take the lead instead of ‘You leading your Life’. It’s such a waste of time isn’t it – a million hours, one for each dead-end street is much longer than a lifetime of 79 years (average age we live for and only 692,040 hours – I’ve checked) and what we need to do is to reduce the number of dead-end streets by taking charge.

Being in charge of your own ‘Change’ saves a wasted lifetime of ‘Fuzzy-Logic’ dead-end streets where you think you’ve got it made – I know, I have many such T-Shirts. Having a plan, is like being a maze knowing exactly where to turn left and right and where the centre is and hugely empowering and calming. I feel both of those right now.

It seemed the taste was not so sweet, so I turned myself to face me…

We spend so much of our lives worrying about things that are out of our control or wondering what other people will think that we waste our waking hours and energy procrastinating rather than looking deep into our inner-selves and facing up to our demons. Forging the way ahead with the knowledge of who you really are, with a route to success and a time-line of ‘Change’ in place is the way forward.

But I've never caught a glimpse, of how the others must see the faker…

Question – Do you believe in YOU? It’s a tricky one to answer perhaps and most days there are stories of people being caught out by their ‘Private Lives’ catching up with them. Royalty, MP’s and Celebrities are the easy targets to catch out as ‘Fakers’ but what is it that you are ‘Faking’ today? Are you living up to the expectations and standards you expect in other people? It’s a question I ask of myself everyday as I reach out to others facing up to their demons and planning a brighter future.

I watch the ripples change their size, but never leave the stream…

I love that lyric and ‘Change’ is more about diving in and making waves rather than rippling the water and never leaving the stream you are in right now. Having ‘Mastered my own Change’ many times over I know just how much effort and courage it can take to ‘Change’ relationships, jobs, habits and even addictions. Just believe me that it’s worth it in the long run. Finding the space to ‘Change’ is the tough part of the equation or the spark that ignites the desire – In short, just leave your stream and explore the world around you – it’s super-exciting.

So, the days float through my eyes, but still the days seem the same…

More Questions - Are you a FLOATER? Are you DRIFTING? Do all your days seem SAME? Where are you GOING? What are you DOING about making that CHANGE? Have you any answers? Are you ashamed of yourself.

Where's your shame, time may change me, but I can't trace time…

I am, I’m ashamed of the time I wasted waiting for ‘Change’ to happen and make my life complete. And unlike Bowie’s lyrics ‘Time didn’t Change me’ – I did. I made the ‘Change’ and I know exactly when that was, and you do too, if you know me well. 

So over to you, and do you know when you are going to ‘Change’ your chameleonic personality - is it Today, Tomorrow or will it be a disappointing Never – I’d love to know and would love to be part of the journey with you.

1,016 Marathons - 246 Ultras - 15 Marathon des Sables - 9 Guinness World Records

Thursday, 3 May 2018

I Don't Care Anymore - Phil Collins

Well you can tell everyone I'm a down disgrace, drag my name all over the place, I don't care anymore…

I simply love this Phil Collins track for it’s pure anger and hostility, mainly directed at his failed first marriage. Now, rather than talking marriage guidance in this blog, I’m going to concentrate more on Collins ‘Don’t care’ attitude of which I’m a big fan. I believe there’s a lot to be said about not caring about what anyone else thinks as long as you believe in what you are doing, and that it feels like you are doing the right thing, for your own needs.

So many folk, wear their hearts on their sleeves, or on Facebook nowadays searching for folk to ‘Rubber Stamp’ their every move and decision. Pre-internet, it makes me wonder how folk ever got through life with only their self-confidence to get them through rather than typing every life-crisis into a box and pressing ‘post’.

Ok, it’s great to bounce your ideas off a trusted friend but to live life constantly asking for recommendations and approval from an online cabal seems somewhat crazy to me. It’s an ‘Ask the Audience’ kinda answer on ‘Millionaire’ but without four answers to choose from if you get my drift.

You can tell everybody 'bout the state I'm in, you won't catch me crying 'cos I just can't win…

You see, that would be an admission of failure for me (something I wouldn’t be happy in sharing) and an intrusion into my inner world. That’s a place where only I’m allowed, a private place of reflection and somewhere that my ‘Metacognition of Life’ can process the ups and downs of ‘Me’ living with ‘Me’. As for Phil’s crying, well I get that as I’ve shed a few tears over the years’ myself, but you certainly wouldn’t catch me crying if I wasn’t as he says ‘Winning’. Nothing is ever that serious, is it?

I don't care what you say, we never played by the same rules anyway… 

But what are ‘The Rules’? And who makes them? I’m not sure they are even written down anywhere. I do know that most ‘Rules’ that can be applied to anything we do in life can be interpreted in many different ways and play anyone at Monopoly or Scrabble and most households have their own slant on how they play the game. If you are wondering, at our house, both are played exactly to ‘The Rules’ and we don’t play Scrabble anymore after the ‘ZO-Gate’ incident where I played the two-letter word much to Lady C’s annoyance.

'Cos every day I'm feeling fine with myself, and I don't care now what you say…

And if you sever your ties with trying to please other people, it is possible to find self-satisfaction and then future happiness and personal fulfilment. The moment of realisation that the self-imposed pressure of pleasing other people’s expectations is over is just one of the most satisfying and liberating occurrences that anyone can ever experience. The planning of a brighter less complicated and more rewarding future is something that I love to work on with my clients. Getting them to appreciate themselves and their journey, is my goal and the self-satisfaction for them is a far better reward than a ‘Well done’ from me.

If you do end up ‘Feeling fine with yourself’, then enjoy the empowerment it delivers and see just how easy it can be when you don’t worry too much about what folk say. Especially if they have little knowledge or experience of what it is they you are trying to achieve.

Try not caring so much and see what happens eh?

1,016 Marathons - 246 Ultras - 15 Marathon des Sables - 9 Guinness World Records