Birthday brunch in Bronte

This morning I ran down to the cricket field – my socks already have holes in them after 20 miles… But I decided they have a few more yet to run…

I arrived on the wet green grass, under a grey cloudy December day… And an unexpected impromptu interval session emerged… I ran 8 x 5 minutes with a minute jog, around and around the circumference of the field. I enjoyed it a lot.

The more running I do, the stronger and fitter I feel… Rather an obvious thing to write of course; but it is more noticeable for me now that I am ‘starting all over again’ in my new barefoot life.

It feels that miracles are occurring within my body simply through repetition rather than aggression… And of course the repetition can at times feel rather relentless… I reflected on this irony as I stepped into the cold British weather today – that my wish as a younger person, to be able to run forever, has come true…

I felt sadness then that my art, my expression in the running step must come to an end; I envied other artists whose mediums were through palette and brush stroke, or voice – actors artists musicians – and I identified with the hours of practise to perfect their art… I mourned early that mine was a short artistic life…

But now I find that this is not the case.

Perfecting my art is limitless and endless, and I am still learning my trade; deepening it, investigating it through repeating the steps day after day after day.

My meditation on the move

Later…

I am just back from a brilliant birthday brunch with Fi… I enjoyed it so much, celebrating with my friend – life a celebration.

We met in Bronte which is on the Strand near Nelson’s column…  When I look up at the famous structure, I can never help but remember Rowan Atkinson’s sketch, when he acted an outraged French tourist seeing sex organs all over London…

“The Post Office Tower? PAH! It is the Post Office prick! Prince Charles gets married in St Paul’s Cathedral, which looks like an enormous titty! The biggest titty in the world! Nelson’s column? PAH! It is Nelson’s willy!”

I have never been able to think of it as anything else since…

Fi and I had so much fun; we laughed a lot, which is an overriding memory I have of our runs together – we were often stopped in our tracks, bent double with laughter… And we affirmed today too, the value of those long slow fun miles – and the amazing magic effect they have on running form, almost without even realising it…

Here is our vlog from our meet up; of course I wore special jewels on my bare feet for the occasion….

In celebration of love, life and enduring friendship…

I love our ‘Larder’ London experiences, when we land in Winchmore hill we take up residency in the ‘The Larder’… Coffee shop life is the life for me, especially after 11 miles of running on a cold December morning!

We turned up on Michael’s doorstep in the first week he opened, two and a half years ago, and when we are here I feel that I don’t want to ever leave…

But I recognise this as an essential part of my energy, in that it is at home wherever it is… When I am there, I don’t want to be here, and when I am here I don’t want to be there.

And the person I am with is the person I want to be with more than anyone in the world; I start to miss them the moment we part… But then time does its magic thing, and expands and stretches and I live other lives with other people… Until our own unique orbit comes around again – and then it becomes evident that there is no separation, no gaps; that the connection, the love the dialogue is ongoing and endless.

And all of this occurs by opening up the space within us, that is silent and endless and limitless and true love itself… For true love embraces all and everything – and there is no limit to its capacity.

And this experience can only be found through an inner journey, which often looks like an outer one, as we delve in and in and in, through our experiences and relationships here on planet earth. It is necessary to live this life to discover our source, from where we have all come.

But of course it is not for us to rush ourselves or others. There can be no rush in an opening or a blossoming; or a remembering or a reclaiming. We must live and experience and work it all out, not through the mind for this is not possible… We work things out by first living them out, and after awhile, maybe many, many, many lives we start to see patterns and possibilities of transformation – and then we start to work it out, as we remember who we truly are.

Last night I had a wonderful evening with my friend Debbie… We met 25 years ago and after a few years, we used to say that we would treat ourselves to dinner at the OXO tower when we had ‘made it’ … We didn’t particularly identify what ‘making it’ was…

Debs was an aspiring young business woman – she is very courageous, innovative and determined – one of her business ideas was on Dragon’s Den! And she is now unequivocally a successful business woman… So that felt reason enough… We rejoiced too in our friendship of 25 years – and celebrated that after quite some ‘research’ and ‘investigation’, done with the hope that we would discover how to be in relationship with a man, where we were happy and didn’t want to leave…

That here we are… Enjoying that experience…

And so we decided now was the time… !

What fun we had… Delicious dinner in the OXO tower and then walking along the Southbank, me in my bare feet with sparkly jewels on, the walk way full of people and energy; through Borough market – and then up to floor 52 at the top of the Shard to drink cocktails… Celebrating love and life and enduring friendship… In allegedly one of the most prestigious cocktail bars in London

We left as a Lamborghini and a red Ferrari drew up – people living out and working out lifetimes on planet earth in all sorts of fascinating and varied ways .

‘The more you know…’

I love writing on the plane from Spain….In fact I love writing on any plane…

I just liked the rhyme of the first line (another…! ‘I am a poet and do not know it!)

We left a rather chilly but beautiful Almuñecar this morning; the sun was rising and the fishermen were casting their lines under a silver lined cloud… We were already late in leaving, but I raced to the beach to look out for a last time until I return in the New year….

I have been listening to one of my Español teaching tapes. My intention this week was to ‘up’ the running and ‘up’ the Spanish in preparation for my big run across Spain next spring… It feels fun to be doing this…

So far I have run 16k a day for 5 days – although today I will take a day off; and I love learning Spanish…Committing to do more of both feels strangely freeing; uncomplicated… There really isn’t anything else I would rather be doing.

I like living a life that is immediate, in that I finish the thing I am doing in sections, but that it is also limitless and never ends…. I love my forever and ever goals; perfecting the art of running and developing my Spanish…

I love it that there is no end to either; like life everlasting…

I said to Maricarmen yesterday that I feel fortunate in being able to hold two opposing states in perfect balance… One the delighted feeling and enjoyment of witnessing my improving Spanish, whilst at the same time the feeling of being such a beginner – and at times having the experience of understanding ‘nada’….

But as there is no end, it doesn’t matter… No importa

And as Maricarmen acknowledged, it is the understanding first hand of the philosophy of Aristotle… ‘The more you know, the more you know you don’t know…’

I like not knowing; I like living in a not knowing stance.

Although sometimes you wouldn’t think that when I ask Anadi for some insight… “What is happening?” ‘What do you think it means?” – He will never answer me; he laughs and says ‘There is only now, and so we don’t know the future…’

I like it that he doesn’t answer… I don’t really want to know anything; because in truth I enjoy the not knowing stance and it is one of the reasons I like being in Anadi’s company…

This doesn’t mean that either of us aren’t putting into practice necessary steps towards where our heart and soul is directing. In his case his business is his focus and for me running always running….

But we still practice being present within these actions…

‘Tether the camel and trust in Allah…’

And so we landed at Gatwick, and after collecting our hire car, we headed up the M25, which was ablaze in the light of a glorious sunset…

 

 

 

Consistency…

Today Anadi and I spent all day in a bar in London… I loved it so much.

But first I ran ten miles on the treadmill in the gym. I loved that too…

In the last five days I have run on an Alpujarra road, while the sun rose over the mountains; along the Spanish coast in Almuñecar, with it setting below the sea… And then waking early to run before it was light, watching that same sun rise in spectacular fashion over the English channel, lapping at the foot of the South Downs…

And today all my miles on a treadmill without knowing at all whether the sun had risen or not…!

The time passed so easily, but then I am very fit again. I have a theory that most of training is physical, in that when we get very fit the miles are far easier, and so there isn’t the same mental process to ‘keeping going’ needed as when we are less fit… This is the same for racing…

My best races were when I was super fit and could physically do what I had in front of me… The recollection I have of my fastest times is of ‘flow’ more than anything else…

The practise that is the most important is consistency, to keep showing up, day after day after day… And within the consistency, the wisdom to not do too much, where we reach breaking point, and then cannot maintain the consistency…

This is easy to write… It can take a bit of ‘trial and error’ to learn…

But once the fine line has been revealed and we know ourselves, our bodies, our rhythms – often through making some mistakes along the way – then the practise is quite simple… ‘Just do it…’ then keep ‘just doing it…’

After my run, Anadi and I made our way back into Central London… On the train, we looked online for another brunch location and chose ‘Christopher’s’, just outside Covent Garden… And what a find… Amazing deliciousness, and a fabulous atmosphere of London fun… And although we had planned to shop – needless to say, no shopping happened!

We just sat all day talking and eating and drinking. I loved it; and so did Anadi. We like being in each others company and love the limitlessness to the dialogue.

Our orientation of clearing, consistently noticing whatever arises that causes a ripple on our inner stillness, is the same – and so we relax in the lack of barriers to who we truly are.

The barefoot beauty in boots…

I am writing this from the Hilton hotel at Gatwick… Our home since yesterday afternoon – tomorrow I fly to Spain and on Friday Anadi is off to South Africa.

We arrived from Lanzarote and walked immediately onto another stage, another show, another scene in the play of our own lives… Anadi went straight to ‘the office’ and I came here to find Janey (Fligelstone) for a wonderful meeting, where our mixture of friendship and a professional exchange, was navigated with ease and fun, as well as G and T and cappuccino…!

Anadi and I had arranged to reconvene in bed, which we did – in our new abode, with a lovely big bed, and the added joy of a bath.

Today has been glorious fun, stepping through the West End, feeling like we had been dropped into a scene already in action and that we just had to improvise and get into step with it… And so this is how I came to find myself walking along the rainy streets in my bare feet, on paving slabs and cobbles, glistening damp but still warm enough to enjoy the feel on my soles…

I was taking Anadi to see the musical ‘Kinky Boots’ for his birthday treat… What sheer delight; every second was filled with pure joyous soaring energy; the message to be ourselves, fully wholly completely…

And this barefoot beauty left the theatres knowing that again some day she must don a pair of kinky boots herself, even if only to walk into a room, to enjoy the feeling of the leather on her thighs, the ever so high heels – and to joyously celebrate all the multi faceted aspects within her barefoot being…

 

 

 

Naked feet; with jewels on…

Today I have been wandering around London heralding my approach with tinkly jewels on my feet..

They arrived in the post from a fan 🙂 And there is no record of who sent them… However I do know that they are either from Jay or Fi, because they have both told me that they have bought me jewels from my wish list!

Thank you to you both…

It was such great fun to receive them and huge fun to walk all around London in sparkly delight… I feel light and free and naked in my bare feet, and the silver jangling jewels felt like I had dressed up for a special occasion…

Of course, I had… I was dressed for today, the special occasion of Saturday August 5th 2017, I hear that it is the only one ever and we will never have it again… That warrants special jewels and special attention on this special day never to occur again…

Every day is a special occasion…  Every day is an opportunity to be here, fully, completely… To clear away fear, to clear away anything from letting us see the way, the way to be free… Of the shackles of expectation, of tension, of the drudge of life, of the past…

And instead to know that if we want to, we can wander about in tinkly jewels, just like when we ‘dressed up’ as kids and played at life… Because, we are all playing at life really, we all have a role, a part, the words to say… So what will happen if we become more conscious of the play of life, and become interested to see what happens next…? And within that curiosity to start to write our own script, make up new words, a new plot, a new ending to the act we are in, and new possibilities in the next scene….

Co create with others a new story, one that better supports the life we would like to lead…

As Anadi and I sat in a cafe on the embankment, four tall guys went by in drag… Gloriously colourful shiny, blue yellow flowing, dresses, high heeled shoes, long blond, brunette wigs drag… They were at ease, talking amongst themselves – bringing more fun and colour to the street…

A little girl then cart wheeled by… When did we stop cart wheeling? And going into the occassional impromptu handstand… When did that all stop?

And why?

The rain came and went and came again – and so I stopped at a stall and bought a small blue umbrella from a woman who was doing a roaring trade… ‘I like your style babe…’ she exclaimed to me, seeing my shiny silver jewels on my feet, which were planted happily on the glistening wet pavement… ‘Bare feet in the rain, with an umbrella…’

Anadi and I ran in Hyde Park again, around and around we lapped, the grass cool, warm dry summer grass, my feet loved the feel, enjoying the contrast from the sand of Devon beaches… And then a big black cloud opened and the wet seemed to delight my feet too…

Feet that love to run now, happy feet, happy at last to be free of the shoes that gave them so much trouble… A lifelong challenge to try to get shoes that felt ‘right’, training shoes that I could run in without getting morton’s neuroma… My running friends got used to me having to stop to take my shoes off and ‘click’ my foot to take the pain away…  An endless search for the ‘right’ shoe when all along the right shoe was to shed them all and run free….. Naked feet now; free feet, happy feet…

Our happiness comes from letting things go, from shedding rather than getting and gaining… Freeing ourselves from all that we do not need, stripping away…

And I didn’t realise that my lifelong journey to let go of all I do not need – of clearing from the inside out – would be reflected in my naked feet….

It takes all sorts..!

I am sitting in ‘The Larder’ coffee shop, waiting for Anadi who is making his way from a meeting in central London…

I have had a wonderful morning which has involved running round and around in circles… A joyous delight for me; as I say at the end of my vlog… ‘It takes all sorts…’!

For me running without restriction in my body, feeling fluent and enjoying the sensation of the wet grass under my feet, the familiar rubber of the track on my soles is how I paint, draw, create a tune…
I remember meeting a professional musician who had been playing in different orchestras and arrangements all of his life…He was 58 years old to my then 48 years… I met him at Heathrow airport in baggage reclaim, when there was a three hour delay before our luggage appeared… He told me how his music was there and then gone… How he would spend months practicing, rehearsing and performing, and then the concert or run of concerts was done, gone, finished, no record… But that was how he liked it…Always making something afresh, new, no attachment to how good the past was, or not so good…  Then he would begin all over again.

And as the years have passed, I have discovered this is the same for me with running…

Today felt creative, powerful… I liked the picture made up of loops and laps, coloured green and red under a grey, streaky sky, only hints of blue…

I had found my way to another track, and then… It was locked… No way in.

There was a groundsman busy with weeds on the central area, but he never lifted his head… And anyway he was a way off from my side of the locked gates, too far to attract his attention…

But the other side of the road to the track was a vast expanse of green, damp grass, all wet from a night of rain; so I didn’t much mind that the track was shut and I lapped the grass instead… Huge fields; a mile and a half to loop the edge. Twice round I ran when I spotted that the door of the track clubhouse was ajar…

On closer investigation I found two men on their knees, locked in Wednesday morning dialogue – scrubbing the floor…

‘Hello’ I said, as I approached… They both looked up, smiley men…

‘Is it possible to use the track?’ I asked… ‘Come on, I’ll let you in…’ One said, getting stiffly off his knees and straightening up slowly…

We walked together to the gate, he unlocked the padlock and let me onto my track…

I had no real plan of what to do, I had had some thoughts this morning that I might run some 1000 metre reps… And so that is exactly what I did…

In my bare feet!

And how my body loved it…

I felt relaxed, fluent and I didn’t run too hard… 5 x 1000m with a 200m jog recovery…
All the while the man who was digging up weeds on the grass in the interior of the track kept digging up weeds; he did not lift his head once. It was like I was a ghost runner who he could not see…

I averaged 4.21 for my intervals… I am a good coach, I know what is possible and probable and so coach Julia said to athlete Julia… ‘I reckon 4.30’s will be what you might expect today… Especially as you haven’t done anything like this for some time, and you are in your bare feet…’

My bare feet snorted at this, at being considered a hindrance…

They know they are setting me free…

 

Consciously aware of our choices…

I am on a train from Waterloo to Salisbury… I am meeting my sister Rosy for my birthday treat lunch… I do enjoy a birthday that runs for 6 weeks!

It has felt like an adventure of a day already… Anadi and I rose early, just before 6am, with the intention to run in Grovelands park

We opened the front door of our little ‘Stables’ home to a colourful array of bright pink blue orange summer flowers, and June warmth, shrouded in a grey sky; the air was clear warm and invited us to run.

We said ‘hello’ to Octavious the tortoise who was still in bed – it must have been early….  And set off to the park, but on arriving we found the gate locked  – the park opens at 8am – so instead we ran to the cricket ground at the end of Station road… We clambered through a hole in the hedge and then lapped the smooth green in figures of 8 around the two big expanses of well kept grass….

We greeted the  ground keeper who was starting all the sprinklers going, which we then dodged as we ran ,and said ‘good morning’ to the night watchman who was leaving at the end of his shift…

Tuesday morning dawning, rhythms routines, the tapestry of life… People doing the same things at the same time each day; round and round the sun we go; day dawns, night falls and the routines and rhythms keep circling as we circle the sun…

I boarded a train into central London; I changed onto a tube at Highbury and Islington – all the way, we were all squashed in, standing in the aisles and all around the doors…

Many people, many doing the same thing each day. Some meditating, some reading, some on their phones, some just standing sitting… All of us together on the train to London.

There is nothing wrong with doing the same thing; routines and rhythms can work, can help us to create, to work well, efficiently and productively… The key is to reflect, consciously, question… ‘Is this my path, is this what I truly want, is there a way to change if not…?’

Taking back our own power, finding our voice, recognising that we all create this world, we create the packed tubes, the business and busy ness of life… It is our creation.

We create the wind the rain, love and hate… We make it all…

So it is important to reflect on our creations, our lives unfolding, the patterns, the routines, the same things we do. We are joining in with it and so creating it… This is true of everything….

The key is reflection…

Consciously aware of our choices, our actions, our reactions our words and our every thought…