Friday, 21 March 2014

A Man I Met.

A little over a year a go I met a guy who was sat in a very lonely place of darkness and fear, it was a world of utter terror and the reality of it was he wanted to end his life!

I met him face to face as he pondered the very reality of saying goodbye to those who tried so hard to love him, it was, without question, tragic.

He wanted to no longer exist and to disappear quietly, to go from a world that tried to love him, to wave goodbye and to not breath another breath, he was sat in a body that knew no way out. he had reached a place of no hope, he hated himself, blamed himself and thought, in his head, the world hated him! He was lost in madness and was simply just existing.

I talk about this guy today because he took on life and faced many fears and today I looked at him and he smiled a smile of love, truth and happiness, I saw hope in his eyes and a calmness I never once ever dreamt I would see, I witnessed an inner peace and I watched his eyes sparkle once more.

By some kind of miracle he broke free, stepped out of a circle and made change, he saw a small rope and grabbed it, he met life's greatest challenge and chose to live not die.

The past twelve months have been a mountain of pain and heartache, struggle and soul searching and a strength he himself did not know he had, he asked for help, he listened (For the first time ever) and was guided by professionals, he got some bits wrong, he made mistakes, he beat himself up, he aimed high (Too high sometimes) but ultimately he found a place to sit with himself in harmony and in step with this thing we call life.

The problem in life is it is impossible to love anyone if you do not love yourself! He came from a past where everything was his fault and he truly did not like nor enjoy sitting in his skin, it was a dark, uncomfortable and desperate place to both watch and experience.

As I observe this man now I see a person who can sit quietly, not pace, shout, accuse or blame, a man who would rather give back than take, a man who understand loneliness and desperation, a man living life on life's terms, a man not a boy lost, confused and crying out to understand this great tapestry of existence, I see a man happy to tell the truth rather than lie or exaggerate to make his lonely world seem brighter or more exciting. I see a boy who put his hand up and told his truth to thus make a step towards adulthood, a step towards choice, happiness and freedom. This man removed many many masks to live how he was meant to live, he let go and trusted in a power greater than himself and he once again found humour that carried him through so much and for the first time in his life he was able to make choice.

I met this man again today and stared him straight in the eye and really loved what I saw.

I met him as I looked in the mirror.

I am truly happy, I am truly at peace and I can truly laugh a little at myself. Today I have hope in my heart and the best bit, I do not spend every hour worry about peoples opinion of me, I know my truth and that is the only thing that matters, really it is. I am free of my past.

I write this to thank YOU!  You couple of hundred who read my blogs have kept me going, writing has been a great therapy for me and something I really love to do.

I put my life "Out there" and I am glad I did, because it helped me find my way and gave me strength to go forward.

Most importantly though I write this to anyone who is staring in that same  mirror and seeing the person who resembles the first paragraph of this blog.

There is a way out, there is a life free of pain and suffering, there is a life of happiness and peace, there is a life filled with laughter and trust. There is a life of truth and compassion!

It just takes one very small step. If you have survived life this long you are stronger than you think, braver than you know and have spirit and courage beyond anything you can imagine. I know this because YOU are a survivor, YOU are special and YOU can shine bright.

Do not suffer in silence, pick up a phone, send a text, reach out, ask for help and come join me in the sunshine of life, it truly is a magical place, not one with fireworks and madness, massive highs and desperate lows, its a life where you can just sit, smile and know that everything is just going to be ok, it's a life centred and embraced and again, it just takes one tiny little step.

If you read this and you are not the person staring in the mirror, take just a tiny minute out of your busy life today and think of another. Send a text, an e-mail, a tweet, a Facebook message or god forbid a phone call to just say hello to someone, they may just have 20 masks on and be staring in a very dark mirror. If not, you may just make someones day.

Thank you for taking a minute out of your day for reading this and for the record, I am in a very happy place, so much so, I may do a little dancing later!

Tuesday, 18 March 2014


My daughter walked he 14 mile Marsden March the other day and I went down an supported her efforts on two points, the most emotional was at the finish line. I waited for about half an hour and clapped hundreds of people talking the last steps to support this amazing cancer charity.

The most emotional part was the messages written on the back of every ones T-shirts, the majority of people were walking for loved ones who had died, pictures and messages brought a lump to my throat and as I watched the many take the last steps in honour of their loved ones I watched tears well up in their eyes, it was heartbreaking, yet inspiring to watch.

As my family crossed the line and we talked I noticed so many different walks of life sharing in the same horrific story. I watched Police officers standing and clapping, nurses who do the most amazing job, hugging participants and even watched an 80 year old man with a walking stick with a picture of his wife cross the line, it was breathtaking and humbling to watch.

The parking in this area is not great, but people had been sensible and left room for free flowing traffic to pass up the many side streets by parking with their wheels up on the verge, nobody was effected by this and everyone got to watch their loved ones do something great and remember those who have been taken by the horrible illness of cancer.

Time to Q Sutton council parking wardens to act in a manner that appalled me.

This was a prime opportunity to give tickets out to as many cars as possible, I was gobsmacked at the insensitive, uncaring, money grabbing actions of two wardens. They were almost running between cars to slap on the £100 fine (£55 if you pay it quick) with a smiles on their faces.

I approached them and pointed out what was happening and why there was so many cars, they did not care, indeed so rude was one particular warden he didn't even look up at me as I talked or listen to my plee to show some leniency.

Community, trust and faith in those that run our communities and country start with the little acorn, in this case my local council. No wonder the country is pissed off, no wonder we have lost all faith in the political system, no wonder we do not trust the powers that are put in place to protect us. People had spent months raising money for a great cause, trained hard to walk the walk and carried pictures of lost family and friends on their backs, they cried as they crossed the finish line and hugged their nearest and dearest, then they returned to their vehicles (And their were lots) to find a ticket slapped on thier windows.

Sutton council and the parking wardens should hold their heads in shame.

I will pay my £55 happily, I was after all parked with two wheels on a grass verge (on a single yellow line) to avoid congestion (How bloody small minded of me!) and I broke the law! I would however rather throw this £55 at the charity than feed the greed, insensitivity and small mindedness of two men dressed in green armed with a pocket full of parking infringement tickets.

Really, the wardens should have put down their pens and joined the police oficers, nurses, families and friends and clapped the amazing people who marched 14 miles to give a little back, by doing this next time you gave out a ticket, the community might just remember what a selfless thing you did and not be so anti you, that's too easy though right?

How heartening and sensitive would it have been for the wardens to leave a message such as this on the many windscreens; 

"Dear Driver, We can see you have committed a parking infringement today but Sutton council parking wardens understand what an amazing effort you have given today and we wish to applaud you rather than penalise you. Congratulations on your inspiring effort. 
Much respect.  The traffic warden." 

To think outside the box is to grow, seriously the worker we all love to hate could have gained the respect back from the very public it serves. How?  By doing the same as the very people they were penalising - Giving back and just for one fleeting moment,  thinking of others! 

The actions of these two wardens is where our communities are simply doomed and it is all born out of greed!

Sutton council, you should be ashamed of yourself!

Thursday, 13 March 2014

The Fog.

There is a dense fog over the land this morning. This fog can also be related to life, for some.

When the fog comes down and inevitably it does, in all our lives at some point, it is hard to see where we are going, it’s a dark disconcerting and lonely place. We tend to follow others to find our path even though they may possibly be in the same fog. We hold out our hands to find there is nobody to guide us through the density of life, as we see no way out as our heads bow and our resolve to find a clear view diminishes, the fog only gets thicker, the view darker and the loneliness greater, it can be a desperate place filled with panic and sorrow.

Sometimes we hold out our hand, we ask for help, sometimes we don’t.

The fog always lifts, nowhere in this world does it stay forever and as the fog lifts a new view comes into light, we can see more, we are less engrossed looking for escape and more interested in the choices facing us. When the fog was imbedded around us we could only look straight forward, we had no other option, and it was survival, those who tried to look other ways crashed, tripped over or indeed found themselves in a thicker fog treading over the same ground with the same limited view.

So the fog lifts often by way of others guiding us to a high ground to rise above the density of the day and when it does all sorts of wonders can face us, all sorts of roads open up in front of us and we are again in control of choice, we now have the freedom to pick our route, our destination our fate.

The truth is if you don’t know the way out it is very difficult to find it, I have tried and the fog only got thicker, the view smaller and the desperation greater, it was a journey of never ending circles and the same old view. Now I have a much clearer view of life, truly I do, why? I held out my hand and asked for help. You see everyone has walked this path, many have also trained hard and have great experience of the route out, many have seen this journey many times before and they have the answers, the strength and the knowledge to find the road right for you to a greater view. I did just this.

The journey to the freedom of magical view can be a long one, but once your hand is held you can relinquish all responsibility of trying to find the way out by yourself, for now you have a guide, someone who has walked and seen many others walk your same path – They know the way out!

Help is at hand and a map to freedom available, and when the fog comes again, and it will, you will have the tools, the knowledge and the strength to not only deal with the misty journey but hopefully be able to hold out your hand for another who is lost in the same darkness, loneliness and panic of being fog bound as you once were.

Although foggy today, I can see past the front of my nose, I have knowledge, freedom and strength, I know I am not alone.

Have a beautiful day and if your fog today is thick and all-encompassing know you are not alone, seek help and hold out your hand. If your fog is just an inconvenience try giving someone a smile, a hand or a hug, they may just possibly be stuck in the fog of life.

Thank you for reading.

Thank you to the Priory hospital for taking my hand.