Monday, 6 November 2017


These words from a well-known hymn describe how my enforced foot-up convalescence has changed the way I look at things. Because I can’t rush around I have to slow down and reflect. I once heard Melvyn Bragg talking about Isaac Newton’s remarkable ability to think, to sit and concentrate. For his part Melvyn said he spent his thinking-time making tea, polishing his desk, making a phone call...anything to avoid stopping and silently focusing.

Life is not a race where medals are awarded for speed. Too much of my life has been spent running faster elbowing my way to the front. Being more considered and thoughtful enables us to aim and concentrate our energy more accurately.

I’ve also learnt how to read again. It’s amazing how reading so much on a screen has turned me into a sloppy speed-reader. I’m going to move on to poetry next where every word counts. Reading is about so much more than imparting information. I’d forgotten that, I really had. And you need to read in two hour chunks not just 15 minutes before you go to sleep.

I’ve stopped multitasking and I’m getting more done. Not everything has equal urgency. Sometimes putting a task on one side means when you ultimately come to it you somehow do it better and faster than you would have otherwise done because your subconscious has, on the quiet, been figuring out how to do it best.

My hearing has improved. Seriously, because all that chatter that was going on in my too busy head has stopped. I can hear birdsong; I can hear the grass grow (as the Move back in the day sang) well no not that, but I’m noticing the fall of autumn more vividly than ever before. I’m noticing everything.
The rhythm of my life has changed too. Meals are more important punctuation points, reflective and delicious pauses. And something strange;  I’m sleeping better but around 3am I awaken and my mind becomes a pleasurable word processor creating or revising blogs, emails, books I’m about to write. It’s as though my mind is cheerfully working whilst my body snoozes.

Is this leading to a prescription to undergo surgery to rediscover a better way of living?  Well obviously not. I’ve discovered, because this is not in any normal sense of the word a convalescence, as I am fit - it’s only my foot that’s not. My immobility has forced a complete retreat from my normal day-to-day world. This has profoundly changed the way I feel, think and behave.

So in future I’m going to go away regularly on a mind cleansing and stress removing few days …no phone, no wi-fi, no talking, just good food and nature. There’s this place in Italy I read about where the sound of silence is overwhelming. I need to go there.

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