My Left Shoe

The famous shoe….

On a trip to Porto in the North of Portugal last month, I made the mistake of trying to go for a swim in the sea.

The Atlantic waves hit the shore there with terrific force. After all, there’s nothing between there and the East coast of America to stop them.

Now I’m a strong swimmer and trips to the seaside never go by without my swimming in the sea. But in this case, I must admit I hesitated.

I stood and watched the waves for some time on this particular afternoon. The sea seemed calmer than it had for a couple of days.

I chose my moment and launched myself forward.

I never got to swim.

The waves threw me about a bit and knocked me down unceremoniously.

It felt like a betrayal considering my privileged relationship with water.

I crawled out as best I could, but not before the sea had swallowed my left shoe.

An outrage!

Now this was my favourite pair of shoes.

I can walk, run, swim, do virtually anything in my Vivo Barefoot Ultras and they’re as light as anything. I think it’s great to be able to wash them easily too.

I wear them all the time.

I can’t tell you how disappointed I was to lose one.

A man who was walking his dog on the beach looked rather concerned as I emerged from the water. He talked to me in rapid Portuguese, which I don’t speak, and he didn’t speak any English.

I managed to communicate that I had lost a shoe.

And he managed to communicate, as our attempts at conversation continued, with some additional drawing in the sand thrown in, that I should return between 9 and 10 the following morning because that was when the waves would be at their strongest and that I should look on the shore to the north of the point where I had lost it.

The Beach….

So we did.

I can’t say that we really believed we would find it. The chances seemed very slim.

It was raining as we progressed along the beach and my wife and I walked for a while, inspecting jetsam brought in by the sea.

But suddenly, at a distance and in front of a group of rocks, I spied my shoe.

It was sitting proudly upright on the sand as if held out on the outstretched palm of the ocean.

There wasn’t even any sand in it.

I was overjoyed as you can imagine. It really made my day to be reunited with my shoe.

A lesson in humility and hope.

Have a great Ascension weekend.

Love

Richard


P.S. I saw the man later on the same day, so I was able to thank him properly for his help.

P.P.S. Associate Links!

Midnight Positivity Ritual

Unusual Cloud
© R Morgan

I know I’ve talked about thankfulness before, but I think it’s worth reminding you about it again.

Here’s a little video from Mindvalley with a twist that you might find useful:

The ‘Midnight Positivity Ritual’ – How To Make Gratitude Your Default Setting | Dr. Srikumar Rao

I must admit that I don’t actually do this myself before I go to bed.

But I do first thing in the morning and during the day whenever I can.

I can’t stress this enough:

Being thankful is probably the most important habit to get into if you want to develop a positive mindset.

You may think you’ve got nothing to be thankful for, but if you sit down for a moment, I’m sure you can come up with something.

And then something else.

And then….

And then….

And just being thankful once in a blue moon isn’t good enough. You need to make it a habit.

‘We are what we repeatedly do,’ as Aristotle said.

And it’s not enough to think thankful, you’ve got to feel it, as the good doctor in the video says.

You may start without much enthusiasm, but that will come if you keep it up.

And you may wonder to whom you should say that you’re thankful.

It can be God, the Force, Father Christmas, your life compagnon, your pet or even just yourself.

Just do it.

It will force you to look outwards rather than inwards.

It will put all your troubles into perspective.

And I guarantee you’ll feel happier about yourself and your life and those around you will be happier with you too.

Here’s the video link again:

The ‘Midnight Positivity Ritual’ – How To Make Gratitude Your Default Setting | Dr. Srikumar Rao

Have a great weekend.

May you life never become an endurance test!

Love

Richard

B00UJAP5JM

Conversations with Butterflies

Breakfast with a butterfly, Zakynthos.
Breakfast with a butterfly, Zakynthos. Photo: B. Morgan

I’ve had some wonderful conversations with butterflies.

There was the time we took the tele-cabin from Grimentz to Bendolla and went for a walk in the mountains on a hot summer’s day.

A butterfly alighted on my hand and stayed for at least five minutes, exploring and obviously finding something of interest to consume.

Bendolla, 2008
Bendolla, 2008. Photo: B. Morgan

There was the time on the Greek island of Zakynthos when we went for an early swim and walked along the sandy beach.

As we reached the end, a beautiful swallowtail butterfly danced around us and then alighted on my collar, where it seemed perfectly happy to stay.

We ate breakfast on the terrace of a taverna just above the beach and during the whole time, the butterfly didn’t budge.

Eventually, about an hour later and well after we’d finished eating, it took off again as if refreshed after a snooze.

* * * * *

This week, I was at the lake for a swim and when I came out, an orange comma alighted on my purple backpack and seemed to fall in love with it.

I sat down beside it so I could study it more closely.

I was even able to encourage it on to my finger a couple of times as I wanted to get at something in the backpack.

It’s pretty amusing when they wander over your hand and arm producing a gently tickling sensation as they explore the new territory and even seem to find food on it.

And while I sat there another small blue butterfly arrived and stopped on the sand at my feet.

But what struck me as I played with this very beautiful creature for over half an hour is that really there is nothing more valuable in life than this.

Being in the moment.

Contemplating and conversing with a thing of beauty and wonderment.

A small angel.

What more could one want?

And it’s completely free.

Money has nothing to do with it.

A moment of complete pleasure where the ego has no place.

A moment to be thankful for.

May your life never become an endurance test!

Love

Richard

Suits

A rare picture of me in a suit from 2009. Can’t remember the occasion….

Have you ever felt under-dressed next to someone in a suit, particularly if it’s a good one?

Well, there are a couple of ways of dealing with this.

You can quote Eleanor Roosevelt to yourself:

“No one can make you feel inferior without your consent.”

Good point, but not always easy to apply.

The other way is a little more subtle but I find it helpful.

After all, how many people choose to wear a suit?

Not many.

So at the end of the day, it’s just another UNIFORM that people have to wear.

It’s really no different from wearing a uniform for serving in a café, or dungarees for a garagist.

It may be made of cashmere, and hand-tailored at the fanciest shop in London, but ultimately it’s just a uniform.

So if you are wearing what you want, you’re actually much more fortunate than the guy wearing the suit.

You have the enormous power of freedom of choice.

He doesn’t. He has to keep up appearances.

So the next time you’re queuing up for coffee or standing in line at the bank and you feel someone looking down at you because he’s wearing a suit and you’re not, tell yourself that he’s just wearing a uniform.

Trust me, it turns the tables completely.

You may even find yourself feeling sorry for him.

May your life never become an endurance test!

My preferred ‘uniform,’ Mallorca 2008. Photo:B. Morgan

Love

Richard

The Start of a Backlash?

I thought this was an interesting article on BBC News recently:

Some cafes are banning wi-fi to encourage conversation

I’m relieved to see that the fact that everybody’s noses seem to be stuck to their screens all day long at last seems to bother some people.

It’s no substitute for real human interaction as another article from BBC Newsbeat suggests:

US Psychologists Claim Social Media Increases Loneliness

Personally, I’d like to see more places that are wi-fi, laptop and mobile phone free.

It really is time that people reclaimed their lives and started returning to the real world.

The mobile phone is a tool over which many people have no control whatsoever.

If you do not master a tool, then you become its slave.

Other tools that people are often enslaved to are money and TV.

Same thing applies.

Ask yourself honestly:

Do I have control over my mobile phone/money/TV or does it have control over me?

And if your answer is that you don’t have control over these things:

TV and mobile phone:
Discover the off button and practise using it.
Start real conversations with real people in front of you.
Do not reply to the phone when you are already in a conversation with a real person.
Try looking at the world around you. It’s full of beauty.

Money:
Try being thankful for the money that you already have.
Try sitting down and working out how much money you really need.
Try evaluating the real cost of obtaining the money you earn.
Try giving some away and see how it feels.

Good luck in all your endeavours.

Have a great week.

Love

Richard

What the Lord’s Prayer Means to Me

I’m taking a risk here, I know.

Many people run for cover when someone mentions anything to do with spirituality.

Given the track record of the church, this is hardly surprising.

I just felt that it might be helpful to share this.

So I’m counting on you to suspend your disbelief and read on regardless….

In 2002, I was really depressed.

I mean REALLY depressed.

I’d often been depressed in the past, limped along between highs and lows, but this was rock bottom. I was dog-tired of myself and tired of the struggle.

I had a wonderful wife (still do!) but even love couldn’t seem to save me. I had this panic I couldn’t really explain. I’d sleep, wake up in a cold sweat and dread what the day would hold.

No matter what I did, I was like an exhausted battery that I simply could not charge.

I went to see a lady healer whose strength comes from her belief in God.

We did a session together and at the end she said, ‘You really should try to pray, you know. There’s a small church just next door. You should stop by on your way out.’

Rome

So I did.

I went in and sat down.

It was a long time since I’d talked to God and I hadn’t got a clue how to start or what to say. I wasn’t convinced that anybody or anything was listening and I felt that anything I thought or said would just be empty words, empty sounds.

Then I thought of the Lord’s Prayer, that cliché of a prayer that somehow we all take for granted because we had to say it so many times when we were children growing up and because somebody says it in every film that has anything to do with Western spirituality.

I hadn’t said it in years.

I didn’t think of myself as a Christian anymore anyway.

But I was stuck for a way to open my conversation, so I thought, ‘What the hell, let’s try it.’

And the thing is, I remembered it all even though I hadn’t spoken or thought it for such a long time.

There was some comfort in that and simply going through the ritual of saying it. It was calming somehow. I didn’t really believe a word of what I was saying, but that wasn’t important.

It was the first time in my life that I truly understood the value of a ritual.

Sometimes, just going through the motions is enough.

Don’t worry, I’m not going to start preaching at you. I just want to share this because I think it might be of help if you are going through a really bad time and you don’t know where to turn.

You see, I think we really are like battery accumulators and we need to be recharged.

Lots of different things can recharge us, of course. People we love, nature, music, all sorts of things.

But if you get to the point where you never really feel charged up, where you are always tired, you can be pretty sure that you’re no longer connected to the power source that ultimately charges us all.

You can call it what you like: God, the divine aspect of ourselves, a universal energy field, ‘The Force’ in Star Wars – really you can call it what you want.

But whatever you call it or however you think of it, you need to connect to it to be fully charged.

After all, you wouldn’t expect your rechargeable battery to charge up if you didn’t plug it into the mains. Well, it’s the same with us.

And don’t worry if you’re not even convinced that this power source exists.

As I progress through life, I’ve come to feel that it doesn’t matter what you believe as long as you keep an open mind.

So keep an open mind about this.

Just start a conversation, even if you think you’re only talking to yourself and you feel stupid about it.

It doesn’t matter what you say either. I used the Lord’s Prayer but use whatever suits you.

And don’t just do it once. Do it every day for a while and see what happens.

I still don’t think of myself as a Christian. I use Christian terminology in my ‘prayers’ because I was brought up in England and our family went to Church of England services so this language feels familiar.

If I’d been born somewhere else, I might find another approach more useful or comforting.

It doesn’t matter.

But the fact remains that I haven’t felt really depressed in the last fourteen years and I consistently have much more energy than those around me.

I’m one of the happiest people I know.

I have a conversation with ‘God’ every day and the Lord’s Prayer is part of that.

It has a very special place for me because it enabled me to jump-start my conversation with God and that conversation is still going on.

Have a great week.

Love

Richard

mesunglasses