This morning I spent, having published the latest blog about The Toad and the Scorpion, going through more than 1700 comments on my website. Thank you to everyone out there who takes the time to write back to me. I have read them all.
I so appreciate all the comments of praise saying how much you are all enjoying reading my blogs, this is what makes it all worthwhile. I do try to reply to a lot, but sometimes it takes me hours to read everything.
A lot of you ask me if it is OK to share my work in your own social circles. Yes is definitely the answer to that and thank you for asking. Also people ask if they can quote my work, as long as they credit the source with others, yes is also the answer to that too. That is why I write. I want you to share, the more people who read my blogs the happier I am.
Some of you ask me which platform I use and which hosting. The answer is WordPress supported by Hostnet Pro. Some say it loads to slow, others say amazingly fast, and I always find Google Chrome to be the best search engine despite IE being world leader.
A few mention spelling mistakes, sorry, I really do try my best to ensure that any spelling mistakes or should I say typing errors are removed, but even I go ‘word blind’ at a certain moment. Obviously of course there can be a difference between English spelling as opposed to American.
A lot of you ask me how I centre myself before writing. Well I just make sure than all the things that have to be done, are done and then I can concentrate on writing. Often with blogs, these are relatively short, so inspiration comes in many shapes and forms and I think about something to write, mainly asking you questions too, about what you think about a particular topic.
As far as comments concerning my books: These are available on Amazon.com (well 4 of the most recent ones) in Kindle version. My books are also available on www.bol.com or through the publisher Brave New Books who work in conjunction with bol.
When I get stuck, I often go out walking or cycling, clearing my head, thinking where am I in the story, what is happening, where are all the characters going. By the time I get back, I can carry on. Sometimes not and then I just close down the laptop until another moment.
I hope that in the post I have managed to answer some of your questions.
At the moment, I am too busy to ask help from guest writers, a lot of you ask if I need someone to take off the work load. I am OK so far.
Thank you all for taking the time to write comments on lots of my posts. I now have more than 100.000 people following this website on a daily basis. Wonderful.
At the beginning of May here in The Netherlands, we have Remembrance Day (4th) and then Liberation Day (5th). On the one-day, people are sad remembering loved ones and those lost in war. On the second day, it is a day of joy and celebration of freedom. It is extremely sad to think that still to this day, somewhere in the world there is unrest or war still raging.
I often say to people that fear is the biggest power imaginable. It is so true. It was interesting to see this year how many younger people are actively taking part in the remembrance of those who lost their lives for our freedom. It was touching to say the least including one programme I just happened to watch which was about the identification of loved lost ones from the war. Not a nice job for sure, opening unnamed burial plots, but with the wonders of DNA testing that a lot of the unknown have finally been given a name. This gave great comfort to family members who finally know what happened to their grandfather, father, husband, brother, uncle or nephew during the terrible war years here in Europe.
At the national remembrance event in Amsterdam a lot of young people took part helping with the placing of wreaths and also the laying of flowers around the entire monument on the Dam Square. I noticed how many young serious faces were in the audience. The respect of 2 minutes of silence at 8pm was enormous. Trains came to a standstill all over the country, planes neither landed nor took off from any airports, cars stopped on motorways, there were no transactions in shops, there was silence in theatres, cinemas and restaurants. All of which prove to me that people still actively want to take part and this is quite right. They want to remember.
I want to share a story with you in this blog, which comes from one of my favourite books (The Book of Love by Kathleen McGowan), which tells the story of the Toad and the Scorpion. I am not entirely sure what the source of this story is, but I think it is very old indeed, probably dating back to Europe in the 15thcentury. And it goes like this… (in my own words)…
One beautiful sunny morning, the toad was in his pond. It was an amazing pond fully of lilies and toad would often sit on their leaves in the sun, watching the world go by. He was a very modest toad, kind and friendly to everyone he met. When he got warm in the sun, he would jump off the leaf and swim into the coolness and depths of his pond, looking for something to eat, but he preferred to be above the water, just sitting, looking. Suddenly a scorpion appeared at the edge of toad’s pond. ‘Ah morning toad, I was wondering if you could help me?’ he asked. ‘In a bit of a rush this morning and I would like to ask you to give me a lift on your back to the other side of the pond. Could you?’ Toad immediately felt suspicious because of course he had been told stories about the scorpion and his deadly sting. ‘Eh sorry, too busy’, he replied. The scorpion laughed. ‘But you are only sitting there doing nothing. Oh come on, please do me a favour’. The toad tried to ignore him but scorpion was very persistent and kept asking. Eventually the toad opened up his eyes and looked hard at the scorpion. ‘I am sorry’, he said, ‘cannot help you because if I take you across the pond on my back, what would happen if you sting me with your deadly tail?’ ‘Why would I do that?’ the scorpion replied. ‘Well, I have heard stories about you and that your sting is fatal, so what guarantees do I have that you would not do that to me?’ Toad just wished he would go away and stop asking him for help. But the scorpion was very determined and for him to walk all around this very large pond would take him so long. He cleared his throat and asked again. ‘Oh come on Toad, please, you would be doing me such a great favour and why on earth would I sting you whilst on your back? To do that would mean that we would both die and sink to the bottom on this pond … please will you help?’
Eventually toad thought he is never going to go away and leave me in peace, perhaps I should just take him across the pond and be done with it. He thought hard about it, whether to remember all the stories he had heard or just take the chance and take the blasted scorpion across the pond, so that he could return to his lily leaf and watch the day pass by.
‘Oh all right I will’, he said. The scorpion thanked him profusely and climbed carefully onto his back. Toad began to swim across the pond slowly. About half way across he suddenly felt a painful sharp prick into his skin. He felt ill, dizzy and it was hard to him to swim on. ‘Why did you sting me?’ he asked the scorpion as he began to sink slowly under the weather?’ He never heard the reply, but the poison took effect and the toad died. The scorpion drowned under the water.
What is the moral of this story? Well, I will tell you the answer just as it is written in the book mentioned above. The point is that you can never ever change the character of people. Some people are just good, friendly and kind, whilst others despite the fact they try to be the same, always remain evil at heart. Just like the scorpion, he tried to be nice and friendly but his basic character was such that he always stung and killed his victims. It was his nature, even when others helped him, just like the toad had with the best intentions. We have a saying in English, that ‘a leopard will never change it spots’. This relates to this story too.
This is what Wikipedia says about the moral:
The moral of the story is that, like the scorpion, humans possess compulsions that they cannot repress even when it is in their best interest. Conversely, like the toad, humans can be too trusting and hence the importance of understanding others by their true nature.
Now my question to you this morning is: how many people do you have in your lives that you could compare to the scorpion? Just have a think about it. No matter how hard they try, you can never change the basic character. They often will do everything they can to be nice, friendly and kind, but it is just not in them. They just cannot help it.
It is something to think about isn’t it?
Now matter how hard we try, there will always be scorpions in this world. Always!
Image: Google Images
I have literally just published this blog when I got an App message from one of my friends who just happens to be in Corsica at the moment. He reminded me so say: don’t be a toad, never be a toad! Thanks Loek!
My word for this blog is DISAPPOINTMENT (or Disappoint/ Disappointing). It has come up several times already this week mainly inspired by stories other people have told me.
One of my friends has recently moved house for the second time in a short space of time. She is alone and as you can well imagine, packing up boxes and moving again is quite a task. And everything seems to work against it being a smooth transition. The removal men don’t just do what you expect them to, the timing is wrong, so you end up rushing and having to suddenly drive off to return the keys, even if the job is not entirely finished. She was telling me how disappointed she was that not a single one of her friends had offered to help. Now how many of you can relate to this? A lot I suspect.
The word disappoint comes from the French verb: desapppointer. And literally means:-
‘fail to fulfil the hopes or expectations of ….’
Hmmm, that sort of sums it up completely for her. She was disappointed that her friends did not fulfil any hopes she had of help. You could ask yourself, should she have actually asked them? Or should you sit back and wait that people offer by themselves? Tricky. Maybe if said friends were reading this blog they would be raising their eyebrows and saying – but no one asked!
It sort of sums up the feeling when you are disappointed about something that is it more about your own expectations and hopes. Do you set them too high? I personally think that we should always have expectations of what we want in life.
This week stories have kept crossing my path and this word too, so it seems to be a feature this week.
I could sort of relate it to something (very minor), which happened to me too. I suddenly read something on social media about someone I know and have been working with for many years. All about the new plans, new ideas and such like and I did not know a single thing about it. Not that I should really because it is an indirect situation, but all the same, the thought crossed my mind that perhaps it would have been nice to hear something about it before it went out into the open. Was I disappointed, no to be honest, more surprised I think. Did I expect too much?
At the moment the energy is very much about this topic. Things that have fallen into a routine for a long time suddenly come to an end. I am not sure why, but it is all about the energy for this year and what a lot of people, particularly spiritual ones, have been talking about. It is more a mergence of people coming together to create things together rather than as individuals. A sort of attraction of opposites, which in the first place may sound strange but often when this happens, something quite new and exciting can come out of such a co-operation.
Is disappointment something that hurts your feelings and if so, how to you deal with it? You can choose to just shrug your shoulders and think you will just get on with things or you could say something about it. What would you choose? I am pretty sure if you brought the subject up with someone they would look at you completely surprised, wondering what on earth you are actually talking about. In their hurly burly busy lives, the thought may have simply not entered their head. But my question is: if you feel disappointment , should you be honest and say so?
I think this is a difficult point. Because in some or other way you are hurt and do you just bottle up the feelings or release them? By releasing them you could just think, right, I will remember that for the future and allow the friendship to cool off, which is probably not what you really want, or find the right moment to speak out. But deep down inside the pain is there.
A true friend will be open and listen as opposed to what we all have in our lives; the ‘hanger’s on’. People who are just in our life who are really not true friends but more acquaintances. We all have a lot of those. Sometimes you can think about colleagues in this category too.
You know something I have experienced recently is that in moments of need, you really find out who your friends are! And sometimes it can be quite a shock when you come to the realization that they are so self-centred in their own lives that they don’t really have time for you. I am not saying that they do it on purpose, because the pace of life is really to blame for this. People just do not seem to have time anymore. Society puts so many demands on us these days we are continually rushing around. Until the moment comes when you cannot. Something crosses your path and brings you to an absolute stand still. These are big moments, which at the time are annoying to say the least, but I have often learnt that moments like these are the greatest moments of real learning. Really learning about yourself and in retrospect you look back and think that whatever happened to you, was really for a reason, because it made you stop and think.
The universe and our soul just work like that! It is a sort of message within that you are not either on the right path or continually subjecting yourself to things that are not right for you. This can be literally anything, from not being happy in your job, or in the wrong sort of relationship. Not taking enough time for yourself, or looking after yourself, not taking enough exercise, not eating properly, not getting enough rest or sleep. The list is very long. If you like it is as if your soul is disappointed in what you are doing and to be sure, it will give you a sign to make you sit up and take notice.
If you find yourself in a situation of disappointment, then you can do several things and it all begins with doing things that you like. For me this is writing, putting words onto paper (or my laptop), and telling a story. For others it is going out into nature, learning once again to appreciate how beautiful it is.
If you want to have grace in your life, then that is where it all begins, as I have said before, with gratitude. And many big spiritual influencers are saying exactly the same thing.
Every night before I go to sleep, I listen to a short story. Now 90% of the time I never hear the end, because I usually fall asleep which is the general idea after all. But those 20 minutes or so, of just winding down, listening to a pleasant story, breathing in and out deeply as you listen, makes you much more appreciative.
Appreciation and pleasure in whatever form they take is to my mind, perhaps the solution to disappointment? Just accepting too, a situation is what it is, and releasing the whole subject can be very therapeutic. There is no point whatsoever getting yourself wound up about it, thinking negative thoughts, or even blaming someone. It just makes matters worse.
Just let it go, and pamper yourself a bit by doing something you like. Works wonders believe me!
I was looking for some images to add to this blog and came across the first quote on Google. I am afraid I cannot agree entirely with it. Because I believe we should have a lot of expectations about what we truly desire in life. We have to have dreams, bucket lists and ideas. Maybe it should say, something along the lines that: ‘we should expect everything, but learn to deal and release disappointment’. Release the pressure we put on ourselves albeit with or without awareness!
One of my friends reacted to this blog on Facebook and said the following, which is a lovely quote from Robert Browning: ‘A man’s or woman’s reach should exceed his grasp, or what is heaven for?’
If you could literally see me now, typing this blog, on my special hospital bed, balancing my laptop on my leg, then you would really understand this title!
Today, it is two weeks post operation! Beginning to get to the stage where I cannot wait for them to remove the temporary plaster cast and this will be happening on Friday 26thApril. Everything is feeling ‘itchy’ and my leg seems to have now shrunk down in size.
Mobility ? Not a lot, I can manage to move from bed to wheelchair and using crutches hop about on one leg. Instructions were not to put any pressure on the plastered leg, but sorry, I am not a flamingo who can have one leg air bound all the time.
The word I am thinking about a lot at the moment is PATIENCE and how having patience is a definite virtue.
The official definition of the word, according to my favourite Oxford English Dictionary is:
Patience (noun): the capacity to accept or tolerate delay, problems or suffering without becoming annoyed or anxious,
This word originates from so-called Middle English or Old French from Latin (patientia) from (patient) suffering, from the verb ‘pati’.
Well now you know and why it is such a virtue.
And we might as well have a look at the word Virtue too:
One of the Paragons of Virtue is: a quality considered morally good or desirable in a person.
Well something to think about isn’t it?
And my goodness my patience is really being tested at the moment. I really feel for people who need assistance all the time. It is so frustrating having to ask someone to do something for you all the time!
To sort of calm myself down and just accept the fact that the next 4 weeks (after the plaster change on Friday) is an obligatory rest. Many of you may be saying right now: ‘I would give anything for a month’s complete rest!’ I understand that, because we do not get enough rest in our hectic lives these days. But there is a very thin line then between actually ‘having to’ or ‘wanting to’. A very thin line indeed.
I have downloaded an App onto my telephone called CALM. Just what I needed I thought, to calm down and just accept, it is as it is and nothing to do but rest. For a very active person like me, this is not easy believe me. I may be spending the majority of my days behind my laptop writing and yes there is a new story underway at the moment, but at the same time, I love the freedom of movement.
This Easter was probably the best on record and here I was stuck in bed. But all problems can be solved and when a bed has wheels, you can of course just get yourself wheeled out into the garden. That was lovely, lazing in the spring sunshine, in bed. And being able to adjust said bed into exactly the right position. Leg raised so that it does not ‘throb’ and back supported.
My Calm app is doing overtime. It is a mixture of music, stories and meditations. I particularly like the so-called ‘sleepy stories’. A short tale read by someone (usually well known people) who whisper a lovely story into your earphones. The first one I listened to was called ‘Wonders’ read by Hollywood actor Matthew Macconaughey! Wow, it was lovely and especially his soft voice in my ear! In the meantime I have listened to several, just before actually closing off the day and getting to sleep for the night. End result is that usually I don’t hear the end, and wake up next morning with my glasses still on and earphones in having fallen asleep in the middle. Which is probably the idea!
But a real recommendation for all of you out there who have problems with sleeping. I know there is a lot of talk about not watching TV before going to bed, especially violent films and such like, switching off your social media and no not putting the phone to re-change beside your bed! But how many of us actually do that? Not a lot I am guessing.
So my days are all about patience and making it a daily practice. But I know that for some or other reason, which maybe is not entirely clear to me right now, the universe wants me to have a rest. Be totally dependent on others. (Been there and done that a lot before). But I seriously think that sometimes things happen to us at a certain time and later when you look back on the event, you just know it was right.
You cannot explain it logically but you just have to accept it.
Recently during a 21-day meditation online with Deepak Chopra en Oprah Winfrey I learnt something quite important. The theme of the 21-day daily centering thought and meditation was all about ‘Gratitude and Grace’. I loved it, 20 minutes every morning to get myself balanced. Even though the last few days of the workshop I did in bed – post op. It was all about learning to appreciate small things in your life and that way you allowed grace and gratitude to become part of you. I can give you a small example.
Recently whilst having breakfast, I noticed two blue tits collecting stuff for their nests. White fluffy stuff, which I realized was coming from one of my dog’s toys. A ‘hula hula minion’ to be exact. He had left it out in the garden one time and these two were flying back and forth, beaks filled, making a nest. Such a joyful sight to see! It may not be anything really major, on earth shattering, but just a small simple gesture from nature to allow you to appreciate the world in another way.
As I said at the beginning patience is a virtue. Appreciate the smaller things in life, when you are maybe obliged to slow down and do something different for a while. Why not? That is a good question to think about. I have sort of come to the conclusion that by acceptance, I allow grace and gratitude to come into my life, at exactly the right time.
Some inspirational thoughts maybe for a midweek Wednesday?
Well last week was, I think, one of the most innovating in my life. As the title says, never a dull moment.
Monday I was having coffee and cake with the Mayor for my Dutch naturalization, Tuesday doing filming for the local TV news and Wednesday having an operation in Catharina Hospital in Eindhoven.
Don’t think you can have much more variation all in the space of one week do you?
Monday was a special day and a lovely moment. Quite moving I thought and it was extra nice being there with my daughter and granddaughter, so we have some lovely photos for her book for later. Of course she was oblivious to everything going on at only 7 weeks old. But stealing the show of course as she is too cute!
Had such fun on Tuesday too, doing the filming for the News and also a radio interview. With all the talk about Brexit, it is a trending topic of course. I don’t know if any of you reading this have ever done this sort of work before, but the humour is in the repetition. Often because they are filming and you are all wired up with a microphone, you sometimes for no apparent reason, mispronounce words and then have to do a Take 2, Take 3, Take 4 and so on. The problems happen when you have to remember were your legs crossed, how were you holding you cup of tea? Not to mention the moments when you get the giggles, all about nothing. A just a simple glance to one another, sets you off again.
For those of you who have seen the film on my Facebook page, the most hilarious bit was with the flag. That was my gift from the Council, a Dutch flag, which I personally thought was a really good idea. Raising the flag, in quite windy conditions, without it blowing into your face or sliding down the pole again, is a recipe for laughter. But the end was the funny bit, trying to look serious whilst tears or laughter are in your eyes, look sensible and thinking about this being a special moment. Several takes later, we finally made it. When I look back at it, it still makes me smile.
And a huge response from everyone who suddenly saw me on the News or heard me talking on the radio.
Wednesday was a bit of a drama day. Another operation. Not only was this a very tricky operation as neither I, nor the orthopaedic surgeon knew beforehand, if it would be successful. But the idea was to try to remove a surgical pen, which had been placed way back in 2003 when I broke my lower leg in 4 places. It has been there for 16 years! Enough said and sorry for those of you who are squeamish.
Having had several operations now, I can keep myself really calm and cool and the epidural is fine. You know there are just some people who are absolutely brilliant at this. However, there was a small miscommunication with the Pre-Operative Screening and they had not written down that I wanted to have complete sedation. In other words ‘knock out’, I don’t want to know or hear anything once they start. Happy to chat on until the last moment, but I did not want to hear any drilling, sawing or hammering. You would not believe the table of instruments, before they begin , you start to wonder if you are taking part in one of those DIY programmes on TV.
Also you feel movement, half of your body feels like a senseless breached whale, but you feel it if they move you about. It all took two hours, double the time they thought but when I heard that they were finishing off and clearing up, my orthopaedic surgeon, suddenly produced the ‘offending pin’ above the screen and said ‘surprise’! To be honest, I did not know whether to laugh or cry. This piece of surgical steel has been imbedded in my leg for 16 years and now its out. My God! And you would not believe how heavy it is either!
Huge compliment to Remco van Wensen and his team, because it was truly ‘mission accomplished’ and when all this has healed, he can place a new knee joint. Can’t think about all that just yet.
Back in my room, the pain was really intense and no matter how many painkillers they gave me, the three wounds bled profusely, completely soaking the plaster and in the end, back down to theatre again when I had more morphine and ketamine through my IV drip, and eventually the best thing ever: a what they call – block sedation into the major nerve in my leg and hallelujah I didn’t either feel the prick of a very large needle, but the pain disappeared like snow before the sun. Bliss.
I slept restlessly that night, awake every 15 minutes or so, having the weirdest of dreams and about people standing by my bed. Probably on some sort of ‘high’ from everything they had given me during the afternoon and early evening. The other patients in the room said I was chatting on all night! Sorry.
The next morning, they replaced the plaster cast, which is a temporary one for the next two weeks, then another one for another 4. 6 weeks in plaster in total. I am incredibly restricted in my movement, have a special bed in my lounge, a wheelchair, a walking frame, crutches, a stool for in the shower, a bed pan and enough tablets to start my own pharmacy. The theory behind the phenomena pain when it concerns bones and nerves, is that you have to keep the level up and not wait until you are in pain. Sounds logical and I have to keep a record of the times and what I have taken every day. Believe me the list is really long!
In some or other way, every day is different. I was home on Thursday evening fairly late, Friday washed out, but Saturday noticed that I could suddenly lift the plastered leg back on to the bed. Today (Sunday) is not a good day, so giving my attention to writing this blog, and the simple rule of thumb for the next 6 weeks is REST.
My hospital like bed is strategically placed, so that when the weather gets better and they are promising lovely spring weather and temperatures up around 20oC that I can move in one straight line, bed and all, into the garden. Or what I really mean is that someone can wheel me outside!
You know life is sometimes a bit like the weather, some days are darker, cloudy and a threat of rain, but literally behind each and every cloud, there is sunshine and a ray of light and hope.
That is what I am focussing on, the hope that in a few days time, I will be getting stronger and better. Like Frank Spencer used to say in the TV series: ‘Some Mothers do have Them’ – every day and in every way I get better and better.
Well everyone, next Monday (8thApril) I have been invited to attend my own naturalization ceremony with the local Mayor. Coffee and cakes and then the big moment when I become a citizen of the kingdom of The Netherlands.
The literal meaning of the word is: the admittance of a foreigner (me then the British citizen) to the citizenship of a country.
Also, which is rather nice, there are two of us next Monday, both ‘Brexit’ people as the invitation states. So someone else going through the exact same procedure as me.
After the ceremony we will then be eligible to apply for a Dutch passport and still retain our British ones. Good.
My favourite dictionary goes on to say: the naturalization process can be intimidating? What? Why? I actually have met the local mayor who is a very nice person and I cannot imagine for one moment that a thought of ‘intimidation’ will come up in my mind.
We will see how it all goes, taking my daughter with me, only available family member to accompany me and my granddaughter as well.
And all because of a complete no effect referendum two years ago. I have seen that several other more ‘prominent’ Brits like me here, have taken the same decision, because I no longer believe that there is a single person alive on this planet who has a solution to the ‘stale mate’ about Brexit. So much has been written on this subject and yes I understand completely all about British pride and their longing to once more be an independent island. Probably if we were all totally honest people in other EC countries would prefer to leave the fiasco known as the EEC.
The thing that struck me on the endless reports in the newspapers, on the radio, on television is the lack of tolerance political leaders have for one another. Doesn’t really matter which country you are referring to or how high they are in the EEC ranks, but I seem to remember years ago, that the sole purpose of forming an EEC was to create a common community bond on many facets. Listening to other EC politicians and in particular to the totally useless PM for The Netherlands, Mark Rutte, it amazed me how outspoken he was about the Brits and ‘that they must just get on with it’. Excuse me; I seem to remember that the Dutch King and Queen whilst in Buckingham Palace were both talking to QE II about the close relationship between the two countries. Is it me? Or do you agree? This is just what I mean.
Tolerance, help, advice, suggestions, compassion, and empathy you name it but forget it. Just let them all get on with it!
Yes, there is frustration that grown up people cannot under any circumstances seem to agree about anything. Thankfully the Speaker at the House of Commons, John Bercow is the only person who puts a smile on your face when he says one more time ‘the no’s have it, the no’s have it!’
Each and every single vote on whatever compromise ends in yet another dead lock. I truly believe that they will not sort this out next century, let alone this one. We shall see.
Another word, which is in my mind today, is: Justice. I think I mentioned in one of my earlier blogs about being taken to court about my house. Not the one I live in now, but one I sold way back in 2013. Yes, 6 years ago.
This is far too long a story to tell in one simple blog, because to be honest I could write a book about it. Before the actual sale and all the legal ‘kerfuffle’ went through, the new buyers had a building survey done. The result of said survey was that the house, including 3 extensions was perfectly in order and based on this, they went ahead and bought it.
End of story you may think! Sadly no!
A year later there seemed to be a problem involving cracks and we were immediately threatened with a very offensive legal letter that it was basically our fault and large sums of money were mentioned because it had to be repaired and was spoiling their enjoyment in the house. What a lot of nonsense.
Let’s just step back: Justice is about the quality of being fair and reasonable. The administration of the law or authority to maintain same. You are all very familiar I am sure with the so-called statue of Justice, I am sure. A woman blindfolded holding a upright sword in one hand and scales in the other. In other words, a person, who does not take sides and bring the justice into balance for both parties.
So to continue: years have passed by and so many people have done surveys, that I now have two completely full Lever Arch files of the correspondence. In fact, it is absolutely impossible even if you wade through the masses of reports to find a conclusion. As a writer I actually consider myself (and please correct me if I am wrong) that I possess the ability to create a fairly short concise summary about something! Well I try to at least.
The whole thing boiled down to the fact that in 2000 the third and final extension to the house had, as is normal here in The Netherlands, been underpinned with special supporting poles. It is completely normal practice here (because let’s face it more than half the country is under sea level) and yes of course, I did not do the work myself, it was all done and carried out under very strict control by the local council too, by a well-known builder and several sub-contractors.
In some or other way, and for a multitude of reasons, rain, storm, extreme dry summers, harsh winters, a tree close by, the vibration of traffic in the road and so on and so, something has happened in the ground that has caused some form of subsidence meaning that the whole extension is gradually pulling forwards away from the original house and subsiding.
Let’s be honest, this entire planet is constantly moving and under the effects of all the elements.
In the final technical report someone said that the underpinning poles were not long enough? And that could be the reason for the subsidence.
But please someone tell me how do you compare a situation in 2000 to one 18 years later when the report was written. Or even better, how could the man who put in the original supporting poles know, 18 years ago that the ground would have moved for whatever reason. He is not a bloody psychic!
The upshot is, that is has to be repaired and that is going to cost money. A lot of money!
Yesterday was the day; the ‘official’ hearing in court. Well for those of you who might know the building in The Hague, this has to be the most depressing building on this planet. Situated on the edge of a busy motorway leading into the city (parking impossible) and after the usual heavy security checks you come into a place with long dark corridors, low almost claustrophobic, ceilings and rooms going off in all direction. It is a mass of lawyers, wearing their black frocks and white bibs and people waiting and looking very harassed. The energy is incredibly negative and probably for a good reason, as this is stressful even for the toughest.
There was so much paperwork, so after several sessions of stopping the ‘hearing’ we were almost pushed into making some form of settlement.
The thought sprung to my mind that perhaps way back in 2014 if the buyers had contacted us directly this would have been solved years ago, because we would have of course contacted the man who originally put in the poles and he would undoubtedly have been insured to put it right if necessary.
So all this Justice and hours and hours spent by lawyers and believe me the buyer’s lawyer was awful and really someone who put shame to the profession (and yes I hope you read this blog Mr. Meeusen) Constantly interrupting, almost shouting from one side of the room to the other and so on and glaring aggressively all the time.
Then back into the dismal corridor again so that a sort of ‘bartering’ session begins, almost makes you feel that you are at the market and bidding on the price of food. We make a suggestion; they come back with their offer, to and fro and then stalemate. No deal.
The judge stepped in and said: ‘split the difference’ and within minutes the clerk is typing up some sheet to be signed and that’s it. All done and shut up and pay up.
I am left with the idea this morning that this is all so totally unfair. I mean how can the judicial system work when (as an example) someone who is drunk knocks down and kills a family (two grandparents and a small child) out on their bikes cycling and gets a sort of punishment helping in the community of a number of hours and then we get penalized heavily financially to pay for the repairs for something we have not done or in any way been responsible for. You tell me! We knew nothing about. Just acted in good faith at the time, that the extension had been done properly and under supervision and everything was perfect until 2014, one year after the fact we were no longer owners.
Sorry Mrs Justice, you may have been blindfolded but your scales yesterday were certainly not in balance at all. My faith in the system has gone. Take off the blindfold and pay more attention and make sure that judges are fairer. That the final adjudication is right. I will only say that I am grateful and as I always say, there is always something positive in even the darkest depths, as from tomorrow we will no longer have anything to do with the buyers (thank God) and the chapter is closed. Even if the entire house falls into a pile of rubble when they start the repair work, it is no longer anything to do with us (big sigh of relief).
Obviously for now, this is the end of me having my ‘little carp on’ about it and it will be continued. We will HAVE to pay the money and then try in some or other way try to get it compensated from the people who built it in the first place. Don’t hold your breath! I am not either. Just feeling nauseous, that the so-called fair judicial system is such crap.
I want to end with a smile so here goes: The no-no’s have it; the no-no’s have it!
Another new week begins and suddenly this word has come up in my mind. I have a really long list of things to actually do today, but cannot resist writing a few words. Because, be honest, how many of you reading this can say: Stress? I don’t have any stress!
We all do!
I believe each and every one of us, at this moment, has some form of stress, so how do you cope, or even better how do you get rid of it?
Stress is, unfortunately, a sign of our times. The pace of life is so incredibly fast and we are all expected not only to keep up with it, not fall behind, but more important take on more and more pressure! And not complain about it either. Just get on with it!
So what is stress? Stress actually has a number of meanings and interpretations.
The noun STRESS actually means pressure or tension exerted on a material object. And get this; the degree of stress is measured in units of force per unit area. What are they talking about?
This is a much better explanation: Stress is a mental or emotional state of strain and/or tension, resulting from adverse or demanding circumstances.
Now a lot of us can relate to that I am sure. The thing is to my mind is why do we allow ourselves to be so pressurized? In the main, a lot of people are afraid of just missing out. We feel obliged to keep up with literally everything. The idea of going off social media for 24 hours almost horrific to lots of people.
A big fact of life is that we are subject to stress, yes all of us, whether we like it or not. But it is up to you, whether you literally succumb or take the time to deal with it. In other words, make choices for change.
Stress can take many forms, worry about money for example. When you think that money is only really a form of energy exchange, then perhaps you may be able to look at it differently. Lack of money, or not having enough is a sign of the world we live in today. But what then happens to the lucky few who either have loads (so no worries on that score) or the people who say, win the lottery? Even lottery winners have stress! Money is a stigma really. In our world ‘money’ is just a digital substance now. Many of us rarely have ‘old fashioned cash’ we tend to pay with our smart phones or cards. Banks as we knew them, maybe 10-20 years ago, no longer exist. Well here in the Netherlands, a lot are being shut, as everything is now done online. Long gone are the days when wages were paid weekly in little brown envelopes and people put money aside for different things. As I type I can still see a metal tin box my grandfather had when he put coins in the slots for gas, electric, rent etc. Now that everything is digital do you think we have all lost the conception of money in its cash form? Now it is just an online figure?
Stress can also be health related. When fear of health comes into the equation and health is something you cannot buy, then stress is the obvious result. But even then, depending on what your illness is, or a word I really think says it better is: dis-ease. Even then you can take action too. Literally your body is telling you in the form of dis-ease, that something is not right. I am not going to generalize here on life threatening illnesses. But did you know that people around the ages of 25-35 have more burnouts than ever before. This is the age when you should really be in the prime of your life. Young, energetic, full of life, starting out in life and yet this is the age group most affected by stress. Because a burnout is just a trendy term for stress.
So how can you cope with stress? Well one way, if it concerns something work related. Either you are expected to work all hours, or because of lack of funding or cut-backs, forced to work more than the normal average day; what can you do? well one thing is to speak out about it. If you don’t say anything, no one will ever know that you are feeling either overwhelmed or under such pressure that you are reaching the stage that you cannot cope. A lot of people don’t say anything and keep soldiering on regardless, until the pressure becomes so intense, they break. Not literally of course.
I was thinking about the factor stress in my own life. Because I have it too. At the moment, I am feeling under stress on a number of matters. First of all I have a court case coming up at the beginning of April. Being taken to court by people concerning the sale of my house nearly 6 years ago, this coming September. I won’t go into all the (boring) details, but these people have been constantly going on and on about things that are not true. They have a very aggressive lawyer, who come what may and to whatever expense, thinks he has grounds to take action. My own lawyer disagrees. But you can well imagine after all the correspondence, which is a big full lever arch file now, it is stressful!! Often I find that when I wade through the paperwork yet again, that the best thing for me is to try and make a conclusion in writing. One short paragraph that sums it all up. And I can’t. I cannot find anything in this mass of paperwork that I can conclude about anything. So take a deep breath and then write down how I ‘feel’ about it. Well, hardly dare to write in this blog what that is, but I try and stay calm and keep to facts. In some or other way, just writing down a few lines, brings it all back into perspective. And the pressure of stress about it is relieved.
Also I have a medical issue coming up and a two-phase operation. I have written about this in another blog, but it is still hanging in the air and has been for the entire month of March and I am waiting for the date. I could worry about this literally each and every day, but I don’t. I just let it go and trust that at exactly the right moment, the date will come and I will just go. Of course I can give myself sleepless nights of worry, but I don’t. I just accept it as a fact, I can’t do anything about it, just think, experts will take care of me and when their work is done, and I will take over and recover. Simple as that really. Although I know that a lot of people have terrible fear of not only hospitals but also operations.
Stress is something you can give into or not. That is the way I look at it. Of course I have days when it all ‘gets a bit too much’ and then I make the point of doing something to distract me. In other words something that takes my mind off things and gives me something else to do.
It may all sound ‘easier said than done’, but I come back to something I often say to other people and that is ‘mind set’. If you can get your mind organized, then the stress diminishes. Concentrate on something completely different, it does not matter what, and then you suddenly find that you have not thought about it for a couple of hours, or the whole day, or a whole week. You have perhaps even made the ‘stress’ go away. Why? Because you have not allowed yourself to be ‘overwhelmed’ by it.
You can drive yourself literally crazy if you allow stress to get the upper hand. That is the way I feel about it. I have a lot of friends undergoing stress at this moment and I give them all the same advice and this is a small but important statement:
You can do anything, but you don’t have to do everything. In Dutch we say ‘alles mag, niets moet’ which literally translated ‘everything can, nothing must’.
Often, when stress is part of your life, the best way to deal with things is to not put any more pressure on yourself. Set yourself small tasks and don’t try and do everything all in one day. I do that during a recovery process. I am good at that, I know, but when I am building myself up again, I don’t go out training for the marathon all on the first day. Start slowly, taking small paces and then build up. That is a way to attack stress too.
First of all acknowledge it, talk about it with people close to you, talk to employers and colleagues. If you do the latter, often good ideas come up where the pressure is lifted off everyone. Working as a team and not as an individual often gives solutions too. But again this all starts with small steps leading to bigger strides.
You can allow stress to take over, or you can make up your mind to do something about it. Even driving to and from work every day in an endless traffic jam, is stressful. You could talk about changing hours or working from home to avoid the rush hour. Obviously in some jobs this is not a possibility. But if you don’t say, no one will know.
Stopping stress becoming a part of your life, to such an extent that you feel no longer at ease with yourself (hence the splitting of the word dis-ease), begins with you. Acknowledging it and then doing something about it. If you don’t a ‘burn out’ is the next stage.
It is a fact of life at the moment that more and more people are stressed out. Time for a change don’t you think? Make a choice; do something, anything to start the ball rolling to get rid of it!
Images: Google Images (acknowledging any copyright).
Yesterday I was hunting around in my files trying to find some translation work I had done in 2017 and I came across this article which I wrote for a very special friend of mine. I don’t think I have ever published this before on my feed (sorry if I have).
How do you deal with karma? And what is the difference between karma and dharma. In other words: Fate and Destiny. You may all be thinking this is the same, but believe me it is not. Fate is Karma and Destiny is Dharma.
Please read on ….
In these fast moving times in which we live one of the things that I have been thinking to write about recently is: How to cope with Karma?
First of all: what is karma exactly? This is a word from the ancient Sanskrit language (Hinduism or Buddhism) that literally translated means ‘action’ or ‘deed’ or ‘how you deal with something’. This is an interesting thought and people believed that this is related to physical as well as mental action. In the ancient beliefs people thought that karma was something you would come up against in a future lifetime by means of a reincarnation.
So, on that score, what is karma? Is it something physical or mental that is literally passed down through generations of our DNA? Medically this sounds the right idea when you think that every human being (and all species too) is formed, by half of the mother (egg) and half of the father (sperm). The fusion of the two literally mean that the genes are mixed and passed on down into another generation. And so the equation splits down and down, time and time again.
If you look back over the past 150 years and think how many generations are there then in your personal family tree? Literally how much has passed down in the form of character traits, or even literal errors in the double helix of the DNA (by this I mean hereditary disease or how this word is sometimes split into dis-ease). Food for though isn’t it?
To my mind karma is passed down and all about actions taken, either in the past, present or ones to be taken in the future. But on the other hand, dharma is about choices we make during our lifetime. It is confusing isn’t it?
When I look back on my own personal life, I see many traits (good and bad) from my own parents, both of whom are no longer alive. But to this day, there are sometimes still traces of said traits in the actions I take, but how can I rid myself of any karma that does not fit into the way I literally think about life at my present age? Obviously this is a complete different point of view than say when I was a child. Not to mention the huge changes that take place daily on all walks of life itself.
I know from experience that dealing with karma is something that takes a huge amount of effort and over the years of my adulthood I have been busy with this. To such an extent that I often wondered – have I done enough to clear the dents and bruises in my DNA which obviously I have passed on to my own children too. It’s strange when you look at your children when they are grown up, in my case my daughter has a lot of my physical appearance but my son has my character. Sometimes I even recognise things in them going back to say the generation of my grandparents. So to my mind there can be no doubt whatsoever that experiences, actions and dealing with things (i.e. Karma) is literally passed down from one generation to the next.
People over the last hundred years or so have been through a lot. 2 World Wars (and not to mention the unrest which is still going on today in some countries). Emancipation between men and women. A hundred years ago, women were not even allowed to vote! In some countries women are still considered to be the lesser race and man still dictates their life totally (in the Middle Eastern countries for example) where for the first time ever women are being allowed to drive a car!
One of the obvious ways to work on clearing any unwanted karma finds itself in many forms of spiritual work, like meditation, workshops, learning alternative methods, but I ask myself is it really possible to wipe the slate entirely clean on the one hand and is it right to do that? We still need the good traits don’t we? What would happen if the cleanse became total and thus blank? We would lose some part of our true identity?
One of the biggest issues I have had to deal with in my own personal life was that of my father and my relationship with him. Thinking back to his own life, I realised that a lot of the problems I had with him were to do with his own karma and the way he had been brought up. He was controlling and very strict indeed and often we would clash on a lot of matters. One thing that I personally found very hard to deal with was the fact that he never thought I (or anyone else for that matter) was good enough. Also I felt during my childhood years that all the love and care I received only came from my mother and her family, despite the fact that I really got on well with my parental grandparents. One trait that I know I received from him and this was a good one, (obviously there are good ones too) was that like him, I am a giver. I prefer to give rather than receive.
It came to such a climax that I decided to literally move to Holland in 1977. It was to put a big distance between my father and me because the way he treated me just created more and more issues in me not to mention the havoc and they began to take a hold of me basically because I wanted to do it all differently. I just needed to actually make my own mistakes and learn from them without any criticism or comment and to become my own person and lead my own life without any form of control. I became unsure of myself, had so many doubts about the way I dealt with things and it was seriously time for changes and most important, making my own choices! It was the right decision to take distance and the North Sea in between us felt safe!
In the end and quite a number of years later, I did some really serious work on releasing myself from all these issues and working on literally cleansing and flushing away all this unwanted karma that had been passed on to me. I did not ask for it after all. It felt so much lighter once I had got rid of it, but at the same time, I came to terms with the philosophy that of course there were good things too and I only needed to just acknowledge that in my father, once I realized that his karma was after all passed down to him from his parents. Again taking into account the idea that children were brought up very differently then, than they are today. Perhaps he was just a very lonely child? I think he was basically. With all his unwanted issues and karma too? Of course. Once the blame had been removed it all felt so much better.
The way that I did this work was with Sacred Geometry. A friend of mine (Janosh) makes beautiful holograms and it was using this, as a visual aid, and meditation on a daily basis (I find this easy in the mornings to either set the alarm a bit earlier so that I can wake up and spend a small amount of time on a meditation, or when I go to bed at night). You don’t need to spend hours and hours meditating, merely focus on the centre of the image below. Making this into a literal physical ritual and even having a photo of the hologram on my laptop (screen) and phone (wallpaper) meant that I literally could focus on it a lot during the day. I also have the same piece of artwork hanging on the wall where I work. Doing a meditation with the aid of the hologram literally speeds up the process. I used Authenticity. That was the whole point I wanted to be the ‘authentic me’ and not a vessel of passed down karma.
It is a shamanic belief that actually performing a ritual (i.e. a physical deed) strengthens the energy immensely. Believe me it does. Working in this way and again using compassion and love, I released literally everything hanging around in my karma as unwanted spam!
The hologram Authenticity above is just one of the more than 120 available, so why don’t you have a look at his website and have a go? What have you got to lose? If you find meditating difficult pre-recorded meditations are also available, so you only have to listen to someone else talking and use your imagination.
I wonder how many people have similar issues with their past/passed generations? Virtually everyone I expect.
How many of you are reading this and thinking like I did: when I become a parent I will definitely ‘do things differently’. I know I thought this.
But at the same time I also wonder, will my children think the same one-day? Will they want to get rid of some of my own karma?
In the present times everything that we say, do, or think (‘present and future karma’) become something that will come back to us. It is almost comparing karma to God. Good deeds, thoughts or speech will be rewarded and bad deeds, thoughts or speech will be punished? Why?
Should we all literally cleanse and perhaps get rid of some of the karma that has been passed on down to us by previous generations? It is not our fault. It’s hard enough dealing with your own present issues let alone those of our entire family as well!
Really I think that karma is something where no judgment at all can take place. How can we judge the actions that others took in their own lifetime and blame each and every mistake on karma and the fact that people literally believe that karma comes back to you, in this life, or the next life?
Is this just action and reaction then? Things we do now, come back to us at a later stage? Whether you want them to or not? Or is there really a possibility to spiritually wash and cleanse away unwanted karma. I believe there is a way, whether or not I have been totally successful personally I don’t know, but I know that I have cleansed my own system from all the ‘junk’ I did not want.
Also what is important is the outcome of something you do? Something you do, in maybe all innocence, can have a huge impact on another person. Whether you meant it to or not. Could it be that you have the opportunity during your life time to work on and clear away the unwanted karma (if you like compare this to a computer, download and upgrade your DNA!). Bring your DNA in line with present times and the energy in this fast changing world. In other words a fresh start with the latest software? No one can deny that change is so fast and the energy itself moves as such a speed, we just have to do this! Actually becoming a 2.0 version of yourself?
Medically and scientifically such huge progress is now being made that is genetically possible to literally modify the DNA. This is something completely different and quite mind-blowing. Obviously to ensure that severe diseases and/or disabilities do not occur in future generations is a good thing, even going so far with genetic manipulated therapy to ensure that a future generation does not for example have cancer. This is meaningful change in my opinion.
But what if changing the DNA is almost going to point where you are either creating a clone, or that we have a choice, do we want a child with blue eyes or brown eyes, tall or short, fat or thin. This is quite weird because the whole process of creation itself is being manipulated then. The magic of creation has all come down to a laboratory and medical science?
Although I am a firm believer that it is possible to change your karma, does this go so far as to change your DNA? Probably this is going to be the case for the future. But what about all the good things in someone’s karma, are they automatically destroyed as well?
Good and bad are two sides of the same coin in fact. We all have our good traits and bad traits, and in some people it can be seriously out of balance, meaning that they undertake actions and deeds that are so awful (like murder, rape, theft etc) that they are beyond hope altogether? But we still have to think about the ‘life contract’ a person decided to take before birth. What is the effect on our karma then?
Based on the theory of what we transmit, we receive; suddenly takes on a new meaning when karma is included in the equation. What if we are sending out thoughts, which really do not belong to us, we have just ‘inherited’ them through karma? What do you then do if something comes back to you that you really don’t want to receive? Answer might be just to duck down and let it pass over you. Physically possible, but spiritually, emotionally, or with empathy? You get it back whether you like it or not? So you just have to accept what is, is? That well known phrase: ‘what goes around comes around’?
Eventually I ask myself, as the world we now know today, also becomes the past, will karma improve generally because the unity consciousness of all mankind is changing? Jung once said something along the lines of: every action is a choice, do choices literally contribute then to our consciousness and also the consciousness of mankind? I believe they do. It is up to each and every one of us to make choices and preferably the right choices, made entirely from the heart.
So what do you do if you have stuff stuck in your karma that you really don’t want? Well, the only way to make a choice to take action. If you think it will help then by all means attend sessions, workshops, lectures whatever; anything that helps you to cleanse unwanted karma. But I think there is also another way and that is to get rid of all thoughts of judgment. That is the way I did it, I stopped making judgement on my father and let it go, as simple as that. I imagined in my mind that all the things passed down onto me, were just what they were and it was really up to me to either accept some things and release others. Just ask what the things are that are no longer of any use to you as a person right here and now and release them with feelings of love. Try not to make it too complicated. Just release with feelings of love, no matter what. You will actually begin to physically feel lighter if you do. From then on, when a ‘cleansing’ has taken place, then ensure that you always make choices that are right for you. On that score it is a free world after all. The only person that controls your thoughts is you!
After all we all want to be authentic, our true self and does this start by looking at ourselves in the mirror every morning and making a pledge? Probably. Seeing ourselves for who we really are and not just an imaginary image we want to either see or just to be successful. Authenticity is an important word here.
Personally I think this is the way to cleanse karma and to take different choices and not allow yourself to just be lead and ‘follow the herd’, so to speak. Dare to say what you think and be different. By this I don’t mean that you have to tread all over others, but be firm and direct and speak your truth (gently at first is probably a good idea). In fact everyone has their own version of truth and the whole idea at the moment is going forward with love and respect for our fellow men. Ego is now totally unimportant anymore, (a lot of people might disagree with this), you need a little of it to improve and it forms the basis for your quest for more information, more facts and more opportunities. But too much ego can be dangerous and lead you to a life when you are merely performing to keep up with, or be better than the rest. Remember each and every life is a journey where you are always searching for answers and when you find them making improvement. The destination is not that important. This counts in all walks of life. That is pure growth.
If there is pain or bad karma in your personal family line, just look at it with a feeling of love and some compassion as well. Realize that it is merely something that has been passed down, is not a torch that you still have to carry blazing brightly until the end of time. You can acknowledge it and then release it with love. Love is a very important factor here as well as a form of forgiveness. Remember people a hundred years ago, lived in a totally different world than we live in 2019.
One thing that it is important to remember about karma is that it is a sort of circle.
Formed in death, re-birth, and so on and so. This is known as samsara. You have to make choices yourself to either keep some values of karma going but at the same time, release the parts you do not need. In that way, eventually the karma becomes cleansed as it is passed down to the next generation.
But all the time you are working on releasing old karma, new karma is replacing it, your personal struggles, triumphs, feelings, choices, thus the endless circle of life itself.
According to ancient Buddhist beliefs, a person on death rises above personal suffering to what is known as ‘extinguishing’. In other words: The ultimate nirvana.
The taking or making choices or actions just because, without thought for the value of same, means that the choices or actions become worthless, and just store as spam in your system. Therefore, it is really important in these times to pay attention to what you actually transmit in many ways. If there is no follow up to such thoughts then even more spam is created. Eventually the entire DNA system, which in actual fact is the backbone of your existence, becomes totally clogged up with useless information. Dis-ease is then the result. Not only disease but dis-ease too. Dis-ease means that you are basically uncomfortable being who you are.
Isn’t it worth taking some time now, before you think it is too late, to clear away any issues you have with family. We all have them. I believe that big happy families are a fairy story. It was something I always dreamt I wanted, a big happy family who really get on with one another. Yes, dream on, I think it’s virtually impossible because of the demands of society on us. However, there must be some of them somewhere.
Learn to know and understand what your personal karma is and if necessary take action but remember all the time with compassion and love. Sometimes things happen, which are not our fault and we cannot be held responsible for everything, not now or even in future generations. A mistake is in fact a learning curve.
But the thing we all can do is pay attention to this and consciously do something about it. You can start with small steps and then take bigger ones. Ensure that everything you do, is because you make a loving choice, a choice for you first and foremost and then your loved ones and family, friends, colleagues etc. It is not egoistic to think this way; it may sound so, but believe me it is not. Change really begins with you. Just the fact that you make a choice for change, then others do too and a wave of energy occurs which ripples across the globe and through many generations in time for the benefit of mankind as a whole.
Your dharma is in your own hands! Destiny is all about the choices you make!
You know that old cliché, about time going faster the older you get. Well, it’s true! I can hardly believe that it is just over nine months since my heart ablation in May 2018 and here we are 28thFebruary 2019, check up time today.
Well, to say it’s been quite an interesting time would be the understatement. Had a hip replacement too. Not that I am trying to break records by being a patient in every single department in Catharina Hospital ! Just one of those things and slowly but surely being replaced internally, so am I creating an endless life span then? Becoming the Bionic Woman!
Something else really nice has been happening too over the past 9 months culminating in the birth on the 19thFebruary of my granddaughter Reign Aurora. Nine months … we have both been busy but in different ways.
But seriously, my heart has been absolutely fine ever since the ablation. I had no side effects whatsoever. I know other people write stories about pain, heartburn symptom and such like, but it was just plain sailing as far as I was concerned. Of course it was different to have a heart finally in a normal rhythm after such a long time, but it was a special day, on all scores (which I have written about in previous blogs) and I feel that it was almost pre-destined that I would be so well. Right place, right time, right person and also an incredible trust too. That to me is always half the job done before Lukas even starts working with his expertise. The mental approach is just as important and finally being able to completely relax and allow him to take over. My favourite phrase is: ‘let go and trust’ and I did.
Still taking my medication, even though some has been halved in strength and maybe we will be talking about a change today? Now that is a funny thing, I don’t want to make any changes and I will definitely say so. Why spoil something that is apparently working well. Never change a winning team as they say. (And that is what we decided together during our discussions just to leave things as they are for the time being).
So what have I been up to these last few months, apart from two recovery processes. Well a lot to be honest. A new book recently published, The Art of Confessions and also becoming a grandparent when you suddenly realize that you are at the top of the generation ladder.
I truly believe though that recovery processes are something you yourself can influence in many ways. You can sit back and moan incessantly about the pain, the stiffness, the soreness of the wound itself, feel sorry for yourself or you can rise above it all and think well, what was damaged is now repaired, so it is an uphill curve from now on and that I can only pay attention to what my physical body tells me. No need to rush. Every day is better and better. Well that is the way I think and I do this by immersing myself into not only the physical effort of getting joints and muscles working again and keeping on the move, but also as a complete distraction, into a world of fantasy in my books, where literally everything is possible. I am not the type of person to keep pumping in the painkillers either; I know that strong opiate derivatives are great for getting rid of pain but that opium is a drug that can be addictive. So the less the better.
One thing I noticed during the physiotherapy that I have had every week for my hip is that my heart is improving all the time. Where my heart rate would rise with any effort at first, it is getting stronger like muscles do and keeping in a good steady rhythm even with more and more movement like walking the treadmill, cycling etc. It is controlled all the time because I am not there for any cardio training of course. The other people training must think it’s pathetic, the perspiration running down them and I am just walking along at my own pace on the treadmill.
But I am there for a different reason and now they know why, it’s quite a nice social moment every week with the same group.
So here I am again, 28.02.2019, with a full day of appointments starting with an ECG and then a talk to Lukas, who will now take over the blog and give you the latest final update:
I really appreciate Jill is spending her energy and her writers talent to share her positive experiences. It is my firm impression that there is a vast over-representation of bad experiences on the Internet. The majority of people being treated successfully probably do not feel the need to share this. This might negatively affect the view on healthcare, which is unfortunate, as trust between patient and physician is essential for optimal care. It requires efforts from both sides to find the best treatment and healing (in most cases). Taking active roles, by both patient and physician, by being open and honest can only take place on a basis of trust.
And the ECG was fine, blood pressure fine, heart rhythm fine. Mission accomplished.
And so our ways will part now for a year, until 2020 when I will have an Echo and another check-up. Believe me 2020 is going to be a very interesting year too! More about that another time in another blog.
It has been amazing for both of us, all the hundreds of comments you have written about this series of blogs and thank you all very much indeed for all the support and praise. The reason for us writing it was to show that everything can be so positive if you set your mind to it. Mind set is half the work!
Just a final word: incredibly proud of my cardiologist, Lukas, who is now also a Professor at the Technical University of Eindhoven. Time to be a pioneer … just as I wrote in the dedication of my book back in 2017. Lukas will now have time to think more and work less as a doctor.
Any questions you would like to ask directly to the cardiologists at Catharina, go to: www.hartvolgers.org. You need to make your own account with login password and then you can pose your personal question and you will get an answer or recommendations. Always remember if you are not happy with your own situation, you can have a second opinion and then why not got to the largest and most modern heart centre in the country?
Just before I publish this onto my website one final thing I want to say and Lukas and I talk about this each and every time. What a wonder it really is that my mitral valve is still working absolutely perfectly all these years later. (45 years to be exact in October this year). I know that I have been so incredibly lucky to have three such amazing cardiologists looking after me during my life. This image shows how incredibly intricate the human heart is!
Lukas Dekker, Cardiologist at Catharina Hospital, Eindhoven, The Netherlands and Professor Technical University Eindhoven, The Netherlands.
Yesterday was check up day at the hospital where I had two operations last year, one on my heart (and there will be a separate blog about this as a follow up and final part to a series) and a new hip replacement.
In order to save travelling to and fro to the hospital, I had several appointment for this and that, so quite a busy schedule. I also had to talk with my orthopedic surgeon about my knee which has been getting worse and worse and in actual fact, almost hindering my physiotherapy which I still have weekly for my hip.
Now there is a bit of a story about this leg, the left one which I broke in four places way back in 2003. How does anyone manage that you may be asking yourself? Well I wish I had an answer for you. It was a Monday lunch time and over the weekend we had had a fall of snow which had all melted and it was very wet and soggy everywhere. I was walking with my two dogs (Golden Retrievers, Tom & Jerry) on the way back home, when Jerry suddenly pulled me onto the grass. The only thing I can remember was ‘flying’ into the air and landing with a painful bump on the wet muddy grass and I could not move. Just by chance I had someone walking with me. They took my dogs home and called my husband who came with the car. I was freezing cold, wet and in such pain I could not move one single inch. He called an ambulance and I was taken to our local hospital and after X-rays they confirmed that I had broken both my tibia and fibula bones in four places in total and a very complicated break too. I had to have surgery and because the local hospital was full and busy, they were phoning around to find out where to send me. In the meantime and several doses of morphine, my leg had been put into a temporary splint and was swollen a lot. Much later that afternoon I was taken to a hospital in the Hague and went through the entire procedure again, more X-rays and then the news that my leg needed an operation; but was so swollen by now (about the size of an elephant’s leg) they would have to wait.
I spent until the Friday of that week just waiting, bed bound and in pain. The operation was just awful. I had an epidural (which is fine by me, have had them before and much prefer it to a full anaesthetic) but it was like being in a DIY episode. I could hear drilling, sawing, hammering and in the end I had to give in and ask for sedation, it was so traumatic. I could not stand it anymore and they ‘knocked me out’. Thank goodness.
Then a really long recovery process and several more operations to replace, remove and such like, of the screws which I broke when I was finally allowed to put pressure on my leg. Hours and hours of physiotherapy daily at first and then several times a week and it was the end of 2003 before I was at the stage where I could walk, drive and take out my dogs again.
Several years later they tried with no avail to remove the pin in my lower leg, from knee to ankle but could not. So we all decided just to leave it as it was. And just forget about it.
However, now after the hip operation (right) my knee (left) has reached the stage that it needs replacing. I knew this for a while and kept putting off, like every one would, and the moment, there is no choice I need to pay more attention to this and go for advice.
Yesterday I had full X-rays of my leg and the knee and then off to the orthopedic surgeon to find out what they can do. Goodness me that was a shock I can tell you.
Well first of all the knee needs replacing there is no doubt about that but they cannot perform the operation until the ‘offending’ pin is removed. I felt sick sitting there, the idea of them even contemplating trying. Of course told the doctor that they have tried before, but he said – well things have changed since then and there may be a way to remove it. Complicated, because the screws are all broken and they will be very difficult to remove. God what a prospect!
So I spend the entire afternoon yesterday going from one place to the next doing all the pre-operation checks and such like. I will say that I am so grateful to the staff at the hospital who do their very best to try and fit it all in, in a short space of time, as I am in the hospital. So on the waiting list (which apparently is not long) and the prospect hanging over my head this morning of a two phase session. More epidurals, more sedation, more painkillers and I find it hard to describe how I am feeling. Shell shocked and to be honest really nervous. I have to get myself organized and get my ‘mind set’ in the right place. But hanging over my head like the sword of Damocles, is the idea that my poor leg will have to be pulled and pushed about once more, trying to remove the ‘offending pin’ and then recover from that and then go for phase 2 – the new knee.
My neighbours have just popped in for coffee to ask how things went and after I have finished my story filled with doom and gloom, we are all sitting there laughing! Why? Well it all started when I mentioned one of my favorite programms on a Sunday morning Car SOS. Tim Shaw and Fuzz Townsend pick up someone’s treasured and usually un-roadworthy car. The owners emotional pride possession, but in some or other way, they just don’t seem to get around to doing it up for whatever reason. So Tim and Fuzz take it away, usually with some excuse and without the owner’s knowledge (the family are all in the plot) and over a couple of weeks the car is completely renovated and refurbished and restored to its former glory. Stripped down to the basics and built up once more part by part. My neighbour suddenly burst out laughing when I said, just like me, they are removing all the parts no longer working and replacing with shiny new bits and pieces. In my case it is not Car SOS but Body SOS. Now that is something all of you can smile about I am sure.
I was so glad they came, because it brought me back into the here and now, away from the fear and basically not having the nerve to go through it all again, even though I know I have to. But when body parts are like cars (use your imagination here), which can be removed and replaced, why not? Why not indeed. Suddenly it feels as if a cloud of basically ‘fear’ has been lifted from my head, and maybe my doctors are not called Tim or Fuzz but the principle is the same. My family are in on the plot too and I will be (thank goodness) under excellent care, in the hospital of my choice, with the doctor I feel at ease with, with an epidural and a sedation and not knowing anything about it all, waking up to hopefully hear the ‘offending part’ has been removed and when the healing has taken place, they are going to fit the new piece. No more pain, no more ‘completely shot’ old knee but a new shiny part which probably functions better than its original piece! Yes, I fully realize that I have a long path to walk (not literally) but recovery and if there is one thing I am good at – it’s that!
My motivation surely has to be my new granddaughter Reign Aurora because of course I want to be able to be out and about with her when she is a bit older, taking her to the zoo, to the beach, playing in the garden and having an ice cream somewhere and not like an old rusty neglected vintage car, shoved away in a shed or garage under a piece of tarpaulin, because I am not ‘road worthy’ anymore. Writing this is actually making me smile, for the first time since yesterday and a completely sleepless night waking up from wild dreams about the operation, bathed in perspiration!
So here I go again, on the waiting list for phase 1, then phase 2, but hey the weather is getting better, I can be out in the garden recovering, reading or writing, so what is there to worry about really. Nothing, all will be well.
IMAGES: from Google Images and CAR SOS (copyright acknowledged)