The blue bench

Come and take a seat on the blue bench. It’s a place of comfort. It’s a place of peace. It can be a physical place that you visit. Or, it can be a place that you imagine; your safe place; your mind sanctuary.

Whatever it is for you, welcome to the blue bench. Perhaps a new way to take a view. Not from the ground. Let’s rise from the ground and enjoy a seat. Our seat. Our place to go when we need to just be. A view from the blue bench.

So many weeks of lockdown inevitably brings a time of reflection. A time of self analysis.

I saw a great Thought For The Day recently – “Sometimes we never know the value of a moment, until it becomes a memory’.

As I’ve said before, probably too many times, I do spend a lot of time reflecting. Life is one huge mirror. The difference with our mind mirror – as in what we use to reflect on / from – we choose what we see.

Lockdown has certainly allowed a lot of time to grab some moments and it’s our choice to decide whether to enjoy the moment or reflect on what then becomes a memory.

And, so, join me and take a seat on your blue bench. Clear your mind for a time of everything and anything that is happening in the world, or has been happening so far to make 2020 the hardest year in my living memory. I know there are countless others who have suffered or are suffering worse. But, we all have a starting point as we sit on our blue bench.

I’m not going to list or pass comment on the events of 2020. I have opinions – of course. But I’ve already had some un-necessary reaction to my honest views on situations. I don’t need it.

I love the idea of having my blue bench on sit at. The blue bench is based on an area of blue benches that Aud and I found on our last visit to Girona in Catalonia. A beautiful, peaceful area in some gardens near the Cathedral. Bizarrely, we didn’t have time to sit down when we were there.

Ironic, isn’t it? I’ll just repeat that back to myself. ‘We didn’t have time to sit down’. And there in lies the lesson in our 21st century lives. We don’t have time to sit down. And, in lockdown, it’s the same. We don’t give ourselves enough ‘me time’.

So, it’s time to take some ‘me time’ and take a seat on your blue bench.

Ever since I saw the blue bench in Girona my mind has wandered back there. I’ve framed in my mind the feeling on sitting on it. I’ve sensed the safe feeling of the strong wood that I’m seated on. The wonderful smell of the trees and nature around me. The sight of those trees. Which trees? Whatever trees I want to see in my mind. The sound of the breeze stirring the leaves and branches, and the sweet sound of birdsong. The taste of tranquility. How do you taste tranquility? It tastes how ever you want.

As I said earlier, lockdown has brought a lot of time to reflect. I have a daily work morning walk, which is usually between 4 1/2 and 5 miles. Time to think. Time to clear the head. Me time.

My mind often drifts to the blue bench. Where ever I might imagine it is. There a spot in the park I walk around in the morning where it would be perfect. A place to be peaceful. A place to just think. A place to remember all of the good things in life. I know there are a lot of struggles at the moment and those struggles can overwhelm us but it’s important to remember the good stuff when we can.

It’s also good to share the blue bench for a chat, be that with someone physically with you of someone you wish could be with you. Share your thoughts, your dreams, your worries. Who would you share your seat with?

I spend a lot of time thinking about mental health and well-being. One of the big things as I see in trying to ease that pressure on well-being right now is taking the chance to talk. So, use your blue bench to do that. I’m lucky. I can think of many people I’d share my blue bench with. I’m lucky I’m surrounded by people who let, and encourage, me to talk.

But sometimes you need your blue bench to be on your own. Not because you don’t want your nearest and dearest with you, but because you want to step back and just be. To just breathe, look, and make sense out of what’s in your head. It’s just good to have that place to go to.

I hope that all makes sense. I know what I set out to say. It’s strange, until I saw the blue bench in Girona, my equivalent place was a bench in Tamariu, our beautiful holiday village. A bench on the promenade, overlooking the beach and the stunning Mediterranean. Again, somewhere peace literally overwhelms you. Just thinking about it evokes great memories.

And to close, as I write my final words today, which is Fathers Day, my late dad is very much in my mind. Gentleman Jim. I think of us sitting together on the blue bench. I think about what I’d tell him. Probably what I have done, in my mind, over the last nearly 33 years since we lost him. I’d like to think we could have a wee glass of single malt, and he’d be proud of where my life is right now. Thanks dad.

Take care. Stay safe as we hopefully move forward towards, at least, some normality – whatever normality is these days. As a global population we have learned so much in the last few months. We have so much more to learn. But, we need to stand together. We need to be united. We need to be strong. Black lives matter.


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