Beard – tick; #TeamDurky – tick; Pictures of me and you – tick. Who the hell wants to be a millionaire?

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“Be thankful for what you have; you’ll end up having more. If you concentrate on what you don’t have, you will never, ever have enough.” – Oprah Winfrey

“Work like you don’t need the money. Love like you’ve never been hurt. Dance like nobody’s watching.” – Satchel Paige

Wealth  – ‘A plentiful supply of a particular desirable thing.’

If you were asked a killer question and your life could change if you got the answer correct would you phone a friend to help you answer it? What if you got it wrong, would you ditch that friend because that promised change won’t happen? What if that change would have made your life worse – but that wasn’t explained when you were asked the question? How bad would you feel for ditching that friend? Would you go grovelling back? Tough one because, let’s face it, you blamed them for getting your question wrong. The question which, as it happens, could have dropped your life right on its head.

Welcome to a phew from the ground – because, hopefully, the above scenario has not happened to you.

However, how many of us are continually striving for that golden ticket, without knowing where that golden ticket will lead you.

As Audrey knows too well, I’m in a very reflective state of mind at the moment. Why? Well, in all honesty, I can’t remember being this happy. Looking back on the last couple of weeks – 3 gigs (Jeff Lynne’s ELO, and The Editors + Talos twice – get on I-Tunes and start downloading – or via other music outlets), and plenty of time with Aud, Ben, Liv and Gaby. Marvellous!

As I’ve talked about in previous blogs I’m lucky and I know I am. And for that I’m grateful. To define lucky would be a blog in itself and, to be fair, everyone’s definition is a personal thing and it’s relative to where your head is and to what your ideal state of happiness is.

If you’d asked me 3 years or so ago to define lucky it would probably have involved winning the lottery, buying a place in Spain and living ‘happily ‘ every after. Probably whilst drinking myself into an early grave. 

Don’t get me wrong, I still dream of spending a lot more time in Spain but the journey to get there  (pardon the pun) won’t involve a bag of cash landing in front of me. And, it won’t involve living like every day is a holiday. It will involve achieving the dream through my own endeavours, and then celebrating every day as a gift. And it will involve new discoveries every day and creating wonderful memories. 

And, so, reflections abound and I’m learning it’s good just to sit back, be in the moment, and take time to tick the list of what’s good in life. 

I’m lucky, I’m surrounded by talkers. Get #TeamDurky around a table and the talking never stops. Of late, a lot of that talk has been around the great things we have experienced in the year. As I’ve said before, it’s good to talk.

As the song goes, all the small things. The small memories, they’re the things of the greater value for me. In this state of reflection, the walks and talks with Ben, the evening meals at the table with Liv, standing in the sea with Aud. the many memories making up a life, as it is right now.

Just think about the food that we are lucky enough to enjoy. But, if you looked back on your best memory of the year, would it be – for want of a better expression – a posh blow out or something like a smorgasbord of cheeses to nibble on with others? My memories are certainly in the latter camp. Cheese and assorted biscuits- tick; family / friends – tick; conversation – tick. Perfect! Aided, of course, by a cheeky red wine or beer.

And that’s the trick, we do strive for the perfect happiness. The level of happiness which is good for our health, and the health of everyone we come into contact with. When we achieve that level of happiness, it bounces out of us to others. It radiates, without going all weird.

But, does achieving that level of happiness have to be gained from winning the lottery or can it be achieved from appreciating what you’ve got? From looking at what you’ve got and realising how rich you are. As I’ve said, wealth is a plentiful supply of a particular desirable thing.

Desirable thing? So, if we have the ability to have perfect happiness by appreciating what we have,  surely that means we are wealthy.

I hope that makes sense. 

It’s taken me a long, long time to get to this place of realising what true wealth is. I guess I’ve lived for so many years in that dumb place of believing a stack of money was the source required to be happy – build that extension, get that car, buy that property in Spain, do this and do that, blah, blah, blah. If you can imagine it, you’ll achieve it. Well, what I achieved in that state of mind was abject unhappiness and the opposite of a stack of money!

However, through #TeamDurky (and that includes all of the family and friends who I have mentioned before), I know better and, to paraphrase another song, what a wonderful world.

Thank you for being with me as I’ve reflected like a man in a mirror (another song). Maybe sometimes, to quote one of the best bands around at the moment, “believe enough to lose control” (Slow Readers Club – get downloading, you’ll be glad you did. Incredible band).

Take care,

Jon

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What’s my age again aka 56 not out

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“Just imagine becoming the way you used to be as a very young child, before you understood the meaning of any word, before opinions took over your mind. The real you is loving, joyful, and free. The real you is just like a flower, just like the wind, just like the ocean, just like the sun.” – Don Miguel Ruiz 

“It takes a long time to become young.” –  Pablo Picasso

As the song goes, “Now I’ve had the time of my life. No, I never felt like this before.”

No disrespect but, that’s the truth. Living for the day. Living in the present. Living, loving, laughing likes there’s no tomorrow. 

So, here we go on another view from my park bench at the world. The world I live in; the world I watch; and the world I wish it could be. 

Welcome. Thank you for taking a seat with me. I hope you join me in fine form, and that your life is good. I hope you have found your place of peace, happiness, love and that positivity surrounds you. 

As I have said in many blogs before, my reasoning for write these periodic blasts of words is to share a journey that I have been on for over 2 years now. A journey I am lucky enough to travel as part of #TeamDurky.

What is #TeamDurky? Who are #TeamDurky? Well, if you take a wee peak at www.viewfromtheground.co.uk, you’ll learn about us and, if your personal journey has shades of darkness and some sadness and confusion, hopefully the blogs will bring some happiness to you.

In brief, the core is me, Ben (son), Liv (daughter), Audrey (aka The Wee One, partner), Gaby (Ben’s better half), Ringo (dog), Zeekee (cat), and a wonderful cast of family, friends, and other pets. The blog could easily be a roll call of the incredible people who are always there for us and, I hope they know, that we are there for them.

A rather scatter gun start to the blog but then, there’s not real structure to the blogs. I write from the heart and basically the words flow once I get started. And there’s nothing like been in the flow once you get started. 

A blog title is usually plucked out of thin air and I always try and start and finish the blog around the title. However, the bit / or lot in between is whatever springs out of my head.

Over the last 12 months I’ve endeavoured to focus on the positive thoughts rather than those which I guess weighed me down for so long – culminating in, perhaps, some blogs that I look back at and think they could have been …………………………… a whole lot worse had I not had the love of #TeamDurky.

Life’s a blast really, when you peel away the restrictive forces such as the need to work to live. But, thankfully, I work with good people and I’m lucky.

It’s the bit when you’re in your own space that’s the real blast and I am truly lucky that I now get the opportunity to spend that time with people who want me to be me. 

Surely that’s what life should be about? Being the person that you truly are? Not a person that others want you to be? Equally, not a person created in your mind. Just the true good old you.

Thankfully, and that’s a big thankfully, Audrey has ripped the real me out of the shadows and unleashed the middle aged child on the world. Ben and Liv have always encouraged the dafter side of my personality and that has been a wonderful distraction from other stuff.

It’s now truly beautiful to be with Audrey, who is such a good soul. Liv likes to describe Audrey as being pure. I know what she means. Audrey wants to see the good in as much as possible. What a wonderful way to look at things.

Audrey also likes to laugh …………………. at everything. Say ‘cheese’ to her in an unsuspecting moment – hysterics. Random comments with no relevance to anyone else, 5 minutes of laughter.

This just releases that inner child from the old grump (that’s me, by the way. Just in case you were confused).

So, now, that inner child relishes applying spray deodorant just as Audrey walks by. 99 out of 100 contestants would shove a red hot poker from where my sun doesn’t shine. The Wee One? Doubled up laughing!

And, thus we come to the blog title. I keep questioning some of my pranks / tomfoolery as in should I really be doing this at my ripe old age. I’ll let you guess what that is 😀. But, ultimately, why the hell not. Life’s way, way too serious. Now, I know I have a face like a slapped ar5e but, inside, I’m like a human bottle of Moët just waiting to pop …………….. as it were.

The world is a serious place. Every time you look at the news; the 24 / 7 news, it’s bad news. People being killed – natural disasters, genocide, terrorism, you name it. Delusional world leaders – the whole lot of them, Canada excluded. Plenty of stuff to distract us from our life purpose – to enjoy life!

So, the decision is made – with the encouragement of #TeamDurky – unleash that child. Inner child? Probably more the caged child, left in the wilderness through past sadness.

Jump in the sea and splash the sea? It might look daft to some but it’s liberating to me. Hide round the corner at the supermarket and leap out on Aud using my newly acquired air horn app on my phone. Childish? Young at heart and fun to me. There are so many, some a bit personal for a blog but they all just point towards having fun and allowing that young spirit to soar like a liberated bird.

I’d strongly recommend trying this. Although, sorry, Audrey isn’t available as a child unleasher. I need her but I’m sure everyone can find their own way of being able to look in the mirror and say – what’s my age again?

To finish, I saw the following anonymous quote which really resonated- “The smallest light shines in the darkest night”.

I would like to think that the blogs can be a small light on a dark night when you need something to shine.

Take care.

Jon

Living

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“We have to allow ourselves to be loved by the people who really love us, the people who really matter. Too much of the time, we are blinded by our own pursuits of people to love us, people that don’t even matter, while all that time we waste and the people who do love us have to stand on the sidewalk and watch us beg in the streets! It’s time to put an end to this. It’s time for us to let ourselves be loved.” ― C. JoyBell C.

You know that feeling when you wake up and your first thought is “what the f**k?”.

Welcome to this morning’s View From The Bed. 

As is usual, I wake up – and for that I am extremely grateful. The sky is grey, the breeze a few degrees less than it was a month ago, the bed contains just me. Audrey’s back in Harrogate, being a wonderful mum, and Ringo is downstairs. Zeekee is somewhere else. So, I’m just laying here thinking “what the f**k?”. 

My routine walk through social media has posed more questions than answers. 

  • Are Leeds Rhinos going to win today? That’s anybody’s guess, the way the team are playing.
  • Does Boris Johnson want to be the next PM, as he pitches in with his post Brexit doomed mongering again? Make you own mind up. If he dies and he succeeds, god help the U.K. We’ll just move to Scotland, vote for independence and live happily ever after.
  • Will the U.K. government ever wake up and realise we need to throw money at the police force to help tackle the worsening crime rate? Of course not. Their leader is far happier rigidly dancing like some smiling freak.
  • Empaths are a very special type of human… (from a Facebook group) What’s an empath??? Definition of an empath – ‘(chiefly in science fiction) a person with the paranormal ability to perceive the mental or emotional state of another individual’. Hello! It says science fiction. 
  • “The meaning of life is just to be alive. It is so plain and simple. And yet, everyone rushes around in a great panic as if it were necessary to achieve something beyond them.” – Alan Watts. 

AT LAST! An answer to a question. In fact the answer to my waking question – “what the f**k?” And it certainly answers the questions raised by everything else I’ve read on social media. 

We wake up and, most of us, worry. What’s today going to be like? Have I enough money? During the week, what hell will work bring? Is it going to rain? In Manchester, they don’t need to ask because it will. What shall I eat tonight? Are empaths a very special type of human?

Rather than being alive we almost suffocate ourselves with questions. Some answerable but nothing to worry about, and some unanswerable so, what is there to worry about. We certainly shouldn’t worry about science fiction.

Wait – how do you spell epiphany? 

I think we can easily worry about unanswerable stuff, try to achieve what doesn’t need to be achieved and forget to just be alive. 

So, my quest today is to breathe, to open my eyes, to hug those who I can hug, and to be alive. I don’t need to worry about the other stuff. Boris will do want Boris wants because he’s a first class, deluded fool (and we all know one or two who fall into that category don’t we); the U.K. government will do what it wants because it is littered with deluded fools (and we all know more than one or two of those don’t we); empaths? And, will the Rhinos win? I think I’ll just go along with the idea of being alive.

And, so my dear reader to this Sunday morning blast of words. My mantra today ‘What The f**k. Just be alive’. Perhaps imagine being stood on a beach. But, let’s not lose the plot.

That’s all.

Happy Sunday 😀😀😀😀

Take care

Jon

Communication won’t let me down again. True!

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“No one can help everybody, but everybody can help somebody” – unknown 

“All I know time is a valuable thing. Watch it fly by as the pendulum swings. Watch it count down to the end of the day. The clock ticks life away” – Linkin Park

Such beautiful words from an awesome band. So sad the loss of the inspirational Chester Bennington and, I guess, there’s the starting point for the latest View From The Ground.

I’ve just had 3 wonderful days at the Leeds Festival with Ben and Audrey (the plans are for Liv to come along, for at least part of it, next year). And, I’d better not forget that Gaby and her friend Emma made a welcome appearance. 

It’s such an amazing experience being at the Festival. A feast of music of the highest order.

It’s great to see the age range expanding at the Festival. It’s the 14th Ben and I have attended, and Audrey’s 4th, I think.

It’s incredible to be amongst over 70,000 people united by music – of so many genres. Rain or shine, and it did both, the crowds gather together to bounce along and around like nothing else matters. And for those few days it doesn’t.

It was very poignant this year as Sum 41 we’re playing. The very first band that I took an 8 year old Ben to see. 15 1/2 years ago, we still remember his excitement, tinged with slight nervousness about whether it was going to be too loud 😀. Still a beautiful memory.

And on the same day, Mike Shinoda was playing – of Linkin Park fame, the first headliner Ben and I saw at the Leeds Festival in 2003. 

As I’ve already referred to, the wonderful Chester Bennington was lost to his family, friends, band mates and the world of music in such sad circumstances. So, when Mike sang In The End, accompanied by the thousands in the crowd it was a highly emotional time. So, so sad.

However, an added bonus of the day, and Festival was when Mike joint Sun 41 for an energised version of Linkin Park’s classic, Faint.

But, it’s the loss of Chester Bennington that has prayed on my mind. A man with everything, but everything was not enough to stop him taking his own life.

Of course, Chester is one of too many who feel that they can not deal with their troubles and sadly decide to take the worse possible option – and one from which there is no second choice, unless the person is lucky and found before it is too late.

We all read of too many tragedies like this and I’m always left wondering what we can do to help people before it is too late.

I know I’ve written about it before but I really believe that talking is such an important release of the poison that can effect our minds. I’m not saying this is the solution to all ills, but I’m just throwing it out there was a possibility.

In the last blog I wrote about my concerns about 24 / 7 news. I really worry at how that poisons the mind. Just today, in the U.K. news there’s trouble brewing with Russia; The Trump was internal battles – I mean with his people, not his inability to be rational; a beautiful BBC presenter has lost her battle with the evil that is cancer at the age of 40; restaurants might have to put the calorie count on their menus (WHAT? We kind of know that a cream based dish is going to add a few pounds); and Brexit is just a pain in the ar5e. 

And then we wonder why people are perhaps struggling. Finances are tough, global warming is paraded before us, terrorism looms. And then, you walk throw your nearest city – there are more and more people sleeping on the streets; more high street shops are closing; security bollards are erected to stop the evil of terrorism and so on. 

It is enough to get you down, but let’s not forget. We woke up this morning – the greatest gift of all. That’s a starting point to celebrate. 

Everything else we see, read, feel, experience is secondary. But, where they become a threat to our daily life, we shouldn’t hide from them. We should talk them out.

In respect of many of what I have highlighted, in reality what can we do about them – individually. Yes, we should be vigilant against terrorism; we should be environmentally conscious in relation to the planet; we should try and help those on the street – starting with food, drink, conversation, inclusion, and moving on to speaking up and getting the government to do more (that’s more that what has recently been announced in the U.K.). 

But, what can we do about Russia? What can we do about The Trump? In the U.K., what can we do to stop Teresa May dancing?

And, let’s not forget, those bl00dy restaurants who put calories on the menu. Let’s compete with our dining companions and select the meal with the most calories. Stick it to them. Down with celery sticks and up with mozzarella sticks. Down with salad and up with steak with peppercorn sauce, triple cooked chips and lots and lots of lard!

Of course, I say the above with my tongue placed firmly in my food filled cheek.

Let’s talk talk and talk some more. As they say a problem shared is a problem ……………… shared. But, I guess we all worry. We all carry some concern for things. But let’s reach out and don’t let lack of communication let us down.

And, so, this is where I will in fact stop talking. For now. Thanks for taking the time to stop by. I really appreciate that people take the time to drop in on the blogs. I hope you enjoy them. They always come with the disclaimer of never meaning to fend and apologies for the typos. This one is been finished on a train journey from London.

Take care.

Jon

See. Sea. Si!

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“Land is the secure ground of home, the sea is like life, the outside, the unknown.” – Stephen Gardiner

“Why do we love the sea? It is because it has some potent power to make us think things we like to think.” – Robert Henri

Or, as the song goes, ‘oh I do like to be beside the seaside, oh I do love to be beside the sea …..’.

Welcome back to the View From The Ground. It’s been a while since my taxi drive up in Aberdeen. I await receipt of the book recommended by my friendly driver – ‘The Mind is Flat: The Illusion of Mental Depth and The Improvised Mind’ by Nick Chater. I suspect it will be a reference point for future writing.

All things mind related fascinate me, so the idea of reading someone’s take on what he terms as the illusion of mental depth should be thought provoking. The illusion of mental depth? Are we who we think we are, or are we what we have created to be the person we want people to think we are.

Interesting? How many people do we know change because they want to be ‘free’ of what or who the world wants them to be? But, in fact, they create a persona that they think is the person society doesn’t want them to be but, in fact, it is just that – a persona not the person. Deep? As deep as the sea. Si!

A lot of times we build the person we are, almost as a protection from things or people that have hurt us. Again, just thinking about it, how many times has a life event caused someone to build themselves into the person they think they need to be to be able to deal with what they fear might happen again. Deep as the si (sic).

The mind is a wonderful thing to explore. But, who has the answers to how the mind work? Who can unlock why we are who we are? Why we act the way we do? And, let’s just stop right there and think about the phrase – ‘act the way we do’. ‘Act’.

The definition of ‘act’ – as a verb – ‘behave in the way specified‘; as a noun – ‘a pretence’.

So, do we change the question to ‘why do we behave in the way specified’? Or, ‘why do we perform a pretence’? Why are we being the person we think we should be? We are right back at the start of this one man debate. And, notice – in that last question I used ‘perform’ and ‘pretence’.

I suspect I will be tossing and turning this debate in my mind for some time. Trying to, I guess, work out who I am, why I am, and is that what I am meant to be – or can / should I change and, if so, would that change be to a better version of who I think I am.

Try applying the above to yourself. I hope it makes enough sense for you to give it a go.

One of my favourite sights, sounds and smells is the sea. It is a blessing to be able to enjoy all three senses and recently Audrey and I had a brief chance to enjoy a walk in the sun, on the beach, next to the sea.

That experience brought memories flooding back about the sea – holidays, fun, relaxation / meditation, moments of mindfulness, all sea related. Just think of the therapeutic beauties that the sea holds.

Just to see the sea, this force of nature. To watch the waves lapping on the shore and then drifting back, only to be replaced by another and another and another wave. The calm and then the crash. Hypnotic at the very least.

If only we could all live close to the sea. I’m not tempting a Day After Tomorrow scenario, just thinking about how magnificent it would be to be able to ‘just be’ for a set time every day. To sit, or stand, or lie, and watch the sea.
There’s a small cove that I love to visit when we are lucky enough to holiday in Catalonia. It’s beautiful and has featured as the picture for a previous blog. But, at times, when life events are just a bit tough, I picture myself back there – at night, staring up at the dark sky with its beautiful tapestry of bright, gleaming diamond like stars; with the sound of the sea, gently lapping onto the pebbled shore. It’s probably the most beautiful, therapeutic image I have.

The sea holds such power and, of course, has the ability to cause disaster. But, then, many things that create such hypnotic mindsets are equally dangerous. Think about the beauty of watch flames dance on an open fire or on a bonfire. Yet, then, the abject cruelty that fire can bring when unleashed is mind numbing.

The sea, for me, is my paradise. My go to – either physically or in my mind – to create a place of peace, of happiness, and of calm. Just the thought, as I write, of lying on a towel, with the sun beaming it’s warming smile down, listening to the roll of my friend, the sea, creeping along then wet sand, and then sliding back from whence it came – just beautiful. The best meditative state I can create. The key to the door towards the creation of perfect peace.

And so, like the rolling waves of the sea, I will slide back into my normality – and work on whether the person I think am is the person I am. It’s going to be a bit of a ride as I work The the countless possibilities. But, if it gets a bit confusing, I’ll just have do what I can to see the sea. Si!

Until the next time, when ever that maybe, I wish all readers who have followed the View From The Ground peace and happiness. The words that are published are just the thought tumbling from the random mind of a middle aged grump. At no time are they intended to offend or disturb.

Take care out there. It’s raining!

 

Jon

 

 

 

 

The answer is – a) Poor me; b) Pour me; or c) Paw me aka Cleaning out my closet (#Team Duke – the series)

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“When you are here and now, sitting totally, not jumping ahead, the miracle has happened. To be in the moment is the miracle.” – Osho

“You can spend minutes, hours, days, weeks, or even months over-analysing a situation; trying to put the pieces together, justifying what could’ve, would’ve happened… or you can just leave the pieces on the floor and move the fuck on.”
― Tupac Shakur

Oh no! A blog about ‘that’ subject again. Noooooooooo! Fear not, whilst I might reflect (but, so does a mirror. There’s a thought – mirror mirror on the wall, what do you see? Well, now that’s a good question. However, the more relevant question is, what do you see? Is it you or is it a clone? Are you a member of the clone roses brigade?), this is all about cleaning out my closet. Mmmm ‘n’ mmmmmmm.

Hello and welcome to my field of dreams, where I perch to observe and smile.

Following some recent blogs, I have been made aware that they may have been misinterpreted, as they appear to have caused the reader to go to Facebook to express their views – not directly, so maybe I’m being over sensitive. I do have a tendency to be a tad sensitive at times. With reason? You decide.

Anyway, the joys of social media also allow me to restate the purpose of the blogs. So, for the record, they are: –
* written from the heart and with love;
* a reflection of the journey that we have been on for the last 14 months and more;
* honest;
* an open expression of love for family and friends; and
* not written for the consumption of others who want to use the intent of the blogs to massage their guilt / ego / ‘beliefs’.

If the #TeamDuke blogs can inspire others in this world filled with ego, bring it on.

So, any deluded, shapeshifting, ‘we’re on a soul journey’ people out there, I suggest you don’t read on. I’m sure you’ll find 144,000 reasons to think this blog is about you. Don’t forget, save the cheerleader, save the world 😜. Although, as the worldly wise Tina Turner once observed from her view from the stage, ‘we don’t need another hero’. Yatta!

Is this playing out the poor me syndrome? The regular reader will know that I’ve mentioned previously ‘poor me’. It’s a concept from the Celestine Prophecy (excellent book) and it’s something I have had pointed at me in the past. You know what, I agree! I realise I could / can feel blood sorry for myself. Hello, I’m a man, that’s what we do best!! (Exclamation mark frenzy creeping in!!!!!!!!). However, the definition below, lifted from t’internet, is a different kind of person, I believe. A special kind of person. I’ll just leave the words, as below, hanging there as we pause for thought.

‘Poor me’s make us feel guilty and responsible for them. They complain and whinge about problems, offering no solutions. They make you feel guilty when you’re in their presence, even though you know there is no reason to feel that way. Everything they say and do puts you in a place where you have to defend against the idea that you’re not doing enough for them.’

No, please be assured, I’m not play the ‘poor me’ now. I’m celebrating the purpose of the blogs and am grateful for the support that the blogs, and #TeamDuke, continue to receive. Thank you, and similarly thank you from my heart for the beautiful feedback and comments received.

So, another blog in the world of #TeamDuke. In the words of M People, we continue to be moving on up through what has been a real year of progress. Our unity just goes from strength to strength, as we work together as a ……….. team. All for one and one for all! As the regular reader will know (note, I keep referring to ‘reader’ not ‘readers’, as I don’t want to make assumptions), our ‘team’ is a collective of all who want to join us, but the core unit expanded this year with the inclusion of the truly wonderful Audrey. Never has a person completely shown unconditional love – in my eyes – than Audrey. And, the magic is, she doesn’t realise it. So many could learn from her.

But one of my own personal learnings through the past few months, as previously written – #TeamDuke raise a glass and toast routine, is to break routine.

I’m a regular user of Facebook and, as had been pointed out, I did like to share posts about my love of red wine. And rose. And beer. And …… I think you get the picture. I do love a drink but, after my rude awakening last year, I started to thing – do I love a drink or does a drink love me? You know the pattern, a hard day at work, you get home and before you know it you’ve poured a glass of wine. It was a routine.

I’d have a glass of wine, maybe a glass and a half. It just happened. I won’t explore how having a glass and a half of shared bottle of wine always resulted in an empty bottle.

Anyway, time to change the routine. I’m certainly not preaching the virtues of not having a glass of wine. But, and I know to most this will sound obvious, but a nice cuppa tea hits the spot perfectly.

I guess I needed an awakening to realise I had to clean out the wine drinking closet and become me. Glass of wine? Not tonight, I’m have a cuppa. Never night, glass of wine? Don’t mind if I do. As Chicago sang, it’s been a hard habit to break but my new, vibrant, energised, happy, fun, positive (YES, WE GET THE PICTURE!!!! ENOUGH!!) life has opened my eyes. To paraphrase another song, you don’t have to have a drink to have a good time – oh no.

Having said all of the above, I’ve just spend 3 days travelling in and out of the Leeds Festival with Ben (who paid for me 😅) and have been polishing off a couple of drinks before midday. Hypocritical? Nah. Live for the moment, that’s all I’m getting at. It’s been a case of stopping pour me before it became poor me.

Again, as has been written, another welcome addition to #TeamDuke has been our beautiful dog, Ringo. Such a bundle of fun, energy, positivity, and love. When it feels like the weight of the world is falling onto your shoulders, the love of a dog is quite overwhelming (although the sound of him right now pacing and panting because he wants a walk is overwhelming for different reasons). He’s now taken to throw a front leg over me when I’m in bed in the morning to remind me to live in the moment and …….. feel the love. It’s his paw me moment. A damned sight better than poor me or pour me.

Have you chosen your answer to the question in the title?

As so, to close. Cleaning out my closet? As you can tell from this any recent blogs, there has been a lot of cleansing going on for #TeamDuke. A lot of cleaning. The local charity shop will soon benefit from some clothing. There’s still a few copies of the book – These Wings Can Fly. I wrote a blog last year about the 6 degrees of separation. Well I wonder if I, 6 people away from meeting the person who can turn that work of fiction, fabrication, and folly (3 F’s) into a film. I can already see the queue of actors wanting to join in – particularly the actor who plays Captain Obvious in the http://www.hotels.com advertisements in the UK. He would be perfect for the ‘male’ (note, not man) lead. Look the actor up.

I’m afraid some of the books have had to go. 50 Shades Of Purple was a bit of an odd one. I’m not sure I get the channeling of physical energy in the name of been twin souls will appeal to the right minded. Raven Bonkers Or Just Cuckoo is a sad read. Joking apart, I am not making light of mental health issues. As some who has flown in and out of depression for many years, and supported and being their for my daughter who has struggled on a much deeper basis, I know the seriousness of the illness. However, the key is recognising you are ill in the first place. But, with regards to the book title referred to – it helps to know the difference between a raven and a crow.

At that, I will close. As always, I’ve enjoyed writing this blog. I’ll leave you with a final concept I am working on – about how to change myself without changing me. I actually think I’m getting there. Think about it. Some people think they need a whole makeover when it’s just a bit of fine tuning.

I hope you have enjoyed reading these words. If you have, please spread the word. Together is far greater than apart.

 

Jon

#TeamDuke raise a glass and toast routine

 

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👁❤️2 ……………………….. routinely have routine

“Being a father has been, without a doubt, my greatest source of achievement, pride and inspiration. Fatherhood has taught me about unconditional love, reinforced the importance of giving back and taught me how to be a better person.” – Naveen Jain

Routine – “a sequence of actions regularly followed.”

Toast – “a call to a gathering of people to raise their glasses and drink together in honour of a person or thing, or an instance of drinking in this way.” However I prefer – “sliced bread browned on both sides by exposure to radiant heat, such as a grill or fire.”

Så velkommen til mine observationer fra Base Ground, or as I am better saying, so welcome to my observations from Base Ground. I thought I’d break with routine and try a bit of Danish. If I’ve got it wrong, blame Google Translate.

Now, that’s an interesting concept, breaking with routine when the whole purpose of this blog is to raise a glass and toast routine.

Well, now there’s a thought and, as well trodden readers will know, I do like to examine thoughts.

It’s been a while since the previous blog – #TeamRingo – my view from the ground. I loved writing that blog and I hope it was an enjoyable read. I know I’ve banged on about how the life of #TeamDuke has changed in the last year but, with a few last remaining ‘adjustments’ to be made, life is pretty damn good. And, thank you for asking.

I’d be lying if I said things don’t still make us sad. The great Chester Bennington from Linkin Park taking his life this week was heartbreaking. 41 years old, married, with 6 children. Wealth beyond what most of us could dream. Respected by his peers, adored by his fans. But, his tortured mind did not see a way forward so he ended his life. Truly sad. When will the world wake up and understand that wealth and fame do not equal happiness. EVERYONE needs love, support, and understanding from beyond their immediate circle – beyond adoration. This understanding must be focussed on the heart healing the head. This, of course, is in my humble opinion. There is hope for us all, but we need to ensure we can all see that. We need to make sure that we can all see the light. Rest in peace Chester. May you have now found your place of stillness and balance.

I’m grateful for my life and all that it brings – even the challenges (spell check just changed that to ‘chalkboard’).

I now learn from the challenges and use that learning to, hopefully, help others. My life purpose – helping others. Would you believe it? Helping others unconditionally, in the realms of their normal lives and not trying to implant into their minds that there is a high place for them. If you don’t know what I mean, have a look on Facebook where there are several groups / sects trying to ‘reach out’ and convince the vulnerable that there is a way to escape our impending doom. There is, stop looking on Facebook at the groups / sects who are trying to convince you that their way is the right way. YOUR way is the right way! Sorry, rant over. It took me a while to realise that there are 144,000 light energy reasons to realise that ascension is a distraction from the masses doing what actually needs to be done.

Funnily, if you read or hear about some of this clap trap, the world should have ended several times by now. I seem to remember an instance in September 2015 when a disaster was due to strike. When it didn’t, it actually did but only the ‘believers’ would understand. Well, September 2015 is when the Leeds Rhinos won the 2nd of their 3 trophies that year so that wasn’t a disaster for me.

Sorry, I’m making light of a serious subject but I truly worry that groups / sects / cults are forming in a similar way to the moonies and the like. If you’re looking for a cult, join Donald Trump (there goes spell check again!).

Anyway, let’s raise a glass and toast having a damn good rant.

Joking apart about routine, but I guess I have always been a routine kind of person. However, over the last year I have sought to change things around a little bit. A great example is the big shop (for those outside of the UK who don’t understand that term, it is the weekly grocery shop when you stock up on everything you need and a lot that you don’t). I would alway do it on a Saturday. I would have to be on my way by midday. I would have to fill 2 wine carriers (12 bottles). I would need to be home so lunch could be eaten close to 2 pm, etc. Now, I should when I want and how I want. It’s now a month since I last bought any win to have at home. I guess I’ve actually developed a routine of not having a routine.

However, I do love a good routine and I do believe it is good for the mind and spirit. My favourite is when on holiday, Ben and I go out every morning to collect bread and the like for breakfast. W always walk down to the village, wander along the promenade, buy newspapers, look out to see, and then buy breakfast. We talk about the impending football (soccer!!!!) season, the upcoming Leeds Festival etc. Pure joy. I also built into the afternoon of the holiday a good walk with Liv, so that we could have a chat. Well, actually, it’s so Liv can have an ice cream. Whatever it takes, it’s still pure joy.

Talking of the Leeds Festival, which we routinely go to every year, although one routine has been broken this year as Ben is paying for me (❤️), we chose our food type of the weekend and that’s what we stick to. For the last 2 years it’s been good old fish and chips and, for a festival, they are rather good. We even found the same caterers at the recent Let’s Rock Leeds festival. Pure joy!

I know being a free spirit and spontaneous is good and there are times that I’ll go along with the that concept. I just need to schedule it into my routine.

I’m always one for a simple life, so if putting a blend of routine and spontaneity into hat I think I can cope. As I’ve written about this year, 2017 has always being about moving forwards. Yes, #TeamDuke will always need a rant. But, that rant is no longer about looking backwards. It is meant to be about highlighting potential areas of concern that we have experienced and just wan to put out there as a note of caution.

To conclude, what was the purpose of this blog, I hear you asking? Well, the whole idea came about from one of the many reasons why I love our gorgeous dog, Ringo. Routine! Every morning, he joins me for breakfast – as simple as that. I wander into the kitchen, potter around, drop into the dining room to say hi to him. He just lies there until he hears the pop of the toaster and the scraping of butter on the toast. He then appears and sits in front of me whilst we share toast. I used to b such a grumpy pillock in the morning but he’s changed a major part of my life. Pure joy! I even now pick up Audrey on the way to the office so that we can have a catch up. Another routine. Pure joy!

So, there you go. Let’s raise a glass and toast routine. And let’s routine the toast.

Wishing you an awesome day, week, month, year, life. Keep it real because real is pretty damn good.

 

Jon