To the End

06/08/2014

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To the End

What do you see
when you look into my face
what thoughts and images flash through?

What do you feel
as you hover above
looking down
acting like a clown?

What about when you cuddle up close
looking happy
looking morose?

What about when you pat my chin
when you want attention
when you touch my skin?

We greet each other
every day
a good morning
a hug
a grateful sigh
each day that arrives
brings a happy thought
a moment
a pause…
we still have
just that little bit more time.

And every day
you do the same thing
you look puzzled, bemused
as the alarm starts to ring
you tilt your head
snuggle up close
no words need to be said
just another few minutes
a little more time
before I have to get out of bed.

I should be used to this by now
I tell myself each day
yet still I watch and wonder
as you move… startled
as the alarm starts to play.

How do you hear that noise
how does it sound
how much I wish you could tell me
how I wish I could understand.

People say that you don’t care
how can I know your feelings are true
but to connect so deeply to another
with such total utter unconditionality
to deny that instinctive elemental love
I just don’t get
that mentality.

I’ve always known that time will approach
I know I’ve done everything I should
I also know that when all is said and done
My self I will still reproach.

Because
not enough time did I give
not all my words were soft
in ignorance I wanted to stay
to keep my world’s reality at bay.

I hope and pray this didn’t add
to any suffering and pain you had
I just could not believe it true
this day could come so soon.

And sure enough
that day did come
time to leave
our physical bond undone.

Together to that very end
you knew you weren’t alone
protected
safe
surrounded by love
wrapped in my embrace.

My heart
my spirit
my very soul
into the mystery of beyond you go.

Words © July 2014 Michelle Payne
Picture found circulating freely online

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Checking in

18/07/2014

So folks, just grabbing 5 minutes to pop in here… I’m conscious I haven’t updated properly since the last post connected to the Sierra Leone Marathon, but that’s because life has just kept getting busier and busier.  Do you every get to the point where you just feel totally overloaded?  Well although we talk about managing time and stress and pressures of life, it happens to Counsellors too! And I miss my writing so will endeavour to pop in more, albeit shorter posts.

For those that follow regularly, you will have noticed that I have stepped into the world of poems, which feels to flow very nicely at the moment.  They will be posted on Wednesdays, hopefully fortnightly… but I will see how that goes.

And how come the lack of time? Well I finished the college course I was on… and promptly started another! At the same time as the day job and the counselling job (both voluntary and private)… and then there’s the running!  Sometimes you never know what’s around the corner and this has most definitely proved to be true since visiting Sierra Leone in 2013.

For those that follow me on Twitter, you will no doubt know how some of this has seeped into my life… I’ve heard the phrase “taken over” muttered by friends but feel that may be just a little harsh 🙂 … but what we do in life will always ripple out.  For every action, there is a re-action.  And travelling to Sierra Leone to run in the marathon that the charity Street Child organises each year… well that opened new doors for me… very positive and happy doors… more on that to follow!

In the meantime, this weekend I am running a race to once again raise awareness for Street Child.  I will be running it with a few of the amazing friends I met out there, including the mad Geordie previously mentioned here… who still reminds me I went and left her (yes Helen, I’m talking about you again!)… this will probably happen again tomorrow… well I reckon if I’m never going to hear the last about it, I might as well make it worthwhile 😀

And the race, it’s a little adventure through a wonderful trail which takes a bit of time… 100 kilometres long… from a town to some stones that have been standing a while in a field… time to go lace some running shoes up…

Happy Friday everyone 🙂
Michelle

© 2014 Michelle Payne


SL Marathon 2013 – Update – Week 7 – Yasso800s #SLM13

07/04/2013

Still a week behind I’m afraid, hoping to catch up soon!

So the previous 6 weeks have been about building a solid foundation to work from, safely… Week 7 starts the sharpening section, which meant this was the week I encountered my first Yasso 800! Unsurprisingly I’d never heard of these before, but a bit of googling brought forward what I needed to know.  Yasso 800s are named after Bart Yasso, who devised his own marathon training plan which included running 800m fast, with a slower recovery 400m straight after, then repeating this up to 10 times: the theory being that whatever you get the 800m down to, once you can do the 10 repetitions (eg: 3 minutes each), then that would show what you should finish your marathon in (3 min 800 = 3 hour marathon, 4 min 800 = 4 hour marathon and so on…). For his website, please click here.

Now I didn’t think that sounded too bad… until I had to try it! Treadmill time… easy to count the distance… and worked out roughly what I thought I could push it to with more of a “jog” pace recovery. Warm up of a mile/1600m followed by 800m at 11.3 pace then dropping to a 9.0 pace for the 400m recovery (the gym treadmills are at km, which means I’m always having to google & convert my overall distance into miles for my running app) followed by a mile/1600m cool down.  Well the first two I thought were ok, then I hit the third one and felt a bit sick.  Hitting the fourth one… legs decided that they were tired and wanted to turn to jelly. But it got done.

treadmills

Since it was Easter Friday and no work, I also figured I’d try to push it a bit and do a second one that day after driving to my local gym.  Big mistake.  Got the third one done and then died. Not the thing to do when you’re knackered, not getting enough sleep and living mainly on adrenaline! When I say died, I mean felt sick, legs turned to jelly and absolutely could not push through that psychological (and physical barrier). As it turns out, I think these are only meant to be done once a week anyway (oops – what was that I said about pushing it ;))!

Overall though, happy days… I not only ran for another 70 minutes (outdoors) but did my longest distance (7.91 miles) and the fastest time… I finally got my average under a 9 minute mile. Very very happy about that!

So training for Week 7 included:

***lunchtime treadmill run of 46.21 minutes x 1

***PT session with Activate Plus PT x 1

***lunchtime treadmill run of 30 minutes x 1

***treadmill run of 43.39 minutes x 1

***weekend run of 70 minutes x 1

Total overall running: 20.76 miles / 190 minutes (3 hours 10 minutes)

No yoga or karate this week due to appointments and Easter and no chance to fit them in elsewhere. I guess when you’re stretched to full capacity, this is one of the problems you can encounter – a lack of flexibility in changing things around! Oh yeah, also had to hand in a food diary at the PT session… it’s one thing to know you have a *cough, splutter* sweet tooth, but quite another to actually have to hand over a piece of paper with everything written down, including just how much sugar you chuck into your tea and coffee! I slunk out of there pretty quick at that point *grin*.

Links:

My fundraising page: MichellePayne13

Street Child

Sierra Leone Marathon 2013

© 2013 Michelle Payne


12 Life Lessons I Learned from my Cat

20/02/2013

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12 Life Lessons I Learned From My Cat

1. Pounce on opportunity. He who hesitates, misses catching the passing lizard.

2. Patience. Infinite patience.

3. Concentration. A cat studying an opportunity just beyond his grasp is the epitome of focused attention. He doesn’t even blink as he tunes out all distractions. His body is completely still except for his wildly twitching tail releasing his nervous energy.

4. Nothing is worth disturbing your beauty sleep.

5. Catnap. Even a few moments of shut-eye is refreshing.

6. If you’re happy, purr. Show your appreciation by letting people know that you like what they do.

7. Do cat stretches – and other yoga poses, and try Qigong. Especially as we age, gentle stretching is one of the best things we can do for our bodies.

8. Wrestle with your best friend. She likes it when you’re playful.

9. Eat when you’re hungry and not by the clock.

10. Ask for what you want. If you are lovable and patient, you will probably get it.

11. You can’t have everything you want. If you put your claws where they don’t belong, you’re going to get spanked.

12. Revel in life’s simple pleasures. A ball of string is magic. Catnip is heavenly.

~~ Origin: Unknown ~~


Sierra Leone Marathon 2013 – A new challenge #SLM13

10/02/2013

Last Monday a friend mentioned to me about the Sierra Leone Marathon that was taking place in May this year and wondered if I fancied doing it as I’ve been wanting to improve my running. Well, when I say running, I mean my attempted “interval training” on the gym’s treadmill. As my jaw dropped in disbelief at the word “Marathon”, she quickly mentioned that there were two other options: a half-marathon and a 5K run. I kinda liked the idea of a 5k run, even though I’d never managed it before without stopping. And so the seed was planted.

However, given that a 5K wouldn’t really be THAT much of a challenge and really… how could I fly all the way from London to West Africa for that… that seed sprouted into the idea of doing a half-marathon. I think I’m still in shock that I’m actually going to go and do this.

So, the basics!  This is for Street Child:

Print

As stated on their website:

“The children who eke their survival only by stealing, working for pitiful sums in often hazardous and/or demeaning conditions, or selling – often selling that which no-one should ever have to sell?

The children whose sum possessions are usually the rags you see on their bodies.

The children who sleep on the street in lorry parks, market stalls and other public places, hopelessly exposed to disease and predation.

The children with no hope of medical care when they inevitably fall ill.

The children with no secure or safe place – who can never relax.

The children more often viewed with hatred than concern in the places they live.

The children exposed to gangs and drugs instead of school and food.

The children with no visible prospect of education or development, condemned to parasitic life.

The children with no one to look after them.

The children whose life is almost certainly condemned to being brutish, short, and dangerous.”

A pretty damn worthwhile charity don’t you think?

Add to that the personal challenge from only being able to run a 4.5km on a treadmill in 25 minutes and getting myself fit enough in the roughly 12 weeks that is available, but also to fit it in around what is an already hugely packed schedule; not forgetting that as a life coach I have to be able to motivate my clients, so motivating myself should be a doddle right?  Not so.  After all, how many people find it easier to help others change things in their life, than their own!  Coaches (and counsellors) are no exception!

The aims:

*** to raise money and awareness through social media and blogging for Street Child (thereby helping others to eventually help themselves);

*** to blog updates showing the highs (and no doubt lows, hopefully not too many) of this personal challenge;

*** to get fitter;

*** to be able to complete a half-marathon;

*** and maybe, hopefully, inspire others who may be finding their current path a bit hard to walk at present.

I will also be looking at finding and utilising any resources I can, as well as listing them on the specific page I’ve created for this challenge, which can be found here!

If anyone has any questions, tips or thoughts… please do comment and share them.  I will endeavour to respond as soon as I can, either by comment reply or in a blog post.

Please do share and help me get Street Child’s message out there into the world. For twitter users, the hashtag is #SLM13. And for anyone that fancies joining in and running either a 5K, half-marathon or full marathon, please hop on over to their Marathon Page for more information, which can be found here.

My fundraising page can be found here and I will be adding that to each blog post I write.

I look forward to sharing this journey with you.

Namaste
Michelle

© 2013 Michelle Payne


Affirmation of the Week

07/01/2013

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Yoga Retreat, Barbados November 2011
© 2011 Michelle Payne

“I AM HAPPY AND HEALTHY”

Health has been at the forefront of my mind these past few weeks as I’ve unfortunately been laid low over the entire Christmas period with a bad flu virus and sinusitis.  It also reminded me of how I felt a few years ago when I had to take a long time off work to recuperate.

I am, and was, very lucky. Some years ago I had extensive, cutting-edge hip surgery and although my surgeon was one of the few that deals with hip arthroscopy, unfortunately I had to have the whole “open you up” kinda thing and be pinned back together, which then meant a further op to get them out.  This, of course, meant some months off work and on crutches and it’s amazing how much your self-awareness can grow at times like this… well I know mine did.

When you’re ill, you have expectations, not just of how it would any illness (or surgery) may go, but how you will manage, how physically capable you will be, how you think people will react to whatever situation you’re in at that time, and you’ll definitely find out what your “support” system is like!  And of course there’s the emotional expectations… are you a cup full type of person, or a half-empty one?  What “safe” routines do you fall into, where do you feel most comfortable… how much do your perceptions of self change? After all, times of healing can also very often show us where we most need to change our attitudes, if we are open to it.

In my opinion, positivity and focus are key to regaining optimum health… as are the words *Yes I can* (hmmmm, that may be meat for a later affirmation). I definitely felt my positivity slip both at times during recovery from surgery (I won’t bore you with the details since it’s so long ago) and yes, during this latest flu episode. Christmas especially is a time of being with loved ones, and this year I spent Boxing Day alone for the first time ever, ill in bed… though I did have the offer of dinner being brought round to me… meals on wheels express service *grin*.

Yet this affirmation isn’t just to be used by those who’ve undergone surgery or even anyone who needs *healing* of any kind. I think it’s the kind of affirmation that reinforces our soul each and every day. It helps to change our outlook… our focus… it helps to bring positivity into our lives… which then ripples out to help our physical health yes… and also our emotional and our spiritual health, because really, aren’t these all inter-linked?

It can also remind us to look at everything good we have in our lives, to be grateful for those things, or people… and even opportunities… we then find happiness and contentment within… and one of the physical benefits of this I think… is that we then radiate this outwards with our behaviour and attitudes towards others.

I am happy and healthy… (the remainder of flu notwithstanding)… I am… I have a great life, great friends and great support… no my life is not *perfect*… yes I’m still (and always will be) on a path of learning and self-awareness… yes I’m sure there will always be obstacles somewhere… but overall, I have excellent health for where I am in life, and a hellavu lot of happiness… which I try to remember daily and be grateful for.

Affirmation questions to consider for this week are:

How healthy do you feel?
How happy do you feel?
What obstacles to health and/or happiness do you think you have?
What can you do about such obstacles (even if it’s just a shift in attitude)?
What one change can you make right now to improve your health?
What one change can you make right now to improve your happiness?

Wishing you a wonderful week ahead ♥

© 2013 Michelle Payne


Christmas is for Love

02/01/2013

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Christmas Is for Love
~ unattributed  ~

Christmas is for love. It is for joy, for giving and sharing, for laughter, for reuniting with family and friends, for tinsel and brightly decorated packages. But mostly, Christmas is for love. I had not believed this until a small elf-like student with wide-eyed innocent eyes and soft rosy cheeks gave me a wondrous gift one Christmas.

Mark was an 11-year-old orphan who lived with his aunt, a bitter middle-aged woman greatly annoyed with the burden of caring for her dead sister’s son. She never failed to remind young Mark, if it hadn’t been for her generosity, he would be a vagrant, homeless waif. Still, with all the scolding and chilliness at home, he was a sweet and gentle child.

I had not noticed Mark particularly until he began staying after class each day (at the risk of arousing his aunt’s anger, I later found) to help me straighten up the room. We did this quietly and comfortably, not speaking much, but enjoying the solitude of that hour of the day. When we did talk, Mark spoke mostly of his mother. Though he was quite small when she died, he remembered a kind, gentle, loving woman, who always spent much time with him.

As Christmas drew near however, Mark failed to stay after school each day. I looked forward to his coming, and when the days passed and he continued to scamper hurriedly from the room after class, I stopped him one afternoon and asked why he no longer helped me in the room. I told him how I had missed him, and his large gray eyes lit up eagerly as he replied, “Did you really miss me?”

I explained how he had been my best helper. “I was making you a surprise,” he whispered confidentially. “It’s for Christmas.” With that, he became embarrassed and dashed from the room. He didn’t stay after school any more after that.

Finally came the last school day before Christmas. Mark crept slowly into the room late that afternoon with his hands concealing something behind his back. “I have your present,” he said timidly when I looked up. “I hope you like it.” He held out his hands, and there lying in his small palms was a tiny wooden box.

“Its beautiful, Mark. Is there something in it?” I asked opening the top to look inside. ”

“Oh you can’t see what’s in it,” he replied, “and you can’t touch it, or taste it or feel it, but mother always said it makes you feel good all the time, warm on cold nights, and safe when you’re all alone.”

I gazed into the empty box. “What is it Mark,” I asked gently, “that will make me feel so good?” “It’s love,” he whispered softly, “and mother always said it’s best when you give it away.” And he turned and quietly left the room.

So now I keep a small box crudely made of scraps of wood on the piano in my living room and only smile as inquiring friends raise quizzical eyebrows when I explain to them that there is love in it.

Yes, Christmas is for gaiety, mirth and song, for good and wondrous gifts. But mostly, Christmas is for love.

Image origin: unknown, found circulating on Facebook


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