A time to stop and think…

This is not going to be directly about Coronavirus… I’ve bloody well gone and done something stupid to my back. Yup I’m injured. This wasn’t an immediate injury… it kind of started as a stiffness and then 2 days ago I started to make moaning noises when I bent over. Not good. I’m not sure what the actual activity was that lead to the injury as I’ve been doing lots of bits and pieces over the last few weeks and sitting around in between isn’t helping either. I did wonder if swinging a kettlebell around might have caused the damage or maybe I have bad technique on the rowing machine (fair to say I’ve done more rowing in the last few weeks than I have done in years). The pain has evolved also, now it’s radiating into my neck and I decided to go on a cleaning spree today and moved a box of shoes that, any other day of the week I would do without thinking… today I literally shrieked with the pain when I tried to lift it. Last week I was trying to find 20kg kettlebells online… today the 8kg one feels too heavy.

I’ve also had news that someone I knew has unfortunately passed away over the weekend. This was a Coronavirus death…a death that shouldn’t have happened, but it did and it brings this virus a step closer to… well, home. I could say things like this person made me a better person and/or encouraged me etc… but the truth is he was a massive pain in my arse. Morning training was hard and relentless but he was always there. When I thought I needed to stop or take it easy he was the voice that told me I was “preparing to fail”. To this day, when I even think of taking it easier in training it’s his voice I hear. Same phrases… his mantra…and it still works.

I’m not good in isolation, I’ve missed hugs and cuddles and being around people so very much but this news massively made me think. I’m also intrigued with the numbers coming out of the WHO and when their status reports were in the 20s (as in day 20) I remember thinking that this could go on for a while. I’m not sure I expected it to get to the 80s and beyond. All I keep thinking about is how many families are affected and are missing loved ones at this point in time.

I never thought we would experience something like this, I mean, in all the movies… the good guys show up just in time and they make sure that the dreaded virus never makes it to the general population. But what has impressed me has been the way in which people have dealt with it. Even those who haven’t been dealing with it so well… for once, it’s OK to talk about things that might not be going so well. This is good.

I think the key thing I’ve learned so far is that you are not alone in isolation. For some reason after the first week where everything was pretty much a novelty I started to think that I was some way cut off from everyone and everything. What I’ve learned is that I have an amazing network, made up of totally crazy and incredible people. I’ve had virtual dinners, virtual karate and I’ve spoken to people I would only usually see once a year and even then it’s fleeting. Not only have we caught up, we’ve trained together, I’ve been in their front rooms and they in mine! Not only that, but we’ve added to our training and have read passages from the Book of the Five Rings etc.

Now this is a link back to the person who sadly passed on, he used to quote this book a lot, especially the line “instil vigour in your hairline”, this was about stances in strategy… which I think we need more than ever at these moments in time. This is a book that I read once a year and every time it changes… it’s also a book that demands a lot of the reader “You must research this well” is a line that is mentioned often. I did a massive clean of the house today, started at 10am and didn’t finish until like 4pm and in the course of all this I managed to find my copy of “The Book of the Five Rings”. I do think that everything happens for a reason so it was interesting that this book arrived back in my hands after the weekend I’ve had…

So as I said, time to think and reflect and remember times with people who I will miss and also time to enjoy with people I’m spending time with just now. The world is all upside down at the moment. But getting the stance right to square up to it is most important! I’m gonna work on that. In the meantime… it’s gardening till my back is better…with more of these guys coming!! (The Sunflowers)

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