“Kind to Self”

I love the refreshment of tumbling water.
I love the refreshment of tumbling water.

If there was one thing we are truly short of in this world, it is people being kind, and not least, kind to themselves. “Kind to Self” is an essential ingredient to healthy living – and in case there are one or two who think “Selfish!”, that is not what I mean. Being selfish in that negative sense is a result of trying to compensate for an absence of true kindness.

When you know kindness, you do not need selfishness. Kindness is the perfect antidote.  Kindness brings strength and authority to your life. It is not the same as pampering. A kind parent isn’t one who lets a child run rampant and buys whatever they demand, but rather gives that child security, and provides flexible boundaries sufficient to explore risk and still enjoy a sense of conditional safety. “Kind to Self” means taking responsibility for your own happiness and not hoping everyone else in the world might make you happy. “Kind to Self” results in inner freedom.

When it comes to being (or is it ‘doing’?) “Kind to Self”, I plan to be the expert and I’m keen to learn how to do it better. When the container that is my life is filled and overflowing with kindness, the people around me are going to well-and-truly benefit from that overflow.

That’s the reason I’m off on my motorbike in a minute. I need a short break from the delights of Powerchange to be alone with my thoughts for a morning. (Roy will get a break from me too!) In my case “Kind to Self” is to honour the need I know I have to recharge. I’ll give myself some individual attention, some positive solitude and come back refreshed.

See you later!

Eight hours at the end of the World

Lisbotn Fiord at 6.00am
View from my tent at 6am

A few months ago I knew I needed a new challenge.  How about visiting ten countries in my first year back in biking?  (BMW R1200gs, 2008 for those who care.)  I’ve just done twelve in twelve months: France, Switzerland, Italy, Spain, Scotland, Denmark, Belgium, France, Sweden, the Netherlands, Norway and Germany. The last seven took me 3,500 miles in eleven days. Big cities, tiny communities, and vast areas of empty space.

But that isn’t the point.

I needed to get out on a limb, to do something different and comparatively unusual. You can see southern Norway for half the price it cost and in much more comfort. I slept in a tiny tent each night. But out on a limb something else happens inside. Each of us needs to find a deeper solitude that has no relation with loneliness or isolation. I needed to remind myself that I’m comfortable inside my own skin. I needed to drink deep of something other than coffee and red wine – or even water. I needed to reconnect somehow, to renew my relationship with the word ‘play’.

Lisbotn Fiord 1km high
1,000 metres high and 500 metres deep

Lisbotn Fiord is, in one place, an entire kilometre from the top of the fiord sides to the water’s surface, a sheer drop. The wall continues for another half kilometre underwater. And at the end of the fiord, after a 30 mile road trip over the mountain pass, the road stops. Dead. At Lisbotn. You wait for the ferry. No one told me that the 7.00am ferry was passengers only, so I was up bright and early. But the car ferry comes at 3.00pm. I waited for eight hours at ‘the end of the world’.

And something happened. Staring down the ’empty’ fiord, miles from anywhere and no where to go, all day and nothing to do (except wash my socks and stare at that fiord – the tourist season finishes early in Lisbotn) I felt that amazing connection with the one I know as ‘God’ again. Sensed ‘his’ presence (he’s not male or female). Sensed his approval. Sensed his unconditional love. Reminded myself, as I stared at the fiord, just how big the world is and how comparatively small I am, and how little that matters when you belong.

Of course I might be totally misled, with God not there, and me not mattering… but in Lisbotn that didn’t matter either. Such is the nature of any ‘faith’, and mine is strong enough not to have to be defended. It was wonderful to be small, wonderful to remind myself that I’m ‘comfortable in my own skin’, that I don’t need to be ‘big’. I just stared in wonder at those huge rock faces for a day and loved being small.

How small are you?  Great isn’t it.