The strained hamstring is slowly improving, and the bird's egg-sized cyst on my chest is shrinking, but it's slow progress. I'm now off all the pills (painkillers and antibiotics) — they were beginning to upset my stomach. I've been forced to slow down over the past couple of weeks, which is probably no bad thing. Usually I'm rushing about here and there far too much and doing stuff far too quickly. At first I had the strange illusion I was actually living in slow motion. Pretty soon, however, I grew to relish the enforced stillness and slowness. Many books have been read (from Lawrence through Thomas Merton to Chuang Tzu and Lao Tzu), much music listened to, many radio programmes heard. Now I just want to get on the move again.
The diet goes well. I'm taking in around 1500 calories per day or less, and a typical day's meal consists of muesli or a boiled egg with a slice of toast and Marmite for breakfast; salad or a low-calorie soup for lunch; and a fish (sometimes white, sometimes oily) / meat (often chicken, sometimes red meat) / vegetarian dish in rotation for dinner, with plenty of veggies, followed by something like three fruits with either yoghurt, sorbet or ice cream for pudding. Three meals, no snacks, no alcohol. If I'm hungry in-between meals, and I rarely seem to be, I'll eat some fruit or a crispbread with low-fat Philadelphia cheese or marmite.
The weight. Started out at 14 st 13 lb on 28 January. Am now 14 st 5 lb. Target weight: 13 st.
The exercise. Practically non-existent because of the leg. Though I have been doing some routines involving non-upper thigh body parts from a supine position (ooh, err!)
The meditation. Nothing specific, but many contemplative moments throughout the day.
The computer. Hopeless. I'm on it all the time!
I'll end with my poem Slowing Down, which seems appropriate.
I slowed right down today,
Just slowed right down.
How little we see most of the time!
So I slowed right down.
And saw a fork-tailed kite circle then drift
On a blue highway, until it was no more.
I cracked a sunflower shell between my teeth
And curled the seed out with my tongue,
The taste intense and bitter-sweet.
It hit my palate like a burst of sun.
Today I listened to a stream
Trickle then rush from Extremadura
Into Castilla y León.
I heard the hollow clunk of cow bells
Jangle like Tibetan wind chimes.
I smelled a cistus bush today.
It reeked of incense. And I sniffed
The fragrant, bitter scent of thyme,
The aromatic tang of eucalyptus.
Today I felt a mat
Of soft, green moss under my hand,
And, underfoot, crunched oak leaves, crisp and brown,
And spiky chestnut husks, like tiny hedgehogs.
I fingered the jagged edge of stones,
Felt the smooth roundedness of rock.
I slowed right down today.
I slowed right down.
How blind we are to what is happening!
How quickly we walk on!
But, for today,
I slowed, I slowed right down.
I slowed time down.
I slowed myself