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A poem for the end of 2020

You’ll stay in our minds This year has been tragic for reasons we know. It brought us together, ironically so.    We’ve discovered our hearts, Neglected our minds, Lost loved ones, Yet … Learned to be kind.   John, Shirley and Earl, We left you behind. Covid stole you away, But you’ll stay in our minds.   We found local heroes providing great care, It’s so reassuring to have you all there, By making it easier for us all to bare, Knowing you love us And sharing our fears.   For the HEROES that save us And those who have past, Our hugs are eternal, Your legacy lasts.   Paul, Samba and David, We left you behind. Covid stole you away, But you’ll stay in our minds.   We stood on our steps and clapped for the brave; Listened to Lisa, raising our game By tackling our mindset Laying a smile on our face Helping #midweekmaurice define all our aims.   Ruth, Bernard and Rav, We left you behind. Covid stole you away, But you’ll stay in our minds.   We’ve missed people, noise, good grub And chats with a bloke we don’t know in the pub.  So, we look…

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Time is urgent now

I remember it like it was this morning, it was 17:28pm 17 May 1974, when in one moment, fate decided that I should live this life I live now. At 17.27 pm I walked past a car that 30 seconds later exploded, killing 10 people, including two infant girls and their parents. At 11.30 on 19th June 1976 I was involved in a car crash where by 3 seconds and 4 meters I avoided certain death. These were two examples of events in my life where for whatever reason, be it luck, fate, timing, co-incidence, the hand of God, it was not written anywhere that my story should end at that time.

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There is no hand to catch time

A young girl called Mary from a poor background won a scholarship to an elite school. Many of the pupils and teachers were rather particularly patronising to her. In one of her classes Miss Smith asked the class to list the seven wonders of the world. The class started writing down their choices. Miss Smith looked around the class and saw all the pupils writing away, but not Mary. She asked, "Mary is everything ok?". Mary said, "There is just so many to choose from". Miss Smith said patronisingly, "Just list your top seven". Miss Smith gave it a couple of more minutes and asked the class to stop. She noticed Mary was still writing, and asked Mary if she was having trouble with her list. Mary replied, "Yes, a little. I couldn't quite make up my mind because there were so many." Miss Smith said, "Well, write what you have, and maybe we can all help you a little later." Mary said ok, and finished. Miss Smith picked up all the papers and started going through them. The lists from all she read were: Egypt's Great Pyramids  The Taj Mahal in India The Grand Canyon in Arizona The Panama…

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Throw That Stone….

Have you ever thrown a rock or pebble into the still waters of a pond or lake? Did you notice how the little waves ripple away from the centre in circles and continue on and on? Emotional contagion, the transfer of emotion between individuals happens every day in our lives. Little things we do create ripple effects that can sometimes result in good things and sometimes make bad things happen to other people, even people we have never met. Suppose one morning you happen to see a friend who is grumpy and somewhat unhappy, and you give her a big smile and say hello. Since smiles are contagious, she gives you a smile right back and suddenly feels better. If so, she may smile at someone else. The ripple effect can continue to others, all from that one smile you gave. Positivity is like a virus it transmits human to human. One evening on a lonely country road, an old man was standing on a bridge, high over a deep river. He had just dropped a pebble to see how long it would take to hit the water below. As the stone hit the water, he watched the ripples fanning…

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Some people view the world through dirty windows

We don’t see things as they are; we see them as we are. Optimism has never been cool but even COVID-19 can give us reasons to be cheerful. Stressful life events, such as those instigated by the coronavirus pandemic, have significant influence on our psychological functioning and well-being, and can be a catalyst for psychological problems including anxiety, confusion, social withdrawal, and depression. We have a choice in how we think about any situation we face. Even if you weren’t born an optimist, you can still learn to think like one. Optimism seems to me as essential a commodity as antibacterial gel. Along with vaccine and ventilators, it’s a vital weapon in this global duel with COVID-19. For the first time in history, nearly every scientist in the world is focused on the same problem and this is starting to pay real dividends There are reasons to be cheerful amid the gloom. Even if we don’t know how to defeat this enemy yet, we know a lot more about how it operates. Offstage, an unprecedented scientific collaboration is under way to find vaccines and treatments. Doctors and nurses are learning fast about how to handle the symptoms. When we come out…

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Who is your parachute?

When all about you is sh*t , who can you rely on to hold you up when you bend, carry you when you stumble, tell you when you are wrong, step into your life, as others step out, to provide calm advice and help when the world seems against you. I was feeling very down and thinking about someone very close to me who was suffering and I happened on this story which gave me a lift. I hope it does for you too. Charles Plumb was a US Navy jet pilot in Vietnam. After 75 combat missions, his plane was destroyed by a surface-to-air missile.  Plumb ejected and parachuted into enemy hands.  He was captured and spent 6 years in a communist Vietnamese prison.  He survived the ordeal and now lectures on lessons learned from that experience!

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The Empty Stadium Syndrome

I was reading Quarantine psychology, the new element of a cricket team's arsenal by Emma John and was thinking if there’s was one thing that defines a sports match for me other than winning it’s the roar of the crowd. I miss it so much. I have unbelievable memories of great European nights at Liverpool, IPL, Ashes Victories, International Rugby etc. where I was privileged to attend both a coach and spectator. Now due to new coronavirus restrictions, lots of sports games, are being played without any crowd at all. As a coach I know that performing in front of a crowd can be a great distraction to fatigue. Focusing on the crowd instead of the pain or exhaustion can be an effective strategy to help athletes when they are tiring, and about to 'hit the wall'.  I also know from my coaching that in pre match Visualisation we plan and plot strategies on how to use the crowd noise/energy for both the individual performer and the team. From my own research on the topic of crowd engagement and performance I have found that spectators booing, cheering, or remaining silent can be addressed by positive mind coping strategies.

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