A Stern Challenge

Sunday 24 June, 2001

Another 7am walk in the park – the first of four good walks today. I returned home, lay down for half an hour and then went to the launderette. While my clothes went round I went for my second walk, then walked to the house to get on with some work. When I arrived Kuldip was already there and my heart sank a little because I thought I would not get done what I wanted to do. As it happened nothing went according to plan because Karaj talked to Kuldip about his impact on the office since his arrival a few weeks ago.

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Positive Feedback

Saturday 23 June, 2001

I woke up and dragged myself out of bed at 7am to go for a walk. I’m glad I did (I was motivated more by the need for discipline than anything else) because the weather was gorgeous and, at that time of the morning, the park was very peaceful.

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Another Great Day

Thursday 21 June, 2001

In his latest feedback on my appraisal (31 May–18 June) Karaj told me not to change my diet or my exercise routine so dramatically because such upheavals will almost certainly have added to my pain. My diet has not changed radically and I see it as an improvement but I am in agreement with the exercises. Since the men’s group on Saturday when Sunil said that trying too hard is not advisable and Earl said that because things have been wrong for a while it will take a while to put them right, I have been thinking about just what I do to myself. Last night I thought that I am in far too much of a hurry to sort myself out. Before my back went this time around I’d had glimpses of some real improvement. Unfortunately I got carried away with it all and now things have been forced to slow right down. I need to be able to exercise restraint and control in order to safeguard my health and well-being.

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Detach, Don’t Disengage

Wednesday 20 June, 2001

At the end of a productive and enjoyable day, I lay in bed and noticed my thoughts drift into the future. As they did, they took the rest of me with them. I had to keep returning to the present which I did quite successfully by simply focusing on my breathing and feeling the sensations in my body – these are the things which Karaj talks about. I noticed that dwelling in the moment made me feel warm and peaceful and good about myself. My thoughts tended to move along the time line in both directions – past and future – in an attempt to amplify these feelings but it always had the opposite effect: the feelings would fade. However, they returned of their own accord when I returned to the present.

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Coming Out of Withdrawal

Tuesday 19 June, 2001

Today has been another full day. Along with the accounts work, we finalised Kuldip’s contract for his work in the house and we managed to draft the Sicily letter detailing the homework, the boundaries, and the requirements for the trip.  I also spoke to Ishwar. I phoned him for some information and we ended up having an enjoyable and empowering chat about the nature of development. So far this week I have spoken to Ishwar, Calvin and George, as well as communicating better with Karaj and Kuldip. 

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Monday 18 June, 2001

My back felt very stiff indeed when I woke up and it took me about five minutes to be able to stand unaided. It feels like all the muscles in my lower back are poised on the edge of agonizing cramp – I’m in constant pain but one false move and I’m in agony. I struggled to dress myself but I did walk all the way to the house. It took my about 15 minutes longer than usual and I was in pain every step of the way but I made it. My back seems to be most painful in the mornings and this morning it seemed worse than at any time so far. It occurred to me during my walk that, in contrast to the previous occasions when my back has gone, this time I am on my own. This time I am looking after myself. I am standing on my own two feet. Intriguingly, I seem to be better off physically if I stay standing rather than lie down.

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This Journey Is Hard

Sunday 17 June, 2001

No exercises again today. The four of us – Robert, Dev, Sunil and me – had a great morning together. It was just like the post-group breakfasts Dev and I have enjoyed in the past. I realised that I haven’t been fully present recently and that those morning discussions have disappeared as a result. Today however, they came back and when Robert verbalised his need to contact his wife I gained further insight into the positive effects of verbalising one’s issues.

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It’s Nice to Have You Back

Saturday 16 June, 2001

The pain in my back was very acute this morning and I did no exercises. I was up early, however, and spent the early morning with Robert and Sunil. I had completely forgotten about the homework so I used the time to write something down – about my back. When Dev woke up, we had breakfast together and set off for the men’s group. The subject of my back came up early and I listened intently to what the other members said.

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Personalising Others’ Issues

Friday 15 June, 2001

6.45 Exercises only. 20 mins. Woke up feeling much the same as yesterday. I attempted a few exercises which were okay, but the meditation was impossible because I simply cannot sit properly; my back is too painful and inflexible. I can barely get down to tie my laces. My movement is severely restricted, I have very limited flexibility due to the tightness of all the muscles around my lower back and I tend to lean over to the right to compensate for the extreme tightness on the right side. Any movement is painful and it feels that my pelvis is broken and everything else is very heavily bruised. In addition, it takes literally minutes for me to relax any of the affected muscles in any way. If I try to relax them too quickly the pain is unbearable.

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The Pervasive Nature of Script

Tuesday 12 June, 2001

6.10 E&M 65 mins. My back is still painful. There is the stiffness across my lower back, and the tightness and nerve pain around my right hip, all of which are more painful and more acute than usual. At times I am concerned that things may become much more painful, like they were two years ago, and at other times I feel reassured and inspired that this could be the final throes of a particularly painful aspect of my script.

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The Necessity of Surrender

Monday 11 June, 2001

6.00 E&M 60 mins. I didn’t want to get out of bed but I did. At the house Kuldip arrived and we chatted about his weekend. As he talked I felt a nerve pain in my neck and right shoulder and I informed him of this as part of my feedback. Whenever he talked about his future plans and being focused on them I felt that he was missing the point of what Karaj has been telling him recently. His focus should be on himself, because if he can sort himself out then everything else will be okay. Kuldip seems to be doing things the other way round, assuming that if he can sort everything else out then he will be all right. Wrong.

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Woke up at 9am and ate my normal fruit breakfast, but I continued to eat here and there throughout the morning. I noticed just how easy it is to eat and how it creates excitement. It also provides a distraction for me when I don’t want to face my issues. So, I do eat to avoid something. Going without requires discipline.

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6.00 E&M 90 mins. Slow, deliberate, focused exercise. I hadn’t intended to do too much of a routine because of my back. However, after 30 seconds I got up and the exercises turned out to be enjoyable and beneficial.

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Appraisal: Jonny to Jonathan

Thursday 7 June, 2001

Men’s group. Karaj left Leon in charge for an hour and we spent the time appraising the progress I have made over the last 17 months. The time we spent was full of positivity as the men gave their impressions on how I have changed since my work with Karaj began. At first I thought I would struggle to cope with all the positive feedback and the strokes I was getting, but my new-found calmness was there, and I had no problems at all. The main reason I felt calm was because everything they said was true. Every point the men raised simply highlighted all that I have internalised about my learning over the last year or so.

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