Summer learning (happened so fast)

I’ve recently returned home from a Greek Island where I spent the week with 60 complete strangers, and we had the opportunity to take courses including creative writing, making mosaics, singing, mindfulness and yoga. Here are some of the lessons I learned…

Standing tall… In order to stand tall and grow, we need strong roots. We tend to think of growing as growing upwards, but equally we need to grow our roots to enable us to grow tall and reach out. The stronger our roots are, the more we can grow. Our roots can include friendships, values and experiences, amongst other things.

Being part of a team… In a choir – or any team – everyone’s voice matters. We’re all individuals and have our own individual voices, but by working together as a team towards the same goal, we can make a tremendous sound which we couldn’t make on our own. Sometimes we need to work together to achieve our goals. We all contribute in different ways, but everyone has something important to contribute.

The power of laughter and smiling… Laughing and smiling at the unusual and unexpected situations we can sometimes find ourselves in, can often create bonds between us, making us stronger.

Everyone has a story to tell… If we’re lucky they may share part of it with us. If we choose to listen, we can learn something from everyone we meet. I’m grateful to all the people that I’ve met this summer who have taught me something new. People who would never normally even cross my path have inspired me and helped me on my journey.

Being creative and learning new skills… I sang in a choir for a week and one of the memories I shall treasure is singing in a circle smiling at each other. What makes it more special for me is knowing that several members of the choir didn’t believe they could sing just a few days before. And yet here we all were making a great sound together and thoroughly enjoying it. Whatever the thing we’ve always wanted to do (be it singing, comedy, dancing, wild swimming or windsurfing), when we give it a go – even if it means taking steps out of our comfort zone – we just might find something we love, or discover something important about ourselves.

A smile or a few words of encouragement can make all the difference… I am truly grateful to everyone who encouraged me and supported me during my holiday – people who just a few days before were complete strangers. It really has helped me and I appreciate those people.

Sometimes we can all do with a bit of magic in our lives… I love to sing but I’ve never been very comfortable dancing or moving to music. Since being diagnosed with Parkinson’s, I’ve found this even more difficult – my arms and legs are stiff and just don’t move freely the way I want them too. Completely unexpectedly, after struggling with this the day before, I found myself moving freely as part of an improvisation exercise within a choir session. Something I haven’t done in years. I felt free – like a dolphin swimming in the sea. And I will treasure that amazing moment and the support I received from my fellow choir members. Equally importantly, it’s taught me that miracles or magic can happen. Sometimes, I can do things I believed I would never be able to do. And that gives me hope for the future.

Finally, I was reminded of an important truth which I have proved over the last year … I have Parkinson’s but Parkinson’s doesn’t have me.



One Comment Add yours

  1. richard says:

    That;s an amazing post, thanks so much for writing it. It has bought tears to my eyes as i remember some of the things you recall from our brief but meaningful encounter in the sun. I agree with everything you say, and i can’t wait to do it all again next year.

    Liked by 1 person

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