This is my first official blog post. It is a blog of love and gratitude: dedicated to Per Gjeding.
The idea of a blog has been presented to me many times over the years but was never a true fit. As with all things in life, the sands of time did their infinite magical dance and, as a result, I was again faced with Doing the Dirty Dishes in life. So, as I embark on this new chapter of my story, on the journey we call life, it is my hope you will find my musings informative, light, witty and funny, or any combination of the above. Please take a minute to read on and share with me my first official blog post sent into the universe.
As I sat in the shower today, as on most days, I let the hot water run over my head, trickling down all over my body, comforting my over-worked muscles and frazzled nerves, contemplating what could ever I write as a blog. There were so many ideas running through my head. They were endless; all over the map. Another part of me was unsure who would want to read it, but after a quick reality check of what my life has morphed into, and with the continued robust monthly sales of my first book, Unbreakable Mind, I finally capitulated to the universal forces to be and decided that I would post one blog entry per month. And so it goes.
As I continued on with my bath routine, a peculiar Wilander act of sudsy balance, something was amiss, suddenly change was upon me. This was not my first time down this road; big changes always portended future recovery. In massive amounts of pain in my groin, hip, pelvic cradle and glute muscles for weeks, nothing out of ordinary, I was in search of answers. I knew a newly introduced Physical Therapy system, PAS by Aktiv Form, created and developed, the result of twenty years of endless and selfless years of dedication to heal himself from tragic injury, by Per Gjeding, of Danmark, was affecting my nerves and muscles but had no real or clear idea where all that hard work would lead me. For the first time in my injured life I was able to lift my left butt-cheek and wash it without any bracing or other assistance. I was so ecstatic I wanted to get up and jump in the water. I knew what this meant: It translated into a major piece of recovery still required before I could walk again. I was over the moon with love for Per, and incredibly grateful to all others who helped prepare me to get to this point to be ready for PAS therapy.
Not long ago I was on a trip to Iceland. There I would be meeting an old friend, a friend whom is special to me, a friend I met while living in Tokyo over twenty years ago. She was originally from Nepal but was now a married nurse in Boston, with a lovely teenage daughter, Hazel. It was a ‘layover’ in Iceland, en route from Sweden to Philadelphia, a result of the infamous Iceland stopover in Reykjavik. Which, it should be noted, and perhaps will be elaborated on in a later post, is not really a stopover where technically you pay taxes to exit the airport, rather, it is actually two separate flights they string together and refer to as a stopover. If it truly were a stopover, the cost to stop in Iceland would be much less money out of pocket. With tourism on the decline, an over-priced and over-supplied housing market in full throttle, they might heed lessons from the past, and change their bait-and-switch ‘stopover’ international ad campaign. Otherwise the country is absolutely amazing. I plan to return this year.
After arriving at Reykjavik airport early, I stopped for a cup of tea and some last minute local Nordic sweets; a pre-flight relax routine I have developed over my years of extensive world travel. That and older age have me arriving for flights extra early these days. Actually, I find it more fun and it eliminates any undue stresses on my body. Nothing tenses an injured body more than rushing it – even though you are not pressured, your body will become so on its own. Normally I am first to board but the flight crew did not have the aisle wheelchair for the plane ready for me. Finally I settled on having a nice young strong Polish ground crewman carry me the ten feet onto the plan to my seat. Until he found out I was sitting in seat 1D he was not overly thrilled at the thought of my request. I have been a few places and knew better to get on the plane sooner than later. After a few minutes of settling in I looked to my right to introduce myself to my seatmate. “Hello, my name is Steven,” and he introduced himself in a heavy English accent as “Piere.”
Upon first hearing his accent, I thought I had a Frenchman sitting at my side. The stewardess came out with some champagne and fresh fruit. It must have been a long day for us both as the glasses never had a chance to touch the tray. A few minutes passed and I was curious where my new flight compatriot was from. As the stewardess poured us some red wine, people filing past, Piere and I were locked into deep conversation. Though I was still unsure what is his actual name was, and from where he hailed. At some point in his explanations to me, as I assume he is answering my questions, I hear him say “Slovakia.” Ahh, that is it! He is Slovak. Lucky me, I speak some. “Aka sa mas? Dobre?” I say to him. He looks at me as if I have three eyes. Fifteen minutes, and another round of Spanish red wine later, I conclude his name is actually Per and he is Danish, a true Scandinavian. I decide at this point to skip any attempt to utter any bit of my small Dansk repertoire.
As it turns out, in our mutual attempt to get over one another’s initial accents, he was telling me the story of how had been paralyzed in an accident as a young man, and taught himself, through sheer gritty determination and the endless quest to understand how his body heals, his own method of Physical Therapy. The name of the system he created is PAS by Aktiv Form. He then goes on to not only tell me of his recent groundbreaking speech at Oxford University, which, in case you are wondering, floored the audience, before handing me an actual copy of his presentation, with his whole 7 keys system of healing revealed to me. Well, talk about synchronicity of the universe; the unconditional unending love of God – I was speechless. For those who know me know that is no easy task to accomplish. Stewardess, two more wines, please. I was unsure what had just happened.
When we got back to Philadelphia airport, it turned out Per was staying at a hotel near to my home. He was in town visiting his son, Jack, whom I have rarely seen such love for a son by a father. Two hours of our flight were spent listening to stories of his awesome American university, Division II star basketball player son, along with plenty of photos, also including those of his family and home in Jutland, Danmark. We shared a taxi. I got out of the taxi at my residence and as I went to shut the door, Per asked me, “Steven, are you free in a few days for lunch?” “Sure, Per, that sounds spectacular. Let’s do lunch soon.” I said as I exited our Uber ride. Later that evening I tried reaching Per at his hotel and they had no record of him. The Whatsapp number he gave me was also unreachable. I was unsure what to think and soon got back to settling in my home after a one month mentally and physically exhaustive trip to Scandinavia.
Three days later, early in the morning, a text arrives from Malik, my local Pakistani Uber friend. He asks me if I am ready for lunch at 12 noon with Per. Oh shit, I guess he did not forget our unconfirmed appointment, even though we had not spoken a word since I left the taxi three nights prior. It turns out his wife forwarded him the email I sent to him through his Danish website the night we had met. As he enters my home, with a big smile: “Halo,my good friend,” jolly and joking as always. We have tea and chat. Then he asks me to lie down so he could do some tests. Observations completed, with a big smile on his face, he informs me my body is healing well and with further physical therapy regimen, his, I could complete all the circuits and start walking again. He then popped up, said he was off to see his son practice basketball, and asked if I would be free again in two days. Before I could holler out a loud yes, he was out the door. As he ran off, I quickly made it to the door to scream out the door, “yes Per, yes, let’s do it again in two days.” As he moved out of site, I could hear him say, wrapped in an impish child’s laughter, “see you in two days, Steven.” Two days later at high noon he was there.
What was transpiring in my life? What galactic forces had combined through serendipitous means in order to bring us two together, sitting next to one another on a trans-Atlantic plane ride, and later in my living room. It is my belief that forces beyond the comprehension of the human mind are responsible for bringing us together in Iceland. Nothing is random in life; everything happens for a reason. Including Per. But there I was, sitting quietly with information I knew could help me walk again. Over the next two months I would follow his system exactly as he instructed. After about thirty days, I began seeing the results of his ground breaking physical therapy system. It was tremendous, some might say miraculous. It is only a matter of time before I start walking with a walker.
Per, you touched my heart and mind, and my left butt-cheek responded. Never before in my wildest imagination would I have dreamed of meeting you, or the result of such aligned planetary forces that brought me together with you and your amazing PAS Physical Therapy system. There are no mistakes in life; there are no chance meetings. We met for a reason – which is now clear to me and hopefully soon to others in the universal shared conscious of our cosmos. Thank you for your love and support. Steven
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