Another photograph of Cais Palafitico da Carrasqueira, the ramshackle, zigzagging, interlocking piers on wooden stilts, near to Comporta in Portugal. There have been other photographs of the same area here on my website. It’s a very photogenic area.

A colourful hand made wooden cabin with three child like drawings on the side and two life jackets

๐ŸŒก๏ธ After a cool week, the temperature is starting to rise again. Clear blue skies and warm sun outside.

I believe that we all have our safe spaces. Those places in our mind and body where we feel comfortable. Part of the practice for this life is, I believe, to stretch those boundaries. This is not a challenge, not “a who can stretch furthest?" dare. Rather it is path through life of seeing if I can grow larger my potential, in what I can embrace than what I might be doing now…a path that I can chose to take if I wish to, and one that I do so while caring for my own well being - not jumping further than I feel is safe to do so.

And then those times happen when I am caught completely off guard and find myself out of my comfort zone. In such times my safe boundaries just collapse, disappear from around me, and I am left standing naked and exposed with nowhere to run to. Whether other’s see that in me, I don’t know, but for me in that moment it is a very real feeling.

Such happened to me last night. People visited, new friends. We engaged in conversation, and the ground just opened up underneath me. Nowhere to run to. I could feel the discomfort in me, I felt exposed and I had nowhere to go. I was left just being where I was - talking, listening, engaging - but that engaging was cutting through me. I wanted to get up and leave. There was discomfort in my body and mind - scratching, itching, tension. With nowhere to turn to, I was left just being present to the feelings, to the experience. Breathing, allowing the felt experience to be there, not pushing it away. Just seeing it as not personal, passing through me, real and at the same time not real, holding that paradox.

Afterwards I found a safe and comfortable place to be, like resting after a period of strenuous activity, allowing body and mind to rest and settle. And next time that challenged comfort zone will be a little more familiar, probably still uncomfortable, perhaps still scary? For all of that though I can breathe into it again, let it pass through me, and learn that little bit more from the experience. For in all those scary, uncomfortable places there is also wisdom.

Barrosinha, Alcรกcer do Sal.

Barrel standing alone in a courtyard

๐Ÿ“ฏ There was one hell of a lot of honking car horns outside just now. That and a faint sound of horse hooves. I have no idea what was going on, and it stopped before I could get outside. There is a festival happening in the area this weekend, and so I wonder if the noise is related?

Images of Design Week in Lisbon.

A collage of four designs from Lisbon Design Week. An ornate lampshade with white strands hanging from it, some cloth hanging down, a small white ceramic bowl, a wooden stool shaped like an owl

Some of welcome relief from the hot sun yesterday afternoon in Lisbon.

A cobbled sidewalk in shade with speckled sunlight and the feet of someone walking

Checking out the wine.

Drawing on a wall in a restaurant of a woman eying a glass of wine. A double light shines above

๐Ÿ˜ฎโ€๐Ÿ’จ I am completely exhausted. Just too much going on over the last week, regardless of the good time had. I could spend this evening in and have an early night, but that is not going to happen. We have an event to go to. Maybe this weekend?

Monsaraz - one street of maybe two.

The wall of a house painted white with a small, mature grape vine growing against it, a cobbled road disappears into the distance

๐Ÿ—บ๏ธ Well I have just managed to drive around a part of Lisbon without the aid of Apple Maps, or any maps for that matter. It was not big achievement, I did not travel that far, but I could not have done that a year ago. Iโ€™m getting to know my way around.

At Barrosinha nr, Alcรกcer do Sal

A flat metal statue of a black cat standing on concrete against a red door

Everyone has gone for a walk. I am staying at home to rest tired bones and a tired nervous system. We had a lovely couple of days in Lisbon with my sister in law and her husband. However, I did not sleep well the night in the city, and spent a lot of time on the move yesterday. By the time that we got home, I chose to spend some time to myself while the others watched a movie.

Today we are heading east towards the Spanish border. Just a day away, but a lot of driving, walking and socializing. After a while my body and mind just needs the down time, I can feel it. The HSP in me can only be on for so long, and then I need to bathe in some silence and alone time. Right now I am taking such time as it becomes available. Maybe next week they’ll be more time to recharge?

๐Ÿ‘จโ€๐ŸŒพ We spent some time this morning at the Farmers Market in Prรญncipe Real neighbourhood of Lisbon. I enjoy the community atmosphere of these markets. I also just enjoy stepping back from the market, sitting down and people watching. Families, individuals, couples even the pet dogs. Interacting, buying, chatting, playing. We are all so varied in looks and personalities (as well as one can know a personality from a face in the crowd). I find people fascinating.

๐ŸŒฅ๏ธ Well today ended up better than I feared weather wise. No rain, some sun, though coolโ€ฆespecially this evening.

A hotel lobby greeting.

A full size statue of a chimpanzee

๐Ÿ™๏ธ In the big city, Lisbon. Rain is threatening and it feels unseasonably cold.

The Story Behind The Photograph: Two Boys Playing Cricket

Two boys playing cricket on a remote highway in the mountains of Pakistan
Two boys playing cricket just off the Karakoram Highway

While traveling the Karakoram Highway through Pakistan I stopped in Passu for three nights. My memory of Passu in July of 1989 was it just being made up of a small collection of houses. Nothing else. One of those was the guest house that I stayed in. This was run by a lovely man who use to be in the Pakistan army. Because of his military career, and despite what the isolation of his guest house might suggest, he had a good knowledge of the world outside of the mountains where he now lived. I remember his son playing with a pen knife that I was carrying and asking how much it cost? I mentally converted the UK Sterling price to Pakistan Rupees, and told the young boy. The price would have seemed ridiculous in that small isolated world, and he could not believe what I just shared. His father gave me a knowing nod.

Passu was near to the tongue of the both the Passu and Batura Glaciers. Surrounded by the peaks of the Karakoram mountains, I found it a spectacular place to immerse myself in the wildness of nature. The scale of all that surround me gave one a sense of insignificance. Traffic on the highway was next to nothing, allowing the safe space for these two boys to play a game of cricket just a cricket ball’s throw from the road.

Grey, rugged, sharp mountain peaks with a little snow on them, surrounded by cloud
Mountain peaks over looking Passu

I write this remembering overcast days. Fresh clean, clear air allowing a clarity of thought. And the high mountain peaks, alongside the air quality and ruggedness of the terrain, all reminding me that I was near the roof of the world.

Looking north from Arrรกbida Natural Park.

Low cloud hangs over a landscape of hills and stone

Man with goat in the Hunza Valley, Pakistan in 1989

Pakistan man with a goat on a leash. They are sitting in a large flower bed of yellow flowers on a terraced hillside with a large house above. Cloud covered mountains are in the distance.