The Saga of the Pink Door

When we bought our first house as a family, our son Theo, then aged three, chose the colour of our front door: pink! I remember feeling really self-conscious about it at the time; I would have gone for a muted green to fit in with all the other mostly green/grey/blue doors on the small street of Georgian terraced houses in leafy south-west London. This year, eight years on, we decide to repaint the door and I (my mind) think, yes, I can have my muted green door at last. I mull over different shades of green, and a friend and painter, Neil, messages to say he can paint the door next week. I just need to confirm the paint colour.  

The following day I invite Jill, my elderly neighbour, who lives opposite, over to see our beloved Ember’s puppies. As she walks through our doorway, she remarks on how lovely and cheery she finds the colour of our pink door. Well, this puts me in a spin. How can I tell her that I’m about to paint it green? Perhaps I shouldn’t. She, after all, living opposite me, sees my door as much as I do, if not more. Who am I to take away her cheer? But my mind has been so set on green. 

I mention this dilemma to my Somatic movement client and Jill’s neighbour, Bev. She finds it hysterical and, after a good, shared giggle, assures me that Jill will cope with muted green (a similar colour to her door). Then our lovely friend and dog walker for many on the street, Marshall, pops round to see the pups and chuckles as I explain my predicament. He likes the pink, he says, but would go a slightly lighter shade. Or light blue. These lighter coloured doors are the ones that bring him most joy on his rounds. Green wouldn’t stand out as much with all the wisteria I have surrounding the door.

Oh goodness, what to do, and the deadline to choose the colour has been and gone. I message Neil, tell him of my conundrum. He finds it amusing and gives me another day. When Theo returns from school, I ask his opinion and he states green is boring, pink is ok, but how about gold or yellow! Wow, that could really brighten up Jill’s day! Gold feels too bold but yellow, perhaps this I should consider. 

This seemingly minor dilemma is weighing heavy on my mind; Neil needs the paint colour to mix, so I must decide. The next morning, I ask my friend, Alice, who lives opposite, two doors down from Jill, if she could help me choose. Alice has a beautiful house and a good eye for colour. I explain my dilemma and she is surprised.

 “But Chloe”, she says, “I’ve always seen your door as red!”

She tells me she had painted her door green. To me it looks blue. We laugh. Have I asked a colour-blind person to help me with this decision? We traipse up and down the street comparing shades of muted green and find one close to what I had been envisaging. She rules out yellow, thinks it won’t go with the cream colour of the house. I’m not sure but happy to let it go. We find a pink we like, the colour the door has faded to, slightly lighter than the original. I ask my husband, Tim, green or pink. He doesn’t mind. We choose pink to keep the most people happy. I’m relieved a decision has been made. 

This door saga has been fun, and made a lot of neighbours laugh, even though my mind wasn’t happy with the play. Then, I look at the name of the colour on the paint chart: Blush. This makes me smile. 

I see now what the Divine, this burgeoning feeling of Grace deep inside, is showing me here. In my life, self-consciousness has always been a huge barrier for me. From being the shy girl at school, the quiet daughter in a rowdy family, the student in muted coloured clothes or the employee reticent to speak out against a strong opinion, I’m not comfortable standing out in a crowd. This undue awareness of self has prevented me from speaking my truth to friends, family, colleagues, boyfriends, even at times my husband. Like a comforting fog I’ve unwittingly surrounded myself in, it’s smothered my inner glow, blinded me from owning my power and hindered me from fully stepping into life. Now is the time to let this go. 

This saga has been such a blessing in reminding me that when I expand my point of view from what my ‘mind’ thinks is right and open up to the Divine in the moment, I create a wider channel for Grace. I imagine opening up to the Divine enough to Be Grace; transcending self-consciousness and other rigid barriers of my mind. Then, in bounteous reciprocation, the Divine would open the door to make this state of Grace my true home. Yay, what a relief it will be to drop this burden, this monkey mind, and let the true me shine through. 

I now love the pink colour of our door and this saga raises a smile and a giggle from all involved. Jill, Alice and my next-door neighbour have all asked my lovely painter friend to do painting for them too. 

To open to Grace in the moment is truly a gift—to be a vessel to channel this sacred flow of love and joy. Baraka Bashad!

Thank you for reading! If this story resonates with you, feel free to share in the comments.

The Magnificent Storm




I am a rolling rumbling thunder cloud,

For eons gathering droplets of fear, pain and regret,

Cumulating towering beads of fleeting joy or despair,

The child unborn, love affair abated, sense of purpose lost.

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Source: Minerva Studios

 

This dark cumulus mass, heavy with gloom and anger,

Deadened by the flat inevitability of outer experiences,

Dampens all I think, say and do,

Yet ignites inside an intense yearning for truth.

 

 

Lightning strikes; a bolt of Love from deep within,

Illuminating misplaced loyalties within each globule,

Worn out concepts of what and how life should be.

And in this revelation lies the beauty of each and every drop.

 

 

A magnificent storm unfolds. Flashes of lightning

Shine truth on the darkness. Grumbles of thunder;

A calling to let go. Still, this weary cloud grips tight,

On to the burdensome form it knows.

 

 

Drab grey puffballs smother my vision, suffocate my being,

Gaining in weight as I billow aimlessly. Until,

 A thunderous crack of discontent marks my stand with Truth,

On the holy battlefield within.

 

 

A gift of surrender; the sweet release of mind’s grip,

 Brings forth an electric torrent of divine revelations,

A tornado of chaos, flash floods of loss and destruction.

A perfect storm; an emptying of all I thought I was.

 

 

I am lighter, brighter, snow white wisps of cirrus cloud.

Golden rays of inner sunshine burn through my dross,

Bringing clarity, understanding and gratitude as each speck evaporates,

Into the clear vast openness of the divine sky within,

 

 

Until nothing remains but Love.

 

 

If this poem resonates with you, feel free to comment…

The Playground Within

There is a bully in this joyless playground,

A tyrant who throws deep belly punches of guilt and shame,

Who slings buckets of mud, sullying me with cruel words,

For not being a better mother, daughter, teacher, friend, lover.

This false friend, who took me under his wing,

Led me on a merry dance of half-truths and false promises,

Dazzled me with dream jobs, exotic travel, fun relationships,

Now shows his rage. And I cower, eyes tight shut, into a ball.





Until, a soft, tender whisper of Love warms my aching heart. 

For I say no to this unending Ferris wheel of outer experience,

The sorrow, pain and despair of these enticing dead-end trails,

The wrath of mind’s tantrum in the face of Truth.





I step aside from the terrorising shadow of my oppressor,

For I am not the hateful coward he would have me be.

I gaze up into the Radiant eyes of my lover within,

Whose warm illuminating rays give me a glimpse of my divinity.





In the scintillating clarity of this graced moment,

All fear, doubt, regret, confusion melt away.

I stand tall, a beacon of Love and truth shining from within,

And with the heart of a lion turn to face my foe.





My tormentor rears his head and puffs his chest,

Then shrinks before me, a mere trompe l’oeil,

His waggy tail, fluffy paws, and doleful eyes,

Beseeching me for love and discipline like an unruly child.





The concrete playground becomes a summer meadow,

Alight and alive with buttercups, poppies, bees and butterflies.

I cartwheel, somersault and tumble with joy, in this Eden within,

The tyrant, a mere puppy dog, nipping playfully at my heels.





If this poem resonated with you, feel free to comment…

The Ultimate Treasure Hunt

In the confines of our home,

We set a trail of clues for one another.

Each leading to a hidden spot in a different room,

Where a small chocolate and a further riddle awaits.

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Eyes alight with excitement, we puzzle our posers,

Forage fruitlessly, or gather gainfully.

Beset with impatience, we plead for help.

Until, spurred on by each unveiling,

 

By the joy from surprises gifted,

Our tireless wonder is rewarded.

We find, hidden behind the logs, or the curtain,

A magnificent Easter egg.

 

As lockdown continues, innumerable desires,

 Cry for my attention; to home-school more effectively,

Spring clean, teach online, study, garden, cook, play better with my son.

Each a seemingly urgent demand of action and effort.

 

Until, exhausted by the relentless juggle,

Beset by migraines, fatigue and allergies,

I check in with my marker, my inner guide.

And a glimmer of understanding shines through.

 

The next day, in the dappled sunlight of our local wood,

Brightly coloured ribbons hang from branches,

Chalked arrows inscribe tree trunks,

Indicators for countless paths, leading in myriad directions.

 

I now see that these are mere distractions,

Dead-end tracks, or entangling brambles.

Requisite diversions from the enchanted woodland clearings,

Borne through deep surrender within.

 

Aglow with the soft hue and gentle sway of bluebells,

The dazzling greens and abundant energy of spring,

I drink in His boundless Love, and a gem is revealed.

I see myself reflected in His radiance.

 

We try different tracks, miss markers, lose ourselves,

Distracted by balancing on branches, befriending robins.

Until, at the end of the pink chalk arrow trail,

We find a love heart etched on an upturned log.

In the Eye of the Storm

Rain lashes, wind whips,

Trees uproot, rivers burst their banks,

A torrent of chaos floods our world,

Roads closed, electrics down, homes battered.

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                                                            Source: Mimadeo                                                   

 

I batten down our hatches,

Light the fire in the hearth,

Drink tea, play games with heart aglow,

In appreciation of the refuge of home.

 

In tandem, a deadly virus swarms the globe,

Spreading fear, panic and terror.

A surge of turmoil assaults the senses,

Jobs lost, isolation forced, mortality faced.

 

Within this havoc, I have a choice,

Of where I place my attention.

In the tumult of the tempest,

The everchanging mayhem of the outer.

 

Or in the eye of the storm,

Where fear, apathy, and misplaced loyalties,

Dissolve. All must be let go,

For the sanctity of His refuge within.

.

 

The urgency to support friends, neighbours,

The dread of risking lives, the noise of media,

All rise in a frenzy, an intense inner storm,

Until I soften and open in to Love.

 

The deeper this surrender,

The greater the fire of His Love.

Until it eclipses all,

And my candle becomes His flame.

 

And this mountain of Love within,

Becomes the axis of my being.

All thoughts, words, actions,

A divine co-creation.

 

In the storm’s wake, a trail of blessings unfolds.

Debris shifts, new channels open.

Seeds spread by high winds sprout,

Flood plains become verdant pastures.

 

In the aftermath of the Now,

Exquisite blessings emerge.

For I choose surrender,

The rest is divine alchemy.

 

The sun rises.

Clouds part to reveal a rainbow.

A veil lifts for the whole of humanity,

A new light on an evolving world.

The Master Puzzler

Life is a giant jigsaw,

Thousands of motley shaped pieces;

 Work, family, home, hobbies, relationships,

I try to fit neatly together.

two hands connect the puzzle details, against the sky of the sun.

Image: stock photos

Constantly, I search for the next piece,

A new job, home, dress, diet,

To create a better picture,

Of what life should look like.

 

As I strive harder to find the right one,

To wedge that perfect looking job,

 Into other ever moving parts,

A growing sense of unease arises.

 

For I see that the picture guide,

My mind has been trained to create,

Through parents, school, generations of society,

Is fundamentally flawed.

 

The focus on the piece,

Choosing bright harmonic colours,

Instilled with significant content,

Yet shaped to be compatible,

 

Engenders a striving,

To find perfection in the fragment,

A resistance to viewing the bigger picture,

Where shadows compliment the light.

 

Each branch of the puzzle unending,

The pieces multiply with my attention.

The more I strive, the further and hazier,

The goal seems to be.

 

My attention stays stuck on the outer,

A perpetual desire to change the effect.

What if I change the image?

 Shift my focus to my inner Beloved?

 

Trust that He’s handed me,

 The perfect piece.

And ask for His Love,

 To help me place it.

 

 The one He hands me,

 Is not the easiest to place,

Or the prettiest to look at.

Not what I would have chosen.

 

A dark shadowy fragment.

Sharp edged and oddly angled,

Awkward to handle,

Ugly to the eye.

 

An irksome blast from my past,

 For so long avoided.

A relationship severed,

An attitude entrenched.

 

Through Love’s guiding hand,

These difficult parts of the puzzle,

Transform into the magnificence,

Of realisations hard won.

 

It’s not about the puzzle,

Or the picture it creates,

But seeing that in each conundrum given,

Lies the potential for Grace.

 

For each fragment of karma gifted,

 Becomes sacred when alchemised

By the well of Love within.

Bringing me closer….

 

To mastering the art,

 Of the Master puzzler,

Of becoming the force of Love,

 That guides the way.

 

 To stepping out of the never-ending

Enigma of life,

 And into the ultimate destiny,

Of my own divinity.

The Divine Illuminator

Some days I feel engulfed,

Smothered by the tenacious fetor,

Of past misdeeds, untrue words or harsh thoughts,

That weaken me so I curl up and hide.

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Under a warm duvet of pretence,

False comforts of rich food and wine,

I find paltry balm. Until I awaken,

To the debris I’ve buried myself in.

 

I curse myself for dwelling,

In these dark dingey parts of me.

Yet my attention is stuck here,

Entrenched in dank sticky mud.

 

It’s like a flashlight is exposing all,

This ugly dross I’ve hidden from myself.

The anger that I’d stashed under the carpet,

The grief that I’d placed out of sight.

 

“It’s a gift”, He whispers gently,

Lifting the veil I’d placed over my eyes.

And I see the illuminator of this pain,

The bearer of the torch, is my Beloved.

 

He shows me how each hidden gripe,

Each speck of vanity, fear or remorse,

When seen in the gaze of His compassion,

Is a precious lesson in what I am not.

 

We sweep them up together.

Dredging the channels of my consciousness,

Of these memories, gathered like driftwood,

That weigh me down and block my view.

 

With the eyes of a lioness,

Batting away her precocious cubs,

I throw these children of my creation,

Into the river of His abundant love.

 

And embrace the wisdom they bring.

Unexpected truths gained through harsh experience,

Hard fought attainments released in an instant’s clarity.

The purpose of all lifetimes revolutionised in a flash.

 

I watch the chaff being washed away,

 In a torrent of love that fills my being.

And see that the agony of this illumination,

Is just a calling to embody what I truly I am.

 

In this divine alchemy,

This dissolving of particles no longer needed,

The true me becomes clearer, lighter.

Ready to rise up to a greater radiance.

Small Talk

My neighbour drones on and on,

Swarming my being,

With his relentless plan of attack,

Against the box tree moth.

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A woman releases a torrent of gossip,

Drowning me in needless babble,

About people I barely know.

This small talk is not for me.

 

I want to see the depth in you,

And let that spark the depth in me.

Go oyster diving together,

For that rare pearl of truth.

 

But then I see before I dive,

I first must learn to swim.

To search for precious pebbles in the shallows,

To seek and see the glimmer in the trite.

 

And practice being a mirror, to reflect that glimmer,

Imagine it a glow, and so it becomes.

As when I connect with my inner Beloved,

My flickering candle grows into a roaring flame.

 

And so He shows me that the world is banal,

When it confines one’s point of view.

Its richness only truly vibrant,

 When viewed from the magnitude of His divine lens.

 

Thus I surrender, relinquish all,

Angst, hopes, thoughts and desires,

To my Beloved within.

So He can clear the grime that blocks my view.

 

And through the agony of this cleansing,

My flame burns brighter, my mirror shinier,

To reflect a deeper Love and Truth within,

That shower sparks of effervescent joy.

 

Small talk is now for me,

The ‘talk’ could be a glance, a touch or smile.

For every action, word and thought,

Holds the potential to ignite a deeper sense of being.

An Ode to Autumn

 

I am a Sycamore tree

Branches laden with leaves of woe

Painful memories of past misdeeds

Of grief, anger, fear and greed

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Broad leaves of undue attachment to mind’s desires

Illusory concepts of how marriage, motherhood, work, health, should be

Spiky leaves of criticism and self-reproach

Heavy leaves of negativity that drink my life force and stifle my being

 

You take my hand and show me their colours

This motley collection that is part of me

Their beautiful autumn hues of deep painful crimson

Burnt hopes of orange, hints of fading joyous green

Slivers of dying angry brown, undue highs of yellow

Tinged with golden reflections

 

And I see the magnificence of their purpose

The divine blessing their pain reveals

How the agony of their revelation

Is only a calling to go home

 

A calling for this yearning soul to open and soften in divine surrender

To let go of these burdens, allowing them to flutter away in the wake of your Grace

To be stripped bare of all that was, to rest in your arms and bask in your love

An empty vessel, yours to endow, with a love so deep to bid only your will

 

Baraka Bashad

P.S. If you enjoyed reading this post, I’d so love it if you left a comment to share what resonated with you (or didn’t) and/ or any experience of your own inspired by this poem. My intention is that this blog becomes an interactive experience. Thank you!

The Road Trip of a Lifetime

Recently I’ve been feeling ‘stuck’. Right now, it’s like I’m parked in a Walmart carpark procrastinating about where to go next. Perhaps there are some great Walmart carparks out there, but you probably wouldn’t choose to hang out there for long. I’ve foolishly let myself run out of gas and this body of mine, my vehicle, keeps breaking down. This frustrating state of inertia urges me to reflect back on an awesome family road trip we did last summer and use it to contemplate my own inner journey.

We finally did it, the family road trip we’d been dreaming of, and it was magic. The Pacific Coast Highway opened up in front of us, jagged cliffs and wild sea interspaced by stretches of golden sand. The salty smell of the ocean air and broadness of the horizon in every direction gave us all a sense of openness and adventure. My husband and I shared the driving, our eight-year-old son, Theo, in the back.  We took turns to pick the soundtrack, choices ranging from classic road trip tunes to sing-alongs, audiobooks, or just the sound of the journey‑—the smooth engine humming and the rush of the ocean breeze past the open window.

Our vehicle, Midnight, was a black Chevy Express V8 with ‘ramblin’ vans’ written in neon-yellow writing down her side. She was pleasingly chunky, with perfect dimensions, subtly striking and just so thoughtfully kitted out. She oozed adventure and fun! As our travelling companion and home for 10 days, she exceeded our expectations. Her back seat folded down into a double mattress and she had a pop-up tent that sat on her roof. Neatly stacked in her boot was everything we could have possibly needed: bedding, deck chairs, a table, stove and propane with matches and lighters, pots and pans, cooler, washing up equipment, bin bags, a five-gallon water container fully loaded—you name it, she had it. There was even a Tupperware full of herbs and condiments.

Our first stop was Port Orford where Theo and I jumped breakers on the shore of the Pacific Ocean, and I swam. The bracing cold water, summer sun and gentle ocean breeze soothed and revitalised us all. Just ten miles down the highway, we leaned our bodies against the howling wind at Cape Blanco, the western most point of the USA, wrapped up warm in our coats and woolly hats — a world apart from the nearby cove.

A few days later we camped under the magnificent canopy of the Redwoods in Northern California. Trees, some over two thousand years old, towered over us, reaching up to over 300 feet, their trunks so big we could all fit inside a hollowed out one, with space for a handful more. Their serene majesty filled us with a sense of wonder and awe and made our existence seem insignificant.

My mind returns to the present…

As I walk under the autumnal deciduous canopy of our local woodland in southwest London, I contemplate my inner road trip and how to resolve this feeling of ‘being stuck’. It comes to me that Ned, the name I’ve given to my mind by the way, is in the front seat and he’s behaving like an adolescent teenager. At times he can be smart, fun and reasonable but recently he’s been so demanding, sulking and giving me ultimatums. Right now, he’s riled that I won’t let him drive.

To be fair I used to let him drive a lot, so I can see why he’s feeling ousted.  But I’ve come to understand that he kept taking me to dead-end places. Often, he’d take us on scenic routes and we had a lot of fun along the way, but the destinations were always underwhelming and left me feeling that I was on the wrong track. I’m at a place now where I sense I need to centre and navigate my true direction, and Ned’s not happy about that.

And then there’s Kendra in the back, who’s usually pretty chilled but she’s been impatient and irritated recently. She’s my emotional body and when she takes the driving seat it can be a bit of a rollercoaster. She can be wildly fun, but we might just end up in a ditch. She tends to sit in the back seat now and is normally pretty quiet but when our Midnight breaks down, this fragile body of mine, she finds it challenging. We’ve been breaking down an awful lot recently and Kendra’s not happy. Like a busted tap spluttering water, something’s blocking her flow.

And me, that little spark of soul that’s doing its best to shine, I’m in the driving seat. Now I know it’s where I’m meant to be; for too long I’ve been letting Ned drive. But I still feel like we’re going nowhere. I’m doing my best to appease Ned, whilst knowing the direction he suggests is unlikely to serve me. I’m simultaneously trying to calm Kendra, whose frustrations, often linked to Midnight’s constant breaking down, I’m unable to resolve. I’m up to my eyeballs with this situation. I’m no mechanic and I’ve taken it to so many experts with little avail. Try as I might I know that on my own I still haven’t mastered looking after this body of mine. I’m sore and achy—ragged with exhaustion and pain.

Oh, and I almost forgot, my Beloved spiritual guide, he’s sleeping in the back. I mean I know he’s there and I do check in on him fairly often. But I guess my attention has been so focused on Ned and Kendra and trying to work out a solution through appeasing them, that He’s taken a back seat and is having a snooze.

Again I reflect back on our family road trip…

We had a multitude of challenges, large and small along the way. When we arrived in the US, we were so tired from the ten-hour flight, we left a bag at the Portland airport. With Midnight to pick up and a tired but over-excited eight-year-old to cajole into sleeping, the thought of retrieving it weighed heavy. But we did, and the airport staff were lovely, so that picking up the bag couldn’t have been easier. Later, in Port Orford, I became unwell, so we had to change our plans and navigate the US medical system. But there was a thrill in the spontaneity, and we were rewarded by seeing two Grey Whales, spouting joyously in the Ocean just off Coos Bay. We nearly lost Theo when he went for a wild pee on a wooded clifftop overlooking the sea and slipped (we won’t dwell on that). But it reminded us of our mortality and sparked a gratitude in being alive.

On our longest journey, through Grant’s Pass, from the west coast Redwoods to Klamath Falls, smoke from the raging forest fires to the south tickled our nostrils and dried our throats. The scale of the devastation and destruction in stark contrast to the splendour of the forest we had savoured brought an appreciation of the fragile balance of nature and the inevitability of change. Somehow the challenges seemed to melt into insignificance in the bigger picture of an awesome adventure holiday. On that journey with a destination and a goal to chill, we lived in the moment and had fun along the way.

My mind returns again to my present walk in London…

I breathe deeply and soften, centering myself despite the noise, despite the pain. From deep within, a spark of inspiration rises to the surface and the solution comes to me. I need to take control of the places we have in the van. From now on, Ned and Kendra are in the back. They’re a part of me, so it’s not like I can turf them out. They’re in for the long haul.  But hell, I don’t want them in the driving seat any more, and not even riding up front. I’ll listen and engage with what they have to say. I know they can serve me well and I love them dearly.  I soften my gaze inwards and tap into the love that will turn my Beloved towards me. From now on, I need to keep his attention, because I want him awake and up front by my side.

This notion takes me back in time again…

Towards the end of our family road trip, we were awed by the depth and clarity of Crater Lake as we headed to our final camping place alongside the volcanic obsidian flow of East Lake. We bathed in the lake under the pink and golden hues of sunset. Theo invented a game of football for the three of us which we played in our plot amongst the trees. We savoured our last camp-side dinner together, sharing stories by the campfire. In the morning, hummingbirds frolicked joyfully by our side as we delighted in our breakfast in the sunshine. Our next stop was Bend where we returned Midnight and stayed with friends. A new phase of our adventure had begun.

Back in the London park…

At long last this ‘stuck’ feeling begins to shift. It’s like I’m finally driving out of the Walmart parking lot. My inner road seems unfamiliar and I falter, but my Beloved, sitting beside me now, smiles encouragingly. As we lock gazes inside, I’m reminded that if I keep Him close, He will flawlessly guide me through all terrains: When I take the wrong turn, He sets me back on track; when I’m breaking down, He gives respite to my pain; when I’m running on empty, He tops me up with gas, and when I let him be chief navigator, His direction is always true. He shows me that I have all the tools I need inside of me. He is the Master Mechanic and is slowly, patiently, teaching me the magic of His ways.

This inner adventure is truly the road trip of a lifetime, and it is not always easy. Whilst I recognise I haven’t mastered the art of driving this inner trail yet, I am blessed with a Master co-driver, and He assures me that ‘I’m on my Way’.