Freedom…

I ran with naked feet in the clouds; into the hail, the rain and the snow. Feeling the earth and the jagged rocks beneath my feet, and yet protected from them by my Xero Shoes.

These ‘shoes’ are based on the way of the Mexican Tarahumara tribe, who  protect their feet by simply tying bits of rubber to the soles of their feet, to avoid damage from sharp rocks and stones…

Discovering ‘Xero shoes’ has literally changed my life… The mountain trails are now open to me again… My feet move like they are shoeless and they certainly can feel the elements!

I love being barefoot; I love feeling my running form return, my body becoming more and more flexible; fitter and more free.

I have already travelled a long way, learning in each step, I tread along the running path – mastering my art; with the knowledge that I will never fully master it… Which is why I love it…. There is no end, no finish line.

Because true mastery comes through committing to investigating deeply, its every aspect, it’s every nook and cranny; in order to let it go completely…

The path to freedom through the body, through experiencing everything… Every sensation, every feeling – every aspect of this human life… To be lived fully, the yin to the yang. The extremes of experience and feeling. The highs and the lows… The conflicts and the pain; the joy and the love…

Through being fully in every single experience, we are set free… Because living this way brings us always to the present moment.

And in this moment we can heal our past, and create a different future.

Through feeing every single thing that courses though us, we can heal that which is unhealed from whence it first arose – and in so doing create a new future, with new possibilities, free from the patterns of the past…

It is in committing to my running path that all else flows…

Everything else just unfolds; like running across Spain barefoot, learning Spanish and working in the lives of others as a Sanacion – the Spanish word for healer…

I have taken three sabbaticals now, and each time, I rest for awhile from working in the lives of others, and each time I have let go completely, thinking I may not return to that work…

Each time I have spent more time running, attaining high levels of fitness again … And then there has come a time when almost of itself my work with others returns – the door opens again within me; and  people come a knocking once more…

 

 

The path is made, by walking it…

I was sitting at the top of a table; microphones in front of me, a group of Spanish men were gathered around, and were asking me questions about my upcoming project to run from the north to the south coast of Spain in my bare feet; we were talking in Spanish… Of course!

It was like being in a dream…..

Maricarmen, my Spanish teacher and her husband Pepejesús sat to the side of me, solidarity, support… I answered their questions, and spoke in Spanish about my run across their land, about the metaphor of our lives from birth to death… How we are all on the same journey, that we can support one another and connect, join on the road and walk together in step – and in the step.

I was able to communicate how being in this moment, in this step is all that is required… How life will then unfold in magical and unexpected ways. I quoted Antonio Machado… ‘Caminante, No hay camino…’

Walker, there is no path.

And I spoke these words while living them…

It is way beyond my level of Spanish to be the ‘star’ of a press conference… But it was happening and I was there – so all I could do was trust the moment, stay in the step and let the next take care of itself…

I loved every moment, rich with the tapestry of this mysterious universe unfolding and revealing itself in front of  me

I was asked at one point… ‘What do you think it will be like each day, when you are running across Spain, barefoot…?’

‘Se hace el camino, al andar’, I replied, quoting Antonio Machado once again…

The path is made by walking it…

Solitude and Silence

Alone in the mountains in Spain, there is much opportunity to be silent. There is a stillness too that is almost tangible.

Today for four hours I was walking and running along the sandy, rocky, stony tracks and up steep steep climbs; while rain clouds gathered and swirled, dark blue, grey and low about the mountain tops.

I ran through wet misty air, all alone, no-one else; the sweeping grandeur all about….

There was a rustle in the trees – and suddenly just in front of me appeared a wild boar, followed closely by three more… Across my path and down the steep mountain side they went. I was very near them, shiny black robust – and then they were gone.

Hours and hours alone, moving easily allows for everything to disappear, and for the watcher to watch the running…

Later I drank coffee in the little bar where I had begun my day with coffee too… The circle complete. Spanish voices telling me about wild boar – jabalí… I understood most, but not all of the conversation; lending itself to the dream like quality of my time here in the Alpujarras…

 

Happy New Adventures, Happy New Year…

Happy New adventures, happy New Year from Gatwick airport Hilton Hotel.

I love it here, it is one of my favourite ‘homes’, big expansive beds, deep baths and my little gym which feels like it is my own private space; I have hardly ever had to share it…

Anadi and I are sitting in Costa Coffee, and soon we will collect our hire car and drive to the New Forest where we are staying in a lovely grade 2 listed hotel which was built in 1627… It also has the New Forest’s only gin bar – perfect for Anadi!

We made this plan when we saw that the coming year would be a very different one… We decided we would come and see 2018 in here before taking off on a very new stage of our adventure together.

Because it will be together, but apart for the first few weeks…

Anadi is going to stay in the UK and carry out the same sort of ‘sales tour’ here as he did in South Africa. He has been working hard on iSportsAnalysis all the time we have been nomads – four years – and this stage is new… He is now the front man of his creation…

And I am going to Spain, I do not have a plan – not until March 23rd anyway when I set off Barefoot Across Spain – but in preparing for this, it seems my path unfolding  is to keep running and to keep learning Spanish.

I leave on January 3rd, and Anadi stays – we both have a sense of really and truly stepping into the unknown, but that it is a new adventure unfolding and that the path will, as always, reveal itself…

There is some trepidation that comes and goes within me, but I have learnt to listen to the space between my thoughts, between my fears, between even what I may feel I ‘desire’ or ‘want’ at certain times… And that in dropping into this stillness there, my soles journey is continuing…

This is the space I trust and this is the space I am walking into in 2018…

Que sera sera…

 

The rain in Spain…

Today is a very rainy day… But Spain needs rain and so when I said to Maricarmen and Pepe yesterday – as the first drops started to fall –  that it was me – La Inglesa that had brought the rain; they were very happy… ‘Bring more…’ They said, ‘we need the rain…’

It fell from the sky in torrents all night long, and it is continuing now… it appears that my special ‘Inglesa rain bringing powers’, are working a treat…

Anadi and I went for a lovely watery run this morning… The ground was warm, and splashing through the puddles along the slick wet road was great fun; and as long as we remembered to avoid the white bits on the zebra crossings all was well… very slippy for bare feet, we discovered!

I have just been talking with Pablo, here in Casa Blanca, about my birthday party at the end of my run across Spain, and about the adventure itself… He expressed a mixture of awe… ‘Are you sure?’ – ‘Doesn’t it hurt?’ – ‘That is a lot of kilometres every day without shoes…’ As well as… ‘I am envious, I would like to be the person that did something like that…’

Tomorrow I am going to Granada for a press conference!

Fortunately Maricarmen’s husband Pepe is coming with me and he has translated my story into Spanish… Very exciting.

I am looking forward to being better at Spanish… But I am where I am on the road, and so it is… I will do my best with the Spanish press…!

Maricarmen says that essentially people want to communicate and so of course, they end up speaking the language that is easiest…

This is so true, Pablo speaks fluent English, and so I never have an opportunity to practise my Spanish with him… Only with those that can’t speak English… and Maricarmen of course, who is teaching me

I was about to drive home after my Spanish lesson yesterday, and I was sitting in my car checking my phone… Suddenly I looked up and saw a coach ploughing into the side of me!

He was turning out of a parking space and hadn’t seen me at all… There was nothing I could do but wait for him to realise I was there, as he crushed the back of my car against the wall… I glanced up at him and saw immediately that although it was entirely his responsibility, he was going to shout at me…

Which he did…

In Spanish of course, and then he got even crosser when he found I was English….

Anyway… We managed… I didn’t feel upset, or react, but the trouble was I didn’t know the procedure… But he did, and so in the end he filled in the form about what happened… I called the car hire people who told me what to do, but he was already doing it – and I called Maricarmen, and Pepe came and talked calmly to the cross man…

Pepe, has practised aikido all of his adult life and it showed  in his quietly spoken way with cross man

Then at the end of it all, the coach driver had relaxed and he smiled; and I said ‘it’s an interesting way to meet…’ In Spanish and he said he could think of better ways, and put his arm around me, now my friend… ? And i had learned a good lesson about ‘what to do in the case of an accident in España

Just as we were about to part, he pointed to my feet and said that it is illegal to drive barefoot in Spain… I do not know is this is true because the police who stopped me at the start of this year -when I had no lights on in a tunnel – didn’t say a word…

And i don’t own any shoes! Que sera sera…

As I drove away down the mountain, I suddenly felt upset for awhile… Not upset with what had happened, but upset at someone shouting at me…

As always, it provided a good opportunity to clear the feeling from my body, and when I got back to Almuñecar,  Anadi and I went for cheesecake and cafe con leche by the sea!

 

 

Journey with Julia

As I drove away from the mountains, just as in the poem I wrote about yesterday, the last three weeks disappeared in the ‘wake’ of my new pathways unfolding…. I drove away and the preceding weeks were gone…

And the place, the people… It is as if they no longer exist because I am gone. We create everything around us from our energy – all that exists is here, it is now…

There is no past, no future… Only now. So it follows that all that exists is what we are experiencing around us now…

If we try to hold on to the past, or create a future that doesn’t exist, we are bound to live in tension… Whereas when we allow an unfolding, everything flows.

Of course this doesn’t mean not making a plan, to meet someone to have an experience. We can create the future in the moment we are in.

But we can’t live it, until we are in it.

And then any plan we might make, arises almost as if of itself …

I am changed by my time in the mountains – but the weeks have disappeared and will never be found again. Instead in front of me I keep making the path by walking it.

It was a fiesta day in Spain yesterday; they happen often. I like it… Everything stops and much feasting happens… All day long.

Big groups of people gather together, they sit outside in the sun, and talk and laugh and eat lots of food… And I watch, passing through this land which I love and feel I am a part of, but in a different way to those who are of it…

Maricarmen, my Spanish teacher, asked me yesterday if I would like to be interviewed by the paper in Orgiva, the biggest town on the mountain road near Bubion and Pitres… Many have noticed me running and walking in my bare feet… I am being embraced by the Spanish people, ‘Como una cabra, like the goats that I love in the mountains, I am being associated with them too…

I arrived in Almuñecar and made my way through the tables full of celebratory folk… I put my running kit on and prepared to go for my second run of the day…

In the morning I ran along my mountain road for the last time, at least for awhile… And tonight the land I ran on was different, warm balmy evening sun… People sitting about enjoying the day off; a man practicing his tight rope skills on the beach…

Two boys jogged along talking, a little bit ahead of me… We were running at a similar pace, and I received the positive energy of a shared run.

All my runs have been lone for some weeks now, and although this is never a problem for me, I enjoyed their vicarious company…

I’m now on the plane… I’ve slept a little and just experienced that moment of total nothing… The place between sleeping and waking and I had no idea at all where I was, who I was…

My lifestyle lends itself to those moments, those gifts or total space. I experience them every so often. This one was pure white, the other day it was golden. I could see the colour but I didn’t know anything about anything. No sense of my ‘self’ or being even in a body.

They are fleeting; but to be treasured I feel, a glimpse into the space of total no thing…

I am hungry! It’s now 12.45pm and my day hasn’t opened up any food opportunities!

I had left plenty of time to get to the airport, because I love airport fun… But the path that opened in front of me was a different one.

I wasn’t sure I could remember where the gasolinera was to get petrol to fill the car, but the signs were perfect… I found my way, filled the car up with petrol, and then followed the signs back to the airport… I thought.

Instead, I found myself sailing past my destination and back along the road I had just driven down…!

I knew I needed to get off it, so took the first opportunity, which lead me right slap bang into the streets and traffic with no sign of any way back to the airport… Thank goodness for technology…

Madeline of google maps directed me back – albeit with the time for my pre flight breakfast and coffee ticking away.

At the airport, Marcus my nice car man wasn’t there… I rang the office and she assured me that he was, and that she would call him so that we could find one another…

I waited… After awhile I decided that calling again would be a good plan… He was 10 minutes away could I wait…?

Not really!

She said to leave the key in the boot, and leave the car unlocked … I carried out instructions and made my way through the whole airport system, and onto the plane, with no window for a food stop…

Easyjet porridge is feeling very appealing….

 

 

 

Eternal beauty

I am just off to meet Maggie, who with Jack, her husband are my support team to run barefoot across Spain…

Maggie and I are going to make a vlog over coffee – always good – I am looking forward to hearing what she has to say about the adventure we have embarked on…

It all began with me sending her a whatsapp, saying that this idea had come upon me… That I hadn’t 100 percent decided, but were I to go for it, would she in principle be up for being my support  team…?

She responded immediately in the affirmative and I immediately knew that the decision had already been made….

Decisions have a way of making themselves.

I am always one for encouraging people not to try and ‘work things out’ too much, but to let the decisions evolve and emerge of themselves. There is no need to think too hard about anything. The path always reveals itself if we allow it to.

The best practise is to allow ourselves to drop between the thoughts, to find the gaps between them and enjoy the huge space that then opens up… All that is needed is to simply trust that this is where the answers we are looking for will arise from…

If there is a big decision to be made, walking or running can be a meditation on the move and a helpful way to access the inner answers… Running is renowned for allowing a different thought mechanism to kick in – answers, ideas, insights can all be found on the running path….

Walking is the same… I remember speaking with a composer of music, who told me that his creative process came about through spending every morning walking by the Thames for hours – whatever the weather – with a notebook in his pocket, and as he walked the music emerged… All he had to do was to write it down.

There was no thinking or trying too hard involved, simply a commitement to be available each day for the ‘download’.

I remember being inspired by William Wordsworth… I absolutely loved ‘The Prelude’, it spoke to me of me and it communicated to me that the only purpose in life is to be, to be with the sun and the moon and the stars and the land and to immerse ourselves in the step.

To journey always without needing to arrive… Wordsworth is said to acknowledge that nine tenths of his verses had poured out of him in the open air…

Yes, I remember, when the changeful earth,
And twice five seasons on my mind had stamp’d
The faces of the moving year, even then,
A Child, I held unconscious intercourse
With the eternal Beauty, drinking in
A pure organic pleasure from the lines
Of curling mist, or from the level plain
Of waters colour’d by the steady clouds. ( from The Prelude)

I was reminded of Jack who has plotted my route across Spain saying that he loved to travel, he loved geography and that the moment he could drive he loved to explore the Yorkshire dales and that he liked to travel even better than to arrive…

The actual journey is not as important as the creativity that emerges from it, the experiences, the growth, the relationships, the letting go, the embracing of our truth – the appreciation of the moment…

The absolute connection to our inner landscape through experiencing and being in the ever changing seasons… Feeling the earth beneath our feet, the rain on our faces, hearing the sounds of the sea, the wind and the soaring birds as they swoop across the expanse…

Where we can find the reflection of  our deepest silence, as we travel the path of life; from birth to death and let go of all that is blocking us from love.

 

Lighter in spirit…

I am writing in Teide restaurant, having a working dinner…

Teide has served as both my office and my second home while I have been here, especially with no and slow internet and stormy weather…

I enjoy being in the warmth, with chatter in the background, and I feel part of a place that I am passing through… I can feel the experiences, the things they care about, through the interest of those who are my neighbours for now…

And in this space, a community so small – the busy restaurant central to the village – I feel private yet supported and embraced…

And the night is young in Espana, 20.50… Lots of time to write, to upload a vlog and to eat my cenar

Maggie and Jack and I enjoyed an impromptu ‘board meeting’ over a glass of wine/ carrot and apple juice in my case, in the bar before I moved here to my office in the corner of the dining room…

They are my route planners and plotters extraordinaire for when I run Barefoot across Spain next spring, and we were discussing finer details now the route is firmly ‘set in stone’, with a backdrop of a television broadcasting the Catalan crisis… Worlds within worlds within worlds…

I have ordered a tropical salad – which although delicious – feels slightly incongruous with the wintery feel to the evening.

The days are hot hot hot, but night fall brings about the true character of the month, and tonight I know it is October living out its transition, craggy, brown, under a golden orange sunset….

I rose with the sun again this morning, and headed to the mountain path as soon as there was sufficient light… The golden sharp rays bathing the still sleeping village, reflecting its shafts of translucent power onto street lights, which twinkled their response… A shadowy dawn was easing itself over the mountains and I made my way in my socks to the path which challenges my feet still under the running step.

But I jogged along easily and allowed my body its resistance… ‘This is hard’ it cried to me… ‘It just feels hard’ and so I allowed the body to go slowly, so that we might all take in the joyous rising of the new day. So that the feeling of pushing back against  the sense of unrelenting toughness could ease and we could all find our way through…

For this is how we might find our way through hard times… Firstly ease away any resistance to what is occurring… Instead feel it , this will melt it. Take the foot off the push pedal, ease back the throttle but keep moving, keep treading on the path that is opening up before us…

Keep taking that small next step and trust that ‘this too will pass’…. And then by allowing whatever is going on, to be going on, by trusting that in the living of it, it will pass… The understanding will come, the sloughing off of the old will occur, and we will emerge stepping into the new, clearer cleaner, freer….

My time here has been so rich with experience, connection , love and friendship… With Maggie and Jack, Maricarmen, Angela, Wends Tony and Alfie, as well as all my friends in Bubion and Almunecar…

And it has also been hard, my body more fragile… But in allowing the days their flow, allowing my body its frailer state… By experiencing what has arisen I feel different…

Lighter in spirit.

On one occasion i was coughing so hard that I couldn’t breathe and I watched the distress in my body, but I was unafraid and the clearing was able to happen… And then on another occasion, stuck half way up and half way down a steep flight of uneven narrow mountain steps I felt extreme fear and  found another place of clearing, of a need to let go, to go deeper…

Any fractures within us, will always reveal themselves if we are prepared to open to them. I created these three weeks, and the gifts within them have been more immense than I could have imagined.

And I am sitting in a bar where the news is pre occupied with a fracture in the country, people are concerned and distressed not aware that their distress is a projection onto the ‘drama’ of their own inner unrest, their own fractures.

If we seek always to notice where we are in pain, disjointed, hurt, fractured within, and seek not to resist what is arising then we will find the road leads eventually to ease and freedom within and without…

This vlog is a short guide to Barefoot Running!

Unconditional love

I was sitting on the steps of Teide restaurant, my second home here, valiantly trying to buy more data…

It appears that in the instance of iffy internet I have used more than my quota – thank goodness for a person to ‘live chat’ to, as I couldn’t make out how to buy more… And even more of a relief that I could recall my password!

It is a funny thing with all of the amazing advances in technology, how much I love it if there is a real live person to help me; but it is the combination that works… A helping hand with the amazing possibilities that this magic expansive world brings us…

I was sitting there in the sun intent on my data ‘mission’ when I heard a shout ‘Hola Senorita’ and there on the mountain road beside me was a car carrying my oldest friend Wends, her husband Tony and Alfie my godson…

We sat together drinking coffee and juice and Alfie had some breakfast… We then drove higher up into the mountains where we walked together for awhile in the sun and sat on the rocks looking out all the way back to the sea… We then made our way back to Teide for a late Spanish lunch under the shade of the cherry trees – which have no cherries on them…. At the moment, it seems but a flash since Anadi and I sat there in July with the branches heavy with bright red fruit, laden and luscious…

The seasons cycling around, the circle of life – ever moving, ever changing… Renewing, blossoming, coming to full fruition and then fading, dying and  beginning all over again… Re birth.

Although in essence Anadi and I follow the sun, we still find ourselves part of changing seasons… And in returning to places at different times – although the rhythms of daily life appear to remain, in that we see the routines of people doing the same things in the same places – around them the sun is rising and setting at a different time, the trees and the land have a different feel, the air too changes as the circle of life goes around and around.

As the years go by we can grow if we tread the path that opens in front of us… We can be whittled and honed into our true expression; with each passing year we have the opportunity to grow clearer, cleaner – and with each passing year, we have the chance to  let go more and more of anything that holds us back and stops us simply being ourselves and ‘going with the flow’…

Going with the flow is the ultimate in trusting ourselves, trusting life, trusting love… The ultimate in unconditional love…

By letting the river of life open us up to the new, and trusting that as the new day dawns we can start renewed. By letting go of the old and opening always, when a new year starts, when every new moment opens – we can meet it fresh like the budding trees, the fresh new leaves; the fresh new crop of shiny cherries on the tree….

And today, there was my friend Wends…It seems to natural to be sitting in a garden in Spain, being together… All of us sharing, relaxing loving the opportunity that had opened up on the side of a mountain in Spain…

And Wends and I have circled 54 rotations together of our journey round the sun; and our love and connection grows richer and clearer and deeper with each passing year.

I treasure our friendship and the reflection of unconditional love I experience in its embrace

 

 

You’ve got a friend

Today I feel that seeing the sun rise and watching it set, is purpose enough on planet earth; in fact the very act of simply watching the earth’s journey around the sun again and again lends itself to standing still and being in the circle of light, the circle of life…

Today I set off to run in the dark and felt the rising excitement of seeing the orange ball heralding a brand new day, pop into view – and then tonight almost exactly 12 hours later I set off again and watching its powerful energy disappearing from view…

But the sun knows how to herald its arrival and its coming in such glorious style…  And to be silent within ourselves and in its embrace is all that is required…

Although tonight I had a moment or so of not being quite so silent, there was a big ripple deep from the depths of the lake!  I was gripped in fear… As I have run up and down the mountain, I have seen steps beside a great big water pipe and I had made a note to myself to investigate… So tonight was the night…

The first stretch were uneven and quite steep but they had a wire handle to grab onto, at the top I reached the mountain path and looked up to see many many more stretching to the sky… I wondered what would be at the top…

I never found out!

As I was making my way up and up, the higher I got the more precarious it felt, so I was climbing on all fours…

Then I started to feel a bit shaky and made the mistake of looking up, and then down… I felt the rush of immobilising fear in my body…

So I sat on a step and breathed deeply!

It was very very steep, but I did know I wasn’t in real danger… I knew that I was having fear arise, so that I might  clear it from my body… Fear from past lives, from an old experience in another life of falling to my death… From a deeply primal survival instinct that was over active and so accessed fear inside me…

Who knows…? But I did know it needed to be released and had arisen for this purpose… I sat for awhile and then as I was ‘mid vlog’ decided to report in… !

The very act of speaking with my ‘fans slash friends’ on youtube, even though they would not see it until tomorrow was very helpful indeed… The power of us connecting, supporting one another, joining together.

We are all always there, all of the time, we just need to tune in, and through chatting to my iphone (!) I was able to tune in and connect with the loving group energy…

We are always there, all of us, all of the time… And it is in recognising that it doesn’t have to be one specific person – as this can limit the expansiveness of energy, of love and the resources we have within us which is a reflection of the collective whole.

In the end, I went down slowly slowly slowly on my bottom! A step at a time and of course reached terra firma again…!

These words from the song ‘You’ve got a friend’, feel relevant to me, and as yet I haven’t spoken to a soul since being scared up some steep steps on the side of a mountain…

‘You just call out my name, and you know wherever I am
I’ll come running, oh yes I will, see you again
Winter, spring, summer, or fall,
All you got to do is call and I’ll be there,
Yes I will, you’ve got a friend…’

When we feel in need of support, of love , of a friend… All we need do is open up our hearts and know the truth

We’ve got a friend, always within us, at the deepest level, we have our resources which are a reflection of us all, a reflection of love…