My feet are leading the way!

I had a lovely surprise this morning… Whilst I was getting ready to run, Anadi said ‘Can I come..?’ We haven’t run together since around his birthday on October 7th, due to all manner of circumstances seen and unforeseen.

I have become so accustomed to running alone, and Anadi is very busy with his work, especially since his South Africa trip… So I was just setting off as usual…

I really enjoyed running with him again, the miles passed easily and delightfully through the sandy brown landscape and buildings of Gozo, under a clear blue sky, bright sun; warm air… The smells, somehow reminding me of distant summers past.

I noticed the different qualities in the experiences of running alone and running together…

Together a space for me for ‘run philosophique’, or ‘run silent’, together, just being in the step together, sharing the experience…

Whereas alone it feels to be an uncovering, a discovering in each step more about the step… Feeling the land, being the land… Recognising the universe within, reflected in the moment, and the vista and energy all around… Breathing, being, transforming…

Both states are of such value.

To run together is a connected space; there is nothing ‘getting in the way’. Conversations on the run feel expansive, limitless – like the space they take place in.

I have enjoyed some of my best far reaching and lengthy conversations over long runs; bonding, creating, sharing…

The whole occasion lends itself to possibility; to change, to resolve, to new things being discovered, to problems being solved…

And today, we both ran barefoot on my loop, which magically measures exactly 10k door to door. The roads in Gozo are very bumpy, and rocky and uneven in places, but like last night my body and my feet enjoyed the variety. There was a softness in the air and in the energy… And the familiar sight of a beautiful church every which way we turn, rising up, seeming to embrace us, holding us in their expansive arms.

The Gozo ‘open top site seeing bus’ rumbled by, full to the brim of folk being shown the island, its magical places and its history…

Some of the people noticed our bare feet… Jaws dropping, turning to one another; the naked feet still causing a stir. But I am getting to realise that my feet love this. I am starting to see that this is the plan they had all along. They want to be seen, to be noticed, they are ready…

And then later this morning after my Spanish lesson, Maricarmen said that her husband Pepe Jesus, wanted to speak with me about an interview with the paper, and being filmed for television about my run across Spain…

My feet are getting their way, and they don’t mind a jot that my mouth isn’t quite up to speed with the Spanish speaking bit…

My feet are getting their way and leading the way… !

 

And yesterday I received a book I have been waiting for! ‘This is me, full stop’. It is written by a friend of mine called Phil… It is a wonderful book!I talk about it here…

 

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

 

 

The sun emerging through the clouds

I am enshrouded by white grey clouds, all above and around and then as I look up the street it is clearing and they are below the little white house, white sheets stretching across the road…

And further up on the high peaks – a layer of snow…

I still have no voice, the internet is still absent ( I have no 3G either) and I can’t work the heating – so I am sitting like a granny in a shawl which I thankfully found in a cupboard…

I am waiting for Maggie who is coming to show me how to work the heating as I clearly didn’t listen to the instructions properly yesterday…

All running plans are out of the ‘cloudy wet’ window, as it seems mad to take my vulnerable body out in this.

Maricarmen and I aren’t doing Spanish because I can’t really talk …

And I can’t do any of the things online I usually do…

Although I managed to get a text to Anadi to publish and post my vlog… ?

There isn’t however an ounce of me that minds; I am enjoying my mountain retreat…

I realise that my nature means that ‘circumstances’ have never really ‘thrown me out’ – and being a nomad has enhanced this to another level…

‘Being with what is’, even when it’s completely different to what we planned, simply means the need to trust – as I wrote yesterday – what the deeper plan must be…

I have no idea… But it will be revealed; the body holds all the wisdom and will reveal to us its messages, even if sometimes we don’t understand until a lot later. Or we never understand; but the necessary shift occurs and off we go.

Too much thinking what the situation is all about, can limit the process and instead it becomes a game of ‘let’s work it out…’

I could go into all sorts of investigation about ‘having a voice’ versus ‘not having a voice’ – and that may completely take me away from the deeper clearing that is occurring… It can keep us in our head rather than surrendering and being in the now – being fully in the experience…

When ‘things’ arise, either in the body or in our emotions, the most important thing is to fully feel them and to clear them… I have always ‘processed’ strongly in my body and it could be that being here alone, is allowing ‘stuff’ from old old issues to swirl up and away…. The clearing of lots of stuck energy that might have been lurking for aeons is having an opportunity to float off…

As I write a glimmer of understanding is arising, as I recall a conversation with Janey, that we had  when we met at Gatwick, just over a week ago…

We were exploring my past lives and how I have a sense of having being vilified for speaking out, even being killed for it… And how this has been a big clearing for me in this lifetime, reflected especially the ‘feeling of being wrong’ issue, that now feels a distant memory… But – as Janey observed there is still perhaps something holding back from truly allowing my voice – my bare feet – their freedom…  ‘Voice’ is the metaphor paradoxically, my feet are my voice now, and who knows what their plan is!

I agreed with her…

A year ago I wrote some guided writing in a notebook that addressed this vilification and the need for it to clear to fully express…  This glimmer arose from within as I sat writing here, I now have understanding in motion…

Allowing insights and understanding to arise is a subtle thing – and an entirely different process to trying to ‘work something out’… When we try to ‘work something out’ we can get caught up in the ‘fun’ or ‘frustration’ of ‘the working out’… We can even delude ourselves if we hit on the issue, because we can get a ‘eureka’ moment, but then we can get stuck in the ‘story’ and evade and avoid the feelings that need clearing, both in the body and emotionally…

So I am clearing something within me that is ready to go…

And the path will reveal itself…  The sun is just emerging through the clouds… And my bare feet will show me the way when they are ready….

 

The road less travelled…

Today has been a different day, it has felt like I have visited a new uncharted land; as if I have been on a great big journey to discover something very important and that I accomplished my task…

Fortunately I had the foresight to make two vlogs yesterday… Very odd really as I didn’t anticipate the almost complete disappearance of my voice today, although of course, it seems that apparently I did…

I woke up after a good sleep with my mountain lurgy still present, it feels like I am being cleansed and I was reflecting last night that away from any routine to speak of – except that which I create for myself – I am in touch with being but a dot in this vast universe…

I felt a sense of relaxation, in feeling the insignificance of the dot that is me…

And yet when I looked out from my little house on the hill, into the vast night sky, the feeling expanded – soaring into the infinite –  in a recognition of the dot being all that ever is and was….

The time here has unintentionally leant itself to a cleanse, a retreat, silence – I can’t really talk!

And today has the feeling of being a significant day…

I rose and ran a bath, posted my blog/vlog and with an hour and a half to go until Spanish, I decided that I would gently jog and walk there, as it is only just over 7 kilometres away.

The day was overcast and the hills blue… Clouds were hanging low as I paso a paso made my way to Pitres and to Spanish… I had reflected before leaving as to whether my body wanted to make journey, but it assured me that it did…  I am keenly in touch with its messages and it said that a gentle meander would be nice…

My feet of course have minds and a life of their own now, and they were more than happy to take to the road… They are feeling very proud of their increased toughness and ability to withstand miles and miles… They are also getting very dirty here !

I feel the need to find a better scrubbing brush, although they don’t seem to mind their rather wild and feral appearance.

The journey had a magical mystical feel to it, the road wound through the mountains and rose and fell with the day hanging overcast all about –  of course eventually I arrived in Pitres; but I had been happy jogging along my never ending road… No one knowing where I was

I sat on the steps of the church in Pitres watching life go on around me… I imagine I might have looked to be a strange figure, but no one took too much notice of me… Maricarmen arrived and we commenced Spanish, but fortunately in the cafe first as I hadn’t eaten anything…

Because I couldn’t speak much, she read ‘Freddy the leaf’ to me, in Spanish.

I loved it and the magical day felt more so… She has just been on a cleanse herself so she gave me the last of her bottle of ‘cleansing potion’ and I have been boiling water and mixing it with paprika and cucumin all afternoon.

I feel very ‘limpiar’ ed

On the road on the way home, a man stopped on his motorbike on the other side of the road… He called out to me…

‘What are you doing?’ – I stopped and crossed the road to tell him ?

He said later that he thought I might be a ‘nina loca’ in which case I most likely wouldn’t stop – or an endurance runner, in which case I also most likely wouldn’t stop…

But no, I stopped…  It was me; who loves to connect and chat – even though my opening words were to explain my ‘lost voice’…

His name is Clem Cairns, and he is an author and a publisher from Dublin… He has a brother keen on running and so asked me if he could send him a photo  of me and bare feet… They loved it, becoming famous in their own right; my two naked feet…

He went on to tell me of his friend Michael Collins who is an author too, and an awesome ultra runner… Having now read about him a bit I recognise some of my own spirit in how he is described… The four of us – Clem, his brother, Michael and I likely all having something resonant in our spirits – which is why Clem had already noticed me twice ‘on the road’  before he called out to me…

Fellow travellers on the road less travelled…

I made this vlog yesterday – I had the foresight to make two, as my voice today is very vanished !

We are all evolving…

I am sitting on the terrace of the little white house where I am staying; the October sun is bright and the day unfolding in delicious peace; I have the feeling of Sunday’s past, when there were no shops open and the day was for rest and recuperation, Sunday lunch a family walk in the woods and the Sunday afternoon film…

I am not going to watch a film, or go for a walk in the woods, but the shops closed reminds me of England 50 years ago… The pace of life here is one that seeps through into my own being and I can feel that if I were here for long, the days get shorter and the amount ‘done in them’ far less…

Different people, different situations and places all access different aspects within us, and it is valuable to notice and respond to the different parts having their say, finding their voice…

It is also important that we validate others and resist projecting who they are, or what they are… We are all evolving, changing, opening, closing, discovering, uncovering every single day… To really know ourselves and one another it is important to have a ‘not knowing stance…’ to go into every dialogue, every new day not knowing what it holds… Also to go into it afresh without a projection of who someone will be – or how they will be – as this limits both us and them…

It is simply an orientation, one of open enquiry, and a space without ideas or judgements… Because of course people do often act predictably, so this is about holding the space, rather than allowing ourselves to be duped or manipulated in any way – it is about clarity within ourselves, which opens to new possibility.

I can remember years and years ago, I was nineteen, and I was chatting with a new friend I had met on a running trip… He was twenty five years old and we were talking about divorce – I said… ‘People don’t think so well of divorced people…’

‘Yes the 19 year old me did say these words!

‘I’m divorced’, my new friend announced… ‘Oh oh, I don’t mean I think that, or that I think that about you – I just meant ‘people…”! I valiantly tried to back track…

Anyway, fast forward in my own life, to four divorces later – and I recognised the most important work was to clear any slight shard within me, which might somehow not think well of divorced people!

And of course in particular myself… All the time we think we are giving others permission to do or be something we won’t give ourselves permission to be, or to think then we are unconsciously blocking the channels of true safe communication…

For it is by accepting ourselves wholly completely, for all our mistakes that we come to truly accept others…

And then we are able to be open to who they truly are in any given moment…

Which can change at any time…

It is a mistake so easy to make, to project onto our friends, partners, children how we expect them to behave; which ironically can create the patterns, and yet we might see our partner or child behaving in a completely different way with someone else…

So as always, it is simply slowing everything down and truly listening both to ourselves and to others…

Later

I am about to go for my second run of the day.

I find running in the mountains harder and so I hatched a plan today to run twice each day and allow a little more ease for my body, rather than trying to go for too much distance… My plan is to run 5 or 6 miles in the morning and 3 or 4 in the evening, which will keep the volume up but in an easier way.

And days are very free… In the week days I have Spanish from 11 – 1, but otherwise my time is my own to write and run and rest in the sun…

nb: I have just read this over on Sunday evening before bed… I did watch a film!

I watched a Spanish film in the name of improving mi Español ?

Life an adventure

My day started with the sun creeping over the peaks… I ran on the mountain road watching the day break on another new and different training ground for my feet, every step leading me paso a paso on an adventure that they seem to be planning themselves…!

Later just as I was about to leave our breakfast get together, where we had been enjoying celebrating Maggie’s birthday over Cafe con leche y tostados, Maggie said… ‘I don’t think we’re on a journey, I think we are on an adventure…’

‘Yes, yes’… I had responded; ‘We really are on an adventure…

I arrived here in Bubion in the Alpujarras last night and met up with Jack and Maggie for goat cheese salad and to catch up… We talked about El plan, my quest to run Barefoot Across Spain next spring, and the process they have been engaged in since the idea was hatched…

They have been plotting the route, which will go from the North Coast to the South coast, right through the middle of España – in the last month have driven sections of it too, and report that the landscape is breathtakingly beautiful…

‘It’s been a big journey for us…’ Maggie was saying; which is why this morning on reflection we are agreed that the journey has more of a sense of an adventure about it…

Life an adventure… To adventure is more fun than to live in fear…

When we feel anxious or worried all we need do is remember this, that we are on an adventure, with the plot unfolding as in any good adventure story… We are both writing it, and directing and acting the main lead role in the film of the book… We are improvising, making it up as as we go…

And yet it is already written, and deep within us, our soul knows its course… When we let go and listen to the essence of love within us, the silence in our breath – we will find our writing will be guided, and our moves on the stage of life will flow from this wisdom, and we will find there is no place for fear.

But there is no rush… Life an adventure reveals its way, the road opening as we tread it.

I have wondered if the knowledge of this adventure didn’t start to herald itself within me forty years ago when I read ‘As I walked out one midsummer morning’ by Laurie Lee… The book touched something within me which resonated then, and has reverberated over the years.

These words gave me a sense of the purpose of my soul…

“I felt it was for this I had come: to wake at dawn on a hillside and look out on a world for which I had no words, to start at the beginning, speechless and without plan, in a place that still had no memories for me.”

My life in the most recent years as a nomad, resembles these words… The paradox is that from this place of not knowing and not planning, of trusting and allowing the guidance of my soul; ‘El plan‘, the adventure has emerged and a grand fiesta is unfolding in every step…

 

 

‘Sixty seconds worth of distance run…’

I am back in my office six miles high again… It seems so long since I was here and yet it was Tuesday and today it is Thursday…

When I was on the treadmill this morning, I was thinking about the 40 hours I had just spent in the UK, treasuring how rich with experience each minute had felt – each one of them filled, as Rudyard Kipling suggests, with ‘sixty seconds worth of distance run…’

‘If you can fill the unforgiving minute
    With sixty seconds’ worth of distance run,
Yours is the Earth and everything that’s in it…’

And I felt a joyous lifting of my spirits… I could see the path expanding, widening before my eyes; I could see a limitless vista stretching like a huge verdant playground in front of me…

Over the years the voices that have said ‘No’, that have said ‘Not allowed’, that said ‘Why you, why should you have fun and enjoy life when other’s aren’t…?’

All these energies are gone, the voices have stopped shouting, they don’t even whisper now, and instead I understand the importance of each one of us clearing the sadness, the pain and blocks, the limiting energy that holds us in check, reins us back, crushes our spirit and silences our song… So that we can have fun and live fully…

So that we can feel the joyous truth of freedom, love, and acceptance of ourselves…

I have come to see the universe as a big huge amazing mass of moving energy, and if we look all around us, and we look closely we will see ourselves in the hall of mirrors; how we glint and shine back at everything and everyone… The biggest gift we can give ourselves and the world is to be free; to be our truest brightest selves, joyous delighted to be alive, shining our light so that others may light up too…

As Anadi and I left the theatre yesterday, we were reflecting how one of the key messages we heard in the show, was to be ourselves…

As Oscar Wilde said

“be yourself, everyone else is taken…’

To trust that this is what we must do and to accept one another…

But, we were also exploring how hard this seems to be on this planet… How it seems to be the hugest piece of work that we have all come to work through over lifetimes…

How the environment on planet earth doesn’t always lend itself to free expression…

How much we judge, perhaps because we are judging ourselves even if this is unconscious and so projected outwards…. Or perhaps our mind is made up, stuck, because this is what we have been taught; to think in a certain way … It is ignorance and a lack of understanding or ability to cross the bridge into the world of another, to really walk a mile or ten in their shoes; to feel what it is like to be wholly as them – with every emotion, feeling experience that the person has ever had within them; to feel it for this mile or ten…

It does often take really experiencing something unexpected or behaving in a way that is ‘not me’ to truly understand another….

But what huge shifts occur, when we do it as a practice anyway, always….

Later :

It was wonderful driving out of the airport and seeing Spain again… I remembered how much I love her and that I had missed her… But because I love England so much, I feel the same way with her…

So the answer?

To always fully enjoy being where I am…

 

 

On top of the world…

On top of the world, space peace…

Maggie and I sat on the top of Monte Pecho this morning as the sun rose and this is how she described being here, living in the Alpujarras…

Maggie has lived here for fifteen years, she and her husband jack wanted a change, and discovered Bubion and have been here ever since…

Space, peace…

Within us all is this space and peace, the experiences we have in nature… The silence the stillness, the beauty, the peace… The space; are all external expressions and reflections of aspects within us.

If we can feel it and experience it when we are in the mountains, or in a woodland, or by a lake or the ocean – then we can find it inside us… In the end the environment doesn’t change, it is us who discover more of the reflection we are seeing inside us…

Because thee are plenty of people living in these beautiful places who are not at peace or at ease, and who cannot find the space inside themselves.

So when we feel that joy, the peace descending as we sit in the embrace of a glorious sun rise, or a flaming beauteous sunset, when our spirits rise in seeming unison… Then it is important to notice this – and to know that this rising, this soaring of spirits, this wonder peace space is within us…

A reflection of us… And that the experience we are having, of the sound of silence, of nature al around, is simply the opportunity to know this aspect in ourselves, to embrace it and be it.

If we believe this power and glory, this peace and joy, this silence and beauty to be outside us… Then we will be forever seeking, forever looking outside ourselves for change, for excitement joy peace space…

For our growth… When it is all within.

These words are not new, you will have read this in other places and in other ways; but the concept is still very easy to reject… We blame others, the environment, politics, pain on circumstances outside our control…

However, when we truly know it, see it, breathe it be it, live it then we change the world from inside…

We become the whole world, rather than feeling we are like a feather that can be blown away in the wind, hither and thither, rained on, trodden down, dried by the sun…

When we know we are the world, we are love truth, the whole, then because we change our world, we truly see that this is the only world there is to change…