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…

 

 

In the beginning…

Caminante, no hay camino; Se hace el camino al andar.

The soles of my feet are bare and within these pages I will bare my soul  … I am going to endeavour to write this as if I have no readers; as my unfolding steps reveal my path, my writing will record it, a memoir as to where they lead me.

Three days ago I was running in the mountains alone for four hours when it arose within me that I would start to write again; I stopped two months ago; my blog ended its run abruptly – from one day to the next… On finding my days in England full of Christmas commitments, I let go of the daily discipline… And I haven’t written since.

But as I ran silently and alone in the Alpujarra mountains, the urge to write rose again… But this time, without any intention of sharing; no social media tweets, or linkedin or facebook announcements that I had once again written something down…

My idea at first was to go right back to the very beginning, when each night I wrote in longhand in a journal… I started this practise at just twelve years old and I wrote each day, until at twenty one, I reflected on the entries of my late teenage years and now just starting out on a new decade – I decided that the daily inscriptions were too full of sadness and darkness… Too full of the unresolved pain; too full of despair that I would every emerge from the confusion of my turmoil.

My writings communicated the fear that my only release from my tortured mind, would be to die; perhaps then I would find peace – but no sooner had I thought this thought, than I was immediately tormented further with the absolute knowing that the body dead was of no gain…

For I knew that the agony would remain unresolved, and there would still be the need to investigate and find a way to release myself from the tight stranglehold of the deep existential misery, that I was experiencing…

And so I stopped keeping my journal – the entries too ‘oscuro’ and sad to continue with…  I threw away the big pile of books, charting my thoughts and feelings, my daily routines over nine long adolescent years.

And as I ran in the mountains this week, I thought to simply go back to the very beginning, to write longhand again in a journal each night…

But then I moved from that thought to one of typing my stream of consciousness onto a document and gathering the pieces of work together in a virtual folder…

And then I had this idea…

To record my writing here on my Soles Journey; but to not make the process a public one. To trust that if anyone finds my entries and enjoys reading, they will simply be a reflection of my own souls journey…

The Mission…

It’s a bit of a rainy grey day today; but I am now inside looking out, rather than outside looking in…
I have many layers on… I have just counted them – five!
I am warm enough now, but the four I had on earlier weren’t quite enough…

I hadn’t realised it was raining when I appeared at the front door of Casablanca this morning, until Emiliano said ‘lluvia’… Ah yes! ‘Mucho lluvia’…

I went back upstairs to take my leggings off – wet skin felt a better option than soggy leggings – and to get my chaqueta… I came back downstairs and after an ‘hasta luego…’ to Emiliano, off I went into the lluvia, day two of seeing what 25k a day in bare feet will feel like…

I enjoyed the run, despite the tropical coast resembling a cold rainy day in England.

Yesterday, for day one of ‘the mission’, it was a beautiful sunny experience…. I broke the run up into ten minute sections, where I walked for the first minute and then ran for the next nine.

Running in this way creates – for me – a meditation on the move… I simply carry out the plan I’ve planned!  All I have to do is run along, ‘paso a paso’, completing a ten minute section and then doing another.. There is nothing else, until it all stops.

I have always enjoyed running alone.

It is a completely different experience to social running, which I also enjoy. Social running is like a ‘run philosophique’ where there isn’t necessarily much attention to the actual running – but more to the companionship and the dialogue, which weaves and twists in the space between, creating something new, deepening the bond, as the kilometres unfold…

But running alone, of which I have done a lot, is very different.

For me it is a space of silence… Sometimes thoughts and ideas arise up, sometimes insights or processing of events, conversations… But often – as in these last two days – there is no thought – except when I am chatting to you in my vlog of course!

Just the step, the run, the body moving along on planet earth, soul in motion.

Some years ago Anadi went to train in China for ten weeks with the Shaolin monks, and he told me that they believe running to be the best way to clear tension from the body.

I see this can be true; but it can also be a place where tension is built, especially when there is an attachment to an outcome; a goal, a time to be achieved.

This doesn’t mean that goals and aiming for times cannot be part of a meditation… In fact they can be a huge part of a meditation because it is in setting a goal that we find out how attached we are to it… And are therefore able to see where letting go, clearing , relaxing, trusting – simply staying is the step is needed….

This is how ‘the mission’ is a meditation….

Yesterday I celebrated completion of 25k covered, by paddling up to my knees in the sea…

Today I skipped the paddle at the end, as although the rain had ceased, the temperature hadn’t risen much… A hot shower felt more appealing! I did the same run as yesterday, because the dark, the rain and the low temperature meant that an easy route felt the most supportive of my plan.

Also today’s ‘meditation method’ was that I ran with a bit more intent for 5k then very easy for 1.25k… This done four times brought me home with another 25k under my belt.

My feet were a bit sore at the end, but they have all day to recover!

 

This is us, full stop.

Another plane blog… I am flying off to Lanzarote with Anadi for Christmas…

Eighteen days in the UK has passed in a blink of an eye, and yet landing at Gatwick two and a half weeks ago, feels now like it might have been five years ago.

And when I met up with my godbrother Phil on Saturday- who I actually haven’t seen for five years – it was as if we had simply run out of hours on our last ‘get together’ – and had therefore arranged to meet for a coffee and cake a few days later to pick up where we had left off…

Time does not exist in any linear sense… This is all that I conclude from this.

If we are fully where we are at any given time, and reflect on the images and events around us, we will see ourselves therein – this is the only measure of time as we know it – do we recognise a cycle? Are we ‘here again’? – or does the landscape look different – or do we feel glad of the sameness and view it with delight, because we are living the life we truly want to be living.

I haven’t seen Phil in all that time, and in truth the wedding day of our mutual friends Steph and Nick – all that time ago – is the only time we have met.

But we immediately recognised a kindred spirit in one another then.

We sat beside one another at the wedding breakfast and then later on danced and talked – and then danced and talked some more – and I declared my heartfelt love for his open heart and his shining spirit.In being together again this weekend, it was evident that the connection is real and profound… So the time apart is not of importance; our relationship didn’t whither and die just because we didn’t spend time together….

In fact it has thrived. After we met we wrote to one another and acknowledged our appreciation of the meeting and of one another – then there was a natural space and we were not in touch…

Phil then ‘found me’ on linkedin…!

And on Saturday we journeyed through the portal, from our ‘electronic communication’, to meeting on a cold and wintery day at Finsbury Park Tube station – and we have been left with the delightful sense there is more to explore and create together…

It was a wonderful, funny, profundo, creative and celebratory time that we spent together…

There is no limit to love, it is expansive and all encompassing – Love is freedom.

If we do not feel free, it is not love.

Both in our relating and within ourselves.

If we love someone we let them go… In all senses of the word.

If we love ourselves we will free ourselves – and then of course it follows – that there will not be an ounce within us that would desire to hold onto another human being…

Phil is the author of ‘This is me, full stop.’ And this is the vlog we made together…

In celebration of love, life and enduring friendship…

I love our ‘Larder’ London experiences, when we land in Winchmore hill we take up residency in the ‘The Larder’… Coffee shop life is the life for me, especially after 11 miles of running on a cold December morning!

We turned up on Michael’s doorstep in the first week he opened, two and a half years ago, and when we are here I feel that I don’t want to ever leave…

But I recognise this as an essential part of my energy, in that it is at home wherever it is… When I am there, I don’t want to be here, and when I am here I don’t want to be there.

And the person I am with is the person I want to be with more than anyone in the world; I start to miss them the moment we part… But then time does its magic thing, and expands and stretches and I live other lives with other people… Until our own unique orbit comes around again – and then it becomes evident that there is no separation, no gaps; that the connection, the love the dialogue is ongoing and endless.

And all of this occurs by opening up the space within us, that is silent and endless and limitless and true love itself… For true love embraces all and everything – and there is no limit to its capacity.

And this experience can only be found through an inner journey, which often looks like an outer one, as we delve in and in and in, through our experiences and relationships here on planet earth. It is necessary to live this life to discover our source, from where we have all come.

But of course it is not for us to rush ourselves or others. There can be no rush in an opening or a blossoming; or a remembering or a reclaiming. We must live and experience and work it all out, not through the mind for this is not possible… We work things out by first living them out, and after awhile, maybe many, many, many lives we start to see patterns and possibilities of transformation – and then we start to work it out, as we remember who we truly are.

Last night I had a wonderful evening with my friend Debbie… We met 25 years ago and after a few years, we used to say that we would treat ourselves to dinner at the OXO tower when we had ‘made it’ … We didn’t particularly identify what ‘making it’ was…

Debs was an aspiring young business woman – she is very courageous, innovative and determined – one of her business ideas was on Dragon’s Den! And she is now unequivocally a successful business woman… So that felt reason enough… We rejoiced too in our friendship of 25 years – and celebrated that after quite some ‘research’ and ‘investigation’, done with the hope that we would discover how to be in relationship with a man, where we were happy and didn’t want to leave…

That here we are… Enjoying that experience…

And so we decided now was the time… !

What fun we had… Delicious dinner in the OXO tower and then walking along the Southbank, me in my bare feet with sparkly jewels on, the walk way full of people and energy; through Borough market – and then up to floor 52 at the top of the Shard to drink cocktails… Celebrating love and life and enduring friendship… In allegedly one of the most prestigious cocktail bars in London

We left as a Lamborghini and a red Ferrari drew up – people living out and working out lifetimes on planet earth in all sorts of fascinating and varied ways .

We are all meant to shine…

If I had wanted to draw attention to myself, I have certainly discovered the way!

Especially as we woke to another wild wet day and therefore the people on the ferry were the first to look aghast, or interested and curious as I padded happily across the wet car deck – it wasn’t cold at all…

And then again in the airport, the looks ranged from taking note, to smiley fun connection, to surprise, to ‘bravo’ to shock…

It is no wonder my feet have become stars in themselves; entities with characters all of their own, who love to be seen and show off to the camera, every time it points their way!

The funny thing is, throughout my life, if anything, I have shied away from the beam this energy of mine shines to herald my presence…

This may not be very evident to those who know me, and the unstoppable life force that flows from me and has often got me the attention I claim not to want! ?

But paradoxically my feet shedding their ‘clothes’ has forced me into my own limelight – where I too am standing exposed and naked – and asked that I stay where they are stepping; that I follow and simply travel the path I am making as I run wherever it leads me…

Because I don’t truly have a plan; although of course running all over the world in my bare feet is a sort of plan… But because I have no firm plan – then more than ever I am asked to trust my new world with no defining name to give myself…

Ha ha… except of course I am now the barefoot runner, the barefoot guru and even the barefoot beauty…!

But I do not ‘identify myself’ with any of them… And this is the freedom.

I have no definition I give myself, because in our world we often project onto one another some sort of definition, to make some sort of meaning to our world and our relationships…

But how wonderful if we stopped ‘defining’ ourselves in any way, and instead simply stayed with the expression of ourselves, our soul in motion in every moment… That we trust that the ordinary is the extraordinary now and now and now….

That we trust the magnificence of our true nature, our unique aspect of the whole, that is shining bright all the time if we would allow it… How wonderful to all allow ourselves to the in our own limelight and see what happens next…

For it is not our darkness of which we are truly afraid, we are often comfortable with the pain, the blocks, the cycles of repetitive stuff; but what if we shed all that and stood in our own transparent naked step and revealed our light to the world.

As Marianne Williamson writes…

Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our light, not our darkness
That most frightens us.

We ask ourselves
Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be?
You are a child of God.

Your playing small
Does not serve the world.
There’s nothing enlightened about shrinking
So that other people won’t feel insecure around you.

We are all meant to shine,
As children do.
We were born to make manifest
The glory of God that is within us.

It’s not just in some of us;
It’s in everyone.

And as we let our own light shine,
We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we’re liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others.

 

Synchronicity, Chance encounters and coincidences…

And now Anadi and I are at Gatwick…I am in Costa writing, and Anadi is in a meeting…

It feels a bit like time travel… The journey from Devon to here took only four hours… We left at 6am, in the rain –  and the journey went in a flash…

The feel and energy of the land changed, as we drove, as well as the pictures from our window moving by like a glorious slide show… From the leafy lanes of Devon to suddenly finding ourselves cresting Salisbury plane, with huge expanse either side of us, and then Stone Henge appearing in a magical moment… Flinty grey huge magnificence, seeing it always as if it were the first time….

Immediately I stepped out of our car in the car hire driveway, a man exclaimed, smiling… ‘No shoes’… He was the driver of one of the mini buses that go back and forth from the terminals and while we both stood waiting, he told me of his mother’s sister… ‘She always had naked feet’ he said, ‘Always, she never wore shoes; she was very strong, and she worked in the fields with the mushrooms, where there were lizards and snakes , but always her feet were naked… She was a magic lady’, he went on… ‘She helped people and she could take the badness away; when she was dying she said to us all, “I will take all the pain and sickness and badness in you all away with me… ” he was describing how her family were standing in a circle around her coffin – which was open – and that all the rubbish and unwanted stuff was swirling away around their feet…

Then, he was called away to drive his mini bus… I sat down on the ground and waited for Anadi to return from filling the car with petrol, enjoying the unusual, but welcome feel of the sunny sun, shining in the sky…

Anadi and I went straight to Gatwick and enjoyed another wonderful encounter while we were sitting drinking coffee; Ella Elizabeth, saw my foot jewels and admired them… I told her about Wendy making them… And as we chatted, she said she could feel my energy and that my eyes were sparkly and that she could feel the connection in her heart… She had goose bumps all over…

We talked for awhile about connection and energy, and chance encounters which are never about chance at all … She is a Life coach, and healthy lifestyle and strengthsFinder coach – and also travels the world…. We hugged and she was gone…

But the wonders of technology now allow for chance meetings of the heart and soul, to hold the buds of a beginning – not just a brief encounter….

As Ella Elizabeth and I were chatting, the book ‘The Celestine prophecy’, popped into my consciousness… I read the book over twenty years ago, but recall the nine insights resonated with me then…

In essence they addressed clearing our energy field of past trauma so that we can engage in our personal evolution – which relates to global evolution, from the perspective of being the change we want to see –  without any power struggle or control dramas in relating… Instead recognising that this is a universe made up of energy; tuning into the energy within us and around us –  and starting to notice and get curious about all the synchronicity, chance encounters and coincidences…

I then trained on the treadmill and enjoyed running along, alone in a little gym… The sound of my bare feet hitting the belt in a steady rhythm creating a silent moving meditation….

 

 

Celebrating similarity, difference and change…

Anadi and I arrived here in Ilfracombe on Monday evening, we were met by our host who wasn’t wearing shoes! ‘Barefoot’ I exclaimed as if I were greeting one of my tribe… ‘I’m always getting told off for it’ he laughed… ‘No no…’ I continued; ‘I’m a barefooter too…’ I didn’t realise until that moment that I had a ‘title’ or a way of defining myself… Like ‘I’m a runner’, or ‘I’m a writer’ or a ‘healer..’ Or, ‘I’m an anything at all…’ or even ‘I’m a man’ or maybe a woman…

Defining ourselves can instantly box us in, make us contained… Because definitions by their nature have a whole string of thoughts, ideas, descriptions, associations that go with them, which – even more beguilingly can be very accurate too.

Many years ago, I was working as a personal trainer… I drove a little black fiat panda – rather too fast – around Sussex! In the back I carried a rebounder, a step up box, dumbbells, bar bells, skipping rope and whatever else you can think of that might help me construct a training session for my clients…!

I was blond, slim and fit… I often wore a shiny pink of aqua shell suit – they were all the rage then… And ate muesli for breakfast… I read a funny spoof article at the time on PT’s… Of course I fitted the description completely, even down to the fiat panda!

And yet if you had lined us all up – the PT’s that fitted much of the description, we might share some characteristics that we would recognise in one another, but beyond this particular ‘energetic play out’ in our lives, of course there was more.

Different people resonate and vibrate with similar frequencies of course, which can lend itself to ‘grouping us together’ into ‘man group’, ‘female group’, ‘barefoot group’, ‘sporty group’ ‘theatrical group’…  But this is only useful as a way to discover more, uncover more, bounce of and investigate with the other similar energies, so that we might know ourselves more.

Because similarities and finding someone else feels the same, understands us, has had the same mountains to climb, ‘gets it’ can be very liberating and freeing to continue down the path of our own truth…

Each of us is unique…

But like everything there is a yin to this yang, where groups are trapped into being ‘teenagers’ or ‘hippies’ or ‘barefooters’ 🙂 and the connotations that can be associated can be limiting…

So… What to do?

Be absolutely aware in every moment of when the liberation of feeling recognised and part of something… The synergy and growth that can feel wonderful, turns to feeling trapped and stuck, limited by the title, or held in by the projections and expectations of others to ‘be a certain way’…

When the truth might be, that you want to change from being a man to being a woman, from running to writing, from marriage to being single, from wearing shoes to being barefoot and back again….

The key is to listen to your own truth… This way all aspects of you can be embraced; the recognition in another can be fun and it can be confusing also in seeing something we haven’t seen before, or don’t understand… The conversations from these episodes can be expansive and liberating; both when we see similarities in another and also when we see the differences…

When we recognise that nothing is static and we are only trying to make meaning of ‘energy’, which always has the possibility to transmute transform; shift and change and for something entirely new to appear…

Later on…

Jane joined us… Anadi and I had driven into town for some supper… I had sent Jane the post code, but by mistake I had put an R instead of an E – and of course her sat nav started to take her to Basingstoke! Luckily I had told her where we were… By the statue called Verity, so she found us and all was well…!

We had all planned some months ago to meet here to watch Josie compete in an ironman triathlon… Josie is one of the Zen runners and her ironman was cancelled… But we decided we would come along anyway as she lives nearby…

The funniest thing is that Josie is now in Sweden… But we are having a wonderful time here, celebrating our friendship with Josie and also the truth of flowing with what is; we know our paths will cross again and the ironman brought Anadi Jane and I here…

See the vlog for more… !

A meditation on the move…

Anadi and I walked off the plane into the wet grey of an English summer day in July…

The airport tarmac felt warm beneath my feet, and wet too of course… But fun, a bit like the joy of jumping in puddles, play time – stepping out into wild wet windy ness… And I noticed people looking, and looking again…

Can that be true… That she is wearing no shoes?

Only a few hours ago these feet were feeling the warmth of the red brick pathway beside the beach in Malaga, and now here; murky wet mistiness.

My feet are accepting; placing themselves firmly where they are, feeling what they feel beneath their soles and adjusting to the here and the now… The ‘ouchie’ heat of the pavement, so hot in Spain by 3pm, that I would cross the road to walk in the shade – is no more; the pavement now is slippy wet, glistening grey…

But my feet are where they are; I feel no resistance. They have a wisdom of their own.

Anadi went to the office in Gatwick, and I caught a train to Brighton… I stood on the forecourt, and for split second, the world span on its axis… ‘Where am I now?’ I felt a slight sense of disorientation… ‘Is this the right place; am I where I should be…?’

But then my feet spoke…’We are always here and now; there is no where else to be…’

A few minutes later Athena Jane appeared at the barrier, and laughing with joy to see one another, we went and found somewhere for coffee and cake – and catching up too…!

Later as we stood together on the platform, Jane exclaimed… ‘Ju, you’re shivering…’ I laughed, ‘I’ve just come from 32 degrees…’

But my feet don’t mind, and they help with the transition to now. I can feel the earth beneath my feet through their soles –  I can feel where they are and I follow their lead… To enjoy being here, now…

It is one of the most written about things, to be present… To give others the gift of our presence and yet it is often the hardest thing to remain without thought right here in the nucleus of each moment;

Nucleus definition : ( I looked it up!)

‘The central and most important part of an object, movement, or group, forming the basis for its activity and growth….’

The value of the centre point, the stillness, the point right in the centre of each moment reflected within the centre of the still point in the breath and within us… And the key is that from this still point, this nucleus is where the growth and activity emerge from…

And as I place each foot down on the earth beneath my feet I am aware of each step, I cannot not feel the soles of my feet, and so it is impossible for me not to be present to their message…

Meditation in each step… An ongoing practise of a meditation on the move.

running (sport), barefoot running, the truth about barefoot running, personal training, nomadic,

Beautiful…..

We went to see the musical ‘Beautiful…’ yesterday afternoon… Anadi’s name for me is ‘Beautiful’ and so it felt a fitting show to go to  🙂

In essence it was the story of Carol King, her amazing gift for song writing and singing, her relationship with her first husband and her courage in finding her own way and her own voice. It was inspirational and ‘beautiful’ and Anadi and I both loved hearing the tracks from the sixties and seventies again…

I was born in 1959, and my sister Rosy in 1961 – but my brother was born in 1945 and so the house was full of ‘the sounds of the sixties’ as we were growing up… I am still ‘word perfect’ for many of them…

And the dancing!

Stuart my brother used to dance with us little girls in the sitting room, and we learnt to twist like pro’s!

Joyous times, the music turned up loud and my brother dancing in very cool handsome teenager of the sixties style, while his two little sisters careered around the room like whirling dervishes…!

Music and dancing, so essential to our deepest selves… Let the music speak to us, open us, free us, move our bodies and our souls…. Artists have unique energy and insights that can connect us all to ourselves and one another… Speaking the language of the heart and our deepest selves in words and visions and sounds that connect us to the divine, speak to us of what we already know but didn’t know that we did.

Anadi and I tumbled out of the theatre into a lovely June summer afternoon, and walked back to Covent Garden… On arriving earlier the tube station was packed chocca block with Saturday afternoon sightseers, groups of friends, families, people going somewhere, here, there, everywhere, who knows where…?

But there we were, hundreds and hundreds of us, spending our Saturday together, apart, sharing the same space apart, together… And so I took the stairs, with many others it turned out as the queues for the lifts were thick and dense, and more people flowed as minute after minute another train drew in…

It was fun to race up the stairs, dodging the people climbing up too, overtaking on the inside lane, fun freedom, racing up steps forever, making the most of the body while I’m here…

All the time knowing I will let it go when the time comes, when all the racing is done…

But meanwhile I am here, and more than ever, I feel each dawning day like my life has just begun… I am reminded of the poem by Andrew Marvell – ‘To his coy mistress…’ where on inviting her to his bed,  he is urgent in his encouraging her to adopt the attitude of ‘seize the day…’ because time passes by on this human journey…

And so each moment we are here, if we live it fully, embrace it, be present to every nuance… Engage in each step…

Then…

‘…Though we cannot make our sun

Stand still, yet we will make him run….’