Introduction to Barefoot to Buddha…

At the end of July 2016 I hurt my back… I experienced really deep sciatic pain that went on and on and on for about six weeks. It was a very big process because the pain was very, very deep – like nerve pain is, I couldn’t get any rest from it… As the days went by, the pain wore me down and suddenly I accessed deep down this feeling of despair, there was this flash within me that came up and said…’If I can’t run, then I might as well die…’ It was really helpful to me to find that sentence… It showed me that I still ‘defined’ myself by running, rather than ‘was’ running – and so it showed me that still, I was not free…

It just arose from the pain, within the pain of the jangling nerves, and in catching that thought that came out of the pain or rather that feeling… I was aware that there were still binds tying me that meant my running wasn’t a clear expression of my soul.

It wasn’t my artistic expression dancing around the planet. It wasn’t my spirit in motion. It meant that my running was still emerging from some unresolved ‘stuff’, from tension, from some place where I still needed to prove myself – or to run for someone else – or to run away even – from pain and a vestige still of self hatred.

I recognise that the whole of my life, my running journey has been a journey of discovery, a journey of finding out, a journey of clearing so that my spirit could dance free… Because when I came first onto the planet; when I was first born, I did run free!

The moment I could walk, I ran…

I ran around like the wind and I raced around as free as a bird in my little bare feet… And it was only over the years that the tension and the pain and the need to run to prove, the need to run fast to earn love, to gain recognition blocked the path of true expression.

And so my life became a journey to set free the expression off my spirit – and I recognised that the tensions, and the processes, and the events of my life, arose as part of my unique energetic makeup, which for sure I had created over lifetimes, for lifetimes and lifetimes… Working it out, living it out, working it out – in order to clear the way for silence and freedom.

And so during July 2016 when this pain was with deep within me – and the whole way through August too, I was able to reflect that even though I was now fifty seven years old, and although I had been working to clear this pain for forty years; another layer was peeling away, getting me closer to the centre, like peeling the skin of an onion…

I believe it was when I was seventeen years old that I first recognized that my running steps had started to become ‘locked in’ – and it was at the same time almost exactly that I started see this and begin immediately to unravel and work to unlock the pain… At the same time, I read the book Jonathan Livingston Seagull… A phrase in the book that struck a chord in me was the one where Jonathan is saying that…

‘Your whole body from wingtip to wingtip is nothing more than thought itself in a form you can see, break the chains of your thought and you break the chains of your body too…’ This spoke to me, and I knew it to be true, even though as I read it I was unwittingly becoming more chained by my thoughts!

Another phrase that struck me was when Jonathan seagull was teaching Fletch gull how to fly, and Fletch gull said… ‘Are you saying I can fly’? And Jonathan replied… ‘I’m saying you are free…’

Those two phrases struck me so much. My whole orientation from the moment I was born had been ‘freedom’… How to be free!

I read this book when I was seventeen years old; Ironically at the same time as I read these words of inspiration I was also chaining myself in; I was locking myself into my own cage – one of pressure and ‘got to’s’ and ‘have to’s’, and ‘not good enough’s and ‘not fast enough’ and ‘could do better’s’…

At the same time as society, family, external pressure was reflecting itself in the energy blocks I had come into clear – at but same time I was reading the route to freedom.

My soul was reminding me of what I knew… But here I was locking myself in – so it was a real juxtaposition.

But we cannot be free of what we haven’t yet worked through – and so for forty years I journeyed on a running path that was both my salvation of my nemesis; because running was my expression, it is my expression – it is my soul in motion on planet earth – it is the thing I came here to do. But it was also the place where my self-hatred showed up…

I was born to run – but of course and it being the thing I came to do, also meant that there were lifetimes of energetic creativity or creation that I had made myself – that was still there to be unraveled and cleared, so that I could set myself free.

I saw too that all that was necessary was to clear the way to be silent in the step of my running path; because in setting myself free – the light of my free self could guide others to be free too, because they can see their own way in my reflection, to find their own freedom

And so, in August 2016, I recognised that this was a deep, deep process, and that the pain was necessary to free me, and that if I stayed with it, and felt the despair, and felt the grief, and felt the loss…The loss of my own freedom, the loss of my own joy – and at the same time really let go of anything that was within me that was still running for anybody else but myself, let go of any part that was running for any ‘thing’ to do with anything, other than my own expression…

And so the days went by, the weeks went by, and although the pain eased somewhat – it still hurt to run.

And then in early September I travelled to Lanzarote with my husband Anadi… One day we were walking on Famara beach together… It was a beautiful sunny afternoon, and I was enjoying the walk, although my body was still in pain. It was still impossible really, for me to run. I had tried, but it hurt too much… Then I saw the surfers on the beach, they were warming up in readiness to go into the surf on their boards. They – of course – all had bare feet, and they were running up and down, doing some exercises, and then running again, as part of their warm up.

As I watched them this flash of an idea came into me… “I wonder, I wonder if I could run in my bare feet without any pain…

I started to imitate the surfers, my feet were already bare… I jogged gently along the sand and found immediately that there was a freedom in my step… Anadi and I ran along the beach together – I suppose we ran for half a mile, and my body didn’t hurt, my back didn’t hurt me, and the nerve pain that had kept flashing through my thighs when I tried to run, that too had gone – my knees didn’t hurt either – the restriction and tightness had lifted.

And so unknowingly, that day I began again on a barefoot journey… But the bare feet were emerging from the ‘letting go’ – paradoxically – of running for any reason other than to run; to become the run, to lose the self in the run – the bare feet were emerging in the Zen of running

I had spent forty years ‘knowing this’, and gradually peeling back the layers – to uncover what I already knew – that I needed to simply ‘let go of the attachment to an outcome’ – this wasn’t about not having a goal, it wasn’t about not creating something – steering the ship – it was about truly letting go.

And this time, I really and truly did let go…

I had ‘let go’ so many times before – and scoured off another layer or two – because I ‘understood’ years and years ago, that my running was a spiritual journey…

I knew it was a journey to experience staying in the step. I knew it to be a journey of Zen…

To learn through my running how to live a life of being in the here and now.

Whenever in the past, I really was in the ‘here and now’ – whenever I let go of a desire to win or run fast for anyone else other than me, and to stretch for the stars just for the fun of it – when I just loved doing my best, reaching high, because I loved to find out… Then my running released and my spirit soared…

Because of course trying to win and trying to run fast in themselves ARE fun if there’s no attachment to an outcome – and I don’t mind – when I don’t mind if I don’t run fast, then there’s no harm – because within the trying and the striving and the stretching for excellence; and for seeing ‘if it’s possible’ – then within that there can be opportunities for great growth…

But of course whenever we try to win to ‘prove something’ or if we want to ‘win to get power over anyone’, or to achieve a fast time because of a misguided belief that it might make us immortal in some way… Then of course this can be very stressful and lead us away from ourselves rather than towards our truest self…

So for forty years I had known this and sometimes, I truly experienced that I was free and I let go – and then unbelievable freedom of movement and speed and flying on land occurred.

I was as free as a bird again….

But then out of this freedom I started to run fast and to record fast times and to gain success… Ironically this all came about out of freedom – but then I would forget, and the dark energy pushed again out of fear, out of need, out of insecurity – of a sense that I needed now to ‘hold onto ‘ this form – and once again I would drop into the abyss of an attachment to an outcome…

On reflection when I lost sight of my truth and instead desired a sort of immortality through my running – inevitably each time I lost sight of my own light; I would become injured or ill and be reminded again of my true path….

And, it seemed I would have to start all over again…

But in September 2016, I shed my shoes and I also shed the pressure of a lifetime (of lifetimes!) I shed at last the need to try to run to earn love, or to run to please – my father or my coach, or any manner of other people around me… Instead I just started to let my feet dictate. I let my feet lead the way….

And what an incredible journey.

It was tough initially for the body to run without the support of trainers. I left my shoes with in Lanzarote, because every time I went to the beach – it was a good experience and I could run. At the end of the three weeks that we were there, I was able to run five miles on our beach, but when I put my shoes on my body hurt again. On the last day, I went for a run on the track in my shoes and my body hurt again. And then it happened that a woman and her child turned up too, and they ran around and around in their bare feet. So, there and then, I took my shoes off and I ran round the track in my bare feet and I felt no pain.

It was now October and I was transitioning, and still my body didn’t hurt if I wore very light vivobarefoot shoes… I ran only ten times that month because when I had run seven miles, eight miles in these shoes, my legs ached from the new effort so much and they were tired. So, I did a lot of strength and conditioning in the gym, and I let go off any goals I let go of any mileage aims…

I let go off everything!

I was going back to basics… I was ‘letting go’ which I had known for years was all that was required…

I went right back to the very beginning, to a time when I didn’t have any goals; I didn’t add up my miles… I just went for runs, and worked on aligning my body, strengthening my body, running as it wanted to run

And so the days the weeks went on and my running was now again a joy because it was all about finding out… I had gone back to the very beginning …

And then another step!

On January 22nd, I gave all my barefoot shoes to my friend Jane and was left with only beach socks … It was another huge liberation for me and my feet wanted to dance, they wanted to run… I remember padding round Eastbourne, because I was in the UK for ten days – it was freezing cold -4! And there I was running around in socks – it felt like freedom – it was freedom for me.

I came back to Spain in the middle of February and shed even my socks. Now I was running barefoot on the road…

So through September October November December January – for five months my feet were adapting, they were getting stronger and I could run barefoot on road, on beach and on the track – and I was loving it… I loved having no goals I loved being free, I loved the whole feeling of barefoot running…

My running seemed to have purity again, it seemed to have an expression and a path it was leading me on…

I was slowly fully remembering again that it was what I have come to the earth to do, because in following my running I’m following my soul and by following my running it’s giving me the opportunity to properly clear, to properly be free to properly be courageous and brave – and properly live what I came to live out…

To let go, to let go off everything – and of course ultimately to let go of running… To let go running – and then I found I was still doing it….

In the same way that consciousness is being able to be in this body, but to have let go of it… And then to just be in the world but not of it… Being able to live in the silence space beyond the samsara, beyond the yin and the yang, beyond the duality and therefore be able to play on planet earth…

To have fun!

And so with my bare feet I started to play, I was starting to truly live as I’d always known was possible…

When I was a little girl, I knew that we could live on planet earth and enjoy the experience and really know that it was just an experience; and that this body is just the vehicle – and life is a way to experience energy and to therefore clear energy…

And to know that this is just a flash in the eternity of our existence, here we are a spark of the infinite consciousness we are all born of…

We are all born of consciousness and we are experiencing our own unique energy playing out in a body on planet earth.

And as 2017 unfolded – I was able to experience this in deeper and deeper ways than ever before…

Through my bare feet.

But of course my bare feet were only an expression off a deeper letting go…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Addressing, releasing, clearing…

The alarm woke me at 6.18am, which never used to feel very early in my ‘past life’, but in my current life –  my life with Anadi – it certainly does, as bedtime is never really before midnight…

I had actually set it for 6am, but at 4.18am had woken for a wee, and changed it to 6.18 as I liked the idea of two more hours in bed!

But the sight of the sun rising above Gozo harbour made me very glad that I was up and very soon I was out of the door.

It was a cloudy warm day and  I wore my Skinners socks because I can run faster in them on the road… I don’t need to watch out quite so vigilantly, and I don’t need to slow down over the uneven ouchie bits, or on the scattered stony sections at the side of the road, when I jump there to avoid the cars!

I had a treatment booked with Gerhard and I wanted to run and breakfast first… The run was a delight; I am loving the feeling of flow that my increased fitness is bringing. …

A lifetime of running…

It is a joy to keep practising and perfecting my art; a quest that never ends and I delight now in the ongoing investigation – the exploration to find the perfect true point, the balance, the silence, the body’s centre point.

I can feel where there is slight imbalance, an uneven holding in my shoulders, a very slight twist in my left hip – and now I just notice these things… I also notice the slight improvements that are occurring over months rather than days. I was last here in Gozo a year ago, and returning is allowing me to see the improvements, to recall how I was then – and to recognise where I find myself freer now…

You see I was always in a rush to ‘get there’, to be ‘free’, ‘free in my movement’ and ‘free of pain’… What I didn’t see back then, was that the ‘whole thing’, the orientation of ‘wanting’ to be free, ironically kept me locked into the very energy that I needed to let go of!

I met Gerhard two years ago when I was looking for a ‘sports massage’… He offers so much more. He is a gifted healer, and his orientation is towards clearing… Perfect.

I had booked a three hour session. The first hour was spent in a clearing exercise where he asked me questions related to organs in the body, places I might be holding emotionally, any conflict within, any emotional injuries, any issues I might want to work with.

I loved the hour; my processes are paler these days, but this is where it is so important to notice. It can be easy when feeling clearer and lighter to stop noticing the subtle energies which still need addressing, releasing, clearing.

It can be even more important to go within and clear as the subtle ‘holding on’, can still keep us from freedom, expansion, silence.

After the clearing, he gave me a two hour treatment, starting with a sound healing bath from two Tibetan singing bowls which he placed on my back… The sensation was incredible, and then the massage with some gentle subtle manipulation; my body loved it and I was not there…. I floated out of my body, I left it behind so that it could let go of any tension.

I am going again next week, and Gerhard has agreed to make a vlog with me – so you will meet him then!

And then rest of the day has unfolded easily meeting Anadi for lunch and spending the afternoon writing…

A perfect day….

 

Consistency…

Today Anadi and I spent all day in a bar in London… I loved it so much.

But first I ran ten miles on the treadmill in the gym. I loved that too…

In the last five days I have run on an Alpujarra road, while the sun rose over the mountains; along the Spanish coast in Almuñecar, with it setting below the sea… And then waking early to run before it was light, watching that same sun rise in spectacular fashion over the English channel, lapping at the foot of the South Downs…

And today all my miles on a treadmill without knowing at all whether the sun had risen or not…!

The time passed so easily, but then I am very fit again. I have a theory that most of training is physical, in that when we get very fit the miles are far easier, and so there isn’t the same mental process to ‘keeping going’ needed as when we are less fit… This is the same for racing…

My best races were when I was super fit and could physically do what I had in front of me… The recollection I have of my fastest times is of ‘flow’ more than anything else…

The practise that is the most important is consistency, to keep showing up, day after day after day… And within the consistency, the wisdom to not do too much, where we reach breaking point, and then cannot maintain the consistency…

This is easy to write… It can take a bit of ‘trial and error’ to learn…

But once the fine line has been revealed and we know ourselves, our bodies, our rhythms – often through making some mistakes along the way – then the practise is quite simple… ‘Just do it…’ then keep ‘just doing it…’

After my run, Anadi and I made our way back into Central London… On the train, we looked online for another brunch location and chose ‘Christopher’s’, just outside Covent Garden… And what a find… Amazing deliciousness, and a fabulous atmosphere of London fun… And although we had planned to shop – needless to say, no shopping happened!

We just sat all day talking and eating and drinking. I loved it; and so did Anadi. We like being in each others company and love the limitlessness to the dialogue.

Our orientation of clearing, consistently noticing whatever arises that causes a ripple on our inner stillness, is the same – and so we relax in the lack of barriers to who we truly are.

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!

‘Go placidly amid the noise and haste…’

I have had a lovely day… It started with my live broadcast about my preparations to run Barefoot Across Spain which I loved so much… To be with people even though we are all miles apart is just such a magic thing!

It reminds me that we are all connected all of the time; we are all communicating and connecting through the ether… All that technology has done is made it easier for us to by pass any blocks in our telepathy and ethereal broadcast systems, to allow us communicate clearly with one another, so that we can then receive the messages and understand them fully…

But it is important that we remember that the air waves are always open, and that we are always communicating with one another… We are always impacting with our energy, and of course being affected by the energy of others… Therefore, it is worth considering in every single moment, the quality of our vibration… What frequency is coming from our being…?

If we are committed to being aware at all times – then we will feel everything that tremors though us… If we are  prepared to take responsibility for not projecting it outwards, or denying the feelings or distracting from then, then we are in a position to clear the energy and to transmute it…

It takes huge commitment to be prepared to stay present 24/7 – to clear the tension, the negative dips, any unkind thoughts, feelings of despair… And on the opposite spectrum the energy of too much zealousness, over drive, over excitement… For they are all vexatious to the soul….

‘Go placidly amid the noise and haste and remember what peace there may be in silence…’

Silence is the space in which we know ourselves, and it is in the space of silence that all the extreme feelings can clear. All we need do is truly feel… To know that this is what clearing is…

Feeling the feelings without a story, so that we transform our energy field allowing our light to shine brightly… Others will be affected and infected by the light which can light the way as a guide to themselves….

After my broadcast I went for a run on the grass in the centre of the track… What joy for my feet which are working so hard… Round and round we went – my feet and I – five fun, springy green grass miles before breakfast…

Anadi and I then sat in the sun in El Lago restaurant, enjoying being together and chatting, looking out over the Atlantic ocean, watching the waves crash…

I fully appreciated the simple delight of food after exercise, delicious granola and fruit in yoghurt, carrot apple and ginger juice – with cafe con leche of course – and then I polished off the rest of Anadi’s toast with butter and honey.

The delight of eating with such enjoyment, trust of my body’s wisdom and messages –  freedom…

For so many years – way back in the past now – I was trapped in the tyranny of an eating disorder… But I knew, even then, that this was an energy too… I saw my eating disorder then as my concept of evil as it stripped away my spirit’s expression and my joy… But I knew, I saw that this dark energy was for clearing – and I knew it was possible to clear it away completely. In deeply exploring this obsession of mine, I discovered deeper answers and the key to clearing all darkness as it arose; all tension and fear and so I learnt how to free myself and in the process how to teach others…

I also learned that things can take time – and that it is simply a matter of keeping on keeping on… Never stopping and never being hard on ourselves; simply committing to the process…

Freeing ourselves…

Freedom…

Today as I was running on one of my traditional loops here from my brother’s home, barefoot now of course – when a man in a lorry stopped…

I thought he was going to ask the way but I was wrong – he was checking I was okay… The weather was a bit cold and perhaps it looks slightly more odd in worse conditions running down a road without any shoes on, than when the sun is shining…

I was able to communicate with lots of smiling and thumbs ups that I was okay… It is wonderful how essentially for really important things, or when we really want to communicate we can…

We can gesture to one another; sign and smile – look unhappy or happy – we can ‘say’ how we are feeling, and what we want…

Of course this is going on coupled with conversation anyway… Body language, facial expressions, gestures are all an integral part of how we are connecting with one another. It is important to be aware of what another is receiving through our gestures and our facial expression… As well of course as our tone, which makes a huge difference to the energy of what we are saying..

But it is signs gestures and facial expressions we are exploring here… Culturally there are differences, but by checking and watching and staying very connected and present to ourselves and to the other we can connect and communicate without a word being spoken…

A look of disapproval or a smile can give a message to another, but it may not be what we think it is… So once again we come to the place of being prepared to slow everything down; to notice, to check to ask, to inquire…

But deeper than this is to clear our own energy field; because the most profound way we communicate with one another is through our energy and this is where the truthful communication springs from… It isn’t uncommon for the words not to match the inner state… A place of peace both for the person communicating, and for the one receiving is when the words we utter match our inner state…

This way dialogue and conversation slows down… When we are not ‘reacting’ to another, we are able to stay present, still, silent inside and there is all the time in the world to check that what we are communicating is being received as we intended – and that we are not taking offence or closing down in any way to the other…

Of course this doesn’t mean that we accept abuse, but if we are not ‘reacting’ to it, it becomes far easier to simply move away from it…

When we react we are immediately caught in a cycle…

Freedom comes when we feel no inner tightening, any upset; when we don’t react at all… We don’t react to gestures, to facial expressions, to tone of voice, to the words spoken…

All these things can act as triggers, intentionally or unintentionally communicated by another. When we are free from reactivity we never cut of the lines of communication; firstly to ourselves, because when we react we cut off love to ourselves and it follows , the other…

When we are working to heal the wounds, to clear the pain it is important to notice everything… Even if the trigger happens in our car, or in a shop – smaller things as well as the bigger issues; in global events and in our personal relationships…

This is not to do with not caring, it is recognising that the place beyond opinion or agenda is a far more effective and healthy place to share our energy, to communicate from, to live from…

And certainly we must have no agenda of trying to ‘get anywhere…’ But to simply keep noticing and pressing the pause button to reflect on our own lesson; our own healing, our own clearing…

And gradually we will be in situations that previously upset us, and there will only be silence within, and we are free…

I have found that more inner silence within frees me to keep journeying, no holding back… The very thing I was afraid of in being more visible in the world, in allowing my voice to be heard, was of being somehow told I was ‘wrong’… And now I feel no fear…

As I rounded another bend on my run, an old lady was walking along leaning on a stick…

‘Courage’, she called…