What we create in the here and now…

We wandered in the dark through the Medina, throngs of people wandered too; the selling and bartering reaching new heights in the nighttime hours; silken bright vibrant cloth, shirts dresses and trousers, a mass of colour, carpets hung on the walls, sparkling jewellery, restaurants and food stalls spilling out into the cobbled streets… And we wove our way through them all…

A man carrying a tray of cakes and pastries… ‘You want happy cake’ he asked; ‘Good hashish’ “No thank you’, Anadi smiled. ‘I quite fancy trying some happy cake’ I said… ‘Not a good idea with your tummy’ (it still hasn’t quite returned to its normal rhythms – I am experiencing a cleansing time here in Morocco!!) Anadi cautioned… ‘And we don’t know the quality of the hashish…’ He continued…

I took his advice and we wandered on; down to the beach, and round to the port where we had been told there would be live music playing…

There were lots of people, milling about in the dark shadowy port, but no sight or sound of any music… And then we realised that there were trays and trays of freshly caught shiny silver grey fish…

We didn’t want fish so we carried on – enjoying the nighttime vibe, the people, the smell of sea and fish and the sounds of being together…

And then we found the stage…. In a big square; cameras all set up. the platform ready; people gathering and so we gathered too.

We stood in the crowd for nearly three quarters of an hour, we didn’t know if anything would happen soon or not… The time was making its way towards 10pm and we hadn’t eaten, but the warm balmy night, the sound of chatter and standing together in a land so different, leant itself to just being…

More and more the ‘not knowing’ opens us to greater and greater ease in not knowing, to being alone, together. Morocco has a very different energy and I am liking not minding, that I don’t ‘fit in’, that I am a rare bird to the Moroccans; young girls like to stand near, get near… The men tend to address me and not Anadi, a strange juxtaposition and a land where women are still subservient or fighting for their rights…

I like the way nomadic life has stripped away any definition of myself – and certainly my past… When the stories of our life become that, simply stories, we find ourselves more free… In all the lands I land in now, my ‘back story’ is irrelevant… Too long and too hard to tell; and it has vanished really in the moment.

Of course I can remember my journey on this planet to date; but without the energy or importance I attached to parts of it in the past.

It feels more like a past life, from which I have learned and freed myself to live more immediately, knowing this is it…

That there isn’t anything but what we create in the here and now; and if we are creating from a still clear space within, then it can’t be anything but joyous limitless, expansive; and clear.

And then in the next minute everything changed…

Four men took to stage with a traditional Moroccan sound, that rung out in the inky black night bathing us in its energy; resounding through my body; I could feel the beat in my solar plexus and there was nothing else but the sound and the sensation…

Until we decided it was time to go in search of supper…

Doing what we love; loving what we do…

We have taken to visiting our blue rooftop restaurant every day…

We clamber up the narrow steep steps from the street and emerge into our blue oasis, with pots of plants sitting on top of the thick walls. It is tiny up there, with four tables crammed in, bright parasols jostle with one another to protect us from the bright glinting yellow light of the afternoon sun…

I am working my way through their list of ‘juices’ made with milk and ground almonds, dates and  raisins… It’s a bit like having my ‘pudding’ first…

And then we are brought a tapenade, black olive shiny salty deliciousness, to spread on crisp little toasts…

I like this new ‘routine’ – I order mozzarella and tomato salad and Anadi takes a soup and then we finish with the moroccan tea ritual… Anadi has perfected the art of filling our second glass in the style our waiter delivered our first; pouring from high up, golden liquid landing in the little glass in bubbling delight…

Fun… Our lunchtime break.

When we went to pay, the owner asked us where we live and how long we are in Essaouira for… We have been to his cafe now four days running now 🙂

When he heard we were nomads, he liked it ‘The best life – no restrictions – free from the environment, then you don’t get stuck in it’… He said…  ‘Good for “here”,’ he continued, pointing to his head…

He said he was happy we kept coming back to his restaurant, he thanked us, asked us to do a trip advisor report and then as we left, we all said… ‘See you tomorrow…’

Fatima thinks we work too hard, she wants us to go out for longer in the day, to leave her oasis of the riad, with tall green plants and quiet – the rooftop cats which we love… She wants us to go and swim…!

But we don’t want to swim 🙂 We love what we are doing and we are loving our time here… Anadi loves his programming and I love my new rhythm of running and writing as I have dreamed of doing for much of my life…!

I ran alone today on the beach; the wind has left and so the running – joyous before – has taken on another quality… It feels limitless, the beach curves around the edge of this part of Morocco for another 70k… And my feet are so willing; they feel like they could run the whole way round…

I was reminded today of a hero of many of us, Caballo Blanco (aka Micah True) of the book ‘Born to run’ fame… He is no longer alive in his body on earth; but his energy, his legacy lives on, and his mantra… ‘Easy light smooth fast…’

Barefoot running, more than any running I have done, lends itself to this mantra… My feet sing it to me; rather than me to them…

There is something about running in bare feet which is always like playtime…

Later…

I received a text from my sister Rosy, saying that she was very glad we had changed our plans…

We had booked to be in Freetown, in Sierra Leone, now rather than here… But in June I started to feel unsure about going; it was just a feeling rumbling away, But then both Anadi’s colleague Mudassir and my sister expressed concern over us going…

‘Lets cancel…’ I said to Anadi, ‘I have been having doubts, so this confirms it, we’ll change our plans…’ and so we did.

Two days ago Anadi said to me… ‘I believe we escaped something bad happening, by not going to Freetown’. ‘I agree…’ I replied ‘Even possible death…’

In the text from my sister, she told me that there has been a tragedy in Freetown, over 300 people have been killed in a mudslide that occurred very near to where we would have staying…

As Maricarmen – my Spanish teacher – said, when I told her this story… ‘It wasn’t your time… You aren’t good enough at Spanish yet…’!

Stories to support the life our heart yearns to lead…

The beach was shiny new flat clean sand, miles and miles of Saturday morning joy.

Inspiration in its limitless possibility, stretching as far as the eye could see, and aspiration too from those treading on its sandy shored expanse.

I love watching the Moroccan boys and young men stretching their limbs, running jumping doing all sorts of athletic leaps and bounds… One ran past us, smoothly fluently and then turned around and ran backwards along the sand…

I remembered doing the same – years ago – and so although we were on a walk, with my body still recovering from its short illness, running backwards started to happen… I was inspired!

I have no concept of age anymore…. Of course I know that I have been treading this plane for over 58 years; but I mean I have concept of what that might mean… What tales I might make up up about its limitations or expectations…

I look at the movements of the children, those who have not trodden these earthly shores for as long as I have and I seek to learn from them, to mimic their agility, their reed like stature, their posture and strength, their supple flexible bodies…

The only time that I remember having to ‘work through’ an ageing issue process, was when I was 41 and I had an overwhelming sense of ‘time running out’ for my running life…

Clearly I am free of that ‘story’ now… 🙂

And in my bare feet, on the contrary, I feel like I have just begun, all over again… That I am right at the very beginning of my running journey; not at the end as I feared back then!

Any tension or thoughts that we get stuck on, and start to ‘story’ can become our truth and then, inevitably, we start to pick up the same stories in the mirror…

We find ourselves speaking with others with the same fear – and deepening it, so that it feels to be the truth – or in my case someone asked me about my ankle which at the time had been sore for quite awhile, I said it wasn’t quite better yet… The response…  ‘You’re crocked girl…’ Was a turning point, I knew I wasn’t crocked and I also knew the fear within me that felt maybe I was, that I was done, my running over, the end…

In seeing this fear reflected back at me so starkly, I resolved to go deeper into the place where I was holding onto the ‘ageing story…’

And now; 17 years on, I have no concept of ageing, or slowing, or being crocked or any such thing… Instead I feel that each new day brings new possibilities, new inspiration, new bright spot lights on the stage, where the show of my own life is being played out… 🙂

It is a good practise to listen to the stories all around us, the ones we tell and the ones others tell, and to remind ourselves that they are just that… Stories – Some may hold huge value and inspire and uplift, but some may stick us in mud and make life seem dull and hard.

We are co creating all the time, in the spaces between us where the dialogue is woven and created into the ‘truths’ we receive… Being conscious of what we are co creating means that we can make something up that truly supports the life our heart yearns to lead….

I have a story now…

My story is that Fatima, our dueña here in Essaouira has taken it on herself to feed me up since the ‘short illness’…

She added cheese to my omelette this morning – and not to Anadi’s – and this very moment she has just brought us a plate piled high with moroccan sweet delights…

There was no hesitation from either Anadi and I…

The plate is now empty!

Being the change…

We wandered up the little street, that we had run along only a few hours earlier… We were in search of some lunch… Instead of empty quiet, we now dodged weaving mopeds, a donkey pulling a cart, crowds wandering too in the heat that had risen to the heavy level you can almost touch, slice through with a hand… Some tourists, some locals, mingled, slowly walking, carrying out their purpose for the day… Shorts, skirts and sleeveless tops contrasting with long flowing robes, some of the material heavy black, some silken colour.

We stopped in a restaurant we had eaten in many times in May and I saw a couple I recognised from the plane the day before. We sat down and started to chat – to Fran and Andy – Anadi and Fran were agreeing that being here is very like being in India – minus the elephants, when another group of people arrived, from the back of the plane too…!

For an hour or so we were all gathered again, in the same spot in Marrakech (which is very big!) Our energies resonating in some way, gathering us for a short time to connect and share, perhaps as we did before in another life, or are doing now in a parallel universe… Who knows? There is so much we do not know about this moment…

We try to make some meaning to the chaos through timelines and history and words and learning… But it is all a chimera to give us some illusion of safety, some illusion of the illusion… To distract from the truth of ourselves, from the silence…. From taking responsibility for the reflection around us of ourselves… ‘Being the change we want to see in the world…’ As Ghandi taught us.

But, when we do truly recognise our reflection in others and the experiences around us, we can change our own world from the inside out. Our inner shifts will show up in the reflection of our outer experiences and so our world will change.

The changes occur when we become the change we wish to see…

Later…

We have arrived in Essaouira at Riad Arambys… We clambered out of the mini bus into a far cooler windy climate, and followed the man who leapt to take our bags the moment our feet touched the ground… He lead us through the entrance to the Medina, and we walked swiftly through all the stalls and restaurants and people… The pace and energy completely different from Marrakech…  In three hours of journeying, we landed in place, that although was very crowded had a much calmer and slower pace… Which ironically we were speeding through at a march, following our bags…

Eventually we turned right up a narrow little alley way with not much light in it, and arrived at the front door of our new home…

It was just before 4pm and we were more than happy to ‘lunch’ on the plateful of moroccan delicacies washed down with a pot of mint tea brought to us by our very welcoming and friendly new dueña Fatima……

We told Fatima a little of our lifestyle, ‘you are very different’ she surmised, smiling… The call to prayer has just started and we are enjoying the difference again, a celebration of difference – being different in a land which is new and different to us….

Make no one your authority…

I woke just after 6am, with the light gently filtering translucent blue yellow through our window, I lay enjoying the feel of silence… We had gone to sleep with the sounds of Marrakech still reverberating around, bikes roaring past, the relentless cry of an inconsolable child… The heat static and ever present had dropped a little in the nightime hours and I appreciated now the light feel of the cool white sheet…

I encouraged Anadi out of bed, and we stepped out of the solid wooden door of Riad Saba onto an almost deserted street. We walked up to the little square – just as empty – and ran up the narrow cobbled road which lead us out into the huge square in the centre of the Medina… All day long this place is full – a throng of people and stalls, snake charmers, men with monkeys in their arms, little children selling packets of tissues, horses and carriages waiting in a line to ferry folk about…

Early this morning, it was almost empty and the temperature lower, still hot, around 31 degrees – but okay for running…

We ran to the park, where I did a lot of training when we visited Marrakech in May… The keeper of the park became my friend, he celebrated my daily visits and taught me some new stretches and even did them with me…

We arrived far too early for him to be there today, and the gate was closed… In the absence of a padlock we let ourselves in and managed to run a few laps on the soft sandy green, astro turf… We saw two groundsmen arrive on their mopeds, and after dismounting, one of them came over and stood watching us circle the ground… As we got nearer to him, he gestured that we must leave… 🙂

My immediate response was to mentally try to work out what time they had arrived, and therefore what time we would need to arrive to fit our run in before we got caught… ! Rather too early for comfort, I also realised…

He escorted us to the gate, and shut it again, with us firmly on the other side… Anadi and I didn’t mind, in the end we did a lovely seven mile road run around the edge of the park, passing some beautiful camels with three babies on our way… We enjoyed too the connection with the locals, who seemed to love the fact that we were running with our feet naked…

Anadi was reading a book on the plane yesterday, it was about authority and how much it is ingrained into the ‘human psyche’ to adhere to it; the section he was reading,  was recounting horror stories of when authority had been followed blindly, and the consequences had been dire…

It is important that we make no one our authority, not a book, or another person, or a teaching of any kind… We must make ourselves the authority…

From this position all of our learning – the people we ask to teach us, the books we read – will open us and give to us from a very different place…

Growth can happen when we always question…

‘Is this true – for me’ ? ‘Does this resonate with me’? ‘When did I get this belief’? ‘Who did I get this idea from’? ‘When did I first think this’? ‘Does it hold true for me now…’?

The biggest gift we can give a new human being – one who is just starting out on their life journey – is to teach them to think for themselves, to lead them to the threshold of their own mind and understanding – rather than imprinting ideals and ideas onto them…

Of course to do this, we must first investigate and challenge our own paradigm, our own map of the world and how we see things… So that we can start to shake things up, and recognise that we are seeing through a filter of our own beliefs and the imprinted stories of others…

This practise can lead to clearing the way to being our own authority…

And rather than this creating ‘rebels to the cause’, which can simply be the opposite side of the adhering to authority coin… We establish a clear confidence, to trust ourselves, and know when the wisest course is to simply leave the park and change the plan…!

Enjoying Marrakech, enjoying Riad Saba, enjoying the difference…

The dust was whipping all around the streets, whirling around, stinging our eyes, getting into our mouth if we didn’t keep is closed tight…

The bright blue sky, and searing heat, that had greeted us when we arrived, was replaced by heavy humid grey… We had lunched in a little restaurant with brightly coloured table cloths, on delicious moroccan salads, and the round flat sweet bread we are familiar with here…

Bartering over the price of six bottles of water – on our way back – we made our way through the throng of vendors eager for us to buy… Kittens and cats got under the feet of the locals, while mopeds – not pausing or slowing – dodging and winding their way through, skimmed right by us…

We are back in Marrakech, the noises, smells and energy so familiar to us…

Now we are sitting alone in the Riad Saba… A little bird is flying about, swooping and occasionally landing for a drink on the water feature in the middle. The uncustomary wind is settling, the cover over the open sky of the roof garden has stopped billowing and flapping…

While we were eating our lunch, I had a text from Fi… It was she who bought me the surprise gift of the tinkly silver delights to adorn my naked feet… I love them so much, and enjoyed dancing my way through Gatwick today, and then stepping out onto the hot runway of Marrakech with the sound of my bells, letting everyone know of my whereabouts….

Thank you Fi, for the fun and the sparkle and the joy 🙂

The sound of the call to prayer is starting up again… I love it, the primal energy, no words, just sound filling the air…  I can feel it in my body, the heat is static, I am in a completely different land again… No running as yet today; but in a little while we intend to venture out when some of the heat has left the day.

As we walked through the streets, alive with movement, colour, different smells and sounds to London, to Devon, to Spain… It felt more like being part of a film set, dropping in and falling into step… Walking along, joining in with ‘The march of the penguins’, to keep circling around the eternal cycle on this planet…

The journey we are all on, from birth to death…

Sometimes we attempt to forget this inevitability by creating chimeras of certainty here in life; where there is none… The only certainty is death, and life everlasting… Through the birth of the new, and the march of us all to pave the way for those who are following in our footsteps…

Therefore if each step is a conscious one, and a joyous one – and our tread on the planet is light – then we lead the way to freedom rather than creating resistance and shackles of fear…

 

 

Inspiration…

Another solo adventure on my wild Moroccan beach…

I love it at Essaouira and feel I could stay for ages, but we are only here for a short while because we were not sure the internet would be strong enough for Anadi’s work… But it is 🙂

So we will be back again sometime…

We are assured we have had ‘unusual’ weather conditions so far…! Misty mist yesterday, and today windy wind… Very very windy wind…!

I set off this morning, crossed the road to the beach and immediately the sand whipped across my legs, into my eyes and mouth; I made my way to the water’s edge, the firm sand there a better environment to keep my eyes open and see where I was going!

The kite surfers were hanging onto their kites, being dragged along on the sand, trying to keep some control… Before taking off out to sea and becoming leaping, dancing, joyous strips of colour.

It flashed into my mind of having read about the Kenyan athletes doing sprint training, and interval training into head winds…

This thought flashed in and out again…!

I chose to run with the wind behind me, stretching out for a minute or two, running through the shallow sea; letting the wind give my legs wings of speed; then walking for a bit, before repeating.

I ran this way, feeling like I was flying on land, all the way round to the rock…

I glanced over at the sand dunes, they beckoned me; but the sight of whipping sand meant that this thought too flashed in and out…

I  intended to stay with my wind assisted, watery session… walking my recoveries into the wind, running with it behind me…

But my true inner self had other plans…!
I may have thought these flashing thoughts – these images of my future in fact – had been rejected… How wrong I was!

I spotted a young boy over in the sand dunes… He leapt down through them, light agile free in his movements… He stretched on the sand awhile, and then started to run hard and fast right into the head wind…

I was inspired…

I made my way to the dunes and the wind whipped and stung my legs, oh joyous feeling; in the elements alive and free and alone again, the dunes rising up all around me… I ran in them, up and down and around and then back to where I had seen the boy.

I copied his actions, running into the wind, lifting my legs, keeping my back straight, using this powerful force, this incredible wind as natural resistance training.

I ran for a stretch, and walked and this time repeated the pattern into the wind all the way round to the end of the beach…

I loved it!

Free from any expectation of any particular outcome, other than to enjoy stretching my body, feeling its strength, free from any thought, inspired by a young Moroccan boy, who I am not sure had even seen me.

And so it is…

How we can inspire one another without even knowing it; simply by living our lives. Every breath we take is important, as it will lead us to the next exhale of energy and so to words and actions.

If we are fully aware that this imprint is being received by others, then we will stay connected to the importance of living out our true expression… For truthful expression when seen by others can inspire them to live the same…

A young boy in Morocco has no idea that he inspired me, and in turn, all who read my words today and who might leave more willing to live even more fully and more truly.

 

Finding my way in the mist…

I am sitting on a balcony, my view is a wall with clambering greenery, small white flowers, large red ones; three cats play together on the top of the wall… Chasing one another, watching, jumping, balancing…

Beyond the wall a vast expanse of sea…. The atlantic ocean…. A beach that seems endless…. It is very misty, this is unusual we have been told; but the mist has swirled about all day, cloaking the people, the camels, the horses in smoky mysterious silver.

I left Anadi working, and went to run along my endless beach. I ran and ran and after awhile left behind me the people and the camels and I was alone. The sand under my bare feet, the sun a watery presence but still hot; browning my skin despite…

Ahead of me I could see the form of three horses, a beautiful image… I caught them up and the riders waved as I ran past…

I heard a roaring sound which was getting closer. If I were an alien or a rabbit I believe I might have been very afraid!  This huge empty beach, my vision limited by the foggy blanket around me.

Then four quad bikes emerged, fast, flying along things, fun, speed, freedom…

I reached some rocks with seaweed on them, slippery green, a man was fishing. I had been gone for over and hour and so I turned for home.

I felt I could run on this beach for ever; that I had found my vocation… To run and never stop, alone, free, on a sandy beach with the sound of the ocean beside me.

The mist closed in and I was completely lost… A silver light pierced through; I was disoriented and alone and I wondered if this might be like dying; letting go, acknowledging my aloneness as all I knew had disappeared… Except for the sound of the ocean, to my left.

Follow the sound and it will bring you back to the beginning….

To know how to be fully alone, is the place from which we can experience true connection with another, with all others. To be connected deeply within to the aloneness is to be complete; full up with ourselves and so in a position to truly give.

Otherwise all our giving could be false; from a sense of fear of being alone, or obligation, or some need for connection we believe we will find outside ourselves.

Instead the more we are able to be alone and connected to our true self at the deepest level; all outer connection reflects this in mysterious wonderful exciting loving delightful ways…

I missed the entrance from the road, where I had joined the beach – the mist still lying thickly all around – and I ran on further…

And then I experienced joys of the modern world we live in… Right beside our transience, our spirit flying free, exists a space for communication in each moment, here with the whole world…

“I think I have missed our part of the beach, I think I ran right back past it in the mist! Do you want to meet for a drink? I will find my way back….’ I texted Anadi…

And I did… I found my way back.

We are all finding our way back, to ourselves, to the ease that exists deep within us.

To freedom…

Anadi and I enjoyed a banana milk shake, water and a coffee, watching the antics of a horse who had escaped its owner and was playing, running, cantering free on the beach.

He was being playful, never made a bid to bolt, along this long endless beach… He just whirled and swirled and trotted and played and eventually returned home…

 

 

Validating differences connects us all…

I am sitting in the middle of Riad Saba, with the gentle sound of flowing water from the fountain in front of me, the stone floor cool under my bare feet.

Riad means garden and these beautiful buildings are built with trees and plants in a central courtyard and feature a fountain or swimming pool… The windows only look inward, allowing for a really peaceful energy within, away from the activity and vibrancy outside…

Looking up I can see the blue sky and shining hot day above me – an open roof is also one of the criteria of a Riad.

Yesterday a dove flew over and pooed as it flew, which landed on the table beside me… Jamal, the manager of Riad Saba said this was a first.

I am taking it as a good omen…

This attitude feels to be keeping with the energy of the land….’God’s will’

Crossing a road here feels quite hazardous… There is no system, some cars go, some might wave you on, but there is not a consistent pattern and there are very wide roads and a lot of cars!

And so it feels best to join in and go with the flow, become part of the whirl of movement and energy, the constant pace and activity of humanity.

I find that going with the flow allows for  connection with myself, others and all that is… Flowing with the ways of the land, the people, the customs, the weather, the food… Embracing and validating our differences.

It is in validating difference that we connect. This is evident between friends, couples, colleagues… When we listen to the other, truly listen, hear what they say and validate it…

Then we cross the bridge into the world of another, then we meet them and connect.

This is true at an individual level, within our own culture and land; and it is very prevalent when in a new land, with new tastes sounds smells and customs…

If we can practice this in every moment, truly step into the shoes of another, stretch to imagine what it might be like to live in their world…Then we are uniting at an individual level, which naturally opens to a group level. which extends to a global level.

It is by validating our differences that we connect.

When we do this in every conversation we have, then we have the possibility of healing the world interaction by interaction…