The rain in Spain…

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

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

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

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

Tomorrow I am going to Granada for a press conference!

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

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

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

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

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

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

Which he did…

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

 

 

Barefoot Across Spain

I woke at 6.30am  with a plan…

I would go to Teide restaurant with my computer, and there I could set the vlog I made with with Jack to upload, while I ran up and down and round about…Surely it would be done in a couple of hours, even though I was outside the building…?

After 45 minutes, only 4% had uploaded!

I gave up that plan and instead ran off down the mountain with the sun rising over the sparkling white snowy hills.

Last night Jack and I had sat on the balcony of my little white house in the evening sun, all signs of the storm having been blown away across the mountain tops. We spoke about our shared love of journeying for the sake of the journey…

Enjoying it more than arriving…

Because there is no where to get to; there is only now, so journeying is in each and every step and the illusion of a destination is fun and allows for our experiences on planet earth… But the more we are in the step, enjoying the adventure unfolding – then paradoxically this orientation brings us fully to the now, and the experience that there is nothing else.

Jack is the mastermind behind my route to run barefoot across Spain and I am delighted that he has spoken about the process he is involved in with Maggie his wife to plot the course… He shares with us in the vlog his love of Spain, his passion for geography, for travelling – how he was influenced as a young person… And he has started to paint a picture of what is ahead of me – for all of us – as I venture into the unknown to run from the North to the South coast of Spain in my bare feet…

I was running along the mountain road and my spirit was soaring, the light was bathing me and the whole mountain in magic, and my heart felt so open to this land that also loves to challenge me and strip me bare, when suddenly I heard a sound.

I turned and below me two little mountain goats were skittering and leaping elegantly across the rocks. They stopped and looked up at me… Two little faces and I loved them so…

‘I love you’ – I whispered and they kept standing, watching me…

I recounted the story to Maricarmen my Spanish teacher later… She was the person who alerted me to the Spanish way of describing a different or eccentric person… ‘Como una cabra’ like a goat… When I finished my tale she said…

‘You were altogether, the three of you…’ and then she and I laughed, but it felt the truth… I was with my two little friends on the mountain side ?

 

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 !

Keep travelling, keep exploring…

I am just back from a rather typical ‘Julia shopping trip’…

I gave my last pair of trousers to Maggie, who the Zen runners know because she did all the organising of hotels, travel, trips, everything I needed… She is a star.

She admired my trousers and as I ‘cull’ my clothes regularly, so that i can keep to only owning hand luggage, I gave them to her… This is what is necessitating a shopping spree – to get the next pair…

Anadi and drove up to Capilleira, where there are many brightly stocked shops full of joy and colour and floaty beauty… The idea originally was that Anadi (who likes shopping even less than me) would sit and have a drink while I shopped… My sprees are known to be very short!

We set off rather late and wandered down the road with lunch in mind… ‘I could shop after we’ve eaten’… On the way to the restaurant I saw a beautiful pair of turquoise gold trews, with a lovely wide colourful waist band, silken soft material, perfect…

‘I’ll get them afterwards’… I said to Anadi, it was 3pm, we were hungry…

And so we sat in the square, washed white buildings, the spire from the white church reaching skyward… Spanish voices, Sunday delight. Anadi and I chatted and relaxed over the lovely plates of food before us… A goats cheese, honey and walnut salad for me, sopa de Alpujarra for Anadi.

We reflected on the ‘ouchie’ path yesterday, and the contrast of the lovely soft sweeping road this morning…

Our feet requested a smother ride today, ‘and a downhill start’ please… We listened and ran the six miles to Portugos over the rolling road… the views beside us awesome, spectacular, expansive… Reminding us of infinite possibilities, limitless ness, freedom…

‘Keep travelling, keep exploring’, they called to us both… ‘Keep going; you’re nearer than you think, to no where to go, nothing to do… To no thing’.

‘Keep on journeying’, the hills and the sun and the clouds and the still warm air called out. Nature reminding us of our own truth, that we are not ‘in control’, and that when we surrender to that truth, then we fully know that we are not this body or this mind – that we are all there is, we are everything around us, and nothing… And instead we can enjoy the ride…

We ran easily, still in the shade of the mountains, the sun climbing as we travelled…

A mountain bike race was preparing to start from Pitres, the village before Portugos, where I go for my ‘barefoot Spanish lessons’…  All the cyclists were arriving, warming up, bright lycra. thick sturdy wheels, shiny frames… We could hear the sound of the warm up static turbo trainers, whirring beside the cars… And we ran through them all; they didn’t take any notice of our bare feet… Similar souls, extreme sports people, kindred spirits…

Respecting the mountains…

When we arrived at Portugos, where our car which we had parked there yesterday before our mountain trek, awaited… I turned around and ran two miles back the way we’d come… The sun was over the hills now, hot on my back, the road warm too. The hills seemed hillier and the tarmac less yielding… The terrain more challenging than on the way out, and I was glad to have asked Anadi to drive just 2 miles on and wait for me, rather than extend to a ‘there and back’…

That will come… Slowly slowly, paso a paso…

And so after lunch we wandered back down the cobbled camino… The urge to shop had left, and so I passed by the store with the turquoise trews…  And we drove back here…

A very typical shopping spree for me….!

When we just do it…

Just do it… The Nike advice is so very sound…

Waking up early to climb up a steep mountain doesn’t always seem appealing, I realised today…  🙂 My waking feeling was that it all rather hard, the terrain, the thin air, needing to do it early before the blazing sun appeared over the mountain….

But when I…’Just got up’ anyway, and ‘just got out of the door’ anyway, and just ‘took the steps up the mountain’ anyway, the feelings of ‘too hard’ melted away… And then the reward of the views of rising craggy rolling peaks and mountain passes, soft golden morning sun, gently lighting the expanse of land, reminded me of why I was there…

Suddenly on the path ahead was a goat with its baby, so near… Beauteous beasts half way up a craggy mountain path.

What delight…

Of course living this life can often feel hard, this earth plane is a crucible for mulching our stuff…!

I now hear my Dad’s words differently to when I was young… He said to me… ‘The sooner you realise life is hard darling, the easier it will be for you…’

I balked against these words then, thought it a negative view…  And then proceeded to make life very hard for myself in many different ways…

I tried too hard, I pushed too hard… In an ironic twist to try to find the peak of the mountain where the sun shone all day and I had overcome all the obstacles to get there; to find a place where I could stand alone, and be free from the earthly struggle…

And then I understood it better….

We are here to work it out, and clear the struggle, the stuff that makes life feel hard…

Being in a body means that we can make the most of this opportunity…

To see, to feel, to understand the contrasts and the challenges…  And to keep on going in any situation that we might be afraid of, or worried about, or unsure about…  To ‘just do it….’

The very energy of ‘just doing it…’ encourages a state of presence in each moment, without making it too hard… Pacing ourselves, so that we can keep on ‘doing it…’

This way, it becomes paradoxically easier to keep going into the places that feel difficult and hard, and so clear away more stuck energy, tension, karma… When we don’t push, and instead we just move forward and take the next step, relax, breathe, take another step…

Then it becomes more easy to clear the blocks, the feelings that are hard and difficult to face, and then a momentum builds…

Like this morning, as the mountain moved under each step, the ‘it’s hard…’energy melted away to leave the meditation, the joy, the feeling of rocky sandy beneath my feet, the sun glinting through the trees, my body running down the winding mountain road, glad to be alive, to be fit, able to run and run and run….

And the same is true of my Spanish… At times it has felt too hard ‘I can’t do this…’ But by turning up anyway, not pushing, clearing the feelings of  ‘no peudo hacerlo’ as they arise, clearing happens… The struggle melts away and the path becomes easier, a meditation too…

Life a meditation on the move…

Staying always with ourselves, feeling everything and keeping clearing the way to ‘just do it…’ To recognise the point of life isn’t in ‘getting anywhere’, it is in ‘being here…’  And within the playing out of whatever it is we are ‘just doing’, the struggle can clear, leaving the path to the top of the mountain much easier than before, because we are happy to be wherever we are on that path…

I arrived in Pitres for my Spanish lesson on market day… Sunny bright bustle, and  the sound of Spanish voices, juicy ripe fruit, colourful clothes… Light alive Friday morning village energy. the clock struck 11 heralding my lesson time… And I crossed the road to my classroom, and enjoyed another wonderful two hours of Spanish and fun with Maricarmen…

In this vlog I introduce you to her …