Life, in this moment, is…

I am sitting up in bed in Casablanca hotel… It is 2.41am. Sleep is eluding me and so I have decided to turn on the light and write.

In the mountains I sleep and sleep – nine, ten and – once even – eleven hours a night. But tonight I am wide awake. My balcony door is open, and the sound of the waves outside is… Rhythmic, continuous, peaceful, alive…

Tomorrow morning I leave here to return to England, and on Tuesday I will fly to Suances, in readiness to start my journey ‘on foot’ back here to Almuñécar…

On bare foot!

The road really and truly will be made by walking it; and running it….As Antonio Machado advices ‘Se hace camino, al andar…’ You make the road by walking it…

And I have no idea what the road holds… In the same way, that every day of our lives we have no idea what each minute will bring.

It is this mystery that can lead us more deeply to the silence and trust within us… To the true joy of life, of living…

In the space of the moment where we know not what is ahead, we are in a position to fully experience what is occurring right now…

In this moment… In every moment we are here, there is so much to be experienced.

Right now, I can hear the sea, singing softly, caressing the land. I can feel the silence in this room. I am aware of the slight throb in my left middle toe, where the nail has been lost, through running a lot in the mountains…!

If we listen carefully to our body, it will speak – it holds all the wisdom – and my toe is asking that I rest awhile in readiness to set off on a big run in one week’s time…

My toe has spoken for all of my body…

Time to rest…

Except that in resting my energy is building and I am wide awake at 3.04am!

And 3.04am has a very magical feel to it; full of possibility… Full of the richness of this gift of life…

Today, my Spanish teacher Maricarmen read me some more words by Antonio Machado, about death, which spoke to me of living fully, here, now… They are in truth about this moment; about life…

‘Death us something we shouldn’t fear because, while we are, death isn’t, and when death is, we aren’t…’

 

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…

 

 

The path is made, by walking it…

I was sitting at the top of a table; microphones in front of me, a group of Spanish men were gathered around, and were asking me questions about my upcoming project to run from the north to the south coast of Spain in my bare feet; we were talking in Spanish… Of course!

It was like being in a dream…..

Maricarmen, my Spanish teacher and her husband Pepejesús sat to the side of me, solidarity, support… I answered their questions, and spoke in Spanish about my run across their land, about the metaphor of our lives from birth to death… How we are all on the same journey, that we can support one another and connect, join on the road and walk together in step – and in the step.

I was able to communicate how being in this moment, in this step is all that is required… How life will then unfold in magical and unexpected ways. I quoted Antonio Machado… ‘Caminante, No hay camino…’

Walker, there is no path.

And I spoke these words while living them…

It is way beyond my level of Spanish to be the ‘star’ of a press conference… But it was happening and I was there – so all I could do was trust the moment, stay in the step and let the next take care of itself…

I loved every moment, rich with the tapestry of this mysterious universe unfolding and revealing itself in front of  me

I was asked at one point… ‘What do you think it will be like each day, when you are running across Spain, barefoot…?’

‘Se hace el camino, al andar’, I replied, quoting Antonio Machado once again…

The path is made by walking it…

Train hard; fight is easy…

I was reflecting the other day about my school days… The desks all battered, and bulging with exercise and text books – there was an inkwell in the left hand the corner… And right beside my inkwell, I had stuck a little sticker…

It was a cartoon of a martial artist in a whirl of action… The caption below was ‘train hard; fight is easy’… I liked those words, they worked for me.

In part, this was because I have always been someone who absolutely loves training.

I began a daily exercise routine at just six years old, when I would join my father for this morning squats, press ups and much more… Which he continued to do right until just before his death…

In addition to this, I liked him to accompany me to the playing fields at the weekends… I would get him to time me running the length of them, again and again… In the beginning  it was just because I liked to see what was possible, how fast I could run… Could I run faster…?

At fifteen years old when I started to train in more earnest, this little sticker spoke volumes to me…

It still does…

‘Train hard; fight is easy…’

But… Training hard does not mean pushing hard…

Training hard means applying ourselves consistently progressively and optimally – and loving it!

Last week when I achieved running five days in a row of 25k a day barefoot with relative ease, I recognised that the capacity to do this, has come through training hard for sure…

But that now, the most important thing is… As Chris Finill one of Britain’s top ultra runners, who ran across the United States from the north to the south coast – route 101 – wisely says…

‘Stay out of the red zone…’

He was advised this, before he set off on his epic journey, by someone who had failed in their attempt to cross the states; and it is something I am acutely aware of…

However my innate nature isn’t to push – or to desire to go into the red zone… My nature is definitely to challenge myself and to investigate; to explore to adventure and to see what is possible…

But I certainly far prefer having fun doing so…

As a younger person, I did often push, but this came out of my hurt, my childhood wounding, my pain… I started to push to win approval, to be enough, to be loved.

Of course I learnt – in the end  –  the hard way… Because the push brought break down – always…

And of course, the only way that we can receive love is to love ourselves… As Jesus said ‘Love others AS yourself…’

When we learn to love ourselves, we can become love… And we discover that we naturally love others from this space, and whether we are loved are not becomes unimportant… But of course the paradox is that then love is reflected all around us; from the inside out…

This can of course, be a long road to tread – this road to love.

But in each step we take towards love, the road reveals itself deeper and deeper into our hearts and souls…

And so it was on the running route, as it revealed itself in each step, that I was able to let go of the push and simply enjoy ‘training hard’….

With my body relaxed and in the zone, in the step, in each moment… My soul was set free to fly on land….

Chris said, that he travelled from the North to the South coast of America –  all 2,500kilometres – cautiously….

And I will do the same, from the North coast of Spain to the South coast…

In just over two months we all set off… I say ‘we all’,  because my adventure is now a fiesta; and we are all journeying together from Suances to Almuñécar.

In the same way that we all journey together through this experience of life…

From birth to death…

Treading each step of the way, making the path by walking it….

 

 

 

The more I let go, the more the body runs free…

I am loving my day in the sunshine…

A tranquil day without much movement so far….

I walked across the plaza and down the few steps to the beach this morning and stood in the surf; then I walked back for breakfast and I haven’t moved far since.

It is a contrast to the previous five days where I have been engaged in hours of movement – the contrast feels good.

A pause, where the recovery can happen and the clearing, the opening, the effects emerging out the process, ‘the mission’, can reveal themselves.

‘The mission’ that I embarked on, and carried out over these past few days, has felt to be a space of silence and clearing for me. A practise that has allowed for the expansion and oneness that is the truth of us all, to be experienced in my barefoot running step – even within the paradox of the limits of a body…

The irony for me, is that I always believed that I was born to run, and yet my running steps as a younger woman, were often fraught with tension and pain, and struggle…

But because on the running path, I always came face to face with my tension, because I came face to face with where I was holding on… I saw that this space was a magical enlightening space, and that if I kept running, I would not be able to run away from my pain….

That however hard the journey, I recognised it was for my growth and held the key to my freedom.

It was the reverse of running away from my pain – I knew I needed to run right into it… And so the only way to be free was to keep running and to keep letting go of all that held me…. My pain, the places of darkness where I did not and could not love myself; all these places had to be faced and loved…

The tension and self hatred had to be released…

And the more I let go, the more this body  is able to run free…

And in the running, the body paradoxically becomes conduit that reveals the truth… That we are all one; that we are all energy and that there is no separation.

For me running is the perfect practise to experience this… Even when the soreness in my feet, the frailty of the body occurred, my spirit still was free – I did not worry or fret…

And so the path keeps revealing itself, through the running steps making the road by running it….

Happy New Adventures, Happy New Year…

Happy New adventures, happy New Year from Gatwick airport Hilton Hotel.

I love it here, it is one of my favourite ‘homes’, big expansive beds, deep baths and my little gym which feels like it is my own private space; I have hardly ever had to share it…

Anadi and I are sitting in Costa Coffee, and soon we will collect our hire car and drive to the New Forest where we are staying in a lovely grade 2 listed hotel which was built in 1627… It also has the New Forest’s only gin bar – perfect for Anadi!

We made this plan when we saw that the coming year would be a very different one… We decided we would come and see 2018 in here before taking off on a very new stage of our adventure together.

Because it will be together, but apart for the first few weeks…

Anadi is going to stay in the UK and carry out the same sort of ‘sales tour’ here as he did in South Africa. He has been working hard on iSportsAnalysis all the time we have been nomads – four years – and this stage is new… He is now the front man of his creation…

And I am going to Spain, I do not have a plan – not until March 23rd anyway when I set off Barefoot Across Spain – but in preparing for this, it seems my path unfolding  is to keep running and to keep learning Spanish.

I leave on January 3rd, and Anadi stays – we both have a sense of really and truly stepping into the unknown, but that it is a new adventure unfolding and that the path will, as always, reveal itself…

There is some trepidation that comes and goes within me, but I have learnt to listen to the space between my thoughts, between my fears, between even what I may feel I ‘desire’ or ‘want’ at certain times… And that in dropping into this stillness there, my soles journey is continuing…

This is the space I trust and this is the space I am walking into in 2018…

Que sera sera…

 

Birthday brunch in Bronte

This morning I ran down to the cricket field – my socks already have holes in them after 20 miles… But I decided they have a few more yet to run…

I arrived on the wet green grass, under a grey cloudy December day… And an unexpected impromptu interval session emerged… I ran 8 x 5 minutes with a minute jog, around and around the circumference of the field. I enjoyed it a lot.

The more running I do, the stronger and fitter I feel… Rather an obvious thing to write of course; but it is more noticeable for me now that I am ‘starting all over again’ in my new barefoot life.

It feels that miracles are occurring within my body simply through repetition rather than aggression… And of course the repetition can at times feel rather relentless… I reflected on this irony as I stepped into the cold British weather today – that my wish as a younger person, to be able to run forever, has come true…

I felt sadness then that my art, my expression in the running step must come to an end; I envied other artists whose mediums were through palette and brush stroke, or voice – actors artists musicians – and I identified with the hours of practise to perfect their art… I mourned early that mine was a short artistic life…

But now I find that this is not the case.

Perfecting my art is limitless and endless, and I am still learning my trade; deepening it, investigating it through repeating the steps day after day after day.

My meditation on the move

Later…

I am just back from a brilliant birthday brunch with Fi… I enjoyed it so much, celebrating with my friend – life a celebration.

We met in Bronte which is on the Strand near Nelson’s column…  When I look up at the famous structure, I can never help but remember Rowan Atkinson’s sketch, when he acted an outraged French tourist seeing sex organs all over London…

“The Post Office Tower? PAH! It is the Post Office prick! Prince Charles gets married in St Paul’s Cathedral, which looks like an enormous titty! The biggest titty in the world! Nelson’s column? PAH! It is Nelson’s willy!”

I have never been able to think of it as anything else since…

Fi and I had so much fun; we laughed a lot, which is an overriding memory I have of our runs together – we were often stopped in our tracks, bent double with laughter… And we affirmed today too, the value of those long slow fun miles – and the amazing magic effect they have on running form, almost without even realising it…

Here is our vlog from our meet up; of course I wore special jewels on my bare feet for the occasion….

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 .

‘The more you know…’

I love writing on the plane from Spain….In fact I love writing on any plane…

I just liked the rhyme of the first line (another…! ‘I am a poet and do not know it!)

We left a rather chilly but beautiful Almuñecar this morning; the sun was rising and the fishermen were casting their lines under a silver lined cloud… We were already late in leaving, but I raced to the beach to look out for a last time until I return in the New year….

I have been listening to one of my Español teaching tapes. My intention this week was to ‘up’ the running and ‘up’ the Spanish in preparation for my big run across Spain next spring… It feels fun to be doing this…

So far I have run 16k a day for 5 days – although today I will take a day off; and I love learning Spanish…Committing to do more of both feels strangely freeing; uncomplicated… There really isn’t anything else I would rather be doing.

I like living a life that is immediate, in that I finish the thing I am doing in sections, but that it is also limitless and never ends…. I love my forever and ever goals; perfecting the art of running and developing my Spanish…

I love it that there is no end to either; like life everlasting…

I said to Maricarmen yesterday that I feel fortunate in being able to hold two opposing states in perfect balance… One the delighted feeling and enjoyment of witnessing my improving Spanish, whilst at the same time the feeling of being such a beginner – and at times having the experience of understanding ‘nada’….

But as there is no end, it doesn’t matter… No importa

And as Maricarmen acknowledged, it is the understanding first hand of the philosophy of Aristotle… ‘The more you know, the more you know you don’t know…’

I like not knowing; I like living in a not knowing stance.

Although sometimes you wouldn’t think that when I ask Anadi for some insight… “What is happening?” ‘What do you think it means?” – He will never answer me; he laughs and says ‘There is only now, and so we don’t know the future…’

I like it that he doesn’t answer… I don’t really want to know anything; because in truth I enjoy the not knowing stance and it is one of the reasons I like being in Anadi’s company…

This doesn’t mean that either of us aren’t putting into practice necessary steps towards where our heart and soul is directing. In his case his business is his focus and for me running always running….

But we still practice being present within these actions…

‘Tether the camel and trust in Allah…’

And so we landed at Gatwick, and after collecting our hire car, we headed up the M25, which was ablaze in the light of a glorious sunset…

 

 

 

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!