‘Walker there is no path…’

At the same time as I started to run barefoot, I also started to learn Spanish – the two practices coincided. I had tried to do both before, but I hadn’t been able to follow through with either!

With barefoot running I got injured, and with learning Spanish, well – I just stopped when I came back to England… I didn’t realise at the time – it’s incredible, the 20/20 vision of hindsight – I didn’t realise, how integral both learning Spanish and running barefoot were to be to one another.

I started learning Spanish with Maricarmen in August 2016 – I immediately really loved my lessons… And after awhile, Maricarmen introduced me to Antonio Machado, a very famous Spanish poet… She thought that his work would resonate with me, and in particular the poem…. ‘Caminante no hay Camino…’ It continues… ‘Se haces el camino al andar

Walker… There is no path… You, make the path by walking it…’

His words resonated with me… Machado goes on to liken our past to standing on a boat – looking behind, and watching the wake  disappearing back into the sea… Like it never happened…

So it resonated very deeply with me, because of course, there is no past – there’s only now, and there is no future. So therefore, truly, really, there is only the step we’re in.

All that exists is this moment. All that exists is this step. There is nothing else at all…

Now it is one thing to understand this, to play with the concept… But to experience it fully, is quite another… To be so fully present, so fully in the moment, to experience that there is no past and there’s no future…

There is only now.

And of course to do this there is much inner work to be done, as all the time we are ‘reacting’ out of the hurts from our past, then of course we cannot be in the present moment…

With the experience of clearing the past, and being in the here and now comes a great trust… But there needs to be trust first, to be able to let go fully of the pain from the past… This means that we have to feel this pain whenever it arises in the experience of now.

We must be prepared to do this, in order to freely and fully connect to the absolute present… And from this clarity we are then able to fully trust that new impulses, which are not connected to our past patterns and scripts, will then emerge from within us.

This is what we often call our ‘inner voice’.

There is no voice in reality – and we often call it our ‘heart’s desires’, but really there is no ‘heart’s desire’… There is only the silence inside us, which is our true self…. What emerges from this silence we can trust – and we might describe this as our soul’s path.

However, of course to connect to our silence, we first have much clearing to do and this often entails many paths following our ‘heart’s desire’ and the voices inside us! And so life is an endless paradox, and often seems a riddle and an unsolvable puzzle…

But as we clear and clear over lifetimes, the impulses that arise from the silence within us – and that we follow – can be backed up with our mind, and it’s brilliant use of being able to action these impulses… And so this poem, ‘Caminante hay no Camino…’ spoke to me.

‘Walker there is no path…’

Months went by and my barefoot running became stronger… In May 2017, I took a sabbatical from my work, and now I was free to just run and to write and to be in the sun…

All my life, I had seen this was my future – to run free of pain in the sun, and to write, and here I was living this – the opportunity to live this way had arisen as part of my path of clearing… I had also began a Youtube vlog where I was charting my barefoot journey, and in it I had voiced an idea that during my sabbatical, I was going to run and write.

I had an idea that I would be running on beaches all over the world, and that this would be a lovely way to spend my Sabbatical! To run all over the world… On lovely beaches by the sea and to vlog and write about my experiences!

And so it came to pass that in the July 2017 my feet were stronger, and my body was stronger and suddenly forty miles in a week in my bare feet naturally emerged from my being… There had been a process that I had surrendered to…

I had really lived in each step. I had let path be made by walking it. My bare feet led the way, and it felt like my feet were ‘entities’ of their own, and that they were directing the way my life was going…

One day I was sitting in the sun enjoying the freedom of my sabbatical… I had been running that morning, and I was writing a blog.

Laurie Lee the author, of one my favourite books ‘As I walked out on midsummer morning…’  Unbeknownst to me, had penned his words to this exact town where I am writing this book… Almuñécar… ‘As I walked out one midsummer morning’ had spoken to me when I read it forty years ago, in the same way that the Antonio Machado poem spoke to me now, both reflecting the freedom of the journey unfolding in front of us – trusting the path…

And on this day, as I sat musing in the sun – it came to me that I would like to run the whole length of Spain in my bare feet… Right from the North coast to South coast.

The idea arose from within me – and once it had arisen and I spoke it out it had a life of it’s own…

First I shared it with Anadi, who thought it a great idea – and then I asked our friends Jack and Maggie, who live here in Spain – if they would be prepared to support me and help with planning the route – there was an immediate ‘yes’ from them…!

And none of us ever looked back…. The idea was conceived…

The route was to start in Suances on the North coast of Spain – and then I was to run all the way past Madrid, and onwards, flying south, to arrive back here in Almuñécar on the South coast…

I decided I would like to arrive on my fifty ninth birthday, May 12th 2018…

I thought I would be able to cover 25 kilometers a day, with one day of recovery (for my feet mainly!) every 6th day… This meant it would take seven weeks, so I would need to start on March 23rd 2018…

And so I began to train for this event, and also to invite others to come and join me on the route… It also seemed very natural that I would run to raise money as I journeyed, for the hospice movement ‘Friends of Sussex Hospices’ in the UK… My brother, Stuart, suggested it was important I raise money for a Spanish cause too… And so we chose Fundación Cudeca in Malaga.

Why the hospice movement?

Because my friend Kathy Gore is the Chair of FSH, and also because their message mirrors my own life’s journey, and my work in the lives of others…

Although the people in the hospices are in the last stages of their life on planet earth; the whole message of the hospice movement is about living fully… It asks those who are dying… ‘What matters, you? Not ‘what is the matter with you’?

And this is what we can all ask ourselves… ‘What matters to us’? Not what’s the matter with us?

A celebration of ourselves and our expression in our lives, rather than any criticism…

Reflecting within on what matters to us… How do we truly stay in our own unique step, and allow ourselves to express ourselves from the truest place within us….