Baby donkeys in the road

Where else do we find baby donkeys roaming wild, meandering with their families down the street – ponies too…

Walking idly along the middle of the road, no care or concern for the cars queuing behind them.

The New Forest of course…

This fairy tale land – where I had taken my boyfriend-husband Anadi, for a mini break… Whisking him away from his computer, we’d driven in torrential rain to this magical place…

Where we walked and talked – and ran on the springy grass – all weekend long… The skies alternating between bright blue, sunshine gleaming to heavy grey blue black, with torrential rain cascading…

Between our ‘activities’ we ate quantities food in the cosy pubs – and tea rooms too, full of scrumptious cakes made for extra hungry people.

Forest people who like to hike and bike – down from London town!

The people of the forest welcomed us with warmth – so proud of their patch – to their sparkling bright jewel of a land, with these roaming animals…

Free.

As we are meant to be…

And so we celebrated the elements and the expanse of grassy plain – played together with the baby cows and foals – a silent still deer standing watching – ponies galloping…

We circled them and joined in with their dance of life…

Along sploshy paths we splished, on springy turf, beside a bubbling brook, and through the trees we ran.

Becoming running

In each step

Zen…

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…

 

 

 

 

 

 

Embracing all aspects of who we are…

As I glance around my little apartment here in Club la santa, it looks like I’ve lived here for ages, and that I am a single messy female!

The entire of me is scattered about the flat…

I have always had a tendency when alone to splash myself all about; it is a habit that thankfully I manage when sharing space with another… I do this by mentally apportioning sections of the bathroom, the bedroom and living room to me; so that the splash is contained without impacting on the tidy person I am with…

Anadi is a techy being and has all his wires perfectly coiled; I love to see it… It makes such sense, and is very pleasing to the eye. But I am a splashy colour person – it suits my energy and perhaps rather unexpectedly, there is order for me within the splash…  Anadi by contrast is is a neat Zen white walls and silver surfaces person…

But we both like and admire the difference in the other; we celebrate the expression, the energy that comes out of each of us, and is then made manifest in the way we do things…

We are all different, and we all have different energetic expressions and vibrations… The most important thing is to resist thinking that our way is the right way; or making up stories about what the expression of another might mean…

Criticism can happen if there are wounds within the expression… If we are behaving in a certain way as an act of rebellion or making a statement… The irony is that we will often get criticised for this ‘adaptation’, and so the pattern persists of pushing back and rebelling…

Or maybe we are witnessing another living out our own disowned, hidden or lost self… Our expression is devoid of that aspect, because early in our life we unconsciously or consciously decided our life would work better without it… If this is the case we can find ourselves either strongly despising the way of the other, or yearning to be like them…

We all want to be whole and who we truly are – and so our heart will keep calling to us in a myriad of ways, until we listen and take note…. Whenever there is a strong feeling then it is an arrow to an inner hurt within us to be healed and loved –  or an aspect of ourselves which needs reclaiming and loving…

Anadi and I have both said that if we did ever own a base again, we would need to have to have two – next door to each other – so that Anadi could have white empty Zen space, and I could live in an an explosion in a paint factory!

The key is that we celebrate the differences in one another, and recognise that different situations, places, countries, climates and people can all reflect and uncover unclaimed parts of ourselves to be loved and embraced…

If we find ourselves animatedly talking about our love of art – say – with one friend, and yet in other situations this energy isn’t accessed, then rather than deem the other place ‘not enough’, it is worth investigating what aspects are accessed in the other space and enquire why our energy resonates there… Is it something we recognise we desire to clear or to expand and embrace within us…?

We are such colourful multifaceted beings that a position of wonder and curiosity at how we are in different contexts, and in different relationships allows us to reclaim ourselves and love ourselves in our entirety, as well as keeping open to getting to know ourselves and one another more and more deeply without projection, fear or judgement…

True love is patient and kind…

The road of life reveals itself…

This morning I walked up the path from our London ‘home for awhile,’ and was greeted by Octavious… He was out in the sun having his breakfast…

I look forward to seeing him when we land in North London, I was telling Nina our dueña that Octavious the forty year old tortoise is famous, and that even Maricarmen, my Spanish teacher asks after him… She laughed and said, ‘Octavious has friends all over the world…’

He is like us, except that in his case he stays in one place and the friends come to him; and in our case we travel the world landing in different communities where we see our friends again…

We are the yang to his yin…

He is constant in his energy, he never complains at our absence or seems overly concerned as to how long we are going to stay, he is constant in his presence…

If we are constant in our presence in the space with others, then relationship has the opportunity to deepen even with separation, gaps in the relating, ‘spaces in the togetherness…’

If we seek to be constant within ourselves, recognising at the core level that absolutely nothing is personal, then our relating can soar to another level; as expectation, demand and need leave the building…

In their place is true love, which is described perfectly in the passage from Corinthians 13 in the bible…

‘Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails. . . And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love…’

It sums up everything there is to aspire to in love and spirituality…

When I happened upon Octavious, I was walking up the path to go and run on the track at Finsbury Park… It felt an achievement when 25 minutes later I actually found the park!

However, running on the track today was not to be! When I arrived I found there to be much activity going on…. I decided that it was still worth asking, ‘Is it possible to use the track?’, as the activity seemed to be all on the inner grassy area…

A nice lady laughed at my question……’ ‘There are 900 kids there….’  I had my answer!

So instead, I ran about on the grass and then ran ten times up and down again, on a stretch of hill between two trees. The plan of the day altering, taking its own turn… The path unfolding in front of me…

If we trust the step then we recognise that the step is our creation, and that all we must do is clear the tension and pain that can take us repeatedly down experiences of pain and tension…

All we must do is clear the way for our highest and clearest expression… And trust the path unfolding because the road can only truly reveal itself in each moment it is traveled…

I found my way back to Anadi and we decided to go to our favourite coffee shop here, The Larder… We wandered across to find it closed on a Monday… And so I am here, ‘The king’s Head’ instead, after a coffee with Anadi, I have enjoyed a delicious salad and have now settled into my office for the afternoon… The path revealing itself.

If we remember this, and practice living this way within every moment, then if we have an idea, bursting into our consciousness, it is the same process… To trust the energetic flow; clear the way, clear any inner blocks…

Clear fear… And then the secret is to take that first step… It doesn’t matter if you have no idea where it is leading, without question that will be revealed….

 

When i first started my vlog I had a ‘plan’ that I would find beaches around the world to run along, but the plan is revealing itself – with so far not much running on beaches…!

So I am going to do a mini vlog a day, at least through July to see what emerges…. And include it in my daily blog…

 

Best laid plans…

It was about midnight, I had checked with Anadi; did he mind if I quickly responded to my friends on FB YouTube and LinkedIn?

The fun of global connection…

He didn’t mind at all, and was doing some work on his own computer; when it died!

Complete death… It’s been having a  few funny turns recently but this looked very final…

After some research, it appeared that all Apple Mac doctor appointments in the surrounding areas were chocca full until about Tuesday, and we fly to Spain in the morning….

We are here in England for a day, for my birthday treat to see the musical Mama Mia, which I love… I have seen it twice before, the last time was 8 years ago for my 50th birthday celebrations with my sister, Rosy and brother Stuart, their families and my friends Jane and Wendy…

It had felt then very fitting, and in keeping with the energy of the show to be there with two wonderful girl friends, and my closest family… And, now also in keeping with the ‘plot’, I am going with my love…

I had also hatched a plan to go running barefoot in Hyde Park this morning, as I had thought about the Serpentine Lido, which is a sectioned off part of the Serpentine, 30m x 100m for ‘open water swimming’!

My plan was that there would be changing facilities and a possible shower, before going on to the theatre…! Anadi was up for this…

But the best laid plans and all that.

We kept looking for a solution, Anadi needs to have a computer for his work, and suddenly after much online searching a 9am appointment appeared in Epsom…

One of the things I love about being with Anadi is that if unexpected things happen, we flow with what is occurring and adjust accordingly.

I have told this story before, but I would like to share it again, because it was an important formative experience in my life and shaped me… I learnt this valuable lesson when I was about 7 or 8 from my Grandfather…

The logs for our winter log fire had arrived, a great big pile lay in the garden waiting to be put in an orderly fashion under cover. My Grandfather who was staying for the weekend offered to take on the job of stacking them in the wooden ‘lean-to’ shed, with me and my littler sister Rosy… We spent the morning happily piling the logs neatly on top of each other in the shed… Once completed, Grandfa, rosy and I stood back to survey our morning’s work…

A lone log started to tumble down….

And then another and another and another. We stood, a silent trio watching our hard work undo… When the last log had escaped, Grandfa turned to us and said very calmly ‘Come on little girls, come on little girls, we will start again…’

And we did just that.

This attitude imprinted itself in me and became a natural way of adjusting, responding, living, and in turn helping others respond and adjust all of my life; and in Anadi I have met a like soul, a twin flame.

We have found the nomadic life to be of great value in challenging any parts of us that might try to hold on to perceived safety; we have both paradoxically seen ourselves relax more deeply as we have needed to adjust to change and impermanence, and truly find the security within ourselves rather than from any outer chimera…

And I have discovered that from this place of recognising that nothing is certain, my enjoyment of life has magnified…

And so today Anadi disappeared at ‘early o clock’ to the Mac Doctor and I went to Hyde Park where I ran about barefoot on the grass; chatted with two women who were at the Lido training for the London triathlon, and then swam in the Serpentine with the geese and the weeds!

It was freezing cold, but so invigorating, and an equally freezing cold shower pool, side to rinse me afterwards.

And then I made my way to covent Garden where I found Anadi and we took a fun bumpy ride in a tuk tuk to the theatre…

A perfect finale to my birthday time…!