…and fishing lure designer.

Looking south from the north end ferry dock.

Looking south from the north end ferry dock.

Oh, how I like that! Richard Rohr was writing about someone and described him this way, “independent scholar, teacher, and fishing-lure designer.” Nice, makes you want to meet the guy right away.

Anyway, I am still stuck on the thread of the last few days where I was writing about the “fight against cancer”. Now is the time to get it out there as tomorrow guests arrive for the beginning of the big weekend and I will be lost in trying to give you the report on that.

When cancer was sitting before me like some giant monolithic boogie man, I had to move on it. Yelled at it and watched and saw what happened. Talked to it and watched. Drove wedges into it and watched. Prayed about it and watched. And over time I realized that it wasn’t as scary as it first seemed, that it had cracks that could be exploited, that it was slow and could be outmaneuvered in some ways. What came to me was that there was wiggle room for me.

Not all cancers are the same, not all doctors are the same, not all treatments are the same, not all patients are the same, not all support systems are the same, not all … It goes on. The important thing is to find out the nature of the threat and see exactly what it is for you. Try and strip away the fear of the threat. Try to strip away the general cultural ideas about what cancer is or isn’t.

Put your strengths against it’s weaknesses and exploit anything that presents itself. You are looking for wiggle room. Shoot it full of holes and move into it, move through it. Think about it differently. Get help. Talk about it. Laugh at it, laugh with it.

Be creative with your own personal situation, it’s a do-it-yourself deal.
Looking for wiggle room? Can you go around it? Can you go over it? Probe and watch. What will I try next? And ultimately you could say that I made my life in the wiggle room that I was able to find. Good, I like that.

Well, I hope there is some sense in all that. I remember telling Dr Gold my oncologist early on, “Let’s prove them wrong doc.”

OK, time to go. Make it happen, love, Felipe.

More About Cancer

Sue and Mercedes at Phil's Camino recently.  Our job is to see each other as we are.

Sue and Mercedes at Phil’s Camino recently. Our job is to see each other as we are.

I am crafting two posts today. The one about the film I just finished. But I also wanted to get back to continue the thread that we had going yesterday. That all started with Terry’s blog post on Sabbath Moments. At one point he was talking people with dementia and their battle. How there are “culture driven presumptions” that imprison them beside the disease that also imprisons.

Maybe I don’t write about it often enough but the battle against cancer is almost always on my mind. Dealing with the disease itself is hard, if that weren’t enough. But what I became aware of at some point was the other battle against the fear of the disease which seems in some ways to be worse than the disease itself. That fear can be a highly personal thing but it is also a collective cultural thing that influences thinking on a big scale.

The concept of cancer hangs in our collective consciousness like some giant monolithic boogie man. When I or anyone gets branded with the cancer brand that descends on us to cloud the view of everyone of us. We are seen through the lens of “too bad”. It so complicates things. We have to fight for our individuality, our particular song on n all this. We are not our disease!

The presumptions go on an and on. Even people I know well get caught up in this and don’t really see me. But these presumptions can be even more dangerous if I would start mirroring them as my reality. Instead of taking a really close look at my situation as it exists for me if I accept what it is I am “supposed” to see.

Ah, books have been written on this I am sure and I am out of time for now. Have to go to work. Thanks for taking the time to be with me. Love, Felipe.

Our Very Own Magical Mystery Tour!

Annie at the end of the earth.

Annie at the end of the earth.

Annie just sent a wonderful email to express where she felt we are these days. These days are two and a half years after the film idea hatched. Almost every other minute since then has been in one way or another involved for us. It has been a Camino with Saint James for us. Things always seemed to have a life of their own as the project progressed. Nothing was necessarily easy but looking back various parts seemed to have miraculously fit together to get us where we are today. Thank you Annie for always believing.

Port Townsend coming up. Annie says that this feels like the finish line. It has been a busy summer since we started back in Austin with our premier at South by Southwest. Actually we have a few more events coming up but it feels like we are over the hump. Now maybe time to savor where we are and say thank you Saint James.

And thank you to everyone that has been involved. It pretty much took the whole darn village on this one. Pretty amazing, right? Take a bow.

Love you, Felipe.

Our Song

My Rebecca's flowers.

My Rebecca’s flowers.

Monday morning and Terry Hershey’s Sabbath Moment blog comes in to me. I so enjoy this blog in general but today’s really grabbed me. It was about finding and holding on to our personal song, the “DNA” of our personal uniqueness. Of all the billions of inhabitants of earth, past, present and future what makes me and you totally unique?

And beyond finding this how do we sing this song? How do we get beyond our own and society’s and culture’s blocks to do this? What is our personal pathway?

That was the blog post in general but there were also little gems imbedded in the text for me. I am quickly running out of time here this morning as I have to walk in a moment. So, maybe we will continue tomorrow on this theme. In the meantime I would highly recommend that you sign up for Sabbath Moment blog. Just Google that.

Alright, the sky is bluing up here, in between rains. Alperfect, St James is Afoot, love, Felipe.

There Seems…

I know, right?

I know, right?

There only seems one important thing to do anymore. Well, there are a lot of things to do as the seasons go by I suppose. But important things are few and far between. This is one darn benefit of getting older, winnowing out things I no longer have to worry about.

Moving toward the heart of God is this important thing. That could happen in many ways over the days but the intention is is the central thing, the focus. That could be phrased differently as time goes on but that is what it looks like today. Moving toward the heart of God, that’s good.

Well, the weekend is just about over. Big week coming up with the arrival of all the folks coming through on their way to Port Townsend and the film festival. All these people are super fun, I don’t think we can go wrong. q

Moving toward your heart, love, Felipe.

Time To Green Up


Rainy night and morning here at the ranch. It’s the beginning of the change of seasons. Things can get very dry here in the late summer with half the landscape all brown. My Rebecca says it’s time to green up.

I just got back from my weekly bible study. And I can get a lot of studying done on a rainy day like today. All summer with the beautiful sun my mind sort of flits around like a butterfly but a little rain and I am as sharp as a tack.
We are in the Gospel of John with the feeding of the five thousand and Jesus saying that He is the bread of life, great stuff.

We are getting ready for Annie and the throngs of people coming through here for the film festival next weekend. Yes, next weekend! There is going to be a critical mass of Caminoheads here, anything could happen and probably will. I am sure that it all will be heavily documented so no one will feel like they are left out.

Oh, it’s brightening up outside maybe the storm has passed. Time to get on my work clothes and put the bathroom back together or at least half back together.
Oh, look a little blue sky and My Rebecca is back from her book club. Time to get moving.

The best to you today. Love as always, Felipe.

I’m Back And TGIF!

The start and finish of Phil's Camino.

The start and finish of Phil’s Camino.

Friday morning and I got some sleep last night, hurray. Off to the big city today to get Pancho, my portable pump, off at the hospital. So while I am in the city I am doing a big Trader Joe’s shop for the oncoming pilgrim influx.

Next Thursday all kinds of folks are showing up here on Vashon to check out the scene on the way to Port Townsend for the film festival. We will be walking and having tapas and networking of course, fun fun!

I feel so lucky to be a part of all this commotion. So, fantastic to know and work so many wonderful and alive people. They are all stellar in their uniqueness. They are all leaning forward in the saddle like pony express riders of old getting their particular mail though. But they fit together in a certain way that is wonderful to see, like pilgrims on the trail. I just want to applaud you group, you are something special, individually and together.

Who knows where this will all wind up? Maybe this is only the start? Let’s keep the band together and push it forward, see what happens. All we have to do is do the next good thing. Off to Friday, love you to bits, Felipe.

No Sleep, Hmm.

Sue and Mercedes at Phil's Camino the other day.  Nice pic, amazing day.  Thanks.

Sue and Mercedes at Phil’s Camino the other day. Nice pic, amazing day. Thanks.

Was just too wired I guess, a touch too many steroids in my chemo cocktail. Have a walk in a moment. Maybe that will wake me up a bit.

Side effects are always a problemo. Always some quirky deal happening. But it is the small stuff that I whine about so I guess that’s good.

I am going to bail out on the blog today. Maybe something will happen on the walk to get a good blog going tomorrow.

Love you, Felipe.

My Scan Results Are In!

Looking south from the ferry dock this morning.

Looking south from the ferry dock this morning.

Hey, looking good on the inside according to yesterday’s scan. My tumors showing slight growth but we are staying the course with my treatments. So far so good. Always an anxious time waiting for the results but things good. Next scan in four months, Janurary.

Now just cruising along on the chemicals for another hour and then I can start packing up for my escape back to the Island. Man, hoping the traffic is better this PM, bad bad this morning.

Just had a talk with one of the nurses that I have become closest to. We had a talk about Jennifer’s passing. Sort of a catch up on the whole year of the Phil and Jennifer Show here at the Treatment Center. My take away is that we were doing great work in lessening the fear of the treatment itself of the chemotherapy.

It is an interesting process to be fighting cancer and fighting the treatment at the same time, kind of a two headed monster. The cancer is bad and the treatment is bad. The fear of the cancer is bad and the fear of the treatment is bad. How do we get a handle on that? So apparently the folks in the know gave us high marks in lowering the fear level for both of those. Cancer Commandos on the job!

That’s very rewarding to get some positive feedback on our work. We all need that. More to come, of course. Love you guys, Felipe.