The Urge To Understand

One of William’s pics.

I so much appreciate clarity, a gift that comes with age I think. It so much simplifies life to see clearly. It is a blessing. But still everything is not clear just certain corners of one’s life. So the process goes on to mine for the ore that understanding comes from.

A few great things popped out at me during our digression into the Thai Cave Rescue that really captured me. This is combination with the thoughts of Cris and Ronaldo from their comments. Let me write of one of these items so I can do a good job on it and leave the rest for another day.

Those of you who have been here for a while know that I have read a certain book maybe twenty times. I am not exaggerating, ask My Rebecca. And I have asked the question, have people read a book over and some say yes and some say never. And of the folks that have read one over it may be that it was once or a few times. So, I had to say to myself what is with your relationship with this book of yours Felipé?

The book is rather obscure, at least now in these times. It is about an American Naval Officer who stays behind in the Philippine Islands after the invasion by The Japanese Imperial forces in World War Two. He is a man that is active in his approach to the situation. He operates in a world of little law and order and tries to bring it. He operates in a world with little resources and he improvises. He lives in a world of peril and keeps one step ahead of it. His most important feat was that he communicated with General MacArthur everyday bringing news of the situation and helping to pave the way for the future Liberation.

Here is this man with such clarity to pull this off and such faith to think that it was possible at all. It is all about a certain interior state that is the foundation for a way of navigating in a world being out of one’s comfort zone for the duration of events. I studied this for years not knowing that I would be that guy to in this land of stage four cancer. I am “stuck” in this situation. Or I am being allowed to explore the space of this diagnosis. Here I am reporting out to you every day. This book is such a model for what I am now doing. It is truly mind boggling to me at the moment.

The book by the way is American Gorrilla in the Philippines. I am so thankful for it being written and me finding it in the secondhand book store once upon a time. No coincidences, right?

Monday loves, Felipé.

Meet Tom Wynne

Our new sign along the driveway to Raven Ranch. Thank you Tom!

Tom Wynne is the Director of Signage for Phil’s Camino. He created all the great signs that are here at the trail plus t-shirts and buttons. We have a great new Phil’s Camino sign for our driveway which will show newcomers the way. And a new t-shirt design has arrived, Camino related of course.

Tom the font of good craftsmanship and creativity keeps on giving. And he’s is saying that he and his wife June will try and show up this coming summer here at the ranch to be with us. Man, so cool. We have never met in spite of all the good work that Tom has been doing over the years.

It is so bright and wonderful out, I can hardly sit here inside. Let me go and hang the new sign and take a pic for you and for Tom. That is a plan!

So work on your thanksgivings, don’t wait for your day of. I am thankful for you all for one thing. Warm and dry loves, Felipé.

Yes, More

The latest selfie from Padre Tomas.

I just randomly ran into the second half of this PBS documentary film again yesterday. My Rebecca watched it with me and we both wept our way through it. And then Cris came up with this link:

Also, I am copying and pasting Cris’s other comment here below because I thought that it was so right on, a touchdown! Without getting into it today her thoughts did solve something for me personally. I am just rolling that around in my mind and enjoying it. A moment of clarity. Thanks Cris.

“Now, Dear Felipe,

I loved this question Dana and you discussed while walking, and yours and Ronaldo’s thoughts.

I had this thought a couple times: do we perform better when we are in these “brought-to-our-knees” situations or is it that those situations aren’t resolve by our usual skills and we need to appeal to the forgotten tool-box we count with but almost never go to? We are the same self, right? Definitely, in those situations, one of the options is to sit and cry, and the other is to go on living with dignity. How we do the second is the question… and once thing I read from Richard Rohr was that unless we are brought to these situations of powerlessness -which is never chosen voluntarily, always rather pushed on us-, we would never accept that we cannot continue performing in the same way we were doing before, and expect a resolution. This is why when we are brought to our knees, it is merely accepting we cannot do it, -for some of us, it means we cannot do it by ourselves, and there is where faith comes to play a role; but it also means to reach out to others, as we did in the Camino.
As Ronaldo said, and I experienced myself, in the Camino it doesn’t matter “what” you are at home or the size of your bank account or your house, you still have to walk the same amount of km as everybody else, and that for me is the powerful thing, there is a very simple experience where life is fair to all of us, and whatever we are going through in our own body, soul, mind, heart, -you name it-, affects us equally, and the way to a resolution is a walking path, that we have to walk, cannot be skipped, and will bring blisters and tiredness to our selves, no matter the image we -or others- have of us “at home” (aka “our comfort zones”).

Just my usual non-succinct 2 cents love,

The sun is shining here and I must get out in it. Love our salon, may it be long lived. Sunshine loves, Felipé.

Exploring Our Digression

Well, there is this.

Unfortunately I can’t remember the exact name of the Thai cave rescue program. Would love to pass that on to you. And I would love to watch it again but need the title to find it. Can someone help me with that?

As we walked yesterday Dana and I were asking the question, why do we need a crisis to perform at our best? What is that temporary state that happens to us only once in a while? Can we tap into that and be there more often?

I don’t know, big questions that probably need big answers. Ronaldo in a comment yesterday related it to our experience on the Camino. Somehow we had that purity to outperform our “usual” selves. We surprised ourselves and each other by that.

Could it have to do with decluttering? Both situations have a “deck clearing” aspect. We don’t have the burden of all the trivia that normally inhabits our lives. There is one thing that may be bigger than we think.

Then there has to be a need and not only a need but one that has to be addressed immediately or quickly. We were pretty needy the whole time on the Camino from what I remember. We had to help each other when our self-help ran out which it seemed to do daily. Desperation is present.

Being in this groove with others offers a high, a high state, where we seem to feed on each other’s energy. There is that! It is rare but we know it when we see it and jump on it if we can. Am I right?

Just a few thoughts to pass the time. A gray morning here with a little wind out of the north and the leaves are falling one by one. Thanks for stopping by loves, Felipé.

One More Digression

Look at that! My winter garden spinach coming up so proud and robust.

Good morning! I just happened randomly to watch a Public Broadcasting program last evening about the big cave rescue in Thailand. Remember that? It wasn’t too long ago.

There were 12 boys who went exploring a cave with their soccer coach. Unfortunately the first monsoon rains blocked their exit as the cave started to flood. It was an amazing joint effort of different experts and rescuers that was put together in a rapid manner.

I am always drawn to these dramas where people get together and perform at their very best to pull off a rescue or solve a problem. The Chilean mine rescue back maybe five years ago was exactly the same. Remember that one? There was one funny incident from that one that just popped into my head. One of the miners as he hit the surface was welcomed simultaneously by his wife and his mistress! Oops, slight problem.

Well, have a walk in a moment. Takes fo stopping by. Love you immensely, Felipe.

A visit With Our NW Bureau Chief

A recent glimpse of Steve-O, NWBC.

Rasmus, faithful Assistant NWBC.

Steve-O and his trusty puppy Rasmus took off for points south earlier this morning. I have a little time here before James shows up with a supply of bulk herbs for today sausage making session. Just a half hour maybe to be with you.

I am trying to encourage Steve-O to do some writing for our benefit when he gets a chance. He has had some major time consuming projects lately which he is just surfacing from. Now he needs to find some space to regroup and reflect on what he saw and give us some good words.

So we had a few hours together to catch up on the major details of the past six months. It would be nice if I could have that kind of a meeting with all of our Bureau Chiefs. And we will work on having more face to face meetings somehow, some way in the future.

Oh, I see Annie has a new offering for Christmas Advent. I signed up as soon as I saw it. She will have daily posts for us on the forty days leading to Christmas built on her forty essays from her book Everyday Camino with Annie. What a opportunity to cover this great material for the first time or as a review. I believe this is available both on FaceBook and in email. So get a hold of Annie O’Neil and make this happen for yourself.

Christmas, wow really already? It is always a surprise to me somehow. Why is that? Hello Felipé wake up.

Well, let’s think about Thanksgiving first and give it it’s due before we get any further. It is such a great holiday and another opportunity to express our gratitude. Alperfect in this one!

OK, I need to get moving and set up for today’s sausage making fest. Maybe we can wrap this project up today. We are doing Italian sausage this time, twenty six pounds worth.

Here we go loves, Felipé.

Another Frosty Morning

The autumn tapas table.

The barometer remains high for us and that means colder weather. But it is perfect sausage making ambience. James one of my hunting partners and I are knee deep in it at the moment. When abundance shows up, which isn’t always often or guaranteed, work is required. And that is what we are up to.

Also, Steve-O our NW Bureau Chief showed up last evening to make a personal appearance here. He was just in time for a venison burger. But we had a chance to get in a campfire talk after supper. We miss each other these days and needed a catch up. He will be back to us here at a Caminoheads soon as much has happened for him recently and I have given him a bye. But he is a very good writer and I am looking forward to some words of wisdom from him in the near future.

We all learn as we walk our walk and these realizations are important to share and not just squirrel away somewhere. Everything is important or at least has the potential to be important for someone next to us on the trail. When one of us learns we all should learn, right?

Well, time for me to set up the meat grinder who we have nicknamed Sparky. This is the biggest job that we have ever asked of him so it will be a miracle for him to make it through. He was free to start with so I am rooting for him as he sputters and sparks. The batch this morning will become, hopefully, country breakfast sausage in a few hours.

We are walking this afternoon here at Phil’s Camino and getting close to León. See you soon. Grateful loves, Felipé.

A Frosty Morning

Ears of corn drying up by the ceiling in the kitchen, Raven Ranch.

We would call it a light frost that showed up overnight, most everything will survive it. Yup, autumn is getting serious with us. Our good neighbor Chris has passed away, another sort of an autumn thing. I said a rosary for him yesterday on the walk. We are all just here for a while we are continually reminded.

Life at the ranch goes on with autumn chores. We butchered three deer over the weekend. All the big cuts are in the freezer and today we start on sausage making. Yum yum and all that. Next big chore is to make the corn meal from our dried summer corn as it is ready to go. All very Little House on the Prairie.

Walking in a few moments. That goes on whatever is going on of course, although we have been light on visitors lately so I am more solo. And we are starting to feed the birds along the trail as the weather has gotten colder.

Thanks for stopping by. Remember our afternoon walks are starting at 1530 on our winter schedule. Shivering loves, Felipé.x

A Gift

I have a couple that show up for the Thursday morning walk and then do an archery lesson afterward. They are getting the full meal deal Phil’s Camino experience. Yesterday I had to skip the lesson because of my serious lack of sleep. Anyway they brought a present for me:

John O’Donohue’s latest.

I am always amazed with all the great books that show up at the doorstep of my consciousness. Sometimes it seems like two a day but that can’t actually be true, can it? Anyway thanks Jim and Jen for your gift yesterday.

I am still wading through the last few chapters of the Thomas Merton book though. It has been very worthwhile despite my failure to grasp every single notion. He like Donahue give us a glimpse of the great big Camino. If the Camino de Santiago is a training ground for the Way to live in the here and now on this earth then these guys take the next beautiful step.

Sara was here from Seattle yesterday, a lovely young personality. It is fun to introduce new souls to the camino here and the salon of ideas that it springs forth. I always have great conversations with Jim and Jen and Sara was here for that confab yesterday.

Just briefly what we started talking about was the concept of guilt. This is something that I have been gnawing on for a while and the best thing that I have ever heard was this explanation in how it fits into our world historically. This is how it goes: In the preChristian era the big fear was death. That is evident to us by all the energy that went into death ceremonies, artifacts and the building of monuments all the way up to the pyramids. The Christian era ushered in the notion of enteral life given to us through God’s grace thus shattering death. We, the earthlings that we are, interpreted that in such a way that it required endless good works on our part. So, the failure or partial failure to live up to that brought guilt to our thinking. Now in this post modern world where we have thought that all medieval and largely abandoned it we have traded that fear of guilt for the fear of meaninglessness.

I have no idea where I came across that but it has served me well for a few years now. Sister Joyce my spiritual advisor said that I was good at finding useful things that I saw as I “walked”. This is an example.

So yea, the camino salon provides. I’m excited about reading the material in the new book and will report on it in the weeks ahead. Well, off to the big city for me to do my half day at the hospital. See you soon, Felipé.x

Thursday Tidbits

Esther and fam to brighten our day!

The sunset over Vashon yesterday.

My duck egg in the pan today trying to do the yellow arrow thing.

My Rebecca was so amazed by the way back of that scene that I tried to paint in the post yesterday. I said, “medieval?” and she agreed. Yea, Buffalo isn’t New York City by a long shot ever if they are in the same State. Just to add to the medieval ambience the election people surrounded the voting shacks with kerosene torches for special effects. I’ll have to get my old buddy Jim’s backing on all this as he grew up with these shenanigans also.

So, Esther from Monterrey, CA showed up Monday with her family in tow. Check the pic. These folks are so fun and accomplished makes you want to get stuck on a deserted island with them sometime. I think that they enjoyed themselves here and will be back to the neighborhood soon.

What else is on our plates today? I guess I can’t quite sneak past the election yet. Maybe we can come up with some related topics to lighten the atmosphere and get some new ambience going.

I have a walk in a few moments. Got two parties coming that I know about. So fun to have this walk to motivate me on a continuing basis. And the conversation is always stimulating, why is that? That could be a blog topic. Just like the Camino in Spain we here at Phil’s Camino we attract the same set of interesting folks I guess. Never a dull moment.

Well, let me go for now. Things to do to get my day going. Miss you. Always a thank you for stopping by, love, Felipé.