Ryck-Post for Phil, Jan 29, 2022

Phil and Ryck; selfie by Ryck


Perhaps the soul is the energy, the body the vessel. It does make sense. Perhaps life is short and we only get one chance. That also makes sense. Then what then..when the body is gone and the soul floats? How long does it float? You know, floats amongst us, the energy..you know what I mean.

I went for a walk not too long ago. I had a walking stick, the one I got in a shop in Spain….forgot the town, good town after you see David at the top of the hill, the guy with the fruit stand that seems to live there….”Donativo”…you know the guy if you have been there….Kind of like, you know the guy named Victor who walks with his horses as you ride them up the hill to O’ Cebreiro….(probably misspelled but if you were there, you know what I mean)

OK, Back to the walk…

So as I was walking down the nice paved road that runs along Liberty Bay in my beloved Poulsbo, WA, I had a feeling, a day-dream of sorts. It was the same sort of day-dream I had when I left Burgos, Spain and started walking through the expanse of fields where it starts to get a bit windy and cool, even in HOT July, again, you know where I am talking if you have been there…

The day-dream thought I had while walking in both places was that I imagined many souls around me. There is a scene in “Forrest Gump” where he is running through a desert road and there are many people behind him, following him on his road, you know the part where he turns around and says, “I’m kind of tired now. I think I’ll go home now..” You know the scene if you’ve seen the movie, and I know, you’ve seen the movie…Well, as I walk there is a sense of people walking with me, to my sides, right behind. I am not alone. They are talking in my mind. They are happy. They look good. They all have the same thing in common. Me. There are many people there with me on my walks. My Grandfather Richard Hull…My Great Uncle Larry, (the pen-pal I actually never met), a childhood friend named Eddie Travis, my Grandmother Beverly Hull who loved to walk, three of my dogs, Bo, Bo II and Annabelle, there are many others as well. Now, the people there walking with me, they grow in numbers from time to time, and as I get older, the numbers grow. The last addition to the crowd of folks I walk with is named Phil. Phil walks next to my Grandpa, they are for sure buds, and they chat about the same stuff. The voices of these people are in my head, my mind as I walk. The ones that meant the most to me in my life are on the walk with me. They were there with me in Spain in 2017, that is when I first noticed them. In fact, I swore I saw Eddie in a field as I was entering the last stages of the Camino, I heard his laugh.

He was still 19 years old. He has been 19 for 26 years now, never gonna age.

I remember hearing that Phil wrote in his walking log that even when he walked and no one was there, he didn’t walk alone. I am not for certain, but I have an inkling that Phil also had a crowd of folks walking alongside and behind him, walking with him around Raven Ranch.

Well, Phil, my brother, you are now a part of my tribe, walking with me when I walk as well.

I miss you, man!

I miss you all. I hope we all get together soon and have a big “Phil-Fest”:)

Love you, Ryck

P.S. Tonight we have a Waning Crescent Moon. Temps were mild, about 38, dry last few days here in Western Washington State. New Moon coming on Feb 1st.


On a day like today, in 2017…

This is the post Phil wrote… So refreshing to read Phil’s notes on the daily life in the ranch, as a movie star, and a blogger!



“A Lull in the storm”


Official patch.


Hi.  Just catching my breath.  It has been an extremely busy two days.  ‘Today I am going to goof off as much as possible.  And tomorrow off again this time to San Diego.

These days have so many moving parts that they are hard to remember and describe.  Saturday was the boat trip from Seattle to Victoria with My Rebecca, Carol and Annie.  That was a three hour ride each way.  Then in Victoria we had a showing with the local chapter of the Canadian Company of Pilgrims.  This is the equivalent of our APOC.  It was in a real theater with Phil’s Camino on the big screen with great sound.  The Q and A was really exceptional.   Then we had a party at the home of one of the group.  Very nice and lots of good conversation and connections made.  Fabulous folks.

Then Sunday Annie went to Mass with Catherine and me.  Father David is back from his vacation.  Then we had a whole day of filming with my Bible Guys and here at the trail and around the environs.  That is a lot harder than it sounds but we all survived.  Then the film crew headed back to Seattle and Annie was off to the airport.

But I will see her again in San Diego for two showings at the SD Cinema Society.  They have a website with all the vital details.   So, will have more opportunities to touch base with folks out there.

Just feel like I have been chasing my tail for two days.   It is hard to come down from all that and get back to anything in the heavy duty blog department.  I will just have to report to you till things get back to normal.

You may have noticed that the blog is looking different these days.   A little different now maybe but we have more changes planned.  I had a donation come in to help out with the trail and the blog,  so we are catching  up on  maintenance.   Hanna is helping me out with the blog some each week.  I realized that if I wanted a better blog I would need concentrated help.  I am so focused on content and so unsavvy with the tech stuff that this seemed appropriate and will make a lot of difference for you and me.

The trail needs help with some of the areas that get hazardous in wet weather.  So we are going to haul in crushed rock to help the inclines and wet areas in the woods.  And hauling in wood chips to cover areas where the tree roots are exposed.   Trying to get to a safer surface.   Speaking of the trail I need to get Carol  up as we are walking in half an hour.  Jump up pilgrim!

Bye for now.  As always lovin your stuff, Felipe.



Written by Phil/Felipe/The Boss/The General, reposted by Cris

Today: the body

Phil and Farmer John. Veranda, August 2019

Dear Caminoheads,

Our trusty resourceful BC in Castrillo de los Polvazares, Spain, Ron, brought the body language to this brainstorming we are doing on joy, happiness, smiles and eyes-smiles these last days. And he brought something we all experience in our lives so many times a day: the encounter with another human in the flesh… WOW! How powerful is that… have you thought? The pandemic hit us hard because somehow prevented us from this very basic human need: the presence of other humans. Even more if the humans we were used to interact with pre-pandemic, were nice human beings, kind, caring, loving, friendly, helpful (you know the type of folks I am talking about!!!)


Now, have you thought what these loving, nice, friendly, etc. folks do? They hug, they pad us in the back, they kiss us hello and good bye, they hold our hands as we talk, they smile at us, they look us into the eyes, and things like that. They body language is such that while we are with them, we feel good… our humor gets “good”, we feel joyful just for having a person like them in our lives. And this happens invariably, even if we are struggling or in a sad moment, we are so so so glad these people are in our lives.


This sort of proves that joy is present when we have the intention to be present for the other, and in that quality of presence, we sense who they are and the humanity that is shared between us.


Have you watched the Oscar winning film from the 90s “La vita è bella” by Roberto Benigni? And you have been in a country where the army is in the streets? Or in a riot, where the police are heavily armed? I have watched the movie and have been in these situations too… I have been in Santiago de Chile many years ago, when still the country was under the militaries… people were cold and the outside control could be sensed in their bodies in such a powerful way, no smiles, no expressions… it was scary… Just a few weeks ago, also, here in Buenos Aires, there were protests with cuts of streets and bridges, and the policemen were heavily armed with shields, helmets, and the hydrant tanks were blocking the streets… as I was driving by I could sense my own body fearful, tense, and the faces of these policemen were all tense and somehow showing anger and fear…


Yet, the movie can bring things into context… about presence and the joy that comes with just knowing we are making others lives a bit better… I think this line from one of the critics of the movie summaries what I am trying to say: “… It is about rescuing whatever is good and hopeful from the wreckage of dreams. About hope for the future. About the necessary human conviction, or delusion, that things will be better than they are right now.”




Joy, Happiness, Good Humor, … What’s next?

Fig 1: Duchenne Smile – Smile that makes the corners of the eyes wrinkle up with crow’s feet.


Dear Caminoheads,

Sorry for not making it here yesterday; I got a phone call when I was about to write here, and I ended walking back to the work computer to sort out a problem and I ended coming to bed “today”…


Back to the title, yes… I think it is only right to talk about SMILES now… Other than the tone of the voice, smiles is the next thing we have to reflect, irradiate, spread, get infected, acquire, absorb and any other verbs that mean something that happens both ways… sort of from us to others, or from others to us… Have you thought about that?

How do you calm a baby? How do you break the ice in a conversation? How do you make peace after a fight? Usually either by using a soothing voice to say something nice, or smiling.  I really like this line from the English writer Joseph Addison:


“What sunshine is to flowers, smiles are to humanity. These are but trifles, to be sure; but scattered along life’s pathway, the good they do is inconceivable.” 


With some months in the pandemic, I listened to a conversation of a Spanish children psychologist talking about the babies born during the pandemic that had to face the world without seeing the mother’s, father’s, siblings’s, grandparent’s, etc faces uncovered… This woman said it would be very interesting to see how these children got the clues of safe attachment, and their emotional regulation through the expressions of their caregivers… all “trifles” as Addison said, but also priceless…

But as we know, there are lots of people who think deeply and do research, and they do it with so much creativity and wisdom, that they see the half glass full when others cannot see a drop… Stephen Porges is one of him. -Look him up, this man is quite interesting and a delight to listen to because he has endless optimism too-.  The thing is that I was listening to a talk he gave, and he said that wearing the mask, as we did and continue to do since the pandemic, isn’t really an impediment to show we are smiling (he was trying to address the concern of some people who said they prefer to see smiles and take the risk to get covid, than to not see smiles for wearing a mask). And he went to talk about the “Duchenne smile”.

The “Duchenne smile” is the smile that reaches your eyes. This smile makes the corners of the eyes wrinkle up with crow’s feet. This is the smile that most of us (most of our brains!) recognize as the most authentic expression of happiness and empathy… basically: “we smile with the eyes”… This is Super Beautiful, don’t you think?!

I must confess: since I know this, I have paid way more attention to people’s eyes and have been more aware of my eyes too… and I realized I smile with my eyes WAY more than with my mouth!


Wrinkle up with crow’s feet loves,


What about good humor?

Felipé on important fact finding mission, Marynell to the right of me, Dale to the left.
(photo W Volker)


Dear Caminoheads,

In these musings on joy and happiness, other thoughts have come to me and if you are willing to, I would love to discuss with you too…  One of them is “good humor”.


Have you ever thought how you would define “good humor”? Is it an emotion? Is it a feeling? Is is a state of the mind?… The thing is that ages ago, in the middle of pandemics, wars, famines, when someone was “healthy”, it was said this person had “good humor”… had something innate that kept them healthy in a world that was falling apart… and it was supposed that whatever was that they had, was circulating in the blood, still there are some fluids in the body that are called “humor”, like the “aqueous humor” which is the fluid in the eye that keeps the eyeball maintain its shape.


These days, that we know so much about neurotransmitters, endorphins, oxytocin, dopamine, antibodies, interleukins, and other difficult names, probably we could confirm that what kept those folks “healthy” in such difficult times was indeed in their humors, and in fact, their humors was a good one… Are you following me?


Now… how do we make our humor be good? I have a few thoughts that I believe we can unravel in the next days… today, I will share a fun fact from Pope Francis,  you can find it in the Netflix documentary “Pope Francis: a man of his word”.

In the final close-up interview, Pope Francis summarizes what he believes will help us move into the future, despite the fears and disappointments. Almost mischievous, he says : “We have to smile and laugh”, and admits that every day after his morning prayers, he recites Saint Thomas More’s “Prayer for Good Humor”:

“Grant me, O Lord, good digestion, and also something to digest.

Grant me a healthy body, and the necessary good humor to maintain it.

Grant me a simple soul that knows to treasure all that is good

and that doesn’t frighten easily at the sight of evil,

but rather finds the means to put things back in their place.

Give me a soul that knows not boredom, grumblings, sighs and laments,

nor excess of stress, because of that obstructing thing called “I.”

Grant me, O Lord, a sense of good humor.

Allow me the grace to be able to take a joke to discover in life a bit of joy,

and to be able to share it with others.”

I am a firm believer that Phil understood this thing about the “good humor” more than perfectly…

Alperfect good humor loves,


Many shades of joy V – Today, Happiness (but I think it continues to be joy)

Smelling the roses.
(photo K Burke) Don’t you think this picture says “”Human flourishing is the real aspiration — that happiness is not a sensation or a feeling; it’s a state of being that can encompass all of the things that happen in life.” ? (I DO!)


Dear Caminoheads,


I have kept thinking about this topic of joy a lot after we started. I don’t think I had given such a deep reflection before… Sure we all want to be joyful and happy, but I guess we get content and feel like we achieved if we feel cheerful. I was putting away some books from my shelves this weekend and found a book written by Matthiew Ricard, the French Tibetan Monk, on the topic of happiness, and I read a few pages thinking on us, here at the blog. One of the lines I marked on it is:

“Human flourishing is the real aspiration — that happiness is not a sensation or a feeling; it’s a state of being that can encompass all of the things that happen in life.”


And below is another extract from a talk he gave”


“I think we should clearly see, what are the inner conditions that foster a genuine sense of flourishing, of fulfillment, that the quality of every instant of your life has a certain quality that you appreciate fully. So you see, it’s very different from — people sometimes imagine that constant happiness will be a kind of euphoria or endless succession of pleasant experiences. But that’s more like a recipe for exhaustion than happiness. Even the most pleasurable thing — you eat something very delicious. Once, it’s delicious. Two, three times, OK. And then ten times, you get nauseous. The most beautiful music, you hear it five times, 24 hours, it’s a nightmare.


If we think of happiness as a way of being, a way of being that gives you the resources to deal with the ups and downs of life, that pervades all the emotional states, including sadness. We think of sadness as incompatible with pleasure, but it’s compatible with what? With altruism, with inner strength, with inner freedom, with sense of direction and meaning in life — those aren’t sad things. But if you don’t fall in despair, still you maintain that wholeness and that sense of purpose and meaning.”


On this last part, I was thinking about something that I once listened Yoyo Ma say, that when he is performing, he chooses “joy”, because he feels he is “the host of the party” and would be terrible that his guests, upon arrival, instead of having him saying “I am glad you are here!!!!!!”, he would say “Oh you came”. And he added something else to the point, something that we all have said or have been told in similar situations, for example, in a funeral, it is not uncommon to be told or to say “I am glad you came”, or “Your presence here makes me content”. Certainly it is not that we are “not sad”, but as Matthiew Ricard says above, we “have the resources to deal with the ups and downs of life”


I am now thinking of Phil… I think he embodied these words… both the ones from Matthiew Ricard and Yoyo Ma… don’t you think?


Happy tired loves,



PSA: More details about the film on Joy

Oldies’ pic from Austin TX. Annie, My Rebecca and Felipé.
(photo unknown)

***Another JOYful picture*** (I love Rebecca in this one!!! <3)


Dear all,

Ron, our “yellow arrow” in Spain, has added more information about the film on joy that Annie commented yesterday, and provided some more details. Text below comes from Ron’s comment in our post from yesterday. Remember, it is NEXT weekend.


***It so happens that Annie O’Neil has a Pilgrimage in Place time set up to see this movie and have a conversation with the film makers. Go to the Pilgrimage In Place group on Facebook and join and then you will get the details on the event and watching the movie on your own schedule.***

From a recent group post:
“It looks like we will be meeting around another Pilgrim Table (zoom) on Saturday January 29 at our regular times of 9 AM and 3 PM Pacific Time. We will be discussing the film MIssion: Joy Finding Happiness in Troubled Times.

Seems a good choice for us, don’t you think? 🙂
You are welcome to invite friends to join our Pilgrim Tables, as always. All are welcome! Please have them come by here and join PIP first, if you would. My agreement with the filmmakers is that I am extending the invitation to watch the film to all of our dear PIP folks. ❤
I will let you know the details on how to watch the film later. You will have a 72-hour window in which to watch the film. So excited! “


Buen Camino!


Today Joy, the film (by Annie O’Neil)

Felipe & Annie (pict provided by Ron)

Dear Caminoheads,

I do DO DO need to find the time to reply to the comments, Phil -in his legacy notes- established that the comments were important, and I cannot agree more. The posts in the blog are a 10% of the this neighborhood, the other 90% are the comments and the ideas and interactions that you bring here, and ignites the fire of curiosity, expanded knowledge, fun, windows into the reality of others… Amazing really! Why do I not reply the comments then? Honestly: an overload of emails at work…


In any case, I am drifting away from the intention of today’s post, which is actually Annie’s contribution with a comment she left yesterday… Check it out below… and mark your calendars!


Well great minds think alike! I am delighted to see your references to Mission: Joy. Do you know it was made into a film? I’m friends with one of the filmmakers and was honored to give her notes on a rough cut many moons ago. On January 29th I am hosting a discussion of the film at a “Pilgrim Table” which is what I call the zooms I do with Pilgrimage in Place. Phil was my guest there many times, including October 9, his last full day on this earth. Sigh. In any case, if you like the book, I’m sure you will like the film, and it will be available to us for 72 hours ahead of time. I know a lot of the folks here are also in PIP and can get the info there, but not everyone. Just let me know if you would like me to extend the invitation to everyone here. <3 Much love to one and all. Let’s keep on walking!


Joy is in the air, loves,


Let’s return to “Joy”

Catherine, Dana, Gloria, Jim and Phil’s Rebecca not long ago.
(photo P Volker)


Dear Caminoheads,

So, yesterday we had this gap with mundane events, and somehow in my being the happiness and relief my neighbor-friend had when the door opened and his beloved Vera was freed, still is vibrating… Today, when I woke up, I found a text he wrote once my phone went on silent mode, that he felt what I did for him was “magnificent” and he was “so grateful” that despite the stressful hours, he felt “immensely happy”. My friend doesn’t read this blog, I don’t even think he knows I write here, and he is bilingual in French, but his English is zero! This is to say that this collection of words and feelings were his own… he has no way to know that we have been discussion about joy for the last week here…


But my neighbor-friend message made me think that maybe the experience of joy is present in our lives more often than we believe… ~~And I say this in a personal note, aware that I am not exactly someone with lots of vocabulary for emotions~~ but I was wondering: how can we be sure that what we feel at a certain moment is “Gratitude” instead of “Joy”, or the opposite?


And so, I went to my kindle book and looked for the bookmarks I put in my copy of “The book of Joy” and… here it was the answer to the question above… and the rationale behind my neighbor-friend…


Have a look at these 2 paragraphs from “The book of Joy” by the Dalai Lama and Desmond Tutu:


“When you are grateful,’ Brother Steindl-Rast explained, ‘you are not fearful, and when you are not fearful, you are not violent. When you are grateful, you act out of a sense of enough and not out of a sense of scarcity, and you are willing to share. If you are grateful, you are enjoying the differences between people and respectful to all people. The grateful world is a world of joyful people. Grateful people are joyful people. A grateful world is a happy world.

The Dead Sea in the Middle East receives fresh water, but it has no outlet, so it doesn’t pass the water out. It receives beautiful water from the rivers, and the water goes dank. I mean, it just goes bad. And that’s why it is the Dead Sea. It receives and does not give. In the end generosity is the best way of becoming more, more, and more joyful.”


Repeating yesterday loves: Love your neighbor, Loves


Now, I open cars

The car doors openers.


Dear Caminoheads,

In Spanish, we have a saying that is “El hombre propone y Dios dispone”, sort of like we can have all the plans we want, but at the end of the day, God/destiny/luck/etc. decides what happens. Today’s post is one of those, I was planning to elaborate an email on the topic we are discussing, but then, my bell rang and this is the post…


So, I had opened a bottle of cider, and was facetiming with my clay-brother, having a great time, and my bell from downstairs ran a few times. I asked who was it, and nothing. I came back to the computer, and it ran again, and I hear my neighbor from the 8th floor (who is actually one of my friends) crying and saying he was desperate. I ran downstairs thinking he had been robbed, or something like that, but no, what happened is that was packing his truck because he was going to work in the country side tomorrow, Vera, his dog was with him, and he forgot something in the apartment and came inside the building when he realized he left the truck keys over the seat, as he was putting Vera’s safety belt. And yes, the truck locked. And he had no other key. And it is pouring rain outside, and the person who might come, could only came 3 hours later and this couldn’t wait.


So, an operation started. We un-done some metal hangers that I had at home (those you get when you send things to the laundry), a screw-diver, and with the instructions of another neighbor in the phone, we managed to open the car after an hour of attempts.


The whole story is way funnier, i may tell about this later, but now, I leave you with a picture!


Love your neighbor,