Ah, What A Morning

From Lucia, saw it on Face Book.

 

I can’t tell you how happy I am for getting through the night so easily.  Last chemo cycle I had a very hard time, the worst that I ever had, but this time I was passed over.  So the morning looks more beautiful.  We are getting a grip on the side effects of the new chemical treatment and that is very heartening.  I want to talk about that soon since I want to thank some folks for helping me.

You will remember that several days ago we were posed with the question, “What have you figured out?”  In other words, have we come to any realizations or conclusions about the work that we have been doing here at Phil’s Camino and Caminoheads blog.  Has there been any product produced or treasure uncovered?  Buenos Aires Cris came in with a comment yesterday that is relevant and extremely penetrating.  It my seem highly personal which maybe all good things are.  Thanks Cris:

 

Hola Felipe

What a great straightforward post! What have we figured out?… That is a great question, and if I speak for myself, being part of this “salon” in the French sense of the word :D, I think for me, it has been a lot. It brought me back to the post I wrote one year after I walked the 2 weeks, back in 2011. But “this conversation” we are having here, deepens day after day, my own humanity. I am learning how to be human, by coming by and read the posts and the comments of my fellow pilgrims. And I am totally honest when saying this.

Probably, there are 3 big things that I “figured out” with you all here:
1) “Once you are a Pilgrim, you are forever a Pilgrim”. There are certainly other things that may change as we walk, but if we walk as we learned in the Camino, we may be at times lost, but most likely we will continue to be pilgrims. Being a Pilgrim is a blessed difficult to forget or dismiss.

2) “The fellow pilgrims are a treasure”. You become part of a Family; the “Family of Pilgrims”, because you shared the pilgrimage. And the secret is in the word “share”, and it is difficult to “dismiss” that part of the sharing thing… First you share the path, the albergue, the showers, then you start sharing the food, the “pilgrim’s gadgets” such as the poles, or the guide; after a bit, the conversation, the ear, the words, soon it become the heart and the soul, and prayers, and thoughts, follow too, and I can continue. Fellow pilgrims have shared their homes and families with me, and I have had the fortune to do the same; just as an example that the treasure is not exhausted or confined to the Camino, it rather starts there.

3) “No matter what or how, we are all connected”. I think about you and I: your cancer, the Avastin, my work, Genentech; your admiration and interest in Pope Francis, me being from Argentina; the purpose of my trip to Ireland, and its connection to Catherine and Dana; and we could continue with “facts”. But I think we also figured out that “feelings” and “words” connect us… I am thinking when we talked about “Beauty”, or “Goodness”, or “Presence”… or when we feel we learn from each other… and mainly when we actively feel we CARE for each other.

I, myself, figured out quite a few things in this “salon”, this is why I am grateful to you and to all of you, for teaching me and helping me to be more human.

Hope I did not miss the point here!
Understanding love,

Cris

 

Wow, as in wow!  I am so grateful for that kind of insight and the work it took to craft that so beautifully.  You are so appreciated Cris.

Well, time for me to go.  My Rebecca is making her world famous mac and cheese tonight for the family.  Have to finish up my tax prep.  A February day here.  Love, Felipe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Refrigeration Not Required

William on the right, our Canadian Chief, thirty years ago. Helping to get the Olympic torch across Canada.

 

Yea, saw that on my Mrs Butterworth’s Thick and Rich Pancake Syrup this morning.  I thought, that’s a pretty good idea on a personal level.  I think I would  just be fine getting through the winter without freezing my behind, thank you.

Yup, that’s our big emphasis these days, keeping warm and of course looking for signs of spring.  And there are some of those.   Crocus, Snowdrops, Indian Plum blooming now, that’s a good start.  Starting to snow now, tiny flakes.

Also on a personal level it feels like Passover for Filipe.  I have entered the time of my chemo cycle when I have had such a hard time in the past and it seems pretty smooth sailing so far.  Some changes were made in my cocktail and in my diet and that could be the difference.  This is very welcome.

Catherine called early this morning to see how I was doing.  What a good buddy to have, checking in on my “walk”.  I am really leaning on her lately but that is what pilgrims do sometimes.  We are supposed to learn how to ask for help and be humble enough to accept it gracefully.

Rho, a pilgrim from San Diego, is coming on Thursday.  She is very much an archer and will get me out to do some shooting which has been on the back burner for me.  Also she has a connection with Italian pilgrimage which will be good to learn about.

Well, little bits of news for you today.  Thanks for stopping by to the ranch and keeping us company.  Alperfect, love, Felipe.

 

 

 

 

 

What Have You Figured Out?

We are all here!

 

Cold here at Raven Ranch.  It is about as cold as it ever gets around here.  It is supposed to be 19 F overnight.  Temps in the twenties seem to be in my memory as the coldest.  Well, we are feeding the woodstove regularly and watching for frozen pipes.  The lights have been flickering in the windier times but haven’t had to start up the generator yet.

Rho is here in Tacoma, up from San Diego.  She will be out here at the ranch later this week for a number of days.   I don’t remember the last time we saw her, it has been a while.  So we are scheduled to do some archery together which I am looking forward to.

Yesterday we had a nice walk even though we had to cut it short because of the wind and cold.  We retreated to the tapas table to talk it over.  One couple was new to the walk although I have known the male component, John, for years.  So Lin his friend was in from California to brave the locals and the local conditions.  I was giving my usually sort of tour guide talk early on in the walk and at some point when Lin and I were together I said, “We have sort of a salon going on here in the French sense of the word.  We walk and talk and figure things out.”  And she said, “Oh yea, and what have you figured out?” I was gathering my thoughts at that moment and then somehow we got distracted and the thread got lost.  But I have been haunted by that simple question since.  Yes, what if anything have we figured out in all this effort, expense of shoe leather and empty bottles of wine?

I know for one thing that we have figured out enough to perpetuate our togetherness.   That could be enough although I am certainly trying for more.  It would be nice to have a long list of accomplishments but perhaps we don’t.  I will ask around.

Here we are on the closing end of the first week of Lent.  Are you making progress?  Only the best, love, Felipe.

Feeling Blessed Once Again

 

 

Purple crocuses here with us now.

It was snowing earlier here quite hard but nothing stuck on the ground.  Now the wind is gusting.  So much commotion.  It mirrors my life now with so much going on but me with so much connection to the deeper still waters.

I have a laundry list of great spiritual happenings that have surrounded me lately and continue that I can’t even start to describe.  It would be silly to try.  All things are headed a certain direction.

Sister Joyce just called in from Dubuque, IA.  She is so faithful in her keeping track of me and my travels.  Even when she is not here she is here.

We have a walk in a few minutes.  I think that we will be walking the Joseph trail today with all this wind.  There are actually two trails here that we got to come out 4 feet in length from each other.  One is our standard trail that we walk almost always which I call the Mary trail.  Then when it is too windy to be in the wooded area of the property we switch over to the Joseph trail for protection from falling limbs since he is the Protector.

So that is what it looks like here with the Felipe Family today.  People are coming to walk and have tapas.  Maybe I will go and start the prep on the food.  Thanks for coming by, love, Felipe.

Get To Work Felipe

One little spring bloom coming on.

 

We are in the early stages of a wind and snow event right now and it occurred to me to get going on this post before the cable and power go out.  There were such nice comments on yesterday’s post, make sure to look at those while you are here.

It’s afternoon and we have gotten a lot of wind so far.  The snow is supposed to come over night.  Catherine is making homemade pizza for us tonight.  We are going to watch something funny afterward.  Need some comedy therapy.

I got news that one of my hunting buddies has past away.  He was a great partner on our archery elk hunts.  Will miss you Bill.

We had a great Bible Guys session this morning.  Covered the last chapter of Hebrews to finish up with that book.  I am not quite sure where we are off to next.  I threw in the idea of tackling Genesis.  It is chock full of great story.

Where are we, the fourth day of Lent?  We are off to a very solid start with hope for a lot of progress.  This reminds me so much of the Lent I spent in the spring of 2014.  I was reading chapters of Annie’s book as she emailed them to me.   It was such a high time getting ready for going to Spain.  We were working on the physical stuff and the interior stuff.  And this now, this Lent, seems similar at least in it’s intensity.  Our pilgrimage to Lourdes is on the horizon and is flavoring my walk at the moment.

Mass tomorrow with Father David.  I am in such a great spot now with all the internal drama of my treatments and the energy that is coming in and the looking forward to France.  It is a heady brew.  Love to you, Felipe.

Seems to Be A Perfect Storm Brewing

Hildegard to watch over us.

 

Hi, how are you?  Ah, what is Felipe up to now?  Well, it seems like there are all kind of things coming together playing into some high energy confluence.  It is a time of introspection but when I look in there all sorts of things are happening simultaneously.  All sort of movement is taking place.  A sort of change of scenery on the dark set in between acts.

I am going to post Catherine’s comment that came in yesterday and  continue my thoughts tomorrow.

“What a beautiful post Felipe, why not see yourself as cured, free of tumors, free to live the measure of your days without their company. The tension between probability and possibility is rich territory; maybe like the Mesita. Who knows what you will discover as you walk it. We will walk with it with you, we will pray for your version of possibility with gusto. Truly you are a beautiful soul, a teacher to all who follow you here and know you as neighbor and friend. You are a gift. Time for the tumors to vacate. Sending love form down the road.”  Catherine Johnson.

I am back at the hospital today.  Have to go now to get ready.   Onward!  Love, Felipe.

Father David’s Perfect Hair Day

A beam of sunlight on the Safety Third reminder.

 

Yea, there it was, unmistakably Father David’s best look since he started here at our parish.  It was the Ash Wednesday service last evening.  He does a nice job with all the Masses.  So, we all got our share and then some of some sort of fragrant ashes.   His homily was very beautiful about how the seasons of the year have their way of marking there progress.  As spring greening,  summer growth and fall color and winter solitude.  But going through Lent  and celebrating Christ’s journey we need symbols to make it more really for us, so it is not just intellectual understanding.  Synmbols like the ashes of Ash Wednesday’s or  the palms of Palm Sunday.

So, here we are on the second day of Lent and I made a couple of major moves.  So, I am giving up, tumors for Lent, yea no new ones, you hear!  And in that spirit I gave my existing tumors, old companions, they went across Spain with me, an eviction notice.  Time to move on.  This is the season to prune my fruit trees to make stronger, healthier units so I’m lining it up with that.

My tumors I always regarded as messengers rather than invaders.  They did what they do, they don’t give up trying to grow.  That’s persistence.  They brought the knowledge of death to me in a very personal way.  That’s their message.  They didn’t bring it from the outside but from the inside.  I always was waiting for something more complicated but ultimately it was a good message and simple.

Well, that is about it for today.  I must cultivate the visualization of the tumors leaving somehow.  Miracles are always in play.  But the important thing is to know that ultimately I’m not going to beat death but if I am supposed to be here doing God’s work He will figure that out and than I will be ready for a little time longer.

Maintaining the warrior spirit and not loosing track of purpose no matter what the situation, of what the odds are is the vision in play.

Have to go walk, love, Felipe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

From Chaos to Intention

A really Fat Tuesday.

 

We had a walk and tapas yesterday afternoon and that quickly cascaded into a serious Fat Tuesday celebration as the pic shows.  I really needed this!  Winter walks sometimes can be lonely and tapas hit or miss compared to summertime.  But we were rolling yesterday afternoon since we all know how to feed off each other to create a fire.  My Rebecca termed it rootin-tootin!

My own personal journey was paralleling this.  I have been scattered in a partying sort of way over the last few months.  I was having a challenging time with my treatments and it seemed lots of other seemingly important things were coming at me stretching me to the max.  It was all positive but scattered.  But one of the important things coming at me was what to do about Lent.  And Lent was starting at midnight.

Lent is always talked about as a period of introspection.  It is a time to regroup and reconfigure.  Maybe new ways of looking at things or a new way to operate is coming up.  But all this requires calmness and an intention.  As of yesterday’s party I had still not come up with any of that, still pretty scattered.  Then last evening in just a few moments it all seemed to come together.

I was reading the book that I have been talking about lately, Cancer: Exploring Your Path, when it crystalized.  This is an amazing book written by an amazing person.  She really has spot on ideas and methods.  She was buoying me up in my scatteredness and giving me a new angle to think about.

I was being dared to think about the idea of me being cured.  Not living with this forever but actually being past it or clear of it in a real way.   What would that be like?  I know that is possible theoretically but is it possible for me?  Dare I think about that?  I think that I am being called to not only think about it but to dwell on it, to try it on and see how it fits.  Wear it around.  Look in the mirror and see what you think.  Live with it.

I have come to think about my current situation of endless treatment as necessary to keep me in line.  Like somehow I would fall into my old ways without this constant reminder.  But what if I have now outgrown that template, that notion?  What would be my role, my posture, my persona after being clear of disease?  This is the ultimate in remaining positive about my situation.  Dare I have a new template?

OK, I have a month and a half to work on this and am off to a good start.  Sometimes starting is half of the effort.  Will be at Mass  at 1900 today for Ash Wednesday service.  Lent has begun.  Love, Felipe.

 

 

 

 

 

Why Do The Japanese Drive On The Left?

Keep walking, yup.

 

Here is something totally unrelated to what we do here but Greg fire truck has the steering wheel on the right.  So, I was looking around and just about learned all of world history by exploring which countries drive on the left and which on the right and why.  It seems Japan’s preference goes back to the days of the samurai  when they being mostly right handed would prefer to walk on the left to avoid clanking swords with the guy coming the other way.  Yea, wayback.

One more, because this is too good.  A friend of mine witnessed this as he was stationed there in the Navy.  It seems that Americans occupying Japan after World War Two took over the island of Okinawa sort of as one large military base and changed the driving to right side.  Then sometime in 1978 when the Americans gave the island back the Japanese then changed back to left side in one day.  I can only imagine.  I think I would get a window seat at Dunkin and hang out.

So there.  Well, that is what I am doing mostly these days, hanging out and watching, watching the Olympics.  It is is on all the time.  But doing my books and taxes simultaneously.  Geez what a chore.  Yike, totally glad when I can hand it over to Raven, our tax pro.  Will that happen first or will I figure out the rules to curling before.

OK, I got to hit the books.  This is my Camino.  You are the best, love, Felipe.

 

New and Used

Off to another week.   The weather here has been drier than normal and the outside beckons.  Walk this morning after I finish this post.  Wiley and his good buddy Greg from high school accompanied me yesterday on my walk.  Greg just in town for a short visit as he is currently headquartered in New York City.  Check the pic out.  He purchased a Japanese fire truck and brought  it over to give me a ride.  Pretty wild, Greg always had a flare.

It’s a Toyota, what could go wrong?

 

Below is a link to the Mass for the Sick held in Phoenix, AZ.  Two reasons I am including it are, one it is similar to the one I attended in Seattle.  And two it begins with an interview with Michael Grace the Main Dude for the Order of Malta on the West Coast.  It gives a little intro to the Order.  The whole video is two and a half hours long so just watch the interview and the opening procession maybe from the Mass as a practical matter.

Phoenix Mass

So, me, I’m coming out of my chemo in fits and starts.  Feeling better all the time, searching for functionality amidst the jungle of side effects.  Jungle, that is good.  Jungley loves, Felipe.