Many shades of Joy II

Sister Joyce driving Phil’s Camino on the riding mower. We know how to have fun.


Dear Caminoheads,

Today I am inspired to write, but I have just disconnected from my work computer and I am not sure my brain still works in order to compose a decent post, and even more in English! And NO!, I am not a workaholic (although I love my job); it is the result of a very busy week, the weather has been too hot, a siesta called almost daily after lunch time under the air conditioning and a dark room, COVID is rampant worldwide and many colleagues are out of the office unexpectedly, and the workload “socialized”…

Anyway… It is Friday! What am I complaining about?!

Back to the topic of the week, I can start drafting some thoughts, all started with this blessing Ron got before going to the Camino, Phil’s reflections that I posted yesterday, Ron’s comment a couple days ago, and this 3 letters word: JOY.


The first thing that came to my mind was to think which is the word in Spanish for “JOY”… and when and in which context I would use it. Then, I thought of “HAPPINESS” and did the same. And then, I looked up these 2 words in the dictionary, and did the same with the words in Spanish “Alegría” and “Felicidad”. Let me tell you: it wasn’t helpful because somehow, the dictionary thinks that “Alegría” and “Felicidad” are the same, which I am not so sure they are… because we have the same feeling with the words in English, right? (Or at least, Ron has!!! He also thinks “Joy” is different from “Happiness”)


Then, I started to think on other words, one I use very often with a Canadian friend who is my “JOY-buddy” because we met online in an “Awakening Joy” course, is “enJOY” and that is how we write it, “enJOY”.


On Wednesday, I thought about “Sister Joyce”, Phil’s friend, spiritual director, and fellow motorized pilgrim, who also is a magazine cover star along Phil at almost 90… well, there you go, she is JOYce.

Then, I decided to google the word Joy and the first thing that appears is “Joy in Greek”. I clicked and voilá… read this:

“The Greek translation of joy is CHARA, derived from the word CHARIS, which is the Greek word for GRACE. This is important to note, for it tells us categorically that chara is produced by charis of God. This means joy is not a human-based happiness that comes and goes.”


Now, with this definition and at this time of the night, I definitely cannot write conclusions… so instead I will let this “sit” for reflection… but if someone is awake early, or cannot sleep, or is west to me in the timezone, please come and do the reflection first. It is not for being lazy, but this blog needs other voices!!!!


enJOYing loves,


Many shades of Joy

Sister JOYce and I tearing up the trail on the cover of Salt.


Dear Caminoheads,

Today is a BIG DAY for this blog, a JOYFUL DAY. I saw Catalina’s facebook that Phil’s blog Book, the book created by the curated posts that Phil wrote done by Catalina, has gone today to the printers! This is such an event, a truly JOYFUL one for all of us who love Phil, Rebecca and Catalina, and where touched by Phil’s words over the years (or months, or days, quantity doesn’t matter, quality is the goodie).


What is interesting is that when yesterday I asked you to read Ron’s words and stay tuned for today’s post, that was going to be by Phil, it was because I had in mind a post Phil wrote on 24Sep2014 that touched me super deeply and I only read when I did the reading of the book as “reviewer”. Having had that in mind yesterday, finding this news of the book today, and the fact that the post is about JOY, I cannot help but picturing Phil in the tapas table he already built “up there”, with a glass of red wine in hand, and looking at us over his glasses with a witty look… You know what I am talking about… !!!


So, time for me to leave you with what is important: Phil’s post is below. The discussion continues tomorrow.


JOYce is also the name of his friend, Loves,



    24 September 2014 – Little Gifts; written by Phil/Felipe/The Boss/The General


    Little gifts are coming at me. I am doing my best to catch them and to examine them and be thankful for each. These are realizations resulting from seeing my surroundings, physical and otherwise, from new viewpoints, new perspectives, I think.

    Remember when we were walking and we were in the middle of nowhere, and we were in that stage between pain earlier and tiredness later. That’s right, the giddy stage. We had mastered pain for the time being and we still had plenty of energy left to walk and learn about each other. We talked and we had time and we explored each other. Is that sounding too weird to say? Somehow in that process I was not only hearing your story but magically I became your story. And maybe you became my story, I don’t know for sure. I was seeing things through your eyes is maybe a more conventional way to say it but it was stronger than that. It was more than an intellectual understanding. And maybe when one does this with enough people you just get the ability to lose yourself which I think is what I am experiencing now.

    And this is part of being a Caminohead, don’t you think? And maybe part of the reason I think so much of you. SJA, Phil.

    More about Ron’s blessing (and wisdom)

    No comments on my chip, like you chewed on that didn’t you. Well, no I didn’t! (Pict and caption by Phil)


    Dear Caminoheads,

    I think this week will be all “Ron’s”. We had the blessing he was given by his pastor before setting off to the Camino, and we have his sensitivity put in words (although he says words can confuse the idea!!!)… Yet, I am soooo glad he has these words in his heart, words that he shared with us in a comment the day before yesterday, and that I find sooooo profound that I am posting them here for you all.


    Just read, enjoy and tear up… (and please have these words from Ron in mind… for tomorrow, I have The Boss (a.k.a Phil, Felipe, The General) thoughts on this topic of having joy as we walk… )


    “Yes, this circle model of our life activities is so often understandable and appropriate. I spent a few years trying to figure out what ‘joy’ meant. I thought I understood ‘happy’ but wasn’t sure about joy. I read books, talked to people that I felt might have figured it out and sought some miraculous enlightenment. I still don’t know what joy includes or excludes, but I did get a feeling for ‘outpouring’ and tears are one example of that behavior. Maybe the best part because I don’t get it confused with words. But it wasn’t until I walked the Camino that I experienced outpouring of tears. Completely unexpected, not from personal pain, or missing something that I was aware of,  just tears as I walked along. I’ll credit that line in the prayer for allowing me to have this experience, it might have shown light on what joy includes.”


    So thankful that the Camino called us, Loves


    Flaking the blessing IV

    “Till the Oasis 2021???”, “SURE!!!!!!” (PIct by Ryck)


    Dear Caminoheads,

    Last piece of the blessing… I think this is the BEST blessing ever, in fact, I am tempted to say it is a must for the pilgrims, something all of us sooner or later end falling into, either along the way, or once arrived to Santiago, or back home. I never thought that “foolishness” was the cause of it, but it is true that causes us to do things others tell us cannot be done.


    As you enter the Cathedral at Santiago

    May God bless you with the foolishness to think that you can make a difference in the world, 

    so that when you return home you will do the things which others tell you cannot be done.”


    Haven’t you thought ever about what walking the Camino meant in terms of  fact, just “fact”? I have, to me it means “crossing a country by walking”. We normally see those epic videos on TV, but… have you stopped to think that we have done something similar, and in the 20th century…? Sometimes, when there is something challenging to do, something tiring, something uncertain, one of the things I think is: “Cris, you crossed a country by walking”. Some days when I am not convinced that was enough to show I am capable, I add “Cris, you crossed a country by walking with only 6 items of clothing in a bag-pack you carried with you”, and I can continue adding bits of the experience: slept every night in a different place with people I didn’t know, with no map or GPS, only following arrows, etc. etc… Yes, some people may say it cannot be done, but we know we can… the Camino taught us that.


    Brave love,




    Flaking the blessing III

    Helping hands


    Dear Caminoheads,


    Let’s explore the third intention of the blessing Ron’s got:


    As you carry your load

    May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation and war, 

    so that you will reach out your hand to comfort them and change their pain into joy.


    In this one, I only can think on one word: Compassion. In pilgrims words “to walk on the other’s shoes”

    And with being compassionate, it comes being touched. And if you are touched, your will respond being more compassionate. A circle. Nothing else to invent. I don’t know if we can change the other pain into joy, but at least, we can help them to breathe easier. And when we breathe easier, our cortisol levels go down, and we are less stressed, and with that lowering of stress, we can be more sensitive, more compassionate… A win-win that never stops… the good side of the saying “the gift that keeps giving”…


    Comfort loves,


    Flaking the blessing II

    A beautiful Cruz de Ferro shot by pilgrim Rhonda Elford. Help me Rhonda.


    Dear Caminoheads,

    Today is the second line of the blessing that Ronaldo received before setting off to the Camino. This one, I must say, is one that touches me very closely and very deeply.


    As you walk

    May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression and exploitation of people 

    so that you will fill your heart with the desire for justice, equality and peace.

    The reasons for that are many. I am pretty sure the fact that I am from what has been defined as a “Third World Country”, in a region as Latin America that has been known for being in disadvantage and where injustice is something that particularly those in disadvantage accept as a condition they will be fighting against always, with years and years of dictatorships and oppression, and unfortunately too, exploit by those who somehow help us…

    At the same time, as it happens too in countries where the reality of the daily life is like this, many of us grow up and mature with a need to stand for what is right, for what is true, for justice, for equality, for peace… just as the blessing Ron received. Some of us have romanticized this fight mostly in our young adult years but many remain committed through activism even if understood that the young adult dreams were too pretentious…

    If I speak for myself, when I was very young, in my early teenager years (when there was no internet), I got to read in a newspaper  about the “United Nations”, at that time, the secretary general was a Peruvian diplomat, Javier Pérez de Cuéllar, and although I had no clue what that meant, it remained in my mind… almost at the same time, there was a concert in Argentina called “Human Rights Now” organized by Amnesty International, and that was the kick off for me to learn about the apartheid in South Africa, the  “reconciliation process” Argentina went through, “the troubles” in Ireland. And I started to dream about being a diplomat sitting in a chair in the UN! With the years, I got to learn about Mandela, Adolfo Perez Esquivel, Mary Robinson, Desmond Tutu, Kofi Annan,… I also listened to my biological father talk about the war in the Yugoslavia, the balkans, the conflicts in Gaza, and obviously the Malvinas/Falklands war… (And I had to make a decision for University and I went for science…)

    But the awareness of this larger, diverse, and conflicted world has remained, it is still with me, it still angers me and it is what has always moved me not to take away my eyes from injustice… Clearly the world has changed but sadly the gap around injustice is wider and wider… sometimes I think it is because we are so busy that we don’t look at the sides to see what the others are experiencing… So yes, this second line truly makes sense to me.


    Striving for justice and peace Loves,



    Flaking the blessing

    Trusty partner

    Dear Caminoheads,


    After reading the blessing Ron’s received before setting off to the Camino a number of times, I have the feeling we would all benefit from some discussion about and around it… And I think it would make sense to flake the blessing and give a thought to each intention in separate; however, I will start with a “general” thought which must be taken as “my own experience” and nothing else.

    I must say that I am in strong disagreement with the idea of the “learning by comparison”. Let me try to explain a bit more: I don’t think I can understand the rationale behind “the need of the opposite experience to appreciate the good experience”. I am not even sure if the reason why I can’t understand it is because of the need to “compare” experiences and make a value judgment, or if it is because I cannot understand the reason for asking for purposeful suffering, so we can appreciate what is “better than that”.

    But, this blessing is not that, it may take some re-readings to grasp it -it definitely took me- but they are worth anyway. The thing is that  the statements in the blessing aren’t praying (asking) for suffering to then compare, instead I think that this blessing is asking for awareness…


    Here is the first:


    As you follow the Way

    May God bless you with discomfort at your own easy answers, half truths, superficial relationships, so that you will learn to live deep within your heart.


    To me, this is an invite to go deeper, to feel uncomfortable when aren’t committed with life… and honestly, very much aligned with Thiago de Mello’s poem we read a few days ago…


    Could you share your thoughts too? I would love to read what you feel about this.


    Thank you loves,


    Eureka!!! The Three Wise Men were pilgrims too!!!

    Peregrino Ron (The picture was taken by Julie Losi, the pilgrim behind me mentioned in the blog post) Julie allowed us to post the pict <3

    Dear Caminoheads,


    I don’t know why I did not come up with the realization that being a pilgrim was something that was imprinted in my life since a little girl until tonight… You see: yesterday I talked about the Three Wise Men (Reyes Magos) and said I love them and it is their festivity the one I love the most… I have always been traumatized by Santa Claus because having a birthday just the day before Christmas Eve (when Santa visits us in Argentina), he used to tell me that I had a “bigger” present at Christmas to compensate my birthday present… or like my ex-husband did for my first birthday when we started dating: he gave me a pair of shoes, but he gave me the right shoe on my birthday and the left shoe on Christmas day. Cheaters.

    Back to the Three Wise Men, they were pilgrims too, they did a pilgrimage following a star (instead of arrows) to visit the baby Jesus in the manger.

    So, maybe, this fascination with the Three Wise Men is what ignited my pilgrim spirit… I think I need to give this thought a deeper reflection!

    In any case, today’s post was not about me, but about something Ron shared with me and thought would be also thought provoking to all of us… With all that we are going through these days, I wholeheartedly agree with him. Give it a try.


    Pilgrims loves,




    Before he began his walk (known also as the Way) Ron’s church pastor, Morris Fleischer, sanctified his trip with the Pilgrim Blessing found on the Camino:

    As you follow the Way

    May God bless you with discomfort at your own easy answers, half truths, superficial relationships, so that you will learn to live deep within your heart.

    As you walk

    May God bless you with anger at injustice, oppression and exploitation of people so that you will fill your heart with the desire for justice, equality and peace.

    As you carry your load

    May God bless you with tears to shed for those who suffer from pain, rejection, starvation and war, so that you will reach out your hand to comfort them and change their pain into joy.

    As you enter the Cathedral at Santiago

    May God bless you with the foolishness to think that you can make a difference in the world, so that when you return home you will do the things which others tell you cannot be done.”

    May all of us on our Way to sanctification receive these blessings.

    The Three Wise Men

    Wine, bread and water.
    (photo P Volker)

    “Dia de Reyes Magos” 2011 scene at Cris’s house.


    Dear Caminoheads,

    Today is my favorite day of the year, well not “today” but January 6th. In my country, we celebrate “The Epiphany”, which is the visit of the Three Wise Men -or The Magi- … I honestly don’t know which is the right term, for us is “Los Reyes Magos”… and January 5th night is the “Noche de Reyes”.

    The tradition says that on January 2nd, you write a letter to The Three Wise Men.

    “Los Reyes Magos” come in camels, and they come from the East, so it is a long way to Argentina, and because of that, you have to leave something to eat for them. It is a whole preparation… when we were kids, we were taken like 10 blocks away from home to get some “nice grass” for the camels… it was such a whole event!!!

    So, on the night of January 5th, you leave your shoes under the Christmas tree, a bucket with water for the camels, also the fresh grass picked up for them; and a glass of wine and some bread for Los Reyes Magos (they are called: Melchor, Gaspar and Balthasar). Then, on the morning of January 6th, you will find the gifts The Three Wise Men left to you, usually, when you are a child, it is what you wrote them in the letter… but it doesn’t end there… because you know, camels are messy to eat, and the Wise Men have dirt in their shoes… so there is a whole scene, at times embarrassing to the folks of “CSI Miami”, depending on the creativity of the parents! (or in my case, “aunt”).

    January 6th is traditionally a joyful day… as a child, it meant you would be playing with the new toys Los Reyes Magos left for you, or the showing off the new clothes, actually celebrating the gifts, whatever it is.

    There is even a wonderful music too to describe the scene of their visit, which obviously I love… (and Rebecca found “lively”)!!! Give it a try too!


    Magic Loves,


    Rebecca reporting from Raven Ranch

    The tapas table.

    Dear all,

    It seems that posting about food or a shared table is motivational for all of us… I am in Ron’s team: Ron always talks about the meals in the Camino, specially the dinners, all of us showered, smelling better than during day-time, with clean(ish) clothes, ready to eat the Pilgrim’s menu without much hesitation independently of the fact we would like it or not, because what was more important was the food for the soul we would get in those large tables at the end of the day in the Camino… Breakfasts are another topic, maybe tomorrow!

    In any case, my intention today was to share Phil’s Rebecca’s comment to yesterday’s post, because in addition to her contribution to think about food, she also raised a PSA: ~~~Phil’s signature Tapas Table plans will be made available~~~

    Nothing else from my end; just read below and imagine…!

    More foodies loves,



    ~~~Here is Phil’s Rebecca report, directly from Raven Ranch:

    Ah Stephen. Have not seen or heard from him since he cooked up the fabulous venison roast cutlets for Phil’s post interment party. Those of you that were there might remember how delicious that was! I am still cruising on those leftovers.

    I need to call him or drop by or something. Of course, Covid is still ruining everything, so I guess that will be put on hold like all else.

    Speaking of the tapas table, I just found the plans for the actual table here on our deck. Someone was wanting those to build their own, but I can’t remember who. If it was anyone here, please speak up. We can post them here. Wiley got them scanned today.

    Happy New Year to all.