Steve-O here, a NWBC, FOF (Friend of Filipe) and former Vashon Islander (28 years) before moving to Southern Oregon and now to Portland, Oregon. I met Phil and Rebecca when I was looking for a home for one of my Flat Coated Retrievers. I was very picky about the home he’d go to; I didn’t really want to part with him. After looking for a year or so, a friend called and said she’d finally thought of the perfect home – great people, lots of property, a serious hunter to boot. But, she said, I probably wouldn’t really like him that much, we were too different, philosphically/politically. Welp, Sture found a great home, I’ve enjoyed Phil as one of my absolute best friends, work and hunting partners ever since– and our dogs got to play and hunt together for several more years. Big Lesson: how many connections do we bypass because we’re timid about approaching and listening, mindfully, to the soul of others? In this case the dogs, Sture and Trygve– who had no expectations except to expect good times and dog food– led Phil and I into their happy, devoted world of in-the-moment joyfulness and humor.
Via the blessing of Caminoheads, I often wonder about the core sensibility of being a pilgrim. I think that Sture and Trygve ( and now Rasmus, here) lead the way on that, too. Mindfulness practiced, learning the way to be centered in the moment, was the way we could see and feel how the dogs experienced life every day– the Be Here Now idea– which allows the wonder of the moment to envelope us. Practice, I say, because practice is the operative word for me as I begin to dive in, in earnest.
It’s a pilgimage to Right Now, as I expect the step-by-step moments on the Camino became at some point. The deep spirituality of learning to center oneself in the moment is for me enticing, seductive and liberating. It has all to do with how I’m starting to understand discouragement and anxiety and fear, not as my reality, but as thoughts that pass through my awareness. Real thoughts, but just transitional thoughts. Or feelings. Just transitional feelings. And thoughts and feelings are known to be, in the practice of mindfulness, just like cloulds and storms passing through the limitless sky. They’re not the sky, they’re just passing through. Things we can observe and appreciate as we can observe and appreciate beautiful clouds and stormy skies.
While we keep on walking.
The Camino is a real place. The Camino Experience is a metaphor we get to encounter here, via the Caminoheads community, every day. A place to remember to that it’s not the ‘doing mode’ but the ‘being mode’ – moment by Playful-Dog-like moment– that nourishes our souls.
I like this. It’s SO Raven Ranch:
The Bright Field
I have seen the sun break through
to lluminate a small field
for awhile, and gone my way
and fogotten it. But that was a pearl
of great price, the one field that had
the treasure in it. I realize now
that I must give all that I have
to possess it. Life is not hurrying
on to a receeding future, nor hankering after
an imagined past. It is the turning
aside like Moses to the miracle
of the lit bush, to a brightness
that seemed as transitory as your youth
once, but is the eternity that awaits you.
R.S. Thomas, Collected Poems