The Four Companãras

Annie and I and Dali back along the trail.

Here we are blogging while under the influence of chemotherapy. Well, under the influence of steroids more specifically and it’s 2 in the morning and am wide awake. I have an hour or two now to write and be with you. Having apple cinnamon tea with blackberry honey to help while away the time. This is what Jerome K. Jerome wrote on my teabag, “It is impossible to enjoy idling throughly unless one has plenty of work to do.”

I don’t know what category we are in on that account but I am here to talk about four very inspiring women who I light a candle for every Sunday. That is such a nice little practice and to say a prayer too of course. It is a visual prayer mostly with the little flame shining. To back up a little bit we have been blogging about labyrinths the last two sessions and we could segue nicely into today’s if we would view these four women’s efforts walks on the crooked course of a labyrinth, their personal labyrinth. They would be four different but similar labyrinths each as unique as the Four Companãras are.

My goal here is to encourage them to continue on one day at a time. What they are doing is so important and so under appreciated that I am here to help. They are bigger than life stories from four bigger than life women but we all need buoying up.

I am going to attempt to write a paragraph about each. I am sure that you know people with similar energy and goals where you are but these are mine to cherish. Let me start with a story of early Seattle. Way back when during the Yukon gold rush there was a nun that traveled around with a burro and begged money from the miners. Her goal was to build a hospital for them, for all of us. I just drove by it yesterday and that is Providence Hospital in West Seattle still there and running.

So, my first companãra is Suzanne who we joke together about the idea that all she needs is a burro to accompany her on her fundraising tours to really “strike paydirt”. She is a nurse by day tending to characters such as myself and by night she is doing her other work of building a facility the likes of which is rare in these parts these days. She has been nursing many dying children and there is no place for them to make this passage comfortably. Now it happens at home which many times is woefully bad because the family is usually drained of energy and resources by then and it lacks the technology and care that a hospital could give. And then there is the hospital that lacks the whole important warmth and familiarity of home and all that brings. What is needed is something halfway between that can bring the best of both worlds simultaneously. Read about her idea at their website: .

Allison, I have never met although her brother is one of my best friends and I get snippets of news from him about her in Pittsburgh. She has a studio where she works as a sculptor. Mostly this is welding and grinding to create. Remember Pittsburgh is a steel town. The twist is that she brings in vets with problems to help them work on their own projects. Her personal labyrinth is to build a facility worthy of that. We don’t have her contact info but we know where to ask.

Third is the latest that I have added to this list and she is Kim from Marin County, CA. Kim knows a lot about gardening and combines that with new technology and new ways of thinking about it and new ways to get people together. One of her projects which I just heard of lately is the putting together gardens where prison inmates can work in the soil. I know that this sounds like it has been done before but she is bringing it back as a therapy rather than forced hardship. Kim will be here on Tuesday at 4 PM to walk Phil’s Camino if you would like to met her. I will find out more then.

And last is Annie the Producer/Director of Phil’s Camino the documentary film. It is about me but it is about all of us. It is about us as Camino people and cancer people and people who view life in a Christian manner. It has been such a success in the sense of all the countless of folks that it has inspired in it’s three years of existence. And now Annie has created the hour long version with the title Phil’s Camino, So Far So Good. And it has been a labyrinth for her to be sure. There have been fat times and lean times on all sorts of levels and categories. But Annie has tremendous energy, smarts and drive and trough plain hard work, smiles and perseverance this train is going down the tracks. She can be found at: . Kudos Annie.

So, life goes on but quality of life really hinges on efforts as these coming to fruition making life better for all of us. Thanks my companãras. Your inspiration is my inspiration. Your effort is our effort.

Making it better loves, middle of the night Felipe.

2 thoughts on “The Four Companãras”

  1. That was so nice to share, Felipe!

    You know, usual times, you hear people talking about how terrible the world is, that people spend time on the screens and not going out to meet their neighbour, or that everybody is suspicious of everybody, or that everybody is focused on climbing the ladder of success, and things like that… But in my daily life, I meet and share and know also a 50% (at least) of people who are the opposite to these… people like your “compañeras”. I often wonder how the world would be and how our thoughts would be and how our behaviours would be if what would be broadcasted would be the actions and news and speeches of these other people… What if we could read daily words of wisdom from the Dalai Lama? or what if we could really feel the sorrow in Pope Francis’s words about the latest news on abuse instead of second guessing and being critical? What if we could meet the people as fellow travelers, and not as competitors, as someone who owes us a piece of work, as someone who we should be careful about? What if we could live as in the Camino, leaving our backpacks with our stuff and gear in the albergue, without worrying?

    I know, I am too idealistic, but I have the luck to have crossed my path with more people who want this type of world than “the current broadcasted” world, that I do think it is possible… “You may say, I am dreamer, but I am not the only one”.

    Hopeful Loves,

    1. Cris ~ wonderful topic, yes? Thank you for moving along with me on this very moving topic. I am watching the coverage of Senator John McCain’s funeral service and the transport of his body from Phoenix, Az to Washington DC. All very moving and out of the ordinary. The talk about him is very healing in this time of such controversy. I think that I sense a shift in the air. Yes, there is always time for the positive, for rehabilitation, for healing for a fresh start, for a good ending. All that. Thanks for being here for us being our companãra. Felipe.x

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