Pink plaid tie.

Father David makes a big deal out of getting the rituals right and keeping things beautiful. Today on this Fourth Sunday of Lent he wanted us to wear pink or rose. I really had to dig through my vast wardrobe to find something but came up with a plaid tie with a substantial amount of pink so I was cool. In his homily he talked about joy and the gift of joy. The gift of joy meaning that it is something that we receive rather than something that we can generate ourselves, a gift from God. Father David is big on joy.

Also I am off to My Rebecca’s church here in a few minutes. Our buddy, author Catherine Johnson, is going to talk about her book Finding Mercy in This World for the sermon there. In my own humble opinion that book is an award winner.

Today during our service I was overwhelmed with the thought of how heavily I am invested in living on borrowed time. I easily take all my medical treatment for granted but not that many years ago there would not have been any of that. Or I take my own tenacity for granted and don’t give myself credit for coping so well with the ups and downs of treatment for all these years.

What is there about my ability to wrestle with this strong opponent successfully? I must have picked up some clues somewhere in my past. And it just struck me that in my high school wrestling career I leaned heavily on the principles of jujitsu. In japanese it means gentle skill. As I understand it and as I used it, it is the way of using an adversary’s strength against them. In other words there is always someone who is stronger than you out there. These techniques work on everyone but they work better on those who are stronger. The secret being that through the use of timing and adding energy an opponent can be unbalanced.

The more I think about it the more I see how I have used this against my cancer. Not in a battle of muscle, speed and leverage but with similar mental/spiritual components. One can win battles from positions of weakness is the takeaway.

OK, time to pack it up and go listen to Catherine. Then walk and tapas later today. Life is good even on borrowed time.

Wishing you the best, Felipé.

Finding The Time

More color!

Having enough time to do a good job with our relationships is a good goal to work toward. And maybe to have a little time for ourselves to read or self express. I do feel fortunate to have craved out enough time to do this blog everyday. I should count that in my blessings.

I think today is the day that Catherine and I are off to Confession. I am so bad in the sense that I have put it off so long. During my first years as a parishioner I went every few months and somehow now I’ve slipped into the minimum catagory going once a year. And with Easter coming the pressure is on to get it do. Geez, more pressure. But it feels so good when I am finished, yes that’s true.

Tomorrow is our Sunday afternoon walk. I have been trying to get The Camino back in shape and I am close to that. We lost the shelter at the rockpile and if I can get that up and the table straightened up that would be great. Some of the nurses are coming out to be with us. There was some rumor about them bringing their ukuleles.

Let’s see what Day 22 has for us inEveryday Camino with Annie.

I release and let go,
I let the Spirit run my life
and my heart is open wide,
yes, I’m only here for God.

fromI Release by Rickie Byars & Michael Beckwith

Yes, I do admit I need some help running my life. The Spirit it would seem could do a better job at my fumblings. I will work on this. Maybe this is part of my Confession today.

Thanks for stopping by. Walk tomorrow at 4. Hope that you have sun where you are to enjoy.

In with the Spirit loves, Felipé.

You Can’t Go Wrong

Corn acomin, I just sent for my seed.

Is it me or are most folks short on time? It feels like everything I do could have been better prepared. After a while I wing this and I wing that trying to patch it together. I need more of a Thoreau approach with less irons in the fire.

But whatever the situation I don’t think that we can go wrong with showing appreciation for the things in our lives. Gratitude always works it seems in each and every situation. There was just a FB post with a pic of a little raggedy kid who was smiling like crazy. And the caption was something like, “It’s not happy people who are grateful, it is grateful people who are happy.” Yea, right!

What does Annie have for us today, this 21st day of Lent. Oh she has gone Old Testament on us:

Be still and know that
I am God.
Psalm 46:10

Yes, that looks like more of a Thoreau approach to the whole situation. A few less irons in the old fire would be good. Well, and that is only half of it. Being more still may give us a better chance of getting closer to God. There would be less clutter in the way.

That certainly worked for me on the Camino. I was way closer to God and my fellow man just in general. I had that simplicity that the life style allowed. It all seemed so easy.

Off I go on my busy day. Maybe I can find some way to jettison a few things on my list of things to do. Grateful loves, Felipé.

Gratitude Again

Giving thanks

I think that it wouldn’t be inaccurate to say that gratitude is the gateway to everything. We need to give thanks before asking for our impossible. Before feeding the five thousand Jesus gave thanks for what He started with.

It is not a sin to think big. That is true but I don’t know exactly where I am going with that but just let it sit there and rest. It is a part in another puzzle.

Almost five year ago now I remember being a part of the miracle of the tiny piece of soap. I got caught without my usual soap that I carried and there on the sink in plain sight was the tiniest piece that someone just before me had left recognizing it’s value. I washed with it and there was still plenty left when I was done so I left where I found it. For all I know it has been there for twelve hundred years. St Francis may have used it on his pilgrimage before me. Really Felipé?

Anyway, let’s see what Annie’s quote for Day 20 is, oh a Shakespeare!

O Lord who lends me life,
lend me a heart replete
with thankfulness

~ William Shakespeare

Here we are half way to Easter. Time flies here at Caminoheads. We are privileged, we are thankful, we are open, we are ready, we are first and foremost grateful!

Soapy loves, Felipé.

Hump Day

On the Meseta, August 2014.

Not that Hump Day makes too much difference around here. As Steve-O NWBC says, “We never close!” We are open weekends, holidays, whatever. Here to serve you, pilgrims worldwide, is what we are about.

I see on FB that Roni and Callum are in North Carolina. If I am not mistaken they are there to attend the APOC Gathering. Is anyone else off in that direction, Nancy from Kansas City?
Maybe one of these years I should go. Probably will wait for it to be on the West Coast.

Last evening I caught wind of an Order of Malta pilgrimage to the Lady of Guadalupe shrine in Mexico City. That sounds very interesting to me. The whole LOG phenomenon is intriguing. Has anyone been there that would like to report on it?

Day 19 of Lent today. Let’s cover the quote from Annie’s Everyday Camino with Annie:

I need to be alone. I need to ponder my shame and my despair in seclusion; I need the sunshine and the paving stones of the streets without companions, without conversation, face to face with myself, with only the music of my heart for company.
~ Henry Miller

To Annie this equates to walking the Meseta, the middle third of the Camino Frances. It might be called the dreaded Meseta too in the sense that it is hard and demanding. It is skipped by some. I remember hearing all this early on and deciding that I needed to walk that part for sure. It is part of being the guy that does everything the hard way.

But in the end it was my favorite part for I found refuge in it’s seclusion, in it’s desolation. I loved it’s dry land farming the miles and miles of it. It was all very real to me. Pilgrim’s looked out for each other in a way that they didn’t in easier stretches.

Even though I bused from Leon to Samos I was still plenty beat up for the last 100 kilometers. This limping, rumpled, dusty look separated us from the clean people at Sarria. We love them too of course but there was an obvious difference in the populations.

OK, off I go. The sun is shining and there is a long list yet. We are together and that is what counts. Thanks for stopping by. Dusty loves, Felipé.

PS – And to think of it the Meseta is actually the hump or middle section of the Camino, how appropriate. It all fits together nicely in the end.

Sometimes I Think…

Pic that Kelly took on the Camino. It is my favorite of his.

Sometimes I think that we all live on an island. It’s a big island, big enough to give us the feeling that we are all that is. And rushing by this island is a mighty flow of a river. Only thing is we have never seen it.

We think that we know that it is there. But most of the time we are too frightened to even get close. There are stories of those who ventured out in that direction and failed to return or come back babbling. So we just don’t go or even think about it.

But there is a certain curiosity that comes over us occasionally in our weak moments. But usually we shake it off. But still we try to define it and figure it out in a sort of hobby way. But you know.

Occasionally a random drop of it splashs up toward us. And we run to capture it. It is small and weak compared to from where it came and it does not threaten us. It is just the tippy tippy end of a whip of energy that cracks occasionally within our hearing. And we run to capture it.

It will be dissected and analyzed to death before things are over and we will feel like we accomplished something, something important. It will give its life for our curiosity. In the end 99.44% of it will be turned into numbers. This is the language that we understand and that we can slice and dice and compare with what else we know.

But what of the deep and wide river that we have analyzed a drop of? What does it think of our important attempts to explore its scary mysteries? What have we learned today in our few moments that we have allotted to this project?

So it seems. And surprisingly our Annie Day 18 quote for today meshes with this well:

We would rather be ruined than changed.
We would rather die in our dread
Than climb the cross of the moment
And let our illusions die.
W.H. Auden

I think it was Dana was saying here in the last few days that she missed my steroid sessions when I would be up in the middle of the night writing these amazing long posts. Well, no steroids for the foreseeable future but I did write this today in an attempt to make up for it.

All good, alperfect really loves, Felipé.

Ahh, Good Coffee

Phil’s Camino these days.

Monday morning here at the ranch. And it looks like I am a day ahead on my quotes from Annie’s book. We did one yesterday on our day of rest. So, we are wide open here with forty minutes to cover anything we desire.

How about the upcoming Caminoheads Convention. There is a topic that needs some work. I have done very little on organizing this so far. But I did want to get the dates out to the world early and those are the 23rd-26th of August. I have haphazardly told people about it as I run into them but I need to have an offical invitation go out. So, you are all invited but I am behind on doing it in a formal way.

We need you to come if you read this blog, have walked any pilgrimage or want to but haven’t yet. If you you are in anyway interested in the process or traveling with someone who is we need you to show up. It is a get together and we won’t have minute after minute keep you busy activities. But we will have some stuff.

I need to gather up a small group of people to be a steering committee and get this thing started. We have to address all the different aspects of it. So, that is next.

Someone said this is how Woodstock got started in a very innocent way. Yea, a Caminoheads Woodstock. We could get a bunch of hoses and make a bunch of mud for ambience.

Well, that was on my mind, glad we covered it. August seems like lightyears away but it will be here before you know it. It will all work out.

Lightyears-O-Loves, Felipé.

It’s Brightening up.

Beautiful pic from Kelly from 2014. Not that this changes much, fortunately.

The sun is finding it’s way through the morning clouds. Walking later with people coming at the popular Sunday afternoon time. Should be six or seven folks at least I am guessing. Should be a roaring tapas!

There it is the first lawn mower add on TV of the spring. That always meant that my phone would start ringing with people calling to have me do something for them, build this or build that. It was often the case that carpenters would be starving all winter and then one day everyone wants stuff done yesterday. Just saying. And funny the phone just rang but it was some junk call from some other state. Glad I am not starting to read the future.

I had two folks come up to me at Mass today and say how they liked my talk on Thursday evening about the trip last year to Lourdes. And another couple folks saying sorry that they weren’t there. Well, that is all very heartening. I think that I covered some important territory that evening and I am glad that I had the opportunity.

And our night out on the town with Tim and Cathy last night was much appreciated. Thanks guys for getting us out of the house and off to dinner and a concert. We went to see Makana a Hawaiian musician that plays Hawaiian slack key guitar. It was a terrific show and always fun to see something new with cultural import.

“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be. When I let go of what I have, I receive what I need. When I feel most destroyed, I am about to grow.” Adapted from Lao Tzu.

The more I look at this the more Camino this appears to me. We took time to let go of our normal lives, we lived out of our backpack to let go of what we had and we did in a number of ways feel destroyed. Perfect really. It is a very close view of the situation and something that appears to me now so real that it has it’s own blisters, sunburn and glow just like we had. Good one.

Off I go. Time for lunch. Miss you’ll loves, Felipé.

Saturday, A Day Off?

Pile-O-Books hanging with Felipé.

I don’t know what I would do if I had to take a day off. This is Saturday and once I get this written I will be off on some project or other here at the ranch where something is always calling help. Help to finish the firewood, to get the winter damage cleaned up, fix the trail up, all that. The good part of that is that I no longer have great anxiety over it. I just find it rewarding to be busy.

It came up in Bible Guys today, “What would you do if you only had one week to live?” A very telling question this one. I’ve been through this more times then I can remember with my cancer hobby always looming. Something to think about.

And I want to catch up on Annie’s quotes. Can we do two again? That would do it. Here is Day 15: “Ultreya et Suseia!” Annie writes that these are Latin words used primarily on the Camino. It is ancient graffiti coming down to us from far away in time.
It’s purpose is to urge us on, to keep going on our Camino. Very cool I would say to get this from our forebears.

Then to get us totally up to speed there is this quote for Day 16: “Let me seek, then, the gift of silence, and poverty, and solitude where everything I touch is turned into a prayer, the wind in the trees is my prayer, for God is all in all.” Thomas Merton

Oh, how totally lovely. This could really be every day but I am thinking how well this fits with the earlier question about how would you spend your final week? This seems like a plan here to me at the moment. We should have that kind of peace to just be and be in touch with God so intimately.

Yea, it is classic gray sky overhead here at Raven Ranch. Time for lunch and then a few precious hours of being outside. Ivette our old friend is here and Cathy and Tim and another couple are coming later today. We are all havin dinner out and a concert here locally.

Later loves, Felipé.

So Happy With Myself

Lourdes 2018

I delivered a nice talk last evening about my pilgrimage to Lourdes last year. That was spring, the first week in May. I’ve had some good time to digest it by now.

Remembering how hard it was to blog about when I first got back. It takes time to break down anything that subtle. I had to gnaw on it for many hours. My old friend Jim says to understand some poetry you have rub up against it like those smooth shinny boards in the horse’s stall that only get that way over time. Yea, like that.

I gave the folks at my parish the my true blue account of my encounter with the situation there in Lourdes. It was actually hard for me to do in a faithful way. I wanted to do it only like Felipé could do it, through Felipé’s eyes. And I didn’t want to ruffle too many feathers at the same time.

To begin my talk to the parish I had to thank them for the warm welcome that they have given me over the last six years. There was a woman in the audience that also came in that same year so that was good to see her and to see how our presence as converts has been totally accepted. You know not that they wouldn’t but here I was going to deliver this report on a pretty sensitive area and I wanted it to be truthful and acceptable.

What I am getting at is that I had to admit that I didn’t see people “throwing down their crutches” or experiencing any exceptional sensations. But life always seems larger,deeper, broader, more brilliant, more exceptional than my expectations. And Lourdes was like that.

Let me list a few of the perceptions that one could come away with. One could get outside oneself. One could get beyond the “why me?” One could see plenty of others that have bigger problems than they have. One could see suffering in others and relate to it, relate to them. One could start to understand suffering as Christlike. One could understand Christ better because of their own personal suffering. One could start to understand the purpose of suffering. One could also become closer to Mary as I was striving to do.

Could be endless really what goes on there that to me would be in the catagory of healing and not curing at all. We understand the situation better and therefore live more joyfully and at peace with our problems. And time will tell. God has a totally different feel for time than we do. We want everything yesterday and when things take time we may not even recognize their significance.

We are talking about it right? Of course it is the world according to Felipé but still. Let me know if you have something to add to all that.

Peaceful loves, Felipé.