Monday, July 26, 2010

living in the moment

Rebekah and Paddy's bodega, Moratinos
on the Meseta

"I´m making a concerted effort to really see the world that´s moving around me,
to train my mind to not spend all my time thinking
about what happened yesterday or ten years ago or last week, 
or what I hope will or will not happen tomorrow or next month or when I´m 64.
All I have is now. And I want to live here."

~Rebekah, resident in Moratinos

Sunday, July 25, 2010

Rainbow at Orisson

part way up the pass over the Pyrenees
a magnificent rainbow draped the evening skies

“What you are in love with,

what seizes your imagination

will affect everything. 

It will decide what will get you out of bed in the mornings, 

what you will do with your evenings, 

how you spend your weekends, 

what you read, who you know, 

what breaks your heart, 

and what amazes you with joy and gratitude. 

Fall in love, stay in love, 

and it will decide everything.”

~Pedro Arrupe S.J. 


The evening spent at Orisson, part-way up the Napoleon Route over the Pyrenees,
was one of the most precious times on the whole Chemin for me.
The view was magnificent, out across the 'layers' of hills and mountains.
Then a rainbow came, and was draped right across the sky and the mountains.
(This photo of just a portion of it gives merely a hint of the glory.)

These outdoor glories, the small ones and the large ones,

are treasures in my heart
and noticing them
has seeped within
as a reason for my being.

Monday, July 12, 2010

Early Morning

leaving El Burgo Ranero early one morning 
with my friends from Quebec
"An early-morning walk 
is a blessing for the whole day. "
~Henry David Thoreau


In the countryside near Limogne-en-Quercy

"Prayer is like a secret garden
made up of silence 
and rest and inwardness.
But there are a thousand and one doors
into the garden
and we all have to find our own........."

~Jean Vanier
from ' Jean Vanier: Essential Writings' 
selected by Carolyn Whitney-Brown

What makes you come alive?

On top of O'Cebreiro
"Don't ask yourself what the world needs.
Ask yourself what makes you come alive,
and then go do that.
Because what the world needs
is people who have come alive."
~Howard Thurman

Sunday, July 11, 2010

Walking on the earth

German couple walking to Orisson in the Pyrenees 

"People usually consider walking 
on water or in thin air a miracle. 
But I think the real miracle 
is not to walk either on water or in thin air, 
but to walk on earth. 
Every day we are engaged in a miracle 
which we don't even recognize: 
a blue sky, white clouds, green leaves, 
the black, curious eyes of a child -- our own two eyes.
All is a miracle.
~  Thich Nhat Hanh

Friday, July 9, 2010


The village of Hontanas, 
on the Meseta, mid-June 2008

"Beauty consoled and strengthened me
during the countless times my legs and feet hurt from walking
and my shoulders pained from carrying my backpack.....
...... The natural splendor around me gave me hope
when my hungry soul longed for a touch of enthusiasm.
Always the many forms of beauty on the Camino
reached out to me,
asking nothing more than that I embrace their gifts."

~Joyce Rupp
in 'Walk in a Relaxed Manner: 
Life Lessons from the Camino'

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Awe and Wonder

The lushness of spring, in the countryside after Lauzerte

"The elemental spirituality is awe and wonder and delight before the creation. 
The mountains, the birds, the flowers, the children
reach out and touch us with wonder and with joy.
We sense a wonderful Creator.
We respond with thankfulness,
sometimes reverence,
engaging with the holy."

~From "We Well People" 
a book about Celtic Spirituality
by  a New Zealand author, John Hunt

Peace on the road

On the road to Los Arcos

"I'm not sure where I'm going.
Can't you give me a sign?
What's that? Peace? Why, yes, Lord.
This road is full of peace. It hangs in the air.
It's everywhere. You mean that's it?
Peace is the sign I'm on the right road?"

~in "Psalms for the Road"
by Joy Cowley
a New Zealand writer

Actually, the afternoon of the day I walked to Los Arcos,
the road on which this beautiful photo was taken,
turned out to be a 'hard day'.
For no apparent reason I felt despondent
as if I was 'lost' on the winding road
that held no signs of any village or farmhouse,
as if I would never arrive to sanctuary that afternoon.
Maybe part of the reason was simply that I was dehydrated.

But when I arrived, I was 'nurtured'
by a wonderful group of Irishmen who shared dinner with me,
and a gentle massage therapist who worked wonders on my legs and ankles.
I felt despondent, and some simple kindnesses worked wonders.
Thanks to my angels.

Tuesday, July 6, 2010

Thanks always

'Climbing' to Rabanal del Camino

"Blessed are you, pilgrim,
when you have no words to give thanks
for all the wonders in every nook of the camino."

~From Saint Anthony's Messenger, Aug 7, 2002
quoted by sil on Camino de Santiago Forum

you are precious to my eyes

Cloister at Los Arcos

"....Vanier learned to befriend weakness not just in others but in himself.
'Let's stop running away from ourselves and from the deepest parts of our beings,'
he encouraged people on retreat.
'Let us simply stop and start listening to our own hearts.
There we will touch a lot of pain.
We will possibly touch a lot of anger.
We will possibly touch a lot of loneliness and anguish.
Then we will hear something deeper.
We will hear the voice of Jesus;
we will hear the voice of God.
'I love you. You are precious to my eyes and I love you.' "

~ From America Magazine: Jean Vanier's Gift for Living
By Carolyn Whitney-Brown, December 22, 2008

Walking from Le Puy, for the first three weeks I mostly walked alone,
lots of time to think and reflect.
I cannot now be sure, whether it was during those weeks or later on,
but the phrase "you are precious to my eyes and I love you"
took hold of me several times, very deeply
and there was a certainty about it.
I am a very lapsed Catholic,
but at those times I knew, completely, I was enveloped in Love.

Ave Maria

Statue of the Virgin (12th century)
Iglesia de Santa MarĂ­a la Real, O'Cebreiro

"Ave Maria gratia plena
Dominus tecum
Benedicta tu in mulieribus
Et benedictus fructus ventris tui, Jesus"

"Hail Mary, full of grace,
the Lord is with thee
blessed art thou among women
and blessed is the fruit of thy womb, Jesus.

Monday, July 5, 2010

The end of the Camino

0.00 km marker near the lighthouse at Finisterre

"Blessed are you, pilgrim,
because you have discovered
that the true camino begins at its end."

~From Saint Anthony's Messenger, Aug 7, 2002
quoted by sil on Camino de Santiago Forum

I know that when I had finished walking
it felt like I had learned so many important lessons
about simplicity and calm, and taking time to listen,
and rhythms of the feet, and noticing the little things......
that my life would change when I returned home.

But back home, back at work,
life was so busy it was hard to hold onto that hope
and for a while I felt down, as if nothing had changed.

But then I realised, that peace and calm did reside within
that I had new priorities
I was no longer just fodder for the rat-race
and slowly slowly
this new simplicity
has been sending its roots deeper
into the soil of my being.

Saturday, July 3, 2010

I want to add to the beauty....

Dandelion seen one morning, after leaving Miradoux

"We come with beautiful secrets
We come with purposes written on hearts
written on our souls
We come to every new morning
with possibilities only we can hold

Redemption comes in strange places, small spaces,
Calling out the best of who we are
I want to add to the beauty
to tell a better story...."

~From a blog by Kelle Hampton

Kelle has two small girls, Lainey and Nella.
Her baby, Nella, is just a few months old
and was born with Down Syndrome.
Kelle is a photographer who takes exquisite photos of her life
and especially of her girls.

Pilgrimage in the tougher times

Pilgrim leaving Rieutort d'Aubrac
on a morning that promises difficult weather conditions, like the day before.

"Brendan who was leading the Novena said,
“If you don’t feel like doing this,
if you are angry, if you have problems, if your faith is weak…
you are especially welcome…
come on the journey with us and let us support you through these nine days together.”

In that moment I realised that last year that’s what my Caminos
including the nine day journey in Clapham
had done for me.
I’ve learned that pilgrimage is not just for the good times in life,
it can also be about sustaining us
through the times of great difficulty."

~From Johnnie Walker's post
'Pilgrimage is not just for the good times'