Time to Pause

This is my first post for maybe five months.

It has been a wonderful time to pause, centre and immerse into contemplative practice, private discourse and growth.

Please find below a celebration of a shared experience of pausing last week.

Pausing together.

I sit next to James’ glassy eyed breath

slurring in grief and quiet disconnect to

witness stressed footfalls pass swift his lament

brown staining duvet and cardboard cement

changeless frayed fingering in woollen damp thread

cap churning suchness through fear fuelling dread.

To follow, I swallow guilt filled regret

bus fares, fast food and dead father non-sleep

sick discharge of mother and sore bloated feet

crazings on paving, stunned cracks in shared ground

oozed out un-sparing, unseen yet, profound

re-rememberings of something beyond

so still to relax I sit side by side

still breathing with James, still leaning, we Three

for grace-filled unknowings to let this time be.

 

Signs of sheer beauty

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how human our limits

that stonewall the old

when back-lit in turquoise

sage-pink and gold

we step fast from old steps

reject habitations

rooted in ivy and lichen and mould

to stretch long through wheat fields

and sing clear to blue peaks

as windmills sift slowly

the breeze that our throats seek

while temperatures rising

drench soft cloth and salt skin

as rugged the weary

pass mountain and memory

to pause at The Cross.

 

 

 

 

Camino time slips

 

 

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And as the past city life speeds,

my daze upon the Camino sporadically slips into the crevices between sandy screed, my stride scuffs un-timely, once and twice and once  again, refining the footfall to the changing crunch of striations in rock and grey-brown earth that’s been  pre-laid and pre-pounded by the millions of souls traversing This Way before me.

Founded, pre-pounded and now prepared for us by this Mother Earth who is pushing up her moulton heart to welcome home our weary souls, to reconfirm our pre-laid place beyond these shifting sands of sod.

Foot bottoms touch essences of love, then encroached within the rationality of rubber thin on rock so hard, they fall away.

This new days sun shadow softly calls to soothe minds that even still resist to  perambulate upon such pre-occupations of  partiality  that niggle into this moment the half forgotten worrisome realities of distancing and home.

Shadows follow me far and close friends unknowingly chatter away.. Their words dance with the vistas to cool and delight, to distract the night but even so the internal workings of controlling thought still finds the right to rise unbidden upon my bile filling mouth.

This sputter and spittle upon every incline salts to blend chapped lip and furred tongue to extend fibres in warmth and dampenings to darken cotton and stick to skin and to the very frame upon my back.

I stop and stoop to breathe and chill this urge to just give in, to cool these sweats to no-thing, to engage in nothing but the witnessing of white rings growing freely upon clothing, as my heart sings to the soundings of eardrums that seem well beyond me and as eventually my rich red blood of imagining flows more deeply within rivers that gurgle to meet and greet in the most fulsome expression of coughing fits that are fit to fill this verdant valley before me.

And as time passes, as I gulp into this morning again and once again as I gradually begin to lose sight of my friendly companions, this road opens to become one.

Regrouped, I pick up by baggage and gingerly step into another unknowing clump of determination and propensity to drive my limbs into  and through this mid morning slump of will.

Everything passes, this too will pass.

And so my mantra grows and sure enough, back into my stride, I glide and smile to remember that beauty and light naturally unfurls when determination and spirited will gently allows Earth’s tenderness to immerse within my feet.

Theresa of Avila (when speaking about how to move towards the infinite)

‘The secret is determination, decision and will.’

Camino 2: New daze dawning

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Waking  I have become one of the thirty-two who gather belongings in the dark and move into this new day. I have become a breathing, watching part of The Way, this emerging disparate collective of 10,000 hero’s and shero’s who every month journey towards Santiago and St James.

gloom follows darkness while

memories encroach upon

un-stretched footfalls of this repeating now.

emergent sinews warm within an unfamiliar

familiar sunrise. heart rates beat through

dust tracks of sweat to trickle back and traipse to trail

before these mountainous beauties.

Moved to become, step by step, we move towards that distant place

where Love lays bare its beckoning

where futures burn the residues of mindlessness

where soft blues circulate and commune

to toe and heal past pavement cracks

to haze and soothe in mindfulness

this earth bound cling to far off family bliss

and the half remembered vagrancies

of city centre urbane stress.

‘….so too He fashioned the hero, the poet or orator. The poet cannot do what that the other does, he can only admire, love and rejoice in the hero….for the poet is as it were the hero’s better nature, powerless it may be as a memory is, but also transfigured as a memory is.’ S. Kierkegaard, from preview to ‘Fear and Trembling.’

 

 

Astorga to Rabanal: Camino day one

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Julian Campo (Chelin) of  Rabanal Del Camino

was a rich and successful businessman who became deeply changed by his walk along The Camino de Compostella.

At the age of 50 he left Burgos with seven horses and journeyed to Calcutta where he spent his time, money and energy tending to the sick and the poor alongside Mother Theresa.

When he returned home to Galicia he’d lost so much weight that friends and family didn’t recognise him. This statue sits quietly within the little village of Rabanal de Compostella.

At the age of 54, with 20 kms under my belt and 252 more to go,  I slump slightly beside the granite rock of Julian. I touch his cool forehead  and hope that he may transmit some radical change in me.

Picking up my sticks, I decide to stop shaving and through the slow blink of this first noon day sun, Julian continues to look blankly ahead.