Day 1 of Project 2015

Happy New Year!!

Cannot believe we are at the start of another year – that means we are at the start of our “project”/”experiment” at looking at life from a brighter perspective.

This morning, as we sat at breakfast reflecting on 2014 and what lies ahead for us, we thought, there is so much more than just thinking about things from a brighter perspective – sometimes it’s looking at things from a different perspective.

So what is in store for us in the coming days, months and year ahead?

A lot of reflecting on our every day, on the little things, on the things that don’t look profound or memorable, on the things we may prefer to forget or on the things that let us down.

Our challenge for the year ahead to turn things around and see it all in a positive light or simply from a different angle. This fresh outlook can’t do any harm but if it can do some good – well, then that’s just darn brilliant.

Along with seeing things differently, we are setting ourselves some goals to try and “slow down” time. We want to see if it’s possible because we recently read that if we did different things all the time, our perception of time changes. So let’s see if that is also true. As part of this challenge, every day of the year, we are also going to try something new or do something differently. Out with routine and in with variety.

And this blog endeavours to capture how this year-long challenge/project/experiment/mindset goes. This time next year, we want to be writing how we had a year that lasted longer than 365 days (luckily it’s not a leap year) and that we really had more highs than lows. We want 2015 to be a year where nothing is going to get us down…. NOTHING!

Wish us luck and join us for the ride.

Here we are at Day 1! And what can we share….

Today to mark the beginning of something fantastic this year, we chose to sit down and write down some goals for 2015. Then we decided to spend it doing things that we wanted our year to be filled with… we played games, we ate good food, we laughed, we read, we exercised.

Summary for January 1

What new thing did we try? (We’ll call them “newbies” for future posts)

We made and tasted Strawberries and Cream Iced Tea. This was a Christmas gift from some very dear friends of ours. What a refreshing and delicious drink for a hot day like today. 

And for the brighter perspective?

On our evening walk today, we came across this: 

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We felt this was so very symbolic of how we are going to change the way we see things. Instead of being down, we are going to pick ourselves right up again. 

And that is exactly what we did, we walked on over and fixed it as best we could. Making those bins stand upright again…. 

Off to a good start, may the positivity surround us for the next 364 days 🙂

 

Putting our words to practice…

Where do we go post-Camino to have a break and relax? We go to Paris, where else? And moreover, we are hoping that the lessons we have learnt on the Camino have stuck, and where else to practice than a city with 2.2 million people and where 27 million tourists come to visit a year.

Yes, culture shock straight away but this time, we see this city in a completely different light to what we did pre-Camino! Our biggest thrill was getting to eat something that wasn’t “Menu del dia” (i.e. Menu of the Day). We had lots of choice now gastronomically 🙂

We took a day trip to Versailles & you could describe it as a day riddled with challenges that normally we would’ve acted differently. But with only less than a week since completing our Camino, maybe we have faced our first chance to practice what we learnt!

Today we got rained upon, we got blown away, we had to line up for over 2 hours, we were surrounded by hundreds of people squeezing through tiny doorways and we had our train cancelled and needed to find another way back to the hotel.

Not once did we lose our cool and not once did we utter a negative comment and not once did we resent the situation we were in. Hopefully, we are beginning to realise that the negative reactions creates nothing else but pain for ourselves. And why would we choose to do that?

All the while, we accepted the situation we were in and carried on. We saw lots of other emotions in our fellow travellers and we just knew which ones we wanted to be – the happy and carefree ones that don’t let these type of things spoil their experience. Because until we can learn that this is part of the experience, we will never really be happy.

Day 32 –Molinaseca to Villafranca del Bierzo

We wanted to visit the Templar Castle in Ponferrada but sadly, that is closed on Monday  😦 But because tomorrow is our rest day we will be sure to catch a bus back from here and visit it in the morning.

The weather has turned a little now, it is getting cooler and we are entering Galicia where apparently the weather becomes more unpredictable. And this afternoon, we got rain… rain is predicted for the next few days but oh well, what can we do?

Today, we stopped for a hot chocolate and found there was a pinball machine in sight! Aha – we haven’t played on one for ages!!! So 2 Euros later we had a few goes, David being slightly more successful than Le J But what is more important is that we had a blast.

Our inner child really shone and we felt like we had no inhibitions amongst a bunch of adults to play this game that clearly was intended for “kids”. And so it got us thinking, we were laughing and giggling like school kids – we all have that inner child in us. Just because we are clocking up the years, doesn’t mean that our minds need to grow serious or that we can’t be silly sometimes.

We need to let loose and we just need to be free. We’ve hit a point on the Camino where we truly feel free. Whether it was the unloading we did yesterday at Cruz de Ferro but we have spent much of today, just feeling weightless (if we can say that). In the past 2 days, we have laughed so much, more than we have on this journey so far.

It’s like our contemplative selves have reached a point where we are comfortable with our inner selves. Really and truly comfortable. We are happy with who we are and accept ourselves entirely! We are at peace within ourselves. And it is the most uplifting and enlightening feeling ever.

Life is too short for us to be serious and not to enjoy ourselves and be who we really want to be. And if that means, letting that inner child loose… then so be it! Remember, age is just a number, it doesn’t define who we are or how we should behave or think. Obviously there is a difference between maturity and immaturity but who says you can’t be mature yet let your inner child have fun. Look at toddlers and children – they are so innocent, pure and free-spiritied. It’s precious…. We shouldn’t lose some of that just because we “grow up”!

When we are back to our lives away from the Camino, we will be sure to remember that we were all kids once and that that kid, never really went anywhere!

Day 19 – Hornillos to Castrojeriz

It rained really heavily overnight and we were just hoping that it would have blown through by today! And it did 🙂 HOORAY!

So we didn’t have to walk through rain but we did find our inner child and enjoy sloshing through MUD. The town we have arrived in is quaint and rather quiet but we like that. After all the serenity walking on these fields – silence is bliss. Which reminds us of a quote we saw recently on Facebook: something about peace is not silence but being able to find calm in the chaos.

We would agree and disagree on some level about that. Why don’t we just scrap the chaotic life and then we won’t have to try and find peace because we would have it? 🙂

Oh well, guess it is like what we wrote about previously… there has to be opposites in this world!

The mud today proved to be rather difficult to walk through and “slowed” us down. Before we hit the part with all the mud, we felt like we were tracking so well and really found the morning walk quite easy.

But as with everything in life, we can’t become complacent or egotistical – because once we hit that mud, we were slipping and sliding and our pace slowed RIGHT down!

Sometimes obstacles and challenges are thrown into the mix of life on purpose – not to torture us or make us “crack” but to bring us back to NOW. It brings us back down to earth… grounds us, makes us conscious of every step. Focus on the journey rather than just the destination. Makes us feel that arriving at our goal is all the more satisfying and rewarding because if we get somewhere too easily, it doesn’t mean much any more – it loses its value.

So we will remember this as a lesson, that when we are faced with blips on a smooth run, that it is for our own good! That we shouldn’t be so resentful of these hiccups and just be glad that we could continue forward – see it in a brighter perspective!

 

 

 

Day 18 – Burgos to Hornillos

(playing catch ups because wifi was not very good at the place we stayed yesterday)

We have arrived into Hornillos and are staying about 6 km out of town in a lovely guesthouse. It is on a beautiful farm and so peaceful especially after the mayhem and bustle of Burgos!

We are now on the part that they call the “Meseta” which we have heard people speaking about in the lead up – sounded rather daunting, unnerving and a mental challenge. So what is it about this section? Well, from what we gather it is flat, isolating and just open plains with little shade and shelter – which is a stark contrast to the ups and downs and dense surroundings we have been use to.

It has only been one day for us, but apparently it goes on like this for several more! It possibly is the time when the body and mind becomes fatigued and we start questioning our motives for walking. We will see how we manage these stages ahead! Today seemed ok… but it is hard to say when the weather was forecasted to be rain and storm and we managed to get an overcast day!

Seems like we have learnt not just from the walking and solitude and silence. We have certainly learnt a great deal from those around us too! Some of the things we have learnt are practical things that have helped us with foot care on the walk – but a few other things that we have discovered are not practical as such but have made us more reflective and inspire us in different ways.

One of the things is that this year, we can get TWO certificates for finishing the Camino de Santiago. It is exactly 800 years since St Francis of Assisi completed this pilgrimage. And so only once every hundred years is this certificate issued as well as the usual Compostela. Yes, ONE in every 100 hundred years and it happens to be this year. Apparently this year is called the Year of the Pilgrims. We had NO idea about any of this when we decided to do it this year, we just felt compelled to do it.

Which leads us to a conversation we had with an Italian young lady just the other day and as we talked, she said, “They say you don’t choose to do the Camino, it chooses you!”

And it was then the penny dropped and the puzzle was slowly beginning to piece itself together.

So why did we choose to do the Camino this year? We are doing the Camino to raise funds and awareness for Angelman Syndrome but we are also doing it for ourselves.

Last year sometime, we spoke to several people who had done the Camino recently and it started us thinking that it was something we wanted to do one day. It sounded like it was a great opportunity to do some soul searching and bring our life back to basics – escape the run-of-the-mill life that we had gotten so used to. So we made a pact – that we would do it before we turned 40: almost like a “bucket list” type of thing.

Then after barely any deliberation we spontaneously decided that 2014 was the year to do it! It was on a whim & we just committed to it. There was no backing out now…. And so here we are!

After what the Italian lady had said to us about the Camino calling us – we realise that is what happened to us because we cannot truly explain why we changed our mind from giving ourselves 8 years to do it – to deciding that it would be within the year! And then to learn that we get 2 certificates – one of which is only issued every hundred years! To us seems like a blessing and a true calling especially as we were totally oblivious to the timing of our walk.

Things in life happen for a reason, don’t resist it! If it’s meant to be, it is meant to be! We need to learn to listen to our intuition and instincts more – sometimes our rational minds have been brainwashed by the routine of society! Take a moment and let your soul be free and see where it takes you!