Day 11 of Project 2015

Probably the MOST significant date this year for us. We went to a public talk at the Art Gallery about meditation and the ancient wisdoms of Buddhism.

We absolutely were so delighted to have sat through that hour and a half talk that reinforced what we are trying to do this year for ourselves. It was almost like a confirmation that we are on the right track to happiness.

Thanks to the Camino, it taught us so much. Although, it didn’t directly teach us, it pushed us along to learn for ourselves. The things we heard to today were things we had written about in our daily reflections on our walk.

We learnt some practical ways about how we can find real happiness. and free ourselves from pain or problems.

Such simple actions that can set us well on our path to be happy!

We learnt that our MIND is just SPACE that takes no shape, form or colour. That we can in fact control it. That to achieve happiness we need inner peace. To free ourselves of pain or problems, we need to understand what is the cause of it.

We can shift our attitudes by being virtuous in our thoughts and actions and shun non-virtuous behaviours. We can also find inner peace by thinking LESS about how important we are and realise that everyone is important. This will help shake the non-virtuous behaviours such as annoyance, impatience, rudeness.

Remove our pain or problems by letting go of anger and uncontrollable desires. These two disturb the possibility of inner peace and subsequently happiness.

So why do we get angry (unhappy, frustrated, impatient, annoyed)?

Either because something happened that we DIDN’T plan or want

OR

because something DIDN’T happen that we wanted or planned.

It’s as simple as that – and it is just so obvious.

It really helps when someone is there to put it so candidly for us.

Then from an uncontrollable desires perspective – it’s this desire/need/want that gets us (as humans) into trouble. Thinking that if we GET what we want, we will be happy when in fact… happiness has got nothing to do with external factors.

Happiness (as is suffering) is our STATE of MIND that can not be created by something else or someone else…. only by the owner of the mind which is OURSELVES. Detach from desires, passions, needs and wants and free ourselves.

The speaker talked about how our bodies are just material matter, it is the mind that is what needs to be improved and nurtured because it is what lives forever. The analogy she gave was that our body is like a bird’s nest and the mind is like a bird. When we die from THIS life, the bird will leave the nest and find another nest. The bird lives on and so do the best you can for that bird in this LIFE. This is the start of a different topic: Karma which we didn’t explore in the talk today.

And before anyone jumps in disagreement or rejects the words of the speaker, she also mentioned that the basis for people not liking what someone else says is simply because it doesn’t align with what they currently believe. Why does it always have to be “your” way? This is where we stop being open-minded, flexible and therefore not on the path to inner peace and freedom.

This talk opened up so much more for us to learn and explore. As the speaker rightfully said, we are ALL on the path for happiness. No one wants to suffer.

So what has anyone got to lose by sharing more love, patience, compassion, kindness and other virtues!

Summary of January 11

Newbies

We attended a public talk that was advertised on a pamphlet we found on a local noticeboard. We said YES to trying something different and new.

Brighter/Different Perspective?

It felt so fitting that today it rained a lot. The past week or so, it has been so hot and humid with blue skies. And today, we had a day in town with constant rain. What was quite pleasing for us, was that we didn’t grumble or mind? Our time on the Camino really has shaped our thinking. And then what we learnt today has just kept us right on track to achieve what we are seeking. 

“If you can’t change it, change the way you think about it.” 
― Maya Angelou

Day 3 of Project 2015

An interesting morning for both of us as we both awoke to rather vivid dreams. Le dreaming about crowds and queues and buses heading in wrong directions. David dreaming about villains chasing him into water and then him fighting back.

We are by no means experts in dream interpretation but could our dreams be a sign that we need to start shaking any negativity away from us?

For Le – is there an element of moving on and feeling confused about where she is going? There is a lot of chaos and people around that are hindering what she needs to do?!

For David – is he trying to run away from something toxic in his life? He needs to face and fight rather than run?

How it would be wonderful to be able to know what our dreams mean? One of our goals also for this year is to try and practice lucid dreaming – all as part of our spiritual discovery.

Summary of January 3

Newbies

We woke up earlier than usual and went for a 7km walk this morning. We felt so refreshed and energised the entire day.

Brighter/Different Perspective

As the sun started to shine it’s fiery rays down, we began to get weary but came across this Indigenous Sculpture: “The Serpent”. The way we also see this, is an arrow up. That there is always an “up” to every down 🙂 No matter what we dream, as long as our conscious stays happy and uplifted, we can continue achieving anything.

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Day 2 of Project 2015

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Le finished reading this book today and it had a few themes throughout that resonated with us. Yes, this is just a book, a fictional book at that. Le chose to read it because of the medical condition that was mentioned in it yet somehow we are able to take away some life lessons from it as well. This book reinforced and reconfirmed our thinking.

Without spoiling too much of the book, in case you plan to read it yourself one day, the character is forced (in an unpleasant way) to slow down her life and reevaluate what is important to her. A powerful and determined woman who put a lot of emphasis on her career that has to come to terms with not returning to the life she once knew.

Money, career and success is not everything! It does not make us happy, it does not define us and it certainly should not be at the sacrifice of everything else that we value and hold dear.

The book reminded us that it is essential to slow down and focus on what is meaningful in our lives. We have too often read books or watched movies, where an event (usually disastrous) is the catalyst for re-prioritising. These movies or books are wake-up calls to society yet how often do people just pass these off as entertainment? It is more than that, read between the lines and stop and reevaluate. It could be the sign you were waiting for.

Summary of January 2

Newbies

Today, we decided to walk to do our grocery shop. It isn’t how we normally do it but we figured that we had enough “walking” training on the Camino and that we would also save the environment by reducing our carbon footprint. We called it our “healthy” shop – not only because we squeezed in some exercise but we also bought less because we had to carry it home; no junk food or snacks or unnecessary items. 

Brighter/Different Perspective?

Would you believe after completing the original version of this post, we somehow managed to lose it all?! And instead of obscenities ($%^&$) being thrown around, we calmly opened a new post to re-write it best we could. We figured what we had written in the other post was not meant to see the light of day 🙂 So hope you enjoy the revised version instead! It also teaches us to hit “SAVE”. 

Day 40 – Portomarin to Palas de Rei

The weather was glorious today and we felt so fortunate to have the blue skies. But even when it rains we feel fortunate. We cannot stop smiling and being happy.

We walked with a wonderful friend that we met back in Belorado and we have constantly been running into her since. We have become Facebook friends with her and some people you just click with and she is one of those people we were meant to meet on the Camino (at least that is the way we see it).

We saw more cows on the road and have seen the scenery change so much since when we started. There were teenage school students on the trail today and as noisy as teenage students are, it didn’t both us one teeny tiny bit. We chatted with some and we just enjoyed the hectic-ness. We were once kids so why get grumpy or annoyed at them. They were there like we were – to walk the Camino.

And slowly this walk has shown us so much already and over the 40 days…. We know what makes us happy!! We have found the font of happiness. It is within us. It is within appreciating every moment of the now. It is up to us. We choose whether we are happy or not with our situation. It is not our situation that makes us happy. It is not our travels that makes us happy. It is not the things we own that makes us happy. It is not the sun that makes us happy. It is US that makes us happy.

All those things that we enjoy and might contribute to our decision to be happy but ultimately, seeking happiness doesn’t need to be too far from home. There are things that we love that adds to our choice of being happy such as our families, our friends, our travels, our humble home, our life experiences, our hobbies and interests and so when we are back home or away from the Camino and we feel a little down… we know what it is that we need to reflect on, to help us turn our frowns upside down!

Walking this Camino has made us both so happy and as we said a few posts ago, we feel so free! We want this feeling forever so we will work to achieve it as it is up to us. It may be as simple as just living in the now! This opportunity to slow down and hit the refresh button has really given us a new perspective on the way we need to live our lives. We can make it happen and be happy while working full-time jobs or not. The choice is ours and always has been but until we were ready to see it, it was never going to be found!

 

 

 

Day 24 –Terradillos de los Templarios to Bercianos del Real Camino

(yesterday’s post that we couldn’t get online)

When we left this morning – it was still pitch black despite it being almost 8 am. The dark clouds were looming but we managed to escape any rain – thank goodness!

We could be hitting the wall right about now. Although we manage to do the 26-odd km on back-to-back days, we are finding that today was really hard on the body. Tomorrow is 26 km again, so it will be interesting to see how we hold up.

Each step seems to be taking slower and the body seems to not want to cooperate. But at the end of the day- we get here just like any other day so far.

It’s been a couple of interesting days on the road. Seems like the hordes of pilgrims are dispersing into their own rhythms now as we are seeing fewer and fewer. And once again as we have had a rest day, we are walking amongst the next lot of pilgrims so are not recognizing anyone… back to making new friends! 🙂

Today we reflected whether this walk would bring us even closer together. We only had our 6-year wedding anniversary a week ago and so are still very early days into being veterans at marriage but we have lots that we are proud of. We are no experts nor are we saying our marriage is perfect but we talked about the strengths of our relationship and what we were happy about it.

What is it that we think we do good?

  • We are more than just husband and wife, we are best friends, we are a team!
  • We work through things together and we talk about everything. There is literally no topic that is considered taboo between us.
  • We are open about our feelings, we call a spade a spade to one another – there is no tippy-toeing and there is no right or wrong when it comes to opinions!
  • Every night, whether we are on holidays or at home, we make sure that we climb into bed together. And we greet and farewell each other with a kiss and a cuddle.
  • We appreciate one another. We are married and we consider ourselves as our own “family”, so we place US first when we make any decisions.
  • We do things together because it makes us both happy.

Yes, we disagree/argue/fight or whatever you want to call it. But we never go to bed angry, we never walk away from a fight and we never argue on the phone. Our arguments are always face-to-face. We make sure there is a clear end or resolution to the disagreement and then move on. We don’t revisit those discussions or dwell on them.

The other thing that irritates us so much is when marriages are described as “give-and-take” or “happy wife, happy life”! We know these phrases are used in good humor but not only are they inaccurate, it is so overused and BORING!

A marriage is not about compromising or negotiating. We don’t give and we don’t take from one another. We don’t need to buy one another gifts. We haven’t celebrated Valentine’s Day since the first few when we started dating. We don’t buy birthday presents or Christmas presents for one another as we would rather experience something together to mark those important dates (i.e. a musical, a nice dinner etc). And as for our wedding anniversary – it is probably the most lavish gift we give to one another and that is to always spoil ourselves with a trip away! It’s become a tradition for us 🙂

Everything belongs to us so we decide together what we do, what we want, what we need, what is best for us. It isn’t about a trade-off… it’s not about bargaining…. It’s about knowing and understanding what is important to the other person and being supportive and happy for them if they are happy!

Bottom line, it is about doing what makes us both happy and constantly showing our love for one another.

The Camino has definitely brought us even closer together. Although, we are having tough and draining days, we are having so much fun and can still smile knowing that we are doing this together. We wouldn’t have it any other way! As we walk; when the going gets tough, we stop, have a sip of water then cuddle! A big cuddle is the best re-charge ever 🙂