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 🙂

 

Day 37 – Triacastela to Sarria

It was a “short” walk through mystical and enchanted forests today if you believe in fairy tales! There were toadstools and ferrets and spiders to see 🙂 What was beyond the green foliage, we cannot tell you because we stayed on the track, following the yellow arrows.

As always, we had rocky paths to climb up, entering villages and farms along the way. And then we have to descend… treading carefully to not slip and end up hurting ourselves.

We were graced with beautiful blue skies  and sunshine once again, although the weather has begun to turn cold, and the autumn leaves are visible on some trees.

And now we are in Sarria, we have our last rest day tomorrow before we take on the last leg to Santiago! This is when apparently the numbers and crowds increase as this is the most popular section to do…

We have continued to greet everyone with Buen Camino, Buenos Dias or Ola and sometimes a combination of all three… 🙂 And we have maintained our enthusiasm and cheeriness from the start!

A fellow pilgrim said to us the other day, “When everyone is saying Buen Camino to one another, we all look at one another in the eye.” And that is a very true point he makes. It is because we are in the present and we are showing each other the respect we all deserve.

So today got us really thinking about how we say our greetings to our fellow pilgrims.

When those words are spoken, do we really think about what we are saying or are we just saying it?

And to be fair to ourselves, we say it with sincerity most of the time except for when we are caught off guard by feather feet people who have crept up on us. Actually when we hear people approaching from behind, we will stop, step aside and be sure to look at them as we wish them with one of the above greetings.

Ok, so we can honestly say that we do on the whole, think about the words we speak when we are on the Camino but what about outside of the Camino life?

Undoubtedly there are times where we say things purely because it (1) seems like the right thing to say, (2) is what is usually said or (3) appears polite to say it!

How many times have we agreed with someone else just because it is easier to? Or asked someone a question because it rolls off the tongue but we haven’t really thought of the question? A great example of this one is; “Hey, how’s things?” And if we were really mindful of that question, than we technically could be prepared for any response but sometimes we are not, especially when the response is “things are not going well”. Uh-oh, didn’t expect that response!

Likewise, with listening, we need to be more active and mindful. Our minds are busy and noisy and sometimes we are not fully present. If we learn to be mindful when we speak and mindful when we listen – our communication and interaction will not only be more sincere but the interaction will surely become more meaningful and real.

 

Now when we speak or listen, we will try to be in the moment. Our undivided attention will be on the current conversation to absorb what is being said and what we are trying to say – who knows, we might learn something new or understand something better or just appreciate what the conversation has to offer.

We now understand for us the biggest lesson of life from the Camino is to LIVE AND BE IN THE NOW! From this one main key lesson, many other lessons branch off.

 

Day 21 –Boadilla del Camino to Carrion de los Condos

We had a really slow day getting from Boadilla del Camino to Carrion de los Condos. But it was fun, we enjoyed ourselves and felt like we really achieved a milestone by completing 26 km without any pain or complaining.

The recommended path was to go via the scenic route which added about an extra 1.5 km to the “senda” (which isn’t much but with Le and her niggling ankle, we thought it would be best to travel the flattest and shortest route).

Once again, it [the senda] was the less conventional route as majority of the pilgrims, it seemed chose the scenic route. The route we chose was right beside the highway and although was not the most aesthetically pleasing route, it did the trick for us. It also passed through a few small towns which were really lovely for us to see.

This path got us thinking about the “real world” for us. The world outside of the Camino – we live in a fast pace world, with technology, cars and highways. We need to get use to them and learn to live at peace with the constant noise and pace of “real life”. So for us, walking beside the highway was actually bringing together the life we will be returning to (i.e. city life) and the life on the Camino. It was showing us that we can bring the two together and actually achieve the same feelings of peace and serenity even when the noise of trucks and cars are within earshot.

It shows that we don’t need silence or nature to feel like we have “escaped”. It is how we manage that feeling from within. We are capable of slowing down even if our surroundings are traveling at a faster pace. It is not necessarily about blocking out the noise, it is about learning to live with the noise and not letting it bother us or encroach on our mindfulness!

 

Day 7 – Estella to Los Arcos

As we walk along the path, there is no sound, just the occasional distant rumble of a truck passing on the highway. The scenery around us are like postcards. We cannot believe the beauty around as the sun rises and its rays hit our surroundings. The day starts off cool but before long, the heat of the sun is fierce on our skin. We will finish the Camino with the meanest tan ever.

When have we ever been in this much open field… just us and the path? We can still see some other pilgrims up ahead and occasionally look back to see if there are others behind but most of the time, it is just us.

If we listen extra carefully, we can hear the crunch of our shoes on the gravel beneath us…. And what goes through our heads?? Nothing!! Can you imagine actually not thinking of anything for almost 7 hours of a day, every day?? It does cross our mind how hot it is, how we wished there was shade, how sore our feet are, wonder what is up ahead…. We also think about our families and friends back home. But that’s it! We think only of those happy memories and what we are currently experiencing.

It is magic! We are so utterly mind boggled at how we truly don’t have a care in the world, except maybe when our next stop is or bit of shade is. And it is not like we are consciously pushing thoughts or concerns out of our heads, our minds have literally reprogrammed and hit the reset button. And we admit that it is a wonderful feeling!

The lesson we take from today and hope to take onboard with life after the Camino is to free our minds! We know we can do it, so we should do it more often! Worrying solves nothing. Over-thinking causes more suffering. Stop, and hit the restart – it does a world of good!

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Such a zen photo that we took a few days ago on our way to Pamplona.