Day 14 of Project 2015

In an attempt to continue with our life of minimalising and decluttering, we went back to the home David grew up in (where his parents still live) and we did a MASSIVE clean up of things.

We went through school work from when he was in day care, through to high school. We also sorted through a pile of things from his old room. There was plenty ending up in the recycling bin, rubbish bin and/or now in boxes to be moved to our place for more sorting. What can go into storage and what can go into the garage sale.

What we own and what we have doesn’t define us… but why do we have so much trouble letting things go sometimes? Is it nostalgia?

Before we get too emotionally attached by walking down memory lane to an item when culling, we have to ask ourselves, “Do I need this item? Does this item make me happy? Who am I without it?” The questions are progressive and if we can justify it by the last one, then maybe it really was worth keeping. But if we don’t need the item, then why do we hang on to it? If it doesn’t make us happy, then likewise, why do we hang on to it? And if it hasn’t made us directly the person we are today and hasn’t “passed” the other questions, then it really needs to go!

It gets easier…. it really does when we are ready to let go!

We still have SUCH a long way to go before we become minimalists but we are getting there.

We read briefly about a man who narrowed down everything he owned to just 100 items??! Can we do that in due course??

Summary of January 14

Newbies

It was the first time that David climbed into an “attic” – although it was only for a several minutes, it was the first time he had even peeked into this part of the home he grew up in.

Brighter/Different Perspective?

Certainly gave him a different perspective of the garage being up a ladder, and looking down. It’s eye-opening to look at things from different angles 🙂 

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 4 of Project 2015

What a glorious day in Sydney! And then it turned really hot and humid, with crazy winds.

We weren’t going to let today be just “any old” Sunday. We wanted to make the most of our waking day. So Le spontaneously suggested we go to Bondi Markets in a 2-hour window that we had before heading over to the folks.

David wasn’t convinced that we would have the time but we gave it a go anyway and managed to squeeze it in!  We ended up doing plenty today but not in an overpacked and rushed day.

It is easy for us to fall into a trap of just wanting to chill or relax when we have days off. And we find the days just pass us by so quickly when we do.

Although, we did a lot, we were still relaxed and taking it easy. We had fun. We achieved things and enjoyed ourselves. We are packing the right attitude and are finding that we are feeling fulfilled.

Summary of January 4

Newbies

Thanks to the heat while at Bondi, we opted to have an ice-cream by 11.00 in the morning. We ate Ben & Jerry’s and got three-scoops to share and tried 2 different flavours. There was plenty of “trying different and new” things this morning. 

IMG_8863

Brighter/Different Perspective?

Today we helped put away some Christmas decorations. How quickly Christmas comes and goes. It doesn’t seem that long ago that the decorations went up, right? We both have nostalgia when we see Christmas things, takes us both back to our individual childhoods – and we are still the biggest kids when it comes to Christmas. We love decorating and find that the Christmas spirit is so magical. There is just so much excitement and festivities in the air and we find that when it’s time for the decorations to come down, the feeling of the magic seems to dissipate.

Does it really have to disappear until next Christmas? Well it shouldn’t. Every day IS exciting, every day IS magical, every day IS a blessing. That Christmas spirit is in all those who love Christmas – let that spirit shine all year round. 

Thinking every day is a drag does no favours for anyone. Don’t be an “Every Day Scrooge” because no one likes a Scrooge 🙂 

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 43 – O Pedrouzo to Santiago de Compostela

So this is it, huh? Far from it!

It was forecast to rain today and it didn’t, except for very light rain when we were about half an hour from the Old Town of Santiago! We felt so blessed.

We had a wonderful and energetic day, setting off in the dark and then arriving just after 2ish.

We walked through lots of forests and up some more hills before we hit the asphalt that belongs to a city. And then we started seeing traffic, traffic lights and shops and this was when we knew that our journey was coming to an end.

The anticipation to get to the Cathedral was drawn out as we weaved onwards with other pilgrims to arrive and when we got to the square – there was nothing we could do except hug each other tightly and cry!

We DID it! We had done it! We had walked since September 5 and now we were here. Not once on the journey had we wished for anything different, or wished for this day to arrive but it crept up onto us.

We were so overwhelmed, humbled and emotional that we were both speechless. It couldn’t be real. It couldn’t be that we were really here. Looking up at the cathedral (ignoring, the scaffolding), it sunk in. We were in Santiago de Compostela.

We lined up for a long while to get our St James certificate and we also got our St Francis certificate (the one that is issued only ONCE every 100 years). Proof that we completed – not that we need it, because in our hearts and minds the Camino experience is enough proof forever.

We went to the Pilgrim Mass tonight and saw the botafumeria swing and it was quite a sight. We were also able to deliver the letter on behalf of Maria from Italy – the one we were handed back in Bayonne by the gentleman in the cathedral as our mission! J We found out her prayer, together with all the others handed in, would be brought out on October 31 and placed on the altar for prayer. We were so thrilled to have been able to do this for her, whoever she is in this world, we hope she gets some sign to indicate that her letter has arrived.

But although the Camino de Santiago is finished for us, the real Camino for us is only starting.

What an incredible journey and life-altering experience for us. We will never look at our lives the same again. Each day will look different and every up or down, will make us reflect on our time on the Camino.

We are so grateful that our entire journey was free of any serious injury or drastic weather. To be honest, we had a very smooth Camino. We feel so fortunate to have met the people we met, stayed at the places we stayed, had the weather we had, ate the foods we ate and saw the sights we saw and then be rewarded with the experiences we were given. We know deep in our hearts that we will take away our life lessons, the ones we have documented here. We know that we were meant to do the Camino when we did. We know that we have done the best things for ourselves by walking this Camino.

And although, we are at the end of the walking part, we will try to keep exploring our lives as we have had for the past 43 days. This is why we are so glad that we started this blog so we can keep this positive outlook on life alive for us and for everyone who cares to read 🙂

Stay tuned, our posts will not end here!