because sometimes I miss the subtle reminders.

I read Paolo Coelho’s The Pilgrimage right after I read The Alchemist. The novel follows the journey across the Camino de Santiago. I finished the book in one day, and I said  then that I was going to have to do it someday.

The Camino de Santiago is a pilgrimage to the burial site of St. James. I think somewhere inside of me I’ve always known that I would do some sort of pilgrimage. There’s something about communing with one’s soul that I just know is a big part of who I am.

At any rate, life goes. And two years later, I haven’t thought much about the book or my initial desire to walk across the northern coast of Spain. Until Coelho’s books went on sale for $.99 on digital readers, and I bought another copy of the book. The reading was a gentle reminder of the desire, but it still seemed like something for “some day.”

Then, Friday night I became entranced by the Discovery Channel’s Out of the Wild. On the show, a group of nine people are left to find their way out of a remote Venezuelan area. It was an epic journey–one that I have zero desire to take. The funny thing is that as a result of watching that on Netflix, the movie The Way came up as a suggested film.

So, I watched that last night, and I think I’ve pretty much decided. So, the goal is one year from now.

I’ve been thinking a lot about setting new goals lately. I finished a draft of a second book, ran a half marathon, made it on a train trip to Vancouver…pretty much knocked everything off the list.

Some of the new ones are very obvious: rewrites are in order. But I need something physical. And I need something spiritual. I think working toward this is perfect. I really want the journey to be the end of a journey not a desperate run away to find something–myself, presumably. I want it to be a celebration of process–physical, mental and emotional. And while I know that I could do it when I’m older as many people do, I think I want to do it while it will be as easy as physically possible.

So, there we go. Or, there I go. Just putting it out there to hold myself accountable.

the Magic

Stories of Magic: Part 1

I know you’re laughing right now.

There’s no way you can prove it.

I don’t have to. That’s the magic of being born on the same day.

The Little One — as I call him for purposes of this blog, but only sometimes in real life when I’m trying to annoy him — was my saving grace this week. Via instant messaging.

After the ideas conversation and the conversation we had about me buying a home, we had another awesome conversation last night.

He told me to relax. We we working together. (I do contract work, and I subcontracted some of it to him.) We were on the last draft, just ironing out the little problems.

And when he sent me his final version, he said that then I should relax. That’s not the part that made me laugh–that came earlier. But it made me think about the “magic” as he called it earlier in the conversation.

It IS the magic of being born on the same day. He’s got the other part of my soul.

Stories of Magic: Part 2

I had to do a little research on the Lakota Indians last year (why is a story for another time), but a belief is that there are four parts to each person’s soul. So, when you die one goes to “heaven” and the other three remain and are make up one of the portions of another person.

So, the way I figure it, each of the portions of my soul have three other portions out there. So there are a total of twelve pieces of souls floating around this world that are directly connected to mine.

The Little One was correct when he said “magic” because that’s exactly what it is. After all magic, is simply the unexplainable — as are our souls.

I know who holds four of the portions of my soul. And I think at 28 years old, that’s pretty good progress.

I don’t know how to explain how I know so that’s why I was so excited last night when my little brother called it magic. That’s a good way of explaining it, and maybe that is exactly how I know it. Magic.

Stories of Magic: Part 3

I had to run — emphasis on run — out to get coffee this afternoon. In the store, I overheard a mom explaining to her daughter (she had to be 3 or so) that there’s no such thing as magic.

How sad, I thought.

There’s magic all around us, I wanted to tell her. I should have now that I look back. But “magic” is what makes life worth living. It’s just a word. Something that explains connections, I believe. Divinity. Why and how.

“it’s Hail Mary time”

Three of the women who I trust and I admire the most said to me in the span of 2 days last week that it’s “prayer time.”

It’s funny to me to think that one moment in time would be more deserving of prayer than another, but I feel like that I would be foolish to not heed the hint.

So, I have been making a effort to pray, pray, pray. Probably not in the way that I was taught as a child, but in the way that I have learned as an adult. And honestly, things have gotten easier. My body is refreshed. My mind is less negative. And my spirit is more bright.

And for their specific intentions, I continue to pray. The best I can do is have everything–body, mind and soul–in complete flow with the universe. And we’re in rhythm right now.

So, pray, I will.

Hail, Mary…

are you happy?

When you asked me so long ago, I said I wasn’t unhappy.

You told me that you weren’t happy. And every time I feel anything less than happy, I think of you. I would never admit that because it doesn’t seem like a nice thing to do (or say), but I realized why today.

I heard Paulo Coelho speak and when asked the same question he said, “No.”

Again, I don’t feel better that someone else is unhappy, and for the most part I truly feel happy. But I do feel better.

I feel better to know that people who I admire greatly, who seemingly have it all figure out are not done yet. That gives me hope for times like this when the unhappiness that lurks inside me is more present that usual.

I know, now, that it’s happened so many times in the past, and I just didn’t know how to explain it, but I also know that it’s always been fixable.

So, thanks. Thanks for asking me then. And for leaving your answer with me now.

things I learned from climbing up rocks

So, I fell. Slipped, slid, scraped. Fell. A little skin from the elbow. A little more from my leg. And a lot more from my back.

And then I leapt to my feet, said “oh well,” and ran down (really down) the trail to catch up with my family. So, I learned:

Me & My Dad

  1. There’s not too much that I’m scared to try. The list of what I think I can’t do is even shorter.
  2. Even if I fall and get injured, I’ll do it again. I fell on the first climb and totally would have missed out on something incredible if I didn’t make the fourth climb.
  3. That side-step thing I do to get up rocks quickly without thinking about it? I learned it from my father.
  4. My father has a better grasp of limitations than I do. “Now, don’t get crazy” is what he said to me. Someday, I’ll learn that.
  5. I finally understood how biblical prophets felt listening to the wind blow through a canyon. Quite possibly one of the most amazing sounds I’ve ever heard.

dreams.

I think I’ve written a lot about dreams, especially in the last few months. I’ve explained in detail the first ones I remember and the recurring ones.

I’ve believed that dreams all carry a message. And I have done my best to listen and learn from them what I can.

I did not know, though, that a message could be delivered to me from the dream of another person. I can’t help but think that’s pretty cool.

Especially since it’s the other half of a dream I had five years ago. I may have explained this dream, but I don’t think I did. I didn’t talk about them much before the recurring series, and this was before then.

It’s funny that when the dream was relayed to me I felt a certain sense of deja vu that I couldn’t quite place, but now that I remember most of it I think I get it.

a sign?

The first time I ever received a “sign”–so to speak–from a greater Power, I was on retreat in Northern California. I had, at that point, spent three days without speaking. And I heard the message so loudly that it terrified me, and I asked if I could go home.

Oddly enough, that’s exactly how I feel now except that I am sitting in my home. And, I have learned to learn instead of to fear.

So here goes….

When I read “The Valkyries,” I looked up Borrego Springs and on a website for one of the hotels out there, I saw an advertisement for a special package to watch meteor showers in August. I am still thinking about going, but I am also thinking about sending a friend as a gift. Either way, this evening I wanted to look it up again to see pricing and the exact date.

I have spent the afternoon reading “The Pilgrimage” also by Coelho. And in this book he makes his way across Spain following the Way of St. James (Camino de Santiago). I am about half way through the book and only put it down so I could eat. It has reminded me of this friend in a very interesting way so I remembered that I wanted to look up this hotel again so I could give dates and offer the gift of the trip.

At any rate, I sat down at the computer and typed “Borrego Springs” into the Google search bar (you can see it in the top right of this picture). Oddly, I did not get a Google results page at all. I didn’t even get anything that had to do with Borrego Springs. What popped up was a Wikipedia page about “The Way of St. James.” And suddenly, that feeling I had on a mountainside on a retreat returned so quickly. There was no way.

Just no way.

No way that the computer could accidentally link the two. No way that I could have mis-typed. I have done a screen capture to show that it occurred exactly as I have said.

Suffice it to say, I have spent the past half hour researching the Way of St. James. And I am almost certain that at some point in my life, I will walk it.

A sign, indeed.

novenas & prayers & things

I feel like I have made repeated reference to this conversation I had a couple of months ago. It was via text message and with the co-worker-turned-friend who has become my prayer partner. Around January, she and I realized that there was some greater message that we were missing. It all came together in that aforementioned conversation.

I don’t think, though, that I have talked about what happened the next day. When I walked into her classroom, she had novenas in her hand. Printed from the internet.

I haven’t prayed a novena since I was 14. I remember the last time clearly. We lived in walking distance from a church so I actually prayed it in the church every day for nine days. My mom would walk with me. I don’t know what she did, but I would kneel in the front of the church and cry as I prayed.

The other thing I haven’t done since I was 14 is pray the rosary. My whole family used to pray it together after dinner. I’ve only prayed it since at funerals.

The unfortunate thing is that both of these things, particularly the St. Jude novena, are associated with negative memories in my mind.

In the past few months, I have learned to combine the two with my Ignatian practice of the examination of consciousness–yea, like to be alive. When I started that seven years ago, I would spend five minutes doing it. A few months ago, it was about 30 minutes.

Continue reading

standing on a hill, in my mountain of dreams

I guess it was last week that I posted Led Zeppelin song lyrics online. I’ve been listening to “How the West was Won” pretty much on loop since then.

“Going to California” is probably my favorite Zeppelin song. And it seems pretty appropriate for this blog and for my life right now. I have been trying to train myself to constantly be aware of the signs around me. I was going to say look for them, but I haven’t had to search out a single one of them. They’ve all been handed to me, almost on a silver platter with a bow tied around them.

It was all Zeppelin on Friday night, and it really had nothing to do with me at all.

“Listen to the guitar right here.” I don’t think I said much at all because I was interested in what songs other people chose as their favorite Zeppelin.

The very next night, I returned home to find that I could set my stereo on a sleep timer so back on went “How the West was Won.” I think I made it through the first two volumes before I fell asleep. That makes for some very interesting sleep, I must say.

But it all goes back to people.

I feel that I have been super reflective in the past few months, especially the past few weeks because I don’t have to go to work. And I have realized that everyone who has come into my life during this time is in the same place I am. It’s an odd solidarity, not one that I’m used to.

Continue reading