Mountains to climb

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I know now that I have a Mountain to climb. It’s a very big, steep and high Mountain. Presently Im at the very start of this camino. It’s not Camino Frances, It’s not Camino Norte. It’s camino Cuerpo y Alma. Where Im now I walk along calm streams where I can dip my feet. In Woods of eacalyptus trees. Branches from unknown bushes swipe my face now and then. It’s Most uphill, not to steep yet, and flatland where I can see far along the path and a few downhill parts. Not always the easy parts as here I can stumble and fall. I will stumble and fall. I will need company. I will need to talk. I will need compassion. I will need water and rest. I can imagine whats on the other side, pass the top. At the end of this part of the camino. A serene place, camino, where I can rest. Where I can lay me down and rest. Lay me down in the fields of gold watching the sky, following the clouds as they move and change. I will have very steep parts. I will be in doubt if I will make it. Then I’ll sitt down. Reflecting. Watching the view, enjoying the wonderful landscape. Thinking over whats important. Carpe Diem my friends. Tomorrow may never come. Today is only today. Be greatful for every breath you take. Be greatful for opening your eyes beeing able to see. Be greatful for this day.
/Sten

Return from Spain

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So.  Now I’ve had my week/ten days in spain walking a part of the camino norte.  I flew to Biarritz.  From there I got a bus to Hendaye, still in france.  Walked over the Rio Bidaosa that the french/spanish border and finaly I Arrived in Irun. The starting point for el norte. My aim to reach Bilbao was achieved in six days. It was a tough walk with up’s and down and the heat,  one day we had 38°, challenged us.  I was surprised that I met so many pilgrims. I had a  preunderstanding that this camino was less used.  But,  maybe,  as the camino Frances is becomming more and more crowded,  specially in august,  more pilgrims find their way to the  camino norte instead.  The first three stops: San Sebastian, Zarautz and Deba,  offered great possibilities for swimming in the Atlantic waters.  Good for our tired and warm bodies.  The path showed us wonderful views and beautiful panoramas. After Deba the path entered the inland passing nice pinetree forests and eacalyptus trees. One evening we visited a recommended restaurang in Getara, El Cano, said to be the very best fish restaurang in the basque county. It was! The local white wine, Txacoli,  accompanied the fish. Never had it’s like.  A curiosity: El Cano was the first to make a global roundtrip with a ship (1519 – 1522) under the captain Magellan, who died in Singapore before comming back.  El Cano came back to spain and was a hero.
Back to track. Pinchos is the north variant of talas.  They are served at many of the frequent bars along the camino.  Bars that serve as places for break fast as the albergues seldom have breakfast. There are many small streams following us as we go and it’s a treat for the feat to go in the cool fresh water. Before comming to my destination Bilbao we stayed in  Gernika.  The city was bombed and totally destroyed in 1936 by the fascist. Picasso made the famous Guernika of wich there’s a copy i Gernika (the original is in Madrid).  To se the big fresc closer up made a big and strong impression on me realizing the horrors and tremors of war. To end this years short camino was Bilbao the goal.  Casco Vieja, the Guggenheim museum,  Rio de Bilbao.  The camino give me many occasions for reflecting on my own, collecting energy, meeting with people from many places round the world,  talking,  listening to stories from life, how different the stories are and how equal we all are. The local people are extremely helpful and acts as wonderful exampels to copy. It is a lesson for the life and for living.
Going back and leaving the camino is a sadness story, leaving the new friends and seeing them continue is hard. Next year I wish to go back and finish all the way to Santiago de Compostela.

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Still in Spain

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I’m now in Bilbao where I have stopped this years walking. It’s been a great, wonderful, beautiful time with the spanish nature,  culture and meeting with people from all over the world.  I just wish that I,  one year,  will be able to stay longer in this country and on the camino.   One month is a dream. Now I have sadness, since I have stopped and my new friends from the camino continue to Santander, Gijon, Oviedo and Santiago de Compostela. I miss them. But that’s the way it is.  When walking, talking, eating, drinking, sleeping, waking, watching, experiancing and sharing together it tightens us, we become a “family”.  We enjoy when we see each other in the morning, along the path,  in the city,  in the restaurant, cafe, in the nature.  When we walk together, when we catch up or are beeing cought up by someone it is a joy,  and we great each other with a smile and “Buen Camino”. The locals are extremely helpful to us camineiros.  When where lost and can’t find our way through or out of a city or village there is always help.  They are so helpful and observant, it brings me in a  happy mood and all the  physical and mental hardship is overcome. These last seven years I have been on the camino six times now and it makes me an experianced camineiro, beeing able to give advice and support from my experiance bank.  But, I have still much to learn. I get advice,  recommendations, both personal and practice. The personal,  private advice I put in my personal development box.  These are the most valueble treasures from all my walking in spain.  First on the Camino Frances and this year on Camino Norte. I am so happy to have found this retreat and I’m thankful to everyone assisting me in making it possible. First and all to my wonderful and beloved wife who opens the door and supports me.  Second to family and friends for their interrest and,  often, challenging questions.  And,  last,  but not least,  all the other walkers, and local confraternities keeping the camino in such a good shape with directions and albergues.  Thank you all.  Love you all. /sten-ove

Meeting the Camino…..

Meditative, monotonous, long views, lonely, reflective, memories rise to the surface. Tears. He walked on the Meseta in spain. Slow. Weat. Warm, hot and the feet gets 12juli Caminonswollen. Yellow arrows. He missed one and had to go back again (lesson!) Watch for the signs. Small, calm villages with a fountain for drinking water. Sit down, café, bocadillo con keso. A chapel and a choir. The hills and a narrow path. The hat is a must the stick is not. Balance in every aspect. He’s feet begins to protest. How far must we walk today? He takes a rest underneath a tree. Lying in the grass. Up again. Stops by a river, dips his feet in the cold water. Refreshing. Small fishes. On and on. Not there yet. The goal is not far. He can see the village now. Accelerates. Every step hurts. He’s looking in the distance – longing for the rest, longing for the rest. When arriving in the albergo in the afternoon he cares for the blisters. Cleaning  clothes and mind. Getting ready for tomorrow and the next days. Later dinner with fellow pilgrims. Talking, sharing, listening, supporting, watching and writing the diary. Early night – tomorrow is another day. A happy man is in port. 

This week….

…began on Tuesday since I have Mondays FREE! I have begun my NEW LIFE. Free Monday’s gives me a three day long weekend. And. I have started to write on my book. About my life on the Camino. Spanning over four consecutive years of walking in Spain. Ten short stories from the inside. The Camino-inside and My-inside. Also from the outside: blisters, tense hamstrings, albergues, climbing, sun protection, etc. That’s my plan for this season. Follow me. Support me. Ask me. Tell me. /Sten

— about midlife crisis —

Some years ago I radically changed my road into the future. I changed direction on the walking path of life. A small transition for some but for me it was a big one, huge – initiated by a disaster. The change demanded a lot of time and energy from me to carry through. It demanded a lot of time with myself. With my thoughts. With my memories. I allowed my subconsious to bubble up from beneeth and speak to me. (Sometimes I compare my subconsious thoughts with the bubbles in a Lava lamp slowly rising up to the surface) And it spoke! During my Caminowalks in the heat of spain revelations came to me like bright stars in the night sky. I am glad that I took the opportunity the cisis gave me and used it as a power to grow.

I have let go of some things I’ve done for more than 30 years. It has not been easy. First I hinder myself and – second – people around me stop me through their expectations on me. Third – things I have in my house reminds me of the past and hold me back. Things have that power (on me). This is one of the reasons that I must clean in my clutter. The things reminds me (memories and calls on me presently) causing doubt and remorse an slowing down the process of change. I am well aware that the process of change and learning goes through different change,levels. All the same I am restless and must carry on.

What I see now is that I have opened up rooms inside me that I didn’t know of. Rooms beeing blocked with heavy lockers and millwheels. Opening up for new things, leaving old habits and old interrests gave me the possibility to stretch out and grab for new ones. Time to explore. Time to seek. Time to read. Time to meditate. Time to reflect. Now I see new possible things that I didn’t see before – because I am more open to them. The old patterns obscured my sight – now I have a wider spectrum and a wider field of view.

Result so far: Less fears. More me. More brave. More focused. Clearer in my contour. More secure to stand for myself. More visible. More expressive. Expansive. Curious. Many positive traits that have contributed to make my life more interresting and positive to the forthcomming changes in life. Changes that I see comming and look forward to. I am much more aware.

Life pulses in cycles. My cycles run over eleven years with smaller inclines every five to seven years. Looking back over the shoulder on the years passed I see very clear that these cycles and peaks of change are regular and if I translate them to future I can see what’s comming.  For good and for bad. For good because I will be prepared. For bad it can become a self-fulfilling prophecy. If that is good or bad will without hesitation show overtime. And I feel prepared for every progress.

…about walking….

Walking is one of my passions. Recently I have done less of it for different reasons. I must come back to it. To me walking is a process. It is a healing process. The process of walking helps me to catch up with what I have missed during the day, the days, when the weeks run like a fast train passing each station without loosing speed. Without stopping. Just on and on. Evening walks. Weekend walks, Weekly walks. Caminowalks. The process takes me down and makes me more focused. Answers and revelations come to me like lightning.

One summerweek just before my holydays I made an experiment. I choose a lake to walk. My desicion was to walk the lake over one week and do that slower and slower. I began doing the lake in 45 minutes. It is 3 kilometers. 3000 meters. To begin with that was slow walking. In the course of a week I was doing the lake in 93 minutes. My feet mooving very, v e r y, v e r y slow at the end. I havent done quigong but I imagine it was in that tempo. I followed the leg movements step by step. Lifting my feet from the ground. First the heel, Rolling the foot,toes leaving the path, lifting it up, moving it forward, down with the heel the forefoot, the toes and again and again – step by step – foot by foot.

What did I realize during this week? I did get very familiar with the inhabitants of the forest. The trees. The bushes. plants. weed. grass. fir needles. anthills. beetles……I began recognizing the individual trees, the individuality of the separate trees. Their wounds. The way they grow. Some trees are broken. Some proud. Some trees even tried to stop me. Branches crossing the path. Speaking to them “hello tree, you look fine today. Are you wet? Do you need water?” I started to be very caring about them. I got very aware of the nature around me. Very devout and attentative. Like a child for the first time in the forest. Seeing it for the first time. With big eyes! Taking all time needed to really see…..and to hear. My listening bacame sharp. Every change in breeze. The sound of branches. The sound of birds. The sound of my feet to the ground. The sound of broken twigs under my shoes. Avoiding to step on the small tiny animals walking with me on this forest path. Moving slower and slower alongside the lake. The sound and movements of water. Sparkling water. Waves against the shore. A fish jumping for a fly. Watching the waves moving over the surface. Throw a stone and watch the ripples flow. Moving out across the bay. (thanks to David Gray). My senses became sharp. My reverence and care for all increased. I became a better human.