Bill Moyers meets Martin Amis and Margaret Atwood

Bill Moyers meets Martin Amis and Margaret Atwood


Since we like television that makes you think, it’s hard to beat PBS’ Bill Moyers. He sat down last year with a series of spiritually-fueled fiction greats to talk about faith and reason. Worth the price of admission, you can get it online.

Moyers revealed an amazing synchronicity that came about when he was trying to line up his subjects for filming:

I had been thinking of a series like this for some time and weighing who should be part of it. Faith is such a smorgasbord that everyone’s taste is different. I didn’t feel comfortable trying to pick the “representative” Christian, Jew, Protestant, Catholic, Muslim

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Destination, Santiago de Compostela


The end of a Spanish pilgrimage

We arrived home last night  in the middle of the night, about 3:30 AM after a long, long wait in JFK. This morning we are basking in the luxury of simple things: our privacy, plenty of hot water, our garden, our stereo, and yeah gads, so many choices of things to wear. (Three shirts and two pair of slacks saw me through 30 days). I carried prayer intentions for many of you and in Santiago, actually placed them on the thirteenth-century statue of St. James on the high alter in the Cathedral. I also placed “stones” for your intentions at crosses and other places along the way.

As we walked the Camino, I kept wondering how I could ever capture or explain the experience. In the long hours of the journey home, I tried to put a few thoughts into words, knowing they would be inadequate, but at least giving you a glimpse of what it meant to us.

–First and foremost, the Camino was a great expression of love, charity. We were continually touched by kindnesses, great and small shown to us by the Spaniards and by the other pilgrims.

–The Camino remains a great expression of faith. The rocks placed by pilgrims along the way, the flowers, the hearts, the crosses gave the journey an other worldly dimension.The way has been made holy by generations of pilgrims. Those walking the Camino are not tourists,but rather seekers. The journey has a higher purpose. More than a journey of self discovery, walking the Camino is going beyond the self.

–Part of walking the Camino is the breathtaking beauty of the landscape: mountains, flowers, vineyards, farms, ancient churches, ruins, more flowers, flowers everywhere.

–Then too, there is the physical and mental challenge of the journey. Everyone struggles, suffers, limps,enduring wind, rain, mud, blisters, cold, heat. We shared a sense of community of purpose with the other struggling pilgrims from all over the world, even when we could only communicate in sign language.

–On the Camino, you leave behind most of the baggage of your life: your wardrobe, jewelry, makeup, computers, phones, financial status, career. You have walked all day on the Camino. Your feet are sore, your hair is a mess, your shoes and slacks, mud stained. You are exhausted. Yet somehow you have made it through another day.

–Overall, the pilgrimage leaves one with hope. The way was filled with so much love, so many prayers, so much spiritual and physical energy, how can this ever be destroyed? By walking the Camino we joined hands and hearts with all those pilgrims who have gone before us since the 9th Century and all those that will follow us. We have become part of a great stream of believers in life.

Phyllis the Pilgrim

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Last Day in Spain


Today will be our last full day in Spain. We arrived in Toledo last night and we enjoyed the Cathedral and San Tome this morning.  Otis is happy because he is finally warm. The ancient walled city is very special and its capture was the turning point in the Spanish reconquest of Spain. We saw many El Grecos today, a number in the Cathedral, others in a museum.

Our days in Santiago were special. We managed to unwind a bit from our pilgrimage and enjoy the many special places in the city, even though it rained some every day.

Thursday we´ll take the fast train to Madrid and then the Metro to the airport for our flights home.

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Vacation Time is Good

Vacation Time is Good


It’s good to take vacations. They break patterns, and allow you to pull yourself out of pain cycles, and refocus you on savoring every moment.

Nobody knows that better than all-star Danish business man Morten Lund, the venture capitalist behind Skype. He spent two weeks on the Spanish Island of Ibiza taking in sun and playing with his children. Seems as though he got a new sense of purpose, perhaps even an epiphany about his own energy anatomy. He writes on his blog:

“And to the really weird part – I think Im starting to open myself to more alternative thinking – and the whole idea of not only believing in PEOPLE PEOPLE PEOPLE – might have a dimension of ENERGY to it

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In Santiago


We arrived in Santiago on the 14th two days ahead of time in the rain, we walked 18 days and covered about 250 miles of up and down hill, lots of rocks and tough going. But it has been a fantastic experience.

We attended the pilgrim mass the day we arrive, got our Composela, the certificate that we had walked the whole way, and we stayed two nights in a 17th century monastery.

Yesterday we took the bus, how heavenly, to Finisterre, the end of the known world in medieval times. The sea was wild and beautiful and after a rainy morning the sun came out for our walk to the end of the earth.

This stage of our pilgrimage is over. We have endured and with the help of many made it here. It is a wonderful feeling.

Phyllis the Pilgrim

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Nearing Santiago

Nearing Santiago


We have only 5K left to go and will arrive at Santiago tomorrow. We walked 12 miles today and it has turned cold and windy. We had a few showers, but fortunately didn’t get caught in a downpour.

We are glad we started in Leon since the last 100K hasn’t been as pretty, although still compelling.

We arrived late two days ago at the pilgrim hostel and there was no room in the inn and we were too tired to continue. A woman from South Africa took us in hand and found us a place to stay in a lovely farmhouse where we had a dinner made entirely from things the couple had grown. There we met two Brits and a German and had a delightful time, thanks to the saint from South  Africa who aided us in Portuguese.

Last night met one of only a few American on the Camino, a young man from Wisconsin who was doing the Camino for his dad who just died recently of a heart attack.  Many people, many stories.  We have great admiration for our fellow pilgrims, limping as we go on to Santiago.

Sending our best wishes to all,

Phyllis the Pilgrim

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Living in the Moment is Hard

Living in the Moment is Hard


So I’ve been reading about being in the moment. It’s a great idea, but it sounds impossible to live in today’s world. I mean, imagine focusing on the now of eating a meal. You chew your food, you smell it, you feel it, you taste it you chew it some more and you swallow. It’s intense. It takes time. I can just imagine my boys asking their mother what daddy was doing at the table, having a three hour dinner.

So is there a middle road down the middle road? Can you live in the moment and live among normal people? Eckhart Tolle doesn’t offer us much in the way of advice in how to balance the two pursuits. Is presence more easily pursued in a monastery or on a mountain than within the confines of our mundane lives?

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Trekking Along the Camino

Trekking Along the Camino


We are still enjoying our great adventure, walking and walking and walking on the Camino. The route has become easier as we near Santiago. We have 65 K left to go approximately 41 miles. We´ve had rain the last two days in the afternoon, after we´ve reached our albergue.

Yesterday we stayed at Gonzar where there was little more than a cafe/bar and the pilgrim hostel. Many cows and country smells. We still had a good experience, meeting people from all over , a wood carver from Austria, a medical student from the Czech Republic were especially interesting. People were very considerate at the hostel and that made it special.

Someone has left pictures along the way at the kilometer markers of a weeping Virgin. Otis invariably leaves a stone for us and tells the Virgin not to cry.

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