Camino buddies online, face to face…

PGS - The Way

The Camino has a way of forming friendships that can run very deep, very fast.

And I’ve discovered that you don’t even need to meet these friends in Spain or Portugal or France. You can meet them online.

Through this blog I’ve made some wonderful friends. And now on this current work trip to the US, I’m getting to meet some of them face to face.

Earlier this week I finally got to meet Michael and Kathryn Schlesinger. Michael writes under the name Rambler59. I’d always thought that meant he was a rambler – a nomad – and he was either born in 1959, or he was 59 years old.

Turns out his pride and joy – apart from his wife and family – is a glorious old 1959 Rambler station wagon.

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Jennifer and I had a gap in our schedule so I contacted them – they live down at…

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Which Book Cover is Best?

PGS - The Way

The book cover artwork has come in –

It’s designed to work principally as a thumbnail on Kindle, iBooks etc.

However, the manuscript is now going to a big time publisher at Simon and Schuster in New York. So I’m going to hold off ebook publishing until I hear whether they want to take it on.

That said –  I will offer it as a free pdf next week for anyone on this blog who wants to read it.

Let me know which cover you like the best…

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TRAGEDY IN SANTIAGO

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Good Afternoon Everyone,

I haven’t posted in about a week due to the fact that my life is going so well, that I haven’t taken the time to regroup and communicate my thoughts. However, yesterday in Santiago, Spain, the Pilgrimage City where my Camino walk was to end a mere 5 weeks ago, there was a fatal train crash which killed 78 people and injured at least 130 others! Even more bizarre is the fact that the crash happened on the eve of the Feast Day of St James, for whom the Pilgrimage is named! Do I have your attention yet?

Could this just be some huge co-incidence? Personally, I think not! What amazed me even more is that yesterday after I left the gym at 11:22a.m. (I only remember that because I finished with my client at 11 and then ran into another friend with whom I chatted and looked at the clock when I started my car, wondering where the time had gone) thinking that I didn’t feel well, which surprised me since I had felt so good when I woke up at 6a.m.  I went home to eat, and again, felt weird, went to Starbucks for my one cup of espresso a day and then immediately came home where I strangely felt the need to retreat to bed! So, why do I mention all of this to you? Because, I just learned that the accident took place at 8:41p.m. in Spain, which is 9 hours ahead of us here in CA, you do the math! Our guru, Bill Bennett calls this PGS, or our Personal Guidance System, call it what you’d like, but it does make me feel very spiritually connected to others all over the world.

On September 11, 2001. Steve and I were on a motorcycle trip of the Southwest. We had spent the night in Ely, Nevada and used to like to get up early and ride for a few hours before stopping on the road for breakfast. This morning was to be no different, except that on that morning I woke up feeling really drained and exhausted for no good reason (this is way before I had ever been to a Circuit Party and went to bed around 10:00pm every night!!) I was usually the first one ready to leave and as unusual as it sounds, would be the woman, waiting for the man!  That morning, I literally could not get myself to get ready. Steve was busy doing his own thing and I don’t think really noticed my mood until he grabbed my overnight bag to take down to the motorcycle and about got his head bit off. I remember because I was the closest to being “bitchy” as I get. I think it surprised both of us. I told him to basically back off and then said, “just sit down and turn on the TV, I’ll be ready when I’m ready!” OOPS!

So, he sat down and turned on CNN, one of the few stations he would watch. It was just moments before the second plane hit the second tower and like the other billions of people who were tuning into CNN, thought we were watching a crazy, art imitating life, sci-fi movie. But, of course, we were not. Was I feeling the event, the panic, the disbelief, the sheer terror of it all? I can’t say, but I would have to say, I was feeling something that was not typical for me.

I, of course want to extend to those families who lost their loved ones yesterday night in Santiago, my deepest sympathy, prayers and light. I can only imagine that if there are no accidents, that our attention and thoughts are being directed to that holy city for reasons that we may never come to understand, but can only trust that our prayers are needed there today, on this Holy Feast of St James.

According to the reports,

“Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy, who was born in Santiago de Compostela, the capital of Galicia region, visited the site and the main hospital on Thursday. He declared three days of official national mourning for the victims of the disaster.

The disaster happened at 8.41 p.m. (2:41 p.m. ET) on the eve of a festival dedicated to St. James, one of Jesus’s 12 disciples, whose remains are said to rest in the city’s centuries-old cathedral.

The apostle’s shrine is the destination of the famous El Camino de Santiago pilgrimage across the Pyrenees, which has been followed by Christians since the Middle Ages.

Instead of a joyous festival, masses were held every hour in the cathedral. “The main mass was transformed from a mass of joy into a mass of mourning,” said Italian pilgrim Irene Valsangiacomo.”

If you are so inclined, please take a moment to send your prayers to the souls who were lost and to all those who remain injured and the families/loved ones of them all………….

Besos,

Jill

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What is a Pilgrimage?

I’ve been back for 21 days and can’t tell you how great it has been. I’m happy, I’m not depressed! To explain,  I have suffered from depression for almost 47 years, with only the last 11 years being my reprieve.  As a child I had an un-diagnosed thyroid condition that I had mentioned in an earlier blog and S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder) from the lack of Vitamin D and sunshine which both directly contributed to my being very depressed. But, I didn’t know any of this and instead feared that I was just a really sick person since no one else in my family seemed to be affected. I had also been sexual abused as a child but had no memories of it until I was 37 years old which I’m certain you would agree would make one depressed. So, after finally learning how to love myself from the inside out through the love,  support and encouragement from Steve, I have begun to experience joy and true happiness for the first time in my life.  I know how to have fun and how to share my love just for the sake of sharing it, not for anyone’s approval which is a very new concept for someone like me.  In fact having fun wasn’t in my repertoire for the last 20 years but of course have had pockets of fun here and there but mostly felt depressed and felt like I did not really belong anywhere.  But getting involved in the gay community here in Palm Springs has fed my need to belong, to give and to be a part of something bigger than myself and to play. I am part of a big family now and I feel loved and cared for on a very deep level. I have so much fun in Palm Springs that I am known for my happiness, which is really quite amazing!

I don’t want to diss my Family of Origin but all of my siblings agree that none of us ever felt close or safe with each other and feel like we each grew up alone,  much like an only child. We also do not have any memories of having fun as a family which is so incredibly sad.  So, I think if you don’t see fun, its hard to re-create fun!   Leaving “my Palm Springs Family”,  who were so much behind me regarding this trip was incredibly difficult.  I felt like I had a lot riding on it and really expected it to be hard, but at the same time, fun. After being away from home for 6 weeks I am constantly being asked “How was your trip, I’ll bet you had so much fun!” To which one would most likely answer, “Yes, I sure did!” but in this case I had to stop myself from agreeing and in that moment of hesitation would honestly say, “No, not really!” which of course always got a strange look. At first I didn’t really understand my reply until I started to really analyze why I was saying “no” versus “yes”. I mean I did have some very pleasant times both with and without other Pilgrims and I met some lovely people and saw some amazing sights, but truthfully, I didn’t have fun. What I have come to grips with is that I wasn’t really on a vacation, but instead was on a Pilgrimage or a Crusade of sorts. So, you know me by now, I went to Wikipedia to see what they had to say about the word Pilgrimage which is what I was on. And here’s what I found:

pilgrimage is a journey or search of moral or spiritual significance. A pilgrimage, in religion and spirituality, is a long journey or search of great moral significance, it is a journey to a shrine or other location of importance to a person’s beliefs and faith, although sometimes it can be a metaphorical journey into someone’s own beliefs. A person who makes such a journey is called a pilgrim. In the early 21st century the numbers of people of all faiths making pilgrimages has continued to rise, with 39 of the most popular sites alone receiving an estimated 200 million visitors every year.[3]

The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela is the...

The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela is the destination of the pilgrimage. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I also found that there are five books, eight songs and two movies named Pilgrimage, which I now want to find out more about to see how they portray the experience of being on one. But, no where was I reading that the experience was supposed to be fun. The Camino is now teaching me again that  “there is no right or wrong way to experience growth in our life.” However, by having a more sobering/sombering  experience, I came back to more joy and happiness that I can remember in a very long time so as far as I can tell, my Pilgrimage to the Camino de Santiago was perfect for me! And that my friends, feels really good.

Now the next part of this is to ask myself if I can continue to experience these lessons right here in Palm Springs, because the truth be told, I’m not really sure that I ever had to leave home to be on a Camino! What do you think of that??

Hmmmm?? Food for thought…………..xoxo

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Karma Chameleon and the Camino!

Hello everyone!

I have re-entered my life in Palm Springs and am happy to report that I feel better than I have in a very long time. I am both  grateful and relieved. For you see before I left, I was really struggling with many things, career, marriage, health, spirituality, creativity and well, mostly everything. I’ve taken my blog apart and have begun to re-read what I wrote to assess where I’m at now and would like to share that with you.

Perhaps you will recall that the Number 13 played a significant role in my trip, starting with the date of our departure (May 13th), the new feast Day of St James, who the journey is in honor of ( May 13), the age difference between  me and Steve (13 Years), the number of years we’ve been married (13) and of course the year (2013). Here is the definition of that number:

NUMBER 13
 -The Number 13 is a Karmic Number.  Number 13 is the number of upheaval, so that new ground can be broken.  The number 13 has great power.  If this power is used for selfish purposes, it will bring destruction of the self, and in turn, this will bring dis-ease and illnesses.  Adapting to change gracefully will bring out the strength of the 13 vibration, and decrease any potential for the negative!

I thought it would be important for me to ask myself if I had used the power of this Karmic number wisely or foolishly. Here is what I came up with.

Beginning with the fact that 13 is a number of upheaval I asked myself if I could relate to that in regards to my trip. Let’s see. I left the city of Palm Springs, the only place I have ever really called home, where I had a following both professionally and personally to go walk 500 miles in the Pyrenees mountains of Northern Spain for not 2 weeks but for 6 weeks or 42 days. I had to give up my hold on my clients and provide them with an alternative source of activity which for some meant finding them a new trainer. So, yes, I would say that I was creating an upheaval in my life.

I wanted to make sure that I actually knew what the word upheaval meant so I googled it and to my surprise found an interesting entry relating to a Magic Card which is called “Upheaval” whose card number is ironically 113 ( there’s that number again) and whose text reads, ” the calm comes after the storm” and for those of you who read my blog, you know what a storm we had (like 17 days of rain and 2 days of snow)! So, it appears that I have indeed gone through an upheaval and now am in the calm!

Okay, so now its on to dis-ease and illnesses. Hmmm, let’s see, first off,  I came down with a head cold and then my foot problem, could this mean that I was being selfish? Its a very good question! Something did happen right before my foot problem started which I’m certain I didn’t write about but as I look back could have been the pre-cursor to the shift in my path and me leaving the Camino. Early the morning of the maybe the 10th day of our walk I remember starting off the morning feeling good.  The day beforeI had met a girl and ran into her first thing that morning. I have always been a relatively fast walker for a short person and that morning I was raring to go. The girl and I began to talk and rather than slow down my pace and accept that if I was going to talk to her and get to know her I was going to lose ground, I magically kept thinking that she would pick up her pace and we would meet somewhere in the middle. Well, I was mistaken and she just continued to as I say, lollygag along. As is typical for me, I didn’t speak up, didn’t identify my needs and instead continued to slowly walk with her. Now, I don’t know how many of you can relate to this, but, I didn’t want to be rude and I didn’t want to make her walk faster than she could and couldn’t find the words to say, “as much as I’d like to get to know you better, my energy right now is strong and I’m going to go on, but how about we talk more later today or tonight?” or something to that effect. But, those words were not on the tip of my tongue and so I played, what I call the “martyr” until Steve, who he was walking far ahead of us, turned around and waited for us.  As soon as we caught up to him, I made some lame excuse and quickly darted ahead of them both and race-walked all the way up a long hill going into the next town which took about 30 minutes. I passed every person on the road and beat them all to top of the hill where I found the first Bar serving caffe con leche and waited for Steve to find me. I do remember that while I was walking my energy seemed to be coming out of a place of anger not health. Perhaps it was because I felt like a victim who was being held back by another which made me feel angry, but whatever the real reason was, it was right after that experience that my heel began to hurt for the first time!

The feeling that drove me was a very, old and familiar one and I’m sure has fueled me many times in the past. The key now is to make a shift so that I can stop reacting and damaging myself which ultimately equates to a type of self-destructive behavior. Speaking up for myself is the key. Since I did injure myself, should I assume on some level I was being selfish? Maybe or maybe not but it is certainly something important to take a look at. As usual your thoughts are appreciated! xoxo

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RE- UNION, PART TWO

I’m BACK!! Hello again and welcome back. I arrived in Palm Springs just as the rally to celebrate the over-turning of DOMA was ending and the everyone was down at the Marilyn statue. This was the the long awaited freedom for any two individuals to be legally recognized as legitimate spouses with all the freedoms that the rest of us have known forever!! The energy was high and town was a buzzing beehive. But I was so blasted exhausted from my 13 hour non-stop from Madrid to LAX along with the 4 hour ride home in the middle of rush hour that it prevented me from joining all of you which I felt bad about. On the other hand, Madrid was such a special time with Steve which is where I left you hanging at the end of the last blog that I think now is as good a time as ever to update you.

After we grinningly welcomed one another at the airport with a nice long hug and a sweet little kiss we needed to get to central Madrid where we were spending the night before flying out Wednesday morning. It turns out that the train was the fastest and least expensive way to go. So, we got our route from the information employee and got out tickets from a ticket machine after 3 tries due to pounds, euros, dollars and language barriers and were on our way. The reason I bring this up is that in the past this could have been a situation that would easily make Steve uneasy (don’t forget this man is a pilot and likes order that he is in charge of, not the unknown) but in this case he was very cool and rolled, err lurched with the plan. That made me see how the Camino was carrying its magic forward and that made me happy.

We got to our hotel, Best Western Arosa on Gran Via central Madrid only to be welcomed warmly and quickly and were soon on our way to our room on the 7th floor. Which shouldn’t matter but did in the best of ways. We had room 728 which ended up being the corner room and only one of two rooms in the whole hotel that had a balcony overlooking the bustling street below.

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The view was perfect and the building across the street from us, an 8 story building had this majestic looking statue on the top of it, symbolizing victory which only seemed apropos!

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To say we were thrilled was an understatement. They gave us free mini bar and also offered us a free drink at the bar which is where we headed after having a drink at the bistro table on the balcony. We intended to have the one drink and then go to dinner. But, best laid plans ended up 3 hours later with a “best laid” if you catch my drift!” Seriously, there seemed to be something special in the bottle of wine that we split! Our bartender was a sweetheart and we were so comfortable just talking and catching up that we forgot ourselves and were just in the moment. We ended up ordering off the bar menu, split a dessert ( yes we eat dessert) and took a 20 minute stroll before going back up to the room and out on the balcony, where we were posing like the statue watching over us!

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All as I can say is I’m so glad the buildings surrounding our hotel were office buildings that had daytime hours! We had fun! And, it absolutely contributed to our being very tired at 630am later that morning! But, also happy.

We had a nice complimentary breakfast Buffett, the nicest one the whole trip, before Steve left for the airport at 830am. I left a few hours later.

So, you might be wondering where we left things and that is the interesting part. Right as they were. I am back in PS and Steve will remain in Henderson at his moms place. We are both content for the time being and don’t want to lose that momentum that we both have going independently. We are not divorcing and are both delighted to stay married until something shifts for either one of us. We will be planning other trips but at the moment have no specific plans. So, that is where this portion of my journey ends but I have come to realize that many other things happened on this trip which is why I would like to continue writing,  so my blog DOES NOT end here. So, please continue to follow me if your so inclined.

Next up: My re-entry to Palm Springs

Xoxo

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RE-UNION, PART TWO

Well I’ve been home for about 36 hours and can tell its going to take a few more days to get re-acclimated. I’m sleeping for about 4 hours and am waking up about 230 in the morning. I’m hoping to get out for a bit tonight just to say hello to everyone and would love to dance if I have the energy.

I did a few things yesterday but have not yet even unpacked. I caught up with all the shows I watch that had been taped and just rested. Steve and I talked a few times and I just hung up from him a moment ago after wishing him a Happy Birthday. It’s odd that were not together for my birthday because we had talked a lot about it before we left wondering where in Spain we would be on my day. At that time I had asked him if he would be bummed out that we would be back in the states in 2 different places for his birthday and at that time he said “no.” He feels differently today.

I noticed that his voice sounded very flat and I asked him if he was feeling depressed to which he responded yes. I mentioned that I now think the 2 weeks in England were my re-entry weeks were I felt down much of the time. I told him that it would make sense for him to feel depressed and was a bummer that it coincides with his birthday. He turns 71 today and doesn’t look like a 71 year old in the least. I am wishing him a effortless day with surprises along the way.

When I last blogged, I was telling you that I had just been reunited with Steve at the airport and now needed to get to our hotel which was in the city center. There were multiple ways to get there but the recommended way was by the metro. I guess because I had been riding the metro England that suggestion felt right but wasn’t considering Steve’s unfamiliarity with trains or tubes. We got the correct route from the helpful man at the information desk and eventually figured out how to use the Ticket machines to get our one way tickets. Between euros and pounds, dollars and languages it was a bit complex but doable. We then headed off to the subway level carrying and rolling our bags to catch the train which was happily just pulling up. We had to transfer to 2 others trains and all I’m all really wasn’t a hassle. I say this because Steve’s behavior towards it was very laid back and the few times I’m the past when we’ve tried something less conventional he will be the first one to tell you he let it get to him. As he has said from the beginning, he likes predictable; that which is known, not unknown. It was great to see this change and I complimented him on it but both agreed that we would rather take a shuttle in the morning!!

We were now at our hotel, the Best Western Arosa on Gran Via in Madrid. And let me tell you it’s a winner. Check in took 2 minutes and they actually have 2 elevators, one of which has a plaque stating that its only shaped elevator of its kind in the world. It’s in the shape of very, very tiny slice of pie. We were on the 7th floor and I want to tell you the room number because it makes a difference. It was #728.

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