Snow moon …

I will probably never view a full moon in the same way again. Being on the Camino and walking by the light of the full moon in the Meseta area of Spain was one of the most amazing things I’ve ever done and experienced.

The stars were amazing too.

This week both in northern Finland and also across the Gulf of Bothnia here in Sweden I’ve been privileged to walk under the snow moon.

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Posted in my sixieth year, out and about, this & that, water | 1 Comment

Refusal of Time

I love the title of this exhibition (at the Bild Museet / museum of arts and design at Umeå University) and the book that accompanied the exhibition was amazing too!

The exhibition itself was far too busy for me – too many simultaneous sensory inputs, each of which -alone – would have been marvellous – but I loved the elephant in the middle of the room and the building itself and its views was lovely!

The Refusal of Time is an evocative meditation on the nature of time. With allusions to Einstein’s theory of relativity, to space travel, Plato’s Cave and silent movies, William Kentridge has created a touching and imaginative narrative on how we comprehend time. Can we ever truly understand the passing of time in a world in state of constant flux?

Music and soundscape: Philip Miller

Video editing: Catherine Meyburgh. Dramaturg: Peter Galison

Posted in art, food for thought, this & that | Leave a comment

Going Places Takes us Places! / How Travel Changes Us /

I’m sitting here on a plane. It’s the first time I’ve left Finland since returning from the Camino almost three months ago.

I love airline onflight magazines and the January Edition of Scandinavian Traveler (SAS) has been particularly interesting. First there are Nordic related articles e.g on the up and coming teen tennis player, Casper Rudd (Norway) and nouveau-pop star, Tove Styrke, (Sweden) – but even more interesting (to me) are the in-depth look at current travel trends: going solo, thrill seeking (adventure pursuits) and most interesting of all digitally detoxing

Whether it’s the anxiety of being away from the office or it is social media-driven FOMO (fear of missing out)- we’re more likely than ever to be tied to our smartphones.

Interestingly, being on the Camino last autumn ticked all three of those boxes simultaneously.

Make no mistake, walking the Camino was quite the adventure … the climbs, and some of the descents in particular were very technically challenging, but I loved them the most. Along with the awesome sunrises day after day of course!

I chose to do the Camino solo (rather than with a friend) and that too, while a conscious well-reasoned choice, actually was so much better for me than I dared imagined. I was never lonely – there were days I walked alone (by choice) or evenings I withdrew to be alone, and I always took time out alone to write up my diary, but I also made friends with significant people -fellow pilgrims – and today I’m on my way to meet up with one of them!

I unplugged*for the Camino. I switched off Facebook, I discouraged people (family and friends) from sending me updates on what they were up to, what the weather was like where they were etc, and that gave me incredible space to be present to whatever the Camino offered me!

(*I did send one watsap message each day to my family group, so they knew where -and how – I was, and i usually shared a photo with them as part of the package … and I used my daily handwritten notes and photos from my iPhone to keep a blog (using a mini iPad) … but other than that I ignored social media for the two months, and after the first withdrawal pangs, I felt a real sense of freedom.)

The results of a SAS survey part of their ‘going places takes us places’ campaign also caught my interest!

Key Findings

#1 we bring home perspective

(Exposure to political matters energises is back home)

#2 sometimes we change the world

(think globally, act locally)

#3 sometimes the world changes us

(more open minded)

#4 we find love

(find other travellers inspiring and interesting)

#5 we fall in love with what we left back home

(we consider the important things in life, including loved ones back home)

#6 we bring home joy

(new insights from what we’ve seen and experienced while travelling are sources of joy)

#7 we come back with new priorities

(bring new knowledge and ideas into our culture)

So here I am heading off for another adventure … and wondering how this trip will change me, and if that change impacts others positively or not!

Posted in food for thought, reflections after the Camino, travel

Ruminating

Yesterday I asked a friend

What is it that makes you feel (most) alive at the moment?

It’s a good question. All too often we ask some variation of the age-old question ‘How are you (really) doing?’ … There’s nothing wrong with that of course – but it can (if we aren’t careful) take us to the edge of perennial rabbit hole and deep down into the warren of lists of things that aren’t quite right at the moment.

So what is that makes me feel most alive at the moment, I wonder.

My spontaneous response is ‘running’, and particularly participating in the 5k parkruns!

I’d never ever have guessed that my feeling alive would be linked to a sport, and especially running. Yet the truth is that swimming and aquajogging have long been my ‘place of goodness’ – an activity I turn to when the going gets tough.

In November 2017 I needed something in addition to the swimming to help me through the winter … and I downloaded the NHS Couch to 5km and taught myself to run (in the gym on a treadmill)

Now running has become a mainstay of my wellbeing. I look forward to the park runs (always a 2h hour journey from home – to Tampere or Helsinki- at least until we have one of our own in Turku). I really enjoy the runs themselves but equally important is the sense of belonging to a park run family. I like the post run coffee a lot!

I ran my first park run (5km) back in April last year. My goal was a) to complete the course without walking and b) to cross the line in under 60minutes. I succeeded! Since then I have run 13 parkruns in total, 10 of which have been in Tampere!

Last Saturday the temperature was minus 13C in Tampere. I found out that there’s no such thing as bad weather – just bad clothing – and 26 of us ran the 5km in spite of the sub zero temperature – and it felt fantastic! I felt so alive! The frozen eyebrows and eyelashes were fantastic to see – and I was – and am – very grateful to the run director and other volunteers who make it possible for us to get a timed run. For the first time this year (and actually since August) I ran the course in under 40 minutes. That felt so good!

Now I have my eyes on running 10km and have signed up for a run in my hometown. It takes place in September so I have plenty of time to train for it. I’ve downloaded a new app (5k to 10k) and I started the programme at the beginning of the year. It’s not only about running further (as if that’s not daunting enough!) it’s also about running more effectively.

Running makes me feel alive.
But I would also like to run faster and more elegantly. That – I hope – will come with practice.

 

 

Posted in running, Uncategorized

End of year reflections

TEN HIGHLIGHTS

1- Starting the #walk1000milesin2018 having completed it (with ease) in 2017. Walking regularly changed my life last year …and continued to bring joy -and improved health -this year

2. Shetland …it’s been on my list of desires for years … it was more rugged and even more beautiful than I hoped

3. Running I completed the NHS Couch to 5 k at end of January, ran my first 5k on a treadmill in February, transitioned to a Hall and then the big wide world outside and ran my first park run in late April.

And so much more …

Posted in Uncategorized

Hiking in the snow

It’s amazing how quickly you get out of condition.

I didn’t find the Camino as hard as I feared because I’d worked hard to get into shape and build up both muscles and stamina.

Today I walked 8.5 km. “a stroll in the park” by Camino standards, and while it probably took the same sort of time that distance took on the Camino, I was out of breath at times -something that hasn’t happened for a long time.

Of course this was the first longer hike since Christmas and the snow was quite deep … but still it’s left me determined to get back into Camino shape …the sooner the better!

One of the nicest things about today’s walk was that hubby and I had our first hiking breakfast of 2019 – one of my favourite things!

Posted in Finland, hiking, out and about, snow

Making room

At the end of last year I read a fabulous little book called THE GENTLE ART OF SWEDISH DEATH CLEANING and I’ll get to discuss it at book club next week …

What I have been doing (and which I did in November-December too) isn’t quite the same thing (though perhaps it is a precursor to gentle death cleaning) is a deep decluttering cum ‘spring’ clean. It’s long over due and having done the main living area before Christmas it was definitely time to tackle upstairs …starting with my office. It’s not a job for the faint hearted … but I’m determined to reduce the STUFF I have and to organise what I choose to hang onto a lot better.

Today I cleared my desk!

I had forgotten how lovely it is …I’m hoping by clearing the stuff off and cleaning it I will be inspired to write again after Epiphany!

I also emptied one bookshelf of theology books. I will keep some … but most of these will be winging their way to new homes; theology libraries (I hope) or friends who need them for their studies …

Truth is I have way too much stuff … I expect we all do … but I absolutely want to reduce what I do have so I and our home can breathe more easily. A bonus will be that my loved ones don’t have to do this after I’ve gone ..

Posted in Finland, food for thought, this & that