I’m “ALMOST,” WALKING!

 

Angel nurse Judy, myself, my sister Joy

Angel nurse Judy, myself, and my sister Joy

Welcome to all the newbies that have just joined this adventure. You can read some of the past post to see how I got to where I am today. Yep, I walked the 500 mile Camino de Santiago and today I cannot walk five feet. Then again….just wait till tomorrow!

My goals

•        To walk only with a cane by the end of the month!

•        To make my stroke…. Un-permanent and show the Doctors, they were incorrect…. Because they did not know what this Polish boy can do!

•        To make my vision, re-adjust, so I will not see double, (except when getting donations for our new orphanage,) Oh yes, I am still having fun with this life thing!

Can I be in pain and peace at the same time?….YES!

This really has not been easy; however, I still strive for new life lessons that can benefit me and others. Being in bed for the past six weeks has not been fun, but I still look for something that can make a difference in a life!

My 500-mile walk was filled with lessons about life and death!

 

As I am typing this, my roommate took his final breath, it’s 6:21 p.m. on Saturday, April 5th and yes there is a Camino lesson here! The room is filled with family and friends, and a cloth curtain separates me from the very somber moment. It was interesting to hear and not see the final words from all his loved ones.

 

I am in a rest home where I do my physical therapy; I think I am the youngest one here. My room has two beds; he came in the room three days ago. The hospice nurse asked me if I wanted to move to a different room, I said no, thinking I may be able to assist him or his family. After saying that I was OK staying in the room, I started questioning myself, why put myself through this additional challenge when I could hardly handle all my own problems? That is when my Camino experience clicked in.

 

The most important lesson I learned on my 500-mile journey was the answer to the question “Why are we here?” My discovery…. Face your fears and help another who still suffers by sharing your life experience! And…so I did, and the rewards of life came in the form of total peace!

For me even with my (temporary) challenges, the circle of life revolves around enjoying the moment and makes the past and the future only places we visit!

By the way, my next challenge is our new orphanage for children and adults with a natural healing health center. Check it out here… “OUR HOME THAILAND,”

Farah, who I met several years ago in Thailand when we were both volunteering at the same orphanage, she went on to start an orphanage in Kenya,  I call her, the Mother Teresa of the 21st century; she is now in Thailand helping to get things together for our new project, more on that coming soon.

We are raising money to pay for the property, if we are not successful, I will try one more challenge in my life to raise money for the orphanage and walk across Death Valley…. No one has ever done it before! Hey, it’s only 164 miles and 130 degrees. OK, first things first….Get me walking and my brain rewired so my sight is working again; I know, one step at a time…..lov Jim.

Today; I am unable to walk!

Wheelchair & walker my new transportation?

Wheelchair & walker my new transportation?

Yes, it’s ironic that I just walked every inch of over 500 miles on the Camino de Santiago from France to Spain and for the past five weeks, I have been in the hospital looking at ceilings still not able to walk on my own! To add to my back problem, I had a stroke last week in the hospital.

As the doctor sat on the side of my bed, he said, “Your life will never be the same…you just had a life-changing event with the stroke you had!” The blood clot landed on the left side of my brain, which caused my vision problem and might be the reason for my dizzy spells. He said this is permanent damage and will never get better!

I thought this was all good news….life changing and never be the same. I do love change and the challenge of overcoming fear. However, this is one test I did not expect.

Walking the Camino was the greatest experience in my life with so many lessons learned. So which lesson can I use to get

YES....they said I still have a brain?

YES….they said I still have a brain?

through this “Not being able to walk challenge?” Is it, accepting this.… or is it, proving the Doctors wrong? There were days during my 56-day journey when I just could not walk anymore and had to give up. However, that was for the day; not for making it to the end. I always had the vision of  taking my final step. My Camino lesson for this challenge is having a mental picture of the way I want things to be, not the way they are!

Today, as I lay on my back in a nursing home that has physical therapy, I have a vision of me, taking my first step without any assistance or medication. I know this will come true ,because of you all, I have gotten over a thousand messages with prayers and healing thoughts from around the world. I am truly grateful for all your support.  
Getting here (Peoria Illinois) was not worry-free; I had a lot of help from my friends in Thailand and America. The flight was not an easy one from Thailand; it was about 28 hours with a four-hour layover. I only had to vomit two times and had to wear a diaper and did not have to use it. I made it all the way to the Peru hospital.   That is 32 hours without having to pee; I think I should get an award for that? lol

I am truly thankful for all that pitched in on my medical expenses and my brother Bob, who paid for my flight back to the US. Plus a huge hug to the people at Lanna Care, Nancy, Ann and Francis, who walked me through every step that I had to take to make everything come together, I could have never done this without them.  LOVE YOU ALL….Jim

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ANOTHER…. CAMINO, “MIRACLE!”

Twas a few nights before Christmas and yet…another Camino miracle appeared! It began at “The Little Fox House,” before dinner, when we shared our “What made You Smile Today,” comments around the table. I said that I was filled with gratitude from my little stroll I took along the river and it gave me hope for a life long dream to come true. My dream….to meet and talk to my son, who I have never knew because of some wrong choices I had made in my past.

All of a sudden a little angel appeared, we will call her Tracy, she said stop! Let us all send out some healing energy out to solve this challenge. We did and continued with our ‘What made You Smile Today, statements around the table.

Two hours later as I lay in bed reading some emails, I get a message from my son, (who I have never talked to in my life,) saying…We need to talk, the past is gone, I want to be your friend!

In the morning I shared the news with my Pilgrim angles, there were hugs and tears of joy!

Tonight, December, 13th , I meet my son and his wife with two beautiful grand children! Another, Camino miracle! He hugged me, kissed me, and called me dad! He is 38 years old.

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A few days ago; I almost died, the Camino helped me survive!

 

I was driving my motorbike on the highway, and a big hole in the road appeared. I was driving about 60 km/h and lost control of the bike.
This story is about the one hour I spent laying in the middle of the road waiting for the ambulance to come and the confused state my mind and body were in. I could not move or talk but could hear everything that was going on around me.

As I type this, it is psychically painful for me. I have to hold my right hand with my left hand to write. I have small fractures in my ribs and shoulder with some dizzy spells. If I do not move I am not in pain, so I type one sentence and take a break. I am now, home in my apartment in Chiang Rai, Thailand after spending two nights at the hospital.

Today, I am grateful!

death 4However, during that hour; I was not grateful! I did think about my beautiful experiences while walking the 500-mile Camino de Santiago and wondered how I could use it during this moment as I lay on the side of the road motionless; I could not bring myself to the moment of peace that I was so sure I could if I was ever in this situation. Finding gratitude was impossible for me at this moment! One important lesson that I did learn from walking the Camino was “Why I am here on Earth and what was my purpose in life.” That thought or rather answer will never leave me and for that hour, it gave me strength to know “Everything will be OK.”

My first memory after I hit the hole in the road was “Flying through the air with the greatest of ease,” (ya-right,)….and my helmet hitting the ground two times as I bounced along the road. No question; the helmet saved my life! They said my helmet exploded on the second impact. When I came to a stop, I could not move or talk, although I was aware of everything that was going on around me. I saw blood next to me; I was in no pain until I tried to move. All traffic was stopped and I could hear everyone talking in Thai, although I do not speak Thai, I knew what they were saying. By this time, my friend Nadawee, who I was following had turned around and in panic saw me lying motionless in the middle of the road. I tried to talk and tell her I was OK, but could not breathe as I was grasping for air.

I could not see her eyes but felt her tears. She spoke English and said, “Don’t talk; the ambulance is coming.” They say, “time goes fast when you’re having fun,”….not true, I was not having fun, and it took one hour for it to arrive, and it seemed like a few minutes.  They tried to move me to the side of the road, but I let out with a word they all understood, now; I normally do not curse but I yelled the “F,” word and they all understood…. Do not touch, handle with care! Nadawee helped me call two friends, Peter and Greg, even though I could not talk clearly, I was trying to say, “help… accident.”

The ambulance came and after some screaming, they put me on a board took me to the hospital.  Nadawee stayed with me and massaged my legs saying “everything is going to be OK.” This was the first hospital and my friend Greg, and his wife met me there. They gave me pain medication and decided to move me to Chiang Rai hospital, which was more suitable for my still unknown injury. As we were waiting for the second ambulance, Greg read me stories to take my mind off the pain; it worked.
I made it to the next hospital, and they did more test and x-rays and found the problem (I think) still recovering and discovering more aches and pains; I will make it through this, although would much rather be walking the Camino.

I know many of you are thinking “Did I pray during my one hour of silence,” (except for the screams) NOI did not pray; I was well connected to my Source…my Higher Power….My God, I had no need to pray! I knew, I would be taken care of!

Now, how did this whole day start out…
and why I was on this un-safe road?

Most of you know me and how I love to tackle a project that people say, “it’s impossible.”  So my good friend Farah who started an death 3orphanage in Kenya, which I supported with my resent Camino walk, and myself, now, has a new project. To start an orphanage made up with Hill Tribe children and adults who have no home, here in Thailand. As far I know this has never been done before. My thought is the kids will be good for the adults, and the homeless adults will be good for the children. It will be called “My Home Thailand,” they will stay free and our goal is to love and educate them!

This brings me to my motorbike ride adventure. I had the privilege to be invited to a Akha Hill Tribe village for their celebration of the New Rice Crop Festival in this small village of 800 people. This is where no tourist ever goes; it’s about a two-hour boat ride or three-hour rough motorbike ride.  There is no electricity or running water, and they live off the land. These are beautiful people who have no opportunity for change in their lives? We want to cause a change! Nadawee introduced me to her family and friends, what an extraordinary experience this was for me! They are beautiful people filled with compassion, even with so little; they have so much!
I went to the village to video there Hill Tribe community to kick of our brand-new project. I already have the property picked out for the orphanage, and I think the video will draw interest in our new challenge.

Well, the day did not end the way I planned it.

However, there is a lesson in all this, not sure what it is….yet! My life is filled with gratitude, and I try to the best of ability to help others, so, I question why this accident would happen to me?  
I am seeking the answer for this question? After walking the Camino, I learned the difference between pain and suffering. Pain is not often a choice, but suffering is! So, why did I choose to suffer? During my 500-mile walk, I was in pain. However, I did not suffer. Why did or do I still suffer from my accident? Oh I guess I have so much to learn about life, but guess what;      I still, love this life!

What will happen next because of this mishap?

Don’t know! Maybe someone may read this and think they would like to volunteer or help with the new orphanage? Or they might fix the road where the accident happened, so no one else gets injured or lose his or her life? Who knows? I do know; I am grateful for today, because that is all…. we have!    Love, Jim
Don’t know how or why, but my pain is not as bad as it was after I started to type this? I think talking about it is the beginning to a solution for any problem we may face!   J

Please excuse all the typo’s, my brain still isn’t still at 100%, of course most of my friends say, “It never was!”  lol

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Three ways to stay “IN BALANCE?” A Camino lesson!

If you’re not in balance, does that mean; you will fall down? Or, is it a message; you gotta just change…”something?” 

TRYING TO STAY IN BALANCE ON MY JOURNEY?

TRYING TO STAY IN BALANCE ON MY JOURNEY?

The secrets finally revealed (which are not mysteries) some simple stuff you can use in your everyday life!

So many lessons I learned from my 500-mile Camino de Santiago walking journey, here are a few.

KNOWING WHEN YOU’RE OUT OF BALANCE.

Most people don’t even know when we’re out of whack, for me, not knowing was always my problem! So, I ask myself, “What is my stress level today?” We do need some stress in our lives, otherwise were not doing anything new. Stress is OK, so go ahead and breathe, just do not max out on it!

I also ask myself, “How did I sleep last night? Did I take my problems to bed with me? On the other hand, did I think about solutions and the way I want things to be; this works! Remember knowing when you are out of balance is the way to get into balance.

CAN WE BE MORE PRODUCTIVE IF? WE DO LESS?

No question, sometimes to solve a problem, is to do nothing! Have you ever put a thought on the shelf, and magically the answer appears? Yes, of course, we all have, so get back into the habit of inviting a source, greater than ourselves for that “right,” answer. Don’t forget; being happy in whatever we do, is what we’re after. Remember to include,  your family, friends and quiet time for yourself. Exercise, watch a movie, go to church, play or watch a game. Variety does; add spice to life!

IS MY BOTTOM LINE, TO GET THINGS DONE OR?
BEING HAPPY DOING THINGS?

How about both? Oh, so easy to say, but difficult to do! There is a line in the “Serenity Prayer” (which I say often) “Accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.

Accept people, places or things, is not easy, I ask myself “Why other can’t think and feel like I do?” Well, sorry, that is not the way it is! So, what do I do now, when everything seems to be crashing down on me? I must realize…. That we “CANNOT,” change anyone! I know this is hard to accept that we cannot change our boss, employees or even our spouse or children. What we can do is be an example for them to decide to change. This is the formula to lower your stress level and the beginning of “TRUE,” balance!

Courage to change the things I can? Voice how you feel, not what you think; it works! Attacking another only brings up opposition, when you share how you feel, it can, win another to your way of thinking!

Go figure….Who would think these lessons came from my Camino walk? Do you have to walk 500 miles to learn this new way to life? No, you can start today by changing; something!

I am not the same person I was before my Camino journey, it’s all about being at peace with whom I am and who you are! I love this life…Jim

Below are a few new videos I made since I got back to Thailand. Making these videos and writing does add to my balance program.

AND…for my next challenge; I am considering, walking across Death Valley; no one has ever done it, (and lived,) just thinking about it! If I decide to do this, it will be to promote my brand-new project, a new orphanage here in Thailand for Hill Tribe children in combination with older adults who have no home. They should be good for one another; this has never been done before in Thailand, more on that coming soon.

Just click the blue link to watch my, “Make you smile,” videos.” I really enjoy making these!

My brother Bob, trying to learn to drive a motor bike in Thailand. 

My Camino Video.

The “Hash,’ group, who takes a walk in the woods every month. 

Teaching the “ABCs” in Thailand 

As I took my final step on my Camino walk…I broke down and cried!

After walking over 800k (500 miles) in 56 days from France to Spain, I fell apart when I walked up to the beautiful Santiago Cathedral.

This 68-year-old was broken, psychically. My one year of training in Thailand did pay off; I would have never had made it without it.  However, my decision to walk with almost no money for food had its consequences. That said; I would have not changed one thing about my walk. I had to go through the pain to learn how to choose to be at peace!

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THIS WAS THE MOMENT…. I TOOK MY FINAL STEP!

56 days of being hungry ….

Not just for food, but for what has been missing in my life!

When I arrived in Santiago, it was Spain’s annual celebration of St. James day. Thousands of people surrounded the Cathedral, including many volunteers from the Jesuits. They were looking for tired pilgrims like me. I did not want to talk (very unusual for me) a young man invited me into the church for a special prayer service for Pilgrims. I said “yes.”

My journey created laughter and tears;

a growling stomach took me to places I have never been,

I now know what it’s like to go to bed hungry! 

Upon entering this spectacular historic structure, he escorted me to a chapel. The room was filled with an energy saying, “We understand.”

There was a girl playing a guitar, and it added serenity to the room.  No words were being spoken, four pilgrims and I were reflecting on our journey and the many lessons that were learned. We were all in tears, but they were tears of gratitude. The leader shared some words, which said, “WE are never alone!”

Walking the Camino is “not” about walking!

It’s so much more….

This is a small part of my Camino experience, everyone has their own.

A few of the many experiences with people I meet during my journey, of which will become my next book.•

  • The C.E.O. of a large multi-million dollar company that walked with a janitor of a school, they taught each other, life lessons!

    A huge “THANK YOU” to all of you who sent your support to the kids in Kenya, because of you they are not hungry today! My walk was easy compared to the challenges they face!

    A huge “THANK YOU” to all of you who sent your support to the kids in Kenya, because of you they are not hungry today! My walk was easy compared to the challenges they face!

• The prostitute who asked, “Do you think God will forgive me?”

• The Professor from Harvard, a mathematician, who said, “I just figured out “Life is not all about ones and zeros.”

• The student who discovered his first job will be about passion not money!

• The lady whose father just died who told me, “You are my father!”…I was speechless.

• The husband-wife history teachers who said, “I will teach my students about the history of the Camino, but the true lesson is about self-discovery!”

• The lady who bought a gun to kill the person who took the life of her son in an accident.

• The resent divorcee who feared; she will spend the rest of her life by herself. Her Camino lesson; she will “never” be alone!

• The alcoholic, who hid in a bottle his whole life, discovered he was not a bad person but his behavior was. He learned how to get rid of all his guilt and shame from his past.

• The atheist who said, “There is no God!” But there is something?

• The family of eight, from 4 to 62 years old, grandma, grandpa, son, daughter and grandchildren, said, “This journey will always be in our hearts even after we finish.”

These and many other stories will be coming soon!

REFLECTION; ”CAN I BE AT PEACE & PAIN….AT THE SAME TIME?”
My Camino lesson was, “YES!”

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Since I had a reputation of being such a slow walker, I created “THE SNAIL GANG” for us slow-pokes. Click HERE to check it out. 

My friend Susan R Mann made this video of me during my walk, sharing a few things that were going on in my head?

I did make one final un-planded walk from Fisterra to Muxia,  It was truly magical. I then went to my new friend, author, Tracy Saunders home for a Pilgrims Retreat called “The Little Fox House” to re-adjust back to the “other” life. It was great! Check out her video…HERE. 

MY 500 MILE CAMINO WALK; I MADE IT….HAPPY FEET… ECSTATIC HEART!

The end of my 500 mile journey...or is it the beginning?

The end of my 500 mile journey…or is it the beginning?

WOW… what an extraordinary experience in my life! The Camino de Santiago is known to produce miracles in your life, and that it did. So much to tell you!

After 56 days of walking and putting on over 500 miles on my shoes, I took my final step in Santiago, Spain.  I did walk every inch of the way, carrying my overweight back pack every step.

Mile marker '00' at the light tower, the end of the Camino in Fisterra

Mile marker ’00′ at the light tower, the end of the Camino in Fisterra

I set out with several goals, to save a child’s life in Kenya and to prove that even today people have the compassion to help another in need just as the pilgrims did thousands of years ago. I was right, although I walked with almost no money for food; the pilgrim’s and the people of Spain were more than generous to feed me, not even knowing what my mission was. Yes, there were many nights, I went to bed hungry, but I did not starve.

I meet over a thousand people from 27 countries all which had their own Camino experience. No one can do this wrong! You do not have to walk the whole Camino to get enlightened about new options that are available in life.

I took over 4,000 photos and video plus recorded every day what I and others were going through, all coming in the next year.

Santiago Cathedral, Spain

Santiago Cathedral, Spain

WHAT WAS MY LESSON?

OHH… so many, here are a few. One day as I was walking on an alternate route, I was sure I was on the wrong road, no people, cars or anything beautiful to look at. I ran out of water, and my shoulders were killing me because of my overweight backpack.

Suddenly, I was surrounded by butterflies; it forced me to; not only look at the butterflies but to see the beauty in the artistic design on their wings. It made me think; all this did not just happen; everything has its purpose. So I asked myself “WHY AM I HERE?”  I got my answer!

Our creator put us all here to enjoy life and be happy, if I am not, I am doing something wrong! This does not mean that I will not experience pain; I had many days of that, but, what it does mean, I can be at peace through the good and bad. Having pain is not always my choice but being at peace is! By helping another in need, if only sharing my own life, does give me the peace I have been seeking.

So I have learned the difference between pleasure and joy. Pleasure is external, joy comes from within. Pain, whether psychical or mental is not bad, it can tell me something is right or wrong. However, suffering is always my choice, just as being at peace is. This journey has taught me this difference and most important, for me to know if my thoughts are coming from my head or my heart.

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My lesson in a sentence is
I am “WE”; which includes YOU and our God whoever it may be. When I changed the word, from “I” to “WE” it deflated my ego and then realized that there is nothing we cannot do, but so much I can’t.

During my walk, there were many times when I couldn’t make it one more step, but when I started to use the “WE” word my backpack got lighter, and a new energy came over me. That brought me to the moment, and I chose (it was always my choice) to be at total peace. You were with me every step of the way. Although there were times, I had to look for you, but, you were always there!

 

In the coming weeks I will be sharing some of the many stories that happened to me and others on the Camino. This was “NOT” a walk in the park! This by far has been the most difficult challenge I have had in my life; however, it has brought me rewards I never dreamt possible!  Love, Jim

As the tradition goes; you burn some of your clothing at the end...good bye underwear!

As the tradition goes; you burn some of your clothing at the end…good bye underwear!

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