Camino de Santiago

Month: August, 2017

Avoiding Distraction – Take Control Back



(Image from Google – The Odyssey Online)

Walking the Camino was a great way to clear out your mind from the myriad of distractions that happen throughout our days. Some of these distractions are of our own making, though. It seems we are living in “the Golden Era of distraction”. This is a link to an excellent blog on how to conquer distractions that are harmful to us.

I recently realized that I am falling into the “distraction trap” with my smart phone. It happens so easily you hardly even know it is happening to you. What happens to me is I find that I am hooked into constantly filling in any spare moments looking at my smart phone to find out what is happening with friends and the world. I am an avid reader these days using a great new website called Medium I find I am filling up every spare moment reading these great, new and interesting new blog articles. I realized I am need of a “little fixing up” if I am going to live more purposefully.

“Distractions trick us into hurting ourselves by dulling our awareness of the price we’re paying. They feel good now, but we feel bad later.” (Nir Eyal, August 4th blog, Conquer Distractions With This Simple Chart)

I realized much like the advice I gave in the blog called “Letting My Mind Wander“, I am missing out as well on some important “down time”. It is ok to be a little bit bored. It is ok to let my mind wander. It does lead to more creativity and better decision making (another excellent blog article by Sebastian Lindemann, covers this issue well). It got me thinking on how important it is to take time off (give your mind a mental rest, a Sabbath). It is important to your health!

I know how important it is to unhook myself from this constant filling up of the void. This blog article I found very helpful (I stopped checking Facebook for a year without deleting the app. Here’s what I learned.). This video is also very good and provides some excellent ideas on how to take control back from distractions  (Un-hooked: Increasing Focus in the age of Distraction).

I decided to take control back. I am motivated to make this change and will be embarking on this journey. I suspect there is a few others that are facing this same issue and you might also want to consider taking back control.

I hope this all helps to those like me that are finding this a problem.

Blessings and all good,


Photograph of the Week

Salt Creek Beach

This image was created from a photograph taken of beach debris at Tongue Point on the Strait of Juan de Fuca at Salt Creek Campground.

Feelings and Thinking

Terri Hiking to Carrion de Los Condes

“Our feelings come from our thinking in the moment.”  Brooke Bishop

Walking is a great way to take time to really think as I have mentioned in previous blog articles. It gives us time to process and digest our thoughts a bit more. Both Terri and I got a lot of great time to do this on our Camino. For Terri this was one of her favorite parts of the long walk. Time to really think.

We really do need this in our lives, I believe. Our lives are very fast paced these days and there seems to be so little time to really take time to think more deeply.

The quote at the top of this blog article is from a blog titled “Your Thinking Creates Your Feeling”. It gets into the issue of feelings and how easy it is for us to attribute our feelings to something other than our thinking in the moment. Feelings are like “emotional weather” inside us. Like the weather, the only helpful thing to do is to describe it and accept it. Feelings need not run our lives.

This got me back to the importance of thinking as it relates to feelings. I am going to provide a personal example that came to mind when I was preparing to write this blog. It is in regard to my feelings and behavior during driving.

I have to admit that in my “younger days” I let my feelings of anger and sometimes rage get to me when I was driving. There were some serious “emotional weather storms” that happened while I was driving and I was very aggressive with my driving in return as a result. I am very embarrassed to even recall some of my behavior during these times.

My feelings of anger and frustration was driven by my thinking at the moment, yet something happened to me over time and I changed my thinking and as a result my feelings of anger and frustration at other drivers went away. It is one of those areas of my life I am so thankful I was able to change. It is not good to live like that. It is not a peaceful way to live not to mention dangerous. I transformed my thinking as I reflected on this part of my life and realized I did not want to live like that.

Over time (a lot of time), I gradually became a very patient driver that is not easily provoked any longer by rude and inconsiderate drivers. I changed my thinking and now those feelings I had no longer rule over me. I am at peace driving. It has also helped that I have a very logical mind that now looks at driving from a scientific perspective and I drive now to protect and keep me and those in the car as safe as possible (e.g. I believe leaving a large distance between myself and the car in front of me is the most important safety precaution one can take for safety).

One can change. One can take control as the emotional weather inside us changes. We can use those times to recognize those feeling that we don’t like rising and to call it into question. Use those sad feelings as a trigger to think more deeply and to express them to others. To use those moments as a time to recognize our feelings and decide if that is the way we want to live our life.

If we want to live a more peace-filled life we can but we need to work at it.

Blessings and all good,


Photograph of the Month

Salt Creek Beach Art

This image was created this week from a summer family vacation to the Olympic Peninsula. We went to Salt Creek Campground on the Strait of Juan de Fuca out of Port Angeles. The beach there is an amazing collection of tide pools but due to my physical limitation on walking on uneven surfaces, I spent the time ambling along the shoreline where the beach debris was collecting. I knew when I took the photos in this area it would a rich trove of images for some special post processing. I am very pleased on how this image turned out!

Stay Curious, You Really Don’t Know it all

170607-Manashtash Ridge-40-final-small

Here is a couple of quotes to ponder on for today’s blog article:

“Ignorance was my ally as long as it was backed by curiosity. Ignorance without curiosity is not so good, but with curiosity it was the clear water through which I could see the coins at the bottom of the fountain.”

Alan Alda – “If I understood you, would I have this look on my face?”

“A nerd is a person who knows his mind well enough to mistrust it.”

Michael Lewis – “The Undoing Project”

There is a real power in remaining curious and recognizing that I don’t know it all. I know for me this is a struggle at times. How easy it is for me to fall back on what I know and shutdown new knowledge or areas that I have walled off as “I already know that, no need to dig into this any further”. Yet, we should always remember how easy it is for our mind to fool us into thinking I have secured all knowledge on this subject area or I don’t need to listen to this person as I already know what they are going to say. Alas, that is a trap we all need to avoid.

I read about an amazing scientist, named Richard Feynman, he was one of the greatest physicist of all time but what really separated him out what his ability to synthesize and explain complex scientific knowledge. In my reading about his life and what made him so special, I was struck by one of his studying methods when he was at Princeton. He would keep written records in order connect the things he did know with those he did not.  The part I found interesting was his passion to learn about the things he did not know about. His desire to continue to learn what he did not know in a very systematic way. He kept of notebook of “The Things I Don’t Know About” and then would pursue breaking it down and learning more about each area.

Curiosity about what we don’t know is not a bad habit to acquire. Walking the Camino, as in all travel we do, we can learn a lot about a different culture, region of the world and history if we remain open and curious. The key is remaining curious and avoid the self-limiting tendency we might have to think we have nothing to learn. This is a problem for me when I run into areas of conflict or disagreement. I tend to shutdown and think I have nothing to learn. I believe many of us suffer from this problem.

Let’s all step up or efforts to remain curious and open to what I don’t know.

Blessings and all good,



For those curious about this man, Richard Feynman, here is a article about him and the technique for learning called the “Feynam Technique“.

Also the photograph at the top of the blog today is one I have created since I thought it would draw your attention and curiosity. It is a photography I took of a new bud of a pine tree and I have exercised my creativeness to make it colorful and unique.

Photograph of the Week

Endless Summer Bloom

This is an image I recently created and was on my Blue Skies Photography Facebook page this week. The captured the photograph in the summer of 2005 in the meadows of Mt Rainier on the Paradise side. I updated it recently to give it a more artistic feel. Our annual family hike to Mt Rainier this past Sunday went through this same area of the mountain.