A Sense of Spirit · Morning Pages · reading · spirituality

The Camino : A Journey of the Spirit.

"The Camino"
“The Camino”

Since the year began, I have already, unintentionally, developed a few new habits. Although I read every day, always having a book of some description on standby, to pick up and read a few pages whilst eating lunch, or before going to sleep, this year, reading has become as natural to me as drinking a glass of water.

Every day this year also, I have written a few lines in my own personal journal. Nothing earth-shattering, just a word or two about my day. This particular habit I began in January last year, although I didn’t carry it through the entire year. Not until the last three months, that is, and this year, my daily notes have easily become a habit.

Robin, over at Breezes at Dawn, has spoken recently about Morning Pages. This morning, I tried it. I didn’t follow all the rules, but I did try out the concept.

I should start at the beginning of what eventuated though, leading to my urge to write first thing in the day. Last night, at around 11:30 pm, I finished reading “The Camino”, a book written by Shirley MacLaine. In the book, she describes her own personal thoughts as she walked the 780 kilometres (500 miles) of the Santiago de Compostela Camino, though the north of Spain.

Anyone who is familiar with the writings of Shirley MacLaine will know them, at times, to be rather controversial. This is a lady who says it like it is. She has traveled her own spiritual journey for many years, and through many previous lifetimes, as she continues to learn. When I read another book of hers, “Out on a Limb”, when it was first released in the 1980’s, I was ready for her. Shirley MacLaine wrote the knowledge I had been searching for for a lifetime. The world, however, balked at her candidness, she was ridiculed.

"Out on a Limb"
“Out on a Limb”

Reading “The Camino”, I felt certain that I would be prepared for anything she wrote about, but I wasn’t. I won’t spoil the book for anyone by describing the section that disturbed me though, if you feel so inclined, please do read it yourself, it is quite a wonderful book. But when I awoke this morning, before speaking to anyone, before allowing anyone to invade my thought space, I wrote.

On Goodreads, I rated the book four out of five stars, then continued by writing a review. This was my first book review, and it didn’t hurt a bit, in fact, I have written two more reviews at Goodreads today, and have decided to continue this habit (yet another newly formed habit for 2015) with each book as I finish reading it.

I think it helped, writing early in the day. I needed to flush the disturbing section of the book from my mind, and by putting those written words out into the Universe, I believe it has removed the thoughts sufficiently for me to move on to my next book, a light-hearted novel. 🙂

Later, perhaps in a few weeks or months, once some time has passed, I will contemplate “The Camino” again. It is certainly a journey which I would love to (physically) take myself on one day. For now though, time will allow my mind to come to terms with some of the aspects of the story, and I will decide whether what has been written is a truth I am comfortable with. For now, I’m not.

If you are a member of Goodreads, add me as a friend there. If you are a reader and haven’t joined the site, I can recommend it as a site in which you can keep track of the books you have read, are reading, and wish to read in the future.

Here is the review I wrote ~

Years ago, I read “Out on a Limb” by Shirley MacLaine, so knew to expect the unexpected from her.

The first three quarters of the book describe how she heard about the Camino, the journey itself, the people she met along the way, past life regressions she experienced during her quiet times….so far, very interesting, and I enjoyed following her walking travels through the sacred trail.

The last few chapters rattled me. This was where I reached “the unexpected”, (which, of course, I should have expected!) I can only imagine that my own soul’s journey through time was not yet ready to hear the things that Shirley MacLaine wrote about. This is not a criticism of the book, just how it felt to me. The story is written with complete honesty, and I like that. If an author, any author at all, is going to write an autobiographical account of any period of their life, I would expect nothing less, therefore, if what I read in the latter section of the book had not upset my equilibrium, my rating would be five stars. It definitely took me out of my comfort zone!

I would only recommend this book to a person who is open to hearing of possibilities other than those traditionally accepted, as per the bible. And having a mind wide open would help as well. It is evident that Shirley MacLaine realizes there may be some readers who find what they read disturbing, as warnings are strategically placed at the beginning of two such sections. I read past the first warning sign unscathed…but even though I felt my mind open to new theories, it will take some time to digest the possibility of the second concept presented.




???????????????????????????????With ideas of putting my self-proclaimed title of “Most Inconsistent Blogger in The Universe” behind me, I’ve decided to take you for a look around one of my favourite book stores. (I hear a collective gasp of “what, two posts in the one week?”) Of course, I cannot leave this shop without being poorer of pocket yet richer in knowledge, but hey, what is a great bookstore for, other than to go into them and buy books?

Reading nooks, so private, so peaceful...
Reading nooks, so private, so peaceful…

This place has atmosphere, it’s inviting, there’s even a coffee shop right next door. Comfy couches are in abundance, as are ladders and stools. The staff is friendly, helpful, and somehow manage to keep track of the ca-zillion books in the place. I browsed for hours in search of a book, any book, by Rumi. A couple of days later I returned and approached a helpful person who walked straight up to the shelf where Rumi could be found. (Hadn’t I already looked there?) These Rumi’s were new books. You may, she suggested, look in the used book poetry section (yes, they stock both new and second-hand books!) but she felt quite sure that any second-hand Rumi’s that came through the door were grabbed almost before they hit the shelves. I looked. She was right. Of course.

Shelf after shelf of books...
Shelf after shelf of books…

Some of the books are so valuable that they are displayed behind glass doors, under lock and key, behind the front counter. Other books are valued by their age, the price-tag being irrelevant to book lovers (like me!)

I love the matching series of books so often found here, in the second-hand section.
I love the matching series of books so often found here, in the second-hand section.

The Jane Austen series of five books that followed me home  (or I may have just purchased them, blind to the asking price) are a third edition hard back series, published in 1933, with each book selling individually at that time for the princely sum of seven shillings and sixpence. I’m not brilliant at maths, but according to my calculations, (and some help from Google,) taking into account the basic wage of the day, conversions of pounds, shillings and pence to dollars and cents and the inflation rate, I estimate the books to have cost the equivalent of $125.00 AU in today’s money, each. Which leads me to a further thought, just how accessible were books back in those long-gone days, if the cost was so high? Or perhaps Jane Austen had reached a pinnacle in her popularity, increasing the value of her work?

My Jane Austen finds, safely tucked up on one of my book shelves at home.
My Jane Austen finds, safely tucked up on one of my book shelves at home.

Adding to the character and the atmosphere in the store is the polished cement floor throughout all the main area, reading rooms and comfy book viewing nooks.

Characterful, polished cement floors.
Characterful, polished cement floors.

Did I mention where these rooms of beauty, warmth and indulgence are? Just twenty kilometers inland from Noosa Heads (the destination of my very recent holiday) sits a sleepy little village by the name of Eumundi. The whole village comes alive every Wednesday and Saturday with a huge market-place, making Eumundi a must-visit area for those who prefer the non-commercialized village markets any day over a huge, ritzy shopping centre.

I may have written something about Eumundi way back in the archives of time. Let me check…..here ’tis, and it goes way back to the early days when this blog was just a baby in August 2010. I aptly named the post “The Town that Time Forgot”.

Surrounded by books, books high, books low, books everywhere.  :)
Surrounded by books, books high, books low, books everywhere. 🙂

I’ve lost track of the number of books I have read during this year, so I really must be more organised next year. (Note to self ~ add a Currently Reading tally into the side column of my blog. Further note ~ remember to read this note!) Currently, I’m reading “Committed” by Elizabeth Gilbert, which is the follow-up to her earlier book and travel diary, “Eat Pray Love”. I swear that whilst reading the first third of the book, every mouthful of food I ate tasted better than ever before! (You’ll know what I mean if you have ever read the book!) Prior to that, I read Yann Martel’s “The Life of Pi” and before that I became inspired to read an Australian novel turned mini series, “Cloudstreet”, written by Tim Winton, when my son brought it home from school, being his novel to read during second term of school. I’ll have to think about what I read before “Cloudstreet”, that’s why I need to keep tally….

(no, wait, it was Barbara Kingsolver’s “Animal Dreams”!)