Almost a year


It’s been almost a year. And though much has come and gone in the course of that year. I’ll keep the news update down to just two highlights.

First, the good news. I realized my longtime dream of walking the Camino de Santiago de Compostela. I began in one of the most popular starting points, St. Jean Pied-de-Port, France, and over the next month, made my way to Santiago, mostly by foot (I rented a bike for about 125 km, and took a train for another 80 km when I was behind schedule.) The Camino was an adventure of hiking across the Pyrenees, the long Meseta plateau, the Cantabrian mountains, of crossing dozens of rivers and streams and roads, of passing through more than a hundred cities, towns, villages, and hamlets, and of meeting some of the most wonderful people in the world. As many pilgrims do, after resting an extra day in Santiago, I went to Fisterra (Spanish Finisterra “World’s End”) to complete my Camino at edge of the Atlantic Ocean.

Much more can be said about it, but for now, I’ll leave the subject with the admonition that if you have a chance to do the Camino yourself, do it!

Now, the bad news. I have a broken foot. That’s putting it dramatically, but it’s technically true. I still have a bone chip from the broken toe that I mentioned in the “metatarsalgia” bit in my last post. (The doctor who informed me that I had broken a toe neglected to mention that I still had a bone chip trapped between my metatarsals.) He suggested rest as therapy.


Indeed, resting it was actually was helpful at first, and when I began Camino training, I discovered that toe socks seemed to be just what the doctor ordered for me to be able to hike well. Yep, I walked the Camino with a bone chip in my foot.

When I returned, all seemed well. I was in the fittest condition I’d been in since my late twenties. I starting training for another marathon, but trouble started showing up with toes in my left foot cramping towards the end of 13-, 10-, 8-, then even 5-kilometer runs. The trouble was undeniable when on a Labor Day 5k, I was on pace to PR (make a personal record) but had to walk (and limp) the entire last kilometer.

That led me to see a podiatrist. The first one I found was not very helpful, but now I am working with a different podiatrist, in whom I have much more confidence. However, neither have been keen on operating as ligament damage might not be as simple to repair as merely removing the chip.

So, not running for the last eight months has been a difficult challenge for me. I only started running for five years ago, and when I began, it was like I had been given a new lease on life. But during the winter, I found myself eating comfort food and gaining thirty pounds.

But things are changing. My diet is back on track, I’m losing weight slowly and carefully, and with my podiatrist, I’m exploring how best to rehabilitate my foot. (This weekend, I was able to walk fourteen kilometers.)

As I return to blogging, I’m reading and taking my own advice on the most essential skill: returning”


This is a guest post from Mark Haynes, DC. Mark practices chiropractic medicine in Southeastern Virginia, and is a frequent speaker on matters of healthful living. Mark lives in Virginia Beach with his wife Celeste, and children Hannah and Emerson.

After watching Yoda use the force to elevate his Xwing fighter out of the swamp waters and deliver it safely to land, Luke exclaims… ‘I don’t believe it’. Master Yoda replies ‘That is why you fail’.

In order to feel the force, you must first believe.

First you must believe that there is a force to be felt. The same force that lights the stars, moves clouds and causes flowers to bloom – animates each of us. Whether you choose to name that force GOD or simply prefer the acronym for Grand Organized Design, the presence of a universal organizing force cannot be denied.


Second, believe that your choices in life affect your ability to connect with and feel the force. You see, ultimately, your beliefs drive your behaviors. If you think that a happy meal really makes your body feel that way – you will eat lots of them. If you believe that your food does matter – that eating whole foods, full of natural nutrients nourishes your body then they will. If you think it is plenty of exercise to point and press the remote – you will be a couch potato. If, on the other hand, you believe that your body will work better if worked – you will exercise and enjoy the benefits. If you believe that your attitude affects your physiology for better and for worse, you will adjust it accordingly. If you believe that your mind, body and soul need time to restore, repair and recharge through rest then you will carve out enough of it.


The power that made the body heals the body – it simply needs the right raw materials.


So renew the body: eat right, stay fit, rest appropriately and think well.

Feel the force. It is you!

Death, Life, and Purpose

Steve Jobs spoke in 2005 to Stanford’s graduating class on how mindfulness on death and the brevity of life aids focus and purpose in life.

When I was 17, I read a quote that went something like: “If you live each day as if it was your last, someday you’ll most certainly be right.” It made an impression on me, and since then, for the past 33 years, I have looked in the mirror every morning and asked myself: “If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?” And whenever the answer has been “No” for too many days in a row, I know I need to change something.

Remembering that I’ll be dead soon is the most important tool I’ve ever encountered to help me make the big choices in life. Because almost everything — all external expectations, all pride, all fear of embarrassment or failure – these things just fall away in the face of death, leaving only what is truly important. Remembering that you are going to die is the best way I know to avoid the trap of thinking you have something to lose. You are already naked. There is no reason not to follow your heart.

About a year ago I was diagnosed with cancer …

This was the closest I’ve been to facing death, and I hope it’s the closest I get for a few more decades. Having lived through it, I can now say this to you with a bit more certainty than when death was a useful but purely intellectual concept:

No one wants to die. Even people who want to go to heaven don’t want to die to get there. And yet death is the destination we all share. No one has ever escaped it. And that is as it should be, because Death is very likely the single best invention of Life. It is Life’s change agent. It clears out the old to make way for the new. Right now the new is you, but someday not too long from now, you will gradually become the old and be cleared away. Sorry to be so dramatic, but it is quite true.

Your time is limited, so don’t waste it living someone else’s life. Don’t be trapped by dogma — which is living with the results of other people’s thinking. Don’t let the noise of others’ opinions drown out your own inner voice. And most important, have the courage to follow your heart and intuition. They somehow already know what you truly want to become. Everything else is secondary.

When I was young, there was an amazing publication called The Whole Earth Catalog … On the back cover of their final issue was a photograph of an early morning country road, … Beneath it were the words: “Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.” It was their farewell message as they signed off. Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish. And I have always wished that for myself. And now, as you graduate to begin anew, I wish that for you.

Stay Hungry. Stay Foolish.

(The quotation begins at about 9:03.)

Listen to an excerpt on, or read the entire address, or watch the video of it below.

(This was originally posted at The Wild Things of God.)