Naomi McCarthy

artist, writer, animateur

Filtering by Tag: Phil Beadle

Final truth courtesy of Phil beadle. Happy?

Abraham Lincoln said, " Most people are as happy as they choose to be."

I say, "Happiness is ephemeral, you can't attain happiness, you can just notice it when it happens."
Here is a day of noticing my happiness.

9:00am Eating breakfast - happy
9:30am Checking travel bookings - flat line
10:00am Walking in the cold and rain down to Hitchin town - very happy, loving the weather
10:30am Getting hair done, pleasantly distracted, then bored
11.30am Walking back from town in wind and rain - very happy
12 - 2pm Watching Tony do travel bookings - OK
2:30pm Arguing about style of accommodation - angry
3:00pm Back down the town in wind and rain for a walk with Tony (abandoning bookings) - very happy
4:00pm Tea and cake at adorable tea shop and gallery in Hitchin with Tony - very happy
5:00pm Walking up Windmill Hill, turning around to see spectacular sunset - extremely happy
6:00pm Dinner with family - happy
7:30pm Calling cousin to cancel plans to meet, plans remade - conflicted and feeling my run instinct kicking in - not happy
8:00pm Dancing at the village hall - shy, conflicted, run instinct on high alert - not happy
9:00pm Sitting with Tony at dancing - settling in and starting to relax, resisting my run instinct, happiness increasing
10:00pm Dancing the Mayfair Quick step with Tony to a tune from River Dance, wondering why everyone else was out of step and laughing ( a little like a crazy woman) for the whole dance - very, very happy
10:00pm - midnight Drinking at The Plume of Feathers pub in Ickleford village - happy
Midnight Bed - happy 

Finishing the camino in Santiago de Compostela - looking very happy ( back row of this photo) and I was in that moment indeed happy, but I was also conflicted about transitioning out of pilgrim mode back into normal life. The beauty of the camino is the simplicity of the aim, the easy and always available camaraderie, the exposure and immersion in nature, the opportunity to spend six - eight (or more) hours a day under the sky, following the contours of the land moving through the landscape at a very human pace. A calmness descends on you knowing that, it is all a privilege, a gift if you will. Knowing that it is a movable feast and that it too will finish is also important because it makes you take advantage of what is offered, it also allows you to walk away from anyone and anything that you don't like, except yourself. The one constant and inescapable truth - you take yourself with you wherever you go - my best advice about that one is to make friends with yourself, forgive your transgressions and in being generous about your own failings learn to be generous and forgiving to others. Open yourself to life, living it as a participant, be gracious in your attitude to what life offers, not distant and judgemental, which is a 'safe' and cowardly position. My take home lessons from the camino: be brave; be kind; be open to what life offers; be thankful and give praise for the bounty of the world and being given a life to live; it really is a gift. 

Flirt with the most attractive person in the room. Dare courtesy of Phil Beadle

After eight weeks on the road (six walking the camino de Santiago solo), I can confidently say, my husband is the most attractive person in the room, last night we went dancing, of which there is no photographic evidence, but I offer this photo of Tony in The Anchor on the River Cam, as proof of his gorgeousness. 

Get someone to lend you something. Dare courtesy of Phil Beadle

It was hot walking today and I spotted Anne walking with a sun umbrella and immediately got umbrella envy. Well, come lunch time when I shared my dare but not my umbrella envy, I was offered, can you believe, the loan of an umbrella. Exactly what I had told the universe I wanted about an hour before it materialised. To make the story even more delightful, Eric (the umbrella loaner) and I rigged up a hands free method of keeping the brolly up so that I could walk using my walking sticks and simultaneously enjoy the shade provided by the brolly. That afternoon we ran into Anne, the original source of my umbrella envy, and set her up with the now patented hands-free, brolly set-up with which she was delighted. Once again the camino truth and dare project facilitated a whimsical, maverick, emblematic moment of authentic engagement and synchronicity.

which ethnicity do you find most/ least attractive physically? Truth courtesy of Phil Beadle

Phil Beadle's Truth - which ethnicity do you find most/ least attractive physically.

Well, having been on the Camino de Santiago for a month I would have to say the most attractive ethnicity on said camino is the Italian cyclists who look good arriving and indeed look good leaving. I will be forever grateful to whoever invented the all-in-one Lycra bike outfits. Muy bonito. 

Ask someone to lend you something - from Phil Beadle

I was very happy this afternoon when I met up with my friend who has just returned from a few weeks in japan. With both of my usual comrades in arms travelling overseas, I’ve so missed the usual catch-up coffee and chats. We were mid-laughter, when the dare to ask someone to lend you something passed through my mind. So I simply asked the fresh young man at the café if he had a pen he could lend me. I could see that he didn’t have one on him, so thought it would be interesting to see how he would reply. As he patted his empty chest pockets, he generously indicated that he would see what he could do. As he went to search for the requested pen, my good friend, also willing to help, offered her pen that she knew she had in her bag. Ah, such a simple request but one that caused conversation, resulting in a dose of kindness.

Failed Dare from Phil Beadle

I failed Phil Beadle's dare to flirt with the least attractive person in the room.

Serendipitously, I was seated across the dinner table from someone who could fit that description and I did pay attention to everything they said, showing interest and asking questions. But I fell far short of flirting - no lingering eye contact, subtle touches of the hair and brushes of the body, no twinkle in the eyes. My position is, that I felt I could intimidate the person who was quite young. I also had my doubts about the ethics of the action - is it OK to flirt with someone you have no interest in? If they are confident in themselves I think it's all a game and no problem, but if they are insecure and desperate for attention I think one should tread carefully. So I have to confess to a failed dare.

Double dare coming up - a Video of me miming at a train station - courtesy Kendal Murray. 

Truth be told - a dare from Phil Beadle

The worst lie I every told was one I told over and over and over again. And I told it to myself. As a young woman I faced the dilemma of thinking I could fix an important – but doomed – relationship. It took me a long time me to admit the truth of the situation to myself, never mind to the other lives enmeshed in the situation. In hindsight this lie cost me a great deal of time and energy. I also learnt a lot – I just wish I’d learnt the life lesson a wee bit faster.

Truth, courtesy Phil Beadle: what percentage good or bad are you? Give it a number and justify.

I find these truths sooooo hard.  I think it's hard to define in absolute terms what constitutes good and bad. And I especially find it hard to rate the qualities of good and bad in myself and apply a number. I think the goodness or badness of our qualities vary dependent on the situation, what is a great quality in one situation is not so great in another. For example a voice that can be projected to the back of a school auditorium and leads a body of people in a particular direction is fantastic when conducting a sports class. But not so great if used when discussing a personal situation. Indeed knowing how to behave in an appropriate manner is an important indicator of sanity and probably of goodness too. But what about when your actions please nine out of ten people and hurt or frustrate one? Does this then influence your goodness or badness? A pragmatic perspective would be that you did 'good' as you effected the greater number in a positive way, but the one you hurt would tell a different story.

I think intentions matter, if you intended no harm but caused some, where are you on the scale of good and bad? Can a person be fundamentally good or bad and how much does their personal history shape said goodness or badness? And is it then fair to judge them, or indeed judge yourself when you are to a large extent a product of your circumstance. People can and indeed do rise above their circumstance, but it is still an influence, even as something to push against.

Well, as I was in a quandary about this truth, I decided to check in with other pilgrims at a pellegrino dinner. I asked people around the table to rate their own goodness and badness. Jan, a young Dutchman, said in an almost joking tone, "You've asked the right person, I am perfect." When asked to justify this statement he said, "actually maybe I am 85% good, as I want to help villagers in Africa, I don't outsmart people who are not so smart,"  (I think meaning he doesn't take advantage of people.) But then on further reflection he said,  "actually I can be mean to my friends when they push me too hard, perhaps I am 75% good." Curiously, he lost 25% of his goodness in less than five minutes.

Around the table we had ratings of 60% good, 40% bad on two occasions and we also came up with some characteristics of good people: Honesty, friendly to other people, not selfish, thinks of and includes others, has integrity and generosity, gives people the benefit of the doubt. Interestingly, this list is quite 'other' focused. I think there is a valid argument not to live your life for other people, that it is each of our obligations to live our own lives, you can't actually avoid it. But this was not the collective wisdom of the gathered pilgrims, so I continued seeking for the truth the following day on the camino.

The best response came from a fellow Australian, Tony from Melbourne, who at first, thought the question was silly. But after walking a few more kilometres came up with "people are 100% good, but, they occasionally make unhelpful choices." I am offering my fellow countryman's reply for myself. I am fundamentally good, but sometimes I make unhelpful choices, which doesn't diminish my goodness rating, but simply makes me a flawed human being like everyone else. On reflection this is a generous stance, as it means we are all 100% good and all occasionally prone to poor decision making which makes us all reassuringly human and I am sure, easier to live with and definitely more interesting.

PS on a bad day, in a tragic moment of self pity I may rate myself 100% bad - I'm one for cringeworthy moments of grandiosity! It keeps me humble. (Insert cheeky smile here.)

Buen camino. 

Contact:  Shirley.dandelionprojects@gmailcom