That pesky ‘something more…’


I don’t believe it matters how we start, when we start, or even where we think we’re heading, the only thing that seems to matter is listening to the part of us that longs for and just knows there’s something more.

We tell ourselves, or are told by others, many things about why we should ignore it (that it’s silly, that it’s selfish, that we’re tired, or bored or mad, or bad) but we don’t often consider, even the slightest possibility, that it could be something infinitely more positive; the Spirit moving within us and calling us on to the next growth stage of our lives.

The nay-sayer inside us tells us we’re too old, or too weak, or too stupid, or afraid to do anything about it. The nay-sayers around us tell us we’re too headstrong, or stubborn, or naive, or selfish if we follow its call. But the voice of Life doesn’t call us for no reason, it calls us because it loves us and it knows that, deep inside, we were created to respond to and to begin searching for that Love-inspired ‘something more’.


I call it the Holy Spirit, the sacred Spirit of Life, the divine Spirit of God’s Love, trying to capture our attention in a gentle, kind, but unsettling and deeply intimate way.  I believe that it moves itself within us, around us, and between us; prodding us out of our comfort zones and calling on us to notice it, to listen to it carefully and then to follow where it leads us, to a more abundant, fuller, richer and more fulfilling experience of Life.

From listening to countless people’s personal experiences of responding to that call, I believe that the place it leads to is unique and different for each and every one of us. But, for me, the place it led to was the reality of God’s felt and active presence in my life and, more importantly, the life-changing sense of God’s ever-present, unconditional Love. It was unlike anything I’d ever experienced, imagined, or been told it could be at any time before…but I had to find it in my own way; and following that ‘something more’ call was the way that led me to it.


It’s what has given me the confidence to stop always believing what other people tell me and to start believing more in that quiet voice within.

“Start here, start now, start from any place inside or outside, but start…and keep starting…until there is no more will to start” is what the voice inside me was really saying.  “Start out on your true search for me, and leave aside anyone else’s opinion of how and where you’ll find me. Just bring a truly open heart and mind and I will do the rest.”


If, like me, you abandoned belief in God long ago when you rejected what others, in their certainty, told you God was, I invite you to suspend that disbelief. If you believe that your way of relating to God – following a specific religious doctrine – is right and other ways of relating to God are wrong, I invite you to suspend that sense of certainty…and start out on your own, deeply personal pilgrimage.

If the Spirit is moving within you and is calling you to go in search of it, I believe it’s trying to tell you that your certainty there is no God (or your unshakeable belief that there is only one way of relating to God) is keeping your soul from finding the true peace that it longs for. It’s a peace that is experienced in a deeply personal and intimate way; one that will be as unique to you as you are to God.

Love is a deeply personal and intimate experience. It’s the most intimate, subtle, beautiful, life-enhancing and spirit-and-soul regenerating experience known to man. And I’m only talking about genuine, shared, human love when I say those words.


The Love of God, and the experience of that Love, is far deeper, greater and more powerful in its intimacy. It can strip us naked of our preconceptions and rip down our defences in an instant. It can flood us with a tidal wave of forgiveness and unconditional acceptance that is so unsought, and unexpected, it can leave us stunned, tearful and overwhelmed with a profoundly physical sense of gratitude and relief. How do I know? Because I’ve experienced it and, once it has been felt it can never be forgotten.

God has taught me that in choosing to live a life of daily conscious awareness of Him, I must also choose to release my need for certainty and control. ‘I must lose my life to find it’. Because God is mystery, divine mystery, and to live in intimate relationship with Him is to learn to trust in his Love and purpose and to discern when it is calling us to let go of certain fears or situations and to allow his Spirit to lead us to a deeper and richer relationship with Him and experience of Life.

He taught me that doubting what others would have me believe was the starting point of my individual questioning and that it was that individual searching that uncovered, and continues to nurture, the mustard seed of true faith that He planted in me at birth.


My journey to faith in God has been both helped and hindered by involvement with other individuals and groups. It’s grown naturally and organically from personal experience, by learning what is Love and what is Grace…and what is not; through observing the example of others and the effect it has on those around them.

I’ve seen others demonstrate a depth of generosity of spirit that I don’t possess and a height of arrogance that I do. But all of it has shown me what helps us to continue growing as human beings and what it is that tries to crush or stifle that growth.

I hope that, one day, my example and my journey of faith and trust in God will have enough power to provide strong branches of hope and encouragement to others seeking meaning, fulfilment, growth and understanding of what’s truly behind their nagging sense of ‘something more’.


Because all true pilgrimage is not really, at its heart, a journey to the physical site of any religious temple or relic or the regular celebration of commemorative sacraments or rituals. Rather, it’s a way of travelling to the internal place within us where we find a growing understanding of who and what God is, and what meaning this understanding creates within our lives.

It’s where we gradually and ultimately come to see and accept how God moves within our lives. It’s where the first steps of our deeply personal relationship with him are formed and it’s where we learn the healing power of speaking honestly with Him about the doubts and desires of our hearts. This is true, heart-and-soul-felt prayer and this is the place where our personal understanding of and peace with God is both found and made.


It’s where we find the spark of inspiration, the root of our belonging, the way of seeing what really matters and, in the seeing and understanding, it’s where we find our personal pathway to the purpose, meaning and inner peace we seek within our lives.

It’s in these moments, when we speak and listen from a place of truth with God, that we discover how inseparable Truth is from True Love, and how True Love is inseparable from Divine Love. The Love that God is.


It takes courage to start out on a personal pilgrimage, one that trusts more what the Spirit moving inside us is trying to tell us, than the voices around us who want us to ‘stay safely as we are’. But every act of true faith involves confronting the fears within us and the fears of those around us.


So let me be the voice that encourages you. Start walking your own personal pilgrimage, whatever and however that may be, and I guarantee that you will meet with God in a unique, personal, totally-disarming and life-enhancing way…as sure as the sun rises on the distant horizon, each and every day.


I’ve experienced it myself and I’ve seen it happening, time and time again; God responding, in seemingly miraculous ways, to people’s sincere and heart-felt desire to know and to more fully understand Him; and to the commitment and courage of any individual who truly seeks to find Him. Because we all, knowingly or unknowingly, long for and seek non-judgmental acceptance, compassionate understanding and unconditional Love. And these three things I’ve found, after many miles of personal pilgrimage, are simply other names for God.

Fear is the Key…

This post was written at the end of March, but now feels like the right time to publish it…

It’s more than two weeks since my last blog post and what a two weeks it’s been – in all of our lives.  How quickly the world and our experience of it can change.  How effectively Life teaches us to embrace the contradictions of our humanness: fragile and resilient in equal measure; generous or self-serving, depending on our choices and our learned responses to challenges, stress and fear.

My ‘blog silence’ had two main reasons: (1) the practical task of writing and posting the blog while walking the Camino each day, with only a mobile phone and no access to a computer, was more challenging than usual and, perhaps more to the point, (2) I didn’t know what to say.

I knew that this Camino was going to be a significant one for me from the day I decided to walk it but, as is almost always the case, it’s turned out to be so in ways that I didn’t anticipate at that time.  It’s confirmed for me something that I’d already come to understand is an essential truth in my life; namely that the things I fear the most (and do my best to avoid) Life will keep presenting to me in different ways, until I find the courage to finally face ‘the truth of what is’ and to consciously deal with it in a positive way.

Other people’s disapproval has always been a challenge for me and that’s seen me ‘bending myself out of shape’ in the past in an effort to try and keep myself ‘likable’ and inoffensive.  I believe whole-heartedly in the principle of harmony and in trying to create it and sustain it wherever possible.  And, although this does motivate a lot of my actions and decision-making, I’m talking about something different here.  I’m referring to my tendency to be passive or to keep silent when I know I should speak, particularly in the face of passive or open aggression from others.

Last week I found myself facing such aggression from strangers on social media, when the story of me continuing to walk the Camino after Spain had officially closed the route began to circulate and spread on Facebook. I received messages telling me that my behavior was disgraceful, that I should be put in prison and that I was mentally retarded.

I don’t share this experience to illicit any sympathy, I played my part in the creation of it and I accept that responsibility without excuse.  Neither do I share it to try and garner support or to reignite a topic that has now been laid to rest.  I share it because it resulted in an experience that taught me something valuable that I was ready to learn about myself and which others may find helpful too.

I learned that everyone is doing their best at the moment to come to terms with the strange and fear-filled times in which we now find ourselves and that, every day, we’ll each be presented with choices.

I learned that some of us will choose to turn away from or against others (letting fear or prejudice dictate how we react and relate to those who we don’t know) while others will turn towards our fellow human beings, even when they speak or act in ways that feel different and/or difficult for us to understand.

I believe that we were each gifted with compassionate and loving hearts at birth.  But that the world in which we live often encourages us to judge ourselves and others quickly, unfairly and harshly; as a way of masking difficult feelings of insecurity and inner fear that we’d rather not examine or face.

I believe this way of living gradually hardens our hearts, particularly in times of stress and uncertainty, and that it makes us quick to judge, shun and distance ourselves from those who appear ‘different’ to ourselves.

But I also believe that, for those of us who are honest enough to recognise that we all still have much to learn, there’s hope…and that hope comes in the form of our own fear, if we’re brave enough to look at it closely and to see it for what it is.

If we do we’ll see that, almost invariably, our fear is about the unknown.  And, so strong is society’s terror of the unknown and its collective denial of that terror, that we demand the illusion of certainty in all things.  We attempt to define and control all things, to keep our terror in the shadows and at bay.  We turn our anger and our hostility towards anyone who challenges the controls, certainties or ‘status quo’ that keep us feeling safe and, in doing so, we distract ourselves from the truth that Life is always in constant flux and that its very essence is uncertainty and change. 

And, in that respect, I see fear as ‘The Master Key’.  

I believe it’s a key that we can turn one way (locking us ever more securely in fortresses of certainty and judgmental beliefs) or the other way, opening ourselves up to the unknown, challenging and potentially painful experiences we often do our best to avoid at all costs.  

I believe that our experience and quality of life, in the brief time we’re here, will always be shaped, moulded and determined by how we choose to see the world and other people around us; and by how we choose to interact with them.

Fear is natural and human.  It is an instinctive response ‘hard-wired’ into us and designed to keep us safe from risk and harm.  But it has an immense and intrinsic power of its own; a ‘polar power’ with the capability to either unite and create new beginnings, or to divide, diminish and destroy.

If we fail to accept the reality that the fear each of us feels inside is generated by us, from within, then we will always look for external scapegoats to blame for our feelings of insecurity and, in extreme cases, choose to express that fear in verbal or physical abuse and attack.

We are fragile human beings because we will always experience fear, but I believe that we’re also an inventive and resilient species because we can learn how to harness and channel that fear to create rather than to destroy.

We are generous human beings (to ourselves and others) when we can accept that ‘getting it wrong’, stumbling on the stoney path of life, is part of how we all learn.  It’s an intrinsic part of our very fallible ‘humanness’.  And when we find the capacity within ourselves to reach out a metaphorical hand of understanding or a physical hand of help to others (most especially when we feel it’s undeserved) then we embody the generosity of spirit and compassion that is the best part of us.  It’s the essence that lies at the very heart of us and at the heart of all religious and spiritual belief.

When I allow fear to stop me from speaking or acting, I not only silence the voice of my intuition, I also silence the spirit of Life within me.  When I avoid saying or doing something that my intuition tells me I should, for fear of negative or aggressive reactions from others, I allow fear to make my choices for me, instead of consciously making them for myself.

When I choose to stand up to fear or to walk with it for a while,  although it often results in painful and difficult experiences, I never regret the decision and I always encounter heart-piercing gifts of Grace.  Gifts of Grace that bring me face-to-face with my human limitations, ego-based delusions, persistent vanity and the reality of my fragility. But which also constantly bless and protect me with unexpected good fortune and humbling acts of kindness and generosity from others.  

And for those reasons alone, if no other, it’s a path that keeps calling me onwards and one I’ll keep choosing to take.