Los Arcos and La Rioja

What with Reina hogging the blog, it’s been difficult to keep up with discussing Lizzy’s Camino Essences while she walks through these places on her third Camino.

Today, I thought I would discuss Lizzy’s Essences from Los Arcos and La Rioja. She has just passed through Los Arcos and also the region of La Rioja and is heading today for an albergue Ben found in Granon during his Camino.

So move over Reina, I need the computer.

Here is Lizzy’s description from our Guide for the Los Arcos Essence.

Keynote: Release
Finding the bravery to move ahead on your own and at the same time being open to support from unusual places and activities.

This was a particularly tough stretch of the trail for me. I was traveling with two souls that were very kind, but spoke no English. This night we slept in a small town at the base of a beautiful mountain with ruins of a castle on top. The village was nearly deserted. The only life was an ice cream truck that rolled through town in the afternoon. The castle could be seen from miles off and when it came into view I had one of those experiences of recognition that is core deep, but often completely mysterious. The next morning brought me to another internal crossroads. One of the Italians had left before dawn and the other was having severe problems with his achilles tendon and the dreaded tendonitis, something I also was starting to feel. On the flat and empty plains, covered in nothing but grain as far as the eye could see, I set off walking totally on my own. I was solo for the first time on the trip. When I lost sight of my Italian friend behind me, I knew I was truly in the universe’s hands. What that morning brought was the narrow and winding streets of Los Arcos, the most delicious cookies I have ever eaten in my life, as well as the company of an older German man who wanted to practice his English with me. He shared with me that his mother was named Elizabeth, just like me. These gifts though small, helped me to feel taken care of. I walked on with the growing awareness that the trail would support me along its length.

The theme of Los Arcos has been a big one in my life. Sometimes I’ve expected support from people whom conventional wisdom suggested would offer support only to find myself disappointed that the support is not there. It’s a pattern I can fall into which is why this Flower Essence has been a good friend for me. I’m always glad when I let go of my expectations and make the turn towards a different paradigm. These Los Arcos moments of release have been profound because the best things in my life have been the unexpected love and support from people I didn’t know and from realities beyond my ken.

As we have watched this Essence go out into the world, we hear back that it’s helped others as well to expand their sense of possibility about the imaginative ways we can care for each other- Perhaps what this Essence is really about is expanding our definition of self and experiencing that oft mentioned oneness more fully.

When I look for specific people to help me in any given situation, I act out limited illusions of us and others. When I relax into the truth of Los Arcos, I find myself in the marvelous expansive experience of oneness. My filters about where to expect things to come from are the thing that needs to go in most situations. These filters are what gives me pain. When I can embrace the true infinite love of oneness, the adventure is completely different.

One experience I had with this release process happened when Green Hope Farm was a young business. I expected friends and family of origin to be interested in what I was learning and interested in our Flower Essences. This isn’t what happened. I felt a lot of disappointment at the time about this, and it still strikes me as odd that we are much better known almost anywhere on Earth than we are in the village where I live, but in learning to lay down this expectation of where the interest and support for Green Hope Farm would come from, I opened up to wonderful friendships all over the Earth. In releasing my expectations, I was given so much more than I could imagine in you and in the ways the Flower Essences would serve others.

Here is Lizzy’s description from our Guide for the La Rioja Essence.

Keynote: Creativity
Discovering your unique autonomy, cultivating your deep creative strengths, and then turning them into assets in obtaining the life you desire.

This essence came from a beautiful and very proud region of La Rioja. This small, but autonomous region is known around the world for its wines. Many hours were spent walking in rust red soil next to the fields where grapes grew. This summer happened to be one of the rainiest in Spanish history. The trail beside the vineyards was both breathtaking and crazy making, because the mud was thick, wet, and deep. It would cling to the soles of your shoes, and could topple your wobbly balance at any moment. I must admit I took a few not so graceful falls, but I blame it all on my pack. As I encountered clusters of people out in the fields and the occasional lone farmer, it became clear that the grapes were a source of life both economically and spiritually for the people of this region and for that reason the land vibrated with the energy of respect and gratitude.

I never quite saw the connection between this La Rioja Flower Essence and Los Arcos Flower Essence until today. I see how in letting go of my expectation about what my creative endeavors would look like and releasing my pursuit of people’s approval by doing creative activities that didn’t push so many buttons, I finally let myself go fully into my own creative realm where I could joyfully be me.

Many years ago when I told friends and family that Angels had encouraged me that I would find my livelihood through the Flowers I love, my sharing was greeted by disbelief, amusement and cynicism. I am a dogged earnest person not naturally given to cynicism so I kept going with the gardens even when others thought I was just deluding myself. How wonderful that in persisting, the Angels led us to Flower Essences that can support others to persist in their dreams.

Bedchamber Specifications

It’s hot here….. Especially for me with my luxurious coat. Not only do I need the coolest floor for a good night sleep,
I need the fragrance of Sweet Peas wafting over me.


Yes, these will do, but I also need Sweet Pea Flower Essence spritzed over me. As Queen of the farm, I need a very good night’s sleep every night.
Glad you understand.


Puente La Reina

Yesterday Elizabeth was in Puente La Reina. I have a fondness for Puente La Reina and not just because Reina was named for this town. It’s more an affection born from years of hearing your Puente La Reina stories. And yesterday as I heard Lizzy’s Camino Three Puente La Reina story, my affection and awe about the energetic wisdom and power of the place and its Flower Essence only increased.

Since first offering this Essence in 2008, we have seen you reach for Puente La Reina Flower Essence when looking for support to ditch personality driven obligations, burdens, preoccupations and relationships to go to a new place of connection to people and situations that genuinely support your authentic selves. Since this Flower Essence helps us all make an upgrade in relationship and life circumstances, I have gotten to hear a lot of inspiring stories about your work with this Essence.

Those of us here in the office often refer to an event in someone’s life by the name of one of the Camino Essences. It’s a useful shorthand for us as we work to serve you with the best Essences. We often say, ‘a Puente La Reina’ moment to mean a significant turn in someone’s spiritual journey, a moment when someone is ready to let go of seriously burdensome or obscuring baggage and get on with the real work of his or her life. We are always happy when it’s a Puente La Reina moment for you.

There are so many mysteries about why each of us hit Puente La Reina moments when we do. Our spiritual journeys have a certain order and underlying purpose in their orde, but a lot of this order is beyond my understanding. Some of it remains paradoxical to me. But a little bit more clarity about Puente La Reina’s geographic position and the purposefulness of its placement on the Camino on the far side of Pamplona came to me when I got Elizabeth’s email yesterday.

Elizabeth was nudged to go on this Camino in July, and this meant traveling through Pamplona at the height of the San Fermin festival. In yesterday’s email, she noted that this timing has given everything up to Puente La Reina a strange party party party feeling with most of the pilgrims on the trail out of France focused on getting wasted in Pamplona. As she traversed Pamplona, the scene proved beyond the imaginings of even the most jaded of college students. I know I come from puritanical stock and therefore don’t get a lot of things in the culture, but her description made me think pretty much anyone on Earth would think the scene in Pamplona extremely unsavory.

The energy of Puente La Reina with its clarion call to lay down personality driven agendas and ego preoccupations seems to mark both a point in our lives and on the Camino when we get real about what matters and go forward with much greater clarity about our choices. Having stood in stark contrast to the energy of San Fermin and the Pamplona party energy for so very long, Puente La Reina offers real vibrational strength about getting us to get real about our choices and move on in ways profoundly more in alignment with our eternal selves than what went before.

Here is Elizabeth’s description of her Puente La Reina Essence as it connected to her first Camino when she made the Flower Essence for the first time.

Keynote: Clarity
Lightening your energetic load and being clear about whom you travel forward with. Learning discernment about who sees your worth and can actually support your growth.

Puente la Reina is the city where I spent my third night on the trail. Previously I had walked with a man from Denmark who had been part of the original group that I started with on the first day. During this day, I walked ahead when he needed to slow down due to his knees. This departure happened on the outskirts of Pamplona, a city famous for the running of the bulls. This moment of moving ahead was one of clarity. It was a moment when I knew that I needed to keep moving forward and that there were other souls further ahead who could better support me in my journey. Because this man reminded me of a person with whom I had recently parted, this was a big moment for me.

That night in the albergue I met a charming German boy with whom I had much in common. Like myself, he had been a teacher. Like myself he was trying to figure out his life. I was encouraged by my first taste of being with young people. Before this moment, the trail had felt full of older people either on their own or in couples. That evening, before everyone disappeared off to bed, I asked the young man if he would like to walk with me the next day. He told me that would be ok if we woke up around the same time, our pace was the same, and it just happened. “Yea sure, whatever.” he said. This was not the enthusiastic response I was hoping for. If he did not want to make the effort in the smallest way, then I needed to go on and seek people who would. The trail was teaching me discernment about my choices of traveling companions and my worthiness to travel with kindred spirits.

In Puente la Reina, I also lightened my pack by leaving behind my heavy, but brand new sleeping mat. I left it with a gulp in the albergue, but did not miss its weight and bulk on my back for one minute. On the trail everything in one’s pack must be essential. Flushing out all the things that were not needed was a favorite pastime. I found the practice could be almost completely translated to all the things we carry internally as well. Hence, I set off before sunrise in the company of two Italians who spoke not a lick of English, in an effort to lighten all types of loads.

PS After I posted this blog, an email arrived from Elizabeth written as she departed from Puente La Reina- She hadn’t read this post nor had we talked about Puente La Reina in our emails, yet in that wonderful Camino way of things, it felt like we were mid- conversation about all that I was thinking about.

She noted that until Puente, the Camino had felt like a trail of ghosts, certainly a more poetic way to describe personality preoccupations we need to jettison even as they don’t have much life force in our lives anymore.

She also said Puente continued to feel like the place to be washed clean of all the shadows. She noted that the mood on the Camino feels more edgy than on her other Caminos, and that everyone seems to feel a certain sense of the world and its spirituality being in the throes of big changes. Perhaps as things continue to unfold, Puente La Reina will serve the collective paradigm shifts of humanity as well as our individual ones. I feel it is up to the task.