Thursday, May 31, 2012

Day 31

I made it a whole month! That's longer than I have ever followed through with anything. Seriously, things have changed for me, and when I say I'm doing something it means I AM doing something!

Today was my longest walk yet. I hit a wall about half way. Which means I was as far away from home as I could get. But I walked right into that wall with no fear, no regrets. And as I did, I felt an explosion. A splintering apart of all the doubts I've been feeling lately. I suppose some might try to explain it as the endorphins that are released with physical activity, a so-called "runners high", but for me, it was a release.

I have been practicing mindful walking at times on the trail. This is a type of meditation used by Buddhist monks. It's necessary to feel each sensation in your body as you take a step, each footfall, each breath. Through this I have realized that there is some fear inside of me that I need to let go. I notice as I walk my shoulders are hunched up under my ears. I remember at the start of each and every ghost hunt I led at the Stanley, I would ask everyone to take a deep breath and drop their shoulders down from under their ears. "They aren't going to protect you there," I'd say. Many would laugh and wonder how I knew. I knew because when I'm scared I do it too. And so, I recognize it as a fear-based response. Something I need to work on. There is no room for fear in this process.

More and more things are coming to mind that I need to research about this walk. Yes, I fully believe that if I worry about the what, the how will take care of itself, but I'm thinking part of the how is listening to these things that pop into my head. I'm reminded of the man who drowns in a flood. When he gets to heaven, he asks God why he didn't help him and God replies that he sent him several men in boats and each one was refused with the statement, "God will rescue me". These thoughts are my boats. My way to navigate the waters of this unfamiliar journey I've started. It's necessary to pay attention. To participate in my own rescue.

I'm walking over 5 miles a day now. This may not seem like a lot to some of you, but to me, it's huge. I really did get off the couch to do this thing. I remember on May 1, walking barely 2 miles and thinking I might die. I've come a long way, with a long way to go. One step at a time. Right on track. Well. And sometimes off track, just for fun.

The robin was my animal totem today, In fact, the robin has appeared on several of my walks and only today seemed insistent that I mention her. The robin symbolizes new growth, a belief in yourself and a reminder that when you do, obstacles will fall by the wayside. I'm glad I took the time to notice.

"The shell must break before the bird can fly." ~Lord Tennyson

Saturday, May 26, 2012

Day 26

Today was a tough day. Just out of the blue. I had no idea what was even bothering me. I decided that it would be a good time to not only take a walk, in spite of the way I was feeling, but to also add on the extra mile for the week, two days early. All I hoped to accomplish was getting the physical part of the walk out of the way, no mental or emotional work today. I wasn't in the mood. In fact, I turned my headphones up extra loud to try to drown out any "love and light" that might try to sneak through in the form of an inspirational thought that could ruin my perfectly good bad day. It didn't work. It was as if all the right songs were just standing in line waiting to offer me the next important piece of information I needed to hear.

I began to notice that I had let doubt creep in. What the hell am I doing? What makes me think I can walk 500 miles? Why am I even trying? Give up. Come on, stupid, give up. What am I trying to prove anyway? And then I remembered a story I told last weekend about the first portion of the tour I ever gave at the Stanley. It was bad. No, seriously. Really bad. I was terrified. I had never been comfortable speaking in public, and this time was no different. When my portion was over and the regular tour guide took over, I headed to the bathroom. I sat down in a stall. And I cried. What the hell am I doing? What makes me think I can be a tour guide? Why am I even trying? Give up. Come on, stupid, give up. What am I trying to prove anyway?

At that moment, I had a decision to make. I could push past the fear and figure it out. Or I could quit. There was no shame in either choice. Well, I didn't quit back then, and this time I won't quit either. I can do this thing. In fact, I AM doing this thing. I have a long way to go before I'm ready, physically or mentally, but I had a long way to go when I decided to stay at the Stanley too. I've proven that I can exceed my own expectations, and that's all that really matters. This is for me.

And for the record, I also figured out where all the crazy emotions were coming from today. When I jumped out of the plane, I felt a really clogged energy channel burst free. Things I had been holding inside for years, because they were too difficult to deal with, started to surface. I felt it happen, and I automatically began trying to bottle them back up. But just like the cork on a champagne bottle, you just can't plug it back up. It's time to let this stuff go. And this is some really OLD stuff. I remember when I was first attuned to Reiki, the Reiki master told me I would experience 9 days of uncomfortable energy, as everything cleared out. All I needed to do was acknowledge the feelings, accept them as having been a part of where I've come from, then let them go. And so, I am letting go. It may not be comfortable, but it will be very freeing. And when it's done, it's finally and forever done.

This is for me.

My little friend the grasshopper leaped into my path today to remind me to be the first to jump towards new horizons.

And, that's the best I've got for today.

See you all when the horizons look brighter.

Monday, May 21, 2012

Day 19

I am on the fast-track to stepping out of my comfort zone.

Before I talk about the event I attended at Poasttown Elementary School in Middletown, Ohio, I wanted to answer a question that has been asked a lot.This past weekend several people asked me what my training for the Camino involves. Mostly it's a lot of walking. I plan to take about 6 months to get my endurance up and increase my distance, with the ultimate goal to be comfortable walking 10 miles at a time. After that I'll start wearing the loaded pack to increase strength along with the endurance. But all the physical training in the world will never take the place of the need to get my mind in the right place. I talked about mental toughness in an earlier blog. The daily workout for that is my top priority.

In addition to the training, it's necessary to prepare in other ways. My lease expires at the end of this month, so today I let my landlord know that I would like to sign another lease through April 30, 2013. After that I will be homeless while I walk the Camino. I'll need to get rid of most of my personal possessions during this coming year. The few things I keep will go into storage while I'm gone. I will also soon begin the process of finding homes for my animals, which will not be easy for me, but it's all part of Letting Go. I have confidence I will find them all good homes where they will be happy and loved. I wouldn't offer them any less.

And now, let's get to the event on Saturday with Into the Dark Media. It was another life-changing experience. Wow! Two in one weekend. Can I even handle all that excitement? When I originally agreed to give a lecture, I was working at the Stanley Hotel. I would be attending on behalf of the hotel. That would be a piece of cake. I could talk about the Stanley all day long and most of the night, with one hand tied behind my back AND my eyes closed. But, as most of you know, that was not meant to be. When everything happened with the Stanley, I immediately contacted Steve and Shawn to let them know and to ask if they still wanted me to do a lecture. I mean, really, what would I talk about? They assured me that I was still very much wanted at the event, so I better get my butt there with no excuses.

Before I left the Stanley, I had contemplated the question, "Who am I without the Stanley Hotel?" That's a pretty serious question, if you think about it. Even when I separated from my husband after 13 years, I never asked that question. I knew who I was separate of my relationship from him, but in this new world in which I had found myself, I was immersed in my role at the hotel. I guess I had lost myself in it. To the point that, when I left the hotel, people were worried that I had no job. No one knew I had a whole life outside the Stanley. I didn't even know that.

So I began working on a lecture about some of the things I had been thinking about in the paranormal. Some more radical, less mainstream ideas about what I believe is going on. Things that I was not able to fully share when representing the hotel on a professional basis. The more I thought about what I would talk about, the more excited I got. And, the more nervous I got as well. Would anyone care what I had to say now that I wasn't telling the same old ghost stories of the legendary Stanley Hotel? Would they hate my theories? Worse, would they be apathetic to them?

For the lecture, I had written out old-fashioned note cards to keep me on track, since a PowerPoint presentation wasn't an option. I was worried that the note cards would make me look like an amateur. I was also concerned I didn't have enough material to fill my hour. Finally I told myself, "Take this leap. Find out who you are and if you have anything to offer. Or don't. But quit whining about it." And then I decided to jumped out of a plane. The skydive uncorked the fear that had kept my emotions bottled up for so many years. That was a side effect I didn't expect. Without the fear, keeping them stuffed down deep inside, they were all there, waiting to be released.

As I began the lecture, I let everyone know I was a little nervous, and that I was still feeling a little tender about the recent circumstances of my departure from the Stanley. And then I began to cry. Someone spoke from the back of the room. I'm not sure who, but whoever you are, I owe you a huge debt of gratitude. "Let Go," they said. Let go. I took a deep breath. I found my courage and my big girl panties, and I continued. This time, I told MY story, not the story of that hotel I still love so much. And you know what? People wanted to hear it. They were interested. They opened their minds and their hearts to what I had to say. They opened their hearts to me. Me. Just Callea.

I found out who I am without the Stanley Hotel. I am a kind, caring, genuine person. I have things to say that people want to hear. I deserve to feel this way. And while I am grateful to the Stanley Hotel for the opportunities I had - without them I don't know that I would have ever been brave enough to speak publicly - I am thankful I am no longer there. I don't mean that in a spiteful way. I just know that now is my time to fly. For me, not for them. It's my time.

"No one can make you feel inferior without your consent." ~Eleanor Roosevelt

Day 18

I have come to realize that my Camino is not just about the walk I am taking in a year. This is an entire journey of the soul. The Camino de Santiago will be one small part of a much larger whole. And if a 500-mile walk across Spain can be a "small" part, imagine the amazing things yet to come. Thanks again to everyone who reads this blog once in awhile and for those who have offered me a word or two of encouragement.

There are no words to describe the weekend I just spent in Ohio. I am going to give it my best shot in my next two blogs. Just remember, no matter how well I describe it, it was better. I've had a lot of life-changing experiences lately. I now understand that although I have done some pretty incredible things, it's not the experiences themselves so much as my willingness to allow the experiences to make a difference in my life.

When I visited Ohio last September, I noticed a sign on the road for skydiving. I had never before considered skydiving, but for some reason, I thought, "Hmmm, that might be fun to do someday..." I never imagined I would actually do it. Until I did. One day a couple of weeks ago, while on a walk, I remembered that sign. I knew I was returning to Ohio for an event, and something just kept nagging at me. Do it. DO it. DO IT! It seems these days when I make a decision and say I am going to do something, it just falls into place. No questions asked. No energy wasted on doubts and regrets. So I made the plan. I signed up. I even talked a friend into jumping with me. I'm not sure he knew how serious I was.

"Are you really gonna do this?!"

"Yes. You wanna go along?"

"Hell yeah!"

Five minutes later, I told him, "It's booked. No turning back."

His response, "Shit."

My soul wanted to do this thing, however it seemed my mind had other plans. On my way to the airfield, with plenty of time to get there, I got horribly lost. Even my "smart" phone couldn't find my location, so it was no help. Looking back, I realize it was all simply a test of my determination and I passed. I arrived at the skydiving office exactly on time, despite the fact that the clock in my car had told me I was late while I was still lost somewhere in Middletown. I agreed to die if it was my time to go and to hold them harmless if I did, then I was off to do this thing. I felt a strange sense of calm, which I'm sure had nothing to do with the margaritas I had been drinking that afternoon.

On the plane, as we climbed higher and higher, the reality began to set in. I'm really doing this thing. I AM doing this. But, seriously, how do I take that first step out into the great unknown? In the end, as with all the other "how's" in my life lately, as long as I focus on the "what", the details handle themselves. There was no time to even think about how that first step would go. I scooted up on my bench with my incredibly good-looking tandem instructor strapped to me, then as we got next to the door, before I even had a chance to look out, he just tipped me sideways and we cartwheeled out of the plane. Well. Ok then. What's done is done. Can't change the past. No control of the future. Might as well enjoy the present. Be in the now.

There was no fear, only trust. I never doubted that parachute would open. In fact, truth be told, I was a little disappointed when it did. That adrenaline rush of hurtling through the sky was indescribable. It didn't feel like I was falling, more like I was flying. When the parachute opened, that's when it felt more like a thrill ride, ironically. The turns and dips we took gave me that roller-coaster feeling in the pit of my stomach, which I love. I even got to take control and "drive" the parachute. At this point, fear was no longer in control of where I was going. I was. When I later mentioned this to my friend Sandiee, I called the tandem instructor my guide, not even realizing how meaningful that was, until she said, "Your guide always knows what's best for you." Wow. That's when I knew. I did so much more than jump out of a plane here. I allowed myself to finally understand the true meaning of how it feels to Let Go.

According to Dr. Wayne Dyer, in order to manifest things into your life, you must first FEEL as if they are already a part of your life. How could I attract the art of Letting Go into my life, if I didn't know what it felt like? I had no concept of it. Now. I do. Let's DO this thing!

"I will not die an unlived life." ~Dawna Markova

"It's hard to dance with the devil on your back
So shake him off."
~Florence + The Machine, 'Shake It Out'

Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Day 15

Today was tough and I'm not even sure why. About a quarter of a mile into the trail, I got a dull ache in my groin area. Luckily, I was able to walk it off, but from then on, everything seemed off somehow. I really could have used a friend with some encouragement along the way. Someone to put their arm around me and assure me it would all be ok. Instead, all I had was me. And I suck at encouragement. When I got home, I sat down on the couch and cried. This time the dull ache was in my heart. Not physically, but emotionally. I have no idea where the tears came from, or why. They were just there, so I let them go. Tomorrow will be a better day.

Right after I finished with the tears and was about to write this blog, I checked Twitter. This was the first tweet I saw. Good thing Neale was "there" to motivate me.

"Good things await you on the other side of this ridge. This is a hill you can climb. Just put one foot in front of the other." ~Neale Donald Walsch

Monday, May 14, 2012

Day 14

Two weeks into this year-long adventure. As I began this, I started to notice and identify with the signs around me. Little gifts I was given as I walked down the path. But today's walk found me more focused on the things inside of me. I thought about each step as I took it. Each one, it's own individual success, but still a part of a much larger whole. Each step was all I had. I couldn't jump ahead and take the steps yet to come, and there was no way to go back and re-take the ones I had left behind. So while that one little step was indeed a part of a long journey, it, in itself, was the journey. Such a powerful message.

Each day I have decided to walk just a little bit farther than the day before. If I increase my distance little by little, the enormity of the 500 miles I will eventually walk doesn't seem so unreachable. Every day I get closer. And as I get closer, I sense things inside of me changing. Shifting. I find myself no longer wanting to hide behind the excuse of my fear. So even if I take just one step into that fear, just one. little. step. then today, the fear didn't win. And so I have decided to take just one little step. Just. One. Little. Step. out the open door of an airplane and into the vast unknown of freefall. It is time to find out if I can really trust that parachute to open. And if I can trust myself enough to take that step.

It truly is my Year of Leaps. My life has been waiting for me to finally let go of the fear. And let go I will.

Friday, May 18, 2012 at 5:00 pm. I'm leaping out of that plane and landing softly back on the path to continue this grand adventure called life. Wish me luck!

"I never dreamed home would end up where I don't belong,
I'm movin' on,
At last I can see, life has been patiently waiting for me."
~Rascal Flatts, 'I'm Moving On'

"I came to win, to fight, to conquer, to thrive
I came to win, to survive, to prosper, to rise
To fly."
~Rihanna, 'Fly'

Friday, May 11, 2012

Day 11

Today took me back through the streets of Boulder. My old stomping grounds. A place that will always hold a special piece of my heart. I watched the soon-to-be college graduates, with their whole lives ahead of them, jealous for a moment, until I realized, "Hey! My whole life is ahead of me too!" Yes, I have left more behind than they have, but that doesn't minimize what is yet to come. I am just as excited, if not more, for what I have to look forward to. But I also understand that happiness doesn't arrive when I get where I am going. It's here now. All I have to do is embrace it.

I talked to my family about my plans to walk across Spain and part of France. I realized that although I am doing this for me, I am also doing this for my nieces. I want them to know - to BELIEVE - that anything is possible. There are no limitations in this lifetime except for the ones we place on ourselves. I want them to reach for the impossible, and once they have attained it, to reach for something more. No fear, no regrets, no holding back. This journey is for me. And this journey is for them.

I feel the true beginnings of the letting go process I need to complete in order to accomplish what I have set out to do. It makes me happy. It makes me content. I am at peace.

"Participate in your own rescue." ~A rafting guide on the Arkansas River

Thursday, May 10, 2012

Day 10

I'm back after a few days off to focus on my job. It felt good to get back to walking. It offers me the time I need each day to think about things. Where I've been. Where I'm going. And most importantly, where I am. Today's lesson was about procrastination. The reason I didn't have time to walk and write over the past few days was because I had put off working on a project that was due this week. I waited until the very last minute, as I often - OK, as I always - do. My excuse is that I work better under pressure, but that's not really true. The truth is that I get stressed under pressure. So why put myself through that time and time again? Because you see, it's what I've always done. It's my comfort zone. It may not be what's in my best interest, it's just how I am used to doing it.

Whatever the reason may ultimately be for my decision to begin this year-long journey from my couch to the Camino, I know that a big part of it is to help me look at things from a new perspective. It is supporting me in a new way of being in this world. Procrastination does not serve me and, as a result, I need to let go of that familiar habit. If I am truly going to walk for almost 500 miles in just under a year, I can't procrastinate. I need to focus on my health, my fitness and most importantly on myself right now. Not in a year, not in a day or two. NOW! Procrastination is no longer an option. I am doing this thing. Right now.

Today I noticed an ant carrying a load much larger and heavier than his little body. It reminded me that anything is possible. I bet no one ever told him he couldn't carry something that heavy and so, he can.

"They tell me I shouldn't know how to do this. I tell them I didn't know that. Sometimes your ignorance leads to your success." ~Pearl Fryar, 'A Man Named Pearl'

A Man Named Pearl Movie Trailer

Tuesday, May 8, 2012

Quick Update

I haven't disappeared, although it feels like I have, buried as I am in a project for work. Little time to walk, reflect and write, but sometimes life gets in the way of life. I'll be back at it tomorrow or the next day as soon as my project is complete.

Thank you to everyone who is taking the time to read about my journey!

Back soon.

Sunday, May 6, 2012

Day 5

No, Day 4 isn't missing. I took the day off to drive out of town for a little fun. And this Day 5 blog is a day late because all I had with me on the trip was my phone. Bet you all thought I gave up already, huh? No such luck.

Yesterday's walk included time in my favorite cemetery in Georgetown, CO. Such a beautiful cemetery, not in the traditional groomed and manicured style of cemeteries inside the city limits, but in a wild and unkempt way. Kind of like me. Well. Except maybe for the beautiful part. I was joined by three other women, with the ultimate purpose of looking for some spirits. We walked as we talked, then we talked as we walked. It was great re-connecting with an old friend while adding two more to my list. I see the Universe moving new people and things into my life which are exactly aligned with where I am. Hey! This stuff really works!

I didn't keep track of how far I walked, or my average speed, or the calories burned. I just walked for the fun and the exploration of it. Something I plan to do quite a bit of on the Camino. I don't want to push myself to such a pace that I don't have time to stop and smell the roses, or sample the wine, as the case may be. I believe the whole reason I am taking this walk is so I can really see and, more importantly, feel these places.

I just realized that Day 5 took place on the day of the Triple 5 portal. 5-5-5. May 5, 2012 (2+0+1+2=5). Five is the number of immense change. Gee, ya think? I started out this year calling it my Year of Leaps. And leap I have. Speaking of that. Leaping, that is. I'm thinking the next thing I need to do to challenge my boundaries is to leap out of an airplane. Do I have the guts to do it? Stay tuned to find out.

This decision to walk the Camino has taught me so many things about myself, but the biggest lesson I've learned is that I don't want to live my life, I want to experience my life. I want to feel it with every part of my being. And that is exactly what I plan to do.

"You don't attract into your life what you want. You attract what you are." ~Dr. Wayne Dyer

"Be the change you wish to see in the world." ~Muhatma Ghandi

Thursday, May 3, 2012

Day 3

Mental toughness. That's what this goal requires. Even more difficult to overcome than the physical aspects of what I'm doing, is the self-doubt and the fear my mind tries to use to convince me to quit. I knew when I made the decision to start this journey, that it would challenge me in unexpected ways, I just didn't expect it to happen so soon. 

I took it a little slower today, and walked a little less distance, realizing that I gave myself a year for a reason. I don't need to be ready tomorrow. As I walked, no matter how much I tried to focus on the positive, I just kept going over the things that concern me. I'm not going to list them here, because I don't want to give them extra energy.

I AM doing this. I do trust myself. I am braver than I give myself credit for. That's all for now.

Today was a success.

"The less I seek my source for something definitive, the closer I am to fine."  ~Indigo Girls, 'Closer to Fine'

Wednesday, May 2, 2012

Day 2

Today I pushed it too hard. It's what I do. Almost as if I am looking for a way to fail. It's the perfectionist in me. I want to do it perfectly, immediately, or not at all. I struggled with keeping my mind off of the enormity of my undertaking. In the end, I put one foot in front of the other, did my best to keep my mind in the now. And forgave myself for not being perfect. I need to quit being so hard on myself.

More power symbols along the way today. A monarch butterfly fluttered past more than once. A symbol that I will be taking a long journey. Monarchs live much longer than most other butterflies, so I'm sure there is significance there as well. And another spider. This one led me down the path for awhile. Well, only a few steps, but if you think about it, a few steps for me is equal to about 10 miles for the spider. Again, the reminder that I create my life.

I'm already feeling my first blister, so shoe and sock shopping is in the cards for tomorrow. The iPhone app for distance walked was perfect. It even calculated average pace and calories burned. Bonus! I'm burning calories. Who knew?

Today was a success.

"You are capable of anything. But if you screw it up occasionally, so be it." ~Colin Tipping

"It's the strangers in your life
That you never thought you'd meet
It's the hand that picked you up
When you're laying in the street

It's the hand that cut you down
It's the dream that someone shared
When you thought that all was lost
It's the friend that wasn't there

You can run from all the memories
But never get that far
For in the end they'll find you
For this is who you are"
~Trans-Siberian Orchestra, 'This Is Who You Are'

Tuesday, May 1, 2012

Day 1

Today I walked my first official two miles. I could have done more but, well, two reasons. I didn't want to burn out on the first day by overdoing it and um, yeah, I, uh, had to pee. That's right, I got a mile down the trail, which also means a mile away from my car and I suddenly realized I reeeeallly had to go. Definitely need to plan better for that issue.

I learned that Loveland has a bunch of walking paths and trails. I'm happy about that because if I had to walk around my neighborhood over and over again, I'd get bored. Along the trail I chose today, I saw three butterflies, a dragonfly and a spider. Oh and a sign telling me to welcome the little bears if I saw them along the way. Really?! I don't know if there is a bear "little" enough for me to want to welcome it, but OK. The good news is I didn't have to. At least for today.

I found the walk to be full of symbolism. The butterfly is a symbol of metamorphosis. An emergence from the cocoon of my limitations into the freedom of who I really am. The fact that there were three was even more significant to me since it's the number of past, present and future.The dragonfly signifies the stripping away of those beliefs that say, "I can't do this." And the spider teaches me to break out of my stuck energies and weave my own personal web. In other words to be the creator of my own life. I don't think any additional explanations are necessary, right?

I still need to buy a pedometer and better shoes. Honestly, I wonder how many strange looks I would get if I just walked the Camino in my most comfortable shoes, or should I say, in my Ariat boots. Hmmm, are you listening Ariat? How about a sponsorship?

Today was a success.

"I believe in you. Your friends believe in you. Now it's time for YOU to believe in you." ~Shawn Sellers

"Visualize your dream (Yes)
Record it in the present tense (Don't be scared)
Put it into a permanent form
If you persist in your efforts
You can achieve dream control"
~Queensryche, 'Silent Lucidity'