Tuesday, August 14, 2012

Day 106

Many who have traveled the Camino de Santiago before me say that when you make the choice to walk the ancient path, that is the moment your Camino begins. There is no doubt my Camino has begun. In fact, it began a few months before I even knew I had decided to walk it.

As I learn more and more about this thing I've decided to do, I realize how really powerful it is. It's so much more than just a long backpacking trek across Spain to see the sights. I always knew that was the case, but I don't think I understood the true importance of it. As I continue in my preparation, many things are appearing in my path, seemingly out of nowhere. Some of these have helped me with questions such as what to bring, where to stay and how to navigate the long trail. But others serve a much deeper purpose. They are helping me to tune in to the energy of the Camino. To teach me valuable lessons that will open me to the true reason I have begun this journey.

There is a belief that the Camino actually follows ley lines, energetic pathways that crisscross the earth. The energy along a ley line is thought to be quite powerful and, if you are open to it, healing in its properties. But some wounds are buried so deep that, in order to heal them, they must first be revealed. Several reports I have read of those who have undertaken "The Way" say that it exposed them to their deepest fears, their greatest physical limitations or their most firmly held obstacles to peace, then allowed them the opportunity to walk through those fears, those limitations and those obstacles. When faced with these challenges, some quit. There is no shame in that. They simply weren't ready to trust themselves enough to face the fear and find the love waiting on the other side. Because at the root of it all, that's all there is. Fear and love. At each moment, it is my choice to accept one or the other, but never both. Those are the only true polar opposites. Everything else is shades of grey.

When I say that I am walking the Camino, just know, I AM walking the Camino. Right now. And at the symbolic end of that portion of this lifelong journey, as I stand in the shadow of St. James, when they ask me, "Where did you begin your Camino?", I will know the answer. And it will not have anything to do with the trailhead in St. Jean Pied-du-Port, France.

Wednesday, August 1, 2012

Day 93

Yesterday was the end of the first 3 months on my journey to the Camino. It was a very powerful day. So powerful, in fact, that I was unable to write this blog until I slept on it and allowed it all to process. I'm still not sure I can do it justice, but I'll try. For now, let's just say that God, the angels, and my guides were working overtime on me yesterday.

The day began with an answer to a question I had asked the day before. I woke up with the answer in my head, as if it had been there all along. And of course, it had. The question itself is not important. It was the attitude behind the question. Why can't I have...? A question arising from the illusion that there is something out there I don't already have. That I am somehow not complete and whole exactly as I am. The answer? Both perfect and maddening in its simplicity.

"It doesn't always happen as it's meant to, but it always happens as you create it. Take credit and responsibility for co-creating your life."

In other words, there is more in all of this for me. It has already been given to me. I just have to receive it. Stop blaming God, the Universe, other people, for what I can't have. As I learned from Wayne Dyer, I don't attract to my life what I want, I attract what I AM. It can be no other way. Sometimes it's tough to look in that mirror. If I want something different in my life, I need to BE something different.

All of this and I hadn't even gotten out of bed for the day. I should have known at that moment, it was time to buckle up. It was about to get bumpy.

After getting out of bed, I got dressed and headed out on my walk. More messages and gifts were in store for me along the way. I picked them up and carried them with me. But they weren't burdens, and in fact when I arrived home after my six mile walk, I realized that, seemingly out of nowhere, I had received the energy to reach another goal. I went back out and walked another four miles. My first ten mile day! TEN MILES! That's the magic number. What I need to be able to walk each day on the Camino in order to complete the 500 miles in two months. I did it! Along with that, however, I came to the daunting realization that I have no excuses. I am able to accomplish this. I do have it in me. I just have to do it. It all comes down to me and what I choose to create with what I've been given. It's a little scary to realize that it is within in my power to do all that I choose.

So what were the messages and gifts that led to my success?

Probably the most profound of all, was the vision of myself as I completed the Camino. I'm not sure how to explain this properly. I have already finished the journey, although I haven't yet begun. It was real. It was immense. And it happened. I stood at the feet of St. James and laid down my burdens. Then, as if watching a movie in reverse, I witnessed flashes of my time on the Camino, rewinding me back to the beginning, back to exactly where I was at that moment on a walking trail in Loveland, Colorado. I was clearly able to relate the experiences I will have along "The Way" to my life as I am living it right now.

There is a 100 km stretch along the Camino, called La Meseta. It is flat, it is desolate, and it seems to go on forever.  Many pilgrims find this portion of their journey to be the most difficult, more demanding even than the grueling climb through the Pyrenees on the first day. Think about it. It is  100 km of an 800 km walk. At my expected pace of 16 km/day, it will take me nearly a week to cross La Meseta. In my life I am currently crossing La Meseta. It is flat, it is desolate, and it seems to go on forever. But it doesn't. More importantly, there is beauty in this landscape if I look at it with the proper attitude. There is beauty in it all. In the beginning. In the end. And In La Meseta.

Another message came to me as I walked and listened to my iPod. The music I use for meditation began to play. Since it wasn't time to meditate, I was about to fast-forward to another song, when something stopped me. This was important. Listen to the music and the message. So I did. There is a part in the piece that, every time I hear it, instantly transports me back to the ship as I sailed through the South Pacific in January. On the first morning of my cruise when we were to arrive in port, I woke up early to go out to the bow of the ship and watch. Fascinated with all things nautical, I wanted to see the docking procedure. As I stepped out on deck, I saw that I was early. It would be awhile before we were in port, but the tranquility of the early morning lured me to remain. I watched as we gently and carefully maneuvered between the islands so close to either side of the massive ship before finally arriving safely in port. That experience touched my soul and will remain with me forever.

As I fondly remembered that life-changing cruise, another gift was revealed. I realized that while that ship had taken me to some amazing places, both physically and spiritually, it was now time for ME to take myself on the journey. That is the true purpose of my Camino. It is said that no one walks the Camino without help at some point from someone else. But in the end, it will be me and no one else, who arrives at the beginning and makes it to the final destination. And, remember. I've seen the end of the movie. I really do make it.

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate. Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure." ~Marianne Williamson