Thursday, December 13, 2012

Day 227

Two days in a row. Can you handle it?

Today someone asked me how and why I knew I was meant to walk the Camino de Santiago. I looked back at my first post in this blog, 'And So It Begins...", thinking I had talked about that at the beginning of all of this. I realized that I never discussed the strange and serendipitous events that led me to where I am right now. When I tell people it's because I watched a movie about it, they often look at me as if I'm a little off. I get that. But it is so much deeper than those words imply. Keep in mind, I still have absolutely no idea why I'm taking this trip across an ocean to walk 500 miles on that ancient path. That piece has yet to be revealed, but every day something reminds me that I have made the right decision. So for those who don't know how this all began, here you go.

Last November, in 2011, I was in between projects at work and looking for a good movie to entertain me for the afternoon. I opened the movie app on my phone and began to browse the current titles in the theaters. I ran across a movie entitled, 'The Way'. With names like Martin Sheen and Emilio Estevez, I assumed it was a big budget release that would be showing in all the theaters, but when I searched for movie times and locations, I saw it was only showing in a small theater in Denver, 40 miles away. An indy film. I'm not opposed to independent movies, but I didn't feel like driving to Denver. So I chose another movie, playing at the theater in Loveland, a theater geared towards the major studio releases.

The next week, once again, I felt the need to see a movie. For the record, I don't go to that many movies, so that's a little odd. This time, I pulled up the movies specifically showing in Loveland. Guess what movie was now playing just a few miles from my house. Exactly. 'The Way'. An indy picture showing in Loveland? Hmmm. So off I went to the movie. It was such an amazing film, one I knew I'd remember for a lifetime. The scenery in the movie was absolutely breathtaking, the story was captivating. I thought to myself, "I'd love to see Spain one day." I never once thought, "I'd like to WALK ACROSS Spain one day."

Two months later, on January 1, 2012, I left for a cruise through the South Pacific out of Sydney, Australia. It was to be a trip that would very literally change my life. Little did I know how much. I left L.A. for the 14-hour flight across the Pacific late at night. Most of my time on the plane would be spent sleeping, I hoped. Sometime in the middle of the night, I woke up. I noticed a new movie was just starting on the movie screen. I decided to sit up and watch it, whatever it was. I bet you can guess. Yep. It was 'The Way'. They don't typically play indy films on airplanes, do they? Again, I was drawn in by the scenery and the story. Again, I thought to myself, "I'd love to see Spain one day." Again, it never crossed my mind, "I'd like to walk across Spain one day."

In April of this year, I experienced a loss that many of you will remember. This loss redefined who I was and where I was going. It was the type of loss that left me wondering, "Who am I?" The scary thing was, I no longer knew. Feeling very alone, I began searching for a place near Loveland or Ft. Collins where I could meet like-minded people. It was time for me to transition out of the paranormal world in which I had become immersed, and into the more spiritual world. I found a place in Ft. Collins that seemed to fit my needs. Well, sort of. It felt too much like church. Having been raised Baptist, I tended to avoid situations that feel too church-y. So while I may have found what I needed, I refused to act on it. But every day, it seemed, I was drawn to look at the website for this place, this Whole Life Center, until one day I clicked on their calendar of events and guess what movie they were showing that Friday night. I'm sure you don't even have to guess.

That Friday night, while watching the movie for the third time, I thought to myself, "I'd like to walk across Spain one day." And so, here I am. Walking across Spain one day. In May and June of 2013.

Wednesday, December 12, 2012

Day 226

All my life, I have been the last one picked for any type of athletic competition. But I've never minded much, because when it comes to an intellectual competition, I've always been picked first. At least I'm good at something, right? So imagine my surprise to find myself faced with a challenge where the physical part is coming more easily than the intellectual part. I am in unfamiliar territory here. I don't know how to help myself and I don't know how to ask for help, because I don't know what I need. How can I manifest it, if I don't even know what it is?

This is a challenge I can meet. If it weren't, I wouldn't have been blessed with a teacher who is able to shift gears on a dime while pretending not to notice that I'm holding back tears in class. I am so frustrated. How do I convince myself that I am capable of learning Spanish? How do I get over this feeling that "I can't"? Because until I am able to tell myself that "I can", nothing will change.

I think the first step is to Let Go of the notion that my worth as a person hinges on my intelligence. Being smart is part of my comfort zone. It's amazing how this journey to the Camino has already broken me open, exposing my deepest, most closely held beliefs about myself. This situation is a perfect example of that. Each time I face that discomfort, I am offered the opportunity to shift perspective. To see things differently. But only if I'm willing.

Let Go. To Receive.

And now I'm going to go hike up a mountain. Because I can.

Thursday, December 6, 2012

Day 220

I started out my day with a lecture. A brief and friendly lecture, but a lecture just the same.

"Callea, you KNOW this. I know you know this."

Yes, that's how Spanish class began. And Alex is right. I do know the stuff he's asking me to do. I just can't seem to convince myself of that fact. I am blessed with a brain that allows me to learn new things very quickly. I am cursed with the expectation that if I can't leap over the learning curve and go directly from A to Z, then I'm not doing well. So while I may be progressing from A to B to C at a rapid pace in someone else's terms, it still feels slow to me. Because of that, I keep telling myself that I'm failing. And when I fail at things, I give up and move on to something else. Yep, it's that whole jump out of the airplane to escape the discomfort of the inability to breathe. Luckily I have a teacher that understands this side of me, and is able to encourage me to face the discomfort and stick with it. He's not afraid to make me uncomfortable, but always knows exactly when to step in to help when I get too overwhelmed. Not many teachers in my past have had that ability. I am extremely grateful for that. And so, much like the day at the Stanley Hotel when I cried after I bombed my first tour, I have 2 choices. I can figure this out or I can quit. Well, I'm not quitting.

After class, Alex asked me if there was anything he could do to help. He assured me that, from his point of view, I was doing very well and that I needed to be a little easier on myself.  While I appreciate that, I know it's on me to change this. Not necessarily the rate at which I'm learning Spanish, but my perception of the rate at which I'm learning Spanish. I need to change how I talk to myself. If I feel like I am failing and I continue to tell myself that I am, the Law of Attraction will draw more perceived failures my way. Lately I have been practicing almost instant manifestation of the things I need in my life, without even trying. And really, I'm doing the same here too. The problem is, I'm attracting what I don't want in this case. It's time to find the way to flip that switch, even if that means going back to the beginning. When I first learned to practice the Law of Attraction, I needed visual reminders to keep me focused on what I wanted to manifest, to remind me to feel as if it's already a part of my physical reality. I told Alex that I would have to come up with the right affirmation to tape to my mirror, so I could be reminded of it every day. As I left, I asked the Universe for what I needed. The perfect reminder.

When I got home, I decided to go for a hike. I had no intention of adding altitude today. I was just planning to add a little more distance, trying to get more comfortable with the new weight I've been carrying. The fact that I ended up at the trail head of a 5 mile hike in the hills was simply divine intervention. I have done this hike before, without any weight, and it's not easy in places. I have no idea why I suddenly believed I could accomplish this, way ahead of schedule, but somehow I knew I would. The first part of the trail is a gentle incline, but not far in, the altitude begins to rise much more steeply and doesn't level off until you reach the top. I had to stop several times to catch my breath. The added weight was making a difference, but I wasn't going to let it keep me from finishing. About half way up, a guy, obviously an experienced hiker waved and smiled as he blazed past me on trail. As I continued my slow but determined ascent, I saw him coming back down, having already made it to the top. He gave me another friendly smile and a wave, and I jokingly said, "You're lapping me!" And do you know what he said to me? That stranger I met briefly on a trail. He said, "Hey, you're doing great!"

That's it! That's exactly what I need to tell myself. It's so simple. I need to be as kind to myself as the stranger had been.

Hey, Callea, you're doing great.

"Be miserable, or motivate yourself. Whatever has to be done, it's always your choice." ~Wayne Dyer.

Sunday, December 2, 2012

Day 216

I bought a backpack. While this might not seem like a big deal to many of you, it's a HUGE deal to me. It made this very real. It was the first time I literally felt the weight of what is ahead. And I have to be honest, in some ways, I resented it.  I have been enjoying the process of unencumbering my life in order to do this thing. The more stuff I get rid of, the more weightless I feel. It's a good feeling, this lightening of my load. But don't forget, I recently asked to learn how to face discomfort rather than escape it. Instant manifestation. Ask, and you shall receive.

I walked into REI and asked to be fitted for a backpack. I told the guy what I was doing and he took it from there. He showed me what he felt was the perfect pack for what I needed. He told me all about the features and specifications, most of which went in one ear and out the other. Then he loaded it up with weight and strapped it on my back. As he tightened it and adjusted it, I was briefly reminded of the feeling I had when the skydiving instructor tightened my straps. Hmmm, this is getting a little uncomfortable. What I didn't know was that he was also still holding on to the pack with one hand. As soon as I started to feel a little better about the whole thing, he let go of the pack and I felt the full weight. I almost fell over backwards. Yes, it was a little embarrassing. Several experienced backpackers were in the area to witness it. I had to remind myself that they all had to start from the beginning at some point, and in reality, they were all very kind and supportive. Not one of them looked at me as if they thought I couldn't accomplish my goal. I was the only one left wondering that.

After I got my balance and found my center, he sent me on a lap around the store. Oh yeah, 17-1/2 pounds is heavy. When I finished the lap, he asked me how it felt and if I felt any discomfort. (No, the irony of that question did not escape me.) As we stood there talking, with the pack still on my back, I shifted my weight from one foot to the other. This time, if I hadn't caught myself I would have fallen over sideways. I give the guy credit. He managed to be prepared to catch me and pretending not to notice all at the same time. That's a true professional right there. It was all I could do not to make more of a fool of myself by bursting into tears right there in the store. The reality of it all suddenly became almost too much to bear. This isn't just something I'm planning to do. I am doing this. The emotion that is carried with that realization is extremely powerful.

I don't know why I am walking the Camino, I just know I'm supposed to. That is very surreal. The purpose behind it is much greater than any earthly reason I could give it. The weight of that purpose is daunting, but it's not impossible to bear. I must remember to keep my focus. I can't do things the way I have done them in the past. Things are different now. I am different. I need to stay much more centered. Any little shift is noticeable, throwing me off balance, as I learn this new way of being. But it will get better with time and patience and perseverance. I will get used to the new weight. I will find my new balance. Small shifts will not send me reeling. But first I have to learn to face the discomfort. Feel the weight. Build up my strength to carry that weight. And soon, I will feel weightless again. Not because I have gotten rid of the weight, but instead because I have learned to carry it properly.

"The things you choose to take with you on a journey own you, not the other way around." ~Alex Moore, Spanish Teacher/Expedition Guru/Friend

"Attachment is the source of all suffering. To get rid of suffering, free yourself from attachment." ~The Buddha

"The Universe continues to remind me that it can, and should, be trusted." ~Me