Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Day 296

Today I focused on the little things. You know those things you put off until the end because they just don't seem that important. But then you get to the end and you realize that all of those little things added up to one big pile of "I wish I hadn't waited so long". It's important not to underestimate the little things.

I bought a do-it-all tool, a head lamp, stuff to keep my lips from drying and cracking from the elements, a first-aid kit, gators to keep my legs and shoes dry. Oh, and I bought socks. The softest, most comfortable socks ever. Socks may seem like a little thing, but they are huge when you're walking 500 miles. I tried to buy a utensil with a fork on one end and a spoon on the other. But I received a disapproving look and a reminder that I might be trying to pack a fear in my backpack. There's not a doubt in my mind that's what I was trying to do. I have issues after all. And eating with questionably clean utensils is way up at the top of the list. When the subject turned to drinking water, my hands began to shake, and we moved on to something a little easier. We'll tackle that issue on another day. A day when I'm ready to face the big things. Like buying a hat. A surprisingly big thing. I really, really hate wearing hats. But, it's time to get used to wearing one if I don't want to die of sunstroke somewhere out on the Meseta.

I realized that in life, I tend to procrastinate on the little things. Why do today what you can put off until tomorrow, right? When I end up with enough little things, they become a big thing, and then and only then, do I feel they're deserving of my attention. If I'd just take care of them as they come up, one at a time, little by little, one step at a time, it would save me a lot of stress. Just another of life's lessons learned along the Camino journey I have begun.

"It has long been an axiom of mine that the little things are infinitely the most important." ~Sir Arthur Conan Doyle

Sunday, February 17, 2013

Day 293

Since you last heard from me, this adventure has gotten really real. I bought my airplane ticket to Madrid. I've also booked a hotel in Madrid for 2 nights so I can recover from jet lag and see the sights for a day. I have a train ticket to Pamplona and a bus ticket to Roncesvalles, France. From there I'll take a taxi to my starting point in St. Jean Pied-du-Port (SJPP). In SJPP, I have a reservation for my first official night as a pilgrim on the Camino de Santiago. The refuge is called L'Esprit du Chemin, or The Spirit of the Path. I received an email from them today asking me to come directly to the refuge upon arrival so they can welcome me with open arms. Seriously. That's really what they said.

And to think I almost missed the wonderful experience awaiting me in SJPP. Let me tell you a little about what happened. I got scared. Plain and simple. Then I began to doubt myself, and my ability to make the climb through the Pyrenees. I had pretty much made up my mind to begin my Camino on the other side of the mountains in Pamplona, but I had found an "acceptable" excuse. I started telling myself I didn't want the hassle of crossing into France. I'm very good at lying to myself that way and I can be very convincing. So let me get this straight. I'm about to be within a few kilometers of France and I don't want the hassle of crossing the border? Really? Come on, Callea, get real. Be honest.

While struggling with this decision one morning, I arrived at Spanish class. I just wasn't myself. I know Alex could tell there was something wrong. In fact at one point, he turned to catch me wiping a tear from my eye.

"Algo en ojo?" he asked in Spanish. Something in your eye?


"OK, en inglés. What's going on?"

He brought me the whole box of tissues and the waterworks began. We talked about my feeling that I wasn't prepared. We talked about the people who I have allowed to get in my head with their doubts. Not my doubts, theirs. We talked about how it was all connected to my own doubts about learning Spanish. I think it's so easy to believe those who wonder if I can really do this thing, because inside I agree with them. He even asked me if I had a physical ailment which I had failed to inform him about. I'm pretty sure that part was thinly veiled sarcasm. Just a feeling I have. He reminded me that I can do this by taking one step at a time. I might not be the fastest, but I will get there. I'm not sure if he was talking about the Camino or Spanish at that point. Probably both. And then he said the one thing I really needed to hear.

"No matter what happens, you will be taken care of."

Why do I doubt that? It has already happened on countless occasions throughout this journey. Amazing, miraculous things have arrived in my life, reminding me that God believes in, and supports, my ability to do this. If GOD believes in me, shouldn't I?

On a side note, I'm going to try to post more often. To be honest, I've gotten a little discouraged by the lack of response to my last few posts. But what I've realized is that this is really for me. I love going back and reading my previous entries. If no one reads this blog but me, that's OK. If only one person reads it and feels inspired in some way, even better. But if you are reading it, and you have some words of inspiration to offer me, please, please, please do. It's crunch time people. The big game is moments away. I can do this on my own, but it's so much easier with help along the way.

WALK SLOWLY by Danna Faulds

It only takes a reminder to breathe,
a moment to be still, and just like that,
something in me settles, softens, makes
space for imperfection. The harsh voice
of judgment drops to a whisper and I
remember again that life isn't a relay
race; that we will all cross the finish
line; that waking up to life is what we
were born for. As many times as I
forget, catch myself charging forward
without even knowing where I'm going,
that many times I can make the choice
to stop, to breathe, and be, and walk
slowly into the mystery.