Come in! Come in!

"If you are a dreamer, come in. If you are a dreamer, a wisher, a liar, a Hope-er, a Pray-er, a Magic Bean buyer; if you're a pretender, come sit by my fire. For we have some flax-golden tales to spin. Come in! Come in!" -- Shel Silverstein

Wednesday, October 17, 2018

Day 10, Stage 9: Sobrado Do Monxes - Arzua (21 km/13 mi)

And so it begins - moving closer and closer to Santiago. We are leaving the Upper Tambre basin and heading towards Carelle, a quiet livestock village with a parish dedicated to St. Lawrence.

We have been following the paved road through Bodelos, Corredoiras, Boimil and Boimorto in rural Galicia. The end of the stage is in Arzua where the North Way and the French Way meet. There is a natural bee production farm here which is quite lovely and famous. We are staying for a second night in the incredible 17th century manor house Pazo de Brandeso.

Today's poem for reflection is Finding What You Didn't Lose, by John Fox
When someone deeply listens to you
it is like holding out a dented cup
you've had since childhood
and watching it fill up with
cold fresh water.
When it balances on top of the brim,
you are understood.
When it overflows and touches your skin,
you are loved.

When someone deeply listens to you
the room where you stay
starts a new life
and the place where you wrote
your first poem
begins to glow in your mind's eye.
It is as if gold had been discovered!

When someone deeply listens to you
your bare feet are on the earth
and a beloved land that seemed distant
is now at home within you 
She came quickly around the corner, looking distracted, eyes down. She almost ran into me.

"Oh! Sorry," she said.  And then, she backed up a half a step and looked at me. She moved her head back and forth, looking at me.

"Oh, my," she said. "You look different today. I mean, I almost didn't recognize you."

I smiled and then felt suddenly like a self-conscious teenager, and a bit embarrassed.

"You ARE feeling better, aren't you?" she asked.

"Yes, yes I am," I said.

"It shows," said she. "Welcome back.'

"Or, " she said with a smile, "perhaps I should say, welcome."

Several of my fellow pilgrims have smiled and asked, "Feeling better?" Others have just smiled a knowing smile.

Most of the toxins I had been carrying within my body are now gone. I am able to breathe more deeply than before. A full breath. In. And, out.

I'm sure I have not lost a pound. In fact, I'm sure I - we all - have gained weight. (How could we not?)

And yet, I feel so much lighter. Brighter.

I feel like I am more of who I am. More at home in my self.

I was reflecting on this poem and realized that I have not said much of anything to my fellow pilgrims about my interior journey on this pilgrimage and yet, it seems, I have been deeply listened to and heard.


The particulars of the subject or issue matter not. My fellow pilgrims have been listening. They know. They see me. They hear me. They care.

And the truth of the matter is that I have been listening deeply to each one of them. I know. I see. I hear. I care.

I don't know how that has happened without speech or conversation. I only know it has.

I came to this Camino with a curiosity about many things but one of them was the personification of The Camino. People speak about The Camino as if it were a person.

Goodness knows, I've easily fallen into it.

"The Camino will teach you."

"The Camino will guide you."

"The Camino will provide."

I've thought it an interesting phenomenon - the way some people personify evil as Satan or good as an Angel. It makes it very convenient never to have to take responsibility for your own evil. Or, for that matter, to claim and own your own goodness.

While I still believe that's true, there is something . . . magical . . . or, mysterious . . . . or, at least, inexplicable . . . about the personal transformation that happens on The Camino.

I can't really explain it. I think it's one of those things you have to experience to know.

I have come to decide that that "something" that happens, happens because of deep listening. I suspect that deep listening can happen when one meditates or prays.

But, the walking  . . . .
Something happens in the walking.
Something happens in the walking to a different place.
Something happens in the walking in a different place where basic things are the same:
And yet, everything is different enough to have to pay attention.

Something happens in the walking
You walk and walk and walk, miles and miles and miles
And suddenly find yourself in a place deep inside you
And, you find yourself a stranger in a familiar land.

Something happens in the walking
When you listen more deeply to your surroundings
more deeply to yourself
more deeply to others
loving yourself more
being more gentle with yourself
so you can love
and be more gentle
with others.

Something happens in the walking.
You learn a new way to pray
that doesn't assume God is parent
but Creator
not as One who judges and condemns
but One who naturally gives and naturally takes
One who listens deeply
and inspires creation
and re-creation
in you.

Something happens in the walking.
In two days, we will be in Santiago, entering the city where for thousands of years millions of pilgrims have made this walking journey.

Something happens in the walking where millions of others have walked with intention.

There is something inexplicably marvelous and magical and mysterious about that.

We'll just call it "The Camino".

I know I am forever changed.

I am finding what I didn't lose.

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