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Thursday, October 11, 2018

Day 4: Early lessons from The Camino

Today, we walked a total of 7 miles, the last four of which were on the magnificent Oyambre Beach. As I walked and the ocean roared, I began to have some thoughts about what The Camino has taught me thus far.

The WiFi here is simply terrible so I can't upload the pictures I want to show you but I'll just let these  things speak for themselves.

Walk with your eyes wide open. Open your heart even wider.

Expect beauty and you will find it.

Expect kindness and the cosmos will provide it for you.

Expect kindness and you, too, will become kind. You will have no choice in the presence of the kindness available to you in the Cosmos.

Rest. Frequently. This is not a race. It is a pilgrimage.

This is the way you will learn the truth of the saying, “Do not rush, pilgrim. Your destination is within you.”

Your mouth is at least ten times larger than both your nostrils. There is a reason for this. You will get more air in your mouth than through your nostrils. There is a down side to this. Several, in fact. Your mouth will get drier, faster. And, you may get too much air, causing your head to feel light. As much as you can, try to breathe through your nose.

Walking sticks are very helpful. I do not know the science of them and I am certainly no expert, but I have learned that walking sticks help me to balance the weight of my body. My knees, ankles and back do not hurt as much when I use walking sticks. Walking sticks also sing to me – “clip, clip, clip, clop, clip, clip, clop” – encouraging my next step if I want to hear the rest of the song.

You are never alone on The Camino. First, there are the friends you have never met. They will pass you and say “Ola” or “Buenos Dia,” just when you need to hear the sound of another human voice.  Or, they will wish you “Buen Camino” when you have become so absorbed in thought that you have forgotton why you are here.

There are also saints on The Camino – those who have gone before, those who are here, and those who are yet to come.  I have heard them whispering to me. Some have been yelling – just when I’ve needed it. Some bring me sweet memories that provide me with lessons I had learned but forgotten and needed to learn again. Some tell me of things they have seen, or I am about to see. Some encourage or warn me. No matter. They are here. Now, I invite them to make themselves known to me.    

One woman with a very thick German accent told me that the secret to walking the Camino i not to think of the road as an adversary but to embrace it as a lover. “You must, from time to time, make little noises in the back of your throat, the way a woman does to her lover so that he – or she,” she said, with one eyebrow raised, “- will know that they are getting you to the place you have not been, perhaps, but need to be.” Her eyes smiled at me and she continued, “And, when you finally arrive, you must praise the road and thank the road. For it has taken you more places than the limits of its path.”

The magic of The Camino is, in part, because it reconnects you to our Mother, the Earth. Your feet are on the ground. One foot. Then, the other. Again. You feel your own weight on it. You feel the support of Mother Earth, carrying you, once again, as the infant you are and will always be in her eyes. Thank her.

Silence can be icy cold. Silence can be warm and inviting. Silence can hold within in it the possibility of terror or the hope of healing. Silence can fill your heart with song or dread. Silence can be holy, even when you do not expect or invite The Holy.

Remember when your mother asked you to share? Perhaps it was not a request. Perhaps it was an expectation. It might have even been a demand. Sharing comes surprisingly easy to the peregrino. Someone can see you struggling to make a piece of moleskin fit over a blister than threatens on an odd place on your foot. Out of nowhere comes a pair of scissors small enough to make just the right cut so that it fits. The peregrino is surrounded by a free-flowing, easily accessible Spirit of Generosity. The peregrino wants to share.

Endurance is not a wall. It can be. It does not have to be. You can visualize it differently. I have visualized endurance as a picket fence with a gate, latched on my side. I can see what’s on the other side and I can choose to open it. Or not. Or, I can rest for a while at the gate before deciding whether or not I want to open it and continue. It is not my enemy or adversary. It is what it is. It is endurance. How I use it is my choice.

I am excited to learn and know and experience more lessons from The Camino.

I am so very grateful that you are walking along with me.


1 comment:

David said...

(((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((((dearest Elizabeth)))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))))