Warm blessings ayn,
Thank you so much for your note. It arrived timely in my email as this was our last morning in England and again a sleepless night. I too am feeling the integration period of walking the Camino. Sadness, relief, no longer enough words for the under layers of such a profound life enhancing experience.
This morning while boarding the van to the airport, A nice conversation with a woman while in the bus asked if we had walked the Camino. She knew about it! Why yes we had…… We arrived London early as a way to integrate into modernity prior to going home. Her comment was something like, a trip like that will be strange no matter what because your adventure was so different, all sorts of changes could be made, but home, we often come home to being the same. Yep. She knew! And, she articulated what I think so many of us walkers understand and are a bit afraid of. Going home to the same. We are going home to the same and home asked us to be the same and we are, yet somehow we are not. I have been chewing on this thought through the airport and finally I had this thought. “. No pain, no glory!” Ha! The joke is on me. I realized somewhere that the Camino is simply a path or a teacher for my life at home. That the real pilgrimage begins with the hardship of expansion inside an already created form or shape or lifestyle or social life or relationship or home we call home. The real work is changing those structures to expand like we have expanded. The awkwardness is that with expansion space is found in two ways the filling of space and the “negative space”. Kind of like looking at a tree. You can see the tree, or you can see the space around the tree. We walkers are having to deal with both forms of expanded space inside ourselves and are now going home to a defined space or lifestyle. How do we deal? That is where the no pain no glory comes in….like the Irish fellow on the Camino said to the man who was working to stay in his body and not check out while walking. Our work is to not check out or back into the structures of our life except those which we perhaps want. Our work is to not only invite the change but to demand the change.
Yes we a going home to Santiago. And this pilgrimage for some may be harder than the actual walk itself. To go home to Santiago is to perhaps allow the Camino to be part of a spiritual living standard that we may carry for ourselves now. I mean we could say, ” what would the Camino want of us.” Or “Daisy to honor the Camino, the work it took for you to make it to Santiago, how would you or the spirit of the Camino want you to project yourself in your journal? What grade would it want?” Silly thoughts? Absolutely! Yet I think we all struggle with the profound and the absurdity of this experience and how it all acquiescences into a major ordeal that we could overcome only by making it and to do that we were asked to sharpen our minds, our wills and our bodies as best we could. If we could not we would not finish the Camino. We all witnessed this. People leaving. Sprains, tendons, blisters, fights, or even scheduled short time periods due to inadequate goals, whatever it was they are real obstacles we all had to overcome. Some had to overcome the opposite staying on the Camino but speeding through. The discomfort of struggle but having to reach the end. I felt this myself. I am not proud and yet it is a profound teacher about the discomfort of staying put. That was the beauty of the English man who’s name I have forgotten. He walked up from Seville and then began in St. Jean. He would only walk 20 kilometers a day. He was steadfast in this committment. Not to fast, not to slow. He walked and when I saw him in Leon he was taking pictures and sightseeing with a sharpened sense of curiosity I had not seen in others. He was not tired or struggling. He was a student of a kind who had the ability to take in some of the deeper layers the Camino had to offer. I think that was the beauty of a set standard of walking. He did what he knew worked for him, but again that understanding came with experience. The Sevill path is one of the longest camino’s. His gear, practically a day pack. He had probably already learned by trial and error already. I remember saying to Daisy that by the time we arrive Santiago we will know how to walk the Camino. I think that I hit the mark when I said that. I learned so much and think that if I started all over again after arriving I would have a comfort that I did not have before. This is also part of our learning. How to make change with grace but to be clear about the goals. Santiago
So now Daisy and I are on a ten hour flight to L.A. And I get to ask my self what needs changing? How do I embody spiritually and psychologically the awesomeness of the Camino? How do I support my beautiful teenage daughter who will be surounded by her peers? How do I trust that there is going to be a “bed” at night? How do I trust the amaizing opportunities that jump out at us when we need them? For us it was the young man with the dogs who invited us to his friends home. Yes we could have walked 12 more kilometers. But why when god shows up with a mattress and heat and food and its raining outside?
Trust, is a huge part of our next journey as I return home. I also think this notion of no pain…… Is the recognition that the Camino was very hard! Change is hard and actively creating change can even be harder sometimes. We are at the crossroads and it is time to move on. Decisions about life, goals, finances, how to actively parent and co parent and how to be a good person or steward in the world as I have been taught through walking and listening to the stories of people from all over the world. Requires work. We can not longer be afraid of work as abstract as it sometimes may seam.
I think in this large scope of things I will simplify and commit to a few things and do them well. I again am reminded of the Camino. A lovely woman from outside Portland USA I forget her name, anyway I ran into her a few days after we arrived Santiago. She was lamenting feeling like she did not do a good enough job and could have done more on the Camino. More touring, more, churches, more engaging with the people more…. I told her my story of how I had at one point those kinds of feelings too. But it became clear to me that there would always be more. That if we walked the Camino again we would have the ability to take in a different layer…. But our layers is what we could do and we did them well. To make it. To achieve the physicality to make it. To develop relations with other walkers and lend kindness. To hear each others stories with empathy,and curiosity. To emerge ourselves as best we could even if it did not seam like enough on this journey was enough. We all did what we could do it is just that by the end we have all expanded. We can all do more now. But not at the beginning. We each did what it took to get us here and that is profound.
So for going home my work is kindness.
Seeing my cup fuller than full
Raise my children with my loving blessed partner
To give praise and gratitude
To tend my body
To let go of the bitter. I might add radicchio is really good with goat cheese. So perhaps take the bitter, like the mud and turn it into a satisfaction that I made it through. It is behind me now. I do not have to relive it anymore.
To go for it! The extra kilometers, the new food, the language, the attempt to communicate, to go for it on uneven paths and to fave good fun doing it.
My list is not that different than before really. So the difference is the golden treasure of knowing that it is all doable and like the Irish man said, “no pain, no glory”. Heck the Camino would not have been fun if it was easy.
Love to you in a big heart way,
I look forward to when I see you again,
As we say on Maui, Aloha- may the breath of life be with you,