One year ago, at approximately 7am, I began an epic journey of self discovery. As I walked out the door of my refuge in St. Jean Pied de Port on August 27, 2013, I was overcome by feelings of fear, excitement, dread and mystery for I could never have comprehended the magic, heartbreak, love, joy, connection I would find whilst walking towards Santiago.
At that moment, I was burned out, malnourished, and lost. I was searching for the key to my life, answers I had been incapable of attaining. I was taking a leap of faith, hoping that this pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago would be my solution. I was hoping that everything would become clear to me in the 800km to my end destination.
In the end, after fighting my way across Spain; winning some battles, losing others, I realized that I would not find all the answers to my questions in one 33 day journey. That being said, the Camino was everything I had hoped for and more.
That mysterious entity that calls herself Camino, showed me exactly what I needed to know at that moment. She did not provide me with a detailed point form research paper that would spell out my much needed solutions in plain english, like I was secretly hoping for. Yet, she presented me everything I needed in her mysterious examples, people, places, smells, gusts of winds, flowers, syncronicities, pain and food. It was up to me to comprehend and interpret. And interpret I did…over the course of a year.
I still have tiny moments where I long to be back there, simply walking. The thing is, I have never left the Camino and the Camino has never left me! I am still walking it everyday. The Camino is life, a journey. Everyday, I get to wake up and begin my journey of this moment. Yes, there are long term goals but like was the case in Spain, I have learned that it is not about the destination, it’s all about how you get there. One step at a time, over and over again, just keep walking.
Today I can say that I finally see the continuation of my journey. No, it has not all been easy and perfect but I am finally able to trust in the mystery because I have seen it play out in my everyday life. The Camino was not the be-all-end-all of answers but it did show me a glimpse of simplicity, love, light, darkness, ego and pride. I think to myself now, “how can I go back to those patterns and situations that don’t serve me if I have seen what does?” And thus begins the theme for the past year; letting go of all that doesn’t serve me.
It hasn’t been easy because some of those ideas and events have been with me since I was a child. I have build whole careers around them, friendships and relationships. I have poured my heart and soul into many of them, how can I just up and walk away?
The answer is: I don’t have a choice. I have seen my light and I simply cannot allow myself to be put back in circumstances that don’t bring me light. The only thing holding me there now is my ego. And didn’t I learn a huge lesson about that in Spain, probably my biggest lesson. So, if it’s just my ego holding me down than I have no choice but to move on and move forward. The ego is a big mountain to climb, I am still climbing. I will let you know when I get there.
For now, I am continuously moving forward, taking that one step, day by day. I have faith that I am going the right direction because I finally am able to trust myself, love myself and be myself. Something I would have never been able to do a year ago. The Camino gave me the courage and opportunity to make the changes I needed to make. I look forward to the adventure that lies ahead and take with me all the lessons I have learnt so far.
Thank you to everyone who came with me along the way, whether in spirit, in writing or physical presence. Thank you to the Camino for calling me over and showing me everything all at once.