My Camino Experience

I sit here with tears streaming down my face as I re-read and remember my Camino experience, which I share below.  I spent 2-weeks hiking along the Camino de Santiago in Northern Spain in September and October of 2016 to raise funds for the non-profit Friends of Indreni. Our walk was specifically to fund a dorm in order to ensure the education of older children, since the distance is too far for them to travel. I was more than happy to help such a cause and teach therapeutic yoga to the rest of the Camino travelers in my group.

So, here it is, My Camino Experience:

Challenging has been the most frequent word I have used when I talk about our 2-week Camino pilgrimage, challenging, but I would do it all over again, in a heart-beat. There is nothing like this path; walked upon for 1000s of years by people of differing faiths and ages, a variety of languages heard by people all there for different reasons, yet, we are together. A comradery exists with Camino pilgrims, those on the path with you in the moment, and those you meet after it’s completed. It takes a unique individual to willingly choose to hike 12+ miles a day, with little to no rest days, putting one foot in front of the other, over and over and over again for 8 or more hours a day, up and down 1000s of feet of elevation, meandering around cows and their cow-pies, scampering over slippery shale and rocks, placing one foot in front of the other along miles and miles of pavement and lush green fields, over mountain tops and through valleys; it takes someone willing to go beyond the easy, a seeker of significance and greater meaning, someone looking for truth. I found this, and so much more on the Camino. It was challenging, for obvious reason, but also because I’ve had a leg injury that has kept me from walking much farther than from my front door to my car for a few years now, and yet, I walked the Camino (or about 120 of the 160 miles); and, I am all the stronger for it. Sometimes, we really can do more than we ever think possible or imaginable, even with a lot of pain. This experience was worth every headache, each discomfort, each twinge of pain (mental and physical), because, really it’s not about me (or you) anyway, there’s a bigger reason for it all. Sometimes we have to get uncomfortable and placed in challenging situations to see how great we, and life, really are. This. This was the Camino for me. So, I’m now left wondering, when are we doing it again?! I’m up for teaching yoga again along this magical sojourning. Want to join?

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Painful Hope: Belief

I have been experiencing excruciating pain in my left leg for some time now but 2 weeks ago it got unbearable. I have had a little bit of an occasional limp these past several months but now, it’s constant. Pain sucks. Pain hurts. Pain is real. Yet, is it?!

This week was monumental for many reasons: I turned 38, I had some big personal revelations, I finally found out the root cause of the leg pain and am working on it, and more. I’m making huge progress on and in my health and life and over and over again I’m reminded that things take time and patience. I said to a yoga class of mine this week that “if we think we have ever arrived: we’ve got all the patience and all the hope and all the health we possibly ever could, we are already deceived.” There is always more. Always. Heaven isn’t fully realized on earth, yet. Trials and tribulations are still here. We are working out our salvation and yet, and yet, we have it all. Right now. Right here, we have all the fullness of Life available to us and it’s real.

Here is where our mind’s get to be constantly renewed: as we live each day and moment we are confronted with choice: will I succumb to the pain and give up? Will I believe people who tell me that “this is just what aging looks like?” Will I give up even one small dream for the sake of convenience and to avoid difficulty? I say no! Yes I cry. Yes I lay on my back with my leg propped up, fully aware of the pain to the point where it feels like I’m in a swirling ball of confusion. Yes I don’t always know how to respond with kindness when I get asked for the 12th time that day why I’m limping. But, and a big but, I keep moving forward. I keep looking to the God who says anything is possible. Anything is possible. Anything. The question is, do I believe? In the easy times it’s so simple to believe. It’s when the s*it hits the fan that our belief comes to the surface. Over and over again I have to say yes: “I believe.” I hope. I have to cut through the surface-hope that is just wishful thinking and get to the hope with a soul. Hope with a substance. Hope that pierces through whatever lie I may be believing so God and I can polish the diamond of hope and I believe again.

Hope

I believe, I truly believe that we can live a life free if pain. My beliefs are being put to the test. All. The. Time. I take a step forward, see how my beliefs are coming along, fix where they got faulty, hope again, and take another step forward. Sometimes it’s a run. Sometimes it’s a galloping skip. Sometimes it’s two steps forward and one step back. Sometimes it’s with a limp. But I truly believe that everyday, in every way, I am getting better and better! That is a good feeling. That is belief in action. That is hope.

The reality of these beliefs may not always be pretty, they may actually be downright ugly for a time. There may be pain. It will probably be hard. But belief is real. You and I are real. That’s the only way I want to live: for real. I pray we never give up, we never lose hope. We keep pressing forward to the prize of heaven on earth. I think there is no better prize. The beauty comes; it always does, and it’s so much sweeter when we know that we didn’t give up. This is reality.

What are your beliefs?

xoxo