I'm back from the morning dog-walk and the stream of consciousness is flowing.
The question is this: during the nine month in my (mother's) womb, what did I think about? Did I make mental checklists about how I would handle the challenges of mortal life?
Fat-baby me (see the photo*); I was the spoiled youngest of five so any agenda I might have set while whiling away the hours in the womb, would no doubt have gone awry anyway! Nothing like the realities of dealing with other people to transcend any plans, check-lists or to do lists. Living among people can be a challenge, but do we have options? I've learned a lot about the virtues of humility and also about how much bigger, bolder and better the world is if we respond to adventure rather than reacting. Who would I have been without that loving family?
El Camino is such a metaphor for life and those ideas have been explored and classified by many pilgrims before me. But I still must go on record as saying, in the end, we each go forward with expectations and illusions, hopes and dreams. It isn't so much the mental (and physical) baggage we bring with us to the big adventure (life or the Camino); it is, of course, how we respond to what we find in our path.
Since 1971, I have lived in almost 40 different residences and done some business and pleasure travel too. There have been language challenges, cultural differences, socio-economic issues...but in each place I discovered delights and opportunities, wonderful people and unexpected experiences. I could never have outlined a better life for myself. Who would I even be without what I have taken away from this rich life?
In fact, when I look back at my youthful dreams (and checklists) I see how limited my thinking was. What a dull life I would have had if those narrow scripts had become reality.
I often think about how people let complacency and fear limit their lives, but sometimes it is the clinging to illusions and expectations that keeps us from discovering the incredible gift of life that is always ours, if we just accept it. Stop sweating the details and simply respond. (As Glenda of Oz says, "You've always had it, Dorothy...")
So, here I am in the (metaphorical) womb, waiting out the days until I am in Spain beginning my pilgrimage to Santiago de Compoostela (In late April).
What am I doing while I wait? This morning I have the radio cranked up and I am listening to good old rock and roll! If I meet pilgrims who want to sing, I'll be ready!
I'll be ready when the time comes.
Life is good...
*And yes, that is fat-baby me...