Each day for the past 40 days I have been transcribing my Camino notes from my 2009 Pilgrimage of Gratitude into the note's section of my Facebook page. I have numbered each day (1-41) and included a few photos. The entries have been edited/revised a bit from those originally posted here.
It was a wonderful experience to re-read my handwritten notes. It was like reliving the experience. My walk from Roncesvalles to Santiago de Compostela taught me many lessons, many too personal or esoteric to share in a forum like this. And some of the lessons are still unfolding.
In reading my notes, I see my fears in a way that wasn't obvious to me at the time. I also see some examples of being judgemental. I seemed caught up in a sense of homelessness and being an outsider.
I can see that in respecting the privacy of others and keeping a distance,setting boundaries I also lost out on much of the bonding and camaraderie. My decision to not ask names or collect addresses, etc doesn't seem so good, in retrospect.
Overall, when I read my notes, I find myself wishing I had been kinder to myself. I think I learned something about the man in my life too: he is the one who encourages me to stop and smell the roses in ways that I often fail to do when I am on my own. Had he walked by my side on this Camino, there would heave been more picnics and more lingering over meals, perhaps.
So here I am 4 years later and my Camino epiphany about returning to our SC bungalow, getting some hens and an orange cat named Marmalade and just being happy came true! Yes it did. Even though, frankly, I struggled against it.
Yes, I had NO INTENTION of returning to this place when we left for Peace Corps Ukraine (2005-2007). When we followed our intuition to Santa Fe, NM in 2007, it seemed to be the place for us to be. The bungalow in sunny SC, was meant to be just a temporary stop on my life's journey - I came to this small town to serve as a USAF Junior ROTC Instructor in 1999. But by 2002 after a 3 life-changing events (an eye-opening trip to a rural, mountaintop village in Malawi, Africa; the events of 9/11 and the death of our 25-year-old son) my life's path seemed to change. I certainly did not expect to find myself happy in a small town southern town, happily raising hens...
When I returned to Santa Fe, that epiphany kept popping up...I fought against it for about 15 months. When I finally let go it was as if the sun had come out after a long dark winter.
Guess what? I am here in the sunny south land, lovin' my hens and bein' happy. And my happiness and creativity keep growing along with my gratitude and my sense of abundance and my authenticity. When I say, life is good. I speak from my heart.
We are all just walking our Camino each day...be kind, be you, be happy and give thanks as you make your way in the world.
Gotta go - time to feed my big orange guy, Vladymir Disputin and his lil orange buddy Lebowski - yep, orange cats. (My epiphany said get an orange cat named Marmalade and sure enough, the cat that adopted me was named Marmalade! But he really is more of a Vlad the Impaler type!)
Life is good - Ginn