I’ve had a dawning recognition for the last several days. I’m ready for the Camino. I’m not talking about being packed. I’m not. The things I’m taking are still in a pile that I add to bit-by-bit as I think about it or refer to the necessities list I’ve researched.
I’m talking about an internal readiness—a solid one. I’m beginning to understand I’ve been preparing for this journey for a very long time. Understand: I don’t exactly know what that means. Maybe I won’t until long after this year’s journey is complete. Maybe never anything concrete that I could point to specifically. The meaning may remain elusive but integrate itself into my life.
It’s not as though I haven’t undertaken intensive experiences before. I do so a few times every year through my spiritual travel programs. Inasmuch as I do have my own initiations on those journeys, it’s different. I’m holding intent for others. There’s entrainment.
This is a space and time I’ve carved out solely for myself. Of course, Oscar is my partner on this trek. He’ll have his own journey, which will often overlap with mine. But it’s different.
One of the immediate questions I had when I considered the Camino is: Could I actually do it? I mean physically. I’m not an athlete, far from it. And this is a 500-mile path. If we go past Santiago de Compostela, all the way to Finisterre—the edge of the world—it adds about another 100 miles. I’ll have to admit that I hadn’t hiked as much as I used to in years. Somehow I got off track.
So a few months ago I started “training.” What that means for me is that I get out there as much as I can for as long distances as I can manage. I’m truly blessed to live in an area where there are endless options for beautiful hikes, aside from straight out my front door. Here are just a couple when I’ve had my camera along.
The “training” is returning a practice that I’d let go and sorely missed. Most of the time I’ve hiked alone. Just a couple of times my friend Ruth went with me. I’ve varied the mileage between 6-10 miles with a 13-pound pack without breaks. I realize Oscar and I will average around 15 per day but we’ll be doing so with breaks, probably at a café or two. And time on the trail will be interspersed with talk and silence. We plan to take our time and enjoy. We’re not on a sprint. That would disengage the intent for us.
Something that has surprised me: I’d never hiked more than 6 miles at one time in my life until now … but I’ve not been sore. Tired? Yes. I’ve had the best sleep I’ve had in a long time. But sore? No.
A thing that doesn’t surprise me: The practice of walking in nature clears away anything that troubles the mind … distractions… unsettling emotions. Clarity and peace arrive. I’ve been reminded to add it to my daily sitting meditation—at least a few times a week.
I told Ruth I feel like my body and I are in a relationship, and it’s conveying how intensely it desires this level of activity by supporting me so well.
It’s also clear that my mind is enjoying the rest… and my spirit is flying. We will literally be flying to France on May 1. It’s now so close. My physical training hasn’t translated to as often as I planned or as far due to practicalities of available time.
But still … I’m ready.
To read more on the meaning of readiness posted on The Lifepath Dialogues, go here.