Today was a comparatively uneventful, somewhat boring, day. I left the hotel in Pamplona, stopped for a café con leche and croissant, listened to some music on my headphones (another thing I thought I’d never do on this walk) and after 20 kilometers and 26,000 steps I’m at my albergue in Muruzábal.
This was my first full day walking without much conversation other than my own inner dialogue. I trekked with two women from Ireland for a bit but, mostly, I walked alone. There was this knowing that it would simply take a certain amount of steps to walk Claus out of my system. I didn’t know how many that would be but I would just keep putting one foot in front of the other and at some point I would remember what it felt like to be content, and even excited, with myself alone again. Although, we only walked three days together, we journeyed with open, vulnerable, honest hearts and, thus, intimacy, connection and a certain level of attachment was created .
It feels ridiculous to call our parting ways “a breakup” but the Camino can act as a microcosm of our lives, amplifying old messages we try to drown out with the noise of busyness. On this road, parts of ourselves we have attempted to stuff away in closets and basements are opened up. Things we’d rather not see about the reality of situations are forced out of denial and magnified.
The lessons I learned while walking with Claus were magnificent and they were much more obvious than the lesson that is hidden for me in this walking without him. There is something here for me. I can feel it. It touches old, deep places of longing and loneliness. Fear and hope. Some lessons along The Way are much easier and more fun to learn than others.
Thankfully, tonight was one of the fun ones. It was a scene straight out of the movie, “The Way.” (Which, by the way, I am sitting here watching at this very minute with a handful of other pilgrims staying here.) The hospitelero served us a delicious Pilgrim’s Dnner and I sat around the table with new friends from Germany, Australia, Mexico, Great Britain, Spain, France and America. I really don’t think it was the vino but I found myself genuinely guffawing at silly old man stories and naughty young man jokes. I enjoyed an especially interesting conversation with a hypnotist and now we have moved the party downstairs to all watch a DVD screening of “The Way.” I’ve already seen it twice so originally I was going to skip this viewing. I’m so glad I didn’t. It is so much fun recognizing the places and faces that are now familiar to me. I felt like I had met a celebrity when I recognized the shepherd in the movie I had just taken a picture of a few days ago.
Before the DVD began, the man from Wales leaned over and asked me what my intention was for walking the Camino. I told him that five days ago I would have said that my intention was to clear the exterior noise of the dailyness of my days in order to hear what God was saying to me in the still, small voice within. Today, I would say that I am walking in order to clear the interior noise within so that I can hear what God is saying to me in the dailyness of my days.
I am opening up to the realization and revelation that every thing can be my teacher if I have ears to hear. I am learning to trust that every moment is perfect and right on time if I have eyes to see. With an openness and belief that every encounter can be a conversation with God if I have a heart to receive.
I asked one of the men at the table tonight what he was looking for and what he hoped to find on the Camino. He went to his room and brought this blessing back to me.
“1. Blessed are you pilgrim, if you discover that the Camino opens your eyes to what is not seen.
2. Blessed are you pilgrim, if what concerns you most is not to arrive, as to arrive with others.
3. Blessed are you pilgrim, when you contemplate the Camino and discover it is full of names and dawns.
4.Blessed are you pilgrim, because you have discovered that the authentic Camino begins when it is completed.
5. Blessed are you pilgrim, if your knapsack is emptying of things and your heart does not know where to hang up so many feelings and emotions.
6. Blessed are you pilgrim, if you discover that one step back to help another is more valuable than a hundred forward without seeing what is at your side.
7. Blessed are you pilgrim, when you don’t have words to give thanks for everything that surprises you at every twist and turn of the way.
8. Blessed are you pilgrim, if you search for the truth and make of the Camino a life and your life a “way,” in search of the one who is the Way, the Truth and the Life.
9. Blessed are you pilgrim if on the way you meet yourself and gift yourself with time, without rushing, so as not to disregard the image in your heart.
10. Blessed are you pilgrim, if you discover that the Camino holds a lot of silence, and the silence of prayer, and the prayer of meeting with the Father who is waiting for you.”
Blessings to you, my online pilgrim friends. May you find your Camino wherever you are today.