Tuesday, July 23, 2013


I awoke at first light this morning; my mind had somehow slipped into gear before my other sleep-drugged senses and started the process of becoming conscious.  There is that space if I am aware (and I suppose when I'm not aware) that holds profound thoughts and questions.  Lying in bed this morning my thought was 'what if I've gone through all of the things that I'm expecting to find on the Camino de Santiago before I even get there' and therefore it's not necessary?  Will I walk the 500 miles anyhow?  Will there be more to learn?

I find that I become aware of moments and flashes of insight at the strangest times, doing an activity that is not remotely attached to deep thinking per se, yet I suppose each moment is a moment of life and therefore equally as apt to provide.  It's of note to me that where some whom I love feel that they are closer to God when they are in a building designated as a Church; I willfully sit with God for a moment each morning on my front porch and I feel as if I am sitting with a dear, funny and wise friend - but it wasn't always that way.  We find what we expect to find where we expect to find it, yet years ago I found God quite unexpectedly here on my porch where I am writing this morning and am delighted to know that He sits with me each morning.  I have learned to expect my morning conversations with God; I expect that God will walk with me across Spain too.

As I prepare my body and mind for my pilgrimage I sometimes feel the sharp stab of fear, that pointed blade that catches my breath and briefly alters my heartbeat.  Avoiding fear is as natural as breathing for a human being.  My hope as I walk is that I will come to know some of that fear as places deep inside of me that once explored will no longer hold me hostage to their mysterious presence.  I expect to find that I am capable of loving myself in whole just as I am able to love a dear friend.  I will find that clumsiness is endearing, gracefulness is inspiring, frankness is refreshing, and wandering is not a thing to judge.  We fear we are not good enough; yet I expect to find enough.


I awoke pre-dawn this morning and realized that I was dreaming of walking.  I recalled my daughter telling me with awe some years ago that she had dreamt in Spanish the night before.   The realization that you are becoming fully immersed in something new can certainly occur in the dream world.  Waking from a dream with a contented feeling seems to be a sign that any fear or reservation attached to the dream's topic is removed.

I delayed getting out of bed for a bit, and instead imagined myself waking in a Refugio along The Way, rolling out of bed, putting my socks and hiking boots on, and finally putting my mochilla on my back and heading out to walk to the next Refugio.  Then I imagined stopping after awhile for cafe con leche and a tortilla breakfast.  Now that I am up, with a cup of steaming, wonderful coffee in hand I can imagine stopping for the day, unlacing my boots, wiggling my toes and quietly rejoicing the gifts of physical ability, mental confidence, and depth of spirit.

I am grateful this morning for starting this day with peace, joy, and dreams that lead to The Way.


Tuesday, July 2, 2013


Attitude.  Desire.  Curiosity.  Spirituality.  Quiet.  Stillness.  Challenge.  Faith.  Belief.  Limitations.
There are many reasons I am inspired to walk The Way next year.  I can't put my finger on just one reason, yet pushing past my own perceived limitations seems to encompass just about all of my reasons.

Some beliefs serve us well; they provide a compass for living a 'good' life.  Many come from childhood and guide us in our interactions with others and with ourselves helping to navigate our emotional lives.  The Golden Rule, The Pledge of Allegiance, The Lord's Prayer all come immediately to mind as shapers of some of my core beliefs.  With careful awareness and examination there are other more sinister beliefs carried from a young age that are not useful and down right debilitating if not weeded out as I grow.  I fought the sensation of belief that my parents weren't delighted that I decided to work as a musician - one of my primary sources of knowing who I was and of validation as a human - and that belief simply wasn't true.  What other beliefs will I come to be aware of as I walk that are either very valuable or not useful?  My hope is that I will learn to let go of what's not necessary and find room for those beliefs that are life-affirming.

Spirituality vs Religion.  I have always held a deep and profound 'knowing' of God - and I'm using the Christian Name here, knowing full well that there are many other names for the One.  So walking The Way is not an attempt on my part to find The One; yet I will walk with an open heart so that I may find an even deeper sense of profound Love.  I know that can be found in religion even as I reject on principal some organized religious practices.  I look forward to meditation in beautiful cathedrals and monasteries along The Way whether or not I can understand the language.  I'm curious to see how my heart reacts.

Quiet Stillness.  I think this is more of an internal preparation although even as I write this post on my front porch this morning in 'quiet', I am aware of the sound of the wind, birds, cicadas, traffic in the distance, the squeak of the porch fan and the setting down of my coffee cup.  I expect while on The Way I will more easily grasp the stillness that is a grounding force for my soul, find the questions I most need to ask myself; where have I been, where am I now, and where am I going, and in the stillness perhaps I will more readily hear the answers to some of those questions.

Challenge & Attitude.  Next year I will be fifty years on the planet, and I've had just as many challenges as the next guy.  I've approached some of them with the attitude that I was fully capable and others not as much.  Walking The Way will be a challenge physically, mentally and emotionally with my attitude forecasting the outcome.  It's a open invitation to myself to live the kind of life I want to live no matter my age or circumstance.

Finally then Curiosity.  What drives people from all over the world, including myself to walk mile after mile for days and weeks to the burial place of St. James the Apostle?  I suspect I'll find provocative answers along The Way.

Monday, July 1, 2013


I remember particularly in high school hearing my name called on a roll, and responding either 'here' or 'present'.   How many of those hundreds of times was I present, engaged, eager and fully in the moment and how many times did I answer appropriately when I was somewhere else entirely in my mind?  I suspect that the ratio might not be anywhere near 50/50 let alone 80/20 or better.  I don't think I even was aware of being present or not.  I had one block of time that I was fully engaged each day, and it was in concert choir.  I lived for it in relationship to school; otherwise it was friendships and boys or boys and friendships.

And so it was with the next twenty something years; present in relationship to music, boys (my husband) and being a mother.  I'm fortunate in that part of my life's highlight reel is music and that is what I got to do for a living for 25 years so I was present in my work.  In special moments in my work, I was transcended with joy - so fully in the moment that I was all flow and no thought and for that I am grateful.  I know what present is, I know what present means, and I know when it's missing.

Enter Five Hundred Miles.  For the past three or four years, music performance has quietly faded from my regular experience, and it's been by choice.   At some point I was no longer willing to have a completely opposite schedule from my husband's, and I scheduled less and less shows until in 2012, I played exactly two shows in 365 days.  What brought me fully to the moment was no longer there, and I suffered.  I floundered, I hid from friendships so I could hide from myself. I disconnected enough that my inner voice, my heart's soundtrack became so faint that at times I didn't even hear it.  And one day I became aware of a five hundred mile pilgrimage, a walk with one's soul, and my heart began to hum again a little.  I am going to walk the Camino de Santiago in a little over ten months from now, and again I hear music.  I am remembering how it feels to be present.