Tuesday, October 7, 2014

memories and momentum

Joy at the Cathedral; Arriving in Santiago de Compostela, Spain June 29, 2014

I sat this past weekend surrounded by love.  Some of my dear friends as well as my husband and mom were gathered on my deck and I decided that I wanted to share my compostelas (certificates of completing the camino de santiago - and in my case, I have one for completion, one for the distance I walked, and one for completing my camino during the 800th anniversary year of St. Francis of Assisi's pilgrimage) with them.  It was the first time they had been removed from the protective tube I purchased right after I received them in Santiago de Compostela on June 29, 2014.

Together, we relived my experience arriving in Santiago; first to the cathedral, then to the Official Pilgrims Office.  As I described to them the experience and emotions I felt upon getting my compostelas, I was emotional again myself.  It is comforting to know that I can experience those same emotions over again, and it was achingly beautiful to share my story with ones who love me unconditionally.

I'm feeling grateful this morning that we have the ability to recall our greatest triumphs and be filled with the same sense of purpose, focus and achievement.  I need that feeling now.  I need to trust in my ability to tackle another challenge, keep my determination and follow through strong.  My husband has long taught me and other lucky ones how to 'flip back, flip forward'.  By recalling strong, vivid and positive emotions in a past experience, we can apply the strong, purposeful memory of those emotions to the present.

Memories and momentum; it's my mantra for this day.

Love yourselves -
Love each other -
Love y'all.


Monday, September 1, 2014

engaging vs ego

I was with friends the other night; some I know well and see often, others that I know less and see occasionally.  One of the women was asking me about my pilgrimage and we talked about solitude and communal living, blisters and beauty, etc., and then attending masses at the cathedrals along the way - and was I catholic?  I began to talk about my experiences not only of just visiting many of the cathedrals, but attending mass as well every now and then as I walked.

I said that no, I wasn't catholic, but in spite of not understanding their worship AND not understanding the language at all (nearly every mass I attended was in latin), I none the less perhaps understood my emotions and my reactions to the deep and powerful love of the One better than I ever had because I didn't know what was being said; I listened with my heart.  I went on to say that perhaps each of us would benefit from worshipping somewhere in which we don't understand the language of what is going on.  That way, in my experience, at least, I was free to allow my heart to open up and receive love and joy and feel so very, very grateful without worrying about the 'rules', the 'sins', the more sinister side of worship.  A dear friend commented then that he felt that I had just shared my most profound experience yet with regards to my pilgrimage.

I've been thinking about that since; not so much the topic we were discussing, more so the unique position of having an experience that is very profound and inherently solitary - and the great need for other human beings to hear the stories shared by those who have had those experiences.  We want to know the hearts of others, we want to be comforted by stories of experiences that we long to have ourselves.  We want to share in the joy and the pain, uphold, support, and imagine ourselves having those experiences, too.  I wouldn't say that I'm shy or holding back - but when I share my ego is both helpful and harmful; I want to be interesting and enlightening and this sort of realization that others want to hear about it feels different and well, intimidating I guess.

This gives me pause, I am delighted to share my experiences when they arise naturally and comfortably inside of a conversation and I am reserved about sharing because I want to talk or have another's attention...  So many have commented to me in many different ways, but it's all the same; when will you write your book?  The idea of writing a book has it's appeal in some ways - it's more comfortable for me to write rather than talk about my experiences and reactions sometimes.  The idea also holds hundreds of excuses/reasons why I wouldn't write a book.  The foremost is that I'm afraid it would be terribly boring much of the time.

I'm going to continue to blog when my heart is moved to do so, I feel that I'm sharing bits and pieces that are hopefully interesting or provocative or at least shed a tiny bit of light on the experience of doing your own pilgrimage; we'll see about a book, heh.

Love  yourselves -
Love each other -
Love y'all -


Friday, August 29, 2014

sifting & shifting

I wrote several weeks ago about processing my camino experiences.  The internal discovery parallels the external discovery; as one meets special, deliberate, committed people they, in turn, move the internal cogs of understanding the mystical and magical forces of faith and belief and of learning to love others for who they are.  One kind of person you'll meet on the camino (over and over) is the man or woman who is walking the camino for the second, third, fourth, sometimes tenth time.  While I walked, I struggled to understand this type of person.  Why did they do it over and over?  It's hard.  It's so very challenging on every level: emotionally, physically, spiritually & intellectually.

For weeks now, I believed that I would probably never be one of those who feel the call of the camino more than once.  That changed a few days ago.  On a tuesday afternoon, while doing the regular things that I do - in this case - quietly weaving bracelets for my jewelry business, I felt the pang of longing out of nowhere.  I wanted to be back on the trail, living the hard, but simple and rewarding life of a pilgrim.  I longed for the sense of belonging on this planet with the wind, the wild flowers, the birdsong, the peaks and the valleys, carrying everything I need in a pack strapped to my back.  I craved the immediacy of emotional intimacy with fellow pilgrims; sharing what is most important to us in all of the world in the first ten minutes of our first meeting and conversation.  I imagined the utter peace I felt sitting in a hard pew in any of the stunning cathedrals along the Way.  I recalled the absolute quiet of small villages in the last moments before falling into the deep sleep of one who has expected much from their physical body each day.  I even longed for the healing tears that sprung up, unbidden and generally for no particular reason as I walked and walked.

So, as I sift through my camino experiences, there is a shift.  I'm leaning more and more into that girl who evolved from fears and uncertainties into capable, committed and emotionally and intellectually engaged with the bigger picture.  And the bigger picture is beautiful.  May you walk your way with ultimate guide in your heart wherever you walk: Love.

Love yourselves -
Love each other -
Love y'all


Tuesday, August 5, 2014

the power of tears

I don't cry often.  Even when there is an understandable, compelling reason for tears.  Be it from fear, beauty, grief, gratitude - my emotional responses to being alive were tangible and evident as I walked.  I often wondered about this after my frequently, sudden, powerful tears on the camino de santiago.  I still wonder about it.  Now that I'm back home, the tears seem to have receded again.  Was I more tender in the newness of my experience?  Was I more open; my heart aching for the depth of all of my experiences?  In learning to embrace vulnerability, perhaps I was learning to be more accepting of all of the different parts of me that make up the whole.

My first day of traveling involved flying overnight to Paris.  When I arrived, I needed to find the train station inside of the airport and I did.  Then I needed to purchase a ticket to St. Jean Pied de Port without knowing French, and I did.  My debit card was denied; fortunately I had enough Euros on me to pay for my ticket.  That afternoon, my train was delayed en-route, so I missed my connection in Bordeaux, and again, I figured out in my non-existent french how and where to catch the next train to Bayonne which would arrive there at 10:30 pm and I did.  This meant that I would have to travel the final leg to St. Jean Pied de Port the following morning.  When I arrived in Bayonne, very much sleep deprived, I needed to find a place to sleep... yup, in french.  My debit card was denied and again I used Euros that I had, but I did get a room.  When I finally got into my room and locked the door behind me a steady stream of tears silently slid down my cheeks, and I brushed my teeth then cried myself to sleep.  The next morning I spent thirty minutes on the phone getting my bank (which I had already spoken with about travel plans and then confirmed before I left) on board so that I wouldn't be denied traveling money.  I found the correct bus which would take me to my launch point; St. Jean Pied de Port, and when I arrived I walked until I found the Pilgrim's office.

In the Pilgrim's office, I presented my USA passport and my Pilgrim's credentials.  I answered the questions I was asked - how are you traveling  - on foot - and where are you walking to - Santiago De Compostela.  I watched as man helping me first wrote my name, my country of residence and my passport number in a log, then he placed the first stamp in my Pilgrim's passport and the tears began again.  This was the first time of many that I watched someone, a stranger, make a record of me and where I was located in the world and the first time of many that this simple moment had me on my knees emotionally.  There is something so basically affirming about being made a record of; about mattering; the tears, I think, were from the comfort of being accounted for even as I felt so alone and far from 'home', as well as from the joy of fulfilling a commitment I had made to myself.  Blurry eyed and grinning, I looked at my first stamp: 16 Maio, 2014.

Day one, and my steps take me up, up, up, over, then down, down, down a mountain in the Pyrenees, nearly 27 kilometers in total.  I realized quickly that all of the training I had done wasn't enough to prepare me for this.  I also didn't realize that down was much more challenging than up, and my tears began somewhere in about the 22nd kilometer.... I was sure that I wouldn't make it, and I would be looking for a place to lay down in the forest for the night.  I was aching physically, and my fears threatened to overwhelm me.  I did make it to Roncesvalles before nightfall, and I watched as the second stamp was placed in my Pilgrim's passport with hot tears falling from my eyes.

Birds calling, sunrise and sunset, seeking shelter in a cathedral, weaving a cross into a fence in memory of my dad, knowing I was alive, gratitude for every little kindness I was shown, making it up a steep ascent, making it down a steep descent, the relief of be able, finding a bench or even a flat stone to sit on while attending to blisters, biting into an apple, fields of unending red poppies, coming around a bend and finding a village with a cafe, getting a bed for the night.... each of these little things held the power to unleash my tears and cleanse my heart.

When I walked into Santiago de Compostela the morning of 29 June, 2014 and entered the plaza in front of the cathedral my joy, my relief, and even a little sadness had me weeping magnificently.  I was overwhelmed to feel so completely and utterly alive; I felt satisfied in a way that I can't describe very well.  I found my way to the Official Pilgrim's Office and waited in line for a little under an hour to get my final stamp on my Pilgrim's credential as well as my compostela - official document saying that I, Kerstin Hanson, had completed my pilgrimage.  Oh the joy, oh the sense of a deeper knowing, oh the tears.  Sweet, beautiful tears.

Love yourselves.
Love each other.
Love y'all -


Thursday, July 24, 2014


I didn't know if I would want to blog or not during the course of walking hiking across Spain.  Turns out that I didn't; want to or do it.  Since I've been back I've felt a little gnawing pressure for my small handful of followers to blog. here. and say something very profound.  Here's the thing; I'm still processing.  The pressure lies in the ability to write a book based on the amount of stories and reflections that are now filling my spirit, soul, memory and heart; or to attempt to write a succinct and satisfying epilogue.  Blogging isn't for book-writing.

1. Love.  Love. Love.
2. Human beings are the kindest, most amazing creatures I know.
3. Human beings are the neediest, most-complaining creatures I know. *saving for a different post*
4. Were it not for the selfless kindness of human beings, I'm not sure that I would've completed the camino.  (See #1)

Inside of my experience on the Camino Frances my two major take-aways are these:  an open spirit of love (as in spirituality, faith, hope & belief ) is never not there - it's omnipresent, and the very, very best of human nature is most vivid when giving selflessly and fearlessly and allowing yourself to genuinely and fearlessly receive from others.  All of the other shit just. doesn't. matter. that. much.

In the past I've written that I am a very spiritual woman, but not a very religious woman.  It's still evident to me after visiting many astoundingly beautiful, tear-provoking cathedrals and attending masses that my ears didn't understand yet my heart understood completely, that I fall solidly in the belief that world-over what we want; what the Search is for, what we say we believe in, is one and the same.  At the risk of sounding sacrilegious,  Fuck the Rules.  God is everywhere, no matter what He or She is called,  and nowhere is it more obvious than in one's own heart.  I'm ascending and ascending and ascending and my pack is painfully heavy, my blister-riddled feet want nothing more than to go home to the USA, and I'm feeling past the point of being able to carry on .... and then I come out of a curve in the trail to a lovely bench in the middle of nowhere.  Shoes and socks come off, I happily wiggle my toes....in minutes all is right again and I'm strong and I'm capable and I'm beautiful.  Every time something similar to that happened on my journey it made me smile and giggle out loud.  My heart smiled.  Love resides within.  Love gave me countless experiences and gifts that made me feel like I could keep on going.  I believe in Love.

I was about two and a half weeks into my pilgrimage, and having a particularly challenging day.  My body hurt, it was cold, it rained off and on, the wind blew, I walked alone and my heart was heavy.  My pack felt heavy, too.  I approached a small village; so small that there wasn't a tienda (small store), a cafe, a bar....but there was a sign for a private alberque '200 meters' off the trail.  I followed the signs to the alberque and read the hand written sign on the door; open at 14:30 for peregrines.  It was almost 13:00 and I had walked around 19 kilometers so far.  I sat on a wet bench for a few minutes after I removed my rain poncho and my pack.  I decided I could walk four more kilometers to the next village in the same time I would wait so I put my pack back on and did my awkward rain poncho moves to get that back on over my pack and I set off.  Soon I was out of the village.  I came around a curve in the trail and stared down a long, steep descent.  I stood there for awhile just contemplating my current level of pain.  The I turned around and went back to the bench.  I added a kilometer for that nonsense.

When the door was opened (& it was a little before 14:30) I paid for my bed, removed my boots and poncho in the small entry room walled on three sides and blanketed on the fourth, I was invited through the blankets to the coziest, coolest, most comforting private living room.  Then he led me through their kitchen/dining room to a back room that had exactly 10 beds, a fire-heater, and a coed bathroom with two showers, one sink, one laundry sink a three commodes.  I chose a bed, showered, got my journal and a pen a returned to the table in the dining room.  I asked for a beer - 1 Euro, and a cup of tea - donativo - and I sat down with those three things and I began to weep.  His wife entered and looked into my eyes with most kind expression hers.  I apologized for the tears that were entirely out of my control.  She smiled, touched my arm gently, and told me that I was exactly where I was supposed to be; tears and all.  She didn't try to fix anything, and she was so comfortable with my emotion.  She gave me her Love, and for once in my life, I accepted it gracefully.

That afternoon my senses were caressed by incense, by soothing music, by coloring my very own mandala and as the afternoon wore on, a handful of peregrines made their way into this magical oasis and we shared dinner together st the one table in the home in spite of five different languages.  I was sad to say goodbye to that Love the next morning, even as I was better prepared than I had been before that experience for my pilgrimage.

That's two small stories.  I have more, and maybe I'll share them as the days unfold.  If you're reading this because you're scouring the internet (as I did before my pilgrimage) for whatever you can find on doing your own camino - please don't take my words as gold nuggets, instead, take them as tiny launch points to your own discoveries.

Love yourselves-
Love each other-
Love y'all

Camino Frances,  leaving St. Jean Pied de Port France on May 17, 2014 -arriving Santaigo de Compostela, Spain June 29, 2014

Friday, May 9, 2014

scattered but ready

Tonight I find myself looking back over my day - full of making sure I have life's details worked out as an individual, a wife, and a parent (I'm leaving for my solo/1st camino in 5 days time) and I'm feeling so scattered!  It's not 'like' me to feel like this.  I want to (& I imagined I would) feel prepared, confident, and peaceful at this point - yet I find I am worrying about minutia.....will the plants get a drink of water, will the icky things get cleared out of the nether regions of the refrigerator while I'm away....as well as the profound; have I left myself time and space not for packing and weighing and worrying, but for spiritual reflection and guidance before I begin the physical and emotional journey I'm so close to getting started on?  Like a dream in which I've prepared for a big moment, only to find that I've taken the spotlight in my undies....I'm feeling vulnerable.

It's funny how I can stress about what will be out of my control at home while I'm away- yet still have not have purchased a train ticket from Paris to St Jean Pied de Port on Thursday and I think that'll work itself out.  

Scattered yet ready- Kerstin.

Thursday, May 8, 2014

invisibility is underrated

A physically beautiful person, a lovely sunrise or sunset, a magnificent piece of art, amazing architecture, the allure of fresh flowers, a peacock that is gloriously a-courting..... I am grateful for so many things that capture my attention and heighten my senses just for the sake of being beautiful. Yet there is a contrast, a crossroads, a sanctuary or a prison, and when everything lines up just right - a secret and magical place:  that space where one can operate silently and thoroughly and for how short or how long it takes, yet attract no attention.  At nearly 50 with no makeup and my hair in a tie on my head I can operate in that space of invisibility and learn an entirely new story about who I am inside and who I am in relationship to the world.  

Today the story had a happy ending for me.  I began by feeling invisible - I needed help.  Not HUGE help - just retail help as I gathered bits & pieces of gear for my camino.  By outward appearances I fit neither the fit-at-forty-nine-and you're-amazing-so-I'll-help-you look, or the I-don't-have-a-clue-what-I'm-doing look....I was just plain and simple invisible to anyone who might've had the knowledge or desire to assist me.  As I tried on several backpacks and read the literature attached to each one and then used my smart phone to quickly refresh my mind by reading through reviews I had already read  - I began to get fearful then slightly angry that 1) in spite of all of my research, I was still under-confident about my choice and 2) NO ONE CAME TO HELP.  

Well, poor fu*kin' me.  Who is doing this anyhow - them?  The ones who didn't come to help me?  Nope.  (This is for my daughter who'll eventually read this)  "Postura".  It's a word I learned shortly after she turned 18 and had it tattooed on her wrist to remind herself that her attitude determines the quality of each moment in her life as well as her entire life.

In my cloak of invisibility I had a fight  discussion nice visit with myself and my fears - and had to examine then adjust my s*itty attitude in order to complete my tasks with love for myself and for anyone who didn't appear to help me.  I had a funny cartoon thought in my head, imagining that I am at a fork on the path sometime over the next several weeks wondering which to take - waiting on 'customer service' to assist me in my decision..... and, again, I am aware that my journey has begun before I've left my first footprint on the Camino Frances.  Postura, indeed.

Sometimes being invisible is the most direct route from self-pity to glorious consciousness.  And. that. is. beautiful. too.

May I be peaceful, may I be well.  May you be peaceful, may you be well. <3


Sunday, April 27, 2014


Maybe this happens all of the time and I'm just not as aware of it some of the time - the universal dance of synchronicity.  It's cool.  I've planned for months and months for the trip that is a scant 16 days away as of this writing, and recently I've secretly doubted my commitment, my physical ability, my mental focus.... not as in I'm-not-gonna-do-it; more like whoa - I'm almost there and I'm feeling nervous about what I'll find that is outside of my current comfort zone.

I have spent this past weekend happily running my little jewelry booth with a couple of friends helping me at a large annual festival in Fayetteville, NC.  It's a blur of activity: meeting and greeting strangers and old friends alike in a festive environment.  Each year I attend this event, I run into people I truly enjoy and after we share a joyous hug and quickly catch up with the bullet points of each others lives since last year's event, we always say something like - why don't we make time to be together more often?  This year - yesterday - I ran into two particular women I haven't seen in many years - old friends I'd become estranged from for hazy and at this point in time unimportant reasons - and I felt this beautiful surge of love and happiness.  My hands were full of lunch for three from a vendor who had only foil - no bags - and I improvised upon seeing them with necky air-hugs including an air kiss to the cheek since my arms were too employed to use for embracing.   It could've been a tense hi-how-have-you-been now I have nothing else to say, or worse - I see you coming and avert my eyes and pretend I never saw you; instead I felt this surge of happiness as soon as I saw them walking in my direction and I understood without a second thought that there are so many 'stories' that we've convinced ourselves are true yet in the end simply don't matter - it's the story of love matters.  And -  in loving ourselves, we love all and are capable of nearly anything.


A little later yesterday afternoon I was standing in back of my festival tent - out of view from anyone entering while my friends/helpers ran things, and one of them stuck her head around the back wall and said, "there's a man who wants to meet the artist".  So I stepped back in.  I introduced myself, and he introduced himself and his lady to me.  We talked about my jewelry and he was getting at wanting to contact me for custom work.  I said to him that I would be out of the country shortly til mid-July, lest he try and contact me and find me absent :).  This led to questions, which led to the Camino de Santiago WHICH THEY HAVE DONE which led me to blurt out a very personal question of a perfect stranger - What were your personal reasons for wanting to walk your pilgrimage?  Wait.  Do you mind if I ask you a personal question?  That was totally backwards. ..... Yes, I'd be happy to tell you why.  And he did, adding all of the potential amazing moments I'll have personally, spiritually, and as one sharing the experience with strangers that will become a part of my heart. Looking back, it was as if the Universe conspired to lend it's loving voice to my doubts in such a beautiful, tangible, human and personal way.


Did I mention I'm leaving in 16 days?  <3

Share your love -

Wednesday, April 16, 2014

28 days

'You have brains in your head.  You have feet in your shoes.  You can steer yourself any direction you choose.  You're on your own.  And you know what you know. And YOU are the one who'll decide where to go....'  ~ Dr. Seuss

I looked at the calendar tonight and realized that at this very time twenty eight days from now God-willing, I'll be flying over the ocean with my faith, my fears, and my little-ol-backpack for the longest walk I've ever walked :).  I'm ready.  I'm scared.  I'm elated.  I'm curious.  I'm leaving in 28 days!!!!

Thanks for questioning me; thanks for encouraging me.  Just, thanks :)

love Kerstin

Thursday, April 3, 2014

thank you

"Thank you frailty, thank you consequence, thank you, thank you silence."  I heard Thank You by Alanis Morrisette the other day and it brought tears to my eyes.  In frailty I've found strength and courage, in consequence I've found commitment and responsibility and I am learning to find more in silence than just peacefulness.   There is an awareness found in silence that lengthens and relaxes my breath; there is a place I've found inside where once in awhile it is possible to stop the endless thoughts of how I can 'improve' and just be thankful to be.

It's a little less than six weeks until I leave for Europe and my camino.  The planning and preparation seem like such a long long time - I'm ready!  I have lists for myself and my pack and more importantly, I have a deep sense of purpose and trust that inspite of my lists I will find what I need and what I find probably won't be carried on my back but in my heart.  I would be lying if I said that I have no fear; I do, and that fear drives me to walk in the same way as desire does.

"Thank you providence, thank you disillusionment, thank you nothingness, thank you clarity, thank you thank you silence"


Tuesday, March 18, 2014

deadlines & details

I never imagined that I would be somewhere inside of the process of making hundreds of pieces of jewelry.  It doesn't seem that long ago that I made one pair of earrings or piece of jewelry now and then to satisfy my personal craving for something new.  Deadlines are a love/hate experience:  I'm grateful to have one, yet selfishly I want to savor the creative part of creating away from any kind of time frame.  At the end of the day, I have a show in South Carolina the end of this month, and the Dogwood Festival the end of April -  and I'm the one one who signed up for both.  It's both deeply satisfying and really time consuming.  I imagine and operate from the goal of a total of roughly 700 items created with creativity and craftsmanship over the next weeks.  (It's what I want/wanted, and I'm blessed!)

Time is generous, and time is impatient.

Simultaneously, I am planning more to the detail my pilgrimage across Spain, and it's coming up so quickly!  What backpack; 20, 35, 40, or 45 litres?  Is 3 pr of socks good for a rotation for 6 weeks?  Am I being indulgent to pack 4 pr of underpants?  (how much do underpants weigh, anyhow?)  Can I get a limited amount of International Phone Time from my mobile provider or do I need to get a temporary way of communicating with Mat if necessary - will my debit card work there? .......  Should I cut off a piece of bar soap so I carry only a percentage of the weight, will I need just a liner bag or a full sleeping bag... I know for sure that the weight of a guidebook is sheer indulgence given how well the Way is marked - but do I want to tear out particular pages and add them to my pack? Aaaahhhhh!!!!!! The details in this scenario as well as just about any other scenario in life are what threaten to diminish my beautiful experience as Kerstin Ruth Hanson.  Why do people go on a Pilgrimage; a journey of personal discovery; a Spiritual experience... I don't know about anyone else but -  I'm working on trusting that all will be always as it's supposed to be.  Amen.

I am learning to trust that whatever I need when I need it will be provided whether it's physical, emotional, spiritual or intellectual.  And it's inside of a two-dimensional experience of being tied to what I said I wanted while I'm also preparing for what I know nothing about.  It's all part of a crazy little thing we call life.  And we are supposed to live it.  

Be well, be kind, be loving, be happy.


Friday, February 21, 2014


Sitting with myself in my neighbors hot tub
Probably had one too many glasses of wine
Gazing at the stars and thinking of my daddy
There are only so many places a girl can really cry

Thankful for the beauty that he was
So Generous and sometimes slow to get the punch line
Deeper than the glass of drink he often got lost in
And as loving as a daughter could hope for

I'm gonna miss him

When I was younger, We debated classical music versus Rush (what I was into at the time)
He gave me a little point for composition - but not for ear candy
In that realm I succeeded only in building a bridge
For him to cross in the future for his musical grandson

I'm gonna miss him

I am the daughter of a preacher turned social minister
And I really didn't give it enough thought as I'm reminiscing tonight
He planted seeds and let me be my own gardener
I didn't thank him for that

I'm gonna miss him

I said to my daddy and the stars tonight
I'm sad, I'm grateful, and I'm torn up good and right
We don't always say the things that we should say when we should
It's alright, it's alright.

Peace, Kerstin
ps - tell someone that you love them

Thursday, January 9, 2014


'Its a stretch.'  'Shes trying to stretch her budget.'  'Stretch before you work out.'  'Can you stretch it a little bit longer?'  Stretch is a funny word (particularly when you type or say it repeatedly - I had to double check my spelling and meaning after a few times), and applicable in so many ways.

I'm working through a physical problem currently, "plantar fasciitis". It hurts.  Cursory stretching doesn't do the trick for the heel pain; thoughtful, deep, and multiple stretches per day are much more effective.  The physical stretching has me thinking about internal stretching.

A couple of years ago I don't think walking The Camino would've entered my realm of possibility thinking.  Too much of a stretch.  I'm cracking myself up as I type, if you must know.  I would've dismissed the idea as something other people do.  The moment I felt that little spark of delight, of romantic wonder, of feeling the little tug of desire to walk The Camino I began to stretch internally in ways I hadn't before that imagined.

I believe in myself differently - many friends don't understand why I am going to do this, and why I want to walk for four or five weeks alone - and as humans we are very susceptible to the opinions of others; this reaction from others hasn't affected my thinking or desire.  It seems like in a different time in my life their influence would've been much stronger....  Because I hadn't done any stretching.

So if you're reading this and you're on the fence about something that matters to you - stretch! 


Saturday, January 4, 2014

i did it!

Mid-May; USA to France.
Early July: Spain to the USA

In just about every scenario that includes a sense of wonder; of marvel - there are as many perspectives as there are humans that are aware of it.  When I finished purchasing my airline tickets on the internet to get to and from my real destination - my camino - the very next sensation was being aware of the trails that my own tears left on my cheeks- that slight stinging of salt on skin leaving a slightly cool and sticky trail.  There is the awareness (again and again) that I alone decide whether or not to step closer to what I imagine, whatever that may be.  My joy was so profound at taking this step that my body reacted physically.  Whoa.

Some of the reactions I've gotten from loved ones remind me that we have forgotten in the last hundred years or so how amazing our physical bodies are;  who in this world can walk 5 or 6 hours a day?  Nearly all of us.  We just don't think like that!  Millions of human beings through time have used their bodies to get from here to there no matter the distance.  

For me, the beginning and ending are far less important than the days in between.  I'm interested in knowing how I react and respond to challenge beyond what I know.  I'm interested in learning first hand what happens when I bank on faith; in the Universe, God, humankind and myself to get up in the morning and walk 15 or so miles and do that each morning until there are 500 miles across the unknown etched into my physical body and more importantly, my spiritual body. 

It's the 4th of January 2014; 5 months and 10 days til I'm off - I did it - I purchased my tickets.  Yay, me!