The count down is on and in 7 short weeks I will return to Europe and walk the Camino once again. It was two years ago that I made my maiden voyage to the ancient path, and I am excited to return. I will be walking a different route this time, starting in Lisbon, Portugal, and traversing the coast northward to Santiago, Spain. My first Camino was life changing, seemingly signalling a seismic life shift. Not going to lie, the adjustment to life after the Camino was a challenge. It coincided with my milestone 50th birthday, the dreaded “empty nest”, with the kids finally flying away and the nest permanently disassembled, unemployment, and a confusing time of unraveling- trying to discern my mystical experiences from Camino from the manic depressive symptoms that ensued at the end of my trip. Happy to say I have slowly crawled my way out of my cocoon of depression and am unfurling my wings and preparing to fly “into the mystic” (Van Morrison). There is the concept of the “second half of life” as a time of experiencing the world from a more spiritual perspective (Carl Jung, Richard Rohr). Mystics would say we are not human beings having a spiritual experience, but rather spiritual beings having a human experience. I believe my first Camino experience was my gateway into this new way of life. I’m not sure what to expect as I walk to my final destination, a place called Finisterra, a three day walk from Santiago, translated as “the end of the world”. But I am excited to once again follow the arrows and see what the universe will reveal.
There is an inherent risk involved in any venture. Writing a blog means opening my heart, thoughts and experiences to anyone who cares to take a moment to take a peak into my sometimes messy life. Embarking on pilgrimage is also a risk- as one is never quite sure how the mind, body and spirit may be challenged. I have started a fitness regime to prepare my body and with spring’s arrival, have finally been able to get outside for a run without the risk of ice slippage. Yet one just never knows what a day will bring. Yesterday, as I was meandering along the street, not running, just walking, I came to an intersection and for no good reason, took a tumble into the road. Fortunately, there was no oncoming traffic as I lay dazed and confused on my back for a moment. Luckily my hands reflexively blocked my fall and my large Dutch milk maid breasts cushioned the blow. I credit their air bag like effect for saving me from a sprained wrist! That being said, we never really know what will befall us in this life. One minute you’re strolling along, not a care in the world, the next moment you’re turtled awkwardly in the road with people in passing cars asking if you’re ok. Yes, thank you, the only real damage is to my ego. And yet there is also a little niggling fear at the back of my mind… what if this was no random fall? What if the MS has returned? And as I think this, I come back full circle as to why I want to walk the Camino again. As the rock and roll poet Bon Jovi would say “ It’s my life, it’s now or never, I ain’t going to live forever! I just want to live while I’m alive. My heart is like an open highway….” (if you look closely into the mirror it says, “ I love you with all my boobs. I would say my heart, but my boobs are bigger!” 🤪