The Unveilings of the Camino de Santiago – A Time Untethered
The Camino de Santiago in Spain is a Pilgrimage plain and simple. As I came to find out… people trek this path for physical, spiritual, cultural and social reasons. Or a combination of those. I wanted my trek to be primarily spiritual. I wanted insight. I wanted solitude. I wanted divine guidance for some soul-searching questions I had. But, what I got was a hard dose of reality. I found that the work of soul-searching takes work.
Let me explain. My vision for this trip was to be on the mountain top, alone, free from worldly concerns and this bolt of lightning from the universe would descend upon me and answer all my unanswered questions about… “Who am I? What should I be doing in this world? What is the purpose of my life? Where do I go from here?” Etc, etc. You know those soul searching questions probably as much as I do!
But, by day two of our 14 day pilgrimage I knew that was not going to happen very easily. Because you see, we were on a group tour. My friend of 40 years and I decided to do a “hybrid” Camino trek in a group setting. There were alot of great reasons for this decision…. primarily the timeframe we had, the great cultural experience an organized excursion offered, and of course all those details we did not have to plan for and worry about. All of those worked out super duper except….. there was very little time for my solitude. And that was what I wanted most of all on this trek!
Before I ventured on my trip, I vowed to myself that I would be a “happy camper” no matter what arose. I was thinking more like… well if the weather was chilly or if it rained… I would still be a happy camper. Little did I know that I was not being tested in those areas – I was being tested in much deeper areas of my being. If what I sought was solitude and divine guidance, I would have to be VERY creative and carve out time to find it.
After too many group meals, group activities and group Kumbaya gatherings, I decided to skip out. As in disappear and wander. In those wanderings I found the quiet, the peace and the solitude I wanted and needed. I walked through ancient ruins, small villages, mystical forests, drank beer with the locals in small pubs, and played around with my Spanish. Yes, I did feel a bit guilty and a bit rebellious about not going with the flow, but luckily the program allowed for “free will”!
In those times of solitude I sat with all those soul searching questions. The question most pressing on my heart and soul was this one. “At the age of 62, is my life’s work done? Can I relax and take it easier? Do I have ANY more to give?” I secretly wanted the answer to be “Yes, Sherry. You have worked very hard in life and now you can relax and just be.” But, dang. That answer was not the one I got. Here is the one I got. “If it doesn’t feel like work, keep doing it!”
Every time I teach a class, every time I write a newsletter, every time I create a training program, every time I communicate with a fellow Yoga Teacher or colleague, I am in the place of joy and inspiration. So, yes, that doesn’t feel like work to me at all. If I am meant to stop “working”, then what is the perpetual flow of creativity, inspiration and boundless energy that continues to move into me to be used for?
After day 5 or so, I realized that I better stop trying to convince the Universe that I should be going into the setting sun and start realizing that there is more ahead for me to do. What that is, I am not exactly sure. But what I do know is that I have had a download of inspiration and creative ideas pour into me as a result of my surrender. I used an audio recorder to record many of these ponderings and unveilings and so glad I did. They are the concrete answers from the Universe on many, many topics and questions that flowed in and through me during my Pilgrimage.
So, you will be seeing some of these ideas crystallizing in the coming months. Many were actually formulated by the wonderful discussions that I had with my fellow Camino Pilgrims along the way. (Age span from 50 to 85!) Yes, they were fuel for many of my inspirations.
I went without email, social media and phone access for 14 days. I only texted periodically to check in with loved ones. I was unplugged and un-tethered from my regular life for those 14 days, and returned to 500+ unread emails. That was the stark reality of my technological life when I returned. But, I enjoyed every moment of my re-entry process. Engaging even more mindfully and savoring the connectiveness with another human soul in every correspondence. I made peace with technology. No longer seeing it as such a negative aspect in our world, but rather as a wondrous way for us to be part of a community that spans geographies.
So the Camino de Santiago pilgrimage taught me these 3 things:
- Dharma – Live your dharma as long as it serves your heart, soul and body. When it feels like work, re-consider it only then.
- Energy – The more energy you expend in life, the more rest you need. “How much energy do you want to expend being energetic?” was a common question that kept popping into my mind. The answer was simple math. What you take out of your energy tank you must refill to the same level.
- Creativity – You must be inspired to be creative. Inspiration comes from the concept of “being in spirit”. Therefore one must find solitude to tap into one’s spirit. Then the download can happen.
And this last question is for us all.
If you feel that you are Divinely Guided… Would you listen?
I am hearing and I am listening.
Namaste to my Fellow Teachers and Colleagues! Buen Camino!