So seven days from today I'll be boarding a plane bound for Madrid with nothing but a backpack and a whole lot of hope in my somewhat exhausted heart.
The goal is to walk a portion of the 'Camino De Santiago', an ancient pilgrimage also known as 'The way of St. James' which stretches across northern Spain. For some info on it check here. It's been a long held desire to embark on 'the way', and I wasn't expecting it to come so soon...but due to life events and some serendipity it's pretty obvious that now is the time. I just hope my body (and my feet!) will hold up. I also hope some of my Spanish will magically come back to me.
BTW - Many thanks to former pilgrims (Ruth, Kate - you guys rock!) who have inspired me and reminded me of the light at the end of the current tunnel I'm in, which of course include loads of Spanish wine and life changing encounters on 'the road'.
Transition is the name of the game for me right now, which is part of why the camino fits in so many ways. As I write this I am in Guelph up to my eyeballs in boxes boxes and more boxes. The accumulation of 36 years of my life is now lying in boxes, crates, bags of various sizes awaiting transport. It definitely doesn't look like much from where I sit right now! Anyway, life for the past week has been a packing marathon (and yes - I am right now procrastinating). Tomorrow the marathon will continue as I load up a van, head to the hammer to store stuff, head to Ottawa to drop the rest off, head back to Toronto 2 days later for an oncology follow up app (!!), pick up my passport , pack my backpack, and head to Spain.
My head is spinning from all of the planning, organizing, emotional and literal upheaval, and the burgeoning of massive life change that is now commencing. A tidal wave of feelings is always on the verge of washing over me - sadness, excitement, fear, apprehension, hope, grief...you name it - I'm probably feeling it. It's some juicy stuff, I tell you! I'm not gonna lie though - as 'educational' and 'character building' as the whole 'starting over' experience is, I look forward to when its over.
So, due to my insatiable love of quotes, here is the latest I am clinging to right now....coming 'atcha from a brilliant Tibetan Buddhist nun, Pema Chodron. It reminds me of why I'm embarking on pilgrimage at this stage in life:
"When we approach life as an experiment we're willing to try it this way and that way, because either way we have nothing to lose...if it's time for something to flourish - it will. If it's not time - it won't. We can just step forward with curiosity, wondering where this experiment will lead."
One more step along the path...Camino, here I come.