Awash in Camino blessings
by Katharin Harkins
This past week, for the first time, I considered the possibility that I might not make it to the Camino this year, that I simply won’t be ready after all. I have avoided saying this out loud – didn’t want to give the thought undue power – but I can’t pretend it’s not there either.
I half-halfheartedly imagined a Plan B – going to Spain anyway, staying in Barcelona, doing touristy things there while my friends walked. But, really, if my leg can’t carry me on the Camino, then it’s not likely I could traipse for hours along city streets or through museums either.
Trust the Camino, it will provide.
This theme, a request for faith and calm acceptance, runs like a river through all the Camino books I’ve read and regularly bubbles up in Camino forums. One direct quote: “Do not worry. Just walk. Trust the Camino. Trust your heart. All will be provided.”
I don’t know that I really heard or believed this message – until now. I suspect my need to ‘know’, to be assured I can take care of myself, and my relative inexperience in faith-based living blocked my heart from this profound lesson.
But ‘trust the Camino’ came from somewhere this week. I felt I had to pay attention.
So I stilled all the noise and my strong desire for answers, for certainty, (and at core, my desire for everything to get back on the track I’d originally planned). I quietly sat with the possibility that ‘all will be well’, come what may.
And I began to see that what may come could look different than what I imagined I wanted, not the script I initially authored – new plot lines, new endings, a constant unfolding. I can’t jump to the last chapter. But whatever the story, it may be all I need.
I’m still interpreting. But I feel quite uplifted by a shift in perception; that trusting ‘what is’ does not mean sitting back, waiting passively, letting others do the work for you, so to speak, something I’ve feared and resisted. It can simply mean opening – mind, heart, spirit – to something bigger, something I don’t control.
So I opened a door to the Camino that I realized I’d slowly begun to close. And here’s what happened.
First, this message from an oft-quoted Camino angel named Rob:
1) You are going to do the Camino. This is only a temporary setback. And I firmly believe it will happen this September.
2) You will do the Camino this September in any case. If, by some remote chance, your current plans have to be put on hold, I will “carry” you with me on my September pilgrimage, try to send the occasional message and remember you. I will give the saint a hug for you when I reach Santiago and have a quiet word or two with him.
In return: When you are on your second or third pilgrimage, I will ask you to do the same for me.
This tremendous vote of confidence and the generosity of spirit and the acknowledgement that now or maybe later, I will walk the Camino – more than once – and be able to pay that pilgrim blessing forward – this meant the world to me. Once again, I felt that soul-stirring sense of excitement I’ve experienced many times (just not lately) since I got caught by Camino a while ago.
One such person is Sue Kenney. She is a Camino veteran, a guide, a writer, and from what I have learned, a beautiful and spiritual pilgrim. It’s best if you take a look at her website: http://suekenney.ca/ and I’ve added her ‘My Camino’ blog to blogroll here.
I’ve ordered her 2 Camino books and can’t wait to read!
My Camino is her first, Confessions of a Pilgrim her recent second.
A story Sue tells on her blog struck me (well, many of her words have) as *the* right message for me today as I learn to trust the Camino, let go of expectations, and let faith in.
I can’t do her powerful story justice here. Take a look at her post, which happened to be the first one I stumbled upon when I was searching for her books. What a gift it was for me, at just the right time.
And more happened this week:
A fantastic talk-rich lunch with a woman I’d never met before who’s caught the Camino spark and wants to plan a trip. We’re now connecting with others on the campus where we work who have been or would like to go. We’re thinking a possible Camino trip together some time down the road.
A flyer I was given by chance let me know about the annual Guelph Walking Pilgrimage, 180k over a week, which apparently draws many Camino pilgrims, and other seekers. They also welcome people joining just for a day, something I may do if I’m able. Good Camino preview!
And very happily, my leg felt a lot better today. I went for 2 short dog walks – yay!
A line from a song (Gypsy Dream) by the uber-fabulous Laura Smith played in a loop in my head as I walked, one foot in front of the other, slow but steady: “Your fears, now, they’re just so much flotsam floating down the stream, nothing you can’t steer around once you hoist the sail on the gypsy dream…”
I can’t get the audio player to work here…but here’s the link if you want to play this on your own computer. (It’s a beauty, take a listen)