Insight One: 5/16/2015 at 3am on el Camino del Norte: Everyone and everything is my friend.
What did I get out of my camino?
That is the question I’ve been asking myself for the better part of a year now. I know that the walk changed me, and I know that it marked a profound moment in my life. But I’m not exactly sure why.
I started the walk one year ago today.
I loved it. I loved who I was being on it. I loved who I met on it. I loved working through my pain, walking in wonder, and experiencing new things.
I loved reveling in beauty, walking through mud, and balancing freedom with structure.
I loved my backpack and my 14 pounds of things. I loved walking every morning and drinking 3 cups of café con leche every day. I loved my camino families and walking alone. I loved stripping everything away and living simply.
I loved being connected to God.
I loved having profound insights.
I loved getting wet in the rain, getting warm by the fire, and taking off my shoes at the end of the day.
I loved dipping my feet in rivers.
I loved walking in a skirt.
I loved wearing the same two tank-tops the whole time.
I loved my underwear and that it didn’t constantly ride up my butt.
I loved my journal, hand-colored with care.
I loved that I was courageous enough to walk alone.
I loved that I was open enough to walk with community.
I loved being of service to my companions.
I loved being of service to myself.
I loved the simplicity of life: wake up, eat food, walk, eat food, walk, eat food, commune and wander, sleep. Repeat.
I loved walking among wildflowers and in forests or coastal terrain, all day, every day.
I loved walking in the rain while covered by a canopy of trees.
I loved the warmth of the sunshine.
I loved catching glimpses of the coast as I climbed up and down hills.
I loved walking along bluffs overlooking the ocean.
I loved walking on the beach barefoot.
I loved making dinner with new friends who felt like old friends.
I loved getting lost and finding my way.
I loved talking to cows.
I loved being away from technology.
I loved using technology to listen to guided meditations every night.
I loved using my Spanish.
I loved the taste of food after a long day.
I love being submersed in wonder and beauty for 30 days straight.
My walk marked the end of my work as a teacher at Ft. Lewis College. It marked the end of my time in Durango, CO. It marked the beginning of my life in Los Angeles.
It symbolized my capacity to be independent and married at once.
It reminded me that I treasure simplicity.
It inspired me to engage in beauty, challenge, and community.
It revealed to me the ways in which I’ve changed, and the ways in which I’ve remained the same.
It was such a gift to retreat…to tap into myself. To tap out of not myself. It was a gift to have the time. It was a gift to have the money. It was a gift to have the mental peace, the physical strength, and the soulful clarity.
It was such a gift, and I treasure it.
Here is a poem that I wrote on that first day:
Ode to the Road
Today, the world, wide open
to swallow my soul.
In love and liminality,