Tag Archives: camino

Sparks will fly #37 #onemore

Remember when you were little and you counted the sleeps towards something and there was just one more sleep to go? The idea of one more has been haunting me in my sprint to holidays, putting my belongings into storage, handing over work, finalising papers and board and business responsibilities. One more email, one more call, one more meeting, one more conversation, one more bag … and now it is one more sleep. It is quite a heady mix of letting go, relinquishing on the one hand and taking up on the other. My quest is to remain open, open the road and to the questions that might emerge along the way. The question I am trying to hold onto is: What will the road reveal?

Despite all the trials, tribulations, betrayals and horrid things I have endured that have worked their way through me in various guises these past years, I am arriving once again to a new threshold – as we all do each new day. Every moment is uniquely gifted for us to receive with as much open heartedness as we can muster. I am thankful I have arrived with one more sleep to go. One more night, the last one in what will soon have the title of the old bed. I won’t be returning to that bed ever again. My grandfather made it for my parents and I have written about it before. We are parting company and it is the last vessel other than my own body that held a marriage. We are breaking up, the bed and I, and are freeing each other from our shared history.

The experience of a dry mouth from anxiety, fear, stress, followed by the insatiable desire to quench the thirst by drinking copious amounts of water, seems like the body reaching out to be a well seeking to be filled. This instruction is one for the road too. Fill up often, leverage off the fear to dip into the well. Shaking off the dust and emptying shoes of sand and pebbles so you can walk on more freely … all the feels of one more sleep.

There were days and so, so many nights, when I didn’t think I could get to this day and now it has arrived with the ease of a gentle reassuring kiss, and a blessing to go forth. As well as some basic clothes, my walking sticks and notebook, I will be taking my own version of the Examen with me – it always seems to help move me forward.

1. Resting into the presence of creative energy of love and the UniVerse – the one Word some call God.
2. Reviewing the day with gratitude.
3. Paying attention to my emotions – how did they show up during the day.
4. Choosing one feature of the day and reflecting on it with love and curiousity
5. Looking toward tomorrow.

There is always one more of something to do, to anticipate, to welcome, to farewell. There is always one more David Whyte poem to journey with, and it has been The Well today (posted below). There are always more sparks to fly and as I fly with my little spark inside of me I wonder what will the road reveal?

The Well

David Whyte

Be thankful now for having arrived,
for the sense of
having drunk
from a well,
for remembering the long drought that preceded your arrival
and the years walking in a desert landscape of surfaces looking for a spring hidden from you for so long that even wanting to find it now had gone from your mind
until you only
remembered the hard pilgrimage that brought you here,
the thirst that caught in your throat; the taste of a world just-missed
and the dry throat that came from a love you remembered but had never fully wanted for yourself, until finally, after years making the long trek to get here it was as if your whole achievement had become nothing but thirst itself.

But the miracle had come simply from allowing yourself to know that you had found it,
that this time
someone walking out into the clear air from far inside you
had decided not to walk past it anymore;
the miracle had come at the roadside in the kneeling to drink
and the prayer you said,
and the tears you shed
and the memory
you held
and the realization
that in this silence
you no longer had to keep your eyes and ears averted from the
place that
could save you,
that you had been given
the strength to let go
of the thirsty dust laden
pilgrim-self
that brought you here,
walking with her
bent back, her bowed head and her careful explanations.

No, the miracle had already happened
when you stood up,
shook off the dust
and walked along the road from the well,
out of the desert toward the mountain,
as if already home again, as if you
deserved what you loved all along,
as if just remembering the taste of that clear cool spring could lift up your face
and set you free.

bram-tXtRVye5oLA-unsplash.jpg

Photo by Bram. on Unsplash

Sparks will fly #34 #toddling

Recovering from trauma is all part of the human condition.  Most of us begin in trauma as we journey through the birth canal and surprisingly come out a bit squished, bruised, maybe even a bit jaundice.  Over the life course, we have plenty of opportunities to experience trauma. The first falls when we learn to walk, may well be interrupted by tops of tables, kitchen obstacle courses and ambition beyond skill. The toddling is instructive. We cry, dust ourselves off, maybe get a hand up, sometimes have our hands held to steady and shepherd us to the next effort and then over time build our capacity, resilience and eventually (if we are lucky enough to have two feet) are able to stand up straight and tall for all the world to see. We get grounded and from there we learn to walk, dance, jump, leap over, run.

My experience in getting over trauma is an act of toddling. There are the inevitable bumps on the head when I raise up with confidence I am ready to stand, and then find I misjudged where the top of that table was, and end up with a bit of a bloody knock.  There are the all the visible and invisible hands pulling me up to help me get back on my feet. Some of those hands consciously know the practical help they are offering and others have completely no idea. There are even people who don’t realise how they are being deployed by the UniVerse to help me along the way.  These hands turn up every time I get out of my own way and catch the invitations as they come tumbling in to me.  I don’t even have to ask sometimes, but I do need to keep my awareness alert and ready to catch as others pitch.

I have people watching me, to see what I will do next, how I will handle situations. Mostly they are kind, generous and encouraging family and friends who want me to bring my best self to all situations. Some have special talents to warn me of obstacles in my path, that might lead to a fall in my toddling. Some have the capacity to cheer me on and chuckle at my more interesting moves as I fall gracefully and not so gracefully from time to time. I noticed this week I have started laughing more and that is surely a good sign. I have also noticed I am beginning to get more playful again, this feels like relief, I have been missing that piece of myself. Truly something is shifting and lifting. I know that I am still toddling though, and falls are inevitable.

Toddling informed trauma recovery includes understanding the mood swings of toddlers  – one minute confusion, next rage,  closely followed by tenderness.  And like toddlers who fall over in their early efforts to walk, there are still days when I want to lie on the floor, bang my hands into the ground, sob uncontrollably and have someone say “there there”, pat my back, bring me food, change my clothes and tuck me into bed. These days are getting less frequent and my internal tantrums are only for a very small audience and do not appear in public places.  I am beginning to get excited and making plans for change as in a few weeks I will be travelling, to start walking a piece of the Camino. I expect there is more toddling to come and more sparks to fly.

 

Promises to tomorrow #52 #courage

The last post in my blog each year has been a thank you to the readers and sojourners and usually an introduction to the theme of the coming year.  I know the pilgrimage ahead is going to be rocky and in those rocky places transformation will unfold.

I do want to thank you faithful readers who have stayed the course with me this year of promises to tomorrow.

I am wondering and wandering around in my mind’s eye labyrinth, walking past stones I didn’t know were there the first time, passing back over paths with new information and insights I didn’t have last time round. These are hard, dark and difficult days. Opening up to the shadows, the discomfort, the disturbing, requires courage.  Intuitively, I reach not to the why, but into the feelings. The same blind, unconditional love I poured out on my husband and continue to shower on those closest to me, I now need to turn to myself.  A dear friend encouraged me to make 2018 the Year of Self Compassion.  I remember I have Stephanie Dowrick’s Forgiveness and other Acts of Love on my book shelf. I first read it in the late 90s and found it a real salve and intimate guide to living more wholeheartedly and more gratefully, but I haven’t picked it up for years. It is a book I have bought and recommended many times for others after loss, betrayal, a crisis or an accident.  I know there is something about courage to be found in the pages and in the summary of the first chapter she writes:

Courage is what it takes to be fully human. It’s what pushes us to survive the daily navigations between the known and not-known; to deal with the inevitable to create useful distinctions between what we can change and what we cannot. It is what will allow us to go into our own particular versions of hell. It is what will give us the grace and strength to re-emerge and still find life worth living.  – Stephanie Dowrick

I say to myself: Breathe deep, take courage, walk on pilgrim.  Look for the scallop shells on the way, pointing a path forward to the shore.

Sea Shell