Day 9: 14.5 kms
Today’s reflection: Nothing is certain
“But you’re walking alone?” count: 2
❤️ It was a beautiful day today. A short, sweet, day where I spent most of the day thinking about uncertainty and just how little I can predict anything beyond the walking I will be doing tomorrow. Well, certainly not with any kind of certainty…….The dreams at Dulce’s cave house definitely brought this theme up for me, dredging it up from the thick sediment of everything that has gone down in the past two weeks. In my dreams, I was really overweight – “but seriously, how can I be fat with the amount of walking I’m doing?….”-this is just plain funny- and another where I am homeless, living on the street with no material possessions to my name, a crazy cat lady -“but seriously, how can I have a PhD and have to live on the street?”. Yikes. Actually, this dream continues into my day, rippling into thoughts, triggering anxiety.
The thing is, the pilgrim’s life is exactly that. That is one of the big reasons that I do this. Even in 2016, there exists a neoliberal version of the pilgrim, wandering about with 10% of their body weight in possessions strapped to their back, sleeping in a different bed every night, sometimes accepting and eating food that they dont really like, simply because it is what has been given to them. Of course, being a pilgrim in times of neoliberalism does give you much greater choice in terms of the luxury in which you choose to do the journey. Despite this, the fact remains that no-one can do the kilometres for you, and that is where the magic happens. Part of the magic is the space that it opens for experiencing and reacting to uncertainty. It can be that kind of camino, if you choose it to be.
I think of Guy Giffen and the horrific cancer diagnosis he received upon returning home to Australia after walking the camino. He is a case in point. And this story repeats itself, over and over, and I am a part of that story of uncertainty. You just never know.
As I walk, I remember the times that I have felt free. All of those times were times of uncertainty. No plans. They lived in the spaces between the steps that brought me here, to this albergue in Quentar, where I sit in front of a fire at this moment, writing. When you cant see the horizon, it can either be a source of absolute anxiety, or you can choose to view it from the perspective that actually not knowing also means that you can do anything. You are freer in your thinking, in your imagining. For me, those moments always came before the opening of really interesting doorways. Always. Untethered by a grand plan, you can go in any direction you like.
Having said that, I also feel that when a direction is chosen, then comes the time of energy and intention. Planning. Strategy. Here, ethics becomes indispensable. What you create is something in the world. It carries a vibration, a charge, rippling outwards, like last nights dreams………..Sinking my teeth into a project and carrying it through is a source of satisfaction. Still, it is always a dance between flowing and imposing structure through planning to carry things out. Such a delicate dance.
What comes to me now is to use this uncertainty to look outside the box. To free myself from “I should” and swim instead in the “I want to”. I am so glad that I have had this day to think about this so early on in the walk. I wonder in what directions this thinking will develop as I move along the camino.
What a privileged position, to be able to live in this way! So many people dont have this kind of choice………….But many of us do, and we just ignore it. Falling into inertia. Into unhappiness and dissatisfaction. And, bitterness, the worst one of all. That’s a killer, that one.
Back to the walk. The landscapes do not disappoint today. BIG spaces. Dramatic clouds. Silence penetrating everything, even my thoughts about uncertainty after a while. The silence seeps in and cleanses. By the time I get to La Peza, I am ready to eat, drink a beer, have a hot shower, relax. A blessed day, a sweet day ❤️
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