Friday, November 14, 2014

Sacred Journey

Sacred Journey
We are in the south of Spain and staying in our usual place enjoying a bit of down time. We were intentional in this choice because of it's ease and familiarity to us. Surprisingly, it is not physical rest we need, but time to begin to unwrap the gifts of our journey and allow them to begin the process of change in us.

Our journey was sacred. There is no doubt about it. The more we contemplate it the more sacred it becomes. It is as if we were looking through the lense of a camera, intentional in the way we viewed things so we could capture the depth and beauty of the moment and have it forever ingrained in us. Suddenly, there was beauty everywhere.

Whether it was the hue of the many sunrises and sunsets, pink snails, cows grazing in green fields, the reflection of light in tunnels, exquisite companionship in our time alone with each other, or just the day to day beauty of our walk...the ordinary became extraordinary. We looked at people differently and were the recipient of so many gifts we might have missed had we not been open and willing to participate. I still weep over the kindness. This perspective was intentional and it is the sacred beauty that moves us toward change. It is no longer enough to live on the surface of life.
We have been blessed with an extraordinary life. We have a beautiful family. We have had illustrious careers. We have had the opportunity to travel the world and live and experience life in a way that has brought us tremendous joy. I could not have asked for anything more. I have learned so much and yet, at times, I have been so overwhelmed. What I must confront sooner or later is that the way I spend each day of travel…is the way I want to spend my life. Intentional. Unencumbered. Free. Inspired by our journey I long for balance of where my travels and home life overlap. I want to do this right...

So now the real journey begins. Unencumbering our lives. Letting go of what was and nurturing what is to be. I think of the grapevine and the pruning that takes place each year. Lush vines that produced an abundance in their season must be cut back so new growth can occur. This is where I am. In a season of moving forward and letting go there must be change so new growth can occur. We are about to begin another sacred journey.

So, we rest here in the south of Spain. We walk, we watch the sunset for the pure joy of it, we talk, we are silent, and we think of you. Thank you for being apart of this journey with us. You are loved so very much...

Buen Camino.

Friday, November 7, 2014


It is with deep emotion I write about Finisterre. Our original plan was to walk from Santiago to Finisterre and then maybe into Muxia. There is such a feeling of accomplishment after you receive your Compestelo and attend the pilgrims mass. Words and even pictures can never do justice to beauty of the pilgrims blessing and the tradition of the Botafumeiro as it swings above your head and you take in the smell of the sweet incense around you. It is a good thing you have done...

There is an excitement in the air as you celebrate your accomplishments with those you have met along the way with dinner and lively recollections of your times together. We have shared in something that words can not even define and yet we reminisce for hours over good food and wine. At the same time there is an unspoken change in the air as your traveling companions began to leave and return to lives very different then the ones you have just shared. We were yearning to get back on the road again but with the torrential rains and gusty winds we were in conflict.

We had decided to wait a few days for the rains to clear and they just didn't. For us in California it is hard for us to imagine the amount of rain that falls in this region at this time of year. Suffice to say, what they got in a few hours exceeded our total rainfall for all of last year. And, it was cold and very windy. We had decided we would leave on Tuesday and give ourselves four days to walk the 90km in the current weather conditions. When we woke up Tuesday morning the rains and winds were ferocious. We sat there dressed and ready for about an hour and then just decided to do what we had not expected to do while on this trip. We would take the bus.

I must say that both Tom and I can be legends in our own minds. Some might even say stubborn. Once we put our minds to something we tend to stick with it. We talked about what we had learned about trust and flexibility and enjoying the beauty along the way as opposed to following a preconceived notion or plan. We relinquished our plan and asked God for His. We were blessed beyond what we can say.

The bus ride was warm while it was incredibly wet and windy outside. We drove through the small inland villages where we would occasionally spot the yellow arrows which had become so dear to us these last few months. We missed our packs and being on the road. As we turned into the final leg of our journey which took us up along the coast, the weather suddenly cleared and the warm sun shone upon the waters like diamonds on the sea. We looked at each other and asked the bus driver if he would stop and let us out so we could walk into Finisterre. He quickly obliged us and soon we had our backpacks on headed along the coast to the End of the World, The End of the Way.

It was stunning! We walked the 20km or so into Finesterre and then another two hours to Faro de Fisterra which is the western point that had once been considered the End of the World. We sat on a rock holding each other and watched as the sun finished setting for the day. How fitting this was...

We know there is still plenty for us to see and do. We have many journeys left to live and we are free and able to do so. We know we will be okay at the end of each day. We have everything we need already. We are blessed beyond what we could ever say. We are loved by our God and He has a plan for us. We have you...

Looking forward to a Buen Camino...always.

Santiago de Compostela

Santiago De Compostela

Dust and mud, sun and rain,

Such is the way to Santiago.

Thousands of pilgrims and more than a thousand of years.

Pilgrim: Who calls you? What hidden power attracts you?

It's not the field of stars. 

Nor the great cathedrals.

 It is not the beauty of Navarra.

 Nor the wine of Rioja. Nor the seafood of Galicia. Nor the fields of Castilla.

Pilgrim, who is it who calls you?

What unseen power attracts you?

Not the peoples of the camino nor their rural customs. It is not history nor culture.

Not the rooster of the Calzada

Nor the palace of Gaudi

Nor the castle of Ponferrada.

All that is seen in passing,

And it is a joy to see it all,

Is still less than the voice that calls...

The feeling that is yet so much deeper.

The power that pushes me, the force that attracts me, I know not how to explain it

Only He who is above understands it.

These words were written by a fellow pilgrim and are written on the walls of Navarra as a beautiful mural. The beauty of them touched my heart as we passed but when we arrived in Santiago I began understand them in a way I had not before.

I have long thought it is no accident that we would be here at this time. What had once been a feat to accomplish, walking from France through Spain, became a calling for the both of us. Only He who is above understands it...

We have walked over 635 miles one step at a time. We wanted for nothing. We were the recipients of exquisite kindness. We were well cared for. Each morning we started out with the knowledge we were heading west for the day and by nightfall we laid our heads exactly where we were supposed to be. Some parts were challenging but we learned so much during those times and that we would be okay at the end of the day. We were given such exquisite gifts...the gift of time, of delightful conversations, of stillness and quiet, of companionship, an unlocking of our hearts to dream about what is ahead, and time in communion with God. It was so freeing.

I recall the words I have spoken during these last few years of transitions... it is not the end of something we celebrate...but the beginning of something new. Never were these words more true than they are right now. We are excited and well rested and eager for what is yet to be. We are glad you are with us to share this season.

It has been a Buen Camino.

Sunday, November 2, 2014


Since we entered Galicia, I feel as if we have left Spain and are now walking in Ireland. This area is so lush and green with rolling hills and stone fences I am sure I am somewhere other than the Spain I have come to know and love. Hours pass by and I find myself continuously in awe of the beauty of this area. We meet an occasionally shepherd or farmer as we walk through these small villages and enjoy our conversations with those we meet along the way. We are surrounded by beautiful chestnut forests and a flurry of wildlife. Hours go by and we do not speak.

I am lost in the beauty and simplicity of life here. For us, we just decide each day we are going to take a walk and then allow the beauty of all that is around us permeate into all that we are. We pass through many a quaint village enjoying the antiquity and simplicity of life until it is time for us to call it a day. Our pace is not hurried and usually find that as we climb up and down the hills in this area we are ready to stop at about 3:00 in the afternoon.

We have less than 100km to Santiago de Compostela. The way is marked now at each half kilometer. We press onward with mixed feelings. Moving forward...letting go. We certainly are not the same as when we began.

You are on our minds. You are loved and missed. You are why we return.

 Buen Camino.