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Me, as a Pilgrim along the Camino de Santiago

Well, it’s been a week since I have been back from walking the Camino with my aunt Diane. A whole week. And yet, ironically, somehow it feels like I’m still there walking the Way. The truth is I have dreamed about it every single night since I’ve been back. Every. Single. Night. And it isn’t just one of those quick, flash-in-the pan dreams. No. It’s the WHOLE night… walking it. Yes. The whole night. Sometimes it looks like the actual Camino I walked, but mostly, it’s more of a feeling. A deep, indescribable feeling.

Did I mention that it’s deep?

I don’t really know how to explain it, but I had this happen to me one other time. It was when I hiked the Inca Trail to Machu Picchu in Peru a few years ago. I remember dreaming about that experience every single night too for a long while afterwards. And it, also, put me into another space and time that, again, I can’t really put into words, yet it definitely says something.

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The Camino’s symbol… the shell… that all paths lead to Santiago de Compostela… or in other words, all paths lead to awakening. :)

What are the similarities of these two experiences? That they are profound, spiritual journeys in their own respective way. The angle of the spirituality might be slightly different in that the Camino is more historically Catholic/Christian, while the Inca Trail is more based on the mystical Incan beliefs in the powers of Mother Earth and the Universe itself. But again, in my mind, Spirit is Spirit. Energy is Energy. God is God. The literal definitions aren’t so important compared to the core essence — that which touches the heart and soul in a way that speaks of another state of the being and consciousness that the mind simply cannot speak to. Only the heart – the keeper of our Spirit – can allow us such a mere glimpse of a Universal Truth and life force that connects us all and that we all long for, whether consciously acknowledged or not.

I have realized in this past week that even though I am not physically walking the Camino, I am still walking it… in Spirit. It is obvious that the Camino has penetrated deep into my soul and I am still taking in its gifts. I admit that even though I am back in the crazy like hamster wheel of a city called Los Angeles, I feel like I have been in somewhat of a bubble – a quiet, contemplative, protective bubble – that has allowed me to go about my life here (teaching spinning classes, training clients, doing regular day to day business operations, etc) from a place that feels like I’m just curiously observing, life, myself and everything. I know my soul is trying to show me something about me. I know it’s trying to nudge me to the next best vision and version of myself.

Yep. It feels uncomfortable, alright, but growth and transition always is. I do know that I am getting clearer one moment at a time.

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Blackberries along the Way

On my flight back from Spain, that clarity was coming through with force. Whoa. I was writing in my journal, non-stop. It most definitely was about the direction I am moving in, not just with my life, but my career. I recognize I have 22+ years of experience in working with people to make healthier lifestyle change including all of the struggles and issues that come with that. I feel honored that people have let me into their hearts to help them along the way, allowing me to witness, first hand, their pain — physical, emotional and spiritual. Obviously, we have to be transparent ourselves to allow for such sharing. In the process, it has given me so much empathy, compassion and understanding for all of us as human beings. NO JUDGEMENT of any of it! We are all so very human and if it was an easy journey, we’d have nothing to talk about, would we? ☺

But this is it. This is the process — THE process. In fact, it’s the ONLY process. In essence, we are all walking our own Camino. No matter how it looks on the surface, we are all walking the journey of Spirit. All of us. No exceptions. Even those who don’t even believe in this “spiritual stuff.” But, there simply is no way to avoid it. If we are on this planet, this is what we are in the business of “doing.” We are walking our journey of awakening, no matter how “fast” or “slow” – or non-existent – it may appear. We are all walking the “Way”… together. Now. Right now.

The Camino asks us to get to heart of our souls… to get clear… to reflect…  to purge all of the stuff that is really not needed and, if anything, weighs heavy energetically in the metaphorical pack that we are all carrying on our backs. Ugh. Is your backpack light with just the essentials, or is it heavy with our own accumulated “stuff,” not mention, others people’s stuff we seem to believe we should carry as well??? Whether we realize it or not, that weight is killing us in one way, shape or another; it does not serve. I am looking at this in myself too and re-assessing. So important.

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No special significance… just beautiful.

I will say that my life has taken me on one hell of a journey of Spirit throughout the years and only continues to. Yes, I will give myself credit that this is what my soul has yearned for since I was little and I have kept my heart open to the experiences even though it wasn’t always “popular” with my own mind, much less society’s vision of what one “should” do in this life. In fact, there has been a lot of doubt, fear, frustration and loneliness in walking that path. But, I vowed ever since I was a kid that this is what I would dedicate myself to in this lifetime.

My heart has always cared so much… for others, for animals, for the earth, for our collective well-being, no matter what lines of demarcation seem to separate us. In truth, on the Way, none of that matters or even factors in; we are all one regardless of how we define (separate) ourselves.

With that said, what was coming through to me on that flight home was by a force that was using my hand as the scribe. It is an 8-week course that I am going to teach in my desire to share what I have learned about myself and this journey of Spirit. It is about how we can all become master creators of our lives, including our health and the degree of the magic and the miraculous available to us in all moments. Being the change we wish to see in the world: becoming the powerful creator and manifestor we were born to be! This course will be about getting in touch with those things that we, ourselves, have put in our own way (in our metaphorical backpack) that have weighed us down and prevented us from achieving what we have truly desired – even in terms of health, fulfillment and financial abundance.

None of us are in this alone. And the truth is, we all need each other. That was another thing that was extremely evident on the Camino. Though everyone was walking their individual Camino, everyone recognized that we are all pilgrims on the same journey and we all need to be there to support each other in our own awakening. What a beautiful thing! That sense of community and connection! We long for it.

So… I guess in my reflections looking back to that incredible experience of walking the Way with my aunt, Diane – whom continues to walk the journey on her own, by the way, and I am so proud of her – I feel I am being called to share these principles with others so we can all cleanse our souls of that which is no longer needed in our lives and/or has gotten in the way of living truly and fully from the fullness of our hearts! The magic and the miraculous are right at our fingertips. It really just about stepping into our power and owning it in a way we probably never have before! Yay!

Thank you, Camino de Santiago, for your gifts so far. I know there are more to come. As always… my heart is open!

My Camino passport...  stamps of all the places I stayed along the Way. One day it will be filled to Santiago.

My Camino passport… stamps of all the places I stayed along the Way. One day it will be filled to Santiago.

Come join me, fellow Pilgrims! Stay tuned!

With the utmost gratitude!
Lisa