23 April 2016

Camino Meditations




You do not need to know precisely what is happening, or exactly where it is all going.  What you need is to recognize the possibilities and challenges offered by the present moment, and to embrace them with courage, faith and hope.
                                                 Thomas Merton

***
Lean back into the present moment.  Savor it!  Release and relax into it!  Be completely aware of the present.
***

One step at a time...one breath at a time.
***

http://www.wildmind.org/walking/overview
***

In beauty may I walk.
All day long may I walk.
Through the returning seasons may I walk.
Beautifully birds . . .
Beautifully joyful birds
With grasshoppers about my feet may I walk.



With dew about my feet may I walk.
With beauty before me, may I walk.
With beauty behind me, may I walk.
With beauty above me, may I walk.
With beauty below me, may I walk.
With beauty all around me, may I walk.
In old age wandering on a trail of beauty, living again, may I walk.
It is finished in beauty...


A Navajo Indian Prayer of the Second Day of the Night Chant (anonymous)

Energy for those LONG hills!!!


Last May I walked the Camino Norte/Primitivo.  It was my first Camino and my first ever long hiking experience.  One of the biggest mistakes I made was not having a bit of energy throughout the day...that and not regularly drinking water.  I can now see what a HUGE difference that would have made.  The most difficult day of the Camino was a continuous all day up and down overall climb from sea level to 337 meters of more than 28 kilometers.

We started too late missing out on our morning energy and fresh legs.  We did not take any long breaks except for a sandwich and cake lunch (note serious lack of complex nutrients in that lunch!) and I did not drink enough water continuously.  By the end of the day we were dragging the last dregs of energy on the last hilly 6 kilometers to our dinner of mushy microwaved pasta and magnum ice cream bar (again note the lack of complex nutrients!)

So with the gained knowledge and the known hilliness of the Le Puy route, I am better preparing for my Camino this year.  I have energy powder to add to my morning water bottle and healthy nutrient packed snacks.  Nathan gave me the recipe for the peanut butter bars:


Oats
Dried fruit (I used cranberries)
Nuts (I used roasted soy nuts)
Chocolate (70% dark chopped)
Peanut butter
Honey

It is all mixed and then let to sit so the oats soften a bit.  Then it is formed into a rectangle and cut into bars.  I refrigerated mine to harden the peanut butter a bit.





Trail mix for nibbling as needed
Peanuts
Dried cranberries 
Dark 70% chocolate

I know there will definitely be challenges on this Camino, but I do not plan to run out of fuel and hydration this time!!

Two more sleeps!!!

20 April 2016

MUD!!!!



When I was a "coach" for my daughter's soccer team and we encountered a messy, muddy field on game days, I immediately would insist that they go jump in the big holes full of water and mud before the game started.  Our incredible leader Jen N always said that kids need to get in the mud in soccer.  It is a messy physical game and they need to not be afraid to jump in the mud!  Of course, I got some sour looks from parents who had to clean them up after the game, but Jen had a very valid point.  Soccer as in life is a muddy messy game!

So fast forward more than a few years and here I am about to hit the Camino on Monday from Le Puy.  No doubt there will be mud and it will get messy.  It is Spring in the Auvergne...it rains in the Spring in the Auvergne.  There will be mud!  Rather than let it freak me out and make me nervous which will not lead to good, I need to find that puddle full of water and mud and jump in it!  Get it over even if it is figuratively in my head!  It is just rain...it is just mud.  I have been in both before and it can be fun or it can be miserable.  Most depends on my outlook and not reality.

So on that note, I did as I always do when I am challenged by something...I google it!  So here are the results:

When I was first learning to ski, I remember the lessons about dealing with ice and slipping.  It seems to be applicable to hiking in the rain as well.  Walk duck footed to get a better grip and avoid slipping.  Traverse across the slope rather than straight down to deal with slipping and speed.  This latter advice I use even in dry times on any steep ascent or descent.  It cuts the grade if you walk across the grade at an angle rather than straight down.

So there is my logical, rational brain dealing with the challenges of rain.  Now I will go out and enjoy the rain and wallow in the mud!!  Bring it on!!

07 April 2016

My Camino Shell



This is a scallop shell that was given to me last May when I walked the Camino by the owner of a wonderful Basque auberge that we stayed at.  Such wonderful memories of connecting with fellow pilgrims, wonderful Basque cuisine, and generous and welcoming hosts!  

I decided to make it my record of the pilgrimages I hope to continue throughout my life.  I have attached it with 20 gauge copper wire and some wonderful ribbon that I had in my stash that has Imagine, Hope, Believe, Dream printed on it.  I am writing the dates of my camino pilgrimages on the inside of the shell to remember that the journey continues! 


17 More Sleeps to Mon Chemin 2016!!



I have been thinking on my May 2015 Camino a lot recently as my 2016 Camino approaches.  There are many lessons that I learned from my first Camino.
  • To leave my anxieties floating outside of myself as they are just proof that I am pushing myself outside of my comfort zone.  
  • To not over think and over plan as it feeds those anxieties rather than assuaging them.  And it is a grand waste of time!
  • To bring only the absolute essentials in order to focus more on the walk than the burden I carry. I was so surprised to find that I needed so little.  The rest truly became extra weight and useless.
  • To be open to all experiences and people that I will encounter.  Challenging or joyful, they are all part of the journey and teach me something about myself.








17 May 2015

Ascension Mass at the Cathedral in Santiago

The Mass was such an incredible experience and finale to my Camino. There is an immense and beautiful incense vessel (thurbinger ??) that took 3 or 4 men to tend to the rope and cause it to swing in grand sweeping arcs over the worshippers and almost to the top of the volume of the Cathedral all the while spewing clouds of incense.  Amazing!!!

I swear it is to cover the human smell of us pilgrims who have not washed properly in many days!!! My shoes alone are more pungent than the incense!!

The number of each nationality of Pilgrim that arrived yesterday was announced (40 Americans) and a very warm welcome in many languages was said.

The organ music, chanting,  and choir hymns filled the Cathedral with joy. Much emotion on the part of the pilgrims around us.

Whew...drained physically and emotionally,  but in a peaceful and joyous way. Thankful for all of the love and support from my family and friends. What an amazingly beautiful experience!!

Santiago !!

I am sure it will take a while to transition from the daily routine of the Camino,  but for now I will enjoy it.  Woke up early and wandered through a still sleeping Santiago.  Empty and  peaceful streets... Fresh cool morning air.

Wandered into a coffee shop on the outskirts of the old city only to meet up with the three Spanish men that we had leapfrogged for about half of the Camino.  

We encountered some really nice souls.  While you don't get to know many people as everyone is on their own Camino,  your trajectories touch and intersect on the journey.

I am so grateful for this experience and it has changed how I see myself and what I am capable of.  Also I am certain that I will return to the Camino.