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El Camino calls!

This is the post excerpt.

I am excited! In ten days I fly from Honolulu to Paris and take a train down to the south of France and bus to the little village from which I’ll start my six week pilgrimage by walking over the Pyranees into Spain and then on to Pamplona on my way to the church where the relics of Saint James rest and then on to the Celtic shrine at Finnisterre, the “end of the world” where the sun sets into the Atlantic.

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Rite of Passage: The Full Sun Sets on the Camino (And the Full Moon Rises)

On the last evening I walked out the last three kilometers with friends from Canada and Spain and Germany and Italy for the final ceremony of this pilgrimage–to hold silent observation and keep reverent company of the setting of the sun on the great and endless water at the end of our walking at “the end of the world”

When I was a kid I had a sustained romantic vision of how the world could be. People would usually give their best. They would care for each other and for nature. They would like to learn and share and try to understand. They would complain little and be flexible and forbearing and patient and open to others who are different and be slow to judge. They would make friends easily (just like kids) and forgive quick and often. And they would generally have good purpose near the forefront of their minds. And it wouldn’t take much for them to want to gather and celebrate good company.

My friends, there is a place where the world is just like that: The Camino!

And the sun sets on that world, for now.

But I don’t think so, really. That light, that warmth, it resides inside of us. It is everywhere.

Each pilgrim is quite willing to share the gifts they have received from the Camino. There are so many, like: “I got a lot of answers and made a lot of friends.”

I really like what Jasmine said, on behalf of so many of us: “I found my authentic self.”

As we sat out on the point at the lighthouse and the sun had just gone down we turned to see the full moon rise above the ridge behind us on the the other side of the cape. One more magical unplanned, serendipitous mystical perfection on a perfect Camino.

After six weeks of take-it-one-day-at-a-time walking, paced less by head than heart, my pilgrimage ends at the very moment of the rising of my meditation teacher’s anniversary celebration moon, with whom I’ve studied now these 34 years. From whom, along with my parents and friends and other teachers of so many stripes, and this beautiful planet that I love so much, I got the life that gave me this Camino and everything the Camino gave and every other good thing.

The Good Camino never ends…

But it sure is nice to rest your feet!

I love you. Just the way you are. Thanks for bein’ that.

Let’s go sailin’! No pressure. As much, or as little, when you can and how you want.

Well… I might not really have changed all that much. For I just looked back at my first post, one I made a couple months ago, before I took my first step. And it’s truer for me than ever now!

Person 1: “Everything you took for granted is gone; nothing makes sense anymore.”

Person 2: How did you get over that feeling? Of nothing making sense?”

Person 1: Oh I don’t know… just keep putting one foot in front of the other, don’t you?”

Person 2: “Right. Should we go and get that ice cream?”

The Tunnel, Season 2, Episode 5

It’s Not the End of the World (And it doesn’t have to be!)

Last day. It’s only 12 kilometers. So I walk my way out easy, ’till I round a turn to…

Unexpectedly, looking through this gate I catch my first glimpse of the Cape and the lighthouse and the ancient Celtic sacred ground and the altar to the setting of the sun, towards which I’ve walked all these weeks and miles. As so many thousands–likely millions–before me.

The moment that I see this–the long-awaited destination shining on the hill–everything comes clear. Like everybody else, I had bought into the name for this place I’d been walking to, “the end of the world.”

That had set the tone for walking to an end. But.

This is not the end of the world. This is just the end of the old world.

As I make my way, I realize:

It was from this very place–the symbolic end of all that had been known at the time–that at least some people, likely for the longest time, surely knew the world was round and wondered if, more likely knew, that there probably was something not yet known out there.

This place, this very place that declared itself the End, became the inspiration for discovery of the new. For it must have been from here that the thoughts and then the words must have taken life to eventually inspire the Spanish Queen, Isabella, to convince her husband Ferdinand to fund the quest that would lead [from this limited Western-centric perspective (and indigenous history aside just for a moment) just to make a different point] to the discovery of a whole new world.

And that’s what our own time can be about. It is time not to buy the story of the end of the world. it’s time for the discovery of a new world. This time not some physical place on an already quite well-explored planet, or even yet finding something out there in space, like pie in sky.

It’s time to know there must be some new better kind of economic world out there: a more socially-inclusive, greater opportunity and equality enhancing, less Carbon polluting, more care-for-nature world.

People thought it impossible at the time to discover a new world. They think it impossible now. But I don’t think so. We have to find that world. And we have to do it together, all different kinds of us, for we don’t just have to find this world. We have to make it. With whole new kinds of get-together efforts and smart rules.

Let’s go out in search and sailing now. If we don’t, we’ll cook the planet’s ocean and earth and skies beyond their natural deliciousness, and social tensions too will just get too hot.

And it won’t be the plant that will go down, as an overlooked meal; it will be us. In time, as she does, she’ll self-correct. It will be humanity that will not have as much good earth and we’ll go down to malnutrition and starve the juicy life right out of us. And we never needed to…

I believe we can discover this new world. There is nothing more important now. It is in this vision that I hope and pray and understand and commit and love and live.

It is for this that I have walked these steps and these kilometers.

I propose that the annual American October holiday (this very weekend) commemorating Columbus (in addition to it’s renaming as Indigenous People’s Day) be rededicated to A New World Discovery Day. The making of a smarter social and economic world that replaces greed and concentrated/self-interested power-with a kind of reach for stars but also realistic love–a shared interest in supporting the growth of the higher nature of humanity–as the guiding principle.

It’s Not the End of the World. And it doesn’t have to be.

No matter how demoralizing the current pendulum swing of silly promise populism/mean racism/overpowered corporatism/anti-scientific carbonism of our temporary flat-earth social times… now is the time; this must be, by needs and inspiration on the thread of a hope and effort that the better parts of our humanity can meet the baser parts with strengths and smarts and dignity.

Now is the time for a new sail and search.

If I don’t entertain that thought right now, after getting totally filled up on the Camino, then I never will.

And I will.

Day Two and Three: Things are looking up

The stage for Day Two of the walk to Finisterre is forty-‘effin’-two miles long!

Pretty, but, ’nuff said.

There’s just not enough pilgrims here to support albergues where you really need ’em

And though my body pretty much has given all its got, I’m back to loving the Way.

And I have never seen this color green before. If it were up to me to color the world, this is the green for grass that I would choose.

We climb up and then come down. Over and over again. Why?

My longest day ever on the Camino. The pilgrims cheered and clapped for me when I walked into the albergue at 6:30 pm.

And there’s a family reunion of sorts, some of my German Camino family. And that evening is, once again, quite a lot of fun.

Day three is simply gorgeous and I no longer need a reason for this walk; it’s self-fulfilling reason enough.

And then I see the sea. And make my way down…

And stay in such a lovely light-filled room and ready myself to meet the destination of this pilgrimage tomorrow.

First Gift from First of Four Days to Finisterre

As I leave Santiago in the morning for a four day walk to complete this pilgrimage at the end of the world and the setting of the sun…

I walk alone, as I used to. Once again, deep in the heart of the spirit of purpose, prayer (for this world), and pilgrimage.

Turning to look back on the Cathedral towers, in the city where I have left behind my well-loved Camino family.

I’m back in the trail, with the sound of it’s religion once again: the steady crunch, crunch, crunch of steps. So I don’t have to waste time and energy (and presence) staying in my head, I have taken all my prayers out of verbal words and put them in my feet.

This first day feels lonely. After the powerful and longstanding focus of moving forward for a meeting with a Saint, the clarity of the goal of this part of the pilgrimage–walking away from Santiago–is, right now, somewhat unclear and the magnetic pull forward of the Camino (to which I have become attuned) is weak.

Though there is so much beauty here… it takes effort to walk.

Still… I trust that I will cross all bridges when I come to them and find the reason for the steps I now take on this part of the Way.

I know the reason is important; that it is meaningful; and I know that I once I knew, and that somewhere way down deep in there, I still know what it must be. And it will show itself.

It just has not yet reached up to the surface of my mind. So I keep walking. And Waiting. For it to appear.

One thing that becomes so clear this morning, as I walk through depths of Spanish beauty (and Spanish chestnuts on the path) that I am walking all this way to get to the sea. But! I already live by the sea.

I am “lucky live Hawai’i!”

Shoots, if I know one thing from this Camino, it’s this:

🎵”There’s nowhere on earth that I’d rather be

than home in the islands

in the middle of the sea.”🎶

I sing this alone for miles. And I am happy once again. And if the Camino gave me no more clarity than this, that would be a lot.

I love with all my heart every member of my family and my ‘ohana. And though my immediate family is scattered all about, and I am always willing to go meet them where they are, they should come Hawai’i too and we should share this luck together, for it’s a family fortune. And that means Sarah too. Come on girl, we can do this. Together. I just know we can–we’re way too much alike not to. Love you!

Meeting Saint James

Walking to the Pilgrim’s Blessing mass…

I have no idea that…

When I line up to go in for the darshan of this Saint that I have crossed half way across a planet and walked 500 miles to see that I will bust out into grateful-open-joyful-fearless-and-expectant, sudden body-shaking tears. And as soon as it came on, it passed, this loving storm of soul. Leaving reverence… for life, for the journey here.

Pilgrim’s Blessing. A world heritage.

The dramatic swinging of incense through a thousand people in the church–the largest incensor in the world.

Then…

After a visit with Mary, whose been so gracefully with me all the Way…

My arrival in Santiago and the Christian part of my pilgrimage is now fully complete. It happened in the moment as I hugged the sculptural representation of Saint James after mass today. I had the experience that 2000 years of time were no barrier and I shared true love with Jesus’ disciple and Apostle. He was real for me, and I for him. Best hug ever! It lasted 20 seconds and it was eternal. I will always have that.

Now, in the morning I start five days walking to “the end of the world,” to the land where the sun sets and there’s eternal youth, a place called Tir-Na-Og, where I will complete the pagan, nature-spirit-elements worshipping (every form of water, earth, fire, air, and every form of life) part of my pilgrimage–these elements are life and life is sacred.

And the sacred is the highest form of love. That’s my religion too. And I have SO many new people that I love now like family. And seeing so much of it in so many, there’s evidence that huge amounts of goodness and love must reside within humanity–and though we are works in progress, that good, that love, that humanity… That’s my religion too.

Leaving Santiago for the sea. I am not exaggerating–this has been a huge treasure-experience of a lifetime and has given me most wondrous gifts!

Bringing it into Santiago with depth and joy

These last two days to Santiago I walk in with friends with so much depth and joy.

Wonderful Aoife

Lovely Jasmine

Arriving outside the city at the Mount of Joy with Laurie and another greatest branch of my now nearly six week long Camino family tree!

It has rained a bit on us.

My friends walk fast. I have just started to take my Vitamin I (Ibuprofen) and I can keep up with them!

Here we are halfway to our day’s destination for this stage of the journey and having octopus and beer by 11:00!

And back on trail…

And bringin’ it in…

And before you know it, two days to Santiago has become minutes to Santiago.

And there is the Cathedral tower…

And I am in the pilgrim’s arrival square. And friends have gone ahead have stayed here to greet me coming in.

And that embrace is just the real thing… It is my Mount of Real-Big Joy.

I have given my all to this Camino and this Camino has given me everything.

I. Am. Happy.

Tomorrow I will attend the mass and greet the Saint and my pilgrimage to Santiago will be fulfilled, complete and down, and ever-present in my heart, of that I am sure.

Sighs on the wall as we wait in line to get certified as Pilgrims who have walked the Way.

Nicely said…

And done…

And I won’t even try to picture that celebration night! (Note: it involves, among so many other things, a Galician Quemada Ritual!)

In Santiago, with constant arrivals,of pilgrims, and each one has put so much in it–everybody truly does have their own Camino–it’s Christmas with the big Camino family every night.