Sunday, 28 August 2011

An open heart; day 9

I'm beginning to really love the time leading up to sunrise. The yoga I do calls this time amrit vela; sweet nectar time. I've enjoyed dawns before but when you are walking through it and out in the countryside it is spectacular. Every Dawn is different. Every day the canvass being painted around us changes. Sometimes very dramatically. Watching the canvass is like watching your feelings on the road; they also change all the time. Yesterday I was really angry when I got to Logrono because I got lost and ended up circling the city a few times. I could feel the heat building up inside of my body until it reached my head. How could I miss the sign? Why isn't it better signposted. Why do i find mysel walking more than i have to? Ten minutes later I was sitting in a bar drinking freshly squeezed orange juice looking out at the sign for the camino without a care in the world. An hour later I was disappointed I had so far still to go. An hour after that I was euphoric I had arrived. Life is a constant state of flux.

The kindness of the people you meet on the road is melting my heart. Yesterday I got talking to a local who did the camino four years ago. He had to stop before he reached Santiago because of tendinitis. He gave me loads of advice about what to do to treat my feet and where to stay. As I was leaving he asked me if I needed anything if so he would drive to where I was staying and drop it off. Countless people wish you well along the way, "buen camino", offer you directions when you're looking lost and share their own camino stories. Today a german guy I was walking with called Dete, taught me how to hold my walking sticks in such a way that my upper body took pressure and weight from my legs and feet. Leona was given a lift by a Spanish couple who saw her struggling to find a taxi (she's finally giving her feet a rest). People are amazing. They naturally want to share; advice, stories, experiences, their breakfast. I think this is what is meant by communion. It didn't seem this way for me sometimes in London. But maybe this journey is teaching me to meet people with an open, trusting heart. In doing so an open trusting heart tends to reflect back at you. The previous night I had been suspicious of Dete because he was cheeky... Even our opinions of another can change in the blink of an eye if you're not holding on to your preconceptions.

In the evening, over dinner, the topic of conversation with fellow pilgrims got serious, deep, a little heavy. Are we responsible for other people's happiness? Do we have to harden our hearts to live in this 'dog eat dog' world? A big debate raged and I sat on the periphery. A few years ago I would have been in the thick of it expressing my opinions with force. I'm not so into trying to change people's minds these days. I'm not so sure you can. I believe I can change my own though. I believe I'm responsible for my own happiness. I'm learning how others' happiness is not my responsibility. I'm learning to walk and live that on the camino. I'm learning to grow up finally.

I've covered 199.6km. Taking into account getting lost I think I'm safely over the 200km mark actually. 1/4 of the way through. Just a beginner at all this really. A beginner trying to keep an open heart.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone

Location:Navarrete to Azofra

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