This morning starts off with a long climb up a very steep hill to the flats and rolling hills of the Meseta. I'm feeling very strong in my body - which is lovely. This is happening without experiencing pain. Step by step I grow stronger - not by pushing, but by pacing myself, listening, starting my day with my somatics practice, and using my body in a very functional way.
I have a dear person in my life who collects stones in the shape of hearts. Since beginning this walk I have been looking for a stone to carry for her as a symbolic way of being present for her, and to leave at the Cruz de Ferro - as her life is very challenging right now.
The Cruz de Ferro is a dropping-off place for burdens, supposedly -- and expectations. You carry an object with you - often a stone, it is charged with all the expectations or emotions pertaining to some personal issue or situation or struggle. You lay it down there, in a symbolic way you are laying that burden before the Cross. You are putting that situation in the hands of the Almighty, the Universe, the Camino, or whatever higher power you believe in. And then you WALK AWAY. You are not carrying that heavy load any more.
There have been so many stones that looked like hearts - and when I picked them up, they were covered in dirt and in fact they were not shaped like a heart at all. This morning as I am walking up this steep hill I notice a stone and something tells me to stop and pick it up. It is half buried - and it turns out to be a beautiful stone in the shape of a heart. I am reminded again of all of the metaphors that nature contains. I think it would be appropriate to go home and throw out my entire library of "self-help" books and instead simply spend 30 minutes a day in nature. Here I would learn everything I need to know about living...
I just finished a break for a large drink of water and a few minutes rest. I am sitting alone at a table and listening to the conversations around me. There is still so much talk about people qualifying their experience on the Camino... someone will say "well, this is my Camino..." as they then begin to justify whether they walk or run, ride a bike, take a taxi, ride a donkey, carry their pack, don't carry their pack...
Interlude: there is someone just ahead in the valley - in the middle of this huge field of green cantering their horse. A beautiful large white horse whose mane and tail are flying. Their german shepherd is following closely behind ... I can only imagine what it feels like to be sitting atop that horse...
OK - so, more and more I hear these comments and I come back to my own sense of self... do I let myself move freely from the messages my heart and soul tells me is right for me - from that somatic vantage point, sensing without judgement ... From that place there is no need to qualify - there is no need to explain. We're so hard on ourselves - even here on the Camino.
I will end this post with a funny story. I walked to the village where Terrie and I had our reservation for tonight. I got there first, when I mentioned our reservation, the fellow rattled something off in Spanish and I shook my head yes as if I understood him. He gave me a key to Room #1 and when I offred him my passport and cc# he said "later." I hopped in the wonderful shower, washed my clothes and hung them outside to dry. Borrowed a converter to charge my computer and sat in the lounge planning the next few days. Relaxed with a Cafe' con Leche'. A couple of hours later and still no Terrie. Finally, I asked the gentleman at the desk "Is this the hotel Camino de Santiago in Fromista?" "No", he replied... " this is the Boadilla Del Camino in Palencia." WHOOPS!! Terrie and I are sleeping in separate towns tonight :-)