When the trip to walk El Camino was first proposed, it was said, everywhere I read, “You have to go, it will change your life.” My reaction was, “I am not looking to change my life and if I did I shouldn’t have to go walk somewhere for 500 miles to do so.” Resistance. My life has changed many times throughout my walk of 66 years on this earth with many moves to new homes and locales, 13 in all by the time I was 30 years of age. Marriage at 19 and the births of three children were life changing. The death of our infant daughter catapulted me into life change. Meeting new friends changes me. Striving for a master’s degree in my 50’s, developing myself as an artist in my 60’s, living in Cambridge, meeting her Holiness Mata Amritamayi in my 40’s turned my world around. Walking with the deaths of parents and friends. Working as a Grief Counselor for 15 years has changed me. There are so many ways to grow and develop throughout life, do I need or want to walk in Spain for another?
Already the proposed journey has changed and evolved. Cousin Pat and her husband Bob will not be walking with us as Bob has suffered cardiac arrest, been revived and has gone through quadruple bypass surgery and is in recovery. He, Pat and Chris walked the full 500 miles three years ago and were excited to be returning. Bob’s life has changed dramatically and he is adjusting to the change.
Change in life is inevitable. Sometimes we willingly look for change and other times it is thrust upon us and at times it arrives gently and over time. Working as a grief counselor has shown me people’s resilience through the changes that the death of a loved one brings. Each is unique as to relationship, age, life experience, past trauma and loss. For some it is incredible suffering for others it is heartful pain with a sense of life beyond and a desire to move forward and there are many variations along the spectrum. Living in a long term marriage of almost 50 years has shown me a world of change and adaptation as we work to allow individual growth and exploration while keeping the strength of life and love alive as a couple.
Here I am gathering my stuff to walk in Spain. The invitation arrived and I accepted. I have no expectation other than to enjoy each day, to have fun and laugh, to be present and to see with open eyes and hands what arrives.