Monday, November 28, 2011
Friday, November 11, 2011
Suffering is Optional
|Toenails courtesy of the Parador (not Camino standard)|
Daylight came, we shouldered our packs and walked out onto a Camino freshly scrubbed, glistening with sunlight, and brimming with promise. Robin had removed the tape from her ankle before we left, and walked without any visible limp. In two days time we walked, seemingly without incident, into Astorga. I was simply in awe of how Robin did not seem to be affected by her tendinitis. We walked at our normal pace, and she made no mention of the pain she surely must have been feeling. The next day, as we walked out of Astorga, I could see she was struggling a bit. We paused for her to take some Ibuprofen. After that she closed her eyes and just rolled her bad ankle around a bit as if trying to realign something. In a few brief moments she said she was ready to go on, and so we did eventually arriving in Foncebadon late that afternoon. That evening she shared with me that she had posed a question to herself, "What would happen if I just melted into the pain?" I wasn't quite sure what that meant, but it became evident that Robin had decided that although she was experiencing pain, she was not going to allow that pain to become suffering. Without the limitations of a mindset geared to suffering she was free to reach an accommodation with her pain (Ibuprofen helped), and continue her Camino. The astonishing part is that she never mentioned it again. She walked with me stride for stride, not limping, not stopping early, not asking for any help at all. Of course I was asking her all the time if she wanted me to help, but no she was fine. This, it is important to note, was not her playing the martyr so I could continue my Camino. She honestly was fine, not pain free by any means, but fine. I still don't understand it, but that is what it was. We continued walking to Santiago without any problems and then, still feeling fine, continued further on to Finisterre and Muxia. Many weeks later, sharing a glass of wine at home, she confided to me that her bout with tendinitis had been a great learning experience for her, a much cherished Camino moment. She discovered (these are my words) some elemental connection between mind and body, a pathway mostly left obscured, had revealed itself to her, for whatever reason, just when she needed it most. I called it a Camino miracle (thank you Holy Spirit), but Robin just smiled.
Saturday, November 5, 2011
The Month of Remembrance
And after that the dark!
And may there be no sadness of farewell;
When I embark:
For tho' from out our bourne of Time and Place
The flood may bear me far,
I hope to see my pilot face to face
When I have crossed the bar.
From Alfred, Lord Tennyson's Crossing the Bar
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