The idea of walking the Camino Santiago has been floating around my noggin for many years. When we first moved to San Francisco from Los Angeles, Neal and I lived for a short time at the Red Vic Hotel on Haight Street, while waiting for our apartment to be vacated. Instead of the typical bedside Gideon Bible, the Red Vic had copies of a book "Peace Pilgrim:her life and work in her own words" which I read, and it told the story of this woman's personal pilgrimage from 1953-1981, walking 25,000 miles for peace. Truth be told, it was a bit overwhelming and during my years of raising kids and chickens, dogs, and Neal, her story was in the back, way back of my mind. Then I learned about this Camino Santiago in Europe, with its colorful history, multiple routes and spiritual/religious traditions. And, yes, I watched the movie, The Way!
I trained to be a yoga teacher, and embraced not just the physical aspects of the practice, but the mindful awareness of our emotions, thoughts, and actions that bloomed with every class, meditation and daily life began changing. I tried returning to the church, I spend months visiting different congregations, returning to the Episcopal church in which I was raised. While I loved the community, the music and open minds that I encountered there, it was not quite right, the classic whole square peg trying to find its way into the round hole redux.
So, I kept coming back to the mat, read about other practices, other traditions. During this time of thought, exploration, my dear, kind, funny, wise husband got sick, and my mission in life became quite clear. He had always been the rock of our family, always made sure we were well, loved, and laughing, and caring for him was my path.