In my prior post I referred to ‘walking Ghost Bridges’.
First, why am I walking The Camino de Santiago, The Way? Last year I reached a place of… I don’t know, it wasn't exactly depression, I know what that feels like… Despair is closer but that is also not quite right. (Although perhaps it is. In beautiful synchronicity, 'Despair' was todays Facebook post from the remarkable poet, David Whyte. See post below.)
I just felt ‘finished’. Like a steady state of ‘been there, done that’. Ho Hum. Disengaged.
‘Dancing with Shadows’ early last year certainly helped. My experience of Shadow Dancing is this:
I followed a path to face the wounds of a lifetime. This is not easy or for the faint of Heart, yet is full of remarkable insight. The wounds tend to, at their core, coalesce into a common theme or experience. A ‘belief’ if you will, about our lives.
The next incredibly valuable component of Shadow Dancing once we recognize those patterns and voices, the next step is to make The Shadows, our allies. This is the treasure found in dancing into our own personal underworld.
Since my husband Joe’s death, I have explored the role of grief and loss in our lives. Also in my years as a faculty member at Harmony Hill Retreat Center, I facilitate groups of people living with cancer. The loss of ‘health’ another profound grieving process. I refer to grief and loss as ‘Passionate Sadness’. The death or loss of someone or something precious to us. Thus sadness tinged with the passion of yearning for the person or thing to return.
Last summer I completed the ‘Integrative Nurse, Life Coaching’ certification program. I was required to offer 60 hours of Integrative Coaching (rooted in Integrative/Holistic Nurse Theory). All my ‘practice’ clients were women over 45 and because I was writing and speaking about ‘Shadow Dancing’, I also had many casual conversations with friends about the concept. I began to recognize some similar patterns.
Then last fall I knew, to a certain degree, my disengagement with my own life was still present. Remarkable opportunities and people were showing up in my life and I just couldn't quite step fully present with it all.
All of last year, I was literally, almost daily, walking the bridges of my home, Portland, Oregon. Many bridges cross the downtown waterfront with walking paths on both sides. Walking across them, back and forth in circles and spirals became a powerful walking meditation for me. I was consciously walking with Shadows and walking with Passionate Sadness and it was during these walks I first felt and recognized...
There was something else with me, walking those bridges…
the ‘Ghost Bridges’ of…
What Was Not.
So to continue my spiraling story…
Last fall I began to explore the Ghost Bridges of my own life and how those ghosts of 'what was not' effected my current life. I also decided that it was time to ‘step out’ of my day to day life for an extended amount of time. I wanted to take a personal Journey. To make a clear choice: With my Heart Open Wide, I would even more deeply reflect on the Shadows, the Passionate Sadness and the Ghost Bridges of my own lifetime.
I also hold the intent that part of my personal integration of all three, will be to take my experience and create a way to assist others. This experiencing and then turning to offer a hand to others, is what I have always done. This is how my Shadows have become allies. To translate these three paths of integration, into the next expression of my life work. My dharma. My service.
So last fall I decided to expand what was already a powerful practice for me… Walking…. Into 7 weeks and to walk The Camino de Frances. I am now 3 weeks into that walk.
A few days ago, I said I was going ‘silent’ to more deeply explore my own personal Ghost Bridges (which have been showing up all along The Way).
Be careful what you ask for…
On day three of walking The Camino, I injured my knee. It has been stable and some days much better. I have figured out how to walk with the injury.
Then, 2 day ago, I walked many miles slogging through sticky mud. The sliding and pulling up and twisting was not good for my already injured knee.
The next day, on mostly flat terrain, I only managed 6 miles, with increasing (and this is most concerning) different pain. My knee screamed ‘stop’. I walked in the rain that 6 miles, crying most of The Way.
I cried not from the pain… The tears were from frustration and sadness of how much my Heart, mind, Spirit and the rest of my body wants to continue on to Santiago de Compostela and beyond to Finisterre. And how my knee spoke louder than everything else.
I hobbled up to a sweet hotel. The woman owner, tucked me into a room with hot tea, candies and Vic’s vapor rub. Waved her hand and said, ‘later’ when I tried to pay her for the room. I wouldn't have though of Vic’s but it feels great. I am stretched out in bed and am staying here 3 nights.
If rest helps, that informs me. If it does not, that is different information.
I am next to another Mary Cathedral.
I am being with my own Ghost Bridges. (Including this f*#^ing one!)
Tonight is the full moon. Reflecting on EveryThing.
Again… And yet again… I surrender.
I am going to stay off my knee for 3 days, increase my meditation, write, listen carefully, cry, breathe. Be Grateful... Heart Open Wide…
And make a decision if I can continue on Monday...
Regardless... My Journey continues...