Then? How do you prepare the body?
Walk, walk everywhere you go, then walk some more. For me walking was already a regular part of my life. Especially in the prior year as I danced through ‘The Interim Time’, facing my Shadows, fears, Ghost Paths and pain… Walking became a powerful meditation in integration. It is one of the reasons, taking a long walk called to me.
To begin with, I simply continued my regular routine: Walking 5-6 miles 4-5 times per week. After the first of the year I went to my second hOMe on the Hawaiian Island of Kaua’i for 5 weeks. There I increased my walks to daily and did 5-12 miles a day. For one week, I walked 17 miles a day.
Was this all ‘training’? I called it that yet perhaps the better word would be ‘listening’. I listened to my body. What did I hear? A deeper understanding of how to walk in a way that supported my physiology. How to carry myself. How to walk while holding my core which is necessary while carrying a pack (and helpful even without).
The other thing I listened to was: How did it feel? Or also questioned, did I like it?
I felt myself get stronger, more present in my body. I came to know my vulnerable areas (low back) in a new way. Of how to find the strength in vulnerability. On Kauai, I was walking with sunrise, getting up in the dark. Many mornings it was tempting to lounge in bed yet as soon as I began walking, I could hear my body puuurrring. Did I like it? Absolutely!
I returned to Portland for 5 weeks and my miles decreased. Life and tending the details filled up my time. I ‘lost’ some of the strength and conditioning which concerned me a bit yet when I once again listened… I know walking The Way is not a race. I will be walking 7 weeks, the strength and conditioning will return! I have confidence in 2 very important things: I know my body is capable of doing this. And I know better how to listen to what it tells me.
Here is one key to realizing the above. While some of the time I walked with friends while preparing for El Camino, most of the time I walked alone. In the silence of ‘alone’ I could more clearly hear the voice of my body.
And most importantly… My physiology informed me that: I love the cadence and rhythm of walking everyday. I feel deeply drawn to walking as a physical expression of a Spiritual path.
Walk The French Way of El Camino de Compostela?
My body said… Yes!
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