I had this whole other blog post planned for this week. (Actually, I had it planned for last week, too…)
But a few days ago my Camino friend Roy Howard posted this quote from Mark Nepo on his Instagram page, and every word of it just nailed me:
“Like most people I know, I struggle with taking too much on, with doing too many things, with moving too fast, with over committing. I’ve learned that I must move, quite simply, at the pace of what is real. While this pace may vary, life always seems diminished when I accelerate beyond my capacity to feel what is before me.
So no matter how many wonderful opportunities come my way, no matter the importance placed on these things by others who have my best interests at heart, I must somehow find a way to slow down the train-that-is-me until what I pass by is again seeable, touchable, feel-able. Otherwise, I will pass by everything – can put it all on my resume- but will have experienced and lived through nothing that is real.”
Three years ago, on a cold winter night at the end of a long week (at the end of a long month, at the end of a long year), I somewhat impulsively bought two tickets to Paris and announced that the Jusinos were taking a sabbatical for as long as Europe would let us stay (which turned out to be 90 days). At the time, I was fried to a crisp, my edges burned by that “moving too fast, over committing” pace, and I needed to just STOP for a while.
My 79-day pilgrimage from Le Puy to Finisterre was life giving and life changing. It forced me to slow down…literally, to less than 3 miles an hour. It made me put down my phone, look away from my few thousand friends on social media, and focus on the things and the people right in front of me.
Three years later, though? I confess that the train-that-is-me is once again hurtling way too fast. 2018 has started with a vengeance; I was already overcommitted, professionally and personally, and then I got hit sideways by some stuff that I didn’t have any emotional or mental space left to deal with. For the past two months, I’ve had my head down and my shields up, barreling through encounters that required more patience and sensitivity than I could muster.
I knew it was bad when I realized I’d stopped walking. It’s faster to drive to the grocery store and the office. There’s no time for the park. Maybe I’ll just stay home and not go anywhere. People take too much time and energy.
Ouch. Okay, time to put some brakes on this train.
So you know what I did?
On a cold winter night at the end of a long week, I bought two tickets to Paris.
The Jusinos are Camino-bound once again.
We leave on May 8, and will be in Europe for just three weeks this time, rather than three months. (We’re still bound by the limits of American vacation plans.)
We’re headed for Camino Norte, that glorious stretch of trail along Spain’s northern coast. We’ll start in Irun, or maybe Biarritz, and go as far as we can before we need to turn around and go home.
There are still a lot of details to work out (I’m going to be spending a lot of time on this page at Nadine Walks), but just making the commitment and blocking the calendar feel like I’ve started to pull the emergency brake.
More to come, as the planning unfolds. As for today, I think it’s time for a walk.