My last blog lightly touched on the profound experience that I shared with a colleague taking sabbatical and walking the 1000 year old pilgrimage of the “Camino de Santiago de Compostella”. Throughout and well after that experience I was left with the profound conviction that walking life “our way” and not falsely for others was prerequisite to a fulfilling and authentic life. I was also distinctively impressed with the conviction that I required sabbatical several times a year rather than once a decade, as was my prior record.
With that self knowledge I scheduled to take sabbatical in the form of a 10 day silent meditation retreat the first part of this year to do some internal and soulful “spring cleaning” and renew my connection with my inner voice.
Being clear in my core values and deepest priorities, I prepared family, home, practice clients and colleagues with my details for time away and confirmed the reservation with the retreat center. The commitment to remain with the program for 10 full days of meditative retreat was very strict and I was without question determined to enjoy every blissfully quiet day provided there.
It was then with bewilderment that, on the 4th day of silent relfection I found myself questioning that conviction. While meditating with a member of the staff about my intention towards the remainder of the program I found myself forced to consider a very different plan.
As an intuitive, I have always utilized a technique when attempting to make a decision regarding multiple future scenarios. Ultimately, I project my energetic intention into the prevalent future options before me and when I can see one develop clearly in my minds eye, in full color and accompanying emotion, I know the direction to take.
I found myself meditating with a member of the staff about my remaining 6 days of the program only to draw a complete blank. What? Why? Isn’t this what I passionately wanted? Where is the energy towards it?
When I relinquished to envision myself leaving the program and returning home I immediately saw my two teenage children rushing towards me earnestly and with great need. Taken aback by this very clear and stirring vision I couldn’t shake and realizing that I could only confirm this energetic “call home” by breaking my silence and leaving the program, I chose to trust my intuition as my deepest resource and connection to the Divine and honor my answer.
It was immediately upon being reunited with my belongings and technology that I discovered my daughter had called in deep distress tearfully the evening before and had left a message pleading for my return and simultaneously a message from my son expressing his need for assistance due to having become ill in my 4 days absence and having not recovered sufficiently alone. I felt this was sufficient for my “call home” until the morning of the following day when I was to learn the truly powerful gift that “listening” to one’s internal wisdom consistently provides. The morning following my return my time was needed to take my 15 year old daughter to school, as her 17 year old brother was still taking the time home to mend from his illness. It was during that drive that I was struck with the full impact of my decision.
My daughter and I share a very open and transparent dialogue wherein I am privy to the many impressions, perceptions, opinions and potential plans of my still too innocent child. She shared having met a boy that had been contacting her since my departure of 5 days ago and his chat messages, pictures shared, requests to meet her at a movie theatre, her impressions of his pictures and dialogue with him, etc. In listening my interest grew keener as I realized that the timeline and sequence of her sharing seemed strangely incongruent. How long have you known this boy? How old is he? You met him where? He says he attends your school but you met online? He has asked to meet you at a movie theater rather than approaching you at school directly? He wants you to meet him sometime today?
Red flashed through my mind like a screaming wave of panic. This story is ALL wrong! Within minutes I had my daughter promise to turn off her phone, stay collectively with her friends throughout the day, be available to be picked up in the carpool immediately after school and under no circumstances leave the campus. Within 2 hours my concerns were completely validated and I was fully informed that this 17 year old boy did not exist within the school system, that the entity that stole the identity of this handsome 17 year old persona had been contacting other girls in my daughters circle of friends and at her high school and that he was in truth a cyber stalker, equipped with all he needed to lure unsuspecting young ladies into compromising circumstances, should parents not be communicative and savvy enough to be aware of their child’s innermost lives.
My sweet, precious and innocent daughter was spared a potential unknown horror at the hands of a child predator because I was listening! I was not only listening to my inner voice of guidance and direction but continued to listen to those that I treasure most and that I have aligned with and committed my core intentions to.
I am a mother first and as this resonates most deeply with my core values and obligations, I could be directed by my inner knowing to question a commitment to myself for silence and sabbatical that was perilously incongruent with the safety and preservation of my dear child.
Because of my swift intervention, no meeting was to take place with a child predator that day and other young ladies at my daughter’s school were quickly advised to be on alert and discontinue any further dialogue with this disturbed mind, bent on unknown intentions. All were spared.
Living purposefully, living fully and living passionately in touch with who we are at our core devoted to is the freeing gift I am living in this day… in this moment. I am eternally grateful for the wisdom that continues to emerge because of my consistent connection to Source.
The balance of time….. for self, for family, for service, for career, for community, for wherever else we show up in this lifetime is always in a state of flux. Allow for the flexibility to question when questions arise. Rigidity would not have served me had I upheld my initial commitment to have stayed with my retreat program. Rigidity would have robbed me of the flow of Universal wisdom. Ridgidy would have been a grave loss that need not be born.
May Universal wisdom flow in each of your lives. May you be blessed with expansive intuitive awareness and feel the gratitude that being in touch with that power and all it provides.
Most of us really do know when we have reached maximum saturation, numbing repetitive existence, cyclical breaking points, or any other number of visceral “wake up calls” that speak deeply of our personal need to step out of our current form of existence. We know.. and we often delay. And delay. I have been no exception to this form of existence… until recently.
I had heard about this journey called El Camino de Santiago de Compostella or as often described as The Way through a book of Shirley MacLaines entitled, “Camino”. It inspired me deeply and haunted my evolving bucket list with the notion that I really could and must do this thing. As life often pushes a point that we don’t lurch forward in a timely enough manner, I was re-introduced to this trek through one of my all time favorite authors, Paulo Coehlo’s work, “The Pilgrimage”. Again a nudge to figure this out, and make it happen.
Well folks I get all the reasons why I could quite rightly justify putting this thing off indefinitely…. I’ve been an overwhelmed homeschooling mother of 4, full-time homemaker, two children with special learning needs, married to a disturbingly jealous husband bent on monitoring all my time, invested as an ongoing holistic health student and really just far too over committed.
Circumstances change as time moves forward and my excuses continued to validate why now just wasn’t ripe yet for leaving. After one failed attempt in the spring of 2011 and nearly 10 full years after having first been inspired and drawn to this grand plan, I made the unilateral decision that early summer of 2012 would be my year, come hell or high water!
And so it is!
Providence would have it that I must have been meant to be accompanied, rather than trekking off from all my worldly responsibilities alone as I had envisioned. Brilliant. My peregrino companion was to be a colleague and dear friend with a relish for adventure and stretching her comfort zones internationally for years, just like me. What additional incalculable talents she also brought to the undertaking was an international street sense and magnificently fluent and beautifully spoke Spanish. Incalculable value is not an overstatement for this gift of the tongue, wholly lacking in myself with a bit of scattered and unimpressive high school French.
It was plainly understood before we set off that while we were companioned, alone time would be essential for us both. I knew it would be crucial for me, as the preceding 20 years never left me without an uninvited companion or at least a demanding interruption every moment, not excluding trips to the bathroom. Sound familiar anyone? We would both need time to drop into meditative nothingness,… sheer walking bliss and an off the map kind of presence as we trudged along. When we were walking with full presence, we would connect with others as the pilgrim life generously offers all travelers if they wish and relish in the personalities with zest, that could only be found on this type of quest.
There is a quality of energy that can only be found on this path and it cannot fully be explained as it feels and resonates differently for everyone. But what effect it has creates a desire to keep going even when the body is clearly stating that it is time to stop. Some pilgrims arrive and shortly thereafter find themselves addicted, so much so that they walk this trek or every given Camino starting point many times over. Some make it their life’s mission to walk it indefinitely.
My most ardent desire was to literally “dump” all of my lifetimes worth of baggage along this journey and rebirth a lighter and freer new me. I walked and talked to myself incessantly,… forgiving every soul that had crossed me. I realized it was necessary to forgive some multiple times and the endless array of memory flashbacks was frighteningly acute.
I also wanted to hold a certain presence that can only be found in an unfettered life. Could I possibly hold the same focus of singularity that I was able to embrace by simply choosing to get up daily and just walk?
I am going to tell you the answer…. savoring the moments as fully as I did then,… one quest at a time. More to come!