2.11.2011

A Letter to Myself (After Walking 900 Kilometers)

Taking the first step with full conviction almost guarantees that the destination will be reached, granted you persevere through the middle part with full sincerity.

After the longest day of the entire walk -- 38 kilometers -- my feet finally touch what the Romans thought was the end of the world. It’s been a long and interesting journey from St. Jean Pied de Port in France to Cape Finisterre, the western-most tip of Spain.

One can never imagine the impact of such pilgrimages on our lives. Sitting on a rock by the lighthouse watching the most glorious sunset of my life, it seems like a perfect ending to a journey of 900 kilometers.

Marker showing that there are 0 kilometers left to walk.  :-)
There’s so much that I’ve learned from walking the thirty-seven days. I’ve learned that if you take the first step, and keep going no matter how slowly you go, limping or crawling,  rain or shine, sick or healthy, happy or sad.-- you will get there. The distance might seem long and wide at first, but step-by-step, day-by-day, you slowly bridge the gap between the beginning and end.

I’ve learned that you need to have clarity about where you are going. There should be no doubt in your mind, so when you meet distractions on the path, they won’t last for long because you know exactly where you need to go. You are grounded on your path.

Once you have the clarity of vision: enjoy the journey. The destination can never be as sweet as the journey. The focus always has to be on each day, each moment. There’s no improving tomorrow, it’s all in the now. Life is taking birth right now.

And if you wander off the path, don’t ignore the signs. Don’t try to take the easy way out, don’t look for shortcuts. You will have to face the path at some point. There’s no difference between uphill and downhill. They’re both critical to the journey, two identical wings of the same bird.

Remember that sometimes the path will be full of beauty, nature, and rivers that flow effortlessly. And sometimes you will find yourself walking on the highway going against traffic; trying not to get run-over and just hoping to make it through the day. It’s all the same, neither roads are permanent – the terrain will keep changing. The most important thing is to keep going in the same direction.

Each day has its surprises; remember to embrace the good and the bad. Take moments to enjoy the beauty around you. And always stop and lend a helping hand. It’s more important to arrive in good spirits than to arrive on time.

Be good to your body and mind. You will get from it what you put into it. Don’t over-indulge in food, but make sure you nurture the body enough. Never underestimate the power of a good nights’ sleep. And for the mind – don’t hang around the naysayers and the gossipers long. Don’t let the mind get habituated to that. It’s much better to be silent and alone.

Don’t try to walk at the speed of others; if you walk faster than your legs can go, you’ll quickly burn out. If you walk slower, you will tire of that too. Find your own pace in life. And walk to the rhythm that allows you to hear the beat of your own heart, and keep yourself tuned into the quiet songs coming from your soul.

Have focus, but be flexible. Being rigid can make you brittle. Flexibility in the mind makes life more durable. Let the negative things pass through you quickly and be grateful for all the good in life -- for that is the magic formula to multiply it. Try to remember that when you have blisters on your feet, pain in your knees, and an ache in your back -- your lips still hold the capacity to turn into a smile.

Above all, the answer is always -- love. Always.   


(From the Camino Journals -- last entry)

11 comments:

  1. dear guri,
    this is by far the most inspiring and timely message i have read on the path to someday enlightenment...with gratitude and metta... :)
    vinod

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  2. Thanks Vinod! Happy to hear it was timely! :-)

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  3. Wonderful piece of inspiration, convincing and down to earth. Thanks for the posting. I really liked it, worth repeating reading and reading.

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  4. Bhim thanks so much. Glad you enjoyed it. Take Care!

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  5. Loved this letter, Gurididi! So wise and inspiring...and a wonderful metaphor for the journey of life. What a powerful experience you've had. Thanks so much for sharing!

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  6. Anonymous3/09/2011

    Dear Guri, this is such a timely post for me - just what I needed to hear on the journey I am on. Thanks for distilling your wisdom into these lines :)

    I could also relate to your other post 'The beginning of an end' and realized that doing tasks should be a joy, not just one more thing crossed out. :)

    With much gratitude...

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  7. I'm working on a big project and this post helps me conceptualize it as a journey. Glad to have all your good advice to refer back to regularly!

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  8. Wonderful post. Thanks for sharing about your journey on the Camino. I walked for only six days last year, but found it to be profoundly moving. A fellow coach and I are going to lead a walking retreat on the Camino this year and we're excited to go all the way to Finesterre. We'll see what lessons the Camino has in store for us this time!

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  9. Sorry guys, somehow I missed these comments. Thanks for stopping by.

    Anonymous and Anna, glad this was post was timely for you. The Camino has a way of clearing the mind. I've found myself reading this back to remember the lessons I learned.

    Cristina hope you had a Buen Camino! :-)

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  10. I had a tough yesterday and today stumbled upon your journey's, story and then this blog. Don't know what to say, however feeling better and definitely uplifting. Thanks - Guru.

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