IT’S FINALLY BOOKED! I fly to Paris on Sept 25th then return from Barcelona on December 20th. I’ve also decided to remain silent for the entire trip, instead of just the two months on the Camino. My first words spoken after three months of silence will be on Christmas morning. I’ll finish the Camino on November 30th (my 50th birthday) and then continue walking to the Atlantic. After that, I’ll make my way to a monastery where I’ll spend a couple of weeks correlating my notes and writing about my experience before I head home.
Breaking in my body has been easier than breaking in my soul. Up until this point in my life, I’ve sufficiently been able to thwart any REAL change by diffusing hope. I think I remain a hope junkie but my spiritual gift of pessimism tends to dominate my soul these days. (Remember my stone that I wrote about before? The Darkness VS The Light? Go back and read it if you have time. It’s actually sorta kinda deep and stuff.)
Now that my walks are 4+ hours these days, I’ve decided to leave my Great Pyrenees at home. Tucker The Wonder Dawg was just too tuckered out, especially the day after walking around the lake.
He was moving like the old man from The Carol Burnett Show. I miss him heaps! (Tucker, not the old man. Tim Conway was a guest on my show and meeting my childhood comedic idol was AH-mazing, but I’m talking about Tucker, not Tim Conway. I miss my dawg.) But I need to practice walking alone. It’s a completely different headspace being all by myself alone. I realize I’m not exactly walking in the Amazon Jungle, but a man still feels more alone and vulnerable without his dawg. Tucker has taught me so much along my journey. For example: It takes a lot longer to get anywhere in life when you keep stopping to piss on things. It’s called PISSimism.
I’ve discovered that without Tucker, and WITH other people around, I’m fast! You know why? EGO! Yup – my ego walks faster than I do. He’s wayyyy up ahead of me shouting, “LET’S GO ALL DAY!” It’s the same reason I have a gym membership. Sure, I could work out at home by myself in my Lulu’s and leg-warmers, but the simple fact is that I need the motivation of a witness. I just seem to work harder at it if someone is nearby. Not that anyone is actually watching. (It ain’t the old dudes that people watch at the gym!) It’s just the POSSIBILITY that someone might glance in my general direction. That’s all my ego needs. Just a morsel of attention. It doesn’t need much nourishment at all in order to thrive. HOW GRADE 8 IS THAT? Geez! Here I am, a grown man who still allows his ego to have far more influence than it should. Like the time I tried out Yoga for a week. After consistently having my ass handed to me by the incense and man-bun people I had spent a lifetime judging, I was determined to hold this one pose even if I had to crack a tooth while clenching. So I did. And it cracked. As did my ego.
I’ve recently been discovering things that have been helping to shatter my ego agenda. Yoga was one of them. Taking the Enneagram personality assessment and discovering stuff my ego had been attempting to hide was another. Walking out of Staples after using the bathroom, then chatting with the cashier and a few folks I knew from town, then reaching for my keys before getting in the car and discovering that my belt was undone and wide open… was another. (Never did find that Selfie Stick.)
During this week’s day of silence I walked 20+ KM’s from Belfountain, past abandoned barns in the Caledon countryside
to the railroad tracks in Alton. The creosote stained ties took me through farmland that city folk only see in movies, crossing century old bridges over troubled waters.
The clouds threatened darkness, my old friend. Eventually the tracks and backroads took me home. Like they’ve done for so many wanderers and wonderers before me.
THIS WEEK’S CONFESSION(s): I learn more from my dawg than I do books. For example: It takes a lot longer to get anywhere in life when you keep stopping to piss on things / The battle with my ego is alive and well, despite the fact that I recently walked out of a store after visiting the Men’s Room – with my belt wide open and undone!