You may have heard that I walked the Camino de Santiago in 2014. If you read my blog series on that pilgrimage, you're well aware of what went through my head and heart. If not here are the two main links:
Before the Camino
During and after the Camino
It amazes me how much the Camino changed my perceptions. Perhaps that's not correct. I think inside I knew what should and could arise from this pilgrimage. No, what's amazing is that in spite of all that I knew and perceived, my focus was all around one being.
My journey in faith.
My spiritual direction.
My own Camino.
And what I discovered, especially as I re-read my blog postings, was that what was changing was not necessarily my perceptions, but my focus. By focusing so much on me, I so lost sight of many of the things that truly make for a grace-filled world. The low point and high point of the refocusing pivoted on one night, as I describe in the blog entry Preconceived Notions and Judgement . As I mentioned there, I was up half the night, shocked that my self-focused walk almost blocked the Holy Spirit from working both within me and within others. On my camino, I was twisting in my path.
So the lessons revolved around the focus, not on what I knew. I know that religion is about our inter-connectedness, our relationships, other love with others on this earth. My spiritual focus was on me, which obscured the eternal truths. So, this next walk will not focus on me. It will be on
Our journeys in faith.
Our spiritual directions.
Our own caminos.
Now, with All Saints Pasadena friends Matthew Rhodes and Michelle Johnston, I'm planning on returning to the Camino in 2016 May-June. And many, many more are coming, though they will start at different places. Matthew and MJ will start at Saint Jean Pied-de-Port on the French border, the typical starting spot for the 500 mile journey. Stephen will likely start in Astorga. Others in Burgos, where I started my journey in 2014. And I'll continue to Finisterre, on foot this time.
This time, in 2016, I won't be starting in Spain. I'll be starting in Lourdes, France.
The Virgin Mary made over a dozen appearances to the village starting in 1858. The Sanctuary of Our Lady of Lourdes is a place of mass pilgrimage. The spring water from the grotto is believed by some to possess healing properties. This pilgrimage site of healing receives millions of visitors every year.
I will begin my pilgrimage on the Camino here. I will seek healing in communion with others. Then, with oils and waters from this site, I will begin my Camino walk towards Saint Jean Pied-de-Port and onwards to Santiago de Compostella. Most importantly, I will share the water and oil with those who wish to share in a healing moment.
So it won't be about me this time. It will be about sitting with others and praying together for healing and love. I'll be praying with and for everyone I meet. I hope I stay in the moment and present with all I encounter. And, with a grace-filled heart, my focus won't need adjusting this time.