My friend, Mony, undertook this monumental journey to discover her purpose. With gratitude, she found her life’s answer – Love is the great transformer. You can purchase her book here.
In 2000, I abandoned the security of my corporate career, and embarked on a two-year journey of the Spirit, trying to define the next steps in my life that would give it meaning and purpose. Pilgrimage, the act of walking to a sacred destination, was my way of finding answers. I walked the 800-km Camino, where I would meet Alberto, a Spanish pilgrim on a similar quest, and together we would embark on a 5000-km walk that would last 13 months, and see us walk through 13 countries from Rome to Jerusalem.
Our pilgrimage was the laboratory for putting into practice all our spiritual beliefs.
We had no concrete plans (beyond the larger goal of arriving at our destination) and no accommodations booked in advance. Because of limited financial resources, Alberto suggested we call on churches, monasteries and spiritual centres for shelter. Every day, we needed to surrender and trust that the path was leading us to exactly where we needed to be. Every night, we needed to trust in the stranger opening the door and that we would have a roof over our heads. And, with only a few exceptions, that door was opened to us and we slept on floors, tables, benches and, yes, even beds, remembering that the tourist demands, while the pilgrim gives thanks.
Gratitude would be the magical elixir that would see us through the inevitable difficulties; understanding that every experience was helping us shed the layers of fear that we clothed our radiant selves in, so that we may stand more firmly in love.
We focused on the day, on placing one foot in front of the other. We paid attention to signs and synchronicities, and acted on them even when they didn’t make logical sense. We listened to those wisps of intuition, those feelings of certainty, and trusted their wisdom to guide us. To us, these were the tools that the invisible hand of Love was using to guide us on this journey. Walking in presence became our active moment-by-moment practice.
We also chose to walk believing in the goodness of the human heart; but to do so required us to open our own hearts and to believe in their goodness and pure intentions as well. The daily invitation became to love ourselves exactly as we are, knowing that we are as children on this path of self-love and self-mastery, and that until we can learn to have compassion for ourselves – despite our perceived failings – then we cannot hope to have it for another. Until we can see ourselves as capable of transformation on every level, then we cannot see it for another.
And Love is the greatest transformer.
Although our walk was for peace, truly it was a journey into Love, exploring its many facets and wonders, and alighting its flame in our hearts so that it may shine brightly in service to others.
Buen camino to all.