Keynote: Realizing the potential to create oases of color and joy in the bleak stretches of our lives.
This was one of the most lovely and eclectic places that I stayed the whole trip. The albergue was in the middle of the Meseta, but painted every bright color you could imagine. The people who ran it loved pilgrims. The front yard even had a pirate ship in it. As our group had talked about pirates frequently in our days on the trail, when we saw that ship, we knew that we had arrived in a truly magical place. We slept outside on mattresses tucked up alongside each other, and giggled as the sun went down. The town was in a minor draught and the water supply was turned off every day at midday. Somehow, this lack of necessities did not diminish our lovely evening one bit. I felt truly grateful for the gifts that Mazarife gave all of us.
Helps us to practice the art of containing other peopleâ€™s stories with compassion and clarity.
The day that we walked through Rabanal was one of earthen tracks and deep conversations. One of the gifts of the trail is that you never know with whom you will walk and how that conversation will change your relationship or even your sense of yourself. On this day, I walked with my friend from the Netherlands who had already been walking for over three months when he joined our group. We talked of his life and he told me of his experiences with the death of his father when he was a young boy. After that morning, he and I had many nice moments of pure silliness. One was eating the best chocolate pie I have ever tasted during our afternoon in Santiago. Much of this was due to the fact that we had gone deep that morning. The trail had helped me to see and hear him as we walked and talked. In my experience of life, the gifts of a listener who can contain your story and stay connected to you after the telling is done, are the most precious gifts we can give each other. This essence is there to support us in this.
Finding the ability to look below the surface of a situation and feel into its energetic core. To break down the external worldview and be energetically discerning about what are true gifts and what are red herrings.
This was another magical night on the trail. As a group we decided that we wanted to experience an albergue that was a bit off the normal route that most pilgrims take. We aimed our dayâ€™s walking to arrive at a small albergue in an abandoned village high in the mountains, one that had been deserted for over fifty years. Some were a bit nervous about the reports of no running water, no bathrooms, and very rustic sleeping accommodations, but the consensus was that it was too much of an adventure to pass up.
When we arrived at the ramshackle buildings, they were colorful and cluttered. Kittens ran around our ankles. It was a place of life among the ruins of the village. We slept in a converted barn. Our generous hosts served us one of the most delicious meals of the trip. We bathed in the well down the road, and sat around the outdoor table until the sun went down. Our hosts were Knights Templar, members of an ancient fraternity who have supported and protected pilgrims since the Middle Ages. In ancient times, they looked after the pilgrimâ€™s money so that it was not stolen while they walked the trail unarmed and defenseless. Here in the small deserted town, hundreds of years later, this small band of men, some elderly like the head of the albergue, who sat at the top of the table and told us of the history of this town, and others, like his son who was busy cooking our supper, gave us all gifts that we had to look below the surface to truly see.