Roncesvalles, Zubiri, Arre



Being able to summon the strength to take the first step in a journey. Allows the body to access the reserve of energy needed for the initial change into new ways of being.

As I sat in the pilgrim’s office in St. Jean Pied de Port, I wanted to begin my pilgrimage, but conventional wisdom suggested I had arrived at the starting point too late to do the first day’s 25km/15 mile walk up and over the Pyranees into Spain. Yet, I was very eager to start. Then again, part of me was unprepared to hike that day. I was wearing long pants and my bag was filled with extra food and stuff that I had planned to jettison before hitting the trail. But a group who had arrived on the train with me had decided to begin, so I quickly joined their pace and set off. I needed reserves of physical energy that first day when I climbed up and through the mountains. And for that reason the Flowers that I collected on those open plains and lush mountaintops helped to fuel the first leg of my journey. When I got to the first night’s destination of Roncesvalles, I knew the trail had already given me the gift of the strength to begin.



Allowing the momentum of you life to fuel its forward flow. Entering a state where expending energy on creative activities essential to your path creates energy rather than depletes your reserves.

Zubiri was a place that I passed through on my second day of walking. The trail wound down off the slopes of the Pyrenees and into the valleys below. The day was crisp and bright. The light, the land, and all the Flowers brought such joy to each step. I found that the forward arc of each of my feet, meeting the ground on the winding trail, recharged my body and spirit, much in the way that a hybrid car recharges itself as it drives.


Trusting your life’s pacing and standing by it with fully centered and grounded conviction.

Albergues are the hostels just for pilgrims that line the route of the entire pilgrimage. Arre was a town with a beautiful albergue where I spent my second night. That day, I had walked over 40k/24 miles. I still felt the buzz of energy from the life force of the trail when I had an interaction that challenged me. I was sitting in a courtyard surrounded by ancient rose bushes and pilgrims’ laundry hanging out to dry when an Australian woman came and joined me. She was very chatty and told me and the other pilgrims I was sitting with her reasons for being on the trail. Then she asked me about my journey. As soon as I told her about where I had walked from and my excitement to move fast, she quickly opened up into a stream of disapproval. She told me that I was not listening to the trail and that my mode of walking was wrong. I was affronted, but knew that my wisdom about my own pace was in accord with my journey. We receive challenges like this from the universe all the time, those Angels in disguise that call us to stand in our truth, no matter what reasoning the outside world throws at us.

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