Perspective is Everything


Through day 21 – finishing three weeks of hiking!

Along the way, the choir director has given us really helpful information. Like where the swimming pools are. And the need for swim caps. And that you could get a halfway certificate in the town we were ending in, Sahagun. From watching the movie The Way, I thought that the moment of acquiring the certificate would be a bit more ceremonious.  I entered the office of tourism, told the woman that I was there for a certificate, she recorded my US passport number and copied my name, and then printed out a certificate including my name and a date. There is this idea that you must get two stamps per day in your “credential” to prove that you were actually following the Camino and putting in the time. I paid four euros, she didn’t even glance at my credential, and was on my way.

When asking my family what they had gained from this experience, Ruby said: A tan, and strong leg muscles. A perfect 14-year-old response. Miles said: perspective, and time to think. Getting some space from his life and social scene in Flagstaff, he got even clearer of his desire to spread his wings. Mark said: the opportunity to have deep and meaningful conversations with our kids and the opportunity to be challenged and overcome in a new way (he has had these ridiculously itchy spots on his skin for the last two months & was working on mind over matter, and staying engaged, even when taking sedative-like steroids that would make him very groggy while hiking). I said: a rekindled spark and love for Mark.  And a much deeper understanding of what my kids care about, what they think about, and what’s important to them. And then the big picture stuff, like deep relaxation, letting go (I can have the tendency to be intense at times, and care too much about the little things), and learning how to be not as entrenched in the daily workings and details of my business (thank you again, Courtney!) It has been an epic journey, and I’m already feeling forlorn about it ending. We are at the train station now in Sahagun, will take the train to Palencia, and then another one into Madrid. So we still have some adventure to come, but we are less than 30 hours from going home.

Upon arrival to Sahagun, after crossing the bridge, we walked right beside a pharmacy/massage therapist office ( I love the combo of industries sharing a storefront here). At Ruby’s request (I have trained her well), we went in to ask about availability. The guy said his dad would be back in about 20 minutes, and was the massage therapist. So we found our hotel, dropped our luggage, and then each got 30 minute leg/feet/spine massages. Apparently, this was Miles’s first professional massage! He’s now hooked. Javier wanted me to be in the room while both of the kids got massaged, being that they were minors. Good man. And Javier commented on two things about my family: our height (mainly their height) and our knots, otherwise known as our calves.

I just realized a few things that I have had an absence from that seem kind of trivial but may be significant: not riding in any vehicle, not wearing any make up, not being in a Zoom meeting.

A funny thing that my kids noticed that I never would’ve is this. So first of all, they love Takis, a spicy rolled corn chip with lots of red dye. Apparently, the flavor in the states is called “fuego” and the flavor here is called “hot.” 😀

A few days back, I saw an Instagram post from my coach friend Nicole Lance that said: what do you want to turn from “good enough” to amazing?. My family humored me with their answers. Miles said his art, Ruby said volleyball, and Mark said his repertoire of cooking. I said my relationship with Mark.

Just yesterday, I learned that a Flagstaff friend/colleague, Dietrich Sauer, died 1 week ago. He was my age, and we just talked about a potential program I could provide for his team a month ago. He had more joy and energy than most, and we shared a special bond with being ENFJs . It was absolutely unexpected. My first feeling is of concern and love for the people who are close to him. My second feeling is of utter confusion, and a reminder of impermanence. I have had very few people die in my life, for which I feel so grateful. But I also forget to live with the awareness that truly, tomorrow may not come.

On our last morning, the kids asked how far it was supposed to be. When we said 9.7 miles, they said is that it?! It ended up being 10.9, but still, it’s a reminder that perspective is everything. 1 month ago, they thought half the distance was very far.

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