Sunday, May 8, 2011

The Contrary Way Day 16 Lessons from the Labyrinth

The Contrary Way Day 16 Lessons from the Labyrinth


Walking while writing. Writing while walking. I love this new art form I've created though I realize now how difficult it is to read my walking writing.

It's around 9:30am. I walk with the sun in my face. I become cautious when a small white van slows down as it passes me. I ease up and pause. The van stops and then backs up. The driver's door opens and a woman gets out. "Is that you, Sue?" I have no idea who the person is. "Yes, it's me." She steps closer but I still don't recognize her. "It's Kim, from Florida." We had spoken on the phone just before she left to do her Camino. She had just read a blog written by a person who wrote about meeting me on the Contrary path a few days ago. She threw her arms around me, gave me a huge pilgrim hug and invited me to stay at a private refugio she was volunteering at called The Peaceable Kingdom run by a couple, Patrick and Rebekah whom I had met years ago at a pilgrims conference. After giving me simple directions to the place in the village of Moratino I promised to stop there and we parted .

Many pilgrims walked past me that morning. Very shortly I came upon a Korean woman named Soona (Sue-na) who said she was walking to find strength in her heart. How special is that? Later I met a woman named Claudia who claimed that people "listen" differently on the Camino than at home. They are more compassionate and understanding. One of my ongoing intentions is to be a pilgrim in life. Soon another man stops to talk and when he discovers my name, he calls me, Zu. He tells me he is learning Sanskrit. Everyday he practices speaking the words for one hour while he walks. Another form of walking creativity. He's very clear that he never wants to walk the reverse way and offers to pray for me. I need all the prayers I can get.

By noon, I arrive at Moratinos. Patrick was there to greet me and showed me the way in. They had 4 dogs and a lovely Spanish style house with a garden. Kim came downstairs and offered another hug. We talked and walked. We went to town and ate fresh baked pasteries and Cafe con Leche. The idea of being on a Labyrinth came up. For me it's like a mini-Camino I can access when I'm at home. One walks into the centre on a journey and then back out again. On the return, you retrace the steps taken on the way inward. Not unlike what I was doing retracing the steps I took in 2001 walking from St Jean Pied de Port to Santiago. My writing partner Bruce Pirrie used to always say about writing that the end is in the beginning.

I slept like a baby that night. The next morning Kim and I walked to a local Labyrinth that was made of stones on the edge of the Camino path. Before entering, we did a ceremony honouring the Creator and we smudged each other with the Buffalo Sage I carried. A very moving experience. Along with the sage, my friend Sherry also gave me a small white shell that was meant to be left on the Camino path somewhere. I was quite fond of it and really didn't want to give it away. I took it out of the deerskin pouch and carried it with me. After requesting requested permission to enter the labyrinth, I repeated my intentions. I am open. I am grateful. I am accepting of the guidance I receive on this journey back home...I felt a knot in my stomach arise. My physical body was telling me what I was still resisting letting go. I wanted some level of control. Ahhhhh. So many lessons. Thank you, Kim.

I walked slowly. Placing each foot down with intention. I opened my heart and my soul to receiving. All sense of time left. I journeyed alone, sometimes brushing my arm as I passed Kim going the opposite way. When I got to the center, the halfway point, I knew I could let go if I just decided to do it. I kissed the little white shell and placed it on the ground with some other stones. The freedom I felt by not attaching myself to the outcome of the shell, to letting go of it and to trusting that this was the perfect place for it was liberating. I walked all the way back, smiling and at peace. I had completed the circle.

Think about an important journey in your life and imagine it as a circle with a beginning and an end. Did you go in one direction and then turn around to end up in the place you started? What did you learn on the way back? What did you avoid on the way there or back? Notice what happens in your physical body when you think about this? Be aware of any sensations. Awareness is the teacher.

Tomorrow is about meeting people on the way.

Suseya!

Sue

Love and light,Sue
Author of Canadian best-selling book My Camino presently in development as a feature film.
http://www.suekenney.ca/
Facebook My Camino/SuseyaTwitter CaminoPeregrina
http://mycaminojourney.blogspot.com/

Saturday, May 7, 2011

The Contrary Way - Day 15 Intentions

The Contrary Way
A 30 Day Guide to the Journey Back Home
by Sue Kenney

Day 15 - Intentions

I'm 370 kilometers from Santiago and I'm walking away from the destination thousands of pilgrims are walking to while retracing the steps I took almost 10 years ago. Yesterday I hit the wall and I'm not quite out of it yet. In a rowing race, when you reach this stage the best advice is to row through it. Don't stop. Don't think of the pain. With each foot I put in front of me I repeat the word: Camino. Camino. Camino. A mantra that gets me one step closer to Saint Jean Pied de Port, France. My intention for this walk hasn't been really clear, except to walk back to where I began this whole Camino journey. I know that in order to create I must be clear about what I want. I know that I can create an intention out of my state of being. An intention is an earnest desire, not a wish. It's stated in the present and begins with I AM. What is my state of being?

Over the past several days I developed a new way of writing, completely by accident. For many years I've been studying the co-relation between walking and creativity. On the Camino, I stopped to write my impressions of the pilgrims walking toward me though it disrupted the creative flow. Without thinking it through too much, one day I took out my handy Moleskin diary, folded the cover back and began to write while I walked. It was a little awkward at first. I found the intention of writing and the action of the movement forward reminded me of when I used to sleepwalk. In that state, I knew exactly what I was doing and where was going. Each footstep was placed with conscious intention, though I was actually focussed on getting something very important done. The creative action of writing my impressions as I walked, made it perfectly clear to me that my intention is to be creative. I wrote the formula that had worked for me many times in my life and repeated my intention everyday.

Be. Do. Have.
Be. My Intention. I am creative.
Do. An action. Walking and Writing.
Have. A Result. I am happy.

Later that day, two bicylists approached me. The man was out front calling back in a frustrated voice to the woman travelling about 50 meters behind him. He's speaking in a European language but I can't tell if it's Russian or Ukranian. He nods politely as he casually rides by me drinking from his water bottle. His bike is packed efficiently with a small pack on his back. The woman appears several minutes later, her green poncho blowing in the wind, even though the rain had stopped. She's exhausted, sweaty and unfocussed. She forces a kind hearted smile to me. There are two overpacked saddle bags barely clinging to the back. She wears a fully loaded day pack on her back. Her face strains as she peddles up a slight upgrade. I look at her with empathy and see myself. I often felt like I needed to take on more of the load than was expected because I was torn between being a Mother and a career woman. By taking on more of the family load than I could realistically carry, I believed it would make me more of a Mother. I was proving something to myself first through my actions, instead of my intentions. Eventually I learned it didn't work that way and I had a choice about what I took on in my life. My choice was to serve the universe. I could do this by being a Mother and doing what a mother does, creatively.

This woman was also carrying way to much weight in her life, that was obvious. What was she choosing? I wondered why the man who was riding with her didn't help her. What was he choosing? What are you choosing to carry in your backpack? Does it align with what you are intending to be in the world. Take a look and make a choice. Look around you. In your house, your car, your workspace, your closets and drawers. Let go and give away anything that doesn't serve you.

Tomorrow is about a Lesson from the Labrynth.
Suseya!

Love and light,
Sue
Author of Canadian best-selling book My Camino presently in development as a feature film.
www.suekenney.ca
Facebook My Camino/Suseya
Twitter CaminoPeregrina

Thursday, May 5, 2011

The Contrary Way - Day 14 Meseta Madness

The Contrary Way - Day 14 Meseta Madness




Walking today, my head hangs down the weight of it pulling me deeper into my mind. It reminds me of the times in my life when I wanted to quit something, throw in the towel and give up. That doesn't happen very often, but today I could give it all up. Why am I walking again? Some people back home have said that they think I should put the Camino behind me and find something else to be passionate about. What am I trying to prove or not? Why am I putting myself back in a situation where I am forced to look closely at life. Can't I just be content with where I've gone on my journey so far? Can't I just be grateful for that?




I stop and go pee in the grass. I walk. I ask questions. I wait for answers. I walk. I ask for guidance. I hear nothing.




They say you can lose your mind on the Meseta. It's a stretch of land that is flat and covers about 200 kilometers. Like walking through Saskachewan or Kansas. Wheat field after weight field. I think I'm losing my mind. Too many thoughts. I begin sounding Mother Earth. Using my voice, I free up my judgments about everything in my mind and open my heart to her. From the ground a deep tone hovers around me like the fog when it sits above the water. Eeary, yet intriguing. I want more. My chest verberates with the low powerful sound leaving my body. I know that I'm holding space for peace, love, and healing.




A pilgrim approaches. Another man with icy blue eyes that look directly into my soul. He proudly announces that he has walked from Le Puy, France and before I can respond he starts talking to me about the Alloette bird. He said that it only sings as it flies straight up into the heavens. That was my answer. Expoding with gratitude, I thank him for the story and we part.




Holding my head up as I walk, I sound the earth. My voice carries into the heavens and I'm like the bird singing as I soar straight up to the heavens with purpose. My perspective shifts, ever so slightly. From there, I can see that I'm on my path. I know this is my way. I have chosen to do it and it makes me happy. I am a pilgrim. I walk. I am happy.




Ask yourself if you have choosen who you are being in the world? Or did someone else choose it for you? It doesn't matter, either way, except if you are unhappy.




Be. Do. Have.




What do you want to be right now? A dancer? A writer? A coach? Love?


If you are being that, what action will you take? What will you do? Dance. Write. Coach. Share.


What will you have? Peace. Happiness. Love.




How perfect is that?


Tomorrow is about Intentions.




Suseya.




Love and light,


Sue






twitter Caminoperegrina








Go outside and lift your head to the sky and sing. Explore what comes through your voice.




Love and light,SueAuthor of Canadian best-selling book My Camino presently in development as a feature film.www.suekenney.caFacebook My Camino/SuseyaTwitter CaminoPeregrinahttp://mycaminojourney.blogspot.com/

The Contray Way Day 13 Finding Angels

The Contrary Way Day 13 Finding Angels

More to come....tomorrow.

Love and light,SueAuthor of Canadian best-selling book My Camino presently in development as a feature film.www.suekenney.caFacebook My Camino/SuseyaTwitter CaminoPeregrinahttp://mycaminojourney.blogspot.com/

Thursday, January 27, 2011

The Contrary Way - Day 12 Facing the wind.

The Contrary Way

A 30 day Inspirational Guide to the journey back to yourself.

Day 12 Facing the wind.

A huge bird flies by. Was it an Eagle? A crow calls out to me and I look up, almost tripping over a rock jutting out of the dirt path. Mother Nature is ever present, everywhere.

One day of walking, equates to two days that I am further away from Santiago. With each step I'm letting go of the destination everyone else is heading toward. My end is their beginning. I feel it behind me and it's comforting. The pilgrims coming toward me today are determined and confident. Often dressed the same, almost everyone wears high tech hiking clothes, lightweight boots, brightly coloured backpacks and gortex jackets carrying the John Brierley guidebook. Many of them follow the guide closely as if it offers something more than trusting in the journey itself. I look at myself and realize I am dressed the same way, carrying the same book (that is useless when going al contrario). I laugh out loud.

The wind fiercely blows in their faces. Eyes squint. Their poncho's flipping all around, annoyingly. Many times I stop and talk to the pilgrims. Sometimes we just greet each other with great honour. For me it's very challenging to stop and start walking again. I never get to walk beside a pilgrim and talk because no one is going my way. I long to do that. I ask: How can I serve from this perspective? Without hearing an answer I immediately begin to offer metta, loving kindness, to every pilgrim I see. I practice being loving kindness and then I forget what I'm doing because I'm distracted by other thoughts. I learned in Vipassana meditation that one can only offer metta with a completely clear mind. This is a practice of cultivating love.

Think about where you are in your life.

Are you facing the wind? Are you walking in the direction of everyone else or the contrary way? Notice this. Neither is good or bad, right or wrong.

Ask yourself: How can I serve humanity from my perspective? Write down 3 things you can do in everyday life. Look at ways where you can you cultivate love in your life. Give someone a hug. Try not to judge. Be honest. Give something away that you love. Tell someone you love them. Be love in every action. Work at it everyday and be sure to share your stories with others. The learning is in the conversation.

Tomorrow is about finding Angels on the Camino.

Suseya!

Love and light,

Sue

http://www.suekenney.ca/

Love and light,SueAuthor of Canadian best-selling book My Camino presently in development as a feature film.www.suekenney.caFacebook My Camino/SuseyaTwitter CaminoPeregrinahttp://mycaminojourney.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

The Contrary Way - Day 11 Walking as a state of being.

The Contrary Way
An Inspirational Guide to the journey back to yourself.

Day 11 Walking as a state of being.

I followed my breath as I walked.
Walking became my breath.
The sun warmed my face.
My thoughts left.
I walked in a state of being.
Ever present.

Breathe in.
Step. Step. Step. Step. Step. Step. Step.

Breathe out.
Step. Step. Step. Step. Step. Step. Step.

Breathe in.
Step. Step. Step. Step. Step. Step. Step.

Breathe out.
Step. Step. Step. Step. Step. Step. Step.

Breathe in.
Step. Step. Step. Step. Step. Step. Step.

Breathe out.
Step. Step. Step. Step. Step. Step. Step.

Breathe in.
Step. Step. Step. Step. Step. Step. Step.

Breathe out.
Step. Step. Step. Step. Step. Step. Step.

Breathe in.
Step. Step. Step. Step. Step. Step. Step.

Breathe out.
Step. Step. Step. Step. Step. Step. Step.

Breathe in.
Step. Step. Step. Step. Step. Step. Step.

Breathe out.
Step. Step. Step. Step. Step. Step. Step.

Breathe in.
Step. Step. Step. Step. Step. Step. Step.

Breathe out.
Step. Step. Step. Step. Step. Step. Step.

Pause.

On your daily life journey, try following your breath. Do nothing else. Just notice it.
Then go for a walk and follow your breath. Do nothing else. Just notice it.
Breathe in. Breathe out. Be. Present. Just notice it.
Walk in a state of being.

Suseya!
Love and light,Sue
Author of Canadian best-selling book My Camino presently in development as a feature film.
www.suekenney.ca
Facebook My Camino/SuseyaTwitter CaminoPeregrina
http://mycaminojourney.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

The Contrary Way - Day 10 Keeping a promise.

The Contrary Way
An Inspirational Guide to the journey back to yourself.
By Sue Kenney


Day 10 Keeping a promise.


Up until this point of the return journey I hadn't actually committed to walking the entire 800 kilometers. I had lead a group from Villafranca to Santigo and we stayed in the holy city for a few days. They went home and I started walking. I thought maybe I would just walk back to where I started with them. That day I had a decision to make: to continue al contrario to St. Jean Pied de Port or stop in Villafranca. I stood still looking up the mountain to the Duoro Route through the chestnut forest when I heard a couple of women laughing and talking. I wanted to meet them so I waited. They came down the mountain and saw me right away. One of them asked if there was something wrong. Her name was Sarah and her friend was Jill, from Australia. They had walked from St. Jean Pied de Port together and we good friends. We shared stories about the Camino. They were really intrigued about my idea to write a Guide Book for the journey back home from the Camino. Jill said that there was a ton of information about how to prepare for the journey, but she was quite concerned that there was nothing to prepare them for the route back home...back to themselves. I promised them I would write it.

Sarah asked if I was walking to Sahaughan. In my mind I knew it was almost 200 kilometers away. I hadn't decided whether I would walk that far or not but I had to answer her. I blurted out, "Why?" She put her hand into her pocket and took out a one Euro coin. She handed it to me and asked me if I would give it to the cafe owner at the Sports Centre on the left before the bridge as you enter the city. I was stunned. I didn't want to get in the way of my life and yet I wanted to control. I trusted the Camino enough to know that it would deliver what I needed, not what I wanted. I wanted control. From my experiences on the Camino I had learned that if I controlled a situation then I reduced the possibility, that something I couldn't even imagine was possible, could be created. I still wanted control.

I tried surrendering. The words fell out of my mouth, "Of course I'll deliver this for you." She smiled, said "Bon Camino" and thanked me to doing her this favour. She had promised the owner that if she found a pilgrim walking the other way, she would send the money back. I was that pilgrim and I promised to deliver the Euro.

Tomorrow is about walking as a state of being.


Love and light,
Sue
Author of Canadian best-selling book My Camino presently in development as a feature film.www.suekenney.ca
Facebook My Camino/Suseya
Twitter CaminoPeregrina
http://mycaminojourney.blogspot.com/

The Contrary Way - Day 9 A hug from a stranger.

The Contrary Way
An Inspirational Guide to the journey back to yourself.


Day 9 - A hug from a stranger.

Leaving Cebreiro, my favourite place in the whole world, I felt a tiny shift in my perspective. This Camino journey was something I always wanted to do for myself. My interest was always to retrace my steps to return to the place I started. Like the pilgrims of old did. I focused on my journey, my lessons, my experiences and my needs. Today was different. I was intrigued by the pilgrims walking toward me. Looking into their eyes, their faces, their bodies, I saw myself. It was like looking into a mirror. Every emotion I had ever experienced was put in front of me through their presence. To each pilgrim I passed I called out, "Bon Camino."

A man walked toward me with his head down. He had trekking poles and was leaning on them heavily. His knees were stiff and didn't even bend when he walked. He was struggling, trying so hard to put one foot in front of the other. The pain on his face made me want to cry. "Bon Camino," I said. He didn't even raise his head up from looking at the ground and mumbled to me as he passed refusing to make eye contact. I wished I could hug him.

After walking a few more minutes, I paused, facing the east and did a smudge with the sacred Buffalo Sage my friend Sherry gave me before I left. A Korean man stopped and asked what I was going. He had never heard of this ceremony and wanted to partake in it. I explained it to him, smudged around his body and under his feet. He bowed to me in gratitude and then hugged me.

I was at a fork in the road and lost, unsure of which way to go. I sat down in the forest and waited for someone to walk toward me. A Brazilian woman (living in Canada) appeared from the opposite direction and offered her help. I explained that I was walking the return way and until now, I was lost. Because I could see the direction she came from, I would continue on that fork in the road. She nodded and told me about her idea to have a T-shirt made when she gets home that says, "Better to be lost on the Camino than lost in your mind." We both laugh. She hugs me and we part.

The pilgrims are climbing up the steep mountain range as I climb down. They are breathing heavy and I'm not. I feel their struggle and stop to pick up a stone. I put their sorrow into it even though I don't know what their sorrow is. Then I walk for a while and set it down on the path, leaving the sorrow there. I learned this ritual on my first Camino and continue to do it all the time in my life back home. It gives me a place to put my sorrow and the sorrow of others. I start walking again.

A young woman approached me. "What's wrong?" she asks. I explain, once again, that I'm walking the reverse way. She looks directly into my eyes with a clear understanding of what I'm doing and immediately offers to give the 'Apostle a Hug' for me. This is an ancient custom where pilgrims give thanks to all the people on their Camino by offering a hug to the statue of St. James in the Cathedral in Santiago. I thank her. Before she leaves she imparts some words of wisdom. "The most important thing is to be in the present moment." I agree with her wholeheartedly. We hug.

I'm amazed at how easy it is to hug a stranger. At home when I set up a table at the Farmer's Markets in Ontario, I give away stones for free. My intention is to listen to stories and tell stories. Selling books and DVD's is just a bonus. Often strangers will hug me. Sometimes I ask if I can hug them. It feels so good.

What's in a hug? Have you ever hugged a stranger? Would you ever hug a stranger?
Go out and hug someone you don't know. Hug someone you know too.

Tomorrow is about keeping a promise.

Hugs to you.
Love and light,

Sue

Author of Canadian best-selling book My Camino presently in development as a feature film.www.suekenney.caFacebook My Camino/SuseyaTwitter CaminoPeregrinahttp://mycaminojourney.blogspot.com/

The Contrary Way - Day 8 Ground Rush

The Contrary Way
An Inspirational Guide to the journey back to yourself.

Day 8 Ground Rush

A tractor carrying a load of manure passes me on the path. It smells. A villager stops to talk to me. She is dressed in old clothes with a scarf around her neck cut from the cloth of blue work overalls that most manual laborers wear here. She speaks very little English so the conversation is short. I've stopped asking people where the next village is because it doesn't matter how far it is anymore, I'm going to walk there regardless. I'm practising letting go and allowing the Camino to guide me. A lesson I've learned before. In life, I'm trying to let go too. I want to be alert on my journey so that I can make choices about how to get there. Yesterday I noticed the by line for the Martin Sheen film The Way...You don't choose the life you live. You live it. I disagree strongly. I believe we are given a path BUT we have a choice about how we journey. If you just live the life you are dished out, how dull. Didn't Mother Teresa choose to work with the poorest of this world? Maybe she was guided in some way but definitely she choose to do it. That's enough about choices. What's ground rush?

When I was in Triacastella, I stayed in the private albergue at the end of town. (it was at the beginning for me) Forgot the name of it. Doesn't matter. Only 6 euros. A woman in the bunk bed across from mine started talking to me as I lay resting after a long day of walking. I sat up and introduced myself. She was from Denmark and had been walking for almost 4 weeks. Then she blurted out, "The Camino is rushing at me." I thought she was going to start crying. She went on to say so many things happened to her, illness, blisters and an injury. She said that it seemed like it was all coming to an end too fast. She only had 7 or 8 days of walking left and she was sad about arriving in Santiago. Funny eh? You walk all that way and then you don't want to get there. I wonder how many times I've done this in my life? Gotten to where I wanted to go and then stopped myself from getting there. Sabotage.

I told her the story about when I did a parachute jump. (read the full version in My Camino) At first the fall is silent, graceful, peaceful and truly heavenly. At about 500 feet from the ground, everything changes. Suddenly I was rushing toward the ground an an incredibly fast speed. My instructor had warned me this was called GROUND RUSH. He assured me that it was only a shift in perspective. I wasn't falling down any faster, it just looked that way.

I'm always amazed at how perspective changes everything. What is your perspective about your life? Are you on track? If you aren't, could you shift your perspective just slightly to consider the idea that you are on your path but it just doesn't look like the way you thought it should.

Think about your journey back to yourself and write down your thoughts, intentions or a few words. Now look at them from a different perspective. Read them backwards. (the Contrary Way) Look at your writing in a mirror. Look at it upside down. Read it out loud. What do you see/hear? Do you like it? If it's yes, move on to more questions. If it's no, make a choice. It's up to you.

Next: A hug from a stranger.

Suseya!
Love and light,
Sue
Author of Canadian best-selling book My Camino presently in development as a feature film.
http://www.suekenney.ca/
Facebook My Camino/Suseya
Twitter CaminoPeregrina
http://mycaminojourney.blogspot.com/

Thursday, January 6, 2011

The Contrary Way - Day 7 Getting lost.

The Contrary Way

An Inspirational Guide to the journey back to yourself.



Day 7 - Getting lost.



My apologies for not writing recently. My life took a turn off the path and I had to find my way back onto it.

On the Camino, the yellow arrows were difficult to find because I had to always look behind me to see if there was an arrow directing pilgrims to walk in the opposite direction. If it was pointing the wrong way for me, then I was on the right path. It reminded me of being in a rowing shell and trying to figure out what side I was on. I could easily recall the rule that port was on the left side because they are both four letter words. When you're facing backwards though, port is on the right. Walking the Contrary Way is like facing backwards on my journey. I'm constantly looking back to see where I came from. My directions are messed up. It's a constant discipline to stay focused on the forward direction I am walking and yet be aware of the path I walked in the winter of 2009.



Ask yourself...What is being lost? Is it just another way to get where we are going? Is it a choice? Is it okay to be lost?

I think it's impossible to be lost on our earth or on our way. Let's face it, there's gravity. We can't go anywhere but on this planet. On our life path, wherever we are is always perfect for the moment we are in. Fortunately we were gifted with free will so we have choices.

I love opening possibilities for something to happen that I couldn't even imagine. I remember a Picasso quote that is something like this, "If you know exactly where you are going, what's the point of going there?" I don't want to know everything when I set out on a journey and the Camino is a perfect platform for practising life. I want to be surprised, to explore, to make choices and to learn to trust that I will be guided.

This journey on the Camino allows me to constantly loose my way and then find it again. It reinforces the idea that I can always get back on my path, with the help of others, no matter where I am in my life. I choose this journey.

Go for a walk without planning where you will end up or how much time you take. See where your journey takes you and go back home. Don't try to analyse it or explain what happened, just observe it. Be an observer of your journey.

Ask yourself: Did you choose this journey?

Next...ground rush.


Suseya!

Love and light,
Sue
Author of Canadian best-selling book My Camino presently in development as a feature film.
www.suekenney.ca
Facebook My Camino/Suseya
Twitter CaminoPeregrina
http://mycaminojourney.blogspot.com/

The Contrary Way - Day 6 Sounding Mother Earth.

The Contrary Way
A 30 Day Inspirational Guide to the journey back to yourself.

Day 6- Sounding Mother Earth.

Walking the Camino in the reverse direction on this ancient path was taking me to a new place on my life journey. With each step I took, I felt like I was leaving my destination behind. At first, it was Santiago. No more hoping that I would find all the answers walking toward something, I decided. I was walking away. What could that bring? Somehow I was convinced the answers for the new questions I had would be found by walking the other way, back to myself. Everything I needed was within me, I just didn't know where it was.

When I wrote my second book, Confessions of a Pilgrim, I spent several months on the Toronto Island artist retreat centre Gibraltar Point. I had the honour of the presence of Wende Bartley, who graciously taught me how to sound the earth. Wende says, "Through sound we can re-awaken the lost connection through our bodies and the body of the earth, of Gaia, the primal life force energy that runs through all beings." Thankfully she assured me that I didn't need to have a good singing voice to sound. It's a matter of grounding and then allowing the sounds to channel through the voice. It's incredibly liberating and when I do it, it fills me with Mother Earth's love.

In the past, I had done sounding on the Camino with amazing results but it was always focused on my own journey. This was different. Every day since I started walking I sounded: leaving Santiago, on Cebreiro, in the forest, while walking and often standing still. It wasn't really conscious to me that it had become a ritual, I just let it happen when I was called to use my voice.

The blisters on my feet were particularly sore so I was walking slower. A man approached me on a bike wearing a dark green poncho. He was Spanish and spoke only a little English. He wanted to know why I was walking al contrario. I told him what I had learned about how the pilgrims of the past walked to Santiago and then walked the entire journey back home. Modern day pilgrims walk one way and then hop on a bus, train, car or fly back to their home and I felt as though I was missing a part of the journey by doing that too. He asked what it was like so far. I told him how blessed I felt to be able to see the faces of the pilgrims as they walked. I saw the joy, the struggle, the love, the peace, the sadness and sometimes despair. By walking this way, I saw raw life. When I looked closer, I could see his eyes had filled with tears. He nodded with an understanding of my experience, that I hadn't yet realized. We parted without sharing our names.

Here in the mountains, 900 meters up into the sky, it's God's country. There were few pilgrims walking now and it was divinely peaceful. Passing a waterfall, I stopped to be in the moment and felt the rush of water calm me. My mouth opened naturally and my voice appeared. I freely released the ancient sounds from a place of love. I connected to the earth as it passed through my pilgrim feet into the air that we all breathe, no matter where we live in the world. The sound filled the space around me with a deep resonance that connected me to every cell in my body, the ground, the wind and the water. It was a familiar vibration and I was filled with even more divine love and peace. Intuitively I know this had nothing to do with me. I'm sounding for the world.

An idea popped into my mind: maybe I'm walking for the world too.

Anyone can create sound. Stand or walk, inside or outside. Be intentional. Sound for peace, for love, for healing of yourself or someone else. If you are inside, imagine that the floor you are standing on is connected to the foundation which is connected to the ground. The ground is a part of the Earth and that is a part of the universe. Clear your mind of expectations and listen to Mother Earth, closely. Open your voice. Don't worry about how you sound or what comes out of your voice, just let it come through you. It might be 30 seconds or 10 minutes long. Be creative. Read more about Wende at http://wendebartleytempleproject.blogspot.com

Tomorrow is about getting lost, again.

Suseya!
Love and light,
Sue

www.suekenney.ca
Author of Canadian best-selling book My Camino presently in development as a feature film.
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http://mycaminojourney.blogspot.com/

Wednesday, January 5, 2011

Day 5 - The art of self-love.

The Contrary Way
A 30 Day Inspirational Guide to the journey back to yourself.

Day 5 - The art of self-love.

Before leaving for this Camino, a Native friend of mine gave me a fabric pouch filled with Buffalo Sage, wooden matches and a small white shell that looked a lot like a scallop. She told me that it was given to her but not to keep. She gave it to me with a message that I had enough sacred sage to do my work on the Camino. I wondered what was in store for me.

The night before I slept on a gym floor in Portomarin. Standing at the side of the path that day, I'd decided to do a smudge with the next person who came along. A woman stopped to talk. She was Danish and had walked from St Jean Pied de Port. She was very grounded, her eyes were deep and the veil to her emotions was thinned. This pilgrim look was familiar to me. Out of the blue, she showed a necklace she was wearing. It had a White Buffalo hanging from it. It was perfect so I asked if she would like to do a smudge with me and she agreed.

We faced east. I lit the sage and then blew out the flame. "Miigwech Creator," I said. I presented the smoldering sage to her. She washed her hands in the smoke then gathered it to her eyes. "Clear your eyes so you can see from your heart." She then moved the smoke to her ears. "And your ears so you can hear from that place of love," I said. "Now your voice." She smudged her mouth and neck. I moved the smoldering shell to her heart. She paused and then gathered the smoke to her heart. "Clear your heart so you can love from love. Then I smudged her entire body including the soles of her feet. I suggested she look to the east and give thanks to the Creator. Then she did the same to me. When we finished we both hugged each other and extended our gratitude. She left to walk one way, I walked the other. We were both filled with love.

As I walked that day I practised the art of self love. I imagined that all the love of the universe was available to me. I opened my heart and my physical body to receive it. I smiled, cause that's what you do when you are in love. My step became lighter and bouncy. (even with a backpack)
My body felt alive and vibrated at a high energy. I couldn't wipe the smile off my face. I was in love.

It's not selfish love I'm talking about. If we consider the universal law that we're all one and in order to love others we must first love ourselves, then it's easy. If we convince ourselves of the idea that it's only about us, only about loving ourselves, then we have a long road to walk.
I was begining to see that this journey was going to be about understanding universal love.

Do you think it's possible that if we love ourselves we are loving all of the universe?
How do you love yourself?

Tomorrow is about sounding the earth.

Suseya!
Love and light,
Sue

PS Read about Sue's experiences when she was given a Sacred Eagle Feather by her friend to take on the Portuguese Camino in Confessions of a Pilgrim. www.suekenney.ca

Author of Canadian best-selling book My Camino presently in development as a feature film.
www.suekenney.ca
Facebook My Camino/Suseya
Twitter CaminoPeregrina
http://mycaminojourney.blogspot.com/

Tuesday, January 4, 2011

Day 4 - Having an open mind.

The Contrary Way
A 30 Day Inspirational Guide to the journey back home.

Day 4 - Having an open mind.

Easier said than done. Like life, there are so many different characters on the Camino it's hard not to start judging them. Because I was walking the Camino the reverse way this time, all the pilgrims walked toward me and I could clearly see their faces. On the fourth day of walking, we were quite close to Santiago so the pilgrims were very excited about getting close to their destination. I tried to look at each of the pilgrims individually and smiled at them. I greeted as many as I could saying, Buen Camino (have a good way.) and they responded in kind. It took a lot of discipline not to comment on them in my mind.

I believe that in order to experience something in life, we must first have an open mind. From that place, there is the possibility that something extraordinary could happen. If we have a closed mind then we cut off the possibility to see from a new perspective. We choose either. One is not right or wrong. I had choosen to have an open mind but was struggling to keep it free of judgments. I walked, a little discouraged that I wasn't sure why I was being shown the face of the pilgrim. In an effort to be open I practiced giving each pilgrim love without condition, one at a time. Now that's a discipline.

Who have you loved today?

Tomorrow is about the art of self-love.

Suseya!
Love and light,
Sue

Author of Canadian best-selling book My Camino presently in development as a feature film.
www.suekenney.ca
Facebook My Camino/Suseya
Twitter CaminoPeregrina
http://mycaminojourney.blogspot.com/

Monday, January 3, 2011

Day 3 - Wear comfortable shoes.

The Contrary Way
A 30 Day Inspirational Guide to the journey back home.

Day 3 - Wear comfortable shoes.

On Day 1 you confirmed with yourself that you made the choice to be on this journey. Be sure to write it down so you don't forget what you are being. ie I am a pilgrim. I am at peace. I am a writer. etc. In my journal I wrote several other intentions for this walk. I practiced being these things while walking. Then you checked out what's in your backpack. It doesn't matter whether it's life baggage or clothes. What's important is to observe what you are carrying? We are walking almost 800 kilometers in 30 days and you don't want any extra weight.

On this Camino I was wearing the most comfortable boots I've ever owned. On the second day of walking I stopped by a stream and took off my boots and socks to air my feet. There was a pilgrim named Lena from Sweden sitting there. I put my feet in the cold stream and forgot that the water was softening my skin. We talked and talked. Lena was at peace and very happy to be almost finished her journey. I was anxious because I was at the beginning and didn't know what was in store for me. After a long rest I put my boots back on and we parted. Within an hour of walking my feet were burning. I took my boots off again to see that blisters had already formed. There was nothing I could do now but deal with it and keep walking. An old lesson is new again.

As you walk this life journey be sure to care for your feet. With each step taken, you create the possibility to get closer to yourself, but you must take each step. You can't miss any. If you do chances are that you will have to go back and walk them later in life. If your feet are blisterd or they hurt, you can still walk but it's not as much fun!

My advice is to wear comfortable shoes, take care of your feet and keep walking.

Suseya!
Love and light,
Sue

Author of Canadian best-selling book My Camino presently in development as a feature film.www.suekenney.ca
Facebook My Camino/Suseya
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Sunday, January 2, 2011

Day 2 How heavy is your backpack?

The Contrary Way
30 Day Inspirational Guide to the Journey back to yourself.

Day 2 How heavy is your backpack?

Most of us don't think we walk around life with weight on our backs. As a pilgrim, I learned very quickly that the heavier your backpack is, the more difficult the journey will be...unless of course you are Wonder Woman. One only needs to carry the basic necessities because it is a simple life. The problem is we are so conditioned to consider safety, security and inconvenience. We can't let our children out of the house without a cell phone. We can't legally drive our car without a spare tire. We believe if we leave lights on outside and inside the house when we are away that no one will break in. We need 600 cable channels to satisfy the needs of everyone in the household.

A pilgrims life isn't that complicated.

Think of your backpack as a metphor for what you carry on your life journey. What is necessary and what can be left behind? Think of the emotional weight. If we have less weight to carry, then it might be possible to free up some energy to concentrate on what is absolutely imperative for our journey. It's also a way we can force ourselves to trust if there is something we don't have, it will be provided.

It was my eighth time on the Camino so I thought I knew a thing or two about what to carry. It was the end of May and the weather was only going to get warmer. I decided to send some of my warm clothes home so my pack only weighed 8 kilos. As soon as I did that the weather turned wet and cold. At night I was shivering in my sleeping bag liner. Sometimes there were extra blankets but usually the pilgrim who arrived at the refugios early, snatched all of them. I had to resort to going into the lost and found box to borrow some clothes. They appeared to be freshly washed. I found a long sleeve white tshirt and some purple (my favourite color) track pants. I wore these clothes for the next 10 days and then left them in the lost and found box in another pilgrim hostel.

The Native people have an approach to nature that I've tried to apply to my life: We should only take from the land what we absolutely need and return what we don't use.

What are you carrying on your life journey?

Tomorrow is about wearing comfortable shoes?

Suseya!

Love and light,
Sue







Love and light,SueAuthor of Canadian best-selling book My Camino presently in development as a feature film.www.suekenney.caFacebook My Camino/SuseyaTwitter CaminoPeregrinahttp://mycaminojourney.blogspot.com/

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Day 1 Choosing to be on a journey.

The Contrary Way

30 Day Inspirational Guide for the journey back to yourself.


Before we can accomplish anything in life, we first must choose. Sometimes we make the decision or it's made for us, but in the end it is a choice. Have you chosen to be on this life journey? If you haven't, chances are good that you will be walking around in circles and won't go anywhere.



The night before I left Santiago in June 2010 to embark on yet another pilgrimage on the Camino, I remember questioning my choice. "Why didn't I just go on a cruise to continue on my spriritual path?" I asked. My Answers were clear. I don't even like cruises. I love to walk. I love to meet pilgrims. I love hearing and telling stories. I am at peace with nature. I am called to retrace the steps I took 9 years ago to complete my journey back home. Most importantly, I am a pilgrim. It's something I am being in the world. Walking is what pilgrims do.



Have you asked yourself what are you being in the world? Are you being a Mom? Are you being a Teacher? Are you being a Neighbour? Are you being a writer? Write down what you are being right now and then write down what you want to be in the world. You don't have to do anything yet. Just close your eyes and imagine being that and it happens. It's magic.



Today you can start a journey back to yourself by being whatever you choose.



Suseya!

Love and light,

Sue



Tomorrow: How heavy is your backpack?



Sue Kenney is the author of the Canadian Best-selling book My Camino

presently in development as a feature film.

http://www.suekenney.ca/

Facebook Suseya

Twitter CaminoPeregrina

mycaminobook@gmail.com