Thursday, January 6, 2011

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

Tomorrow is about getting lost, again.

Love and light,
Author of Canadian best-selling book My Camino presently in development as a feature film.
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  2. I must try this sounding idea. It really speaks to my condition. As I said when we set out, I am finding it hard that I'll never walk the Camino again and coming to terms with what that means; because the Camino is a metaphor (for me) of all the things I am no longer free or able, to do. I have cried about it, to little long term effect, and I have tried standing in the middle of local fens and screaming my frustration. Maybe letting the earth speak through me might "cleanse" me; might, in passing through, leave a message for me. I'd go and do it now (it's 22.30!) but ....
    BTW Sue, it would be nice if you gave your start and end points each day. Could you consider that, please?