Walking the Wicklow Way is my teacher. Here are some lessons She is offering to me. Now I have the choice to learn or not....
• Wherever you go, there you are. How can I be distracted from my pilgrimage when I'm hiking up, up, up, and down, down, down for miles and miles and miles? For 4 days now? I find myself worrying about others on the walk with me... worrying that they are ok... worrying that I'm not doing what is expected... worrying about what others think about me.... and yet, they are very much into their own walk and their own "taking care of themselves." Why do I feel the need to make sure everyone is okay and happy? Ah, my demons of perfectionism and "is everyone happy?" are alive and well even in the extraordinary landscapes and most amazing companions who are walking their pilgrimage without my "help."
• There is such great joy in saying, "I've seen a photo of this view" and now I'm standing there. And yes, there is always a photo taken of me standing there. My beloved has walked the Wicklow Way 2 times before (hence the photos). Even in my imagination there was never a thought that I could do this. Until last year when I asked Gil what he wanted for his 60th birthday and he said, "To go to Ireland." Then the Divine opened my mind to think, "I wonder if I could walk the Wicklow Way with Gil?" Ah, the Divine is always there, ready to open our minds and hearts to our imagination.... I wonder what else I can imagine?
• My beloved daughter and her loving husband are walking the Way with us. There have been such easy, soulful, much time for conversation or just silence as we walk together. This presence together may be the most precious gift of the Wicklow Way. Hey, I've learned a new card game, 31 which is always bring back these memories of being together. I wonder how I will create space for such soulful interactions with others, especially with my family?
• Ah, there is so much more to hear, to experience, to let go of, to open myself to... to just be. Wicklow Way, I embrace your teaching... I want to be a learner open to the Divine and her holy work of transformation. I wonder what will be next?
Wondering during the wandering... Cathy
Today I did something I have never done. I walked 16 miles from Dublin's Marlay Park to Knockree Valley, up and down the Wicklow Mountains. Somewhere during this extraordinary walk, I thought of Annie Lamont's book about prayer, Help, Thanks, Wow! It was a day of prayer beginning with "Help me as I walk today... may I keep remembering it's just one step at time." Then as that first climb out of Marlay Park seemed endless, with heavy breathing, "Help me" was all I could think since I didn't have any breath for anything more.
And then, I came out on the top of this long haul and had a stunning view of Dublin and the Bay. WOW! It was very easy to pray, "Thanks."
As the day continued, it became the rhythm of my walk... Help, Thanks, Wow! not necessarily in that order. Trust me the Wows! were numerous followed by a deep soulful Thanks.
Maybe I need to walk everyday in this way... totally present to when I need help and asking for it, mindful of the wows as help is provided, and deeply grateful the Divine is always moving in me, before me, behind me, and all around me.
On the way... Cathy
In October 2013, I asked Gil what he wanted for his upcoming 60th birthday. Without hesitation, "to go to Ireland." That response was no surprise for me. What did surprise me was how those words stirred my soul. Several days later at breakfast with Gil, I found myself wondering outloud (a very common thing for me).... Do you think I could walk the Wicklow Way with you? I watched a slow, sweet smile come over his face and he said, without hesitation, "Yes, and the preparation begins now."
And so I began... losing weight (30 lbs lighter now), walking and working out everyday (well, there were a few days off), overcoming setbacks with my health (like a broken toe just 4 weeks before leaving for Ireland), mentally working on believing in me just as much as Gil did, and soulfully opening myself up for the Divine to do her work of transformation.
Last week as Gil and I hiked in Prescott, I finally felt in my body, thought in the deepest part of my mind, stirred in my soul, and voiced outloud the words.... "I can do this!" And Gil offered his honest encouragement... "You are good to go!"
Stay tuned.... there are many more stories to tell.... outloud.... right here!!
2Wisdom's Way..... Cathy