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  • Finnian Kelly

Choose love over fear

I’ve now ‘graduated’ the meseta and am moving on toward Galicia, an autonomous region of Northwest Spain known for landscapes of extensive green forests and wooded valleys. I must bid farewell to the golden plains of the meseta that let my mind and body relax into a space of not being needed as much and surrender to another new stage of the Camino. This week the weather has been perfectly fall like and sunny, and I’ve noticed a distinct difference in tan levels from the left side of my body to my right… I’m always walking West so the left side of my body is getting a shade darker, which is quite amusing!

This was the halfway point and as soon as I crossed the mark I felt some sorrow as the Camino end is now more tangible. It’s still two weeks away, but I am so in flow with the daily routine of the Camino, it’s hard to imagine plopping back into the ‘real world.’ Here is a snapshot into what the Camino routine is… it typically begins with a 6:00 am wakeup when someone in the Albergue’s alarm goes off, after that it is impossible to sleep through the rustling of the early departure pilgrims. I usually gather my belongings and hit the trail before the sun has risen. I tend to walk about 2 hours to the first town and find a cafe to stop for breakfast. Then a 6ish hour pattern of walk, break, walk, break, walk, break, walk - until rolling into the village for the night between 2:00 & 4:00 pm. This is always during ‘siesta time’ and yes, siesta is real! All the shops are closed and it feels like a ghost town until 5:00 when things begin to reopen. I settle into my space and bed for the night - if I’m lucky I'm able to score a bottom bunk, but oftentimes they reserve them for the elderly and at 37 I'm one of the younger ones on the Camino. A shower and an assessment of the day's damage on the feet is next. Then I head to a grocery store in an attempt to get a snack before dinner if there is one, but a lot of the villages are so small that the only option is a bar or cafe. At this time I plan my route for the next day depending on how I feel and what reservations are available. Dinner is served at 7:30 and consists of a first course which is either a soup or salad, a main entree, a dessert along with endless wine and bread. Meals have been hit or miss, just when you’re prepared for another bland spaghetti dish you get surprised with a vegetarian option or if you’re lucky, more than one option! After that is bed time and you do it all again - it's amazing how time passes quickly even with such simple daily tasks and achievements.

At this point in the journey more and more ‘Camino Characters’ are crossing my path. There is a man walking with his dog, he even sets up a little bed for him in the Albergue. Another man walking with his tripod and camera gear - that is commitment to capturing the journey.

A guy that has done the traditional pilgrimage of walking out of his front door in Munich and traveling the whole distance to Compostela, about 1500 miles - he’s been walking since April. And then this couple who met on the Camino back in April and decided to move to one of the small villages on the route (population of 127) to refurbish a home he built 19 years ago and since then has been sitting empty. They serve hot chai and coffee to pilgrims passing by and were so kind to me on my stop. I’m continuously inspired by people’s motivations and bold actions on this trip!

I was having an introverted day when I met Sam and Chris, great friends who decided to walk the Camino together to deepen their friendship. It is not an option to be introverted when these two are around! They have a tenacious curiosity that refuses to let you slip by with small talk, and so within 5 minutes of meeting I was asked what the most important aspect of living my life with Intentionality is. I had an easy answer to this, it is Intentionality principle #1 - choose love over fear. Then they probed further, and I had something to think about for the next several miles of my Camino - is love the opposite of fear? So here is what I reflected after a day or two of pondering:

When I think of opposite words for fear nothing comes to mind without the word fear in it such as fearless or unafraid. I think you can be experiencing fear while in a love state, such as when doing adrenaline inducing activities or facing a new situation out of your comfort zone. When I think of opposite words for love I come up with a few - hate, fear, loathe, judgement… so I think that love is always the opposite of fear, but fear isn't always the opposite of love. In the bigger picture it is just a nuance of language describing different energetic states in the body. All things with a low vibration stem from resistance because of an underlying fear...a fear of feeling unworthy, insignificant, unlovable or undeserving, and those fears can be conscious or subconscious. I think this is the constant challenge in life…overriding those fears and choosing love over and over again.

So, I choose to keep loving the Camino, all parts of it, and accepting that it is eventually going to come to an end, and at that end is an opportunity for me to bring with me the peaceful acceptance that I’ve found here in the great expanse of Northern Spain.

Hi for now!

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