Wednesday, October 20, 2010

Is walking a labyrinth, a pilrimage?

Labyrinth - Houston, Texas
Pilgrimage or not?
A pilgrimage is a journey to a sacred place.  The center of a labyrinth is for some folks a sacred place for meditation and prayer.  I walked this Chartes style labyrinth for meditation yesterday.  Here are my thoughts ....

Walking the labyrinth did not take me all day, just forty-five minutes or so.  If it had been raining I would not have walked, I would have waited for a better day.  So was this a pilgrimage? 

To walk the labyrinth I did not climb mountains or ouch, painfully walk down them.  The surface was soft pebbles not rocky gravel, slate, limestone, grass, mud, cobblestone or tarmac.  I did not walk all day with a heavy backpack, sleep the night before in one big room with a hundred other pilgrims (some of them snoring, farting, or like Bob (London) in 2007 - both).  I did not share the toilets and showers or get woken up at an ungodly hour by those who like to be on the Camino before the sun comes up and do not care who they wake in the process.  I did not have blisters to tend to, tendonitis, shoulder pain, or back pain but I did have pain in my left knee.  I did not have to continue on in the rain because there are no buildings for cover and I am x kilometers from my destination.  I did not have to walk under the hot sun from a cloudless sky with no shade tree in sight.  Walking a labyrinth is a short journey where you can see the entire route before starting off.  It took me forty-five minutes not forty-five days.  Keep your wits about you and you will not get lost.  Of course the same is true of the Camino, keep your wits about you, look for those golden arrows, and you will not get lost.

To me a pilgrimage is usually a long journey in unfamiliar territory.  Although there are many trials on a pilgrimage there are far more spectacular moments that outweigh the tough times.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Thinking of my next camino

We shall not cease from exploration
And the end of all our exploring
Will be to arrive where we started
And know the place for the first time.

T.S. (Thomas Stearns) Eliot (1888–1965)

I read these words today and felt they expressed my feelings about walking from Santiago de Compostela (SdC) to Saint Jean Pied de Port (SJPP) next year. Starting in Sdc and walking in reverse along the way will be like a tape on rewind. How will it feel to be in SJPP and for it be the final day of my walk? A pilgrim friend, Sarah, is walking from SdC to Toulouse, France at the moment. Check out her Blog:

I am not able to walk in Spain until September 2011 as I have a prior commitment for April/May. Walking in the autumn will be a new experience for me and I am looking forward to seeing the changed countryside.

Daydreaming about Spain and the camino ....

Tuesday, October 05, 2010

Knee problem? What knee problem?

It is three weeks today since surgery and it is hard to remember that I once had pain in the right knee. I am walking well without using a stick and this is with Jeannette's (physio-torturer, actually physiotherapist) permission. Jeannette told me, "you will know when it is time to stop using the stick" and from the Camino I know that a stick is like an umbrella and you will leave it behind. I am grateful for the medical folks who worked on making this possible for me. From Dr Thomas Parr and his staff to the Foundation Surgical Hospital staff, they all made this an easy process. Being able to have in-home physiotherapy was a blessing that I was not expecting. I had been worried about how I would get to the hospital for therapy. Thanks to Jeannette and her visits I am walking pain free.

Realizing that my readers are not all based in the USA I will add that this procedure came first from Britain. In England it is known as the Oxford Knee:

If you have a painful knee(s) I can only encourage you to make an appointment with a MAKOplasty® surgeon and inquire immediately about your options. This surgery benefits those who are fit and able to recover quickly. The quality of your life will be enhanced 100%.

I think the reporting on the knee can finish and I will return to the subject when it is time for the left knee surgery.

I can now walk other Camino's but in future it will be without blisters and painful knees .... this will be heaven.