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Camino Reflections. My personal spiritual experience on the Camino.

I did not have one huge spiritual awakening upon arriving to Santiago, but I did achieve everything I set out for am more. Thanks to many physical injuries while on the Camino, I learned that no matter what obstacles I endure I will always be okay and things are not that bad. I will especially be okay in everything I do when following my heart. In life many things do not come easy which makes achieving them that much more rewarding. Life is full of struggles and pain, its how we chose to see it and deal with it that makes all the difference. Everywhere along the Camino are taxi signs and bus routes. At any point you can get your stamp for the day and cab it to the next hostel. The Camino taught me to not always take the easy way out and struggle can be well worth it in the end. A lesion for my love life. Years ago I stopped dating all together telling myself I was waiting for "someone special" or was just to "busy" to date. I know now that I was taking the easy path of no resistance. The path that kept me from getting hurt. Love like the Camino is hard but worth every step. Being on the Camino did not make me feel closer to god, though the feeling of thousands of years of history was unmistakable. Upon arriving in Santiago I was overwhelmed with emotion and cried through the entire Pilgrims Mass. I have never felt so close to organized religion and its beliefs in my life. During the Mass I felt an odd sense of completeness and love. I made a point of visiting St James' Tomb while in Santiago. The reason for thousands of years of pilgrim's and my personal/physical struggles over the past 14 days. When I got to the tomb I was underwhelmed to say the least. Simply a gold bust of the saint. I hiked all the way for this? Is this even him? Is there even any remains here? I asked a few fellow pilgrims their take on the tomb and the overwhelming response was "faith" you "just believe". This concept was foreign to me. As a NICU nurse I see gods existence as black and white proof everyday. The concept of "just believing" brought tears to my eyes. I have to have faith and believe I will find love, have a family and be okay in life. I may have zero proof such things are obtainable but I need to have "faith". I need to believe with all my heart. They say the Camino makes you more simple and teaches you how little you truly need to survive. This lesion I learned long ago in efforts to save money for world travel. I wouldn't say I learned to be more simple but I did learn the priceless value of the simple things like; health, friendship and balance. With all my ailments along the way I learned to appreciate my health, my body and all it is able to do for me. 90% of the time I hiked alone but everyday the value of friendship on the Camino was apparent. I was blessed to meet many awesome pilgrims from all over the world, who truly inspired me to keep going. The simplicity the Camino taught me was that I don't always have to be saving for another great adventure overseas. I can have great adventure here at home. I was hoping time on the Camino would help me to grieve and forgive my brother. At the rock mountain, with a rock in hand from my childhood home. I told the universe I forgive. Though I didn't believe it myself, I at least put it out there to the universe. The burden of guilt would be left there with my rock. At the pilgrims mass every word was in Spanish except a few powerful words spoken clearly in English during the closing prayer. "Forgive those who have lost their way". After hearing this I began to cry uncontrollably. The first time I have allowed myself to cry. At that time I knew it was time to forgive and move on. The burden of guilt and shame was lifted and I was free. I can hold my head high again. In conclusion I learned pain in unavoidable however suffering is optional. I chose not to suffer. I chose to live heaven here on earth. I chose to have "faith".

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