I am sure my pilgrimage in Spain will be a fantastic adventure and my biggest physical challenge yet,but a large part of the walk is for the spirit rather than the body or the mind. If there is one area in my life that has received no attention at all,this is it.
For most of my life I considered myself an atheist. I am married to a Catholic,got married in a beautiful Catholic church and even took marriage preparation classes from a Catholic nun but it never took on me. In fact the opposite happened and my husband no longer considers himself a Catholic either! When my Mother passed on, I really did wish I had some spirituality that would allow me to believe she was still somehow around, but I just couldn’t. Essentially, my spiritual preparation for this trip is starting at zero with a blank slate.
One of the reasons I have had so much trouble defining my spiritual self is that I have confused spirituality with religion. I have tried to formulate my belief system, and then find an organized religion to fit it to.
In my first misguided attempt at educating myself, I bought a New York Times best seller called The Pagan Christ. I thought I would learn that what I considered the magic mumbo jumbo in the Bible had some deeper meaning. I thought I would learn more about the history of Jesus. Rarely do I shelve a book before finishing it, but I did that with this one. Tom Harper (author) has a great premise, that everything that happened to Jesus is a myth that happened before in ancient Egypt. Oh Oh –I just quoted the whole book for you! This really wasn’t helping me get in touch with my inner self, my spirituality.
There’s a good reason for pilgrimages being really long walks. While I spend my 2+ hours daily tromping through the roads and trails of Pinawa, I do more than exercise my body and listen to Spanish on my ipod –I also have plenty of time to think. So far, the only thing I have really discovered is that spirituality has nothing to do with religion,and that I really want to get to know myself a little better. I wish I were leaving tomorrow.