If you are like me, a journey propels you forward. It’s a motivating impetus, one step leads to another, and one day excites you to get up for the next. It’s exhilarating! Do you ever feel like you can’t get off? The feeling like it is a moving escalator, that once you step foot on to it, it takes you for the ride? I do. When I get involved in a project, or the Camino, or embark on a journey, I immerse myself. With this immersion, comes a pair of blinders. I don’t consciously put them on, but then again there they are, and maybe they are necessary for me to ‘get the job done’. I don’t know, but blinders help to keep me focused. Perhaps I feel I need the tunnel vision to better see where I am going. They tend to help keep my eyes in front of me and keep me directed.
According to Miriam’s Dictionary, Tunnel vision is defined as:
- constriction of the visual field resulting in loss of peripheral vision
- extreme narrowness of viewpoint : narrow-mindedness
Walking the Camino Santiago de Compostela involved many kms a day and always with a place in mind to stop for the night. Often the urge was to just ‘bloody well get to the destination’ and fast! Put your feet up, have a shower, and eat.
Sometimes while walking I resisted the urge to stop, and pushed forward against my better judgement. Like the day when I walked 32kms with the 2 German guys who seemed to be able to manage for hours in the heat without stopping for food or water. I enjoyed the challenge and the accomplishment at the end of the day. Did I miss something along the way? I may have… And I don’t even know what I missed, because I was too focused on what lay ahead of me.
In contrast, was this other day on the Camino. It was a day filled with walking with purpose, but interspersed with pauses for smelling flowers, seeing the beauty around the narrow path, rolling in the grass, taking in the panoramic distances, noticing the different kinds of terrain along the path, and yes…stopping to take endless photos along the way. It may have taken me an hour ( or two?) more to reach my destination that night, but I the many memories I still have of this day are unforgettable.
The pace of walking is something different. We all have our comfortable stride length, our gait, whether it is 3.5km/hour or 5 km/hour, it is what we feel is right for us. This is the groove where one feels one can walk forever, have an easy conversation along the way with someone, and not be gasping for breath doing it. However, for me it is the little pauses, the stops along the way amid the pace of brisk or easy walk that makes the difference. Taking off the blinders to see the rest of what’s out there.
Away from the Camino Santiago, this Camino here, finds me most days typing away for hours, researching on the computer and trying to complete 3 projects simultaneously. My pace is frantic, trying to reach the deadlines. However, given the challenges I am up against, I managed to take off my blinders. Whew! Yes…i did have them on, how else, I thought, would I be able to complete the projects?
I remember watching Federer win Wimbledon and listen to his interview about the impact of taking the year off. It was risky, he said. He didn’t know if he would come back, he didn’t know if he would be motivated again, and he didn’t know if taking a year off would affect his skill level when he came back. Well, we all know the answer to that:) But, what I find interesting, is that taking the “time”, pausing, taking a break and doing something different, actually benefited him in the long run, rather than detract from it!
So that day, I decided to schedule in breaks to my day…make sure each day was filled with time to stop, do something different. Perhaps without the blinders, I might see more and return with new ideas and renewed vigour. Today out there, I consciously used my senses, smelled the dogwood blossoms along the way to see they they had a smell, sat on the grass by the water’s edge and felt it, listened to seagulls, the dogs, the chatter and the squirrels.
Well… I am back writing, here on my Camino journey, getting projects moving, and finding my pace throughout the busy days. Oh….and the blinders are lying beside me now.
Buen Camino everyone! Enjoy the breaks:)