I mentioned in reflections 1 that each week on my Camino trek I would take a day off, for additional rest and reflection on the past week. In this blog I’m following a similar pattern. The blog is about you, so as much as possible there is an avoidance to my own experiences in traveling the path of life, it is my path, and yours may be entirely different, at a different time, or at a different speed. The journey is very personal. It is a journey to know yourself. It then becomes easy to make the right decisions in your life and not have to “knock on wood” and hope it was the right decision. In my reflections, I am going to stray a little from that pattern and mention some of the personal aspects of my experiences.
Several pointers that I have found very effective for me, listen to other people. They may not have direction for you, but can definitely help you stay on your path or encourage you to keep going or in some instances challenge you to take a somewhat different path.
This week I attended a memorial service for a friend that I met over thirty years ago. He passed away at the age of sixty. His life was not an easy path. For a good part of his life he was an alcoholic and lived a life that literally persecuted his body. Shortly after I met him, one morning, I will say morning, because it was 2 a.m., I got a call from him. He was at a Pizza place, and anything but sober. He wanted me to come and help him. I went and listened to what he was saying, the conversation, I am sure he was not aware of, but some of the things he said made perfect sense and helped me realize that we all have a higher power within us, if we will only listen. It may come from ourselves or another person. This particular incident gave me a full awareness, to never judge a person but listen to what is being said. That for me was a gold nugget that has helped and literally changed some of the direction I was traveling. If I were to describe this guy I would say, the most unforgettable character I ever met, he would disappear for a year or two and then reappear. The last ten years he did get victory over his drinking, he was a well-liked person, sometimes he could really try a person. He challenged me, without knowing it, to think differently, he was definitely a companion.
When I read a book that for some reason resonates with me, it is as if I know what is been said, even though I have not read the book before, this excites me. Sometimes things pose a question for me, what is been said, catches my attention, I will reason and commune with myself to find an answer. “Eat, Pray, Love” by Elizabeth Gilbert had a remark about “Soulmates” that caused me to look for an answer to that statement, it took a while but I got the answer for it. “The Brain that Changes Itself” by Norman Doidge had a chapter on love. I was able to articulate something about love, which in some ways I knew but yet didn’t. “The Celestine Prophecy” by James Redfield , the book was published in 1993, I never read it until 2012, the nine key insights into life that he writes about, it was as if I already knew them, some of the insights for me, were not well developed, but I was on the same path, this encouraged me. “Think and Grow Rich” by Napoleon Hill made me angry. He talked about the secret, but didn’t tell me what it was, and I wanted to know, he challenged me. I have since found the answer, but no one could tell me, I had to find the answer for myself and it definitely is a secret. If a person finds the secret it is not because someone told them, The secret can only be experienced, and experiences are personal.
That is a sampling of the companions that have challenged, encouraged or caused me to search for the correct path and further me on my journey of life. No one had an answer for me, but in some small way or maybe a big way, put me on the journey I am on today. Through the years there have been so many people, instances, situations, heartbreaks and victories that have been my companions, some I have known, some I have not, but it was always what I gleaned from the situation that allowed me to better understand myself and be at peace with myself and those around me. The most significant, I am not covering in this post, it would be too extensive. It is my late wife Norma and our seven children and my present wife Sandra. This is who I have learned the most from, about myself, my responsibilities as a husband, a caregiver, a father and a lover, In my next posts I will bring to light some of the literal companions I met on the Camino and the life’s lesson learned from them.