Walking home

Dorothy Gale said it best, “There’s no place like home.” That doesn’t mean going away isn’t great — far from it! But there’s nothing quite like stepping over your home’s threshold and having the familiar sights, sounds, and smells envelop you as you sink into the recognizable feeling of being home.

As I plodded along on my morning Camino preparation walk, thoughts of home kept floating across my consciousness. Interestingly, it wasn’t my actual home that came to mind but rather my spiritual one. With each footfall, I felt others’ expectations (which I’d adopted) slip from my shoulders, one after the other.

Because I’m quirky and can find a movie quote to fit nearly every situation, it’s not surprising that I recalled a line from the movie Shrek. In one scene, Shrek explains to Donkey that, “Ogres are like onions.” With the removal of each layer, another appears, until, eventually, one reaches the heart of the onion. (Donkey’s reply is hilarious so check it out here: https://youtu.be/GZpcwKEIRCI). Layers peeled back to reveal one’s true center. That’s what I have been experiencing.

Why all the rumination about coming home? Finding my “home,” or the authentic me is happening as each layer of expectation evaporates. The lightness and joy that replaces each discarded layer are incredibly freeing. Layers release old hurts, resentments, and fears, uncovering forgiveness, peace, and joy. It’s no wonder I love my walks!

Here’s what I realized: pretzeling myself to please others no longer served me. Staying quiet so I can be invisible doesn’t work either. I can keep myself safe and secure. No one needs to provide for me. I’m enough just as I am; imperfections and all.

And the more I walk, the happier I grow in anticipation of my upcoming pilgrimage. I know the insights I’m already having are simply gateways to those I’m sure to experience on the Camino, following in the footsteps of millions of pilgrims who for centuries have trekked the paths before me.

For now, I’ll keep plugging along, accumulating miles and building muscle memory for the hike ahead. And I’ll savor the moments where I step back over the threshold and welcome myself home.

Note: I’m participating in a guided hike through the French Pyrenees section of the Camino, led by Heather Waring of Waring Well.



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