I’ve started a new writing project called, Conversations on the Camino. It’s a way for me to reflect on my experience on the Camino Portugués in October of 2018.
This piece is a conversation with myself.
For me, Simplicity means letting go
When the plane set down in Madrid, I had one thing on my mind: getting on the train to Ávila as quickly as possible. This was the first stop on my pilgrimage which would later connect Tui to Santiago along the Camino Portugués.
Fortunately, I had my ticket. Unfortunately, I missed the train. Okay, let go. I prayed that I would get to Ávila before the Museum of St. Teresa closed.
When I arrived in Avila, I hailed a taxi and arrived in time. Gracias a Dios. May I find my way to my pension. . . . later.
I spent the day tracing St. Teresa’s footsteps. She had captured my heart with her writing:
Let nothing upset you;
Let nothing frighten you.
Everything is changing;
God alone is changeless.
Patience attains the goal.
Who has God lacks nothing;
God alone fills every need.
I visited each spot on the map and even walked out beyond the walled city for a spectacular view.
After dark, I found my room and laid out the few items in my backpack. Something was missing. All of my liquids, including a special oil blend from my daughter had been left at airport security. I let go with a wish that a nice woman who worked at the airport would enjoy them.
A few days later, on my walk along the Camino Portugués, I would lose an earring that had been with me for over forty years. Let it go. After day three, I decided to simplify and send my backpack ahead to travel more lightly. Let it go. After six days, my Camino was complete and the only problem was two dark toenails. I let them go, too.
My final pilgrim test of letting go into simplicity was when I flew from Santiago to Madrid and then on to Warsaw. I didn’t realize that I had to pick up my backpack in Madrid. It wasn’t checked through and I didn’t have time to wait for it in Warsaw. I boarded a bus for a week of teaching English with only the clothes on my back and what was in my shopping bag. Fortunately, one of those items was my laundry kit. I let go and had a great week.
Upon my return, my backpack appeared and so did a new way of handling life. Letting go. Since then, I’ve let go of more things and in so doing moved closer to simplicity.
Photos: (above) Convent of St. Teresa; (below left to right) Kate on the Camino Portugués between Porriño and Redondela; View of Ávila from the Four Pillars on a hill outside the city; Teresa’s poem as written by her in Spanish.
Photos and text ©Kate Fisher, 2019