The Pace of Change

At dinner last night, a friend suggested: “Transformation can only happen if you pull yourself outside your area of comfort, and stay there long enough to become permanent”. True.

Nonetheless my experience has taught me, that in most cases, not necessarily anyone needs to “pull” oneself out there: it is the area of comfort that inevitably shrinks or modifies under the effects of the external changes in the environment, in the work and career life, even in the family or the outer circle of the loved ones. The aggravating component is the pace of change in these external factors. As human beings we manage change at the frequency of our heart beat, or our breathing cycles. The external change agents are now vibrating at gigahertz frequencies, in the name of modernity which apparently privileges speed against time.

How to prepare the personal “toolbox” for the changes to come, and their increasing pace?

My parents have taught me that serenity and happiness are children of sacrifice and commitment. I believe I have lived to this predicament. Actually these are ingredients that most of the times generate excellent outcomes. My personal experience has taught me how acceptance and let go of any attempt of control of the external agents, are even more fundamental predicaments. These are not always easy to follow in the daily burdens, but it’s already good to be aware and to keep the mind well open. A third set of “tools” is the rediscovery of the basics capabilities of the human being, which are hands that know how to make, legs that are able to take you wherever you want to be, a mind that is able to conceive vision and direction, and a spirit to glue all together and provide the essence of an universal belonging.

Whether it is now the case to “pull” myself into the unknown and likely uncomfortable zone, or to be “pushed” by external factors, being prepared is fundamental. I will try with sacrifice and commitment to stay away from reacting to the external changes and rely more on the basics of the existence; I will try with acceptance and letting go to focus on my vision and purpose; I will try to let God to indicate me the direction.

“God, grant me the Serenity to accept the things I cannot change,

the Courage to change the things I can,

and the Wisdom to know the difference”

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The inner Road….

While I keep myself occupied with the charting of the itinerary of my Camino via Google Maps and other media, it occurred to me that the planned breaks on my physical itinerary would probably coincide with the achievement of some inner journey breaks. I came up with the idea of charting also the following roadmap of the inner travel companions I will shall have to deal with along the way at personal level:  the Body, the Mind and the Spirit.

On this type of non-geographical maps, my engineering approach is stumbling with the choice of the targets to assign at each stage and it may well be that some of these definitions will need to me modified many times along the way.   The process of learning by heart the names of the many villages, towns and other landmarks to help my orientation seems to be a much easier task than preparing for the many varieties of feelings I will travel through in my inner road…..Anyway I want to give it a try for the time being.

The total itinerary of 43 days is now split in three phases:

  • From Lourdes to St. Jean P-d-P (6 days)
  • From St. Jean to Leon (20 days)
  • From Leon to Finisterre (17 days)

I envision that in phase one the concentration will remain pretty much at physical level, as I have to deal with the inadequacies of my Body: small and big pains, blisters, sore knees and the likes will keep me occupied. As I move into the second stage the attention is expected to be shifted on the Mind to maintain the balance and the determination to continue. Finally in the third phase, the  Spirit will eventually be fully unleashed to reach a new elevation and balance. More or less……

Domains:

Body

Mind

Spirit

Phase 1

6 days

Suffering

Confused

Self-centered

Phase 2

20 days

Conditioning

Submitting

Expanding

Phase 3

17 days

Fit

Focused

Elevated

Anchors……

After so much worrying, pondering and struggling, the resolution of searching for a human contact with the Camino, was the right thing to do. In the comfort of my keyboard and screen, the quest for where and how to find a bed to rest, has been restless but not yielding any appreciable results. Hostel booking sites were returning discouraging messages of the likes of “server down due to heavy traffic”, or “fully booked, sorry”, or again “try later, thank you”. Rowing against the bitter current of my natural adversion for the telephone, I finally dialed in. She answered in English with a cheer in her voice. “Are you the hostess?”, I asked, “Actually I am a volunteer, and am more than happy to deal with your fears. We have a bed for you, so you just need to concentrate on the true purpose of your Camino”. The relief was immediate and finally the peace if mind started to take possession of me. Now I know pretty much what my first 6 days will be like. These will serve my purpose as conditioners for my physical and mental training. No plans for the days beyond. I will learn the prayers of the contented spirit in appreciation of the simple blessings and the fulfillment of the few bare necessities.