Dreamwork as Spiritual Practice

Tag: pilgrimage

Just Walking: A Gift For The Journey

click on the photo to find the book

If you’re anything like me, you’d like to give meaningful gifts, but also feel bombarded by advertising, sick of shopping, and reluctant to add to the clutter that tends to accumulate in all of our lives. I hope that suggesting a good book will not add to your seasonal stress. Some gifts can be worthwhile, and I really believe that Just Walk is one of those gifts, especially if it’s chosen with the right person in mind.

If you have a friend or family member who is coping with illness, aging, discouragement or uncertainty, who is approaching new possibilities or seeking creative change in their lives, please consider giving them a copy of Just Walk: Following the Camino All the Way Home. It’s a very intimate journey that is also universal, following a traditional pilgrimage route on the Camino de Santiago, and a parallel pilgrimage through illness.

The book has been used by book groups and classes, and for daily readings during personal retreats. Couples have read it aloud to each other, and solitary people have read it to themselves for companionship in a crisis. If you are looking for a meaningful gift, for a loved one or for yourself, I hope you’ll read a few pages and see if Just Walk is what you’re looking for.

Here are a few of the things that others have shared about the book:

 I have been very sick for several weeks and… what kept me going was being able to savor your amazing book while I lay in bed. Not only was/is it a riveting story, but the telling of it was so artfully done. I love the way you would go back and forth between the pilgrimage in Spain and the one you’ve been presently on since coming home. Your setting up the scenes was just right to let me feel like I was there close by. Now I understand better why you are such an inspiration, your strength, endurance, but also how well you share from your depths… 

A.D.

I was thinking that it would be so wonderful if all those we love could write such a book that could take us inside each other’s journeys. Such a gift, such a joy! I look forward to it each day.

M.H.

We finished “Just Walk” this morning. We’ve been reading a little each day since we got the book. I wept through the last page–a perfect ending to your pilgrimage story (though, as you said, the story continues.) We are both grateful to you for writing the book, for all it has given us in the way of insight, strength, acceptance, humor, and all the other good things of life.

K.O. & T.H.

[Click on the photo to find the book…]

Walking Each Other Home: Vulnerability, Authenticity and Community

Authenticity always involves vulnerability. When we really listen to ourselves, and let our presence in the world reflect what we care about most deeply, we are making ourselves truly available and opening the way for beautiful connections with others. We are realizing our full potential. We are inviting unimaginable, transformative experiences that we can meet wholeheartedly. But there are risks. What we have to offer can be rejected; what we long for can be denied; who we are can be dismissed. When we give ourselves wholeheartedly, we can be hurt.

Several times in my life, I’ve felt this kind of hurt. I know that I’ve done my best, yet it doesn’t matter—my best is not good enough. Maybe I’ve been as open as I can be, as responsible as I can be, as caring as I can be—and someone takes advantage of the opportunity to do harm. Our politics, social dynamics, and interpersonal struggles frequently show the same pattern. But I don’t think this is a reason to shut down. Just the opposite. I believe that being authentic—and vulnerable—is my greatest strength. I believe that authenticity and vulnerability are exactly what we all need right now. Pain is a possible outcome when we are authentic, but inauthenticity always leads to even more pain in the long run.

In order to be trusting without becoming  victims, we need to have each other’s backs. This doesn’t mean that we should fight off bullies on behalf of others—the more we fight, the more we become bullies ourselves. It’s not useful to see others as helpless weaklings who need us to protect them. Authentic vulnerability is not neediness: it is strength; it is courage. Like trees who grow from the same root system, we need to stand together. And standing together means being true to ourselves and one another: letting others know that they are not alone, that we see their strength and courage, that we are willing to be strong, courageous, and vulnerable alongside them.

What I try to remember when I’m feeling wounded and raw, is that sweet, familiar quote from Ram Dass: “We’re all just walking each other home.” When we’re being authentic, we’re not alone. We inspire others to walk with us, to grow with us, to dance with us, to ride along with us.

Being physically vulnerable is one of my own biggest challenges right now. I’m aware that, if a situation is emotionally charged, my neuro-muscular system will reflect my vulnerability in a way that I can’t disguise or control. I’ll develop tremors; I’ll become tearful; my heart will skip and skitter; my voice will shake; I might get faint, or have sudden chills or sweats. Even—or especially—when I trust the strength of my authenticity, my body can seem terribly weak and awkward. Sometimes, I feel ashamed of my infirmities and uncertain about my own truths. In these situations, the affirmations of others who stand with me can make all the difference.

In my dreams, I see the importance of our interconnectedness. The other dream figures may be seen as distinct individuals but may also be seen as aspects of myself, so the support, guidance and companionship I get from these figures may be exactly the support, guidance and companionship that I need to give myself (as well as receive from others) when I am feeling vulnerable.

Similarly, in waking life, if I want to risk standing for what I care about, even when my knees are shaking, then the people whose presence strengthens me will show me the same inner qualities I most need to strengthen in myself. And the vulnerable strength I am showing by standing with others will inspire them to find those vital qualities in themselves, too. In our waking or dreaming lives, our shared strengths and vulnerabilities make up our authenticity.

Our dreams may become more extraordinary as they reflect the true commitment we have made to our interdependent gifts, needs and callings. Continue reading

© 2020 Compass Dreamwork

Theme by Anders NorenUp ↑