What you are capable of

When you are tired and your feet are throbbing from the forty thousandth step and the fourteen kilos loaded on your back.

When your hips muscles spasm rebelling against the thirtieth kilometre you have walked today alone.

When your body is crying its song of pain only you can hear and begging that you stop.

You do not.

You question why you do this day after day and if it is the only way to find what you seek.

But each morning you still wake to walk, and you keep going until you reach the place you know you must be to find shelter and warmth and nourishment to thank your body for its service despite its complaints.

As you pass through another village, the chalky smoke of old fires burning invoke desire for rest.

The dark whispers tell you that it’s okay to stop, that you can quit and just go home.

But your spirit surges through your heart, strong and determined.

It tells you, laughing kindly, that you still don't know what you are fully capable of and you will never know if you skirt the flames.

You did not come into this world to live easy.

You came into this world to find out who you are and to discover the enormity of your own power.

You came into this world, to live this ordinary human life extraordinarily.

Rediscovering the thread: an urban pilgrimage

Rediscovering the thread: an urban pilgrimage

"For in their hearts doth Nature stir them so, Then people long on pilgrimage to go."
—Geoffrey Chaucer, The Canterbury Tales

From the silence beneath the noise, I feel it—a tug from the unmet mystery to wander out into the world, and a push from my desire to meet it.

My mind starts trying to formulate a plan: starting and end points, how long and far I want to walk, what time I will leave.

But this call asks for none of that.  It is not about duration, exercise or a final destination. The call just asks me to get out of my chair, get dressed and follow where it leads without needing to understand where, why, how or when.

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The training of surrender

The training of surrender
"If you want to make God laugh, tell him about your plans."—Woody Allen

The days until the start of my pilgrimage are falling away so gracefully just like autumn leaves floating and twirling their way to the ground. There are only 3 days left of my work contract, 3 weeks until I fly to Munich and just over 5 weeks until I take my first steps from Rome towards Jerusalem.

In the last two weeks there has been a little slow walking when I have felt the urge but no training.

My Morton’s Neuroma in my left foot has settled down but not gone altogether. And my body has had a painful time adjusting to the orthotics prescribed by my podiatrist. They jarred my lower back and even now, 3 weeks later, I have almost constant lower back pain.

But this isn’t the reason I’m not training.

I surrendered the notion of training for this pilgrimage when I realised how I was pushing and striving and slamming the feminine part of myself that just wants to flow and move with joy.

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Another standstill

Another standstill

There are only 9 weeks left until I take my first steps from Rome to Jerusalem and again I have been brought to a standstill.

I have been pushing myself hard over the last few weeks since the ligaments I tore in my ankle at the end of March healed enough that I could start hiking. I have effectively been working the equivalent of 4 days in 3 as my contract's project moved into a critical phase, plus walking 3 days per week up to 20 kilometres per session, plus finishing the edits on my book so I could try and publish it before I leave, and not to mention trying to finalise plans to walk and pack up my life for 6 months or more.

Then 1 week ago, after back-to-back days walking 16 and 20 kilometres in the Dandenong Ranges and beside the Yarra River wearing the Princess boots, the Morton’s neuroma in my left foot returned. The nerve between my third and fourth metatarsals is compressed and fibrous tissue has formed around it causing constant pain and discomfort.

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