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Ketchup and Deodorant : Cancer and The Camino De Santiago

The Camino...I remember it like it was yesterday! Many people walk the Camino to seek deep spiritual meaning for their lives. I learned within the first day that I was walking as a celebration for how far I had come and what I had learned thus far, and I also walked with a profound sense of humility knowing that there was much more ahead. To be honest, I felt like a child the whole journey. I see now that it was serving as a rite of passage. It readied me for the work of integration that the last year demanded of me, and continues to demand. This has been a real growing up and growing in to my true self. In all of my awareness (of course, we always operate at full awareness until we expand and realize there's much more to take in), I had a way of unconsciously responding to life as if it was something that was happening 'to' me, while I determinedly searched for the bright side as a place to rest my mind and heart. A place to rest while I went about crafting the story and the meaning of my experiences into something pleasant and inspiring. Something worth living for. I was the creator of my experience, and I wanted the file cabinet in my mind to be full of light and love and joy. A direct reflection of the Divine, right? How else were I to honor her than keep my mind and heart a tidy garden where only love grows? Eeesh. If you've tried this approach yourself, for long enough, you might understand how tiring it becomes. There are a few things to unpack in that worldview, and Shakira, in all her divine wisdom, helped the most. Cancer is something I had wanted to avoid my entire life. There were periods of time that I made my own ketchup and deodorant to make sure I was chemical free to avoid getting cancer. So when it happened, it sure did feel like something was happening 'to' me. And certainly that it was my fault. I mean, I buy my ketchup and deodorant now, and look what happened. Shakira tore me down, stripped me of faith, any trust I had left, and the ability to keep hope. She left me in the dark. I was, and still often feel dismal. I had been in dark places before, and thought I knew how to navigate. The truth is, you don't navigate the dark. You just sit there, dead or dying, creating compost for rebirth. I have always understood that I am not separate from life, that I am life, and that it flows through me and everything, and we are intimately connected to each other and Source. But sometimes in order to know a thing in your bones, you have to die and be rebirthed, so that the knowing is etched on your DNA and isn't just a lovely thought you beg to believe is true. It is only now, in retrospect, that I see that the faith I used to carry was forced, the trust I held was flimsy at best, and hope I clung to was desperate. Those sweet parts of me that served me beautifully for so long, they needed to die. In the process of rebirth, I have felt less resilient than ever before, and it has scared me. But in the darkness we sit in the belly of the Earth, the true Mother's womb. We have no defenses in this place, and we don't need them. We are part of the greatest miracle of creation. And we don't just honor the darkness of the Divine when we are being buried or gestating or rebirthed. I am beginning to truly understand that sorrow honors her. Pain honors her. Anger honors her. Mud and sweat and tears honor her surely just as well as flowers and joy and laughter. They are ALL HER. I knew this, yet I still judged and disowned things that felt 'dark'. And I still do. Often. This is a tough one, friends. But I am surely listening now. To turn the darkness into a bright side is to disown half of our being, and leaves one feeling empty and endlessly seeking. Integration heals this illusion that we were ever separate in the first place. But it seems to require an intimate knowing of the pain of separation before we are able to realize our wholeness again. I think this takes a few turns on the merry-go-round, if you know what I mean. What a trip. My purpose in life is to use whatever tools I am given to connect people to their higher selves, to Source. I trust that I'm on the right path. And I am so grateful to walk it with you! What a time to be alive ❤️ 

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