Preparing For The Via Francigena Pilgrimage
It seems almost unbelievable that we are now heading out to hike through the Swiss Alps, without once, and I do mean ONCE, having hiked or walked anywhere this whole summer.
I suffered for most of this summer from tooth pain, and I have not been motivated to go out hiking.
I have preferred to lay on the sofa reading a book, or to sit on the floor of my studio, painting small things that did not require me to be too precise or at the top of my game.
I did paint a small scroll of imaginary flowers, and another scroll for us to take on our pilgrimage, to collected daily stamps and signatures.
I was catering too much to the pain, allowing it to consume my energy.
I know better than to let pain guide my life, but despite that, I curled up in my blanket or studio and licked my metaphorical wounds.
Now that we are only a few a days from starting our walking pilgrimage, I feel nervous.
The act of packing for the pilgrimage brought the reality even closer.
This is really happening… ready or not.
For the first time, we did not allow enough time before the pilgrimage begins to adjust to the different time zone.
It would have been better if we had provided for a few days to walk around and adjust and recover from the jet lag, before starting our walk.
We will be landing in Paris in the early morning, taking the noon train to Reims, and we will start walking the very next day.
It is not ideal, but we booked it this way because we had to allow as much time as possible for the dental treatments I have needed.
Packing our bags, we laid out everything we thought to take on the bed, and went through it all many times.
The warmer clothes that we need for this leg of the pilgrimage, made the bag feel heavy and too full.
I decided to switch my backpack, and since I had not walked with it before, we thought it would be smart to try it out.
I packed my backpack full of my clothes and toiletries and we went for a hike in the Beaver Creek Mountains.
Granted, climbing Beaver Creek mountain, which is steeper and located at higher altitude than we will reach in this leg of the pilgrimage, is much harder than anything we will do in this walk, but I was eager to be outdoors.
It was a hard climb up, but also lots of fun to be walking in the forest again, surrounded by beautiful trees and birds.
I was looking out for bears.
There have been many more bear sightings in our area and in the Aspen area this summer.
I have heard many locals talking about bears eating the apples growing in their gardens.
On a bench in the shade, we sat to eat a picnic lunch that we had brought with us.
The walk felt strenuous to me, but mostly because it was the only walk we did this summer.
I reminded myself that we will adjust to walking all day, to carrying our backpacks everywhere, and to being outdoors in all weather conditions and that soon enough, we will not feel the hardship, but feel like the luckiest people alive.
Physical pain of any kind, be it a toothache, a muscular or knee pain, a headache or neck-pain, are all an ego attempt to make the body real to the mind.
But the body is not a solid, hard object that is subject to age and decay.
It is an ever changing, ever renewing, fluid, luminous energy field.
We only experience it as hard and solid, because the mind, which is the “commander” of your ship of life, decided that this is how things are.
The image we hold of the body is generated by our “Sense of self” by our Thought-Fabric.
Einstein said that the universe is made of thought fabric, well before quantum physics and modern science revealed that all physical matter is composed of molecular atoms, neutrons and that subatomic particles are basically empty space.
This discovery is very similar to what the Buddhists have thought for centuries: that the nature of this universe is “Emptiness” or Energy, and that we are all thoughts in a Universal Mind.
Warm blessings and see you on the other side…