How walking my own camino changed my life

Last night, I saw a post on FB about walking the Camino. The Camino de Santiago is a 500 mile path that starts over the border of Spain and continues into 4 of Spain’s 15 regions. According to the Catholic tradition, completing this trek forgives one’s sins. Since then, millions of lives have been forever changed by this journey, and various movies and documentaries have been made about this magical trek.

I feel like I’ve been walking my own Camino de Santiago the past six months. Today’s post is about love and loss. And how trekking through my internal mind helped heal decades old patterns for the very last time.

Last Thanksgiving, the love of my life relapsed in his recovery.

I remember the day we fell madly in love.
The day he married, he pledged his sobriety to me.
Our love for each other always had been a constant through the ups and downs. When things came undone, I turned to our love to conquer all.
Except it couldn’t.

My ego said I didn’t like who he had become.
The truth was, I didn’t like the person I was becoming.
I became irritated, frustrated and tried to “fix”.
We fought all the time.
The energy in our home felt dense.
The more I “tried” the more I failed.
There was no way to win this race.

I could point the finger at him. 
But really, I realize this was about ME.

I grew up with addiction in my family.
My mother was my qualifier.
I was the youngest.
Taking in her pains, her hurts.
I became the champion fixer, enabler.
My mother’s needs came first, to keep calm in the family.
My bar for chaos raised high.

It comes as no surprise that I would be continually tested.
Until I chose me.
He said he would stop for me.
For us. I said yes. Yes. Yes. Until no.
The biggest gift I could give to him,
To me, To us,
was to come undone,
So we could work on ourselves,
and perhaps have a chance to come together one day down the line.

On Mother’s day, he moved out. I would lie if I said there are days it doesn’t hurt like crazy. Afterall, it is much easier to break up with someone you hate.

But without sounding corny, this saying comes forward. “If you love someone, set it free. If it comes back, it was meant to be. If it continues to fly, let it soar, and have faith that God has something better in store. ”

Below are six tools that have helped me tremendously these past weeks.

6 ways to empower yourself during a challenge or crisis. (My inner version of walking to Santiago)

  1. How to stop thinking bad thoughts about yourself or someone else. When we do this, it’s usually our ego talking, defending our position. It goes nowhere fast. Only in circles until we spin that thought into a story. And our energy spirals down into negativity. When negative chatter like “I should have known” comes up for me. I tell myself “God bless me.” (you can create any affirmation that is neutral or your own version of a blessing) Then I take 3 cleansing breaths, get up and go get a drink of water or something for a few minutes that will short circuit that thought. By moving around, moving energy, it helps brings our vibration back up to a higher level.
  2. Keep the focus on you. When things are going awry, it is much easier to point the finger at what is going wrong outwardly. Try instead to bring it inward, back to you. If someone is “making” your life miserable, what are action steps you can do to bring relief into this situation, vs. wishing that someone would change. There’s a saying that whatever is triggering you about someone is an aspect you don’t like about yourself. Turn inward. Get quiet. Empower yourself to take one step towards back to balance.
  3. It’s not always about you. Ha ha. Whatever that’s bugging you, that someone or that something that has happened is probably not intentional. And even if it is, chances are, it is not personal. Somehow, our ego has a way of turning things around so that things are happening TO US. My partner did not do any of this to hurt me intentionally. He is an amazing person.
  4. Where would you be without that thought? I have been re-reading a lot of Byron Katie and “The Work.” When my panties get all bunched up, I ask myself, where would I be without that thought. Because usually, that thought is not based in reality. It is something I am telling myself to protect myself, or justify what’s happening, or feel safe.
  5. Stop pushing. Whatever we are resisting will most likely persist because we are giving energy to it. When we say what we don’t want. “I’m sick of not making enough to pay the bills, why does life have to be so hard, life would be so different if he stopped doing….” we are affirming the NOT vs. the desire. Reframe whatever it is you are lacking into an affirming statement. You can accept where you are right now. You may not like where you are in life. But at this very moment, it is your reality. Since we cannot change this very moment, why not try feeling into what it is you want?
  6. Ask for help. Vulnerability is not weak. I am not one to usually ask for help, but sharing my truth and asking for prayers, comforting thoughts, support, a hug, just knowing someone is on my side has helped keep me buoyant. Also, you never know how revealing your vulnerability gives someone strength to take action on something they may have been afraid to do.

These past 6 weeks has allowed me to get to this place, internally, externally, literally, where life seems to be opening up.  And it seems crazy to say, not knowing where I am headed, or what I am supposed to do is EXACTLY where I feel like I am supposed to be at this very moment.

In this seeming crisis, I’ve found inner peace. Instead of blaming, there is love.  And each day, there is more clarity, as I allow life to unwrap itself vs. making “it” happen.
My “it” is… me. Taking care of me first.

Please share this post with any souls who are in recovery, their family and loved ones around them.  Or anyone struggling with addiction. It is a family disease. We are all affected.

I would love to hear any versions of your own “aha’s” or walkabouts you’ve had below.