While on my training walk today, I received a rather huge in-sight.
Over the last couple days the magnitude of the pilgrimage I’m about to embark on has begun to sink in. I’ve refrained from setting any expectations for the journey – because forming an attachment to expectations is more likely to result in disappointment than any sentiment more joyful. But I’ve been reflecting on my intentions – why I’m doing it, and what should be my way of being as a pilgrim. I have some ideas, but I’m allowing them to percolate to make sure I’m crystal clear about intention. And I’m noodling over my desired outcomes – different from expectations, because there’s less likelihood of attaching to them.
I started my daily training hike early today, before the sun had fully risen. Fifteen minutes into my trek I was rewarded with the auspicious image to the right. Toward the bottom of the photo is Mt. Talinis, peeking out through a sunrise-painted cloud; and witnessed by the morning remainder of a full moon. (I climbed that mountain about a month ago, overnighted on a lake near the peak, and climbed back down the following day. It was absolutely the most physically demanding and exhausting thing I’ve ever done).
The mountain reminds me of the apparent permanence and stability of life. While the moon calls to mind a greater reality: that everything moves in cycles. Reflecting on that image as I continued my trek, a profound in-sight came to mind.
The Camino is an initiation into the phase of the cycle called the Winter of my life. I’m 69 years old. Six months ago, when I was in-spired with the calling to walk the Camino, I began training right away. As a result of nearly 800 miles of walking since then – much of it in mountainous terrain – I am perhaps more physically fit than at any earlier time of life. So, the in-spiration to do the Camino has already brought with it the benefit of greater physical fitness; and perhaps health.
The Fall of my life has been extremely rewarding to me personally. The initiation into that stage of my life came at age 51, when I was initiated into mature masculinity by men of The ManKind Project. The photo at the top of this post is my talisman, the pouch and lanyard of which was given me at that event. Each of the beads and other items on my talisman represents other significant events or relationships in my life since then – predominantly MKP staffing, training, and homecoming events.
More importantly, though, the Fall of my life has been highly oriented toward service to others. MKP invites each man to embrace his life’s purpose. My primary purpose, as I’ve understood it, is helping and encouraging each of us to achieve our spirit’s greatness. I like to think that I have positively influenced thousands of lives through my support and encouragement – as a result of individual contacts, and in the way that rippled out to others they came in contact with. When we positively influence another, that pays itself forward over and over again.
As I enter the Winter phase of my life, it’s time to kick it up a notch. There comes an awareness that my remaining time in this body is limited; and yet there is much more to be done.
I have accumulated a ton of life wisdom as a result of my years on this earth, the last twenty or so living a fairly conscious life. One of the responsibilities of the Conscious Elder is to share that life wisdom for the benefit of others. My first book Upgrade Your Lifestyle, this website and other writings on Quora and Facebook are an attempt to respond to that responsibility.
But when time is limited, it becomes more important to give more and do more.
The question is: How?
And now we know one of my desired outcomes of my Camino pilgrimage.
If you’d like to follow my Camino process you can do so on Facebook by liking my page Life as an Art Form.