The Camino de Beara: Michael's Vision
I can so easily imagine the Beara Way! When did the trek begin?
Years ago when I first saw the Beara peninsula or later when Dzogchen Beara came into view, or more recently when John returned from the Camino de Santiago? Or is the trek the one I have always walked?
Arriving at Dzogchen Beara, the sea and the sky are as a magnet
to my gaze, and warm and welcoming faces appear. . . staff, participants, perfect strangers. . .We sit in a circle and feel the gossamer of connectedness being woven by the Talking Stick as it passes from hand to hand. Our mirror startles us. “Who is that in the mirror? Do I know him? I don’t have time to bother. Why does he look so lost?” Yet soon enough if I gently persist and ask his help, we become companions on the Camino, and I will not have to travel alone. . .
In the afternoon of the first full day and for the following two days we walk on the Camino de Beara. We pause now and then to take in what is around us and let out some of the burdens trapped within.
On the third afternoon we pause on our Camino to imagine and create a Hospice for Living: a place of Welcome and Hospitality where we pilgrims on our journey can rest and be comforted before getting up and moving on our way. The following morning we will reflect on our experiences on the Camino de Beara and at the Hospice for Living, because we might want to create a Hospice for Living close to home for our continuing life-long journey.
The journey is not all light and laughter, for there may be rain and wind and tiredness and aching feet along with the urge to give up. Living the Loving Life makes room for love and lightness along with the darkness that provides relief and contrast.
We end the Camino de Beara at lunchtime on Friday before which we will give away a present to a fellow pilgrim that we have brought from home after much consideration. This is our special gift for a traveller on the journey!
This is a glimpse of how I imagine the Camino de Beara might unfold, but in June there will be surprises, because unforeseen circumstances and the participants will shape the experience as they always do. But my precious imagination spurs me on, and I so look forward to the solitude and the companionship and the sea and the sky and the mirror in which I will be able to see the long-lost me. . and you. Come just as you are!
Walking the Beara Way with You by John Carlson
My 93 year old mother—who still keeps up her own home and drives a car safely through New York City traffic—says that the key to her longevity and ability is ‘movement.’ “Keep going, stay in motion,” she says with confidence and vigor.
Through the years I have taken her advice to heart. Movement for me is walking; walking around my neighborhood, walking through the woods and across mountain ranges. When I was thirteen, while other kids were experimenting with drugs and the opposite sex, I was walking off my adolescence with a backpack and a camera. On the occasion of my 40th year, I moved through a mounting mid-life crisis by walking six months, and more than two thousand miles on the Appalachian Trail. Last year, at 57 years old, I made peace with my older self on the ancient pilgrim route, the Road to Santiago (Camino de Santiago). There I gained renewed inspiration for life, literally reinventing myself as I slowly moved the 800 kilometers across the Pyrenees Mountains and northwestern Spain to the sea.
Walking affords time to think and to ponder. Walking also allows the body the opportunity to process ‘thinking’ and to change your mind, much like one foot in front of the other eventually shifts the outer landscape view. Walking is more than an act; it is a metaphor for the life path that we all are traversing. Walking can be as gentle or as rigorous as our mood or physical inclination allows. It is as personal as our own hearts beating, and yet can be shared with others for a moment, or for many miles.
The 'Camino de Beara' is a rich opportunity for us to gather together as ‘pilgrims’ on our own personal journey towards inner understanding and letting go. We come together to share the immense gift of life and offer one another our own courage, strength and hope as we endeavor to let go of the personal stories and conditions that keep us from consistently walking through life with confidence and joy. On this journey we will walk through many landscapes together, from the brilliant seascapes along the Beara Way to the inner magnificent passageways of our own humanness. There we will meet and share the gifts of life and living that we will take with us forever on our individual walks ‘back home.’
Life is indeed short; making positive commitments to ourselves shifts our sense of life and opens us up to new and exciting vistas we might never have thought possible before. I am looking forward to traversing those places with you all. As my Mom says, “keep going’ the Beara Way awaits us, see you there!
John Carlson 2016