DAY FORTY EIGHT: 25 November 2012 Muxia to Santiago de CompostelaI was sitting on an escarpment in Swaziland in August 2012 when I first saw this pilgrimage; a trail laid out across scrubby, foreign land, a long, long walk leading all the way, I imagined, to the sea and a sailor in a pea green boat. Over the subsequent months I had followed the clues to arrive in Galacia and I am now curious about this rocky shore the end of the walk. What would the reality of the metaphor be? Could my sailor be Miel the policemen from San Sebastian in his high tech fluoro green walking jacket or is it the soul of Ireland on the distant horizon or perhaps something else all together? What colour is pea green anyway?
I had dinner with Tobias from Denmark after the Marea documentary in Restaurent de La Lolo. This was the classiest restaurant with a pilgrim menu so far. Sleek, modern ecletic style more suited to hot Summer days than chilly winter but the heating was on and the staff were pleasant. The 3 course menu proved to be pleasantly different from the usual pilgrim fare and the wine seemed extra special too. If we weren’t in pilgrim attire we could have been mistaken as a couple; me the cougar and Tobias my toyboy. Tobias is polite, good company, has great manners and a Colgate smile. He has a face that will only grow more handsome as he shape shifts into his life whatever that may be.
Miel is Tigger in the morning, eager for breakfast and company but my preference, Restaurent de La Lolo of the night before, doesnt sit well with him. I hold my ground and have breakfast to my delight on my own. I am assimilating this trip. I want to savour the last drops of it dripping slowly and honour it’s closure. A short walk from the town is the headland where the Virgin Mary came to assure Saint James that his mission to convert the population of Fisterra from their pagan worship of the sun had been a success. I have no intention of being blasphemous but my guess is that Mary was a mistress of metaphor while poor old James was getting all bogged down in the logical reality. A bit like me and my sailor in his pea green boat.
Mary’s boat is said to be still here, petrified on the headland below the imposing coastal-Gothic style church of Our Lady of The Boat. I was curious to see it. Sure enough there are are three huge stones one of which definitely looks like the upturned hull of the boat and another has a look of a sail. The third stone, supposedly the rudder is a little less convincing.
I suppose it is no surprise that my original curiosity to follow the Camino to the sea was spurred by an imaginary sailor man. Muxia and Fisterra are fishing ports after all and where there be working boats, there be pleasure yachts and handsome sailors. Over lunch of whole baby squid, slathered in butter I muse the symbolic currency of this stone boat with the romantic talisman of my imagination. At the day’s end the boat I left on was a modern day coach, a behemoth of a vehicle muscling its way through the narrow arteries of Galacia’s rural rocky roads back to Santiago de Compostela. And my companion? Miel in green, both of us passengers back to life.
I am conscious of a seething unhappiness which drives me to work out what is wrong with my world. It has been there for weeks, no – for a lifetime. Like the high pitch static of tinnitus it can be cloaked by the noise of life’s traffic but in the spaces in between it lurks, a superating wound.
As I have chosen to extricate myself from the routine of employment and material stuff over the past three years it has created the freedom to commit to my life; a freedom to explore the world, to rove and write, to create an iPhone app, to dive into my imagination and wield it purposefully, to prioritise connection, community and friendship and to create. There are moments of exhilaration and contentment but there are times like this when the void opens and I am disorientated, I dont know what matters anymore. And something has to matter – right? In my struggle to make something matter I realise that I am resisting the reality that nothing matters. If nothing matters what is the point? Why bother? I am shrinking from the world, disappearing into inertia, as I try to hold back my bile of discontent I become more tense, jagged and brittle. I dont know what to say only what I should say. I am glad for my friends who everywhere I turn are awesome creative machines; a conveyor belt of babies, manifesting sexy, intimate partners out of the woodwork, new homes in nature, stringing words together to make novels or simply going with the flow of their journies knowing that if nothing matters then anything can matter and what a joy that is.
But I dont feel joy. Like a worm I wriggle on the hook of my dilema; the desire to know truth and feel good at the same time. A wise man once told me that living intuitively is not about feeling good, the shock of that paradox is a scar that reminds me I cannot hide from the truth of my motivation around the choices I make. The temptation to seek the salve of a good feeling is there but as I inch my way along this tight rope of life I know that to draw sustenance from the sugar of what is in easy reach is a posion. I can try and persuade myself that any number of things from the glass of wine or a Snickers bar, to making Christmas cards and shopping for Christmas presents are harmless if not really good things to do. If I do anything purely for the relief of feeling good then I just fuel this sluggish fat grub to dawdle dangerously above the chasm of calamity. Equally it is true that even creating this as a dilema is a strategy to procastinate yet again, to stagnate and purtrify.
I struggle to see the truth of where I am, clouding it with the innate need to compare the facts with failure against the past and the future; my tangible creations are invisible in the womb of my heart, how long is this pregnancy? I am the elephant of creators – with an extra long gestation? Or am I invisible to my creations just because they are not not manifest in a material vibration? I am afraid that they will miscarry bleeding my essence into the earth, I am afraid they will manifest and condem me to thankless motherhood. I am just afraid and when I am afraid I get angry and when I get angry I get depressed.
I can only imagine I am like the surfer in post coital pause, as the wave breaks to shore carrying the rider away from the adrenaline rush of the cavorting ocean and the raggle taggle bunch of wave catchers where the action happens. I can yearn to be back out there and fret about my choice to ride this particular wave or I can just be with the ebb and the flow of being a surfer. Being in the moment that I am in, dealing with the here and now. I am no less a surfer with my back to the ocean or buffing my board than I am when I am riding the unfurling edge of a monster breaker.
I grew up in the space where the earth meets the sea in Tramore, Co. Waterford in Ireland. I love this space and am drawn to it wherever I travel. This time last year I was in California in the romantically named Half Moon Bay looking west across the Pacific Ocean, being filled to expansiveness in the space where the earth meets the sea. This is what I wrote:
Early in 2009 I was introduced to the concept of living my life intuitively and establishing goals created from my imagination. This blew my mind; intuitive choices are not SMART goals. They are often not specific, far from measurable, as to attainable, realistic & timely well I had brain freeze when my imagination advised me that I wanted to be a global warrior of discovery leading the way and connecting people through the warmth of technology. What the bleep!…..! Almost four years on I feel exactly like a global warrior of discovery. I now create choices as New Year resolutions and wait to see them manifest just by gentle consistent action to connect with each choice intuitively.
As of February 2012 I have been on the road, following the breadcrumbs to live and work a life guided by my heart. In the past 5 months I have been sailing in the San Blas Islands in Panama, collecting shells on the freezing shoreline of Satellite beach in Florida, sipping coffee overlooking the chilly surf in Ireland and today I have just walked the Half Moon Bay coastal trail in California. I dont tell you this to impress but rather to illustrate the penny dropping of a choice created intuitively. I love the space where the earth meets the sea. This choice has effortlessly being manifesting in my life almost unbeknownst to me. Lovely lyrical wording that at a logical level sounds like I love the shoreline but putting it like that underestimates my journey and the experiences I have had. I notice that I am drawn to walk along the shifting line where the sea tickles the land; I love the treasures that are found there and tell tale trail of ocean detritus that mark the segue of the tides but there is so much more.
I recollect that one of my favourite distractions in school was my geography homework. I was particularly drawn to maps and to drawing maps using a rainbow selection of coloured markers to artistically mark out where land masses and bodies of water came together. I would get lost in these creations to the detriment of less inspiring subjects such as physics or chemistry. My submissions were works of art. At the time I had no idea why I was so compelled to pour so much love into such a narrow activity. Now I make up that I had a deep knowing that there was something about that space that opens up inspiration and creates energy for me.
When I am tired or overwhelmed being by the ocean calms me, sleeping on the ocean soothes me, sailing the seas expands my mind, distracts me from the rational and steeps me in my imagination. I am always refreshed, energised and thinking expansively after a spell by the sea. I am rushed by the wild chaotic femininity of the sea and the steadfast masculine anchoredness of the land, I love the fusion of these two forces at the shoreline each bringing their own gifts together to create a space that is a child born of the two. Whether looking at a map, hunkering over a magical tide pool, drinking in the San Mateo hills, watching kite surfers dancing around the jagged tooth Maverick rocks, being tricked by warm sun & cold breezes, ear wigging on conferences of gulls or buzzed by macho pelicanos there is magic in this place. I am not alone in my fascination with this space – there is a nebulous yearning that rivets many of us to Coast, the magnificent BBC TV creation now on its eighth series, which exquisitely charts life in the space where land and sea come together.
Today I was filled to overflowing with a knowing that goes beyond understanding that where the earth meets the sea opens up doors for me that are foundational to living the fullness of the life I love. I am ready to sign off on the creation of this choice and embed it as a fundamental underlying structure in my life. No longer is visiting the sea a nice to have in my life it is a basic necessity and I am looking forward now to diving deeper into that space by creating a new choice to lead me to more discovery.