Our first days walk on the camino took us to Portomarin, a small, rural village that was rebuilt on the hill above the River Minos in 1949 because the building of a dam had forced the original village site under water. Only two buildings from the original village were saved … two small cathedrals … the rest of the, what was ancient village is gone. Upon entering the village, Andrew and I both felt a sort of depressed energy here. Can you imagine being forced out of your home, the place of your lineage for hundreds and hundreds of years? We imagined that we could still see lines of angst and disappointment etched in the faces of the elders we saw who had lived through it! But here we were, scheduled to be here for not just one, but TWO nights! Upon setting our itinerary with Alex, our guide … I had asked to be given an extra day of rest early in our walk since I did not know what shape we might be in from the combination of after effects from flying and a long day of walking. But I certainly would not have chosen this place of poverty and what appeared to be abject misery! ¨Why here?¨ I found myself demanding.
Such thoughts dropped my frequency significantly. Arguing with myself for attaching to these thoughts did not help the situation either…. my mood was steadily on the decline by the time we sat down for dinner in the restaurant of the hotel where we were staying. It didn't help that the menu was seriously limited when it came to serving a vegetarian like myself … ¨This is not looking good¨, I thought.
“Ok,” I reasoned, “I know the world is a mirror … therefore there MUST be a purpose for landing here… but WHAT IS IT?” Where is the grace of surrender when I need it? I was struggling with acceptance, not trusting that there was a plan … . How soon my resolve to accept and surrender weakens under duress, eh?
Earlier, in an attempt to adjust my frequency, I'd envisioned sitting down at dinner and meeting someone who spoke English who would be able to enlighten us with a good reason for being here; perhaps provide a plan for a productive way to spend our two days in Portomarin. (BTW, my feelings about Portomarin were not helped by the fact that on the flight to Spain I'd read in another man's Camino account of his experience with Portomarin … I believe his words went something like, ¨When I left that place, I gladly stamped its grit from my feet with the idea that I would never have to return there again!¨)
Well… indeed, a German fellow sat down at the table to my left who spoke beautiful English! “Ah, I thought, this could be good!” … and so I eagerly opened up a conversation with him. Turns out he was barely recovering from three days of illness, was sick to death of traveling and altogether negative about the whole deal! Talk about a mirrror image of my own internal state!! There I sat, unhappy and reeking with resistance to life. I would have laughed except it did not feel that funny in the moment!
After he left, I spoke my resistant thoughts out loud to Andrew … not in a whiney way, (I hope, anyway), but matter-of-factly expressing the difficulty I was having in accepting being where we were in the moment. Owning it outloud without blaming or judging myself for being where I was helped immediately. I felt my frequency increase …. Andrew supported me in deciding to accept and trust Reality in this matter. We mutually voiced the idea that there must be something that had drawn us to this place … all we need do is anticipate its disclosure. We didn't have to wait long!
After dinner, I headed up to our room to call and talk with our trip guide, Alex to inquire about his recommendations for something within a short distance that we might go see on the morrow. While I was doing that Andrew decided that he would stroll around the square and explore possibilities.
My call to Alex was most productive. I hung up from my brief exchange with him excited. He informed me that Lugo was within an hour by autobus and definitely worth seeing. What excited me about it was that Andrew had mentioned a couple of days before his desire to see Lugo, having found it online while googling ancient sites in Spain before he left the states. He had been intrigued about the wall around the old city, built by the Romans in third century and still standing in good shape today. So I couldn't wait to find him and tell him the good news! (We did go to Lugo where we spent a wonderful day exploring the beautiful Cathedral there, shopping and seeing the other sites Lugo had to offer)
I found Andrew sitting in the main square conversing with a man who had caught my eye upon leaving the hotel restaurant earlier. I smiled as I approached, remembering that when I´d seen this man earlier I'd appreciated what appeared to be an honest open-ness in his face and felt that I might enjoy talking with him. ¨Well, of course, Andrew would be chatting with him!¨, was my thought upon approaching. ¨Looks like our stay in Portomarin is taking shape quite nicely.¨
His name turned out to be Alejandro. Born and raised in Madrid, he'd spent one year in the states in Minnesota and so spoke quite adequate English. He was frank from our first moments spent together.
¨I threw a few things in a bag and arrived yesterday to walk the camino,¨ he said, ¨because my life is a mess.¨ ¨I am alone and unhappy … ¨his words did not seem to come as much from an addiction to victim mentality, as from simply sharing his truth.¨ It became obvious shortly that this 34 year old young man was absolutely committed to seeking relief. Over the course of the evening, it further became evident that Alejandro had a beautiful capacity for being honest with himself. Perhaps his defenses were down from years of believing a story he had bought from his father about himself as being a ¨loser who would never amount to anything¨, but for whatever reason this man was hungry for everything that poured through us as we shared hope and Reality with him. We shared with him on a level that I most often reserve for work in session with clients. He appeared hungry for truth and seemed to absorb quickly, with little resistance, so that by the end of the evening, we all three agreed that we had come to Portomarin for the express purpose of meeting and sharing together. As if to reinforce and validate that thought, when we said good night we discovered that, not only were we in the same hotel but his room was the one right next to ours! The Universe did everything it could to insure that we would find each other!
What wonderful lessons I am learning about surrender and trust! As Andrew and I were processing our evening with Alejandro this morning, the following teaching came through….
Portomarin was the natural place for an encounter such as the one we had because it, like Alexandro, was in need of a frequency boost. The village is full of people who are depressed and suffering from displacement and ¨lack of a mission¨(Alejandro´s complaint exactly). When one person´s frequency is altered favorably, in this case, Alejandro´s) then it affects the whole, of course, because we are all connected. (actually we are one and the same). We were brought to Portomarin as willing volunteers in order to aid in the healing of a place sorely in need … not because we are ¨special¨, but because we are willing. When there is a consious understanding that we can be a ¨watering can¨ for Source – that what we all are are simply containers for the use of the One Reality, which is the Water that pours through us whenever we align and allow it, than we become truly useful for the healing work for the planet. (I often tell studentsl that we are all simply ¨essence in a bucket¨:) Alejandro, unbeknownst to himself, had ¨volunteered¨to be the recipient for this village-in-need so that the frequency of every single person there could be “upped” – not to some uniform ¨high¨, simply an incremental adjustment is made to wherever they are.
Later it came to me, that this happening in Portomarin had served us in another, very intimate, way. It had provided a gateway for Andrew and me by giving us the opportunity, early in our walk, to open dialogue about Truth and Spiritual authenticity. Alejandro's frank self disclosure set the stage for that sort of continued dialogue between us. Through our sharing with him, we had been given the chance to hear each other speak from the heart about what we each believed and about what our own guiding principles are. We discovered a compatibility of belief that set the tone for the rest of our walk together. We were to have several talks based in the sort of honest disclosure and intimacy that Alejandro had modeled. Thank you Alejandro! Thank you Universe for bringing us to Portomarin where we spent two wonderful days!
I have so much more to say but my euros run short (I have to keep putting coins in the slot in order to stay online) and so I must close for now.