“Walk slow and walk like you’ll never be back again."
Loni Bergqvist, as stated by an elder on El Camino
I do not personally know Loni, but I felt her fellow pilgrim spirit as she shared her story recently. She walked the Camino in 2013 and I walked in 2017. As do many, she was walking at a fast clip toward her destination, Santiago, and her feet were “rotting away, filling with blisters, cuts, and deep pain.” She sat on the side of the road and wept. Along came an elder gentleman walking with a cane. As he stopped to inquire on her state of being, he stated that he has walked the Camino 6 times. His sage advice was, “Walk slow and walk like you’ll never be back again.” She did and she healed.
This story brought forth the memory of a visitation from my dad seven days after his death on December 2, 2003 and recorded in my journal.
I am driving a car and dad is in the passenger seat. I am maneuvering through a winding, precarious maze. I look over at Dad as he looks deep into my eyes. He says gently, “You can slow down, take your time.” I smile and feel comforted. I awake and sit bolt upright. The dream was a visitation. Dad is a wisdom guide. I can go slowly. I have always felt a need to rush through my life like I am being chased. Thank you, Dad.
In these days, which have been termed a polycrisis, we are reminded to slow down, to assess where we are in our own individual life, and how we are connected to this web of all life. To gaze deep into our own eyes and say, “Walk slow and walk like you’ll never be back again.” While we are steeped deeply in a grieving world, now is precious time for all of us to assess, take advantage of this imposed slowing down on a global level, and be fully in this time, a time that may not be here in the same way again.
What do we want in our individual life of relationships, work, creativity, and our penetrating connection to the plant and animal world within which we live? Are we allowing that which is outdated within us to die off while giving ourselves space and support for opening to new ideas and new ways of being? We won’t know what the outcome will be in any of our inner or outer work and that is the treasure, allowing growth from these seeds we plant today as we attend, bring attention to, and create conscious intention in the process.