Sunday, August 31, 2003


There is nothing as powerful as truth and nothing as strange
-Daniel Webster
I started this blog in December of 2002 and now, almost nine months later, I have reached the end of my story. At first I was only going to write about my walk but then I realized what has happened since then was, in some way, part of the story too. When I started writing this I used the pseudonym La Peregrina as a way to distance myself from what I was writing. I was afraid that what I was relating would sound crazy and unbelievable. Since I questioned the reality of it myself, I was fearful that other people would question it also. That is why I did not put an image of the Compostela I received at the end of my walk in this blog; my name is on it. Now I don't mind if anyone knows my name because I realize it does not matter if anyone believes me; the fact that someone might not does not change the truth.

Now I guess I am at the part where I sum up what I learned from all of this. So, here goes- What have I learned? I have no idea, unless it is hidden somewhere in what I wrote on August 26th:

Since birth I have been on a spiritual journey. In the beginning, the path I walk had numerous trails branching out from it and I veered off to walk many of them. Most meandered along not far from the path and then turned back to meet the path again. Some I followed lead nowhere and then disappeared. After floundering in fear, lost and alone, a gentle voice in my subconscious would guide me to one of the trails back toward the path or even directly to the path itself.

As I got older there seemed to be fewer trails that lead away from the path. I'm not sure if the trails are gone or if I just no longer see them. I find that sometimes when I think I am walking on the path I am really walking a trail that parallels it. Unlike the other trails I must make a conscious effort to return to the path. Now as I walk I wonder, did I pick the spiritual path or did it pick me?

Now, as I read those paragraphs, I see it does not matter whether I picked the path or it picked me. What matters is the journey and I certainly have been on quite a journey these last couple of years. It's time to take one of those side trails that lead to a quiet shady spot and sit down and rest for a spell.
Take care.

Saturday, August 30, 2003


The most beautiful thing we experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all true art and science.
-Albert Einstein
November 2002

I've seemed to open a door I now cannot close. I'm getting that cramped feeling in my hand through out the day. Some times I find a pen and a piece of paper and let whoever is trying to contact me start writing. Most of the time the pen just draws a circle or makes long connected lines. Now I am getting scribbles and loops. A few times I get the lazy eight figure which I now see is shaped more like the symbol for infinity. Whenever I start drawing the infinity symbol I deliberately pull the pen away from the paper and then put them both away.

I can feel two different kinds of pressure on my hand now, one that squeezes to hard and one that has a lighter touch. The first one draws the infinity symbol and the second one draws the lines and scribbles. I have decided to ignore the cramped feeling if I have not initiated the communication by writing my mother a letter.

One day I write my letter and then start my mother's letter, including the phrase, "This is what I want to share with you," as usually. The pen moves across the paper making long curved lines. After the completion of each line the pressure in my hand goes away until I move the pen to a different section of the paper. Each time this happens I put the pen tip back down on the paper and watch as another line is drawn. After three lines the pressure goes away and I move the pen to the bottom of the paper and write, "I love you, Mom," finishing my mother's letter. When I am done writing these words I feel the pressure in my hand again and put the pen point back down on the paper. It starts drawing a line up the paper that stops under the words I have written on the top. The pressure disappears and I start moving the pen around over the paper and the pressure returns when I have the pen near the top of the page so I drop the point down onto the paper. This time a short line is drawn up to the words above and the pressure goes away. I pick up the pen and move it around. Near the center of the paper the pressure returns and I drop the point and watch as the pen makes a curved line that heads down to the bottom of the paper and stops at the letter "O" in the word "Mom" After this I move the pen over every section of the paper but the pressure does not return.

I have drawn three lines and it takes me a minute to see what they mean. One line stops at the word "you" in the phrase, "This is what I want to share with you." The second line point as the word "with." The third line points at the word "Mom." I have a message. It reads, "With you, Mom." I start crying. I am shocked and at the same time relieved by this message. My mother is gone but at the same time still with me. For some reason this thought makes me miss her even more. I cry for a long time.

Although I try to contact my mother the rest of the month, nothing happens. I think this is because (even though I want to contact her) I am afraid. Since this fear is stronger that the part of me that wants to talk to her, I am unable to relax enough to connect. Or maybe I am just trying too hard. Either way, I am going to stop writing to her for now and see if this helps.

December 2002

I feel it is time to write about my walk. I know if I don't start now I will never write about it. I have told family and friends that I would write about this experience and now feel the pressure of that promise. Right now I am trying to decide what form my writing should take. Should I write it on Works and send out copies when I am finished? No, thinking about doing it that way increases the pressure I feel. Should I write a day at a time in an e-mail like I did from the road? No, I want a copy and it's too easy to loose e-mail. Then I realize the way to do both is by writing it as a blog. This way everyone can read it if/when they want to and I will have my own copy.

After checking out all the instant blog companies I pick Blogger. Their website says that you can set up a blog quickly and easily with the added advantage of not having to know anything about HTML code. Both statements turn out to be false. If you want to change the way your blog looks or do anything beyond just typing in words you have to know code. When I set up my blog and see the edit page it has a lot of instructions that make absolutely no sense to me. My reaction when I do not understand something is to get a book and learn about the subject. I do the same now. After a little reading and walking around Blogger warily, poking it with a stick now and then to make sure it can't hurt me, I start tweaking my blog and figuring out how the whole thing works. The more I play with it the more confident I get. Finally, I reach the point where I know if I mess something up I can fix it.

Time to start writing.

Friday, August 29, 2003

Added five new blogs to my read list and lost one. Kathryn of The Hestia Chronicles has decide to close her blog down. I'm sorry to see her go. Two of the blogs I've added I had been reading through Blue Witch; Coopblog and Big N Juicy. I thought it was time to admit I read them. I've also started reading Reading & Writing and Easy Bake Coven. The last one Iraq Today, is a English language paper from Iraq that Salam Pax recommended.

Tuesday, August 26, 2003

Since birth I have been on a spiritual journey. In the beginning, the path I walk had numerous trails branching out from it and I veered off to walk many of them. Most meandered along not far from the path and then turned back to meet the path again. Some I followed lead nowhere and then disappeared. After floundering in fear, lost and alone, a gentle voice in my subconscious would guide me to one of the trails back toward the path or even directly to the path itself.

As I got older there seemed to be fewer trails that lead away from the path. I'm not sure if the trails are gone or if I just no longer see them. I find that sometimes when I think I am walking on the path I am really walking a trail that parallels it. Unlike the other trails I must make a conscious effort to return to the path. Now as I walk I wonder, did I pick the spiritual path or did it pick me?

Monday, August 25, 2003


Sometimes you have to just accept and not question
October 2002
Part Two

On October 22 I have to drive to Denver for a dental appointment. The next day I am driving home across the eastern plains of Colorado when, unknown to me, I drive into an area that had icy rain earlier that morning. The road I am driving on is a two lane highway that sits about four feet above the fields on either side of it. I am driving along at 70mph with the cruise control on and a Sarah Vaughan CD playing loudly when I drive on to black ice. I feel the car's backend start sliding toward the right. Just before the tires lost traction and the car began sliding I had been singing the lyrics of a dopey song from the early 60's that had popped into my head:

Blue, Navy Blue, I am sad as I can be,
Cause my steady boy said ship ahoy,
And joined the Na-aa-vee
Then I hit the ice.

I try to straighten the car out by gently steering to the right and the backend slides back towards center and then continues sliding to the left. I turn the steering wheel back to the left and turn off the cruise control. At the same time I whisper to myself, begging, "No, no, please, no," because I know I am going to fast to stop the skid and because I am afraid I am going to die. The second I turn off the cruise control I hear a big, "Thump!," and it feels like someone has kicked the right side of the car, which sends it into a spin. I take my hands off the steering wheel; remove my right foot from the gas petal and my left foot away from the brake, knowing there is nothing I can do to prevent what will happen next. I know at some point the car will slide over the edge of the road and then flip and start rolling. I am utterly calm. I am calm because I know I am no longer alone in the car.

Back in the early 90's I was in therapy. One day I was driving home from a session where all I talked about was my father. My father was an alcoholic. He was also unstable and suicidal. He wasn't around much during my childhood, leaving for good when I was thirteen. When I was 20 he killed himself. My first thought when I head he was dead was, "Good, he can't hurt anyone anymore, including himself."

What was bothering me that day was the fact that my father never said goodbye to me. Each time he left he went without a word. No, I'm wrong, one time he said he was going out for a pack of cigarettes and did not come back but all the other times he just disappeared. That day the more I talked about him the sadder I got. By the time I left the session I was slightly depressed. I kept thinking about it in the car and all of a sudden I realized that I had never said goodbye to him either. The thought stunned me. I whispered, "Goodbye, Daddy," and started crying. I was crying so hard I had to pull over to the side of the road and stop the car. As I sat there sobbing out my grief I suddenly felt a presence in the car. Someone was sitting next to me in the front passenger seat. I think it was my father.

Now I feel someone in this car with me and again I think it is my father. This is because of that silly song that popped into my head right before I hit the ice. My father was in the Navy during World War II and the Korean War. The Navy was a big part of his life even when he was no longer a part of it. Why else would I start singing that song?

The car does not leave the road but spins straight down the center of it. On the third spin I think, "People pay a lot of money at the amusement park to experience this." The fourth spin sends the car sliding off the road backend first and I watch in the rear view mirror as it races through the air toward a 10-foot high dirt embankment. As it is moving backward through the air it is also dropping and when it hits the ground the right front wheel catches in the dirt as the car whips around, slowing it down, until it stops about a foot away from and facing the embankment. I have been waiting for the screeching sound of metal ripping and glass imploding so the silence that now surrounds me is deafening. I sit there quietly while in my mind I bang my head against the steering wheel while screaming, "Leave me the f*** alone!" I feel like a puppy that has been lifted by the scruff on the neck and shaken soundly for not paying attention.

Whoever was in the car with me is now gone. What should I do now? The sound of CD playing blast through my head and I reach out and turn it off. I start the car and carefully drive back up onto the road. I have decided the only way to handle this is to pretend it did not happen.

The car seems to be OK but the steering wheel starts to shake when I reach 40mph so I pull over and get out of the car. As I step out I almost fall down because of the ice. By keeping my hands on the car I am able to walk around to the other side of it where I find the right front tire off the rim. I start walking back to a farm that I had passed. The only way I can do this is by carefully stepping on the rumble bars scored into the asphalt along the edge of the road. The couple in the farmhouse is very kind to me and the husband drives me back to my car and puts the spare tire on for me. I drive to the next town where they replace my damaged time and I then continue homeward.

It isn't until about a week later that the full impact of what happened hits me. I can't understand how I could have an accident like that and walk away unhurt. I should at least have a damaged car. The only reason the tire had to be replaced is because I drove on it after it was flat. I am in agony wondering why I am still alive. This bout of angst sends me back to Shirley Maclaine's website. I write about my accident and ask why I am not dead. I have a lot of replies and I am surprised by how caring people are as they try to help me as I grapple with this. In the end I decide just to let go; the same way I let go in the car when I knew there was nothing I could do. Sometimes you have to just accept and not question.

Sunday, August 24, 2003


You have to leave the city of your comfort and go into the wilderness of your intuition. What you will discover will be wonderful. What you discover will be yourself.
- Alan Alda
October 2002

Ever since my mother died I've felt like I tripped and have fallen down a long slippery slope that has no bottom. Since the end of August I have been writing to my mother as LL said my mother wants. First I write my letter to her and then I write a letter to myself from her. It begins, "Dear _____, This is what I want to share with you." Then I make small connecting circles across the page. When I get to the bottom of the paper I write, "I love you, Mom." My mother is supposed to take over the letter writing at some point as I do this and until the second week of this month nothing has happened. Then I start getting a cramped feeling in my hand each time I reach the circle making part. By the middle of the week the cramp is strong enough to be uncomfortable. Then the pen starts moving on its own. I am not consciously making the pen move, but it does.

The pen moves slowly and hesitantly as it draws a light line haphazardly across the paper. Then it starts making a large circle. I get scared and lift the pen away from the paper. The moment I do this the cramped feeling leaves my hand. I move the pen back over the paper and feel my hand cramping again. About a quarter inch above the paper the pen forcefully pulls itself onto the paper and I hear a sharp snap as the pen makes contact with the paper. As I watch I feel my skin start to crawl. What is going on? The pen makes a large circle on the paper and then traces over it several times. Then it starts making a figure eight. As it traces over the eight it starts moving faster and faster, the line becomes stronger and stronger, until there is a dark blue figure eight drawn. At this point I lift the pen off the paper because I am very frightened by this. Again the instant I pull the pen away the cramped feeling in my hand vanishes. I decide I am done with this for the day and put the pen and paper away.

Even though what has happened scares me it also fascinates me too and I try it again the next day and the day after that. Both times the pen moves on its own, my hand cramps, and I draw a figure eight. But the third time I try the figure eight is drawn lying on its side and the speed of the tracing is much faster. It is so fast I can only stare at it in amazement. The eight gets darker and darker and thicker and thicker. There is so much ink on the page the side of my hand starts to smear it across the paper and the drawing. The cramping in my hand is so strong it becomes uncomfortable. I want to keep going to see how long this will go on but I am also very afraid. I put my hand away and the cramped feeling disappears.

I sit there staring at the figure eight not sure what to think. Am I doing this unconsciously? If I am, how can I make the pen move so rapidly? I've never done it before in my live. Then I have a terrifying moment of clarity. My hand is not cramping. I remember feeling this sensation before when I was a child. It is the same feeling I had in my hand when my teacher put her hand over mine as she helped me form letters and words when I was learning to write. Only whoever is doing this now is squeezing my hand so tightly it almost hurts. Now I am really scared. Who am I in contact with, Captain Howdy? What's next? Will my head spin around 360 degrees; as I start projectile vomiting green pea soup across the room? I am so unnerved by this I decide to leave it alone for a while.

Monday, August 18, 2003

I can believe anything, provide that it is quite incredible
-Oscar Wilde
September 2002

A year ago this month I was in Spain. Maybe that is why it is on my mind all the time. I can't seem to stop thinking about it and I am sleepwalking again. My body will be walking to the post office and my mind will be walking the Camino. I am also thinking about all that has happened since I got back from my walk and I still have trouble wrapping my mind around it. Although I know that everything I have seen and heard is real, I still find all of it somewhat unbelievable and fantastic.

I do not understand why I am thinking about the Camino so much. I need to find someone else who has walked the Camino and see if they have gone through the same thing I am going through now. I decide the best place to find someone would be at Shirley Maclaine's website. So, I go there and leave a message asking if anyone has walked the Camino and, if so, how the experience affected them a year later. I do not find anyone but I do have people asking me what it was like. At first I am hesitant to answer because I still do not remember much. In fact, when I read through the notes I wrote during my walk, most of it does not mean anything to me. I do write about what I can remember and find if someone ask me a direct question I can remember more than I thought. The act of writing seems to open closed doors in my mind.

Each time I visit the website I only spend a short amount of time because I do not feel safe. I think this is because I do not really want to talk about anything that happened because I am afraid of what people will think. Will they believe me? Will they think I am crazy? The feeling that writing about it dangerous gets so strong; I start thinking that people at the website are talking about me behind my back. I can't believe how paranoid I am getting about this. Then something happens that makes me think I was right to be afraid. I start a back and forth dialogue with two people and write about some of the stranger things that have happened and , on two different days, each one tells me that they are not going to be able to answer my messages anymore because they are going away for awhile. It isn't until two days later that I realize I had been given a polite brush-off. I feel like a fool. They don't believe me. Then I get angry. How can they not believe me? They are at Shirley Maclaine's website, she has said things that sound unbelievable too. The irony of this makes me laugh. I decide not to go back. I don't need these people judging me.