Fatima was inspirational and mass and special services for the pilgrims affected all of us in all different ways. 10 pm everyone gathered with candles and there was a procession through the town. The singing was amazing and could be heard all over. Some people connected to their own spiritual beliefs; others were emotionally triggered from childhood experiences that had affected them deeply. The whole experience made me feel as if I were living in another world and another time and space.
In Alcobaca I was deeply affected by the love story between Pedro and Inez. After Pedro’s wife died in childbirth, he fell in love with a lady in waiting named Inez. His father, the king, would not allow them to get married but they were together anyway and had 3 children. One day when Pedro went hunting his father had Inez killed and the children were sent to live with her family in Spain. 6 yrs later after the king died and Pedro became king, he had Inez’s body exhumed, dressed in the clothes of a queen and had a coronation ceremony where she was crowned queen. He built a large tomb for her and himself where she was buried and he was later buried.
Yesterday was our first walking day and after 11 miles my feet were very sore but I felt a great sense of accomplishment. Before eating and showering the group sat together and talked about the day. Contrary to last year on the Camino across northern Spain where there were many people walking, we were the only pilgrims we saw on their way to Santiago de Compostela. Some of the journey was through the countryside and some through city areas. The city areas were hard to navigate at times due to traffic and the scarcity of the small yellow arrows painted infrequently on poles or concrete embankments. However we made it from Grijio to Oporto and at last our hotel. This morning my body is achy and sore.
While all of this is very interesting just as interesting is the other reason we are visiting this area. The focus is personal growth and to look at ourselves and let go of that which doesn’t serve us and develop behaviors that are more in line with who we truly are when we are in our highest self. For me today it was about tolerance and acceptance and surrender. Everyone has their own pace and their own needs as they walk.There is no one way to do this journey. Everyone has a voice and a need to express it. Too many leaders only cause confusion. Choose your leader wisely and them trust them to lead you. When you are with a large group it is important to move your ego out of the way for the greater need of the group. Trust that your needs will be met and that you will get what you need.