After my Camino presentations, people often ask if there was a specific moment where the world stopped spinning, the magic sesame opens, and all of my problems were solved. That scene only occurs in fairy tales.
So often in life, people trudge through the day to day motions with the fantasy of a future moment that will connect all the dots and create nirvana. In middle school, I knew that life would be better when I had a car. In high school, I thought my love life would improve in college. After the university, my dreams would surely be met with a nice paying job. This thought process can infect a person to a point where living becomes nothing more than a let down because the expectation of the “down the road” event is never met. Instead, it is replaced with another unrealistic moment at a distant date.
The common theme is that life will be better after graduation, after the wedding, when the child is born, after the promotion, when the kids leave the house, and finally in retirement. The carrot is never devoured because the length and location of the pole never changes. Always out of reach.
I had no Eureka moments on the Camino. At kilometer marker 348.6, I uncovered no little vault with all the answers to life. Instead, I experienced a series of meaningful and small insights. Each day brought joy and happiness from unexpected events and random encounters with strangers. Getting the bottom bunk at the hostel became a satisfying occurrence. Finding a fresh apple in a village store made me smile. Snapping a shot of a beautiful sunrise charmed my soul. Providing a bandage to a pilgrim satiated my heart. Five minutes on my ass and rubbing my feet became heaven.
With a clear mind and a focus on the moment, sights and sounds were amplified. Walking through the villages was like spending time in an art gallery. A subconscious glacial shift change was occurring in my head and heart. There was no need to tie happiness to the future because it was happening now.
Grasp and thrive in the current moments. Don’t rent them out to a future point in time.