The directional heart and soul of the Camino is the yellow arrow. These little beauties are painted, carved, sculpted, and etched on every possible surface. As I recall, the smallest was a one-inch hat pin and the largest was a stand-alone sculpture exceeding ten feet. The morning darkness did a fine job of hiding the markers. While confident of being on the right path, I was always reassured when my headlamp connected with the golden arrow.
As I walked The Way, I learned to follow the physical arrows and signs as well as the directions of my head and heart. Just as there are signs everywhere on the Camino, there are signs everywhere in life, pointing the way forward. I believe the main reason we miss life’s signs is we are not open to seeing them or too busy to notice. Once we start to see them, as I finally did after the death of my father from alcoholism, the ultimate key to success is having a confident inner faith to trust and obey the direction.
I remain amazed that I could walk nearly 500 miles with total trust and faith in little and big yellow arrows that were placed by the good people who volunteer time to mark and maintain the trail. I lost the Camino just two times in 28 days. I am equally astonished at how quickly my heart notified my brain that this was the wrong road. Throughout my life the signs have always been present, but their brightness was dulled by the day-to-day routines that consume our lives.
Signs and faith in signs were very important throughout my journey. Walking nearly 500 miles through a foreign land without a map, dependent on little yellow arrows, can wrack anyone’s nerves. By letting go of the worry and placing trust in the arrows, I became confident that I would eventually arrive in Santiago. No need to question or overthink these little arrows. In the busy world of today, there are signs everywhere that will lead us down a path of contentment. Feeling trapped is a sign of a wrong job. Fatigue is a sign of energy being used to resist a true calling. Suppressing intuition is a major indicator that the path forward is the wrong route! Be open to the signs, listen to your heart, and act on the message. If you are in the wrong job, wrong relationship, or wrong country, there is probably a big neon sign begging you for change. Listen and change. There are an equivalent number of neon markers that point to a positive path. While going through life, pay attention to these affirming signs and keep marching forward with passion and enthusiasm.
Last Monday, I found myself as the guest speaker at the LLOM (Lovely Ladies of Marsing) bookclub. I was surrounded by six lovely women, in a gorgeous home on the Snake River, eating divine food, and talking about the Camino. Every sign tells me I am on the right path!