Lovely Rita

Walking the Camino de Santiago and writing A Million Steps has forever changed my life. Physically being in Spain provided the opportunity for people to enter and exit my life on a daily basis. The book has created another path that attracts people to intersect my world. I truly believe that people come into our lives for a reason and there is nothing random about these junctions. I love the unknown nature of meeting strangers.

On the Camino, the whole idea of saying adiós and letting go of my pilgrim companions became much easier with experience. I knew it was impossible for me to “hang onto” all of the people I met along the way. A mental image of me arriving in Santiago with 10 pilgrims under each arm put a smile on my face. But during the first part of the trip, it was hard for me to say goodbye to anyone. I did not like the idea that it might be the end of our relationship. I was finding it easier to meet new people with open arms and realize that there is a beginning, middle, and end to most relationships. I was learning that it is much better to focus on the person when they are in your life. Letting go creates space for the next learning experience, but equally important, allows that person to share their lessons with others. Saying hola is an integral part of this never ending equation.

When I present, someone inevitably invites me out for coffee. My daily inbox usually has a few electronic connections from strangers. One of my favorites is when people pick up the phone and call me. Last week, Ma Bell put me in touch with Lovely Rita Rodriguez. After buying my book, Rita ran into my mom at a social event. It turns our they have known each other for over 40 years.

On Friday, we met at Janjou Patisserie, an artisan boutique bakery, for java and scrumptious pastries. She ordered the cinnamon swirl with a tall Americano and I chose a latte and the milky way; a rich creamy dark chocolate surrounded by salty caramel on top of a buttery chocolate cookie crust. Yes, I gave her a bite. I towered 18 inches above her grey locks and she proceeds me in age by 32 years. One of our first conversations was about the beauty of trans-generational friendships.

Rita wrote The Blue Doorknob. The novel shares a great history of Boise, Idaho and is told through the lens of a trans-generational friendship between Rita and a local artist named Cornelia Farrer. It took Mrs. Rodriguez 22 years to create and publish their story.

The next few hours covered many topics. I mentioned my new affinity towards hot yoga and she responded that cold yoga is a daily part of her life. She had a photo album loaded with images from her travels through Galicia in Spain. The last portion of the Camino crossed through this region. She proudly told me about her son Thomas and his booming music career in New York. Her passion and enthusiasm for life was contagious. I would be willing to take a straight up bet that Rita ventures back to Spain and walks a portion of the Camino. I am already envious of the many lives she will enhance as she spreads her story to strangers in Spain.

I cannot imagine a better way to spend and afternoon……..

On another note, I am honored to be published in OMTimes. Please read the story here: The Power of Walking One Million Steps