On the Camino de Santiago, I was very fortunate to have so many people crossing my path on a daily basis. My fellow pilgrims came in every size, age, color, and shape from all corners of the globe. My new journey is sharing this experience with as many people as possible. During the last 12 months, over 5,000 people have seen me speak at over 100 events. In my wildest dreams I never expected any on this to be part of my daily life. I could not have scripted a more fulfilling adventure.
While taking A Million Steps on the Camino, I had ample time to reflect on worry. The following is a passage from the book:
I am letting go of worry. Chronic worrying is detrimental to happiness. It is impossible to be happy and to worry at the same time. It is like trying to view a sunset with pirate patches covering both eyes. A friend sent me a simple poem about worry from an unknown author that sums up my newfound attitude:
For every problem under the sun
There is a solution or there is none
If there’s a solution go and find it
It there isn’t never mind it
For many years, people had extolled the virtues of deleting worry from my life. This was easy to say, but difficult to implement. During my million steps of reflection on the Camino, I spent some quality time focusing on the significant portion of my life that had been completely wasted on worrying about things outside of my control. The only thing we ultimately control is our reaction to events in our lives. I am spending much more time aligning myself with what is happening as opposed to trying to control what will or will not occur.
About six months ago, a woman approached me after a speech and invited me to her house for dinner. Moments like that really make me feel like I am still on the trail. It turns out that her husband does some volunteer work with my mom, so we made it a family affair. It was a delightful meal and a great evening. I had the opportunity to reciprocate last week. The four of us dined on my patio by the creek. The chocolate mousse pie was the bomb. We had some intense conversations about religion, spirituality, and worry.
I reiterated my stance on worry and was quickly reminded that it is great in theory but hard to incorporate into daily life. I asked my guest to give me an example of a worry that keeps her up at night. She told me about an upcoming trip and her concern about being able to make her flight connections. I made the point that worrying about a future event just robs time from present moment. I also suggested that if she did miss the flight, it may be an opportunity to explore the airport, meet a new friend, or just chill. Somehow she really connected the dots and had an epiphany that most events in life are just chapters in our never ending journey. We all walk a unique Camino every day!
A few days later, I noticed a strange incoming number on my cell phone. It was my new friend calling from the airport. Her flights were a complete disaster and her cross-country arrival was likely to be delayed by seven hours. She said, “I had to call you. I am sipping a double whipped latte in a chair by a window. The sunshine could not be better and I am reading a great book. Just wanted to let you know that I am cool as a fucking cucumber.”