One of the main themes in my book, The Chocolate Pilgrim, is “You Can Choose”.
While I was walking the Camino de Santiago I started to really notice where I was directing my attention, and what the effects of this were. If I focused on what was annoying me, I would create stories that justified my irritation and the negativity within me grew. On the other hand, my outlook shifted when I focused on the beauty around me. I was able to express gratitude for being on the walk. Every choice I made affected how I felt about myself on the journey, the quality of my relationships, and how much I enjoyed walking each day. This practice of deep noticing allowed me to shift my daily experience from almost constant irritation to greater contentment and appreciation.
Writing about my experience opened up new depths of paying attention to my inner world, more options for choice and growth. And now, having published my book and shared my story with the world, new opportunities are showing up for me to work with the lesson of “You Can Choose.”
If you’ve read my book, you may remember that I experienced a period of deep depression approximately ten years ago. Choices I made then were to isolate myself, withdraw from relationships and – for a period of time – stop speaking at all. I’m still not sure what prompted me to shift out of depression and I hoped I’d never have to revisit that dark mind-state again.
Lately I’ve been surprised to feel the return of that dark mind-state AND this time I am making different choices. So I’m celebrating my ability to choose and honoring the steps I’m taking, aligning with the people and the practices that nourish me:
– Creating a trusted circle of support, letting certain individuals know that I’m in an emotionally difficult place.
– Attending a yoga class at least once a week.
– Walking in nature, non-strenuous outings to places I love.
– Writing about my experience, what I’m feeling, what I’m noticing.
– Drawing three Tarot cards a day for guidance.
I’ve reached out for help and guidance to navigate this next part of my journey. Following the recommendation of one of my teachers, I’ve made a deeper commitment to my meditation practice. One hour a day of loving kindness meditation at a minimum. It’s no longer enough to attend retreats and spend a few minutes a day in silence. This is a time for me to stay awake to what is arising in the moment, being present to my fear, anger, grief, and whatever else might be arising.
Another level of healing is possible, as I revisit my earliest experiences of arriving on the planet, into an environment that provided little safety and the minimum of nurturing. In comparison to those early years, I feel safe with other human beings, not just trees or non-human forms. Recognizing this helps me to remember I am not the same Marie I was ten years ago. Perhaps what I’m experiencing now will help me to discover new insights to share, that can support others who are also on challenging journeys.
I am committed to staying awake and alive to my experience. I’ll report on what I’m learning and the steps I’m taking along the way. This is another form of my Camino, my pilgrimage in daily life.
I choose life, I choose love.
If you would like to learn more about my book and related events or about my writing programs, please go to my website, www.mariemaccagno.com/contact.