Untraveling: the inner journey we make as we travel, where with each physical step we tread through our past unraveling stories and these stories create the threads or beliefs, that are woven together into the fabric of our lives.
Through the pain and challenge of walking long distances we afford ourselves time for reflection to tease away loose threads, to pull apart knots, and have the opportunity to weave again these threads that will help us with new threads, new stories and beliefs, into a life that suits us and gives us purpose and joy.
The Great Unraveling
For me, the great un[t]raveling has begun before the big walk has even started. The journey first begins in our mind before it becomes a physical expression.
Traveling and especially walking long distances are powerful tools to help us create great change in our lives. Often when we stand still it is difficult to make change in our lives. Our energy needs to shift. I have been standing still for so long in my life and realised I needed to move.
Growth and Renewal Through Challenge
Often physically challenging activity sustained over a period of time like long distance walking can help trigger a mental shift in our lives. This article explores start of my great unraveling of forty six years of living before my big walk has even begun. It teaches me to travel ‘light’ and that baggage can become a burden to carry around.
I was going to call this article ‘How to Un[t]travel Yourself. The reason is that long and challenging journeys give us the space to unravel our thoughts, the stories we weave into a fine piece of clothing. It allows us to pick at particularly painful knots in our past. The act of walking gives us the opportunity to tread over past territory and pull apart the stories that have kept us frozen.
Exploring the back alleys of our mind we may discover thoughts and stories we may have long forgotten about. Memories may surface and we may gain insights to help us forge new paths forward.
The Battle of Mind & Body
I woke up in the early hours of this morning in a sweat from a bad dream. My body was hot but I didn’t have a fever. My throat was sore and I had the beginnings of a cold developing. Not good timing. With the big walk starting tomorrow my mind was in sabotage mode. The body through heat was releasing. It was healing. This is a battle between the mind and body no doubt I don’t think I have seen the last of this battle.
My sore throat was letting me know that there were words I was holding onto that needed to be released. That I needed to have a good look at how I was communicating and if it was serving my growth or hindering it.
Yesterday I went on a twenty kilometre ‘training’ walk visiting places throughout London and I also met two fellow walkers for the first time. I haven’t done nowhere near enough training with only two weeks worth of walking prior to leaving Australia. In the last week I had trained too hard and had to stop for severe pain in my legs. My mind was telling me that I was not ready, that I was not fit enough, that I was not good enough, not worthy to be undertaking this journey.
Dreams Speak To Us
I believe our past and future events are all our own projections that are there to teach us about ourselves. In the dream I had I am about to be violently interrogated and blamed for what was in essence agreeing with strong-willed highly opinionated people rather than voice my opinion and cause conflict. I woke up from the dream realising that the dream was me questioning my integrity and self-worth. It was about me backing down from conflict at my own expense.
Your Mind Creates Your Reality
For a period of about seven years I suffered intense bullying in the workplace.
Unfortunately I was self-employed and couldn’t find a way to stop it. I didn’t know how to legally deal with the situation that got worse spreading like a virus for many years through a large institution. I felt powerless at the time not knowing how to do something about the situation. I felt there wasn’t any assistance for self-employed business owners and feel that there is a gap that causes many self-employed to be at risk of mental disease. It greatly affected my income and my self-worth.
I had created these situations simply from the fact that my lack of self-confidence was picked up by those who could sense it.
The sore throat was reminding me to communicate my truth regardless of other people’s opinions and their own stuff.
One more full day before the walk tomorrow. My body is letting me know that the mind is kicking and fighting against change. The unravelling has begun.
Today is about recognising where my mind is and nurturing myself. The dream brought up threads from the past. The great unraveling of my life has begun in ernest.
With each step along the journey it is important to let go of excess baggage including heavy clothing. What we are left with are the essentials. The essence of who we are.
Fellow All The Wayers
I thought yesterday that I hadn’t gained any learnings. But there was and some of those learnings were to come from fellow travelers. I met up with two fellow ‘all the wayers’ doing the whole walk to Jerusalem. Incredible women. There was a comraderie right from the beginning.
They are experienced travelers. Cressey had recently completed the 550 km Peace Walk in Europe. She had also done the Camino to Santiago de Compostella numerous times. She had packed lightly to the point that she is carrying everything she has. I need a lot of unpacking over the journey to get to that level of lightness.
Judith, had just completed recently Hardians Walk, and last year also did the Peace Walk amongst many trekking adventures. She has packed with a little more ‘baggage’ but a lot less than me.
The Emperor’s New Clothes
I definitely have the most baggage to unpack and unravel along the way. I realised this in another way yesterday as we enjoyed our first dinner together in an Indian and Bangladeshi restaurant in Brick Lane.
I commented to Cressy about how well dressed Londoners in the business district are. Handsome successful men with their tailor made smart fitted navy suits and haircuts to match. You see them gathered for drinks in local pubs after work – a sea of neat as a pin navy.
This thought possibly came from earlier in the day visiting the Victoria and Albert Museum and seeing the most exquisite finely tailored clothing that courtiers once wore.
I made a joke about how inferior I felt dressed in my travel gear and unkempt wind tossed hair and facial growth.
Cressey then said “You have nothing to feel inferior about. Who is the one that has the freedom to take six months off to go on a walk. To this Judith added, “Anyway, they look so restrictive in their suits, they cant be too comfortable ‘looking good’ all the time.”
What Life Are You Weaving Behind?
What stories have you woven together to create the life you are living? Is it possible that maybe some of your stories are no longer well suited?
Have you woven yourself into a life that you never imagined for yourself?
Do you yearn for a different life?
What loose threads can you begin to pick at and unravel?
If your current life doesn’t suit you then begin to create one that does suit.
Long distance walking can provide a slow cathartic lightning of the past. With too much baggage we tire quickly. Holding onto stuff impedes your progress. One slows down under the weight of the stories we weave and they slowly suffocate the life out of us.
Often we tailor our lives into ‘straight jackets’.
Staying on the ‘straight and narrow’, conforming to society keeps us confined and cloistered. Walking can help us to unravel those threads to create a life that is well fitted.
Go With The Flow
Walking is about flow. About getting into a rhythm. To get into a rhythm takes putting one step in front of the other. After many miles of walking you discover pains in muscles you never had issues before with. With each step is an opportunity to walk over familiar painful territory and make the decision to unravel them and find your true essence.
There are moments when we will walk together and long stretches when we walk alone. The majority will be spent alone, unraveling myself. At the end of the day over a hot meal and painful muscles is time for sharing our experiences.
Walking for many kilometres through our past daily can be painful. And at the end of a ‘big day’ our muscles ache after reliving the past and the stories we weaved for the very last time before letting them go. Our painful muscle fibres can be ‘relieved’ by a deep massage. We can knead out these stubborn knots. Untease those stubborn muscle pains and be gone with them.
So as I lay here in bed at what now is almost three o’clock in the morning I remind myself to be gentle. To ‘untravel’ myself lightly and gently. To now go back to sleep. To nurture myself.
There will be stretches along the journey where I will really push myself covering a lot of territory. My muscles will burn and cramp up and it will test my resolve to walk beyond my threshold of pain. These times can be very intense and I need to remember to stretch regularly. Stretching will give space for muscles to grow and prevent cramps (pain from the past) from keeping us bound.
I am also reminded to unravel slowly through this great adventure that lays ahead. To slowly unpack forty six years of stories. To slowly unravel as I tread over the past to not jeopardise my walk. Some of the stories that I have woven will take a little longer to unpick and loosen the knots. Patience has never been my strong point. I haven’t the patience with fiddly minutea – this journey will teach me this.
By allowing time today to slow down I can unwind – unwind the tightly woven thread to allow new thoughts and ideas to enter.
Your Bare Essentials
This is a walk to heal with every step along the journey. To tread lightly and with kindness on the past. To be gentle knowing that every incident and situation I had created was for my evolution.
My life has come to this point to remind me what I have often forgotten: I, just like everyone of us are incredible.
That we have the power to create through thought the impossible. That dreams are only hampered by our belief systems. When we clear up the baggage we can fly.
Finding Our Legs and Discovering Our Wings
This whole trip has been a massive leap of faith. I have thrown myself off the cliff. I am free-falling.
As I find my feet on this journey and let go of heaviness, I will find my wings and fly.
My dream that woke me up in the early hours of the morning and the sore throat were to remind me to speak my truth. To not be like the subjects in the Hans Christian Andersen’s story, The Emperor’s New Clothes, whom seeing their naked king do not tell him that he isn’t wearing splendid new clothes. It Is better to be the child who cries out, “But he isn’t wearing anything at all!”, then live an inauthentic life.
Training On The Job
Today, decided not to do anymore ‘training’. I may have not physically trained enough, but I need to nurture myself today. I will have plenty of time to train on the job in the months ahead.
Realising and Releasing
It only just realised as I am about to close my eyes and go back to sleep that the dream and feeling ill is the mind and body’s way of letting us know it is realeasing the past and healing us.
I have signed up for this journey. Before the walk has even begun I have been given another insight and gift.
I spent a quiet day to allow my body to purge the flu-like symptoms. I wrapped myself up in warm layers of clothing and laid in bed. In the afternoon I fell into the first deep sleep I have had in days.
I had a Messenger conversation prior to going to sleep with Margaret Hunt, my friend, life coach and spiritual mentor, and I dare say she has opened up a door for me. Thank you Margaret. She is pioneering a technique called ‘Dreamscaping’ to help individuals reach their potential and I think she had been practising on me while I slept : )
I woke up from a particularly unusual dream. I dreamed of a big white glowing flowing almost ethereal slug coming out of my knee.
I looked up the metaphysical meaning of these creatures. I was given a beautiful symbolic spiritual meaning that the doors are opening, I am healing, that I am on the right path and protected. The universe provides…