The only way to widen our threshold of tolerance is to dance at its edges, explore uncomfortable places, and stay present. When we risk the unfamiliar, our resilience grows and we become more capable of living life.
Christine Valters Paintner, The Soul of a Pilgrim
Walking the Camino de Santiago was like stepping over a threshold that kept moving ahead of me.
My fellow pilgrims and I danced along this advancing edge, leaving familiarity behind and embracing newness with each step.
We never dared step back over the threshold to linger in an Albergue for too long, keenly aware that doing so risked reducing us to mere guests, customers, or even tourists.
I innately understood that if I stopped moving, my pilgrimage could be over.
To reach Santiago, I chose newness over familiarity, time and time again.
This journey taught me to seek and savor each new moment, let it go, and then embrace the next.
The Camino schooled me in a unique kind of resilience. A resilience to always embrace the newness of each moment.
It taught me to resist the life-paralyzing lure of a dreamy, ideal future and the quagmire of constantly reliving my past.
Staying present with each step, and the next, and the next, I learned, by lived experience, to truly inhabit the moment.
I've allowed each step of my pilgrimage on the Camino de Santiago to become a metaphor for navigating each moment I live back home.
One simple ritual of preparing my morning coffee has evolved into a step over that magical moving threshold.
I'm noticing more and more how each cup tastes slightly different, reflecting the nuanced experiences I've gathered since my last cup
There was a last time, just outside of O'Pedroso, I had my last cafe-con-leche of the Camino, in a quaint little Cafe', with its owners overwhelmed by the hoard of pilgrims seeking fuel for the last few kilometer walk into Santiago.
That day was the last day I woke up in an Albergue on the Camino Frances. I have yet to return. It may well have been the last time I wake up and step over the threshold of an Albergue.
I now attempt to make everything I do or make by hand a daily reminder that there is only one constant in life as Joseph Goldstein says, "Everything changes and becomes otherwise."
When I'm making my coffee, I whisper to myself, "Every act I do by hand is a sacred act, because it may be the last time I ever get to.
This little ritual reminds me that what I learned on the Camino doesn't just apply to to pilgrimage—it's about how I can approach everything I do.
I make this acknowledgment daily, that every act in life is unique and sacred, performed only once, by who I am in that precise instant, and it very well could be my last time.
Today, I am Lance version 21.987, a reflection of how many days I have been alive.
Tomorrow, I will by my definition and calculations be someone different, Lance version 21.988.
Each moment between now and then will be 'new' to today's version of me, because I am ever-changing, ever-growing, and ever becoming otherwise.
So, as I sip anew my daily coffee with milk, I celebrate my internal pilgrimage—the Meseta within me—that vast plateau of existence where life unfolds like a moving threshold to newness, even in the quiet majesty of the mundane.
¡Viva la Meseta!