I wandered into a church today in Tui – on the Portuguese Camino, Spanish side of the border.
In a small alcove there was a statue of St. James, with his staff and his gourd – and then I noticed he was pointing to his exposed right knee, which was bleeding. And then I noticed an angel was trying to heal the knee.
So even St. James had knee issues!! And he was the ultimate “true” pilgrim!
My knee gave out on me on the second day coming down the treacherous rock-strewn hill into Zubiri. So many other pilgrims I met along The Way also had knee issues. But many others also had problems with blisters, shin soreness and tendonitis, archilles pain etc.
Okay – let’s move into the metaphysical. Louise Hay. Some of you may have heard of her. Some may not. She’s a metaphysical healer, and author. Her books have become classics. Heal your Life has sold more than 50 million copies.
Essentially what Louise Hay says is that injuries or medical issues have an emotional or psychological basis. Knee problems, she says, stem from being stubborn and having an unbending ego and too much pride.
Hmmm – let me see… is that me?
I have to dig really deep inside myself to see if I tick that box.
That deep search took all of 3 nanoseconds.
She also says that knee issues show a resistance to change.
Yep, tick that box too.
That took 2 nanoseconds.
I probably started out my Camino being stubborn, having too much ego, and too much pride. I’m not quite sure because my ego and pride stopped me from seeing that time clearly.
Yet, I can be accused of being resistant to change. I like to do things my way, the way I’ve always done them, the way they should be done. Which most times is my way. Because it’s the best way.
Anyway, the Camino changed all that. Because my knee humbled me. It reduced my ego and pride to tatters. It forced me to be flexible about the way I was going to approach the rest of the walk, and it has since caused me to reassess a whole bunch of things in my life. In other words, it’s induced change in me.
My wife reminded me of a phone call we had when, she said, I was at my lowest ebb. She said that in the thirty-two years of us being together, she’d never heard me so down.
I was in Santa Domingo de la Calzada. I was in a huge amount of pain – from my knee, from excruciating shin soreness, and from a blister that had taken on gargantuan proportions. The substance of the call, she reminded me, was my utter anguish and despair at how I could complete the Camino. It seemed an impossibility.
I was very emotional. I’d set my heart on walking the Camino, but even though my will-force was strong, my body was thwarting me. Thwarting my dreams.
But, two of the most dangerous and destructive things in life are self doubt and self pity. I was doubting my capacity to overcome these physical obstacles. I was allowing myself to wallow in self pity.
My wife reminded me that it was just a walk – that I’d chosen to do it – and that of course I’d complete it, it was just a matter of how long it would take, and how much pain I would suffer. She also reminded me I’d done tougher things in my life.
I’m a film director. It’s tough directing a movie. Very tough. And film directors are, by nature, stubborn people. With egos. We have to be, otherwise our movies never get made, or they get made all wishy washy and without a particular vision.
But, the best film directors are also flexible. They see opportunities as they make their movies, they take on fresh and new ideas, they bend, without breaking. The best ones often subsume their ego and pride for the betterment of the movie.
The Camino has its own lessons for each of us. For me, I have to embrace change. I have to bend more. I have to be more flexible.
I have to remember that statue in that church in Tui, and that little angel trying to help St. James.
With his crook knee…