Let me try something new.
Im going to update this as I go. It's now 6:43am about an hour to sunrise and with only 680km to Santiago.
These feet will carry me 31km today.
I'm distinctly feeling my ancestors today, the people that allowed me though toil, trouble, and triumph to walk here today. They burden me and carry me simultaneously - I'm thankful.
Now at Estella
658 Km to Santiago and 31681 steps walked so far and it's not even 2pm.
Today's Meditation: How can I be a better partner?
This walk is like an analogy of life really isn't it? It's one step in front of the other and sometimes you slip and sometimes you fall and it is exhausting and joyous and nourishing and debilitating and boring and exciting and it's one step in front of the other.
The climbs are very real, sometimes they're sterp and sometimes it's just a slow burn. The climbs require strong legs and sturdy hips. The climbs are about grit and strength and force and power. The climb requires heavy, hard work that is unforgiving but ultimately enjoyable because you make it to the top. You always do.
The descent, now that's a little bit fucked. The descent requires the opposite of the climb. The descent requires a lot of patience and it's not so much about brute strength but rather intelligent and considered footwork. The descent is strategic, you put your feet down where you are going to be less likely to fall. The descent requires careful, considered, determined, quiet, and kind positioning. If the climb is about strength, the descent is about precision
So what's that got to do with being a good lover or any kind of lover for that matter?
Well - much like the walk is a good physical allegory of life itself, I think the ascent and descent are too, specifically with how I am like in a relationship - romantics or otherwise. Or how I think a relationship should be, and feel like. Confused?
Let me explain.
I'm strong, physically and I hope emotionally and mentally, I have very strong legs so I find the climb on the Camino a lot easier. I've been leaving people younger than me by half in the dust as I ascend. I can climb and climb because I'm strong and powerful. The descent is what fucks me up. When descending I just want to power right through to the bottom but the hill has other ideas. If I rely on brute force and energy alone when descending I will fall, and I will fall hard.
In a relationship, and much like in life really, I'm a good climber. I'm good at providing for myself and fending for myself and just being ok by myself because I have grit and stamina and strength. I *will* be ok because I will it to be so. I will not falter because I am strong, I will climb.
Sure. I mean, all of that is true but being in a relationship, I think, isn't just about brute force and strength and stability. Being in a relationship isn't just about gross motor skills, but fine ones too. Being a good partner, I've realised is about the descent as well.
It's about the careful and considered work required to go down. It's about being well rounded enough to be strong when you're going up but careful when you're coming down.
I'm good at brute force and strength but I don't do well with vulnerability. I think, no, I believe, that a good person is a strong one, one that is completely and truly stoic and just provides and gets on with it. Don't get me wrong, I hope that I'm good at being nourishing, caring, and compassionate but I think I consider those characteristics a sign of inherent weakness and a lack of fortitude subconsciously.
However, I have never felt more complete as a person as when I'm vulnerable with my partner. I've never felt stronger as when I'm just, defence free and exposed, warts and all to someone who holds me lightly and is kind to my mistakes - and there are many.
Much like in the Camino, as in life and as in love, you need to be good at the climb and as the descent. It's ok to be strong when the circumstances require it, but it's also nice to be exposed and vulnerable when the circumstances demand it.
I'm learning that the skills and character traits that make me a good climber may not make me the best descender. That's ok.
So what have I learnt? I need to work on developing both my skills, of strength and force but of careful and considered tactility and intelligence. I know logically that there is strength in vulnerability but I do not understand that emotionally as well as I need to.
I think, to be a better partner, I need both and I need to cultivate the things that will allow me to have both. There is no lasting joy in going up a mountain if you can never come down.