A Celebration of Life!
Today, I did something truly radical. I boarded a plane bound for Spain where I’m going to spend the next 40 days and nights walking the El Camino, a 500-mile sacred path that has attracted saints and celebrities, and people just like you and me for more than 1,000 years. If anyone had asked me several years ago if I would undertake a journey like this at 74, I would have told them they were crazy!! And yet, here I am with my one bag and two pairs of walking shoes packed, getting ready to leave my footprints on this mysterious trail that stretches from St. Jean, France to Santiago, Spain.
The transformative trek means different things to different people, but for nearly all it’s an adventure of self-actualization. No matter what your race or religion, Jewish, Christian, Buddhist or atheist, each journeyman is seeking something different and something only their soul knows it needs for completion and peace. And each, like me, will be forever changed.
For me, the 40-day walk is a celebration of life, personal truth and freedom. Forty is the same number of days that Jesus spent fasting in the woods and the same number of years that Moses spent on the mountain writing the Ten Commandments. There’s something magical and meaningful about the number 40, especially since I have spent the last 40 years on a spiritual path of mine own- finding my way out of the woods.
In spite of being very successful in business, I have to admit I found myself struggling with addiction and some ugly emotions I needed to clear during the first half of my life. As I walk the 1.3 million steps of the El Camino, I will be celebrating 28 years of recovery and freedom from those destructive behaviors and will dedicate my pilgrimage to those who have supported me and guided me back to wholeness. When I reach the mid-way point of the Iron Cross, I will UNLOAD anything from my past that I no longer need to carry and rejoice in knowing I am on the right path.
Many of you who have told me that you wish you were walking by my side, and the truth is, you are. I’d like to challenge you to do something really radical now. Ask yourself what’s your El Camino? What do you really need to be carrying on your current walk and what do you need to let go of in order to get to the next level? What fears and habits can you commit to push through to get to the other side?
And once you’ve answered that, I want you to celebrate all of the footprints you’ve left so far – the good ones and the bad ones, the mediocre and the majestic and remember that you’re not alone on this walk of life. If you’d like for me to deposit something for you at the Iron Cross, let me know, you can make your request here http://henryleeds.com/el-camino/. I’m sure there’s something it’s time to toss!
I want to thank all of you for your well wishes and encouragement. I’ll be posting picts of my progress and a plethora of “ah ha” moments from my hike just as often as I can. So, stay tuned for more!