It is tempting to close out the story of our pilgrimage walk without addressing the dark moments, what Carl Jung would have called Shadow. It is in the shadows that we so often find rich and fertile lessons…

Pilgrimage, like life itself, inevitably brings us to moments of challenge and uncertainty. Bad things can happen, fears arise, and we find that in our quiet moments we come face to face with who we truly are….

Knowing that I have sensitive skin and am prone to sun problems and blisters and bad reactions to insects, I prepared almost hypochondriacally. I was prepared for just about anything, but the dampness of our first day caused a problem with my feet; by the end of the second day, it was clear that I was going to lose at least one toenail — but it also seemed clear that my pain was not going to cause permanent damage, so I chose to walk on…

IMG_0190Following the excitement of Thursday’s successful arrival, I spent ¬†Friday at the hospital getting emergency treatment and Saturday shopping for shoes that would accommodate my tender toes so that I could re-shoulder my pack and walk out of Chartres to catch the train that would whisk us back along the road we had walked, toward Paris and home.

Feeling vulnerable, I wondered if I had failed in my pilgrimage or (worse yet) in my quest for vitality. I had to come to terms with my own limits. In an exquisite moment of soul-searching, I realized that there was a way that I could look at my toes as an opportunity to accept the very blessing for which I had been praying. As I walked toward this cathedral that so beautifully honours the Divine Feminine, I had been asking that my own heart would be opened that I might finally learn to accept the love that so often I have not accepted as my birthright. Though I know it had always been on offer, as an adopted child I have always struggled to allow myself to be fully embraced by the abiding Love of the Mother.

As I shivered in my bare feet on the streets of Chartres, I heard myself apologizing yet again to the women who were helping me so selflessly. Turning a corner both literally and metaphorically, I suddenly realized that this was a perfect opportunity to accept an answer to my prayers. No one was begrudging me the time and assistance, no one was expecting me to be anything other than what I was. I was the only one who expected me to be a superwoman. Divine Love was present and on offer, in the guise of my companions… all I had to do was accept it.


3 Replies to “Shadow”

  1. Hi Kimberley, I just wondered today: how are those tootsies now! I enjoy your writing very much. and would like to see another blogpost coming along,

  2. I’ve just come in to your pilgrimage–and beginning at the end. Blessings on your journeys, then and now. And–Buen Camino!

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