My Thoughts on “Footprints: The Path of Your Life” Movie

by Maria Koropecky, Ammolite Wellness Coach

I’ve just realized that in two short months, I’ll be flying to Spain to walk the Camino. There’s still so much to do to prepare!

"Go confidently in the direction of your dreams. Live the life you've imagined," Henry David Thoreau
Photo by Mark Koropecky

Although I’m not yet physically on the trail, I feel I’ve already started my pilgrimage.

I’ve been talking with many people who have already walked the Camino and on Monday, perhaps the first person to plant the seed of going on this journey for me, one of my friends, Alexander, came over to watch the movie, “The Way” with me and my mom.

My mother had also invited Caroline, who had also walked the Camino, and Peter and his mother, who were interested in seeing the movie.

Well, somehow, we had gotten off to a rough start. We couldn’t get the DVD player to work and once we put the disc into an old laptop, not everybody could hear the dialogue and see the screen. Our old technology just wasn’t working and it was an exercise in frustration!

Finally, we decided to switch gears and watch another movie on the same subject on Netflix called, “Footprints: The Path of Your Life.”

Footprints is a documentary that follows a group of 10 men while they walk the Camino de Santiago with their Parish Priest.

crossing street.
Photo by Matthew Henry, Burst

I suppose fighting with the technology and then figuring out that we could watch another movie on another platform was a lesson in not forcing something to go in a certain way and letting another option – a better one – emerge instead.

Once we made that choice, the energy in the room calmed down somewhat.

As it turned out, Footprints was actually the better choice for us to watch because it was more “realistic” of what I could expect on my journey, according to Alexander and Caroline.

In the beginning, each of the men were really struggling with their own fears and challenges and sadly, a few of the men in the group had to bow out and leave early.

man waiting at airport.
Photo by Matthew Henry, Burst

That’s what happens with any new, ambitious project – stuff comes up. We have all of the best of intentions but somehow, all of this emotional baggage that has been buried deep down over a lifetime, gets stirred up. That’s the struggle! It’s how we deal with all our stuff that we’ve collected over the years that will make our break us.

The fear and the obstacles are saying, “I know you want to get to Santiago de Compostela, [for example] but here’s what you have to deal with first, and once you face this garbage head on and clear it out of the way, the world will be your oyster and you can be, do, or have whatever you want!”

For some of the men in the movie, it was too much too soon. The stuff that came up for them was too much to bear. I know they gave it their best and it wasn’t an easy decision to make to not finish. I hope they have a chance to try again and succeed.

Photo by Scott Murdoch, Burst

But after a couple of weeks and many miles under their belts, the remaining men got a rhythm and got stronger.

By the end of their 500 mile, 40-day journey, they were laughing and dancing and walking barefoot! It was beautiful to watch the men go through their spiritual transformation!

I think the turning point occurred for the group after they saw the cross of Jesus with their own eyes – which would have been amazing! – and then suddenly the men were inspired to work together as a group, not letting the weakest fall behind.

That’s the choice we all have – either we continue to carry our heavy baggage that is weighing us down and give up on our dreams, or we face our challenges and let them go and leave them at the side of the road and move on and help others along their way as well.

Going on a pilgrimage gives us the opportunity to release our rocks and burdens, once for all!

And in the same spirit, working with a Wellness Coach like me would also be valuable.

Photo by Mitul Shah, Burst

Both coaching and pilgrimages open up new options that we may not have seen before (like watching a different movie at the last minute like we had) and give us the chance to make new choices and start fresh.

If we can make it through that initial turbulence and interference, we’ll be stronger for the rest of the journey.

That’s where the expression, “what doesn’t kill you, makes you stronger” comes from!

And with wellness coaching, there’s extra support during the rough patches so you don’t have to travel alone.

Have you ever noticed that fear is built into interference? Some people let the fear interfere and stop them from experiencing a blissful miracle because whatever came up was just too much. The turbulence was too scary and the plane was shaking too hard!

Meanwhile, other people on the same flight will just push through and keep going and make it through with flying colours.

Man jumping fence.
Photo by Brodie Vissers, Burst

So I asked myself, “What kind of person am I?” Will I let fear stop me in my tracks as I’m attempting a challenging leg on my journey? Will I let those excuses block my path and give me an out to turn around and go home?

Or will I rise to the challenge and dig deep and keep moving?

That’s why I think the pilgrimage has already started for me. The more emotional baggage I can release before I physically set foot on the Camino, the easier and the lighter the walk will be.

I’m not going to let potential turbulence keep me from getting on that flight or let fear stop me from living my best life!

Buen Camino, Maria

If you’d like to talk with me more about my Wellness Coaching services, especially if you’re interested in focusing on Intermittent Fasting and Wellness Walking to start, book an appointment for a Crystal Mapping Session today!

Wellness Coach Maria Koropecky Ammolite Coaching Home of Crystal Mapping.

If They Can Do It, So Can I!

by Maria Koropecky, Ammolite Wellness Coach

Have you ever come up with an off-the-wall, harebrained goal for yourself, a dream that was so out there, so against-the-odds of seeing the light of day, that most people would never even think of it, much less attempt it, yet for some reason you were compelled to see it through?

walking path curving right.
Path to the Unknown. Photo by Maria Koropecky, Ammolite Wellness Coach.

Perhaps it was something like Alex and Andrew’s idea to clean up plastic from our oceans which lead to 4ocean, a global movement!

Or perhaps it was something like Lorna Byrne who never finished primary school because of her dyslexia, and now she writes best-selling books about angels.

I recently attended an inspiring talk given by a woman named Casey who, while riding her bike in 2009, was struck by a car, which left one side of her body non-functioning. She has been relying on a wheelchair for mobility ever since.

Well, Casey came up with one such inspired goal and this past May, she managed to complete an ambitious, amazing, and extraordinary achievement in her wheelchair!

Casey and her husband, Jason, went on an adventure of a lifetime and together for five days, they crossed the Camino de Santiago to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela!

Wow!

map of El Camino.
Map of the Camino with Ponferrada highlighted.
Photo by Maria Koropecky, Ammolite Wellness Coach.

History of the El Camino

The Camino de Santiago (Pilgrimage of Compostela), known in English as “the Way of Saint James,” is an interlacing network of trails for pilgrims which eventually leads to the Shrine of the Apostle Saint James the Great, in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela, in northwestern Spain.

By the way, Saint James was one of the 12 apostles of Jesus and he is also the patron saint of pilgrims. Saint James’ feast day is observed on July 25th – which is coming up soon – and I’m planning to go on a walk and BBQ with the Canadian Company of Pilgrims, Victoria chapter, to celebrate.

People have been walking the El Camino trails since the 9th Century, often for spiritual or religious reasons, but not necessarily, especially these days.

The El Camino network of trails, which travels through Spain, France, and Portugal and further into Europe, is also popular among hikers, cycling enthusiasts, horseback riders, solo travellers, and tour groups.

Mountains in Spain. Photo by Matthew Henry, Burst.

People come from all over the world to have a pilgrim’s experience on the El Camino. There’s something mystical and sacred about travelling day after day after day, rain or shine, along a well-worn route, in the footsteps of millions of others who came before you, with just the clothes on your back and stopping for meals and rest, until you ultimately reach your destination.

Going on a pilgrimage should be available to anyone who wants to go, but unfortunately, the trails are not designed for wheelchairs.

During her talk, Casey described some of the challenges she faced. Just getting to Europe from Victoria, Canada, by airplane would have been difficult enough.

She planned this trip for a year and she and her husband trained to prepare themselves as best they could for the obstacle course ahead of them.

While on the trail, Casey and her loving husband, Jason, (who didn’t come for his own reasons and only came to help her), encountered rocks the size of watermelons on the road, passages too narrow for her chair to go through, streams blocking the way, mud, stairs, uphills, downhills, tight washrooms, hot sun, rain, and once she even fell, but somehow they managed to get through it all and lived to tell the tale!

For the most part, Casey’s husband pushed her chair along the dusty, gravelly roads but they also relied on pulleys, friends, pilgrims, and strangers to help them along the way.

They ended up becoming trail celebrities with every new photo that was taken.

In a way, they enhanced other people’s pilgrimages too by giving them the opportunity to give back and be of service to someone who they met on their path, who was in need.

I’m sure it was a very spiritual experience in its own way and miracles did happen! Casey and Jason made many new friends, one of whom they found by chance who is also from the Victoria, BC area! Small world!

Cover of Tapas Cookbook. Photo by Maria Koropecky, Ammolite Wellness Coach.

Going on a Pilgrimage isn’t for Lightweights

As Casey said to me, “If it was easy, everyone would do it.”

Casey’s experience just goes to show, that even when there are rocks and hills and mud in the way and even if you cry and you argue out of sheer frustration, there’s a way to get through it. Don’t give up! You can do this!

There are plenty of challenges that come up, that are hard for anyone to get their head around. I can think of a thousand excuses not to embark on such a journey but now that I’ve met Casey and her husband, those excuses don’t hold any water.

If they can do it, I can do it!

My Own Pilgrimage

So, I’m excited to say that thanks to a gift for my 50th birthday from my generous family, I’ve got my tickets and I’m heading to Madrid, Spain, on September 17, 2019!

passports.
I’m so grateful I’m Canadian and I have the freedom to travel.
Photo by Maria Koropecky, Ammolite Wellness Coach.

I’ll be gone for two weeks, starting my walk from Ponferrada and then I’m going to walk with my backpack for about 275 kilometres (20-30 kilometres a day) through Spain, to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela!

It’s going to be amazing! I’m looking to have a spiritual experience however it shows up for me and I can’t wait to meet the people who will be walking along side me on the road.

“Hola, buenos días.”

And I’m planning to blog about my experience here in my Ammolite Goddess blog so you can follow my adventure.

Open Invitation

If walking the El Camino sounds like something you’d like to do, I recommend watching the movie, “The Way,” a 2010 film directed, produced, and written by Emilio Estevez, starring his father Martin Sheen, among others.

If you’re feeling called to do this, find a way!

To make things easier, I’m inviting you to join me in September. There’s still time to train and buy your gear and plan your trip!

As an added bonus, if you walk with me, I’ll be happy to give you your choice of foot and/or neck and shoulder massages every night! Just my way of giving back.

Also, as my friends had done for me, it will be my honour to take your prayers with me so if you’d like for me to pray for you or your loved ones, just contact me and I’ll add you to the list. There’s no charge for this and I’m happy to take your petitions the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela and lift them in mediation and prayer.

I’ve been walking nearly every day to get in shape for my journey and I’m so grateful to my brother and nephew and my friend Jenny from California who have already gone on 3-5K nature hikes with me this summer. I consider them as part of my pilgrimage!

I’m open to walking with anyone else who is interested, either to help me prepare for my trip or to actually go with me to Spain! Let me know if you want to talk more about this.

Consider this an invitation. If you’re reading this post, it may be a sign that you’re meant to do this, too.

Don’t let excuses stop you from challenging yourself and experiencing something amazing and wonderful! If Casey can do it in a wheelchair, then we can finish the El Camino too!

Contact me if you’re interested!

Buen Camino, Maria

Wellness Coach Maria Koropecky Ammolite Coaching Home of Crystal Mapping.