Brace yourself, this post is very deep. I never know where my spirit leads me. I am researching what courage is so I can learn how to develop more courage in my life.

One of the verbal responses I received, after sharing about my decision to walk the “El Camino de Santiago” was “wow, you are courageous“.

Courage, who knew, someone would use that choice of words, describing my character. I guess in order to live up to that analysis and truly own that comment, I will need to do some more research on the meaning of courage and become aware of how courageous I really am and how that relates to my pilgrimage.

Famous Quotes

Knowledge is Power” by Francis Bacon

Knowledge is Power but only Wisdom is Liberty” by Will Durant

“Knowledge is not Power, Knowledge is only potential power, Action is Power” by Tony Robbins

Courage, Knowledge, Power, Wisdom, Liberty and Taking Action. A lot to only three quotes.

Famous Quotes – excellent resources for expanding one’s thinking, knowledge, wisdom and spiritual growth

As you will notice in my writings, I love famous quotes of wisdom. There are so many more words of wisdom that are waiting for us to explore, digest, practice and to develop and mature our moral and spiritual character. One of my favorite courses in college was philosophy. It expanded my closed-minded, inside the box thinking.

No more trekking off to the local library and browsing through the massive books to find a physical book on famous quotes and then turning page by page to find exactly what my mind and spirit are seeking.

Technology today puts wisdom of the ages at our fingertips. With the stroke of the keyboard, an internet hookup and a smart device, we can take adventures into the wisdom of the ages. I employ you to try it. Pick a word topic and research famous quotes on that topic, by doing a google search on famous quotes on that (topic)…. Adventures are awaiting for you, in this arena, without even stepping out your front or back door.

Courage doesn’t always roar.  Sometimes courage is the little voice at the end of the day that says I’ll try again tomorrow. ~Mary Anne Radmacher

Courage is multifaceted, these are my thoughts and comments:

  • Mind, Body, Emotions and Spiritual awareness First accept where you are, the take action to make the changes through practice, practice, practice. The goal is to be a woman or man of good character.
  • Make a decision to be Honest, Open and Willing for divine knowledge, wisdom and inspirations.
  • Tap into your multi-faceted courage to be willing to learn, practice and grow in spiritual matters
  • Takes courage to Socialize
  • Takes courage to develop relationships
  • Takes courage to seek love
  • Takes courage to stick to your moral standards
  • Takes courage to tame our emotions and keep them under control
  • Takes courage to take our thoughts captive when obsessive thinking creeps in
  • Takes courage to express our opinions
  • Takes courage to express our religious beliefs
  • Takes courage to try and fail
  • Takes courage to not look at it as a failure, just a need to reassess and rework and try again
  • Takes courage to begin, pursue and practice to grow in spiritual matters
  • Takes courage to become aware of your true authentic self.

Definitions provide additional clarity leading to understanding and power and action. In regards to words, I have noticed, that even though my definitions are clear to me, on the words and what I mean; when I share them to another, they may misinterpret my intended meaning because their meanings of the words are different. Clear communication with others, without offending them, is one of the hardest things, I think.

Words have meanings and meanings lead to understanding. Having said I needed to broaden my thinking and get more clarity on what courage really is. I usually start with researching the definitions of words and then famous quotes and they interpret through my mind and my spirit. Connecting to the divine spirit, I believe, also puts divine wisdom into the mix. This works for me. Hope you will find your way.

“Courage is being scared to death and saddling up anyway.”  John Wayne

Definition of Courage

  • Courage is Not the absence of fear
  • Courage is rather the ability to overcome fear (when we want something bad enough)
  • Even the most courageous people feel fear
  • Fear is defined as an uneasy emotion caused by belief that someone or something is dangerous, likely to cause pain, or is a threat
  • If fear starts to paralyze you, snap out of it
  • Accept the fear and assess the fear
  • If real, then accept that and take appropriate action to protect yourself
  • If superficial and just a lack of courage, feel the fear and do it anyway,
  • In order to tap into this power, practice is necessary
  • bravery is increased one courageous act at a time

Ok, after all that research and contemplation, I am ready to look at each of these separately and try to articulate how I can be aware of and practice courage.

I guess I will start with this knowledge to start to take action to increase my physical courage. Who knew this former spontaneous, quick reacting, quick thinking and quick speaking person could learn how to stop, breathe, consume, think, process, research and then respond or speak. The “old me” (and I am not talking about physical age, which I am old) got in a lot of trouble with responding without thinking it through. Oh my God, emotions with the brain is like a run away train without breaks heading for a train wreck. Almost every time there is a wreckage that needs to be cleaned up.

Who knew that preparation was one so important?

  • Definition given for Physical courage
    • courage to take care of our physical body
    • developing physical strength, resiliency
    • being aware of what our bodies are telling us
    • our bodies allow us to risk discomfort, injury, pain
    • Pain tells us what our boundaries and limits are
    • Physical fear can be real or an illusion
    • Keeping our bodies healthy, strong and resilient
    • When Hungry – eating properly and healthy food
    • physical exercise
    • steady pace
    • Being aware and experiencing our 5 senses: Touch, taste, hearing, sight and smell.

Ok , now I have a very detailed definition of defined physical courage. Now I need to take action and apply it to my life and behaviors. I learned once that in order to change my behavior, I have to first accept that behavior, then decide to change, then practice, practice, practice the new change in my behavior for it to become part of my character. Oh, is that how it works. I have to take action and practice over and over again until it become a habit. I guess it is worth it if the new behavior causes less turmoil and confusion and more peace and serenity in my life and my relationships.

I alway envied a person who could pick up a musical instrument and play notes so beautiful that it took my spirit soaring to a higher and more peaceful level of bliss. I thought they were born with this talent. I came to realize they put in the time, research and practice to become a master at their art. Same way with master painters. They did not come out of the their mother’s womb and start painting. They choose to focus, practice and take action to constantly grow and learn to eventually be able to paint masterpieces. Oh that is how it works. I guess I have to continue to learn to take action and practice.

Bear with me, I am going down a rabbit hole here: Guess what just popped into my mind. This is how we should deal with one of the outlined 7 deadly sins, Sloth. Definition of Sloth: Reluctance to work or make an effort; laziness, i.e. should overcome a natural sloth nature and complacency.

Am I not going on this spiritual journey to deal with the forgiveness of sins? Hello!!! Sloth, is one of the 7 deadly sins and here it is hidden in the topic of physical courage. Who would have imagined it would surface here. I guess I need courage to stop being lazy and take action and practice, practice, practice.

I now know, one of the sins I am going to ask God for forgiveness for, is my sloth (laziness, not taking action when I know I should have, not saying something I should have, not following through). I ask for forgiveness for sloth; however, I know it my responsibility to not only just ask for forgiveness, I am asked by God to change that sin (sloth).

As outlined in the research above, I am to first of all accept the fact ( I cannot change a behavior without owning it) that I am lazy and complacent (slothful) and then make a decision to practice, practice, practice until a new behavior of taking action become solid. I have to realize that changing this behavior is my way of showing God that I am working on it and with practice, practice, practice, I hopefully, will less and less be putting sloth on my sin list.

Oh my goodness, how did I get on preparing a sin list. Something is happening to me. Oh well, I will go with the flow… This is what I call a God moment… a chance to learn a spiritual lesson on how to deal with the sin of sloth.

By the way, I love the animal called the sloth. He or she is so cute. But hanging around all day, looking cute and doing nothing, that is boring. Believe me, I can go there. As a matter of fact, I have a small leather purse with the sloth, hanging upside down, on it. Am I going to hang upside down all day and slowly move around, when I can find something to do and follow through on it, call someone and encourage them. For me, it is getting up and going to an AA meeting and sharing my experience, strength and hope with someone, who just might need a ray of sunshine in the spirit. Or going on a walk and stopping to talk to someone who is lonely. Get up, Get out, Make calls. Do something. Clean the house. Call a friend.

Beware, retirement is a breeding grounds for sloth!!! How do I apply this to my situation? Sloth has started to get its grips on me and since I am now aware it, I can do something about it. Oh my God, I just realized, starting this blog, is one of the things I am already doing to combat the sin of sloth. Who knew I am already working on this!!! Halalujah!!!

Alright, I will get back on track with physical courage (courage necessary to take action in regards to my physical body).

How about I start with researching things that will avoid future physical pain.

Pain is inevitable, however, I am not going to be slothful and do nothing to prevent pain, that would be a case of the stupids. So let’s pursue, what can I prepare, to avoid physical pain for the 500 mile pilgrimage? How do I minimize the physical pain that is inevitable?

You have heard the phrase “No Pain, No Gain”

No Pain, No Gain is an old proverb, used since the 1980s as an exercise motto that promises greater value rewards for the price of hard and even painful work. Under this conception competitive professionals, such as athletes and artists, are required to endure pain (physical suffering) and stress (mental/emotional suffering) to achieve professional excellence. Medical experts agree that the proverb is wrong for exercise. Why?

Over exertion can cause additional pain. I have learned on my practice walks, not to strain or rush or push myself. If I do, I end up tired and in more pain. I had to learn to develop a steady meditative pace to my walk and learn to take breaks; take necessary water and healthy snack breaks, to revive my energy. I needed to pack and take (electrolyte packets) to make sure that my electrolytes stay balanced. Why is electrolyte balance important.

Because you can drink lots of water and if your electrolytes are not balanced, the water you drink will go in and stream right out, like pouring water through a sieve, without hydrating your muscles and body. Electrolyte imbalance can harm the kidneys and other organs and can cause strokes. Oh not, strokes!!! That is prevalent in my family. My mother’s side of the family died of strokes. I think I need to pay attention here to historical family medical data, not to be fearful, but to be vigilance on good health practices.

There are many a pilgrim that suffer dehydration. Even though they drank plenty of water, that it was not enough, if your electrolytes are not balanced. Coffee and Tea in excess, have a tendency to dehydrate the body. Remember, knowledge and taking action is power.

Healthy snacks and food – not just carbs – I plan to take little straws of mega greens and little straws of electrolyte balance and little straws of turmeric combinations for the inflation. I will experiment with this and keep you posted on my choices.

Picking fresh fruit and vegetables are also essential. I will be taking straws with makula honey in them for energy and purchase nuts for protein. Choosing the correct food makes a difference. This honey is convenient. I rip the edge and squeeze out the honey for a little energy pickup, and who can go wrong when it is called Happy Valley.

Inflammation is another issue. When I broke my ankle, they kept giving me huge doses of Tylenol and anti-inflammatory medicines. It slightly compromised my kidneys, so I stay away from using any sort of pharmaceutical medication. So what is the alternative.? I experimented with Turmeric. I hate the yellow color and the taste is not that great either; however, I tried flavored Qunol Liquid Turmeric from Costco. It tastes good and easy to take. I learned that turmeric needs to include black pepper in the ingredients, which Qunol does have, to help the absorption of the turmeric.

However, taking a liquids on the airplane is messy and not an option, so I got the these little straws by The Republic of Teas, which I outlined in the packing section. This turmeric combination really does help with inflammation. The Hydration combo is great, the daily mega greens are great and green tea and apple cider straws. I will open up the straw and pour into my collapsible shake cup and shake up and drink on my way.

I also occasionally experience neuropathy pain in my foot and ankle due to the broken bones and surgery and pins. I wanted to come up with a natural product that would ease this dull pain. I came up with this Frankincense and Myrrh natural oil rubbing oil compound, made by Wise Consumer Products Co in Ohio, specifically made for Neuropathy pain. It works. Who knew that these rare sacred oils of biblical times, Frankincense and Myrrh, given to Mary and Joseph as a gift for baby Jesus by the “3 Wise Men”would end up making the journey with me on my spiritual pilgrimage.

The other thing that works are the Salonpas individual pads (downside is the smell). You stick them on the area and within minutes the muscle pain has subsided.

Awareness – I am learning to pay attention to signals my body is giving to me. It could be the beginning signs of pain, which can be addressed immediately to prevent full blown blisters or severe pain. If my backpack needs adjusting, do it. If my neck is getting stiff, stop and rub it or adjust my backpack or have courage enough to ask another pilgrim to massage my neck. If I am starting to get what they call a “hot spot” on my feet from either the socks or the shoes, adjust the socks or take off and rub feet, use some frankincense and Myrrh or put on some mole skin, which I will have in my backpack.

Oh, now I see how preparation, can really help to prevent pain and fix pain if necessary. I guess I will keep paying attention and listening to what my body is telling me.

Sleep is very important. Because many times I will be sleeping in rooms with multiply bunk beds, the probability of several pilgrims snoring is a given. I have taken precautions and have an eye mask, ear plugs and liquid Melatonin. The downside of using earplugs in that I won’t hear my alarm. If I choose not to use earplugs at night, I will have to reframe my thinking and experience the snoring as a sympathy of music that is playing to lull me to sleep. Oh, the power of the mind… I will test it out and let you know…I want to get up and walk right before sunrise, so I can get the majority of the walk in the cool of the morning. So, I will see what works best.

Also, Lavender essential oil aroma will be put on my silk bed cocoon and multi-colored silk pillowcase. I have been told the lavender oil wards off pesky blood sucker bedbugs, if they choose to venture out at night. Not on my watch.

Food choices are very important to me. I will try to eat healthy food. My diet usually consists of little or no gluten and very little dairy and low sugar. We will see how this works out. I will have to choose wisely. I will try and pay attention to what my body is trying to tell me. This takes practice. I will keep you posted on how that works out.

Spiritually, I found that If I was always watching the time or wishing that the walk was finished that the walk became more stressful. I started practicing being aware and in the present moment. By doing this, I started experiencing the rushing sound of the waves, the beauty and colors of the sunrise, the conversations between the birds, the smells of the dune foliage, the gritty sand under my feet, the people enjoying the beach, the dogs running after objects their master threw into the ocean, the little children laughing while running in and out of the waves, and then my mind would focus on certain parts of my body that were starting to be strained, ie my shoulder with the straps, my muscles. I was aware that I had flipped my focus from the outside stimulation to my ailments inside my body.

Was I going to stay there. I found that if I did, the pain and the walk seemed to get more difficult, so I mindfully, took my mind and focus back outside my body and was once again being grounded and present with my surroundings. Wow, that was quite interesting!!! This awareness is pretty cool.

What I focus and give power, has power. If I would focused on the stress inside by body, it would have gotten stronger and could have drained my energy, which it was starting to do. This awareness helped me change my focus. Who knew I had that much power. It feels good… to be empowered…Oh, now I get it…this is what physical courage is all about. What a good exercise and experience. I am practicing and learning how to take care of myself.

I also noticed when I was walking, things would come into my mind. I allowed that to happen. I am sure I will be doing a lot of this when I walk every day. I will stay mindful of issues that are surfacing and the revelations and insights that will be given to me along the way, just like I am getting as I write to all of you.

I may not be writing a lot while I am on the journey. I may just let things happen and sum it up when I get back. I do my best writing on my computer and I am not taking my computer. I will be taking my cell phone. Plus, it will take me away from being present for the total experience. I will send pictures and updates and inspirations as led to.

Apparel – As I mentioned before in a previous blog, choosing the correct shoes and socks are proven to prevent blisters, thus avoiding pain.

  1. Correct shoes, with ortho inserts – prevents blisters thus avoiding pain
  2. Correct merino wool socks – prevents blisters thus avoiding pain
  3. Correct backpack – prevents pain in back and shoulders
  4. How much weight is bearable to carry – I will be carrying just the bare essentials and or a minimum fee have their transport service, transport the heavy items from one alberque to another – well worth the money. I had to get my ego out of the way to do this. Ego (carry it all and bear it as a badge of courage). That would not be courage, that would be pain and stupidity. This was a no brainer. Let go of the Ego. I will walk but not with all the stuff I need to take care of my personal hygiene. I am not a martyr, suffering needlessly.
  5. Practice and test out all of the clothes I plan to wear, to insure that tags, seams or belt loops do not cause any additional physical pain.

Tune in again to see what the spirit leads me to write next time. I am learning along with all of you. Be willing to connect to divine wisdom, show up for life, learn your lessons, take action and follow through to keep learning the life lessons we are put here on earth to learn, so we are prepared for the next eternal life.

Esther Mae

July 31, 2021

Published by Esther Mae

Happy, Joyous and Free. Enjoying life and retirement. Oct 5, 202, I completed the FEl Camino de Santiago de Frances, over 550 miles, beginning August 15, 2021 in St-Jean-Pied-De-Port, France and ending in Santiago and walked through the Holy Door. I am 70 year young. Read about some of my adventures. I have a close relationship with my Higher Power, whom I choose to call God, Jesus and the Holy Spirit. Spiritual growth and enlightenment are my priorities in life. Please jump on the spiritual soul train with me as I walk and try to practice a spiritual way of life. Esther Mae

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