(Keeping to my pledge to write thirty-four blogs, one every Monday, on how the Camino continues to affect my life– the same number as the days I walked the 500-mile pilgrimage)
To Live without pretending,
To Love without depending,
To Listen without defending,
To Speak without offending.
I see these lyrics everyday taped to a mirror in my bathroom. Actually it’s taped to the mirror in the guest bathroom; evidently I feel a need to share this wisdom with others. It sums up so much of the true spiritual journey. And each time I read it, one of the lines stands out more than another as I review my day. But as I searched to find the author of these words for this blogpost, I discovered that it was widely attributed to a Canadian rap singer named Drake. However, in a comment on his site, a woman named Nina Robert Baker asked him why he didn’t attribute the quote to her as he had previously done, and had adopted it as his own? (This happens too often.)
I then found her website (there are many Nina Bakers) and have what I now believe to be the original quotation. There are two more lines to the quote that were dropped by Drake–
To Give without ending,
To Build without rending.
What I also discovered is the title to her writing: Watch Your Endings. It made me smile.
How is this all part of my continuing Camino? I’m not sure really. Except that each line continues to remind me of a time I pretended, depended, defended, offended, ended and rended while walking the Camino. And how, as I’ve talked recently, this is being human. As I reread my book (it’s amazing what I forgot I wrote), I find myself less judgmental of all those Confessions I admitted to. If I knew then what I know now, I would have noticed what I was feeling, but I would have just been curious, instead of putting myself down. It’s a matter of discrimination: being conscious of when I am being run by my ego, and yet not flogging myself with regret. Again, saying to myself with light-heartedness, “Oh there I am, being human again.” Yes, truly with a light heart, not guilt, but compassion. I now am grateful for what I learned from those confessions. And confession can truly be good for the soul, in letting things go and receiving forgiveness freely. I know I’ve said this before, but it’s like the spiral staircase I reference in the book–it’s the same issue, but seen from a higher perspective. I’m more and more able to see myself as a human being that is imperfectly perfect. How much better life is without the weight of judgment, shame or guilt. You may disagree, but I have come to feel certain that any voice that makes me feel “less than” is not the voice of a Loving God. In fact, shame and guilt to me are the primary barriers to our relationship to God, the Holy, the Source or whatever name you give this Essence.
At the same time, this quotation/poem keeps me aligned with how I wish to live my life. I will continue to “Watch My Endings.” I’m glad to have the new verses to add to my post on the bathroom mirror as well. And if I were to add my own, “To love the Truth without bending.” But that may be something I explore in another blog. As I “Watch My Ending” of this blog, I give thanks to Nina Robert Baker for sharing her wise soul with me.