How to color in that conch shell?
Conch shells have been a symbol of pilgrimage to Santiago since medieval times. A pilgrim would gather the shells at the ocean as proof that he or she had succeeded in his/ her journey to Santiago.
Nowadays, pilgrims obtain such a shell before starting out on their journey. The shells are fastened to the backpack as proof that you are on a quest. It also gives you access to government run hostels along with a pilgrim passport which gets stamped daily.
When it was my turn to pick the conchshell for my journey back in August dozens of them stared at me. Some plain, some intricately patterned, some mostly white, some checkered like the fur of a Bavarian cow.
Instinct made me grab one that was almost completely white, which made immediate sense to me. The complete absence of pattern metaphorically represented the current state of my life. I had just discarded a lot of my past, and was ready to create a completely new life. Just like the conchshell, my slate was blank.
Ever since I picked up that shell I have been asking myself, how I want to color it in? An empty, white canvas is waiting for me. What do I want to create next?
The first month this sort of inquiry had been a wondering, knowing the time wasn’t right to really take action yet. But the closer I get to home the more pronounced my mind requests an answer.
Which color will I choose?
Which pattern will I draw?
Part of me has been almost afraid to set pen to shell, afraid of making a wrong paint stroke.
If I lean on cultural conditioning, I am pushed to have this thing completely filled in in no time. Get a full time job, a car, a house etc. but that is not what I feel.
Some deeper voice says to keep some space. Get a part time job. Something that is easy, just to create structure in my life and provide income. Then ask what bigger project is on the horizon for me. Keep space so that that bigger project can arrive even if I don’t know what it is.
So I keep walking, metaphorically pen in hand, wanting to start coloring the conch shell in.
Patience is not necessarily my strong suit. Can you relate?
I would rather have a grand vision and set pen to conchshell, define my goals and get to it. That’s my achiever little self talking .
Vision – goals – action – success.
Sounds efficient, right?
But a goal pursued when the timing isn’t right leads to a dead end road.I have learned over the years not to rush things. Rushing will only lead to stress, anxiety and agony. Better to wait for that internal guidance, that internal knowing to show the way. I will avoid dead end streets, annoying encounters and having to do things I think I should do rather than I am meant to do.
It’s like this:
When called to speed up, quicken your step
When called to slow down, prop up your feet
When called to act, do
When called to wait, be
Drop the shoulds, and follow you
Keep walking, wait to color in your life. It is coming soon enough. The path is already there; you will be guided to walk it.