Judith Swankoski reached out and connected with me via Facebook to share her thoughts about my story which appeared in MORE magazine. I didn’t discover her message until recently. Judith went on a passionate adventure of her own so I asked her to share her journey:
As often happens when you move toward your heart’s desire, situations and people appear in your path to help illuminate your way. Karen Putz appeared in my path in the form of her inspiring story in MORE Magazine.
After reading about Karen, I felt a renewed sense of enthusiasm about what is possible. She had rediscovered her passion! Now, how was I going to uncover mine?
Sometimes you’re not sure what something is, but you know what it is not.
Passion is not half. Of anything. It is not half a thought. Nor, half a feeling. It is not the emotion you feel when you spend time with a half a friend. Or, are half in love.
Passion is what grabs you, hooks you and propels you forward with the firing of all the positive, life-affirming synapses in your body!
Passion is how I recently found myself in Spain; stumbling down a mountain in the dark and rainy early morning hours on the eighth day (of 36) of my Camino. Ahead of me that day are 15 miles of hiking to my destination. Behind me are the Pyrenees I climbed across and an idea that had taken hold when I watched the film, “The Way.” http://www.theway-themovie.com/
“The Way” is about the Camino de Santiago; a 500 mile “walk” across Spain.
As the film ended and the credits rolled, I knew I would one day make the pilgrimage as thousands had for hundreds of years before me. How this was going to happen didn’t occur to me. Passion had grabbed hold! I remembered Karen Putz. Something she said kept resonating — “I didn’t know I had it in me to learn this at age 45.” “I’m 45”, I thought. “It’s not too late. I can do this!”
And two years later, here I was. Doing this. Which is how I found myself stumbling down a mountain in the rain.
I slipped on a rock and skinned my knee. As I struggled to right myself with my pack on, I began to cry. It had been a physically demanding and emotional week and I was overtired and missing home. The rain was not a gentle rain and soon it was pouring. I cried harder. We were all under our rain gear though, so nobody noticed. I wondered why I cared if some stranger saw me crying. I wondered a lot of things as we trudged for hours through mud and farmland. Suddenly, I stopped. I had the familiar feeling that flooded me when I sat in that theater and watched “The Way.” “This is really happening,” I thought. “I am following my dream!” In that moment, I realized there was no place I would rather be. No place. Pure joy!
Shortly after, the rain ended. It always does. A rainbow appeared and I walked in that direction. For days. Weeks. Finding my way.
At home now, I often gaze down at the scar on my left knee and smile.
Passion. Never settle for half.