May 13th 2014: Today was day 12……it was amazing to relax all day.

By Shannon

Beautiful horse we walked past the other day on our hike to Orolon-Sainte-Marie.

Beautiful horse we walked past the other day on our hike to Orolon-Sainte-Marie.

 

Alanis Morissette’s Jagged Little Pill was my first CD. My Mom gave it to me as a Christmas present in 1995. She told me I could only listen to it at home, and only when my friends were not around, since it was explicit. I think she must have known how much I wanted that CD. Looking back, I can appreciate how cool and open my mom has always been. I was a shy, brooding, and moody sixth grader who felt like every song on the Jagged Little Pill album spoke to me. Even though as a naive 12 year old, I in fact knew very little about what Alanis’ lyrics were really about.

Until this week, I haven’t listened to much Alanis in at least 10 years.

Her song, “Thank You” was part of the score in the movie The Way. It played during an incredibly inspiring scene, where you realize the characters are getting exactly what they needed out of their journey. I downloaded the song on Sunday morning, right before we left the hotel in Arudy in hopes it would inspire me during our long hike to Orolon-Sainte-Marie.

I remember when “Thank You” first came out in 1998, I hated it. Every time it came on the radio, I would change the station. I hadn’t really paid attention to the words as they played in the movie the other night, but as we hiked down a pastoral road running through the town of Buzyiet, I put my earphones on, turned up the song, and truly listened to the words. Then I listened to it for an hour straight on repeat.

 

All the sheep that ran past us as we trekked down this remote pastoral road.

All the sheep that ran past us as we trekked down this remote pastoral road.

 

Nineteen years after I first fell in love with Alanis, I found myself fully falling into her lyrics once again. I felt like she was able to put into words everything I’ve been feeling, yet unable to verbalize.

how bout getting off these antibiotics
how bout stopping eating when I’m full up
how bout them transparent dangling carrots
how bout that ever elusive kudo

thank you india
thank you terror
thank you disillusionment
thank you frailty
thank you consequence
thank you thank you silence

how bout me not blaming you for everything
how bout me enjoying the moment for once
how bout how good it feels to finally forgive you
how bout grieving it all one at a time

thank you india
thank you terror
thank you disillusionment
thank you frailty
thank you consequence
thank you thank you silence

the moment I let go of it was the moment
I got more than I could handle
the moment I jumped off of it
was the moment I touched down

how bout no longer being masochistic
how bout remembering your divinity
how bout unabashedly bawling your eyes out
how bout not equating death with stopping

thank you india
thank you providence
thank you disillusionment
thank you nothingness
thank you clarity
thank you thank you silence

I looked “Thank You” up on Wikipedia and it they have quote from Alanis about what inspired her write the song. She says:

“Basically, I had never stopped in my whole life, hadn’t taken a long breath, and I took a year and a half off and basically learned how to do that. When I did stop and I was silent and I breathed… I was just left with an immense amount of gratitude, and inspiration, and love, and bliss, and that’s where the song came from, you know.”

And now, I get what I couldn’t have understood as a 14 year old in 1998. We need the disillusionment, death, sadness, and everything else that’s hard to deal with in order to experience everything that’s on the other side. We are a sum total of our all of experiences and it is each of those experiences that lead us to where we are. But it’s also about the choices we we decide to make. Sometimes, the choices we make have major life altering consequences in our life, as well other people’s lives. They lead us to discover things we never knew (good and bad) about ourselves and others. They alter our desires, dreams, and can forever change the way we live. What I’m discovering, as I go deeper in this journey is that these things – pain, death, sadness, fear – they aren’t always bad. It is when we take a step back, take a deep breath, that we can appreciate what the bad things have done for us. Where they have brought us and what they help us to discover.

As I look back over the last year of my life, I can see how the horrible things that I’ve experienced – the losses, pain, depression, anxiety, disconnect, disillusionment, and everything else that sucked so much, actually brought me to a better place.

There are moments in the last year, that have broken me so completely to the point where I thought I would never be able to pick up the pieces. But hiking that day, listening to Alanis sing “Thank You” on repeat, taking a few moments to stop and appreciate the beautiful scenery, I knew for the first time in what seemed like forever, that I would be OK. That I can let go of some of what I’ve been holding onto.

In three days, Eric and I will be arriving in Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port, where pilgrims generally start the the camino. We will have gone 80 miles at that point, further than I ever imagined I could. The reality that I might actually hike all the way to Santiago is beginning to set in.

Distance: 450 steps (.2 miles)
Location: Oloron-Sainte-Marie, France

Feeling inspired by our journey? Please consider donating to The Passport Party Project. Your contribution will help 10 young girls, get their first passport and go on their first international trip! Go here to donate and find out more.

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2 Responses to May 13th 2014: Today was day 12……it was amazing to relax all day.

  1. Eileen W. Eisner says:

    Beautifully expressed! What a journey you two have!! Just the thought of walking from south of town to the civic center is more than I would choose. Y’all inspire me!!

  2. Mommy says:

    I loved your May 13th post. “Thank you” is one of my favorite songs ever. The words resonate deeply. I could easily put it on repeat for an hour! Love, Mommy

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