600km Walking Pilgrimage through Spain

Written by Denise Chng Lisan & published on September 2 2008

From the moment I discovered an ancient pilgrimage path in Spain in June last year, the attraction of walking hundreds of kilometres towards an assured destination grew on me daily. My eagerness to go on a month-long journey on foot across the steep slopes, lush valleys and forests of the Pyrenees, and through countless small towns and villages, was part of a subconscious quest to find depth and meaning in my life. At the age of 33, I was approaching – prematurely, perhaps – what seemed to be a mid-life crisis.

Straits Times Life! Article,Denise Chng Lisan,Camino de Santiago,Camino Frances

Letter from Quebec: Preserving Heritage

Written by Denise Chng Lisan & published on November 8 2008

'TRAVEL is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living,' wrote Miriam Beard. Life in Quebec is now my teacher, pointing out my knowledge gaps and honing my ideas of living - be it language, culture, life-skills, or the environment.

Denise Chng Lisan

Taking my time to arrive

Posted by Denise CHNG Lisan On Saturday, October 20, 2007

I am taking "my time to arrive", to really feel and think about what it all means to have walked all this distance to this place.

Under the sun, I sat alone in the big wide square outside the grand cathedral of Santiago, watching other pilgrims arrive in sweat, look at the cathedral in awe, taking photos, congratulating each other. I saw one guy fall to the ground, lying his body flat down on the floor, kissing the ground. He was joking, but it was funny. I heard of stories where pilgrims crawl their way into Santiago. I don´t know if they are really true.

The feeling of arriving filled me with undescribable emotions. It is not one of big surprise, nor one that is grand and overwhelming. The destination afterall is really within, and not external. But in the silence of the church, I felt a silent pride and a silent prayer within me. The calling of the spirit. And perhaps a quiet understanding of myself better. I began to feel again the purpose of my journey, why I began in the first place.

I was searching for myself and for God. And I found both, in the eyes and hearts of those people and angels I met along the way. I find God in nature, in all forms and colors, in sunrise and sunset, in shadow and in light. I find God in silence.

I remember the times I am lost. I got lost because I missed the arrows of my life, sometimes refusing to see them because of fear. I chose paths that were safer, popular, taken by many, thinking that safe paths must be the right ones.

Now I know that there are no right nor wrong paths. Just paths that are true or untrue to oneself. And at every point in our life, we must check ourselves again and again to see if we are truly on track with who we are.
I learned that arrows can be recognized, only if we stop to listen, stop to be silent. The singing of the heart, the calmness of the mind, the serenity in the soul, and perhaps the quickening of heartbeats are signs and arrows in our lives. Our choices must flow like the river.

After walking 600km, I discovered the power within me - the power to go beyond my limits, what I thought I could and could not do. I learnt the power of perseverence, the power of faith and the power of love. If I can put my mind and heart into it, I can do it.

I learnt the power of inspiration. If she can do it, i can too. That was how I got started - because one girl I saw on the internet did it and she inspired me. And a friend on the camino told me, "if you can do it, I can too." So, if I can do it, you can too. That, i suppose, is how we can start inspiring each other to change our lives, to change the world.

I learnt the power of consciousness. Once a thought, an idea becomes conscious, it has a certain power - to be discarded, to be owned, to be realized - however we choose.

But all this "power" within must be met with humility, because we are only human. Our Spirit is powerful, but we are still weak in our body and mind.

We will walk with pain, but pain is not suffering. We will suffer, but suffering is not unhappiness.

The joy in life comes in knowing that we are not alone on this journey, because as much as we must carry our own rucksack and walk our own steps, there will always be God with us, and one another to cheer each other on.

I have been inspired by the words of Marianne Williamson, which help to remind us of our true identity. On the camino, I found them again and I hope many will also be inspired by them:

"Our deepest fear is not that we are inadequate.
Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure.
It is our Light, not our darkness, that most frightens us.

We ask ourselves, who I am to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented and fabulous?
Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God.
Your playing small does not serve the world.
There´s nothing enlightened about shrinking,
So that other people won´t feel insecure around you.

We were born to make manifest the Glory of God that is within us.
It is not just in some of us, it is in everyone.
And as we let our Light shine,
We unconsciously give other people permission to do the same.
As we are liberated from our own fear,
Our presence automatically liberates others. "

3 Response to 'Taking my time to arrive'

  1. Anonymous Said,'> 1 November 2007 at 13:19

    C'est la première fois que je prend le temps de lire tes témoignages et je t'assure que celui-ci me touche beaucoup au plus profond de moi.
    tu as fait le chemin vers toi et tu t'es découvert un peu plus. quel beau chemin et te souhaite que ton chemin se continuera toute ta vie pour ta plus grande joie.


  2. Brian Said,'> 8 March 2018 at 05:18

    The arrows of life...

    The singing of the heart...

    The calmness of the mind...

    The serenity in the soul...

    Our choices must flow like the river.


  3.'> 10 March 2018 at 03:28



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