Hello Natalie, My Name is Natalie

In 1988 the members of The Proclaimers stated their love for a women by saying they would walk 500 miles for her. Well I did walked 500 miles just not in the name of love for some else. †

On May 19th 2014 I started my 2 month journey in Ireland. After many beer and whiskey filled days with my loved ones (which I do remember), it was time for us to part ways. As my mom boarded her plane back to Arizona I boarded one to Paris, and thatís where my story begins. From Paris I took train after train after train and finally ended up in a town called Saint Jean Pied De Port, which is right on the border of France and Spain. Now this, this is where my journey began.

†The next day was beautiful. The sky was that type of blue that lights up the world, creating an artwork of colors in a world that looked like a landscape painting. The grass seemed greener, the air fresher, and the donkeys cuter. This was the day that I took my first steps on the Camino De Santiago. A 500 mile journey from France, across the border to Spain and almost entirely through Spain. And yes, I walked the whole thing.

That first day was what most people call a female dog, but at the end of the day, I got reassuring words.† ďDonít worry,” they said. ďItíll get easier,” they said. Donít be fooled, it didnít get easier until the day I finished. After the first few weeks the physical pain goes away, but thatís when the mental pain begins. When you are forced to walk day after day for 7 to 10 hours at a time, it is amazing the thing you think about. I thought about all of the pain Iíve ever been caused, the death of my dog, the hurtful relationships, the beautiful baby my sister created, the way I felt when I first fell in love and Robert Pattinson of course, but none of this even compared to what else was going on in my head. I had to forgive, I had remember, I had to feel the things I had forced myself to ignore for years. Things came up I had forgotten about. Things came up that I purposefully didnít remember. I was forced into the depths of my subconscious as I walked over mountains, through the woods, down stones that could have possibly led to my death, through beautiful wheat and flower fields, through some peopleís vineyards (oops) and through towns of every type.

But it wasnít what I saw, what I thought about, what I felt, it was who I met that changed my life forever. I met Luca from Italy, Jack from Norway, Alex from Germany, and I even met a girl who lives just ten minutes away in Tempe Arizona, but it wasnít these people either. I met a being named God on my trip through this foreign world I had found myself in. And no I donít mean I had a near death experience and found myself staring up at a tall, dark haired causation man who had hands big enough to hold the world. I met the God inside myself. The God in the world, the god in the trees, in the grass, in the animals, and in every other pilgrim that I walked by. He was there when I cried myself to sleep, reassuring me I could make it to the end. He was there when I got lost in the woods on the top of the mountain on an extremely rainy day (thatís a long story) but somehow ran into other lost pilgrims. He was there in the eyes of the people I met the whole way showing me the true affection others could have for one another. He walked me not only through Spain but he walked me through my subconscious. He tamed me when I was mad, soothed me when I was sad, and praised me when I conquered. Most importantly though, he introduced me to someone I had been waiting my whole life to meet. He introduced me to myself. He showed me who I am, what I can really do, or be, or say. He introduced me to my soul mate, the one person† I was walking this whole thing for, the one person I should love more than anyone else, and that was myself. Hello Natalie, nice to finally meet you.

Pause


All of your experiences, every one, bring to the surface the deepest wounds that need to be healed.

Did you ever notice that you seem to experience the same things over and over again?† You may be in a different place and with different people, but the situation is the same.† Whether it is how you are treated in a relationship, how much money you make or maybe your career choice, you always seem to have the feeling that this has happened to you before.† These situations are usually followed by the question, ďWhy does this keep happening to me?”

Our life experiences are the very things for which we came here Öespecially the painful ones.† Pain is the signal for us to pay attention.† The more pain, the more important the lesson.† With each experience you have you are given the chance to learn the lesson that is within the experience.† As humans, we were given the ability to choose.† At any time you can choose to extract the lesson, leave the experience behind and move on or run from the pain and chose to hide from the lesson.† Each time we hide, it is guaranteed the lesson will return, each time bringing more pain to your awareness.† This is why we experience the same things over and over again in different forms.† They are our lessons disguised.

So what is the secret to moving through an experience and learning the lesson?† Pause.† Each time you find yourself in a familiar situation, pause and ask yourself, ďHow am I going to handle this situation this time?”† Self-awareness is key.† Watch yourself.† Notice what you do, what you say, who you chose as friends and mates.† Nothing changes if nothing changes.† Self-awareness is hard work.† Changing is sometimes painful.† We find ourselves having to release people from our lives that may have been there for a long time; changing the thoughts that we allow to run through our minds and most importantly, changing the way we behave.

Nothing you have done in your life is wrong.† Every choice has lead you to become the person you are today.† Every person you have met, especially the ones who have caused you the most pain, are your greatest teachers.† These teachers are the ones who bring the hurts that need to be healed to the surface so we can see them and choose to change.

Be willing, be open and most importantly pause.† Donít just look at your life, look into your life.† Watch and take note of your patterns.† Patterns that need to be changed are usually followed by a negative emotion.† Negative emotions are our clue that we are out of alignment.† We have a divine birthright to experience joy.† But joy comes with a price and hard work.† We must brush off the old debris that holds us back from our authentic selves and step into who we came here to be.

Donít be afraid.† Everything is just as it is supposed to be.† Just breathe, pray and pause.

Praying for you,

Chris

For your FREE copy of Chris Sopa’s 7 Steps to Changing Any Behavior click on the photo below.

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Chris Sopa is founder and owner of Chris Sopa International, Inc.