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A few thoughts inspired by dogs and cats

Camino Badges

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
There have recently been more than usual number of queries about walking with pets - as is, in strollers, with accompanying campervan, you name it. Reading them set off a series of reflections for me about attachment and how the camino is becoming less potentially transformative as it gets increasingly popular and comfortable.

Once upon a time (not that long ago), walking the way required willingness to live very simply, to be grateful for what was offered, and to leave the attachments of daily life behind. There was no internet, no backpack transfers, few pilgrims, and little comfort.

But as the camino has become 'a thing,' the way has become transformed. It is so much easier to walk now than even 10 years ago - and of course, with facilities and greater ease come the queries that no-one would have thought to ask before - about maintaining electronic presence, coping with separation from family, and wanting to walk with with pets.
None of that would have been an issue before because walking the camino was essentially a retreat, requiring separation from family, from pets, from communication, and from stuff. But now that things are so much easier, there is a desire to avoid that separation however we can.

When there is separation anxiety, and we unfortunately give in to that, we empower and strengthen the very emotion we are trying to avoid. It prevents us from opening to one of the most beautiful lessons of the way which is a growing freedom from needing. Needing anything: comfort, stuff, people (or pets), and most of all needing to be in our comfort zone. We don't need a fraction of what we think we need, and it's so liberating to experience that and to feel connection with no strings attached.

It's precisely when we challenge our comfort zones that the heart opens, and a lot of those needs don't pull on us so much. And precisely because it's hard to do that, along the way we learn compassion, resilience, confidence, and a trust that we're all intimately connected - even across vast distances.

This has absolutely nothing to do with being a 'real pilgrim' or not.
If you want a nice walk in Spain and that's your intention, that's fine and none of this applies.

But if you sincerely want to let the camino re-arrange your heart and your life, it's worth considering what (and who) you feel you must bring, and why. And questioning that. Not because it's bad to walk with a dog (or cat), or to maintain an electronic presence - it isn't. But simply because avoiding getting out of our comfort zones imprisons us in a very small and diminishing space - and we are so much bigger than that.
 

Peter Fransiscus

Be proud of who you are.
Camino(s) past & future
All that we are is the result of what we have thought.
There have recently been more than usual number of queries about walking with pets - as is, in strollers, with accompanying campervan, you name it. Reading them set off a series of reflections for me about attachment and how the camino is becoming less potentially transformative as it gets increasingly popular and comfortable.

Once upon a time (not that long ago), walking the way required willingness to live very simply, to be grateful for what was offered, and to leave the attachments of daily life behind. There was no internet, no backpack transfers, few pilgrims, and little comfort.

But as the camino has become 'a thing,' the way has become transformed. It is so much easier to walk now than even 10 years ago - and of course, with facilities and greater ease come the queries that no-one would have thought to ask before - about maintaining electronic presence, coping with separation from family, and wanting to walk with with pets.
None of that would have been an issue before because walking the camino was essentially a retreat, requiring separation from family, from pets, from communication, and from stuff. But now that things are so much easier, there is a desire to avoid that separation however we can.

When there is separation anxiety, and we unfortunately give in to that, we empower and strengthen the very emotion we are trying to avoid. It prevents us from opening to one of the most beautiful lessons of the way which is a growing freedom from needing. Needing anything: comfort, stuff, people (or pets), and most of all needing to be in our comfort zone. We don't need a fraction of what we think we need, and it's so liberating to experience that and to feel connection with no strings attached.

It's precisely when we challenge our comfort zones that the heart opens, and a lot of those needs don't pull on us so much. And precisely because it's hard to do that, along the way we learn compassion, resilience, confidence, and a trust that we're all intimately connected - even across vast distances.

This has absolutely nothing to do with being a 'real pilgrim' or not.
If you want a nice walk in Spain and that's your intention, that's fine and none of this applies.

But if you sincerely want to let the camino re-arrange your heart and your life, it's worth considering what (and who) you feel you must bring, and why. And questioning that. Not because it's bad to walk with a dog (or cat), or to maintain an electronic presence - it isn't. But simply because avoiding getting out of our comfort zones imprisons us in a very small and diminishing space - and we are so much bigger than that.
So beautyfull said. Thank you. 🙏
 

Turga

Camino tortuga
Camino(s) past & future
CF (Aug/Sep 2017)
CF (Aug/Sep 2018)
There have recently been more than usual number of queries about walking with pets - as is, in strollers, with accompanying campervan, you name it. Reading them set off a series of reflections for me about attachment and how the camino is becoming less potentially transformative as it gets increasingly popular and comfortable.

Once upon a time (not that long ago), walking the way required willingness to live very simply, to be grateful for what was offered, and to leave the attachments of daily life behind. There was no internet, no backpack transfers, few pilgrims, and little comfort.

But as the camino has become 'a thing,' the way has become transformed. It is so much easier to walk now than even 10 years ago - and of course, with facilities and greater ease come the queries that no-one would have thought to ask before - about maintaining electronic presence, coping with separation from family, and wanting to walk with with pets.
None of that would have been an issue before because walking the camino was essentially a retreat, requiring separation from family, from pets, from communication, and from stuff. But now that things are so much easier, there is a desire to avoid that separation however we can.

When there is separation anxiety, and we unfortunately give in to that, we empower and strengthen the very emotion we are trying to avoid. It prevents us from opening to one of the most beautiful lessons of the way which is a growing freedom from needing. Needing anything: comfort, stuff, people (or pets), and most of all needing to be in our comfort zone. We don't need a fraction of what we think we need, and it's so liberating to experience that and to feel connection with no strings attached.

It's precisely when we challenge our comfort zones that the heart opens, and a lot of those needs don't pull on us so much. And precisely because it's hard to do that, along the way we learn compassion, resilience, confidence, and a trust that we're all intimately connected - even across vast distances.

This has absolutely nothing to do with being a 'real pilgrim' or not.
If you want a nice walk in Spain and that's your intention, that's fine and none of this applies.

But if you sincerely want to let the camino re-arrange your heart and your life, it's worth considering what (and who) you feel you must bring, and why. And questioning that. Not because it's bad to walk with a dog (or cat), or to maintain an electronic presence - it isn't. But simply because avoiding getting out of our comfort zones imprisons us in a very small and diminishing space - and we are so much bigger than that.
I understand what you are saying, I do not (necessarily) want to start a debate, but I also believe that everything changes so trying to define what is ‘enough’ and what is ‘too much’ is like dealing with a kind of moving target.

The concept of ‘comfort zone’ also changes. I guess that years ago it was equal to being fairly certain that you’d have a roof over your head for the night, a couple of simple meals a day and perhaps a set of ‘Sunday clothing’ tugged away in some chest. Today, for better or worse, comfort zone comprises so much more.

I think that today many people would feel that they are way out of their comfort zone just by being in a foreign country walking (alone) on long, unfamiliar deserted (more or less) stretches not being certain they will find a bed for the night or what the next town will be like.

And when it comes to comfort, why do we have to have high-tech, lightweight backpacks, high-tech walking poles, special hiking boots/shoes/sandals, technical Merino wool T-shirts & socks, etc., etc.

So how much do you have to give up to feel, that you “sincerely want to let the camino re-arrange your heart and your life”? I do not have the answer, but some faint voice seems to be telling me, that it is more in your attitude and in your heart than in what you bring or leave behind.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF2012,Le Puy/CF 2015 Portugues 2017 Norte 2018, CF 2019
I understand what you are saying, I do not (necessarily) want to start a debate, but I also believe that everything changes so trying to define what is ‘enough’ and what is ‘too much’ is like dealing with a kind of moving target.

The concept of ‘comfort zone’ also changes. I guess that years ago it was equal to being fairly certain that you’d have a roof over your head for the night, a couple of simple meals a day and perhaps a set of ‘Sunday clothing’ tugged away in some chest. Today, for better or worse, comfort zone comprises so much more.

I think that today many people would feel that they are way out of their comfort zone just by being in a foreign country walking (alone) on long, unfamiliar deserted (more or less) stretches not being certain they will find a bed for the night or what the next town will be like.

And when it comes to comfort, why do we have to have high-tech, lightweight backpacks, high-tech walking poles, special hiking boots/shoes/sandals, technical Merino wool T-shirts & socks, etc., etc.

So how much do you have to give up to feel, that you “sincerely want to let the camino re-arrange your heart and your life”? I do not have the answer, but some faint voice seems to be telling me, that it is more in your attitude and in your heart than in what you bring or leave behind.
I agree with the sentiments of VNWalking. I can only speak for myself and my feelings and motivation for walking. I have seen changes over the years and for me very few of them are for the better. Any statement or opinion can be broken down into minutia. You are correct that attitude has a lot to do with your journey and what value it will have for you. I sit in a restaurant or on the side of a road or in an Albergue and see people with their heads buried in their phones looking at Facebook or whatever else may interest them. I hear people complain or read reviews on Gronze that the wifi is weak or there are too many beds in a room for their liking. I will not bore you with other examples. I have long given up on how I feel about touragrinos and then getting condemned for my opinions or people only seeing what they want to see about what me or someone else has written and take things completely out of context. Yes you can break things down to special hiking boots and blah, blah, blah. To me that blurs and transforms what someone else has said into something almost meaningless. Again this is only my opinion but the Camino is not a vacation, it is not a gourmet's delight, it is not how many Paradors you stay in. It is a walk that is plan and simple. I always think back to what my daughter told me 2 days before I left for my first Camino. She had just returned from a year of backpacking around the world on a shoestring budget. "Daddy you are going to learn not to be afraid, you are going to learn that you are capable of greater things. That greatness will come when you learn simplicity and forget the shit you have been taught. I learned that ALL THAT MATTERS IN LIFE is that all I really need is the love and support that my family and my closest friends give me and that all you need in life you can fit in your backpack. The rest daddy, is all BULLS#*T. Now that I no longer need to walk at a certain time of the year I can have the flexibility to walk when I NEED to. I am so happy their are so many choices to walk so I can avoid the crowds and the cell phones and ..... I walked the CF in 2012 and loved it. I saw the changes in 2014 and vowed I will never walk it again. But now I can walk it in November and I will have a new experience. The VDLP awaits me the Le Puy awaits me again and who knows what other less traveled routes I will experience. I am in the minority but it is a growing one who feel as I do. I sure met alot of wonderful young people last October on the Norte who inspired me and gave me hope and ran away from the CF for more than just the reasons I mentioned above. These are just my feelings and if you disagree that's fine. Please remember one last thing. I always hear people tell me I am soooooo judgmental. They do not know me from Adam. I always laugh because their criticism or their defensiveness is just a massive JUDGEMENT TOO!!
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
So how much do you have to give up to feel, that you “sincerely want to let the camino re-arrange your heart and your life”? I do not have the answer, but some faint voice seems to be telling me, that it is more in your attitude and in your heart than in what you bring or leave behind.
There's no one answwr to that, is thaere? And I think ypu're right. It's more about a willingness to rest where it might not feel so comfortable than anything else.
"Daddy you are going to learn not to be afraid, you are going to learn that you are capable of greater things. That greatness will come when you learn simplicity and forget the shit you have been taught.
Wow, @it56ny. . .you raised one wise daughter! Exactamiente. She's so right, and so direct.
🤭
It all boils down to facing fear and not trying to insulate ourselves from it.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF2012,Le Puy/CF 2015 Portugues 2017 Norte 2018, CF 2019
There's no one answwr to that, is thaere? And I think ypu're right. It's more about a willingness to rest where it might not feel so comfortable than anything else.
Wow, @it56ny. . .you raised one wise daughter! Exactamiente. She's so right, and so direct.
🤭
It all boils down to facing fear and not trying to insulate ourselves from it.
Thanks so much VNWalking. When she told me that she reduced me to tears.
 

lt56ny

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF2012,Le Puy/CF 2015 Portugues 2017 Norte 2018, CF 2019
One of the things I have learned on the Camino is to walk/experience it my way without judging other--just observe.
But I fully agree with all of the observations of @VNwalking and @lt56ny . My last CF was 2016 and all the changes made it difficult to be an observer and not a judge.
I totally agree with you. Judging as you walk does reduce each of us and our personal journey. It sometimes can be sooo hard to observe without judging. That is one reason I seek out the roads less traveled.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
It sometimes can be sooo hard to observe without judging.
Well, of course judging happens. That's the habit we all learned. But the only thing to ask is do I want to feed it, or starve it?

everything changes so trying to define what is ‘enough’ and what is ‘too much’ is like dealing with a kind of moving target.
And I've been chewing on this, and really resonate with it.
For example, we freak out about bedbugs. But pilgrims once upon a time would have shrugged.
And more to the point of this post - just a few decades ago pilgrims were grateful for a place in the corner of the village polideportivo. Now?
 
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hel&scott

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2004 St Jean - Santiago, 2008 &18 Seville - Finesterre, 2010 Ferrol - Lisbon, 2012 from Cartehenga.
I think the Camino is about leaving your comfort zone, after all when you reach Santiago one of the questions they ask is "have you suffered?" Not how comfortable you found it. The first time I was asked this I was a bit taken aback, sure I suffered blisters and indignities of snoring etc but what has that got to do with it. Now I realise it's because I suffer that I need the contemplation the Camino can bring, it's also why I have never rewalked the CF, preferring to travel the harder and less used routes. And as much as I love the company of walking with my dog, I leave her at home in comfort when I hit the trails.
 

hel&scott

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2004 St Jean - Santiago, 2008 &18 Seville - Finesterre, 2010 Ferrol - Lisbon, 2012 from Cartehenga.
Who asks that?
At the pilgrim office in Santiago, standard questions "where did you start, did you walk all of the last 100km, did you have a spiritual experience, did you suffer?"
 

C clearly

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (2012, 2014, 2015, 2016). Seville-Astorga (Mar 2017). Mozarabe (Apr-May 2018)
At the pilgrim office in Santiago, standard questions "where did you start, did you walk all of the last 100km, did you have a spiritual experience, did you suffer?"
I don't remember that at all! Don't know what I would have answered. 🤔
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances(2006) Portugues(2013)
San Salvador (2017) Ingles (2019)
At the pilgrim office in Santiago, standard questions "where did you start, did you walk all of the last 100km, did you have a spiritual experience, did you suffer?"
The young lady who gave me my Compostela asked me nothing. So different from 2006, in the old place, where the French volunteer was overcome with emotion interviewing the two of us, maybe he wasn't used to people declaring for spiritual reasons! in 2006, yes, I suffered, but much more in 2017 on the Salvador. This time? Not really. the struggle up a couple of hills was forgotten as soon as the ground levelled off. I am not giving the Compostela back though!
 

hel&scott

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2004 St Jean - Santiago, 2008 &18 Seville - Finesterre, 2010 Ferrol - Lisbon, 2012 from Cartehenga.
I don't remember that at all! Don't know what I would have answered. 🤔
Yes I was surprised to be asked this especially as I don't get the Compostela, just the welcome certificate and sometimes just a completion sello. But the questions remain and my daughter was asked the same when she picked up a distance certificate last year, given the grief I gave her on that trip she was able to confirm she suffered, but also found joy. Sorry for taking the thread off topic.
 

Bala

Veteran member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: SJPdP-Burgos, (2015); Burgos-Sarria (2018); Sarria-Santiago (2018).
Frances (2020)
I don't remember that at all! Don't know what I would have answered. 🤔
Nor me. In fact, the only thing I remember being asked is whether or not I wanted a distance certificate. I was not asked my reasons for walking, just given a sheet where I filled in my name and checked the box for "religious." It is what it is, with two to three thousand walkers coming through each day in the high season.
 

Bala

Veteran member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances: SJPdP-Burgos, (2015); Burgos-Sarria (2018); Sarria-Santiago (2018).
Frances (2020)
In the end, with or without modern gear, conveyances, and tethers, caminos must still be trudged—alone or with others—in good weather and in bad; through flat land and imposing mountain; infused daily with longing, purpose, and freedom.
But I think that's just the point. Many people see no need to trudge along, and don't. Why bother, when there are buses, taxis, trains, to skip the parts you've heard are boring, or when the weather turns bad, pack services to send your bag, and so on. There's nothing intrinsically wrong with any of these. And for some people any one of them may make the difference between whether they can continue or not.

But more importantly, I think what I feel sad about is the number who walk (or post) without ever seeming to have thought about what they hope to accomplish by taking on this journey, why they are going, and/or how some of these activities may or may not help them to accomplish that.
 

hel&scott

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
2004 St Jean - Santiago, 2008 &18 Seville - Finesterre, 2010 Ferrol - Lisbon, 2012 from Cartehenga.
Ok, back to the thread, @VNwalking made some valid points that resonate with a number of us and the intal responses expand and debate the theme, which is par the course for a forum thread (as is going of topic it appears). We all take along extra stuff with us when we walk, be it a vital electic coil to heat our morning coffee or a load of emotional baggage we want to be rid of. Our reasons for walking are as varied as the things that we take, and hopefully the way is wide enough to accomodate the demands of the increasing numbers who take it.

@lt56ny has a point about being change by the experience, sometimes this happens, I think this is related to leaving your comfort zone and challenging oneself, back packing, Camino walking, parachuting, can all result in this. The suffering thing I assume a hang over from Catholic penitence and I'm not one for self flagilation. I could have really done without developing a blister through to my heal bone on my first Camino or pulling my archillies tendon on the last. But how I dealt with these issues and managed to carry on taught me something about my own stubbornness and determination. And that sometimes you need to ask for help, something I am not good at.

These days when I need to deal with my grief and loneliness I don't head to Spain, I pull on my gumboots and head off around the farm, trudging along the track and crossing the fields helps bring back familiar rhythms of the Camino and I guess I have always found solace in the glory of nature and am lucky can look around me and get my fix. Yes I miss the 4 to 6 weeks of total submersion that walking across Spain gives, but I miss my walking companion more.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Sorry for taking the thread off topic.
Hel, you didn't. Really, that is the point - how we get so much more out of the camino (and life) when we stop trying to avoid anything even vaguely unpleasant and just surrender to what's here, now. And we have to go past out discomfort edges to do that - if we stay in our comfort zone we never grow. So whether someone actually asks us at the Pilgrim's Office or not, it's not a bad contemplation/reflection to ask ourselves, 'Did I face whatever suffering came, or did I try to avoid it?' We are so adept at stage-managing our lives so we can present them to ourselves and others as a tidy and attractive packages, but life just doesn't work that way.
The suffering thing I assume a hang over from Catholic penitence.
Ha! I thought Buddhists owned suffering.;)🤣
(Seriously, facing the darkness is in all spiritual traditions. You just gotta do it.)
Yes I miss the 4 to 6 weeks of total submersion that walking across Spain gives, but I miss my walking companion more.
Just ❤

I think what I feel sad about is the number who walk (or post) without ever seeming to have thought about what they hope to accomplish by taking on this journey, why they are going, and/or how some of these activities may or may not help them to accomplish that.
Amen.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
And from another thread (I hope it's OK to quote you here, @Kathar1na ):
Do you really think hundreds of thousands would strive for self-actualisation on the Pilgrim Caminos of Northern Spain without the fact that many of their basic physiological and safety needs are so easily and cheaply met there? Food and drink a plenty, next to nothing of which has to be searched for or carried, beds everywhere and at a small cost only, the biggest dangers to you at night in your albergue bed are bed bugs and snorers and there are no bears anywhere near you during the day and no armed mochila robber hiding behind every bush or rock? That is the very key of its contemporary success and it meets plenty of these physiological and safety needs. At least imho.
Exactly. Few people seem willing to get out of their comfort zone - or maybe the comfort zone has just become very narrow indeed. No doubt that's why many old-timers roll their eyes so much - most people walking now aren't as resilient as pilgrims once had to be, when all that awaited you at the end of the day was a mat in the gym, or less. Now people have many more demands.

This year on the Frances, I stayed in San Anton and San Nicholas, neither of which have electricity or (natch) wifi. 99.999% of people just walked on by when they realized that, wanting mod cons and wifi. It was the high season, but neither albergue was full - at San Anton there were only 4 of us. It was sad, that so many people missed out on such an amazing experience.
 

nycwalking

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF: (2001, 2002, 2004, 2014). Hospitalera: 2002, Ponferrada. 2004, Rabanal del Camino.
There have recently been more than usual number of queries about walking with pets - as is, in strollers, with accompanying campervan, you name it. Reading them set off a series of reflections for me about attachment and how the camino is becoming less potentially transformative as it gets increasingly popular and comfortable.

Once upon a time (not that long ago), walking the way required willingness to live very simply, to be grateful for what was offered, and to leave the attachments of daily life behind. There was no internet, no backpack transfers, few pilgrims, and little comfort.

But as the camino has become 'a thing,' the way has become transformed. It is so much easier to walk now than even 10 years ago - and of course, with
To avoid a rant but still post.

Just know the person who, in the before time, could average 30kms a day, with pack on back, a sometime text or email or phone home need, albergue staying pilgrim.

May one day become the pilgrim who thanks God for the: emotional dog or cat, pack transport, private accommodation user with their electronics attached to their hip: Literally.

Times change. Needs change.

Thank goodness The Way, especially CF, can accommodate all comers.
 
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Robo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
It's precisely when we challenge our comfort zones that the heart opens, and a lot of those needs don't pull on us so much. And precisely because it's hard to do that, along the way we learn compassion, resilience, confidence, and a trust that we're all intimately connected - even across vast distances.
Love your post. In particular the paragraph above.
This is why if my wife walks with me again, she wants to walk 'apart' to a degree.
She recognises that she will learn more from the Camino if she does.......
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
This is why if my wife walks with me again, she wants to walk 'apart' to a degree.
She recognises that she will learn more from the Camino if she does.......
Go, girl!
I have to say my relationship with the camino has shifted radically this year, after walking a camino I had (irrationally) been too chicken to take on before - and discovering I was fine. Just fine.
Not pushing myself to open too fast has been the key: had I jumped in feet first several years ago, I'm guessing that would have been too much of a challenge.

Never mind that we know intellectually that what we think we can't handle is irrational. There it is. Now what? Poco a poco.

And yes... @nycwalking, I agree entirely.
One's edges are a moving target, depending on mind, body, and heart.
What matters to me as a pilgrim is testing the edges and transcending them, not what that looks like. So it is good that there is a place for everyone, no matter what.
 

nycwalking

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF: (2001, 2002, 2004, 2014). Hospitalera: 2002, Ponferrada. 2004, Rabanal del Camino.
Go, girl!
I have to say my relationship with the camino has shifted radically this year, after walking a camino I had (irrationally) been too chicken to take on before - and discovering I was fine. Just fine.
Not pushing myself to open too fast has been the key: had I jumped in feet first several years ago, I'm guessing that would have been too much of a challenge.

Never mind that we know intellectually that what we think we can't handle is irrational. There it is. Now what? Poco a poco.

And yes... @nycwalking, I agree entirely.
One's edges are a moving target, depending on mind, body, and heart.
What matters to me as a pilgrim is testing the edges and transcending them, not what that looks like. So it is good that there is a place for everyone, no matter what.
I truly understand at what you’re getting.

Not everyone who use new goodies need them. And, many should jump in the deep and swim versus treading water in the shallows.

I’m just a wee bit sensitive because my edges have drastically changed. Prayerfully, they’ll change back: ASAP.
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
I’m just a wee bit sensitive because my edges have drastically changed. Prayerfully, they’ll change back: ASAP.
Oy. I'm sorry to hear that @nycwalking. Surrender time at the OK corral...challenging, ever and always.
May your edges bounce back to where they were. And no matter what may you have ease with it all.
 

Robo

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF SJPdP to SdC
(May 2015)
CF Sarria to SdC
(May 2016)
CF SJPDP-SdC
(Apr/May 2018)
VdlP (2020)
One's edges are a moving target, depending on mind, body, and heart.
What matters to me as a pilgrim is testing the edges and transcending them, not what that looks like. So it is good that there is a place for everyone, no matter what.
Edges huh? That's a new one for me.
Like........'boundaries'? 😕
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Edges huh? That's a new one for me.
Like........'boundaries'? 😕
Of a sort, but not in the usual psychological sense- I just mean the edge of what is comfortable.
 

Turga

Camino tortuga
Camino(s) past & future
CF (Aug/Sep 2017)
CF (Aug/Sep 2018)
All this talk about leaving the comfort zone, testing the edges, seeking challenges, facing fear and accept suffering. I can’t help thinking of the book by Tom Wolfe “The Right Stuff” on the early test pilots of the 1950ties competing fiercely about who had the highest willingness to face fear, to ‘hang your hide out over the line’ and to ‘push the outside of the envelope’. Perhaps we are (unconsciously) in some kind of competition about who have ‘the right stuff’ of a pilgrim? 🙂
 

VNwalking

Wandering in big circles
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
San Olav/CF ('16)
Baztanés/CF ('17)
Ingles ('18)
Vasco/CF/Invierno ('19)
Perhaps we are (unconsciously) in some kind of competition about who have ‘the right stuff’ of a pilgrim? 🙂
Haha!
But sorry, just no. The right stuff almost certainly weighs too much. ;););)
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
There have recently been more than usual number of queries about walking with pets - as is, in strollers, with accompanying campervan, you name it. Reading them set off a series of reflections for me about attachment and how the camino is becoming less potentially transformative as it gets increasingly popular and comfortable.

Once upon a time (not that long ago), walking the way required willingness to live very simply, to be grateful for what was offered, and to leave the attachments of daily life behind. There was no internet, no backpack transfers, few pilgrims, and little comfort.

But as the camino has become 'a thing,' the way has become transformed. It is so much easier to walk now than even 10 years ago - and of course, with facilities and greater ease come the queries that no-one would have thought to ask before - about maintaining electronic presence, coping with separation from family, and wanting to walk with with pets.
None of that would have been an issue before because walking the camino was essentially a retreat, requiring separation from family, from pets, from communication, and from stuff. But now that things are so much easier, there is a desire to avoid that separation however we can.

When there is separation anxiety, and we unfortunately give in to that, we empower and strengthen the very emotion we are trying to avoid. It prevents us from opening to one of the most beautiful lessons of the way which is a growing freedom from needing. Needing anything: comfort, stuff, people (or pets), and most of all needing to be in our comfort zone. We don't need a fraction of what we think we need, and it's so liberating to experience that and to feel connection with no strings attached.

It's precisely when we challenge our comfort zones that the heart opens, and a lot of those needs don't pull on us so much. And precisely because it's hard to do that, along the way we learn compassion, resilience, confidence, and a trust that we're all intimately connected - even across vast distances.

This has absolutely nothing to do with being a 'real pilgrim' or not.
If you want a nice walk in Spain and that's your intention, that's fine and none of this applies.

But if you sincerely want to let the camino re-arrange your heart and your life, it's worth considering what (and who) you feel you must bring, and why. And questioning that. Not because it's bad to walk with a dog (or cat), or to maintain an electronic presence - it isn't. But simply because avoiding getting out of our comfort zones imprisons us in a very small and diminishing space - and we are so much bigger than that.
I'm reading a book now written by someone who walked from Chartres to Santiago de Compostela in the 1980s. She phoned home regularly (from pay phones), received mail in poste restantes, and carried a book, small radio and cassette player with her (and casettes). Even back then people were finding ways to stay connected and listen to their favourite music when they walked.

That said, there is something to the idea that the transformative benefits of the Camino are assisted when it is a place to take a break from the day to day worries and responsibilities of our regular life and step out of the personas and roles that we play at home.

I think that there is an element of this for even the most connected of us. The Camino demands so much from us, and so simply, that we are forced into the present for great swaths of time. People talk (or write) of the repetitive simplicity of the Camino, some variation of: sleep, walk, eat, clean and repeat. These make up the bulk of our time on the Camino and they leave little room and energy for much else. It is this repetitive simplicity and the forced attention to the present that, I think, makes the Camino so transformative (along with our relationships to fellow pilgrims).

Your mileage may vary, of course.
 

David Tallan

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (1989 and 2016), Portugues - from Porto (2018)
At the pilgrim office in Santiago, standard questions "where did you start, did you walk all of the last 100km, did you have a spiritual experience, did you suffer?"
I was not asked if I had a spiritual experience nor if I suffered when I showed up at the pilgrim office in Santiago in 2016 or 2018. I was asked my reasons for walking the Camino. In 1989 I didn't go to the pilgrim office nor seek a Compostela.
 

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