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I have lost myself

JillGat

la tierra encantada
Past OR future Camino
2018
"Who am I?" is a big unanswered question for me too. I like to walk in the dark when I need that kick of pretending I am back there-scenery is anything you want it to be in the dark. I was there in October too, and like you I am feeling a level of nostalgia unlike ever before. What they tried to tell us and we failed to truly understand, is that the "real camino" starts after we finish, and I think we're in the now in an uphill section. Re-entry has not been pretty for me either. The Camino is a life changing event and coping can be difficult. Just like you'd reach out to fix your blisters if they got too bad, there's no shame in reaching out to a mental health professional if your mind feels wrong.
Walking in the dark at home! I like that idea, too.
 
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Kanga

Moderator
Staff member
Past OR future Camino
Francés x 5, Le Puy x 2, Arles, Tours, Norte, Madrid, Via de la Plata, Portuguese, Primitivo
I know what you mean in terms of the conventional world, but ultimately you are whoever you are, right now. Looking for more than that will be forever disappointing.

Being gives far clearer answers to that question than thinking about it.
Or, as our younger daughter said when she told us she was abandoning philosophy as one of her university subjects: "Too much messing with my mind, better to just get on with it".
 

William Garza

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Camino Frances, The Jakobsweg
What is true freedom
Some of you/us/we have been longing for a freedom.
Some of us find it
Some of us lost it
Some of us dont know what to do with it.

And combinations of these.
Away from the mortal ever tightening coils the breathing is easier.away from expectations and demands of the circles around us? True selves can emerge.
Good and bad and wholly human we face ourselves in the cleanest mirrors..in the deepness of the hours and alone with ourselves.
It can be frightening,enlightening.empowering.

And then we return.
Where we compromise,rationalise and legitimise what we had shaken the shackles of for so brief a period.
Your a bird whose wings are too short for the flight ahead, found your limits frustratingly short of what your heart knows..absolutely knows your capable of.
So you land after having the wind under you. Not enough wings
Enough heart
Not enough wings...

But your still growing and getting stronger and stretching them out because the memory of wind and flight and your freedom.
Turning despair into determination
Darkness into direction
Stretching the wings

Be gentle with yourself
You know the way
You know how to grow into your bigger self

Be blessed Pilgrim
 
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Storyteller Matt

Storyteller Matt
Past OR future Camino
2021
First of all, thank you for all your kind words and support a couple of weeks ago when I posted the thread "I have lost myself." You all offered wonderful insights, and I grew and learned a lot through your words.

Second, I am still lost. But I'm good. My wife tells me that I've always been a bit lost, but one of the things she loves about me is that I am always seeking. And maybe I should embrace that state of seeking as a constant... dwell in it... love it. Perhaps I felt "found" on the Camino because there was a physical destination that served as a focal point for my seeking.

Whatever the case, I had a revelation last night. You see, my wife and I have been rewatching Outlander for the third time. We just watched my favorite moment from season four, when young Iain gives himself to the Mohawk tribe and is forced to run a gauntlet. Iain fights his way to the end, touches the Mohawk Chief on the moccasin, and the Chief helps Iain to his feet and announces, "He is one of us!" Iain's smile is huge and beautiful.

That made me think of the Camino. Of the "gauntlet" of physical, mental, and spiritual challenges. At the end, I realize I have become part of a new tribe.

I am one of you now.

That's the best gift I could ask for in 2021.
 
Past OR future Camino
Next up 2022?
Beautiful.
A poem by David Whyte for you, peregrino:

Camino
The way forward, the way between things,
the way already walked before you,
the path disappearing and re-appearing even
as the ground gave way beneath you,
the grief apparent only in the moment
of forgetting, then the river, the mountain,
the lifting song of the Sky Lark inviting
you over the rain filled pass when your legs
had given up, and after,
it would be dusk and the half-lit villages
in evening light; other people's homes
glimpsed through lighted windows
and inside, other people's lives; your own home
you had left crowding your memory
as you looked to see a child playing
or a mother moving from one side of
a room to another, your eyes wet
with the keen cold wind of Navarre.

But your loss brought you here to walk
under one name and one name only,
and to find the guise under which all loss can live;
remember you were given that name every day
along the way, remember you were greeted as such,
and you needed no other name, other people
seemed to know you even before you gave up
being a shadow on the road and came into the light,
even before you sat down with them,
broke bread and drank wine,
wiped the wind-tears from your eyes;
pilgrim they called you again. Pilgrim.
 

Canada Wanders

Lost, but making great time...
Past OR future Camino
CF 2015
CP 2018
So glad you are feeling a little more centred. Life can be hard enough that we don’t need to wrestle our own soul for control.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Past OR future Camino
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
Now I am home. This is where everyone says the real Camino begins.
Actually, I don't agree with that -- unless you start from home, which I've done three times now.

And that's not intended to be unhelpfully pedantic nor self-congratulatory ; but it's to say that getting "into" the Camino is a variable incidence, that will come sooner or later depending on who you are and how you hike.
So many stories I've heard about people finding answers on the Camino, coming to great realizations about their life.

The only realization I have upon coming home is that I am lost, that I have always been lost, and that the only place where I felt "found" was on the Camino... "found" for the first time in my life.
Well, that's a start for you anyway. Grand realisations are actually somewhat rare on and from the Camino, but it sounds as though you might be up for one.

Though ...
Now I am home, and I am lost again. I'm not peaceful. I'm not happy. I don't feel enlightened. I hate the company of non-pilgrims. The voice of my wife (who I love and adore) makes me want to scream. The demands of my life are almost unbearable.
I tend to suggest that Santiago is a halfway point on one's pilgrimage, but I also suggest that some people who are stronger hikers (as I was on my 1994) or more stubborn or more XYZ than others really do need to start from much further afield than others. For me that year it was Paris, but it could be Lourdes, or Arles, or wherever.

And I'd suggest to you that opening yourself up, howsoever, to the people who live along the Way and to that simplicity of life is how to open yourself up back into it, as life and love deserve.

Yes there's a risk -- I certainly could not return into an ordinary life as a result of my own Caminos.

But as to me, I am a loner, and we loners are unusual to start with.

But in all cases -- the true destination of any pilgrimage is home, and every pilgrim would do well to understand that the very first step you take, whether that's from your own front door or from a hostel in SJPP or wherever is your first step back home, and to set your thoughts and hopes there, instead of in the transient utopia of the Camino itself.
If I could, I would gladly be back in the middle of La Meseta, hungry, tired, smelling bad, ass itching, feet aching... all would be preferable to the hell that is this so-called "real world." The Camino is one of the things that was missing in my life, and I have no idea how to parlay that into the rest of my life.
Then walk a longer Camino ; one long enough to teach you homesickness.
I didn't find myself on the Camino. I lost myself. And I don't know how to find myself again.
I've seen this a few times in others -- I think it's mostly from confusing the Camino with the destination, taking too seriously the notion that "the journey is the destination"

Back home, into yourself, and through home and self towards others and in God are where the pilgrim Way of Saint James leads to, even for whacky loners like myself.

---

Otherwise, it's also possible you cut yourself away from the proper ending of your Camino by zooming back home as quickly as possible, instead of making your Way home a proper journey, and a significant part of the Camino.
 
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Portugues '15, '16, & '19
Via Francigena '17
Frances '18
Muxia & Finisterre '18
Tahoe Rim Trail '19
I finished the Camino Frances in October 2021. It was a calling I had to fulfill, ever since I dipped my toe in the Camino in 2018 (where I started in Sarria and made a fool of myself). This time, I completed... the best thing I have ever done.

Now I am home. This is where everyone says the real Camino begins. So many stories I've heard about people finding answers on the Camino, coming to great realizations about their life.

The only realization I have upon coming home is that I am lost, that I have always been lost, and that the only place where I felt "found" was on the Camino... "found" for the first time in my life.

Now I am home, and I am lost again. I'm not peaceful. I'm not happy. I don't feel enlightened. I hate the company of non-pilgrims. The voice of my wife (who I love and adore) makes me want to scream. The demands of my life are almost unbearable.

If I could, I would gladly be back in the middle of La Meseta, hungry, tired, smelling bad, ass itching, feet aching... all would be preferable to the hell that is this so-called "real world." The Camino is one of the things that was missing in my life, and I have no idea how to parlay that into the rest of my life.

I didn't find myself on the Camino. I lost myself. And I don't know how to find myself again.

Help?
I too prefer the Meseta to the real world. However, I now include the Camino in my real world.

You might consider planning your next Camino in the Spring (covid safe) and maybe see if your wife would like to join you. Part of the planning can include lots of outdoor activities, researching different routes, and reading a Camino book or two. For me the preparation is a really nice time.

Also, there may be Camino organizations in your area to join as well as Hospitalero training opportunities.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Past OR future Camino
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
St. Ignatius, the founder of the Jesuits wrote about consolation and desolation.
Margaret Silf, who is a spiritual writer and director describes the following criterion for each state, and I believe, as someone with a clinical background, that these are descriptions that are helpful when a person is trying to determine if s/he is in consolation or desolation…regardless of one’s spiritual orientations.

Desolation

  • Turns us in on ourselves
  • Drives us down the spiral ever deeper into our own negative feelings
  • Cuts us off from community
  • Makes us want to give up on the things that used to be important to us
  • Takes over our whole consciousness and crowds out our distant vision
  • Covers up all our landmarks [the signs of our journey with God so far]
  • Drains us of energy

Consolation

  • Directs our focus outside and beyond ourselves
  • Lifts our hearts so that we can see the joys and sorrows of other people
  • Bonds us more closely to our human community
  • Generates new inspiration and ideas
  • Restores balance and refreshes our inner vision
  • Shows us where God is active in our lives and where God is leading us
  • Releases new energy in us
This is a good pathway to spirituality, but some of us, certainly myself, need to follow a somewhat different path, though the goals of those divergent paths are ultimately the same as this one.

Certainly "so that we can see the joys and sorrows of other people" !! That is one element that is common to ALL spirituality, whether it be based in soul/spirit, body, or mind ; right-hand path or left.
 

shefollowsshells

Veteran Member
Past OR future Camino
Several alone and with children
Actually, I don't agree with that -- unless you start from home, which I've done three times now.

And that's not intended to be unhelpfully pedantic nor self-congratulatory ; but it's to say that getting "into" the Camino is a variable incidence, that will come sooner or later depending on who you are and how you hike.

Well, that's a start for you anyway. Grand realisations are actually somewhat rare on and from the Camino, but it sounds as though you might be up for one.

Though ...

I tend to suggest that Santiago is a halfway point on one's pilgrimage, but I also suggest that some people who are stronger hikers (as I was on my 1994) or more stubborn or more XYZ than others really do need to start from much further afield than others. For me that year it was Paris, but it could be Lourdes, or Arles, or wherever.

And I'd suggest to you that opening yourself up, howsoever, to the people who live along the Way and to that simplicity of life is how to open yourself up back into it, as life and love deserve.

Yes there's a risk -- I certainly could not return into an ordinary life as a result of my own Caminos.

But as to me, I am a loner, and we loners are unusual to start with.

But in all cases -- the true destination of any pilgrimage is home, and every pilgrim would do well to understand that the very first step you take, whether that's from your own front door or from a hostel in SJPP or wherever is your first step back home, and to set your thoughts and hopes there, instead of in the transient utopia of the Camino itself.

Then walk a longer Camino ; one long enough to teach you homesickness.

I've seen this a few times in others -- I think it's mostly from confusing the Camino with the destination, taking too seriously the notion that "the journey is the destination"

Back home, into yourself, and through home and self towards others and in God are where the pilgrim Way of Saint James leads to, even for whacky loners like myself.

---

Otherwise, it's also possible you cut yourself away from the proper ending of your Camino by zooming back home as quickly as possible, instead of making your Way home a proper journey, and a significant part of the Camino.
Beautifully said!
 

kiwicat

New Member
Past OR future Camino
2021
You say you feel lost.
And that you felt found on the camino.
If you felt that way on the camino, you can feel that anywhere. How to recover yourself off the camino is the deeper and harder pilgrimage.
But it's worth every step.

Happiness is an inside job. The camino is a doorway in - and a proximate cause of a kind of happiness - but it's not what ultimately causes deeper happiness.
The mind and heart do that.
They are powerful, and when we are completely present and centered, we are naturally content no matter what is happening or where we are.

So finding a way to access that contentment and joy anywhere is your task right now. Planning or walking another camino doesn't solve anything, it just perpetuates external seeking. Like chasing a rainbow, happiness is always a little farther away.

So reproducing the outer circumstances of the Camino that produce 'foundness' without cultivating inner presence at home is a tune-up, and a pleasant enough addiction, but it misses the deeper potential for accessing true peace of mind.

There are lots of ways to do that. @simply B describes his version. I do walking meditation.
Anything that keeps you experientially exploring the source of inner happiness will help develop resilience when things get bumpy.
And they do. A lot.
There's nothing wrong with that, just life being what it is.

Ultreia, peregrino.
💖
Wisely and beautifully stated...
 

Alan

New Member
In

She knows. We've been talking about it. I don't talk outside of class, and I showed her what I wrote.
Matt,

My only thoughts are to be sure to keep your wife the priority in all of this. Perhaps being challenged to transform into a more loving husband will serve to be a far more beautiful and rewarding Camino than anything experienced in Spain....
 
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06,CF;13,CP;17,SSal;19,Ingles
First of all, thank you for all your kind words and support a couple of weeks ago when I posted the thread "I have lost myself." You all offered wonderful insights, and I grew and learned a lot through your words.

Second, I am still lost. But I'm good. My wife tells me that I've always been a bit lost, but one of the things she loves about me is that I am always seeking. And maybe I should embrace that state of seeking as a constant... dwell in it... love it. Perhaps I felt "found" on the Camino because there was a physical destination that served as a focal point for my seeking.

Whatever the case, I had a revelation last night. You see, my wife and I have been rewatching Outlander for the third time. We just watched my favorite moment from season four, when young Iain gives himself to the Mohawk tribe and is forced to run a gauntlet. Iain fights his way to the end, touches the Mohawk Chief on the moccasin, and the Chief helps Iain to his feet and announces, "He is one of us!" Iain's smile is huge and beautiful.

That made me think of the Camino. Of the "gauntlet" of physical, mental, and spiritual challenges. At the end, I realize I have become part of a new tribe.

I am one of you now.

That's the best gift I could ask for in 2021.
Matt, I have been aware of your struggle. This post is reassuring. May your growing assimilation bring you peace and contentment. Someone else said: bring your wife along. Why not work on that!!!!!!!
 
Past OR future Camino
Next up 2022?
I am still lost. But I'm good.
What a delicious paradox.
I'm catching up with some of the recent replies here, and am so touched by them.

the true destination of any pilgrimage is home, and every pilgrim would do well to understand that the very first step you take, whether that's from your own front door or from a hostel in SJPP or wherever is your first step back home, and to set your thoughts and hopes there, instead of in the transient utopia of the Camino itself.
Absolutely. And well-said, @JabbaPapa.
Integration is essential.
That's what many of us mean when we say the camino has just begun when you get home. It's not an outer pilgrimage to a shrine or holy place, but an inner one to find a way to weave together what we saw out there and what we live here. Including our loved ones, as you do seem to be doing, @Storyteller Matt.

If it's bumpy, it's bumpy. That will change, as life lives through you.
 

Naima bock

New Member
Past OR future Camino
Leon- Santiago 2015
Sjpd- Najera 2019
Porto- Santiago 2019

Planning to walk
Leon - Santiago
I finished the Camino Frances in October 2021. It was a calling I had to fulfill, ever since I dipped my toe in the Camino in 2018 (where I started in Sarria and made a fool of myself). This time, I completed... the best thing I have ever done.

Now I am home. This is where everyone says the real Camino begins. So many stories I've heard about people finding answers on the Camino, coming to great realizations about their life.

The only realization I have upon coming home is that I am lost, that I have always been lost, and that the only place where I felt "found" was on the Camino... "found" for the first time in my life.

Now I am home, and I am lost again. I'm not peaceful. I'm not happy. I don't feel enlightened. I hate the company of non-pilgrims. The voice of my wife (who I love and adore) makes me want to scream. The demands of my life are almost unbearable.

If I could, I would gladly be back in the middle of La Meseta, hungry, tired, smelling bad, ass itching, feet aching... all would be preferable to the hell that is this so-called "real world." The Camino is one of the things that was missing in my life, and I have no idea how to parlay that into the rest of my life.

I didn't find myself on the Camino. I lost myself. And I don't know how to find myself again.

Help?
I completely understand, I am 24 years old and have been walking sections of the camino on my own since I was 16. The feeling of being seriously lost on the return home often last 3-4 months for me and then all I have attached to my memories of the camino and its beautiful people is love. I look forward to returning to the way and am grateful that it is always there to return to if (or when) shit hits the fan, or also in good phases of life.

I don't believe so much in the 'real camino' idea, 'normal' life and the camino are one and the same thing and you can make connections like we do on the camino in many different respects of life. These situations to connect in the same way to people do tend to require a certain amount of extremity (I felt the same sense of connection to people and the world when I did a month long archaeological dig) however the way is just as real as 'real' life, it just depends how we shape our worlds and the mentality that we form towards work, relationships and other things.

for me, the feelings of lostness I can see are in how I deeply I connect with the people around me, when walking the pilgrimage, everyone is so tired that the egos seem to go and all is left is honesty. Living in cities this isn't so much the case and the tiredness is more mental than physical which seems to lead to more of a need for individuals to seclude themselves (I do this too!) from each other. it is sad.

I hope that your negative feelings of lostness one day turn into positive ones, as we are all lost, even if we don't know it, and that can also be held in love and beauty sometimes.

Thankyou for your honesty, it seems to have hit home for many fellow pilgrims walking on this journey.
 

JabbaPapa

"True Pilgrim"
Past OR future Camino
100 characters or fewer : see signature details
I don't believe so much in the 'real camino' idea, 'normal' life and the camino are one and the same thing
Yes !!

Top tip -- understanding that is a significant part of what it means to become a "real pilgrim". :cool:
when walking the pilgrimage, everyone is so tired that the egos seem to go and all is left is honesty
Ditto.

¡¡ Buen Camino peregrina !!
 

Brad Warren

New Member
Past OR future Camino
from Porto
First of all, thank you for all your kind words and support a couple of weeks ago when I posted the thread "I have lost myself." You all offered wonderful insights, and I grew and learned a lot through your words.

Second, I am still lost. But I'm good. My wife tells me that I've always been a bit lost, but one of the things she loves about me is that I am always seeking. And maybe I should embrace that state of seeking as a constant... dwell in it... love it. Perhaps I felt "found" on the Camino because there was a physical destination that served as a focal point for my seeking.

Whatever the case, I had a revelation last night. You see, my wife and I have been rewatching Outlander for the third time. We just watched my favorite moment from season four, when young Iain gives himself to the Mohawk tribe and is forced to run a gauntlet. Iain fights his way to the end, touches the Mohawk Chief on the moccasin, and the Chief helps Iain to his feet and announces, "He is one of us!" Iain's smile is huge and beautiful.

That made me think of the Camino. Of the "gauntlet" of physical, mental, and spiritual challenges. At the end, I realize I have become part of a new tribe.

I am one of you now.

That's the best gift I could ask for in 2021.

The Path

O dew of the dawn.
The greetings of a wayfarer to thee.

O radiance of new light.,
The greetings of a shadow to thee.

O fragrance of spring blossom.
The greetings of a dreamer to thee.

O forest of ripe fruit.
The greetings of the hungry to thee.

O pruner of the vineyard.
The greetings of a sweeper to thee.

O wanderer of the hundred ways.
the greetings of a pilgrim to thee.

O you whom we meet at inns and by-ways.
The hope of a lover to thee.
 
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