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Reflecting on my Camino

Zordmot

First timer Spring 2019
Camino(s) past & future
April-May 2019
I walked the CF in 2019. It was the fulfillment of a dream. Like many pilgrims, I was in the midst of a major transition in my life. There were losses to mourn, new opportunities to explore, changes to accept, and several profound “shifts of consciousness” to integrate into my 63 year old self. The Camino provided time to meditate, contemplate, meet new friends, and experience my life in a different way over 810 km.

It also put before me some of my own limitations. Included was a polyannish expectation that other pilgrims would be friendly, open, vulnerable, and that I would feel part of a lovely pilgrim community—exactly like I’d seen portrayed in THE movie and in documentaries.

I actually did find a pilgrim community, or I should say several diverse communities of pilgrims. A year later, I count these relationships as real treasures. The polyannish side of me should’ve been thrilled by this. However, as my mom would accurately diagnose, I tend to “see the hole and not the donut”.

The hole in the donut was how people failed to fulfill my expectations. Included were the snorers, the ones who would race ahead to get a bed in the next town, (or should I say the upper bunk), those who weren’t friendly, the man that gave me an elbow and cut into the line of those of us waiting to order breakfast, the ones who would come to bed after I was asleep, those who would wake up before I was ready to wake up, the cyclists, hospitaleros who were not friendly, the groups of pilgrims who were loud, the cafe workers who were not attentive, the man in the market who slapped my hand for selecting my own orange. The list is endless.

The Complainer in my Head was working overtime.

I was hoping for more of a “spiritual” experience of the Camino of bliss and happy wholeness. Instead I was confronted with myself. Obviously no one else I could see was getting worked up at all over the things that agitated me.

I gradually came to see that my Camino wasn’t being blocked by these thoughtless people. My Camino was about my relentless manhunt to find them in every situation. It’s not them making my life miserable. It’s about me making my life miserable ( and hopefully yours, too).

My experience is that bringing these internal conflicts to the light, to consciousness, means that I’m getting closer to letting go and moving on. Closer to doing the work required.

Buen Camino, amigos and amigas. May the Camino have its way with you.
 

Turga

Camino tortuga
Camino(s) past & future
CF (Aug/Sep 2017)
CF (Aug/Sep 2018)
Thank you for sharing your reflections. We are all different and we all perceive the world differently because we see it through “the lens” of our individual personality. Doing some personal reflections is probably a good thing no matter if they result in an attempt to try to change or to accept that you are who you are. Whichever direction you decide to take, I wish you all the best.
 

David with new Kit!

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
CF September (2019) SJPP to Logrono
CF May/June (2020) Logrono to ? (Delayed).
Very reflective, I too, recognise and share your thoughts
 

Jomas

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
VF many times. Monaco-Lindau '15. Assisi-Pietralcina '17. CF '18. VF small part 09/20 next
Hi.
I agree very much with that written by @Turga. I am sure, however, that in addition to the "little misunderstandings" there are memories and moments lived in a great way during your first journey. I wish you to do it again and again and you will see that you can say that there ... it was your path.👋
 

Lexicos

Jim
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances
2017
Camino Portuguese 2019
Seek and ye shall find.
Fond, fond memories in abundance.
Lord, keep them alive forever!
What I saw and what I remember
And what I choose to remember, three different things.
Forget the film next time.
Just live the experience and focus on the wonder of it all.
 

Zordmot

First timer Spring 2019
Camino(s) past & future
April-May 2019
Seek and ye shall find.
Fond, fond memories in abundance.
Lord, keep them alive forever!
What I saw and what I remember
And what I choose to remember, three different things.
Forget the film next time.
Just live the experience and focus on the wonder of it all.
Beautiful! Thanks for sharing!
 

Zordmot

First timer Spring 2019
Camino(s) past & future
April-May 2019
Hi.
I agree very much with that written by @Turga. I am sure, however, that in addition to the "little misunderstandings" there are memories and moments lived in a great way during your first journey. I wish you to do it again and again and you will see that you can say that there ... it was your path.👋
Thanks! My hope was to be walking right now but, oh well!
 
Camino(s) past & future
2013.2014..SJ/SDC ....2015.PORTO/SDC..2017.18.19.20.BURGOS/P.FERRADA
So many memories,and the good far outweigh the bad,but all stored away in the memory bank to enrich the hours of Covid lockdown.My first involved overnight bus from Liverpool to London,taxi across London to reach the Channel Tunnel train with mins to spare to Paris,race across Paris for train to Bayonne,which stopped for a couple of hours on route due to fatality on line,arrive Bayonne too late for train to St Jean so had to wait for coach to be found,then into StJ just before 10 p.m. Pilgrim office held open as they knew we were on the way,but we all had to run around town looking for a bed.I knew it was to be an adventure,but not before I even got there. I have recorded on here some years ago about my first footstep on the Camino,but here we go again.I stepped out the front door of the house I stayed in at 7ish the first day.I stood on the flagstone checking my straps ,looking down the cobbled hill, and put my first foot on my first Camino .A door opposite opened and a little elderly lady came out with a finger raised in my direction. She crossed the narrow street and began to speak to me,but I did not understand as I only spoke English.She took my hands and put them in the prayer position with hers outside them and as she continued to speak I realised she was saying a prayer for me.I realised from odd words she was speaking in Spanish.When she finished she stood back,smiled and said "Buen Camino,Via Con Dios " I walked down the hill with tears running down my cheeks ,knowing that this was to be more than I could have ever hoped for or imagined. I hope to be back for the 7th time later this year God and Covid permitting
 

Albertagirl

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Aragones-Frances (2016); VdlP-Sanabres (2017); Madrid-Frances-Invierno (2019)Levante
The hole in the donut was how people failed to fulfill my expectations. Included were the snorers, the ones who would race ahead to get a bed in the next town, (or should I say the upper bunk), those who weren’t friendly, the man that gave me an elbow and cut into the line of those of us waiting to order breakfast, the ones who would come to bed after I was asleep, those who would wake up before I was ready to wake up, the cyclists, hospitaleros who were not friendly, the groups of pilgrims who were loud, the cafe workers who were not attentive, the man in the market who slapped my hand for selecting my own orange. The list is endless.

The Complainer in my Head was working overtime.
I have hesitated to reply to this, but as you posted this for response I shall dare to comment briefly. Most of these irritations happened in albergues. My response to such annoyances is generally to conclude that I am feeling really grumpy, not getting enough sleep, and maybe not enough alone time. So I would find somewhere else to sleep, at least part of the time. Do you think that maybe the movies and documentaries gave you the impression that "real" pilgrims sleep in dormitories? How might you manage such irritations if you choose to go on pilgrimage again? If you do so decide, I wish you "buen camino" and a wonderful journey.
 

JohnLloyd

Author of "Go Your Own Way"
Camino(s) past & future
Francés - SJPDP to SdC - Autumn 2018
Portugués - Porto to SdC - Spring 2019
Francés again - ASAP
On my Francés, there was a moment in the queue booking in at the wonderful Hogar albergue in Villamayor de Monjardín when a bothersome French quartet barged their way ahead of the rest of us, consequently hogging the showers, the washing machine and the centrifuge, and harshing our vibe as a result.

Their selfish attitude threatened to disturb the growing sense of community that I was feeling with the other people that I'd been walking alongside in those first few days.

But thanks to the wonderful evening that followed in Hogar, with a communal meal and a group meditation, I was able to put it aside and accept that not everyone on the Camino would be a fantastic individual, not every kilometre walked would be spiritually uplifting and that there would be moments that would make me question myself and my decision to come.

The pesky flies, the occasional alarmingly untethered dog, the insect bites, the blisters - the negatives had to be there to make me understand and value the positives, by comparison.

I was perhaps fortunate only to encounter a few "undesirables" along the Way, but a subsequent conversation on here has reminded me of the value of context.

One person who I viewed as a bit of a loudmouth, even veering on unpleasant in his interactions with female pilgrims, was later described in glowing terms by another person.

So my harsh opinion was based on one snapshot, a few minutes of experience, and it was unfair and judgmental.

Reading the glowing comments on this same person over a year later was another lesson from the Camino.

Perceptions and realities are often very different.
 

Harland2019

Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances April/May "2019"
I can't recall any irritations, minor or large, it was a wonderful experience meeting lots of friendly pilgrims along the way. A smile and a Buen Camino from those of other nationalities where we had no common language, a shout from someone in a bar/café/restaurant to come and join them etc. Perhaps my doughnuts don't have a hole or more probably I think that I was there to enjoy the experience and didn't look for or spot anything to annoy/upset me. Getting itchy feet now and starting to plan for another in 2022.
 

ConDios

New Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances Sept-Oct 2019
I read with wry interest your perspective on those you encountered on your Camino. Remember that even on the Camino everyone is still “in the world” with many more “OF the world” than we might have expected or desired to experience.

Another way to look at it is that perhaps instead of expecting that the Camino might sanctify those who walk it, that we pilgrims might sanctify the Camino by our willingness to suffer with - and hence forgive- one another’s faults and shortcomings. I remember being a bit shocked by the attitudes betrayed in some remarks we heard along the way, mostly regarding the inconveniences and challenges that are inherent in the Camino. People are always going to disappoint us no matter where we are, whether in line buying toilet paper at the grocery store or in line for a pilgrim’s meal in a monastery. Someone suggested that the cure for noticing all this was the practice of gratitude. It really does work to set things right interiorly.

Thank you for your honest expression of your experience. I am still processing my own Camino from 9 months ago, and still am at a loss for words!
 
Camino(s) past & future
CF 2013- 2015-2017
CP 2019
Welcome Zordmot,
Thank you for sharing your observations.
They aren’t unique but not everyone can see that in themselves
I found that the one thing on the Camino, and
in Life , is NOT to have expectations. They color everything and so much of the time we are disappointed!! I’ve learned over time a saying that,” if you want God to laugh just tell God your plans “
The Camino was created as a spiritual journey and now it has become many more things to many people.
Just start your Camino putting one foot in front of the other and let the Camino unravel it’s magic for you as only the Camino can.
Buen Camino
 

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