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Transformation and the Camino

Wokabaut_Meri

merely labeled
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances SJPdP - Santiago (April/May 2015)
#1
I've come across a very engaging and fascinating book On Trails: An Exploration by Robert Moor. One for the philosopher's corner of the forum.

The author writes for many outdoor publications which is where I read his piece on the Appalachian Trail: Here’s What Happens To Your Body When You Hike The Appalachian Trail. He describes the physical and spiritual changes that he underwent and his gradual regression into a semblance of his old self on his return.

One paragraph in particular resonated strongly with me:
Inspirational backpacking memoirs often paint a vivid picture of the “transformative” effects of a long-distance hike. But here’s what those kinds of books too often leave out: Unless you’re diligent about creating a new life for yourself, when you get home, you transform back.

This has been one of the greatest challenges in returning 'home' from any of my extended trips, especially long treks in remote areas or meditation retreats - how to incorporate the self-discoveries (both good :) and not-so! :eek:) back into what is considered your 'old self' by your nearest and dearest.

Coming home, especially after weeks or months away in another hemisphere, can be quite disorientating for all concerned. A type of culture shock in reverse. Who am I? Where am I? What day is it? What happened? are just a few of the questions that can await on your doorstep.

So topical a subject that there is even a thesis written last year:
Ptasznik, Anna, " Thru-hiking as Pilgrimage: Transformation, Nature, and Religion in Contemporary American Hiking Novels" (2015). Undergraduate Honors Theses. Paper 850. This even has a paragraph on
what constitutes an authentic 'thru-hiker' - echoes of our own perennial 'true pilgrim' discussions.

So... transformation. My experience has been that I can always hold onto and consolidate a small part from the lessons of each journey... and time has taught me the truth beyond that old cliché: the only person you can change is yourself. Hard lesson that one!

The Camino gifted me a deep calm that endures still. I've said a quiet thank you for that everyday since my return. Difficult to put into words but I just seem to be able to breathe deeper now. Walking the Way has affected me unlike any other journey. Also this virtual albergue has provided a valuable and supportive service in helping to ease this returning pilgrim back into her old/new pre-Camino life.

Thank you all.
 

MichaelB10398

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy to Santiago de Compostela, Lourdes to SdC, SJPP to SdC
#2
Hello Meri,
I really appreciated your post and its topic. The Forum has long seen pilgrims discuss the effects of the Camino on them and the desire to return and recapture those feelings.

A pilgrimage, imho, begins with an opening, a desire, a thought, and/or willingness to begin a new path. Pilgrims choose to open themselves by putting off the old and re-centering themselves either through rediscovering their truer selves or finding that in themselves that was left unexplored. Upon completion of a pilgrimage, such as the Camino, we individually find many things we would like to retain in our daily life after our return. The challenge is that we easily, almost subconsciously, fall back into old norms, old habits, old ways - we pick up the old self and put it back on without considering that old self comes with all of the old things we left behind and it is void of what we have learned.

If we could each learn to maintain the lessons we learn - even if it is through the consistent exercise of walking each day for a short time to facilitate our individual commitment to our new way - life would be must easier and the feelings of Camino would remain more poignant in our lives.

All good things demand effort on our part. Each of life's peaks is obtained by long, extended periods of effort. If we could fall on the top of every mountain then we would not learn anything. We don't need to resist or complain about the effort and pain - those feelings are just signs that we are engaged and moving. Count those things as blessings of being on the Way and keep moving forward one small step at a time.

We can remain on Camino even when we remain at our homes, but it does demand a daily commitment to what we have learned from the Way.
 
Camino(s) past & future
(2009): Camino Frances
(2011): Sevilla-Salamanca, VdlP
(2012): Salamanca-SdC, VdlP
(2014): SJpdP-Astorga
(2015): Astorga-SdC
(2016) May Pamplona-Moratinos; Sept.:Burgos-SdC
(2016): August/Sept: Camino San Olav (Burgos-Covarubbias), Burgos-Sarria
(2017): May: Portuguese; Sept: Pamplona-SdC
#3
We can remain on Camino even when we remain at our homes, but it does demand a daily commitment to what we have learned from the Way.
May I add: Doing regular returns to get a new fix. On a serious note: Yes, it can be difficult to keep one's focus as daily life sets in. And yes, this "virtual albergue", as this forum is, is of good assistance to us addicts.;)

Hello Meri,
I really appreciated your post and its topic.
Indeed. Agree completely. Thanks, Meri.
 
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sabbott

Active Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances (SJPP to Ponferrada) 2016
Camino Invierno 2016
#4
One paragraph in particular resonated strongly with me:
Inspirational backpacking memoirs often paint a vivid picture of the “transformative” effects of a long-distance hike. But here’s what those kinds of books too often leave out: Unless you’re diligent about creating a new life for yourself, when you get home, you transform back.
Thanks for this, Meri. I just saw the book by Moor, and it caught my attention like any book with the word "trails" in the title tends to! I returned not too long ago from my two month Camino, and have been mulling over how to hold on to the physical and internal experience of my walk.

My son Colin walked the PCT a few years ago, and told me about a friend he met there who lives for his thru hikes. His friend hates his work, and just does it to save money for the the long walks that get him away from his regular life. Colin's conclusion was that one needs to find a way in "normal" life to keep hold of the inspiration, excitement, and peace of mind we experience on a long walking journey. In other words, somehow find when we are back at home again whatever was awakened in us by the freedom of our Camino.

I'm still working on how to do that. I have some ideas that include a deeper experience of the natural world around my home, and some long walks (on trails of my own making, as we don't have the wonderful village to village trails that Europe has) that actually take me somewhere here in my home state.

But I'm with Alex--regular returns to the Old Ways to get a new fix sounds necessary, too! Thinking about next year...
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
#5
This thread has appeared with the wonderful timing that is typical of the camino. Last night, I stopped being anxious about my planning for my imminent camino and settled into excitement and eagerness. Today, I went around doing errands and making purchases, mostly for my camino, and nothing turned out as expected. An Icebreaker merino wool tshirt with a price tag of $85 came to me for $17.75. Minor purchases came to a lot more than I expected and I bought lunch for a street beggar, and I am still ahead. The change is in my mood and expectations. I am becoming my camino person again (except for all the weight I lost on the camino and gained back at home; that will take longer). I am not so anxious. I am more outgoing and generous. And this is all pure gift - to me, and consequently, from me. I feel like I have been holding my breath for a very long time and now I can breathe again - in and out - in and out. Just the anticipation of walking does this for me. A very blessed camino to all of you.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
St Olav/Francés ('16)
Baztanés/Francés ('17)
Ingles ('18)
#6
Meri, this thread is so wonderful! Thank you.
I've just replied to a post by @peregrina2000 elsewhere and it could as easily go here to--about gaining courage and strength of heart:
I don't hesitate to flag down cars if I need one, and they have never failed me, either for directions or for a ride. Would you feel comfortable doing that, Viranani?
Truthfully, probably not. I am a bit shy as well as being a chicken.;)
But here's a story that shows how little Spanish one needs.
I'd followed the GR82 from SDdS into the tiny village of Contreras--where a few of the locals were cleaning up after the fiesta that had happened the night before. Mostly they were elders. When they saw me and learned that I was trying to go to Covarrubias, there was a general concerned clucking...it was sooooo far away! (For them, anyway...).
I wanted to forge ahead but one old lady there stopped me and kept saying "Tranquillo, tranquillo," which of course I understood to mean "Chill, please". As she was saying this, she found a few guys who were on their way to tend the pine plantations nearby and got them to draw me a map, making sure I wouldn't go the wrong way. The kindness was palpable even if I only understood one word in 10.
I guess I'd have made it without their help...but sure was grateful, because I could just relax and walk without any further concern about directions.
Alex, you'll have it a bit easier since you have more Spanish!:)
And what Laurie says cannot be more true:
for those who are hesitant to try something like the San Olav, these comments may encourage you! The rewards are great and the freedom and self-confidence you get will propel you! Buen camino, Laurie
This is how we go from being chickens to being eagles, I guess! Little by little learning to disbelieve those fearful voices. At the moment I'm contemplating my next adventure with a bit more confidence...going it solo is still a daunting idea, but I can just imagine a longer time alone. The bar is (slightly) higher.
This for me has been one of the best gifts of the Camino--that gradual coming into my own strength, not only internally but as that becomes integrated in action and interaction in the outer world.

And buen camino, @Albertagirl...you are an inspiration!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Frances Sept/Oct 2016
Camino Portuguese Oct 2017
Del Norde Start 2nd May 2018
#7
Buen Camino to you all. Great reading this.
Still waiting to confirm my start date in September anxious and exited in the same amounts. Like many I have my reasons for wanting to do my Camino. If I can gain just a little bit of the positive experiences spoken by many I will indeed be happy.
Determined to go with the flow and hopefully be a happier and better person for it.
 

Wokabaut_Meri

merely labeled
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances SJPdP - Santiago (April/May 2015)
#8
What thoughtful and open responses and a most engaging discussion.

The whole transformation/regression dynamic plays out in many ways on a return from a Camino of any kind. On my first trek in the Himalayas during the climbing season I met many mountaineers, most bound for Everest. They were a varied mix but those who made a great impression on me were calm with an inner spaciousness which matched the awesome landscape without. I really enjoyed their quiet and measured companionship and gained so much from it. It was this calmness and spaciousness that found me on the Camino, ambushed me somewhere along the Way. Akin to meeting a long lost friend.
All good things demand effort on our part. Each of life's peaks is obtained by long, extended periods of effort. If we could fall on the top of every mountain then we would not learn anything. We don't need to resist or complain about the effort and pain - those feelings are just signs that we are engaged and moving. Count those things as blessings of being on the Way and keep moving forward one small step at a time.

We can remain on Camino even when we remain at our homes, but it does demand a daily commitment to what we have learned from the Way.
Altitude and mountains taught me that there is a strange but honest beauty to the suffering in trekking their slopes. The Camino gifted me the patience to accept what is and that served me so well on my long and trying Healing Camino that followed. Life just flowed with very little resistance on my part.
May I add: Doing regular returns to get a new fix. On a serious note: Yes, it can be difficult to keep one's focus as daily life sets in. And yes, this "virtual albergue", as this forum is, is of good assistance to us addicts ;)
Glad that you emphasised a new fix. If we accept that it is a new journey and learning each time, there isn't the disappointment of trying to capture a past experience.
My son Colin walked the PCT a few years ago, and told me about a friend he met there who lives for his thru hikes. His friend hates his work, and just does it to save money for the the long walks that get him away from his regular life. Colin's conclusion was that one needs to find a way in "normal" life to keep hold of the inspiration, excitement, and peace of mind we experience on a long walking journey. In other words, somehow find when we are back at home again whatever was awakened in us by the freedom of our Camino.
It took me a long time - and some not too subtle nudges by wiser teachers - before I realised that it was all ONE life wherever I went... Wherever you go, there you are as Jon Kabat-Zinn succinctly put it.
Last night, I stopped being anxious about my planning for my imminent camino and settled into excitement and eagerness...
I am becoming my camino person again (except for all the weight I lost on the camino and gained back at home; that will take longer). I am not so anxious. I am more outgoing and generous. And this is all pure gift - to me, and consequently, from me. I feel like I have been holding my breath for a very long time and now I can breathe again - in and out - in and out. Just the anticipation of walking does this for me. A very blessed camino to all of you.
You described the spaciousness within so well - now I can breathe again. I totally agree with @Viranani you are such an inspiration! May your Camino go well.
I've just replied to a post by @peregrina2000 elsewhere and it could as easily go here to--about gaining courage and strength of heart:

This for me has been one of the best gifts of the Camino--that gradual coming into my own strength, not only internally but as that becomes integrated in action and interaction in the outer world.!
Dearest @Viranani YES!! it's all about courage and heart and the boundaries between inner and outer worlds dissolving.
Buen Camino to you all. Great reading this.
Still waiting to confirm my start date in September anxious and exited in the same amounts. Like many I have my reasons for wanting to do my Camino. If I can gain just a little bit of the positive experiences spoken by many I will indeed be happy.
Determined to go with the flow and hopefully be a happier and better person for it.
and welcome to the conversantion, Scarlet. Anxiety/excitement are two sides of the same coin. A great adventure awaits you. Don't prejudge the experience, let it evolve in its own Way. Positive/negative are just labels that can change with hindsight. Who is to know how an experience will serve us in our future. Going with the flow is a sound approach. Buen, buen Camino!
 
Camino(s) past & future
Spring 2016: Camino Frances, Finisterre and Muxia
#9
Yes, thanks for this, Meri. So very timely for me!

I'm lucky to have a very active Camino group in my city that meets at a coffee shop weekly. We just had a conversation along these lines this morning, and it was good to find that others struggle with the transformation/regression issue. I certainly am!

The pull of so many things is strong -- our cultural issues, our habits good and bad, the daily realities that we didn't have while walking, etc. Even the weather! It's been hot, I am heat sensitive, and I'm not walking as I would like. So inertia has been a disappointing factor in my life these past few weeks.

I like the 'courage and strength of heart' comment, I've come to the conclusion that I need more of this, and not to sink back into old ways. I love to write, and I have not even done that this summer. Time to get back to it.

I do marvel at the inner (and outer!) strength I've discovered on the Camino. And that I am a more open hearted person from that amazing experience. And the whole going with the flow thing, which has not been my strong suit.

I'm finding that going with the flow does not mean letting life slip by. It does mean acknowledging what we don't/can't control and dancing with that.

I'm so grateful for this forum for helping me with the dance.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Camino de Frances Sept/Oct 2016
Camino Portuguese Oct 2017
Del Norde Start 2nd May 2018
#10
Meri thanks for the kind welcome. Have spent all my working life in London and the rat race that that involves has an affect on you. I have some great friends but i'm sure they will agree that London is not the most social/friendly place to live as everyone dealing with their own daily rat race and the daily anxiety this brings which then becomes the norm. Whether it will be similar I don't know but I'm fortunate that each year I getaway skiing in Austria and being in the mountains even though I am working hard physically I am at peace mentally. The raw beauty of where I am coupled with similar minded folk enjoying their sport but each other's company helps me relax. So I'm hoping that in some way the Camino will help put me in a similar place but not just for the week like my annual ski trip.
I for reasons not for here am not a religious person but totally respect those that are in what format this maybe and can see the strength at times their faith gives them spiritually. I'm sorry I am finding myself waffling but surely won't be the first person to do the Camino trying to firstly think well of themselves rather than just fault after travelling quite a way down the road on life's journey!
Yep intend to take each day as it comes once I've started and as long I have somewhere to rest my head and have food and drink all will be good. Only matter was thinking of giving some forethought was whether or not to stay at Orrison on the first day from St Jean. Seen conflicting opinions on it. A friend of similar age, mentality and fitness did his first Camino back in April/May and he said in hindsight he said he wished had as he said the first day Roncesvalles was quite hard physically when he took into account everything. Decisions decisions.
Promise not to bore you all with my mixed up views and thought process any further.
Buen Camino
 
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William Garza

Veteran Member
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances, The Jakobsweg
#11
Transformative..

Transfigured...

Why put on the rainments..dirty with doubt and loathing

You have been given this fresh as sun dried linen garment
And you want to put it aside.

To look at
To touch
To see

You are good enough.
Wear it.
Who says you have to be the same person as who left lo those many days away

Left brotherhood and fraternity to walk under Hallowed Sky

To eat upon the road,the grapes of wrath and tread a sweet vintage pon your soul.

Come you home now
Come home to dirty vestment
Watch that smile wither and fade in dirty mirrors.
Traffic outside the window
Traffic in your heart,mind and soul.

When moments gone..you were made of silence and the large spaces.

You came home
But stand you....key in hand
As the tides come in
And drowning begins....

The Key is in your hand

Shut that door

Your old is inside
Your new
Is outside

Liminality...you have passed into a new chapter
Lock "that"door

Why do you change back?
Keep who you found
Become
Be.

Be Blessed Pilgrim.

When you come this way again

Home..
wont be

You
Wont be

You are more now

I see You.
 
Camino(s) past & future
"Del Norte 2020"
September 2018 CP /
Sept 2016 CF
#12
I've come across a very engaging and fascinating book On Trails: An Exploration by Robert Moor. One for the philosopher's corner of the forum.

The author writes for many outdoor publications which is where I read his piece on the Appalachian Trail: Here’s What Happens To Your Body When You Hike The Appalachian Trail. He describes the physical and spiritual changes that he underwent and his gradual regression into a semblance of his old self on his return.

One paragraph in particular resonated strongly with me:
Inspirational backpacking memoirs often paint a vivid picture of the “transformative” effects of a long-distance hike. But here’s what those kinds of books too often leave out: Unless you’re diligent about creating a new life for yourself, when you get home, you transform back.

This has been one of the greatest challenges in returning 'home' from any of my extended trips, especially long treks in remote areas or meditation retreats - how to incorporate the self-discoveries (both good :) and not-so! :eek:) back into what is considered your 'old self' by your nearest and dearest.

Coming home, especially after weeks or months away in another hemisphere, can be quite disorientating for all concerned. A type of culture shock in reverse. Who am I? Where am I? What day is it? What happened? are just a few of the questions that can await on your doorstep.

So topical a subject that there is even a thesis written last year:
Ptasznik, Anna, " Thru-hiking as Pilgrimage: Transformation, Nature, and Religion in Contemporary American Hiking Novels" (2015). Undergraduate Honors Theses. Paper 850. This even has a paragraph on
what constitutes an authentic 'thru-hiker' - echoes of our own perennial 'true pilgrim' discussions.

So... transformation. My experience has been that I can always hold onto and consolidate a small part from the lessons of each journey... and time has taught me the truth beyond that old cliché: the only person you can change is yourself. Hard lesson that one!

The Camino gifted me a deep calm that endures still. I've said a quiet thank you for that everyday since my return. Difficult to put into words but I just seem to be able to breathe deeper now. Walking the Way has affected me unlike any other journey. Also this virtual albergue has provided a valuable and supportive service in helping to ease this returning pilgrim back into her old/new pre-Camino life.

Thank you all.
Simple, don't go back, go forwards..
 

Kitsambler

Jakobsweg Junkie
Camino(s) past & future
Le Puy 2010-11, Prague 2012, Nuremberg 2013, Einsiedeln 2015, Geneva 2017-18
#13
We frequently discuss one's second/third/fourth Camino - I think perhaps that's our main antidote to the "regression to old self" issue mentioned by so many here.

A daily meditation practice is another antidote; one that can be maintained in the winter season and at considerably less expense than a multi-week Camino journey.
 

Wokabaut_Meri

merely labeled
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances SJPdP - Santiago (April/May 2015)
#14
I do marvel at the inner (and outer!) strength I've discovered on the Camino. And that I am a more open hearted person from that amazing experience. And the whole going with the flow thing, which has not been my strong suit.

I'm finding that going with the flow does not mean letting life slip by. It does mean acknowledging what we don't/can't control and dancing with that.
Definitely! Also we can still navigate and steer while in the Flow. I love your analogy of dancing with it.
... but I'm fortunate that each year I getaway skiing in Austria and being in the mountains even though I am working hard physically I am at peace mentally. The raw beauty of where I am coupled with similar minded folk enjoying their sport but each other's company helps me relax. So I'm hoping that in some way the Camino will help put me in a similar place but not just for the week like my annual ski trip.
I for reasons not for here am not a religious person but totally respect those that are in what format this maybe and can see the strength at times their faith gives them spiritually. I'm sorry I am finding myself waffling but surely won't be the first person to do the Camino trying to firstly think well of themselves rather than just fault after travelling quite a way down the road on life's journey!
Yep intend to take each day as it comes once I've started and as long I have somewhere to rest my head and have food and drink all will be good. Only matter was thinking of giving some forethought was whether or not to stay at Orrison on the first day from St Jean. Seen conflicting opinions on it. A friend of similar age, mentality and fitness did his first Camino back in April/May and he said in hindsight he said he wished had as he said the first day Roncesvalles was quite hard physically when he took into account everything. Decisions decisions.
Promise not to bore you all with my mixed up views and thought process any further.
Buen Camino
Not waffling but gracing us with your thoughts and observations. That's how we grow one another through living our questions into answers of sorts.

I'll add my opinion to the Orisson debate - if the distance isn't an issue physically or mentally, it all depends on how much time you have and whether you want to ease yourself into the journey. We chose to stop the night at Orisson and it was a wonderful time. Friendships made there became our compañeros all the Way into Santiago and endure still.

May the landscapes, history and companionship of the Camino grant you peace and relaxation. Go Well.

...
Watch that smile wither and fade in dirty mirrors.
Traffic outside the window
Traffic in your heart,mind and soul.

When moments gone..you were made of silence and the large spaces.

You came home
But stand you....key in hand
As the tides come in
And drowning begins....

The Key is in your hand

Shut that door

Your old is inside
Your new
Is outside

Liminality...you have passed into a new chapter
Lock "that"door

Why do you change back?
Keep who you found
Become
Be.

Be Blessed Pilgrim.

When you come this way again

Home..
wont be

You
Wont be

You are more now

I see You.
Thank you yet again, William for your gentle gift of poetry. You have really touched on one important aspect of resisting the pull of transforming back - witness and support. How wonderful that they can be found in abundance here on the Forum!
Simple, don't go back, go forwards..
and aren't the simple things and ways and truths in life always the most challenging?

We complicate our lives in the living of them and the Camino gifts us the space and time to clarify and pare down our needs to the basics: walk, eat, sleep (and pray). Some find that they can breathe for the first time, others breathe deeper.

Perhaps along the Way, with our usual distractions, pressures and commitments left far behind, we are able to befriend and free up long hidden aspects of ourselves. This blossoming is supported by our fellow travellers and we become stronger as the road takes us, always forward, towards Santiago.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
St Olav/Francés ('16)
Baztanés/Francés ('17)
Ingles ('18)
#15
A daily meditation practice is another antidote; one that can be maintained in the winter season and at considerably less expense than a multi-week Camino journey.
Indeed!
People get as addicted to meditation retreats as to the Camino because (I think) they offer conditions that provide similar internal resets--to presence, to simplicity, and to a way of being in the world that is content, connected, and alive.
The trick (as I see it) is to take that experience and fully integrate it so that there's no difference between who we are on the camino and who we are at home. It's no mean feat, because the world around us doesn't generally support or value simple relaxed contentment.;) Which is why many people feel 'out of step' when they return. The outside conditions haven't changed but boy the internal ones sure have.

I'm so appreciating everyone's collective wisdom here--a wonderful thread with many thoughtful gems...I hope it keeps on going for a while longer. So much more interesting than socks.
Thanks, Meri, and all...
 

Wokabaut_Meri

merely labeled
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances SJPdP - Santiago (April/May 2015)
#16
We frequently discuss one's second/third/fourth Camino - I think perhaps that's our main antidote to the "regression to old self" issue mentioned by so many here.

A daily meditation practice is another antidote; one that can be maintained in the winter season and at considerably less expense than a multi-week Camino journey.
Good point - returning to a Camino is certainly a powerful way to reconnect and reconfirm with insights gained.

As is meditation... and walking meditation has always combined the best of both worlds for me :D
 
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Wokabaut_Meri

merely labeled
Camino(s) past & future
Camino Frances SJPdP - Santiago (April/May 2015)
#17
Indeed!
People get as addicted to meditation retreats as to the Camino because (I think) they offer conditions that provide similar internal resets--to presence, to simplicity, and to a way of being in the world that is content, connected, and alive.
The trick (as I see it) is to take that experience and fully integrate it so that there's no difference between who we are on the camino and who we are at home. It's no mean feat, because the world around us doesn't generally support or value simple relaxed contentment.;) Which is why many people feel 'out of step' when they return. The outside conditions haven't changed but boy the internal ones sure have.

I'm so appreciating everyone's collective wisdom here--a wonderful thread with many thoughtful gems...I hope it keeps on going for a while longer. So much more interesting than socks.
Thanks, Meri, and all...
I must confess to having a drawer full of socks! They seem to breed much in the same manner as my Buffs. Could endlessly discuss both :rolleyes:

How to integrate the Camino experience into living so that there is no 'off' the Camino? It's a big, bold and brave step. I'm only managing it incrementally and being kind to myself in the process.

A dear friend and teacher of mine wrote a book on meditation some years back. He spoke of meditation as a process of befriending yourself. Perhaps in walking to Santiago some of us experience exactly that.

Don’t meditate to fix yourself, to heal yourself, to improve yourself, to redeem yourself; rather, do it as an act of love, of deep warm friendship to yourself. In this way there is no longer any need for the subtle aggression of self-improvement, for the endless guilt of not doing enough. It offers the possibility of an end to the ceaseless round of trying so hard that wraps so many people’s lives in a knot. Instead there is now meditation as an act of love. How endlessly delightful and encouraging.
Bob Sharples
Meditation: Calming the Mind


Very much appreciating the conversation here as well.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Frances (2015); Ch. d'Arles: Oloron Ste Marie to Aragones; Frances (2016); V.d.l.P.; Sanabres (2017)
#18
I must confess to having a drawer full of socks! They seem to breed much in the same manner as my Buffs. Could endlessly discuss both :rolleyes:

How to integrate the Camino experience into living so that there is no 'off' the Camino? It's a big, bold and brave step. I'm only managing it incrementally and being kind to myself in the process.

A dear friend and teacher of mine wrote a book on meditation some years back. He spoke of meditation as a process of befriending yourself. Perhaps in walking to Santiago some of us experience exactly that.

Don’t meditate to fix yourself, to heal yourself, to improve yourself, to redeem yourself; rather, do it as an act of love, of deep warm friendship to yourself. In this way there is no longer any need for the subtle aggression of self-improvement, for the endless guilt of not doing enough. It offers the possibility of an end to the ceaseless round of trying so hard that wraps so many people’s lives in a knot. Instead there is now meditation as an act of love. How endlessly delightful and encouraging.
Bob Sharples
Meditation: Calming the Mind


Very much appreciating the conversation here as well.
@Wokabaut_Meri
I can walk. I cannot meditate. It drives me absolutely bonkers trying.
 
Camino(s) past & future
Francés ('14/'15)
St Olav/Francés ('16)
Baztanés/Francés ('17)
Ingles ('18)
#20
I can walk. I cannot meditate. It drives me absolutely bonkers trying.
Welcome to the club, Albertagirl.;)
No, seriously. It's not all sweetness and light. It took me years to begin to learn how to meditate, and I still don't always like it. If I had encountered the Camino earlier, I'd probably have given up trying to sit. Now I do both and they go together perfectly.
(I so appreciate what Thomas Merton says about prayer, which can be equally applied to meditation: "True prayer is when prayer becomes impossible and the heart has turned to stone.")
You might find that what you call walking is actually meditation by another name.
Meri you took the words right out of my mouth. Exactly!
The thing about meditation is that it's nothing so special, and simpler than most people imagine. Sit (or walk;)), and pay attention to the passing show of sense impressions and mind stuff--what makes it meditation is not getting involved or entangled in it.
And for many of us walking is much easier than sitting.

(And Meri, that quote? Perfect.)
 
Camino(s) past & future
SJPP - Santo Domingo 2012, Santo Domingo- Astorga, Astorga - SdC, 2013, Caminho Portugues 2016?
#21
(I so appreciate what Thomas Merton says about prayer, which can be equally applied to meditation: "True prayer is when prayer becomes impossible and the heart has turned to stone.")
I was skimming through these posts, half reading, and thinking about all the other things I "should" be doing (I call myself "Martha, Martha..." at these moments) when this quote slapped me up alongside the head. The memories of those times which I never would have wished for and when I've felt furthest from God and adrift from humanity - imagine that being my truest moments of prayer. Thanks for the new perspective, Viranani.
 

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