The Camino pathways have been walked for centuries by Christians and non Christians alike. Many are drawn to the Camino for reasons they may not necessarily understand. Sometimes this is referred to as hearing “the call of the Camino” and people set off with a belief it is something they must do. Many have some issues in their life that is troubling them or an important decision to make so the “time out” is seen as a way to declutter life through the process of reducing worldly goods to what can be carried in a backpack and walking for hours day after day. It takes a while but the simplicity grows as the days pass and what was previously so pressing in the daily routine is replaced by simple steps and basic tasks including where to eat and sleep, how to get the washing dry and deciding what to do with spare time without the distraction of TV, work, house duties etc. Best to leave the watch and computer at home although it is advisable to a phone for safety, making reservations and letting family know we are alive. Try and do without FaceTime for 2 days, then 3 and then 4.
It is hard to find room in ones life for our spirits to be refreshed if we are constantly overwhelmed by the minutia of our daily responsibilities and obligations.
The most important thing: Just love the “time out” from the daily routine along with the many challenges along the way. It is therapeutic walking through fields and forests, over hills and mountains, breathing fresh air. I did not know what “eco therapy” was until I experienced it: a sense of peace through being away from cities and immersed in nature. It is as though our genetic roots are being reawakened and we are reinvigorated.
I became aware of the thoughts both positive and negative that seem to be automatically generated as I walked without any conscious decision on my part. As the days progressed and the simplicity of the journey enveloped me I could start to challenge the negative thoughts which seem to arise unbidden and choose positive ones. It reminder me of the story about the American Indian Brave trying to explain his conflicting emotions to one of the Elders. The wise Elder said it was like having two wolves inside, a white wolf and a black one each fighting for control. The young Brave asked which would win and as the story goes the Wise Elder said “the one you feed the most”
So the Camino offers the opportunity to experience a spiritual refresher for some and a whole new understanding of the spirit within yearning to be strengthened. If it suits you there are many churches and shrines along the way and I love just sitting quietly and experiencing the atmosphere and drawing on the spiritual strength of so many who have been there and helped to create some inexplicable peaceful presence.