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Tuesday, 5 July 2011

10 - 22 September 2011. Hospital to Santiago.

The list is growing of folk who have joined the next pilgrimage. At the moment we are 6 and there is still room for more. If you would like to join us, please get in touch This pilgrimage will have a prayer school as part of the experience. This pilgrimage is open to all. It does not matter where you come from you are welcome. It will be a specifically christian pilgrimage. However we welcome those with faith and those with none. We only ask that those who come with us participate in
the pilgrimage participate fully in all aspects. So come on in the water is lovely!

Talking of which, please pray for the continued healing of my knees. I am walking again, but only 5 miles at a time. Today I hope to go for 10 miles and we will she how I get on with that

Some news of Rebekah and Paddy out on the Meseta. The news is not good and spells disaster for those farmers who suffered badly from inclement weather. I think that after reading it you will agree that they need a prayer as well, especially as the Spanish economy is in such bad shape.
Here is the url...

Here is part of a blog written by two American ladies Sarah and Carrie, I think that they must have some links with the Camino documentry as they quote a lady who later appears on that film

The lessons of the Camino

Hey everyone. I know, I know, I didn't post much, but I was too busy experiencing the camino to log on for extended periods of time.

When I returned from the camino, I was asked if I would give a homily/sermon at my home church. I received so much support from all of the members there at Trinity Lutheran, that I felt I had to share my experience with them.

I chose, as my topic, The Lessons of the Camino. I presented on August 8th, 2010. Several people requested that I post it here on the bog, so here goes. Let me know what you think. It looks long, but (in my humble opinion) it's worth the time to read it.

“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass, it’s about learning to dance in the rain”. I’ve heard this quote many times and always thought “It’s a good one, but doesn’t really apply to me.” Well after my camino, I know this quote to be true. On my camino, it rained twice while we were walking . The first time was on day two. The other was day 34 of 35. It was shocking to me to notice the difference in my own reactions. On day 2 I was miserable in the rain, I was cold, tired, and just plain grumpy, on day 34 I tilted my head to the sky to feel the rain on my face. But dancing in the rain, is just one of countless lessons the camino has to teach us.

A very wise woman that I met told us her interpretation of the camino, it went something like this. “The camino is not a stroll, it’s not about arriving somewhere. It’s walking, it’s feeling, it’s living.” Many people struggle at the beginning of the camino. I know I did. It’s hard to go from living your life at 65mph, to suddenly living at 3mph.

The camino is the ultimate metaphor for life. There’s the obvious, the camino is a path with one destination, Santiago, life is a path with one destination, because no matter what you believe, no one makes it out of this world alive. But the comparisons go so much deeper than that.

The camino is divided nicely into three parts, with a major city at the end of each third. A wonderful man from Brazil told us that when he was at his lowest point someone told him that the first third of the camino is all about your body; making sure that your feet are ok, your back, your knees. The second third is all about your mind, you’re walking along the flat straight meseta, you have a lot of time to think, and the last third is all about your heart or your soul, when you truly start to “get” the purpose of this camino. When he said that it made me think, that’s the way I live each day here at home, maybe not full thirds of my day, but 3 definite parts. The first is all about my body, getting ready for the day, doing my hair and make-up, getting dressed. The second part is all about my mind, teaching, lecturing, writing lessons. The third part of my day is all about my soul, me doing activities that will re-charge me, whether that’s reading a book, watching a movie, or going to the gym. As I thought more about this I realized that on my worst days, I never got that soul re-charge time. My mind time took it over, whether correcting papers, or by not letting go of something that happened during the day. The camino taught me to ALWAYS give yourself that time to recharge your soul.

The camino IS a path. In some spots the path is actually a paved 4-lane highway. In others it’s a gravel path, so overgrown with prickly weeds, that one person can barely make it through at a time. Life is the same way. Sometimes we’re on that 4-lane highway, with enough space to bring as many people with us as we like, but there are times in life where you have to walk alone, decisions that only you can make for yourself, and if you try to bring someone with you, they’ll just end up getting hurt. The trick in life, is knowing what those decisions are, and when to make them.

Everything I needed, I had to carry with me. I weighed my pack, which contained a full 50 ounce camelback water bladder, at the start of day 2. It weighed in at 12 kilos, approximately 26 lbs, only 11 lbs heavier than I had intended. I never weighed my pack at the end of my trek, but I’m guessing that it weighed in somewhere around 12 pounds. The camino makes you take stock, and you would be amazed at how little a person can live on for 40 days. In the end I had 1 extra set of clothes, my sandals, my pajamas, (my luxury item) a sarong, my sleep sack, a travel towel, 3 pairs of socks, contact solution, shampoo, a toothbrush and toothpaste. Since I arrived back home I have been stream-lining my possessions. If I can live out of 1 35 liter pack, why do I have all of this stuff. It’s been quite a liberating experience. I suggest you try it. It doesn’t have to be all of your possessions, maybe start with your junk drawer, you never know what you might start.

There is a wonderful company all along the camino called Jacotrans. The wonderful people at Jacotrans, with transport your pack for you, for a small fee. Some days the walk was easy, flat or short. But some days the terrain was more challenging. Maybe there was a mountain in between you and the next city. No matter how light your pack is, not having it on these days, can make a huge difference. Life is the same way. Sometimes our load is light. But it’s good to remember that when that load gets heavy, or the road gets challenging, you don’t have to carry it yourself. You can give your load to someone else to help you. Whether that person is family, a friend, a co-worker, or God it pays to remember that help is there if you ask.

There were as many different packs as there were people. Some packs were smaller than your average kindergartener’s school bag, while some were larger than your average kindergartener. But the size of someone’s pack didn’t tell you anything about the size of their burden. Everyone carried different hardships with them, some visible, like the man walking with 2 prostetic legs. Some were not so visible, like the man walking the camino for his wife who died before ever getting the chance to walk it herself. It’s good to remember that a smile can hide a lot.

The biggest lesson that the camino taught me was the value of a healthy body. We all take our bodies for granted, until something goes wrong. The camino taught me the value of having a healthy body, and if something isn’t healthy, take care of it NOW, not 10km down the road when more damage has already been done. I met several people who had to cut their camino short because they didn’t listen to their bodies. The camino is walked by people ranging in age from 16 and under, to 80+. The majority of the injuries happen to the people from 16-35. The people who don’t want to admit that they even have limitations, let alone listen to their bodies telling them about those limitations. An 80 year-old person knows exactly what their body can and can’t handle and don’t request more of their bodies. The arrogant 22 year-old feels a small rub in his boot and ignores it, until he gets to the albergue at the end of the day only to find a blister the size of a tennis ball. The 80 year-old feels a small rub in his boot, and stops, takes off his boot and sock, puts some compeed on the spot, then continues, blister free.

The camino is about life. The camino IS life. The camino makes you slow down and live in the moment. In the beginning I was so focused on walking, that I didn’t notice the camino around me. I put my headphones in and just walked. I saw the beautiful scenery, but I didn’t pay attention. I wasn’t living the camino, I was coasting through it. It wasn’t until Terradillos, the half-way point that I truly started to appreciate the camino. Walking at 6:00 in the morning, the sun hasn’t quite risen over the horizon yet, the birds are just starting to wake-up. It’s a truly beautiful experience, it makes you feel truly alive. If you learn nothing else from the camino, learn to live. Don’t coast through life, live each day. Whether you’re 27 and decide to walk 500 miles, or 87 and decide to jump out of an airplane, it’s never too late to start living your life.

It's been 6 weeks since I returned from Spain, and a month since I delivered this homily. Whenever I feel myself starting to forget the camino lessons, I go back and I read what I wrote. It's helped me hang-on to those lessons in this loud, busy, sometimes frustrating world.

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