Camino de Santiago

Month: April, 2015

Pano of the Week – Camino Meadow View

Coming down off the high point of the Camino is a long slog down through some tough trail conditions. I was constantly on the lookout for a nice foreground. I found this cool meadow of the trail a bit. Way off in the distance is Ponferrada, a city of 62,000.

Camino Meadow View

Camino Wealth

John on trail to O'Cebreiro-2

“We brought nothing into this world, nor have we the power to take anything out. If we have food and clothing we have all that we need” (1 Timothy 6:7-8).

This is a truth that Terri and I really experienced when we walked the Camino. As I mentioned in past blog entries, what slowly sinks in as you walk the Camino de Santiago is how beautiful and simple life can be without the accumulation of all those things we call wealth. The Camino experience is beautiful in this way. It strips away things and you live a very uncluttered life for 5 or 6 weeks.

I wish I could say that I was able to maintain this way of living once we returned back home. It is a struggle not being dominated by consumerism, the desire to have, accumulate, and consume things. I would like to say that I have made some progress but this is a life long battle in the culture we live in. Any movement toward the more simple life is counter to the major drives of our society. And it takes some conviction and strong beliefs to resist the pull of our world of things and their accumulation.

One of the coolest aspects about the Camino, is walking this simple life with so many people doing the same thing. We all experienced the stripping away of things and this naturally frees you to experience the more important elements of human life, the company of fellow Camino walkers, friendship, conversation, contemplation, prayer. Life’s true treasures. I will leave you with this last quote that I think is a good one for us all to ponder when we consider what is the true meaning of “wealth”.

“What if we were to expand our definition of wealth to include those things that grow only in time—time to walk in the park, time to take a nap, time to play with children, to read a good book, to dance, to put our hands in the garden, to cook playful meals with friends, to paint, to sing, to meditate, to keep a journal. What if we were to live, for even a few hours, without spending money, cultivating time instead as our most precious resource?” (Sabbath by Wayne Muller).



Pano of the Week – Shale Landscapes

Hiking down from the highest point of the Camino, one has a lot of crumbly and steep downhill. Not fun! Shale rock can be very loose and crumbly.

Shale Landscapes

The Wisdom of Time

John on walk to Acebo-2

I was thinking of the saying today of how “time heals all”. It seems to me right now that time is what I am going to need. Time to heal. You see three weeks ago I tore my right quadricep muscle hiking! My hiking days are over for now. I need time to heal.

Since I retired a year ago, I have been very active. One of my goals of retirement was to spend more time outdoors than indoors. I would say I did a very good job of that for the first year of my retirement with the Camino and hiking every week since I returned. It has been wonderful. I have really enjoyed spending time outdoors. I now realize that I need time to heal and my time outdoors in going to be limited.

It is interesting to me to see what happens to us as time passes. Taking on this long walk across Spain required one to commit a lot of time. It takes a good 5 weeks to walk it. That is a big commitment of time. Time does indeed heal and change us. I know for Terri and I this long break in our “regular daily lives” to walk the Camino definitely changed us both in many very positive ways, which I have brought out in this blog. Time is a good remedy for many things in our lives.

This leg injury I have is serious and is going to take quite a bit of time to heal (my physical therapist tells me it will be eight months to be fully recovered). I guess I will need to learn how to be more patient with myself. I will need to respect that it is going to take time. I can not rush it or I will re-injure myself and set myself back.

I am starting to understand that this is a test for me now.

Can I slow down and let time teach me “its wisdom”?

I look forward to what I am going to learn!



Pano of the Week – Mountain High Cattle

The Panoramic of the Week was taken at the high point of the Camino around 5000 feet. It was cool to see this pastoral scene at this high in the mountains.

Mountain High Cattle

Blood, Sweat and Tears

John with Camera - Hot Day-320140928-Carrion-Legidos-3-2

When one takes on a 500 mile walk like the Camino de Santiago, there is no doubt that it takes a lot of “Blood, Sweat and Tears” to reach “finish line” at the Cathedral in Santiago de Compostela. Thankfully though, we did not shed any blood on the Camino, but we did a bit of perspiring and even shedding of a few tears (mostly of joy when we reached the end).

We had a lot of hot weather the first 2 weeks of our walk and indeed found ourselves often soaked in sweat at the end of our day’s walk. The benefits of exercising are well documented on what it does for our overall health but you may not be aware there are also many health benefits when we sweat. Maybe that is why the “hot yoga” has been so popular these days?

Our skin is the largest organ of our body and like all our organs it plays an important role in our health. Of course, the most obvious benefit of sweating is how important it is in regulating our body temperature so we don’t overheat. One other benefit of sweating that I was not aware of is that sweating also expels toxins that build up in our body. It also turns out that our “sweat detoxification” supports proper immune function and helps prevent diseases related to toxic overload.

So if sweating was good for us what about those tears? Turns out they are also important for our health as well! In fact, one article in the New York Times called them our “emotional sweat”. It turns out that in addition to keeping our eyes from drying out; they also help remove toxins from out body. Tears remove the toxins that build up from stress.

In reflecting on this I can see now how important the Camino can be in helping us remove the “toxins” in our life. As I mentioned in the past, walking that long of time you can really gain clarity in your thinking (getting out the toxins in our mind), little did I know it also literally helps remove the toxins in our body through our sweat and tears!