weareallpilgrims

Camino de Santiago

Month: May, 2015

Take Delight

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One of the best things about being retired has been being able to be a full time grandparent. One month after I retired last year, we were delighted to welcome our first grandchild, Katherine Michelle Mulvaney, into our lives. Terri and I have the best job in the world now as we take care of Kay two days a week! We both take full delight in our time with “Baby Kay”.

To “take delight” is a great action verb. Walking the Camino de Santiago is a long and difficult journey but I would dare say that we did “take delight” along the way of many things that brought us joy. For sure, taking off our boots at the end of our long day of walking was right up there on the “delight meter”. I know we experienced some amazing and beautiful sunrises together that were a true delight to witness. Some of meals we shared with fellow pilgrims, telling our “Camino stories”, were also a joyful and laughter-filled time. In reflecting back on the Camino, I could list many other examples of times and places we were truly delighted.

I realize that life is not all filled with these moments of delight but I do believe that we can “take delight” in many things in our lives that we may simply pass by on autopilot. We miss those moments. It takes a certain approach and awareness to be open to those moments that are delightful. So “take delight”! Don’t let those special moments pass you by!

Blessings,

John

P.S. I decided I would include my pano of the week in my Camino Blog posting rather than having a separate blog posting for the pano of the week.

Pano of the Week

This week’s pano was during a portion of our walking directly on the highway. Not a favorite place to walk but at least there were very few cars traveling along it and it was not a long section. As we passed along my “photographer’s eye” was draw to the backlighting of these trees growing alongside the highway. I had an idea it might work well once I had some time with the images in the “digital darkroom”.

Highway Tree Delight

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Pano of the Week – Take Me Home To Ireland

Galacia, was an especially beautiful region of Spain. This image was taken as we descended the mountains of Galacia. This region of Spail gets a lot of rain and it did not disappoint us. I loved this region though as it felt a lot like the weather back home. The beautiful green rolling hillsides looked like something you might see in Ireland.

Take Me Home To Ireland

Take It Slow

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One of the important lessons from walking the Camino we learned was the importance of going slow to get the full value of the Camino experience. I mentioned this in one of my early blog posts after about a week of walking. It has been a good lesson that I have been trying to keep in mind since returning from the Camino.

When we were planning and preparing for the Camino, a few people told us jokingly that we could simply take a car or bus and cover the entire 5 week walk in one day. So why walk? After experiencing the slow immersion of walking through a country, Terri and I can say there is really nothing like it. This slow and steady walk through the country opened up our eyes and hearts to things we would never have seen any other way. The beauty of the land and the people of the many regions of Spain came alive to us. By walking slowly we were able to really get closer to the land and the people and see it in a much deeper way.

When you travel fast through an area you miss so much you would only see if you are going slowly. With Terri’s injury to her ankle we were walking rather slowly through much of the last half of the Camino. This was a blessing in disguise as we had more time to see the real beauty of the landscapes around us. You get to use your imagination as you relax. Hiking quickly through an area can also rob on of the time to feel and see the true beauty of the land. It is like the cows, you need to “chew the cud” over and over to get to the deeper look and feel of the landscapes.

I highly recommend trying this if you have not done it before. Slow down and really soak it all in!

Blessings,

John

Freedom To Change

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In taking on the Camino, Terri and I wondered if we would be changed by this long walk. I know that for me I definitely have been changed from walking the Camino. One of the changes I experienced was how much more aware when I am in the outdoors of all the beauty around me. I think that most folks that walk the 500 miles are changed by it in some way.

I have been reading a book called “Better Than Before” by Gretchin Rubin, that is about mastering the habits of our lives. Gretchen makes what I found to be a very profound statement in this book that may shed some light on why a long walk might change us. She says:

“Habits make change possible by freeing us from decision making and from using self control”.

I have been pondering this statement as it related to the Camino walk. The Camino forces one to learn some new habits that help to simplify your life. As I have mentioned in the past, when you look at what a typical day on the Camino looks like you see there are a few basic “Camino habits” we find ourselves doing day after day. Arise early before dawn, quickly clean up and put on pack and shoes and head out for the day’s walk. Walk all day with a few breaks to eat and drink. Arrive at the albergue, shower, write in journal and do your laundry. Eat dinnner and go to bed. These were our “Camino habits”.

I think that the “Camino habits” freed us up for change. We did not have a lot of decision making to make each day. Once we established these “Camino habits” there was not a lot of willpower needed to get through these routines. We just did them. The majority of our day we were immersed in our thoughts or building friendships with fellow Camino walkers. A lot of freedom to think and to change.

So building up good habits in our lives is probably a good thing to do. It is healthy for us as it frees us up to change.

Blessings,

John