Camino de Santiago

Month: July, 2015

Healing Through Growth


Blackberry bushes can be a real nuisance to get rid of from your yard as they are amazingly resilient and strong. I was talking with a man that had to deal with getting rid of a large area of blackberries that had overtaken his property. After many attempts (including burning them to ground), the best approach he found was to “shade them out”. To grow other vegetation around that puts the blackberries in shade.

This “blackberry story” came to mind, recently, when I read an article about healing of our addictions, bad habits and moral flaws. I liked this article because it was an approach I felt made some sense to me. Here is a quote from the article that summarizes this idea:

“We get rid of the coldness, bitterness, and pettiness in our hearts by lighting inside our hearts enough warm fires to burn out the coldness and bitterness. The algebra works this way: The more we grow in maturity, generativity, and generosity, the more our old wounds, bad habits, temperamental flaws, and addictions will disappear because our deeper maturity will no longer leave room for them in our lives. ” (“Healing – A Theory by Fr Ron Rolheiser)

This theory of healing through growth in maturity and generosity might even has some roots in the Camino de Santiago. In the Medieval times, if one committed a serious or grievous crime their penance was the physical strain of the Camino de Santiago. They would be required to walk the Camino to work out their healing it seems. I understand that even today in Flanders, Belgium, there is still a tradition to award freedom to one prisoner who will complete the Camino de Santiago carrying a very heavy bag under supervision of a guard.

There are many reasons that folks walk the Camino. It turns out it can be a healing therapy!



Camino Pano of the Week

Off The Beaten Path

When I was walking the Camino, I often would walk off the path if I saw something that attracted my attention. After taking my photos, I would scurry back and catch up with Terri. I found this forest scene on the walk between Sarria and Portomarin.

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Just The Right Amount of Things


As I have written about in the past, when one walks the Camino, you are carrying just the essentials you will need for the 5 weeks of walking. Terri and I spent a lot of time in preparation finding just the right equipment that was very light and worked for what we needed. We were both very happy, in general, with all that we brought with us. Each item in the pack was carefully selected since we were trying to get our pack weight to about 20 to 22 lbs.We did not have to carry food or shelter since we ate our meals out each day and stayed in hostels each night.

This was a very good experience for us, it forced us to experience living with a very small amount of “things”. One thing about coming back home from the Camino, is you try and apply to our life some of the things you learned from the “Camino Experience”. Learning to live with just the right amount of things you really need seems to be a tough challenge for a couple of “pack rats” like Terri and I. Having lived in our house now for 30 years we have accumulated a lot of things! We are both intent at trying to find ways to reduce some of the things in our life that have filled up our house to just the right amount.

Terri recently purchased the book “The Life Changing Magic of Tidying up” by Marie Kondo. The book has been a best seller since it came out in October 2014. Terri is nearly done with the book and I plan to read it next. From the bits and pieces that Terri has read to me from the book, she does seem to be on to something. The signature question you are to ask yourself for each item you pick up to determine what do with is: “Does it spark joy?”. The idea is to keep only those items that spark joy in you.

Thinking back to those items we had in our Camino pack, each item was carefully selected and I can say today each one did spark joy in that they were exactly the items we needed for our walking journey. In fact, I find that I am still love and use many of the items I purchased for the Camino in my weekly hiking I have been doing.

I am looking forward now to our journey we will be embarking on right here at our home to reduce all the things we own to just the right amount of things.



Camino Pano of the Week

Finesterre – End of the World

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