weareallpilgrims

Camino de Santiago

Month: July, 2016

Comfort Is An Idol Too

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When I read, I often find myself writing down  lines or quotes that I like for reasons that I sometimes do not know even why. The one I used to title this blog “Comfort is and idol too“, was from a book called “Poustinia” by Catherine Doherty.

In walking the Camino, we certainly went out of our comfort zone! We slept in a different bed every night for 5 weeks and endured many aches and pains and had none of the “comforts of home”. We certainly learned a lot from this journey that changed us and continues to change us.

In a little less than a month, Terri and I are about to embark on a 5 week travel experience through Scotland and Ireland. This trip is different in that we are not walking everyday, all day long. We will be moving out of our comfort zone again but maybe not quite as far in terms of physical endurance and the levels of discomfort we felt on the Camino. We know from our Camino experience though, that travel changes us.

These days there is a lot of concern about international travel and it can even seem too scary to even consider. We can become paralyzed by our fears. Don’t let that happen! Travel is more important than ever for us. It opens us up and this quote from Mark Twain gives us his reason why he things it is important for us.

Travel is fatal to prejudice, bigotry and narrowmindedness“.

In an AARP article on travel that I read while waiting in the doctor’s office, I thought this guy really nailed it, he said:

By landing in a place where we know no one, we are saying to the world, “Receive us – we make ourselves open to you.

Boy, that is really it! Travel opens us up and changes us if we let it. It almost does it even when we don’t even try.

To paraphase from the book, “Poustinia”: To move away from our “comfort idol” we must “close the wings of our intellect and open the door of our heart“.

Don’t let your fears stand in your way. Travel is important to changing us and yes it is worth it even if it takes us out of our comfort zone!

Blessings,

John

Photograph of the Week

Orvieto, Home Sweet Home

This photograph is one of my most popular and best selling photographs. The image makes me think of being home for some reason. It is why I titled it the way I did. You just want to go up those stairs and be welcomed home by your loved ones.

 

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A Listening Heart, A Peaceful Spirit and a Ready Will

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What can I do? How should I respond with all the violence and racial division in our country? The words I have included in the photo above are ones I read recently and have been bouncing around in my heart and head now for a week.

In our long Camino walk time we had time to reflect a lot on our lives. I know a lot of folks that walk the Camino come to “clear out their heads” from a lot of the things going on in their lives. One of the best films we have seen on the Camino walk is called “Six Ways to Santiago”. It is a documentary following the six groups of hikers that are walking the Camino. One of the women walking the Camino is from Brazil and her life has been a mess and she is trying to straighten herself out. She decides that walking the Camino will be her “medicine” and she indeed is a much changed person internally by the end. I would say she has even developed that “listening heart, peaceful spirit and ready will” by the end of the walk.

I pray for our world to have more of a “listening heart, and peaceful spirit and a ready will”.

Blessings,
John

P.S. I highly recommend watching this Camino documentary! It can be watched online and is available on Amazon video, utube and vudu. Here is a link to the trailer “Six Ways To Santiago“.

Photograph of the Week

Eruption Renewed

I had so much fun on my Mt St Helen’s hike to Harry’s Ridge, I had to include this image. Having fun with your camera is important to staying creative. This is my visioning of the renewal of the volcanic eruption again using a zoom blur camera technique.

Walking A Mile In Their Mocassins

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The other day I was thinking about the quote that says you need to  “walk a mile in his moccasins” before you judge the that other person. I have always liked this quote because it is such a great way to remind ourselves about the truth that we really don’t know what others are going through unless we have spent time in their “skin” and walked around in it. In fact, I understand that the famous author, Lee Harper was inspired by this quote when she wrote “To Kill A Mockingbird”. The quote from the book goes like this:

“You never really know a man until you understand things from his point of view, until you climb into his skin and walk around in it.”

During our Camino walk, Terri and I  often felt very tired and had a lot of pain in our feet and joints. We experienced cramped quarters and lack of sleep. Maybe in our experiences and emotions of this walk we might have had just a small glimpse of what the millions of refugees are experiencing as they flee from their war torn countries.

“Surprisingly, the ability to empathize with others is relative to a person’s capacity to identify, feel and understand their own feelings and thereby being able to project one’s feelings onto others. This means in turn that it becomes complicated at times to understand what a person is undergoing, if you haven’t undergone it for yourself – or at least felt similar feelings.”

This got me thinking about the article I read this past week in the New York Times regarding how the Canadians are responding to the refugee crisis. I found this story to be very inspiring. Talk about empathy in action. They really get it!

Canadians stand apart in their warm embrace of refugees

May our great nation, as we are about to celebrate the 4th of July tomorrow, show more empathy and compassion for others like our friendly neighbors to the north have shown to the refugees!

Blessings,

John

Photograph of the Week

Mt St Helen’s Returns To Life

This past week I went hiking to Mt St Helen’s, my very first visit to the mountain, believe it our not. Not sure why it took me so long. I was so very impressed with how life has found a way to return. The mountain was alive with wildflowers and green.This image came out even better than I thought. I feel I was able to really capture the amazing beauty of the mountain.