Continuing from my last article, Join me as I share the magic of this transformative walk sprinkled with the wisdom of self-discovery.
𝐋𝐞𝐬𝐬𝐨𝐧 𝟏: 𝐍𝐮𝐫𝐭𝐮𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐒𝐞𝐥𝐟-𝐂𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐌𝐢𝐧𝐝𝐟𝐮𝐥 𝐀𝐰𝐚𝐫𝐞𝐧𝐞𝐬𝐬
As I mentioned in my previous article, I was not prepared physically, so my first seven days were about navigating the pain and getting all the supplies I needed to take care of myself. This was the first glaring thing about myself that I vowed to change. I don’t plan; I wait until the last minute, which takes away from being in the moment and enjoying so much of my life. Boy, that lesson was loud and clear from the beginning. My dear Iya, who works with me, saved me by helping me to navigate so many details. I vowed to change this in my life and am working on it.
Every morning on the Camino, I would lovingly wrap my feet, a ritual that soon became 𝐚 𝐬𝐚𝐜𝐫𝐞𝐝 𝐚𝐜𝐭 𝐨𝐟 𝐬𝐞𝐥𝐟-𝐜𝐚𝐫𝐞. I realized this simple act was a metaphor for the 𝐭𝐞𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐫𝐧𝐞𝐬𝐬 𝐰𝐞 𝐬𝐡𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝 𝐞𝐦𝐛𝐫𝐚𝐜𝐞 𝐢𝐧 𝐜𝐚𝐫𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐟𝐨𝐫 𝐨𝐮𝐫𝐬𝐞𝐥𝐯𝐞𝐬.
My dear friend Conny Schumacher
gave me this tip. I took it to heart, and it became my daily ritual which saved my feet. I encountered people who weren’t doing this daily and were struggling with the pain of blisters. It was funny when I shared my ritual with some, and they would say, wow, that sounds like a lot of work.
At first, it felt like work because I had to get up early, and sometimes I didn’t want to do it. But it was worth it to have happy feet. There were enough other pains in my body to manage, and my feet were first on the list to care for so I could enjoy my walk. I can’t tell you how awareness of every little part of your body becomes essential when you walk 6-10 hours a day.
Another pain that started early on my journey was my right knee. When I lived in Amsterdam a few years ago, I had a relatively minor bike accident when a tourist stepped into the bike path. My knee hurt for months, and I had a slight limp. When I went to the emergency room, the doctor told me I had a small tear in my meniscus. After about 4 months and with exercise, the pain went away. And after several years, I rarely felt this.
However, in the first days of my walk, some long stretches of downhill began to bring up the previous pain.
I took a day off and rested, feet up on the wall for hours, and lots of cream and self-care. I sent many messages to Conny, who told me what to do, and magically, it felt better, and I was on my way again.
I am not a hiker, so the days I made it on the Camino were tough physically. I would ache from head to toe. After about 10 days, I sometimes got where I could enjoy myself without constantly thinking about my body! However, in the end, a physical problem and a very tight schedule made me have to cut my trip short. I will share this in my next article.
Through my daily experiences, I learned a lot about myself. I saw things I didn’t like and wanted to change in this next chapter of my life. I kept a daily journal to remember every insight. I wanted to have this written to make a plan when I returned home. This and my foot prep were two of the best rituals I set up. I realized that mindful living is not a luxury; it’s an art that nurtures our spirits and fuels our life.
The solitary hours on the Camino offered me ample time for reflection, and the most potent message during this walk was Lesson 2. I still get tears in my eyes when I think about it.
𝐋𝐞𝐬𝐬𝐨𝐧 𝟐: 𝐂𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐭 𝐘𝐨𝐮𝐫 𝐁𝐥𝐞𝐬𝐬𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐬
Pamplona, known for its vibrant San Fermín festival and the daring “Running of the Bulls,” marked a significant chapter. From there, I embarked on a soul-searching journey toward the Hill of Forgiveness. The Hill, an emblem of introspection and spiritual emancipation, beckoned me to shed layers of past regrets.
With each step, memories surged. Stories of perceived wrongs, buried resentments, and stifled anger. As I climbed, I mentally cataloged these burdens. Reaching the summit, I was greeted by an expansive beauty.
I closed my eyes with a deep breath, releasing the weight I’d carried for so long. I realized how much space all those negative feelings took up in me. These feelings were long overdue to process and let go of them so I could genuinely feel life.
𝐋𝐞𝐬𝐬𝐨𝐧 𝟑: 𝐀 𝐇𝐞𝐚𝐫𝐭-𝗪𝐚𝐬𝐡𝐞𝐝 𝐂𝐥𝐞𝐚𝐧
Departing from the Hill, my heart filled with joy as I reflected on my life’s blessings. It wasn’t mere gratitude; it felt like a cleansing. Each step resonated with a silent chant – Count your Blessings. This mantra became the overall message of my journey. And with every heartbeat of thankfulness, a serene calmness enveloped me, grounding me in a state of pure contentment.
The Camino introduced me to souls with tales that echoed pain, loss, and hope. 𝐓𝐡𝐞𝐢𝐫 𝐬𝐭𝐨𝐫𝐢𝐞𝐬 𝐞𝐭𝐜𝐡𝐞𝐝 𝐚 𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐥𝐢𝐳𝐚𝐭𝐢𝐨𝐧 𝐝𝐞𝐞𝐩 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧 𝐦𝐞: 𝐡𝐨𝐰 𝐨𝐟𝐭𝐞𝐧 𝐦𝐲 𝐩𝐞𝐭𝐭𝐲 𝐰𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐢𝐬 𝐣𝐮𝐬𝐭 𝐢𝐧𝐝𝐮𝐥𝐠𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐢𝐧 𝐬𝐞𝐥𝐟-𝐩𝐢𝐭𝐲 –𝐢𝐧𝐬𝐭𝐞𝐚𝐝 𝐨𝐟 𝐥𝐢𝐯𝐢𝐧𝐠!
Another awareness dawned in the coming days. 𝐈 𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐥𝐢𝐳𝐞𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐩𝐞𝐨𝐩𝐥𝐞 𝐈 𝐡𝐚𝐝 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐦𝐨𝐬𝐭 𝐜𝐡𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐞𝐧𝐠𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐢𝐦𝐞 𝐟𝐨𝐫𝐠𝐢𝐯𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐰𝐞𝐫𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐨𝐬𝐞 𝐰𝐡𝐨 𝐠𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐦𝐞 𝐬𝐨𝐦𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐦𝐲 𝐠𝐫𝐞𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐬𝐭 𝐠𝐢𝐟𝐭𝐬. 𝐓𝐡𝐚𝐭 𝐰𝐚𝐬 𝐡𝐮𝐠𝐞!! 𝐀𝐧𝐝 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐭𝐡𝐚𝐭, 𝐈 𝐦𝐚𝐝𝐞 𝐩𝐞𝐚𝐜𝐞 𝐰𝐢𝐭𝐡 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐦 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐦𝐲𝐬𝐞𝐥𝐟.
Letting go lightened my steps, brightened my eyes, and my heart became fuller. Yes, life will present more challenges, but this time alone imprinted an eternal lesson – 𝐩𝐫𝐚𝐜𝐭𝐢𝐜𝐞 𝐭𝐞𝐧𝐝𝐞𝐫𝐧𝐞𝐬𝐬 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐬𝐞𝐥𝐟-𝐜𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐚𝐤𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐜𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐦𝐞 𝐚𝐧𝐝 𝐜𝐨𝐮𝐧𝐭 𝐦𝐲 𝐛𝐥𝐞𝐬𝐬𝐢𝐧𝐠𝐬 𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐲 𝐦𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐧𝐭, 𝐞𝐯𝐞𝐫𝐲 𝐝𝐚𝐲.
In my last article, I’ll share more of my lessons; although I could write a book about it, there were so many. And I will share how I finally decided to leave early and vow to do the other part next year.
Thank you to everyone who has shared with me:) I hope this sparks something profound in you and one of the lessons you can apply to your life.