How to be a Pilgrim on the Camino (and at Home)
The Eight + 1 Things you Need to Know to Feed your Pilgrim Soul
What makes a successful pilgrimage isn’t distance traveled but commitment to the journey itself, and you can do this with me, whether you are walking on the Way or at home.
Hear the call and respond
The call is always mysterious, whether it was a call we desired or one was unbidden, we respect and embark on a new journey as pilgrims. We might embark on a pilgrimage because of illness or transition in our lives and find that we are moving into new internal territory. In our case, we shifted from the Portuguese Camino to the Camino Invierno, in a process that is still mysterious to us. One of our party fell away – but one never knows, if Santiago has called her, she will come. Now or later.
We discover that our ways, habits and patterns no longer serve us. Perhaps we feel an impulse to simplify our lives so that we have more room and resources for the new journey that is emerging. Do I really need all this technology? What do I drop – the guidebook or the kindle?
Crossing the Threshold
The Old me has faded away but the new me hasn’t emerged. When we are open to new ideas and stop clinging to old safe ways, we may discover a host of Camino angels to support us on the way – and in life. With my writing, I am stepping out and using AI tools that will enhance my work. I’ve come out of the fear of AI.
Make the Way by Walking
Setting out on a pilgrimage may tempt us to seek the comfortable warm and well walked path, but it was the less known Winter Way that called us – reflecting the essence of the true inner journey is finding a different way forward. We put our foot in front of the other in faith and the next step becomes clear after we are in motion.
The root of the world pilgrim is perenrini,which means stranger. Being a pilgrim requires that we stretch, that we travel to wild edges, and risk being uncomfortable. It is now that we discover new dimensions of our own capacity and new faces of the sacred. Its like the old joke with a twist – a catholic, a protestant, a hindu and a Buddhist walk off on the Camino..each of us will encounter the sacred. For us, the training has been a push towards fitness – we may never be as fit as when we were younger, but one step at a time is possible.
In the monastic tradition the ‘beginner’s mind’ is to honour our humanity. Don’t fear failure. Stay humble, remain simple and, we can always begin again. We are already planning our next adventure.
Embrace the Unknown
A pilgrimage asks us to embrace mystery, to walk into an unknowing and to let go certainty and control. Thus, we allow are broken open and receive gifts far bigger than our own limited souls and imaginations can envision. This time I am open to what new type of book or books, may come out of this adventure. I’m always aware that the book chooses me. My chakras are open when the Camino is over.
And the end of the journey is to start again where we began and see it again with new eyes. Even if we never left home physically on a pilgrimage but made the deep inner journey, we discover that home is where our souls abide.
We are pilgrims on this earth, and the end of it is eternal life, or death. Our choice. But for now, it’s the Camino that is calling us. in the words of Walter Raleigh:
Give me my scallop shell of quiet,My staff of faith to walk upon,My scrip of joy, immortal diet,My bottle of salvation,My gown of glory, hope’s true gage,And thus I’ll take my pilgrimage.