Here I go...

Finding magic under the stars of the Camino Santiago de Compostela

Thursday, December 29, 2011

Just "Be!"

It's important that you walk YOUR Camino,
so my suggestions are only that... suggestions.

That said, I encourage you not to make it a race for a bed.
Go slow and enjoy the beauty all around you.
This is an opportunity of a lifetime!

Many people find the Camino gives them the chance to lighten their load
by experiencing how very little in the way of possessions
it takes to bring happiness;
to think through their problems without distraction,
and to make life-changing decisions with a clear head. 

Try taking the earphones out of your ears.
Listen instead to the music of nature and of the Camino.

Talk to any pilgrim and they'll describe the feelings they experience
when they hear cow bells, church bells, or vespers.  

Have you ever actually listened to the wind whispering in the leaves above your head?
Have you heard the drumming sound your feet make when they hit the earth?

Have you heard the song of the meadowlark
or the gurgling of the water rushing through the mill.

Why is that crow squawking?
What is that hawk hunting?

There are studies that suggest the sounds of nature
help balance your body and make you healthier.

Have you read any of the books by Dr. Emoto (Messages from Water)
who shows with amazing photographs of water crystals
how vibration greatly influences the cells of our bodies?

Without distraction, you can use your sense of SMELL also.
Can you close your eyes and conjure up the fragrance of the pine forest?
Do you know the smell of the heat rising from a dirt trail?
Do you recognize the scent of water?
Or better yet, can you SMELL that coffee up ahead
and follow your nose to the cafe?

These senses we no longer use were important to our ancestors,
and literally made a difference between life and death.

Can you recognize the feeling of the hackles on the back of your neck rising,
sensing danger,
telling you to STOP RIGHT NOW!?  

The Camino gives you the opportunity to reconnect
with all these gut instincts we've allowed to atrophy,
replaced by modern convenience.

But by losing those instincts, we've lost a bit of our humanity.
Take this opportunity to re-find yourself.

Open your eyes. Really SEE the beauty around you.
Look for the storks nesting on top of every high building.
Stop and admire the rolling landscape filled with vineyards and red earth.

Notice how old the buildings are!
When was the last time you saw a building that dated from 1510
standing strong in your neighborhood?

Investigate the village churches as well as the spectacular cathedrals.
Seek out the nuances in dark corners, sculptured ceilings, stain glass windows.

Look closely at the faces of your fellow pilgrims.
Are they happy?  Smiling? Ask them why! Then LISTEN.

Are they troubled?
Can you offer help?

It's possible without being instrusive.
Buy them a drink?
Offer them an orange or a pastry?
Give encouragement?
Pay attention to your own body.
Is the shoulder strap of your backpack too tight on the right?
Stop and fix it.

Do you feel a hot spot on your heel?
Stop and cover it with Compeed.

Do you feel sleepy?
Find a tree and take a siesta!

There's no time clock to punch!

The time of day doesn't matter.

Who cares if other walkers pass you!
Everybody will get where they're going.

You are right where you are supposed to be...
standing right there on that patch of dirt.

What a feeling of freedom!

Take a break from modern living.
Go to bed when it gets dark and rise with the sun.
Bundle up and watch the sunrise over a cup of coffee or tea.
There is no man-made art that compares
with the dawn sky on a summer morning.
I love the peace of early rising.
There is no traffic noise, no hustling or bustling,
no voices, no honking horns, no televisions blaring. 
I get my best work done between the hours of 4 am and 8 am.

When you get into the routine of nature,
you may be surprised to find yourself feeling so much better,
you may never go back to artificial light and late night t.v.


Walk your own Camino,
but consider doing it in a new way.
Lighten your load,
pay attention to your senses,
and... just... BE!

Buen Camino!

See my AnnieWalkersCamino website at 
for more information about
Guided Walks on the Camino Santiago 
and on other Pilgrimage Trails of Europe

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