Lightening the Load along the Camino

Every day that I walked the Camino de Santiago de Compestela, I took one more thing from my backpack and left it behind. I wanted to do anything to lighten my load, but I wanted to be sure my basic needs would be met. The first day I took out my Spanish English dictionary. I had not used it, and it was the heaviest thing in my pack. I had learned that I could get by with sign language if my meager Spanish was insufficient. I continued on until the only things left were my rain jacket, my passports (my US passport and my Camino passport), a few Euros (bills but no coins), and some water. I could get all my basic needs met with these few things. Everything else was discarded.

Other pilgrims were doing the same thing. One pilgrim even ditched her sleeping bag. She found that she could get basic sleeping needs met at each hostel where she stayed, and she did not need to lug the extra weight around.

I thought this was an interesting metaphor for Knowing Ourselves. In deciding how to shed the extra weight, each pilgrim was getting in touch with his/her own most basic needs. Each of us was also learning what needs we could depend upon others to supply and what needs had to be addressed by ourselves alone.

The lesson is applicable to all needs in life. How do we get in touch with what we really need? How do we learn what we can expect to get from others and what we need to address some other way?  In walking the Camino, we were focused on the most basic needs, and we were learning by trial and error. When it comes to personality needs, the process of knowing is a bit harder, and trial and error can have more serious consequences. But this process can be short circuited with Know Thyself Guides®. Once we understand our own needs and how we can best get them met, our load can truly be lightened.

With lightness in my step,


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