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,

Sarah

Happy, Successful, Understood Icons

 

Ready for your own 21-day journey?

How to be Happy, Successful, and Understood Through Journaling in 21 Days from Know Thyself Guides® can help you gain the empowering self-knowledge you need to remake your life into one of fulfillment and satisfaction.

Following the basic outline of the Know Thyself Process®, the journal uses your own thoughts and reactions to key questions to help you gain valuable insight. In just 21 days of journaling, you will:

  • Define your own perceptions of what it means to be happy, successful and understood.
  • Test your perceptions with a trusted companion.
  • Identify opportunities to act on your new knowledge.

Your journey toward greater happiness and success is only a click away.

 

 

 

The Importance of Your “Essence”

es·sence

 noun ˈe-sən(t)s

: the basic nature of a thing : the quality or qualities that make a thing what it is

: a substance that contains in very strong form the special qualities (such as the taste and smell) of the thing from which it is taken

 

There was a smell along the Camino that would waft in and out of our awareness. It was a rather strange aroma and quite unique, a combination of semi-fermented apples, manure, and freshly cut hay. It was at times pleasant to me and at other times unpleasant, depending on which elements were prevailing and, frankly, whether there was a lot of moisture in the air. In the morning when it was damp and foggy and mist was in the air, I found the aroma a bit offensive.  On the other hand, I found it very agreeable in the afternoons when the air was drier. My companions had different reactions to this mysterious aroma. Some enjoyed the smell, particularly when the apple aroma dominated while others abhorred it regardless. But it was at all times unmistakable. We dubbed it the “Essence of Galicia.”

The double meaning of the word “essence” did not strike me until later. That aroma, or “essence,” came from the essential part, or “essence” of the area through which we were walking.  The Camino took us through some absolutely beautiful rural areas. We walked right through farms. The cows used the same paths as did we. Fields were being harvested, and the hay was being stored right beside our trail. There were lots of orchards, and the farmers were picking the ripe apples. In acts of incredible generosity, these farmers offered the freshly picked apples to the pilgrims who walked by.photo 3

That got me to thinking about what my “essence” is and how that impacts others. My unique interests and strengths define my essence, and this combination will have differing effects on various individuals, often depending on their own unique needs. It will be agreeable to some others all the time; disagreeable to some all of the time; but agreeable or disagreeable to most depending on the circumstances. And that is OK.  By really Knowing Myself, I will learn to distinguish those circumstances where my unique interests and strengths are likely to be of most service to the most people. I can learn to identify others who might enjoy what I have to give.  I can thus improve the “essence” others experience from my “essence.”

– Enjoy the Journey!

Sarah

Happy, Successful, Understood Icons

 

Ready for your own 21-day journey?

How to be Happy, Successful, and Understood Through Journaling in 21 Days from Know Thyself Guides® can help you gain the empowering self-knowledge you need to remake your life into one of fulfillment and satisfaction.

Following the basic outline of the Know Thyself Process®, the journal uses your own thoughts and reactions to key questions to help you gain valuable insight. In just 21 days of journaling, you will:

  • Define your own perceptions of what it means to be happy, successful and understood.
  • Test your perceptions with a trusted companion.
  • Identify opportunities to act on your new knowledge.

Your journey toward greater happiness and success is only a click away.

 

Coming Full Circle with Myself

photo 2 (1)On the first full day of walking,  we 12 set out before sunrise at 7:30 am.  I read the pilgrim’s prayer given to us by our priest before we departed:

“Set out!
You were born for the road.
Set out!
You have a meeting to keep.
Where?  With whom?
Perhaps with yourself.”

We stayed together as a group until it was light and then we gradually started separating as we found our own comfortable pace.  I walked most of the way with my roomie Bonnie. As we watched the sun rise and the fog lift, we talked about the meditation in our guide by John Brierley:  “The Voice of God is within and urges each one of us, as children of one God, to become the authors of our own awakening.”

And I came full circle to the pilgrims prayer and the meeting with myself.

There were thousands of pilgrims on the Camino today.  There were 12 in my group.  We all saw the same sunrise, the same fog to lift, the same rolling hills.  And yet I am sure we all experienced it differently.  We all awakened as a result of this experience to different realizations or insights.

Appreciating my interests, strengths, and needs is a start “To become the author of my own awakening.”

I noted a lot about the buildings along the way.  Why were the roofs built like that?  Why were the granaries designed as they are?  I continually was asking the question, “Why?”. And that, as it turns out,photo 1 (1) is one of my interests, pursuit of the reason things are the way they are.

These were not the things that stood out for my fellow pilgrims.  For example, what made the biggest impression on one of my companions was a conversation she had with someone she met along the way.

We are all different in this regard.  So that voice of God within may also be quite different.

The only thing I think we fellow pilgrims will have in common to talk about tonight is our aching feet.

The Power of Needs

There were 9 of us in Madrid yesterday.  We had a great day exploring this great city on foot, on bus, and from the many street cafes.  We would separate into smaller groups as we visited museums, with some going to the Prado, some the Thyssen, some Reina Sofia.  We ended up having chocolate and churros before heading to Estacion Chamartin to board our overnight train to Sarria.

There was virtually no food at the train station.  There was no food on the train.  This is not a recipe for energizing someone with hypoglycemia, especially after eating all that chocolate.

Our quarters were quite cramped and not large enough for even the meager luggage of a few pilgrims.  And it was hot as we all imagine Hades to be.  When the 9 of us rolled off the train (2 of us while the train was starting to move onto the next stop) onto the dark platform at 6:45 in the morning, we were a grumpy lot, a bit disorganized and quite lost.  Not one of us had slept during the 8-hour journey.

We managed to find our hotel, but there were no rooms for us.  Since it was still dark,  the pilgrims had not yet left for their onward journey.  In small packs we wandered around the city hunting for coffee and food like stray dogs on the hunt for anything edible.  I suspect we looked a bit like stray dogs as well.  Once fed and hydrated we found our way back to the hotel where our rooms and beds were waiting.  A nap became the next priority.

Upon awaking we strolled around the city and took some walks on the camino-practice walks with our equipment,  deciding what we would carry with us for the rest of the journey starting tomorrow.  We were thinking a bit clearer now that we had had rest, food, and water.  And we were talking with each other with helpful suggestions.

I got a stark lesson this day on the power of basic needs in our lives.  When they were not met,  it was about all I could think of.  When they were met,  I could focus more on interacting with and helping others. I could also begin to think about the spiritual journey we were all embarking upon.

It is the same with our needs when it comes to interacting with others.  My Know Thyself Guides (r) preferred style is to interact one on one or in small groups.  I can do the big group thing, but it does create stress, so it helps if i can get some time away to recharge.  Imagine large group interactions constantly for days with the additional stress of lack of food, water, and rest.

My lesson today in Knowing Myself is to ensure that my basic needs are met so that I can be of service to others and learn what I need for myself.

When completing your Know Thyself Guide(r), you will learn:

  • What your NEEDS are
  • Your STRENGTHS
  • Your INTERESTS
  • Your STRESS REACTIONS when your NEEDS are not getting met.

This is very important to understand when wanting to be Happy, Successful, and Understood.