John Lawson's Weekly Blog Week 2
One year ago, I completed walking the 850 km of the ancient pilgrimage route of the Camino de Santiago. I know many of you followed me on this journey as I blogged about my experience each day. I felt your support in so many ways. On this anniversary I thought I would share with you some reflections – my Camino back home, if you will.
I also kept a journal each day of my progress as I walked across northern Spain. And in these last few weeks I have picked up that journal. I have followed again my Camino experience and have relived the journey. So, what are some of my reflections – one year out? What learnings?
I’ve been struck first by simply the privilege of stepping out of the day-to-day responsibilities and walking. To have nothing else to do but tie on your shoes, grab your walking poles, put on your pack – and start to walk. And then to meditate, ponder, pray and pay attention to the now. What’s happening outside and within.
All of our lives get crowded with many things to do. Life can feel like an endless juggle from one task to another to another. And even when we stop the lists of what we have forgotten or need to do jostle and push for our attention.
I realize that in our faith tradition Sabbath is meant each week as a time to stop and step out of our daily business. A mini-Camino, if you will. A chance to live differently by choosing to be open in new ways to Creation and the life of the Spirit. To explore the sacred – both without and within.
Since my return I have tried to take some time each day, and each week a more extended time, to go for a walk and lose myself in the beauty of creation. To pay attention to the birds, the wind in the trees, the sparkle of light on the water, the child pushed by its mother in a stroller, the colour blue of the sky. To drink in the feast that surrounds us each moment of each day. To experience the blessing. To say Thank You. A walking prayer. A mini Camino – or as others call it, “a stroll for the soul”.
I have found that the act of walking – of moving – helps immeasurably. It takes me out of my head and makes the pay attention to my body. It’s gets me out into God’s creation – something way bigger than myself and my worries. It puts me in a place where other things can speak to me – trees, flowers, birds, animals and other people who pass me. I believe it is where God can speak – or perhaps more accurately, where I can hear God speak more clearly.
I would recommend it. Give it a try. I pray that it will bless you as it has become a Blessing in my life.
I have other learnings as well, in particular my decision to become a vegetarian. I’ll save that for another blog – coming soon.