My time on the Camino is over insofar as the physical presence is concerned, but I carry the thoughts and reflections inside. They are relative and have affected my life profoundly.
I’d like to share an exercise with you and just one of the many things I learned while on this trek.
Prior to leaving for Spain and even while walking the Camino, I carried and read a book by Paulo Coelho called The Pilgrimage, a biography of his own personal walk on the Camino. In the book he shares a variety of exercises he did while on his trek and I chose to borrow some of them for mine. Below is one that became very profound for me. It’s simple but very challenging at the same time.
The Speed Exercise
Walk for twenty minutes at half the speed at which you normally walk. Pay attention to the details, people, and surroundings. The best time to do this is after lunch.
Repeat the exercise for seven days.
Sounds pretty easy, right? Well, it can be torture if you are moving a mach speed. The idea is to try to find pleasure in a speed that you’re not used to. Coelho was advised that by changing the way you do routine things allows a new person to grow inside of you. But when all is said and done, you’re the one who must decide how you handle it.
At the beginning of the newsletter I told you I would share a revelation I had with you. Well, it was through this very exercise that I discovered something about myself that applies to everything in my life.
The terrain we experienced on this walk was varied and at times very challenging. Long, steep hills with often-times dangerous declines was the norm. It was at the beginning of our walk that I decided to try this exercise and got my walking partner to join me in it. We slowed our pace from about five kilometers per hour down to the pace I remembered from walking with my toddlers. That’s pretty slow. It was definitely challenging, especially when everything inside wants to get moving.
We walked like this for several minutes and came upon a cherry tree growing all by itself on the side of the hill. We would have missed it had we been walking at our normal pace. We stopped, picked cherries, ate our fill and carried on. Flowers, butterflies, insects … life was all around us.
But, the real clincher for me happened as we were scaling yet another steep hill. I was looking down as I walked, watching as one foot landed in front of the other and then it hit me!
I can climb any mountain before me by simply putting one foot in front of the other and going slowly.
Now, that may sound obvious to you, but I want to tell you that I got to the crest of that steep hill and I was not out of breath, I wasn’t sweating and I had hardly noticed the incline. My nature is to get the job done quickly. My Mother used to constantly tell me to slow down. I was always in a hurry … impatient and rushing to get everything done. I was especially impatient with myself.
This has turned out to be a life lesson for me. I am very patient with my clients but not so much with myself. I am learning to be patient with myself, which will have an effect on everything else in my life.