Over the next few days I crossed paths with different people as I began to find the rhythm of my Camino. On the 4th morning I met Manoel and Sue as we left the City of Pamploma. I had met them a day or two before and this morning we walked together. As the morning wore on I felt more and more exhausted and as they walked a little ahead of me I called to them and said “I’m going to have to give in”. As soon as I said it I knew that “giving in” was about more than just taking a rest. I went to sit down and contemplated what else was meant by that statement.
Well for a start I considered myself a good walker, not normally the one who is lagging behind. Manoel is 20 years older than me and at this point he is walking better than I am. Before this trip I had never considered the possibility that I would not walk every day, I never considered the possibility that I would not make each stage as laid out in John Brierley’s guide book and I had not considered it remotely possible that I might not reach Santiago on or before my target date of 28th September.
But I was discovering that walking day after day was tiring and that my muscles and tendons became sore and tight. Apart from the physical weight I was also carrying some very heavy emotions with me too and they were often more difficult to carry than the rucksack. So I was now having to consider what doing the Camino actually means and whether I would consider myself to have completed the Camino even if I didn’t walk all the way to Santiago! And at the same time I wanted to do my Camino, my way.
I was also conscious of all the other people I started out with and whether I was ahead of or behind them. I had a growing sense that in order for me to do my Camino I was going to need to let go of notions of keeping up and preoccupations about where I was in relation to pilgrims who had begun the same day as me. I may have to let others go ahead of me. I also saw this as a metaphor for life and living and that I was being challenged to let go of deeper perceptions, notions and ideas that any other person could ever be behind me or ahead of me or that I am ahead of, beside or behind anyone else. So the key challenge was to allow myself to walk my Camino at my pace and in my way as this mirrored the challenges of my own life and living.
- “Buen Camino” (walkingwithdavid.com)