Heart Lessons from the Camino de Santiago: Introduction

London, England

Heart Lessons from the Camino de Santiago: Introduction

“The ego cries, the heart does not” - October 27th

I woke up one morning in August, about a month before leaving for Spain, and felt my heart calling me to walk the Camino de Santiago. A few days later, I booked a ticket to Madrid, and on September 7th, I left for Spain. I thought I knew why I was walking. When asked, I told others it was because I was trying to connect pieces of my life and work that felt so disconnected. After a few weeks of being asked, I didn’t know the answer anymore. The simplest reason to say is the same reason why I am doing what I do now- to be more compassionate, to love, and to press pause and simply just “be”. I wasn’t too prepared for the walk, so it was a surprise when I realized I wouldn’t be walking completely alone. There would be other pilgrims on the path, ones who would become my closest friends and in some way, trigger a lot of changes within me. Most of the time, I felt physically disconnected to the outside world, although emotionally and intuitively I felt even more connected to the world's ongoing events. With nature as my constant companion, waking up each day brought me closer to myself. It validated the direction my heart seems to be tugging me and helped amplify that inner voice that I seem to always write about it.

In many ways, this pilgrimage felt selfish. I was going alone, to figure out things for myself, but still, still received so much. This doesn’t mean that each moment was filled with pure bliss. A wise man once told me that the Camino de Santiago is a little like life, just squished into a month. You reach your peaks, you reach your lows, and all the places in between. The most amazing part about the journey is that although you’re all walking the same path (much like life), each person will have a completely different experience.  

For me, it feels as though life happened in those 47 days. With so much happening, so many people, places, and distances walked, it is only normal that such intense experiences blossomed in such a short period of time. I felt some of my highest highs and my lowest lows; I felt love, happiness, sadness, and pain. One of my greatest lessons was learning to surrender and trust despite the intensity of these moments. Surrendering and trusting has been a common theme that I’ve carried with me, but those moments were a true test.

There were times I wasn’t quite sure why I was walking. All I could feel was my heart was calling me to walk the next step and through all the uncertainty, it felt clear that this is what I was supposed to be doing.

During those days of walking, I was simply walking. Like snippets, in the days following the last day of the walk, patterns and lessons started to emerge. I’ve had a chance to configure those lessons and also transcribe some entries and pieces of writing during my time on the trail. I’ll be posting them in conjunction with lessons and learnings which have emerged over the past few months as well as those which will emerge as I journey to India next week.

With these experiences and lessons, the question arises of how we can unify external and internal transformation to create change in our rapidly evolving world. Through study of eastern roots, alternative and existing models, nature based approaches, and introspection, the next months in India will allow me to dive deeper into this question and the solutions which surround it.

My mind can’t quite make sense of where these experiments and next steps will lead, but my inner voice seems to know. I’ll let it guide me and simply trust. As Lao Tzu teaches us, “Be still like a mountain and flow like a great river”.

Flow like water, just flow.

Rina PatelComment