I would describe myself as spiritual and, as I have walked the Camino de Santiago, I have become more so. There are many definitions of spirituality, for me it is all about connection. It’s connection with something greater than me but also connection with myself, and this life that I am living, and connection to the natural world.
Being in nature plays a major role here. You could say in some ways that nature has become my god, that nature is very closely a part of my spirituality. Indeed, it is to the Universe and to Mother Nature that I give thanks every morning as I stand on my yoga mat. And no matter now many times I walk sections of the Camino de Santiago, and other ancient paths, I feel a closeness, an intertwining and definitely inspiration. I can always find something new to marvel at and to delve deeper into.
I love to embrace all that each day on the path offers. It can be the people – some who I have met previously and others who are new to me. It’s the many churches on the journey such as the large cathedrals as in Burgos, Leon and Santiago; the abbeys of France and the many small churches, sometimes only made up of one room. They offer shelter from the weather, calm and peace and stories of history and refurbishment. But mostly, for me, it’s the beauty of nature that unfolds.
The springtime of flowers, growth and newness; the transhumance where the animals are moved from one grazing ground to another so up to the higher pastures for the summer and returned to the lower land in winter and in the autumn, the pleasure of
walking through the vineyards where the grapes hang heavily on the vines and where the grape picking may have already started.
I found myself wondering about the stories that these gnarled trees could tell if only they could talk.
Walking in nature and practicing mindful walking and walking mediation as I do myself and with my clients, has made me more grounded and ensures that I spend more of my time being in the moment. In today’s fast paced life, full of expectations and overwhelm being able to connect to the power and majesty of nature is such a calming action.
How often do we, especially women, get the time to put ourselves first and to walk and reflect on our lives? This is the one factor that all of the women I walk this path with, comment on. The path and nature helps to put things into perspective. Having slogged up to the top of a hill in heat, wind or rain, perhaps having wondered if you’d ever make it, there is time to stop, slow down the heart rate and look out onto a piece of this great world. When this happens to me, I am reminded of how small and insignificant I really am and how often the things I get caught up in, and with, are not worth worrying about. It’s sobering and helpful.
On all of the Camino I am reminded of the many who have walked before, many who walked as a penance, many who were desperately ill and many who were attacked and robbed along the way. Nowhere did this strike me more than on the last section from Sarria to Santiago. I was pleasantly surprised at the greenery but this of course is Galicia, ‘green Spain’ and as I walked through miles and miles of ancient oak woods I found myself wondering about the stories that these gnarled trees could tell if only they could talk. I found myself wanting to spend more time walking ancient paths.
I believe that there is a great wisdom in these paths, wisdom and stories that can enhance our own lives and that lead us to tap into our own wisdom, and uncover our
own stories. We may not always realise or value what we bring, we may need help to gently unravel what is buried and assistance to shape and develop it but our stories are there and should be shared.
All of this I bring to my work both through online programmes and coaching but also on the path. This is why when I lead it is not only about the walk but so much more.
Come join me and experience some of the spirituality and nature for yourself. Come walk a Camino Experience in 2023, we still have places or in 2024 (and if you are reading this long after those dates, still click the link as the latest ones will be there).
Be with a small group of like minded women who are there for each other and who grow on the path together. Experience not only the path but transformation, awareness, enlightenment, as well as enjoying the food and wine of the area, the history, tradition and wonderful scenery. Return energised, recharged and with a re-ignited spark.