Life and Business Lessons Learned From A Hike Across Spain, Step by Step
I appreciate that some people may find this particular blog a little bit “woo woo”, however, I felt that I needed to share my experiences and the lessons learned from my many Camino trips.
When you are a business to business (b2b) owner, or perhaps work in a corporate environment then we tend to store our spiritual side in a little cupboard and lock away the key. If I am honest with myself, I have always been in tune with my spiritual side and it is something that I rarely share online or in the public domain. Why is that? Again, if I am being honest with myself, I think it is because I wanted to “fit in”. I didn't want to be different or for people to know that I can see and hear things that perhaps others can't because they may think I am a weirdo. I am a people pleaser and I like to be liked. I think we all do.
Have you heard of “thin places?”
Now that I have that out of the way I feel much better and it is time to share a few stories about the spirituality of the Camino. The Camino is a very special place. People have walked this route for centuries and you can feel the energy as you wander through the many different “thin places” on the trail. A “thin place” is where the spiritual world meets with the present. The only way I can describe the feeling is a bit like walking through an energy field. You can spot the “thin places” along the trail which are usually defined by a long fence of crosses that are created by pilgrims and made by sticks. They are built by a loved one and usually represent someone that has passed to the other side. Other spiritual places are the many churches along the Way or prayer stone gardens which are just amazing to see. The most famous “thin place” is Le Crus De Ferro which is on the last section of the Camino and it is a special place where you leave your personal stone behind which represents “letting go”.
I experienced a few “thin places” simply by walking on my own through the woods. I would often hear the sound of a pilgrims pole tapping the ground behind me (quite a distinct sound), but when I turned around there would be no-one there, but I could feel their presence.
Open your heart to the possibilities
I remember arriving early in the small Spanish town of Los Arcos after a long days walk. I decided to visit the church which is in the town centre and is rather magnificent. There was something special about this church and I felt compelled to make my way to the front pew. It was rather dark inside, but the light was shining on the stained glass window and I was mesmerised. I am not a religious person, but I do enjoy being inside a church as I find the history, art and peacefulness of any church rather soothing. After a hard day's walking, I found myself sitting in the front pew and staring up at the glass window in a “zombie” fashion. I have no idea how long I had been sitting there is a daydream state but I felt a tap on my left shoulder. I jumped and turned around to see the priest looking down on me. “Hello pilgrim,” he said. “May I ask how you managed to get into the church?”. Confused, I simply replied, “I walked in through the door”. I then realised that I was on my own in the church and probably had been on my own for the last hour or so. “That is impossible” he replied. “The door is locked and will not open until 5 pm”.
At this point, I tried to recall the action of walking through the door and I couldn't! I remember being outside looking up at the church, and the next thing I know I am sitting on the front pew. I was confused but I am sure I had walked in via the traditional means. “I need to ask you to leave,” he said in a nice way. It was only 1.30pm so I nodded in an apologetic and confused way. He unlocked the big wooden door for me (there were three locks!), and let me leave. To this day, I have no recollection of entering the church, but I was certainly called! It was at this sitting that I made a few key decisions in my life. Powerful stuff!
Have you heard of Camino Angels?
If you have read about the Camino then you may have head about Camino Angels. You will meet many angels on your journey which are simply people who will go out of their way to help you or provide you with support at the time that you need it most. I have lots of Camino angels, so here are just a few (to give you an example).
- Erik – a master of creativity in his day job and showed me the way in which I can release my creativity. Without Erik I would not have Adventure Geek.
- Sue – on the first day of the final section of the Camino I met up with Sue from California. We got chatting about my thoughts of taking a group of people on the Camino and she just happened to have met someone else who was doing the same. She shared lots of information, but more importantly, she gave me the courage to take the first steps and now I am living my dream (thanks Sue).
- Laura – has a zest for life and was another person who encouraged me to live the life that I felt I should be living. She continues the support with regular emails which I eternally thank for. #LovYouLoads Laura.
- Juan – many of you will meet this guy who sells cold coke cans and fruit in the mountains. He has so much energy that it is rather infectious and is just what the doctor ordered when you are tired, hungry and thirsty!
I could list another twenty people here, but you hopefully appreciate that if you are open to the spirituality of the Camino and let go of some of the blocks that are standing in your way then magic can happen. It did for me.
You do not need to be a religious person to walk the Camino, but if you are open to the spirituality of The Way then your life will certainly be enhanced in ways that you will not expect. The key is to “go with the flow”. If you are searching for something then you may not find it. The Camino provides what you “need” not what you “want”. Have an open heart and an open mind. Do not judge people and try to be a good listener on your journey in life and positive things will happen. That is certainly what I now believe.
Thank you for reading this blog.