Have you ever wondered what it would take to make the changes in your life that would bring you more peace and happiness?
I arrived in St Jean Pied de Port in France, crossed the Pyrenees and walked the 800km Camino de Santiago pilgrimage across northern Spain in 38 days.
And you may ask“what is a pilgrimage” – A pilgrimage is a ritual journey with a purpose. The pilgrim knows that life giving challenges will emerge. A pilgrimage is not a vacation; it is a transformational journey during which significant change takes place. New insights are given. Deeper understanding is attained. On return, life is seen with different eyes. Nothing will ever be quite the same again.
(The Camino de Santiago is a World Heritage site and the first pilgrimage dates back to the 9th Century.)
My purpose was to test my own resiliency on all levels – physically, mentally and spiritually – and yes they did get tested as I carried my 12kg backpack, walked between 18-30km daily and stayed in albergues (basic accommodation for pilgrims with bunk beds – the largest being 183 beds in a large monastery).
Each day you get up, put everything you own in your backpack and walk and then walk some more until you find a village that will be the final destination for the day.
It was an incredible experience. The freedom to wake up each day and walk through beautiful nature and stunning landscapes, meet new friends from all parts of the world, and explore corners of my mind I’ve never had time to explore.
Walking 24+ km everyday the mind has plenty of time for introspection, deep thought and questioning. And it was a perfect time to get to know myself better and what is really important in life.
“Knowing yourself is the beginning of all wisdom.”
How well do you know yourself – I mean really know yourself?
Along the way I learnt so many invaluable life lessons – how much happiness I found in living simply and how much simplicity can be found in accepting the circumstances that surrounded me every day.
On a daily basis we can complicate our lives with having too much “stuff”, trying to fit too much into a day, not being able to say “NO”, being constantly busy and then feeling guilty for all of the above.
Since my return from the Camino I have been on a mission to simplify my life.
Simplicity brings balance, freedom, and joy.
If you would like to experience more of this, here are just a few things you might like to try:
- Identify what’s most important to you – who and what do you value?Write a list of what is most important in your life and focus on spending more time and energy on that.
- Review your diary and time commitments – it is easy to keep adding more into our daily and weekly schedule – take a good look at what you could eliminate or delegate.
- De-clutter – yes we’ve heard it before but have you done it? It feels like a weight has been lifted as I have gone through room-by-room letting go of “stuff” that I no longer need to hang on to.
- Minimise technology and screen time – log off Facebook, turn off the mobile phone and enjoy some quiet time without distractions. Being connected 24/7 creates stress and busyness; decide each day to have time without TV, phones and internet and notice how peaceful and joyful life can be.
- Get rid of negative thoughts – stop beating yourself up for not ”being more” “achieving more” or “doing more”. Switch your thoughts to being grateful for who you are and what you have.
In essence simplicity means getting rid of many of the things you do so you can spend time with people you love and do the things you love. It means getting rid of the clutter so you are left with only that which gives you value.
Enjoy living simply…