Like many people around the world, I had big travel plans for this month. I was heading back to Spain and the ancient pilgrimage route known as the Camino de Santiago. It is said that Camino gives us what we need, not necessarily what we want or expect. The same is true about life. Events both on and off the Camino signal when it’s time for us to pause, reassess and redirect. As we’re seeing on a global scale, that time is now.
Pilgrimage is in many ways the Great Pause. It invites us to step away from our daily routines, open our minds, reflect on our lives, abide in the present moment and be available to the new and unexpected. We can do that right here at home as well.
Last week I started what I’m calling my “Camino-from-home.” I spend as much time outside as possible. I take long walks in the neighborhood. I explore streets I’ve never been on. I say hello to everyone I see, even if from a distance. I support my favorite family-owned eateries that offer takeout. I venture out to remote areas of town.
While I realize that venturing out is not currently possible for everyone, consider venturing in. The essence of a pilgrimage is the inner journey and that can be accessed anywhere, anytime. While sitting in our backyard, out on the terrace or in a quiet corner of our home, we can ponder some of the deeper questions that might arise on a long-distance walk, things like “what do I value most about my life?” or “what impact would I like to have?” The answers aren’t out on the trail. They are within us. It’s a matter of turning down the noise, to-dos and distractions that consume us, and listening in.
For me, that means going on a digital detox as part of my at-home pilgrimage. Particularly in these uncertain times, it’s easy to get swept up in news updates and other people’s reactions. The more plugged in we are, the more we’re likely to start reacting from a place of fear or anxiety as well.
Let’s take a collective step back and pause. A digital detox is not about getting rid of technology. It’s about not allowing our digital devices to dominate our day. We don’t need a phone to take a walk. I’m putting mine in an indefinite time-out. I’ll still use the phone here and there, of course, but now only during predetermined time slots during the day.
We can think of our home as if it were our pilgrim backpack. If we had to pile all our possessions on top of our back, we probably wouldn’t get very far. Why do we have so much stuff? Why do some of us feel the need to hoard things? I read recently that more than a quarter of people with two-car garages have so much stuff in there that they can’t park their car. It’s time to reassess.
The 80/20 rule, also known as the Pareto Principle, states that we regularly use about 20% of what we have. The rest of it, the 80%, sits there unused, collecting dust. Our stuff can weigh us down physically and mentally.
A couple of years ago, I donated half the contents of my closet and still found myself wearing the same 20% over and over. What we actually need and actively use is surprisingly small. Spending more time at home this month is a unique opportunity to go through our stuff like never before. Forget about stockpiling. Spring clean, declutter and share instead.
My Camino-from-home is also an exercise in reflection and prioritization, directing less of my attention toward the outside world and more focus on the inner one. It’s an invitation to slow down, tie up loose ends and projects, connect with the people around me, visualize the world I want to live in and create space for the new.
I’m not canceling my plans for Spain, just rescheduling for a later date. The Camino is not going anywhere. It is resting and resetting. We can too.
It’s beautiful thank Yvonne my Canadian friend for sharing
Beautifully stated and it makes so much sense!!! Truly now is a time for a humanity detox for all of us, a detox from stuff, from technology, from angry energy and focus upon the lightness, the light, the love and compassion. By ridding ourselves of all that extra un-needed weight, we can more easily glide thru with ease and grace!!! BEAUTIFUL!!!! and Thank you, Karin!!!
I also feel that now is a time to pause and go inward. This is an opportunity to reassess and re-prioritize. What really makes us feel good about ourselves? What really warms our hearts and feeds our souls? That’s what we need to fill our lives with. Thank you for putting your thoughts on paper to share with others, Karin. Much appreciated.
Such a lot of grace in this personal feature. As soon as I began reading, recognition kicked in. The inner search for meaning, for a sense of being at home with the self can manifest in all sorts of journeys, and that may resume one day. But if not, or until then, the only journey in town is the one described above with wisdom and simplicity.
Thank you for bringing some sense and hope.
A great article! We all need these reminders and suggestions as it can be a bit of the twilight zone at times. Bringing it back inside reminds us what is really important know the self. Good tips on doing just that.
Well put and timely for all. The business of life often gives rise to the excuses of procrastination. Karin’s article helps see that productivity of the inner journey may be more valuable than automated self.
Terrific article! I have been doing this for a couple of years now, ever since I first heard about the Camino. Oftentimes when I go for a walk, I pretend I am on the Camino instead of going down the road I’ve walked a hundred times before, trying to see it with new eyes or just feeling as it was part of a long journey. You are completely right – the Camino is everywhere, though of course, physically walking it is pretty amazing (so I hear). Second best is reading other pilgrims’ books, and listening to the podcasts about it. And taking the journey within, any time. I’ll raise a glass of wine to that! Maybe we can bring the spirit of the Camino to the world.