I must admit, the first year (Le Puy – Cahors) was motivated initially by curiosity (what is this like?) and personal challenge (can I do this?).
By the time the plans were in place for that first year, and I actually started walking, my mother had passed. So I was given a “homework assignment” at the beginning of that walk: the work of grieving that loss. Each year since, I seem to have been given a similar “homework assignment”, some individual work that can only be accomplished in the inescapable dailiness of silence and solitude that is pilgrimage.
Sometimes this work becomes apparent well before I start walking, during the months of training and preparation. Other times, it is only after I have been walking a week, and have finally managed to leave behind the busy mind of daily routine to enter the more meditative pilgrim mental state.
I have learned many valuable life lessons on these walks.
- I am not in control.
- I need less than I think.
- The path goes where it goes; there is no sense in complaining about that.
- Others, even on the same path, are on a different journey.
- I depend upon others along the way; I cannot reach my goal through my own efforts alone.
- The most amazing things happen while living in the moment.