Category Archives: Camino de Santiago

Space and time

Day 5: Via Francigena – Siena to Monteroni d’Arbia

When observing the Siena Cathedral and other architectural highlights of the 12th and 13th centuries on the Via Francigena it comes to mind that people in medieval times felt a strong connection between the physical and the spiritual.

The cathedrals were an expression of faith with everyday life closely intertwined with religion.

Records from the Siena Cathedral show that construction started around 1226 with the transportation of black and white marble, probably for the construction of the façade and the bell tower. The craftsmen who started the intricate works of art inside and outside the building often did not see their masterpieces completed during their lifetimes, yet put all their energy and creativity into the project.

Head mind and heart mind

Along the path to industrialization and the material comforts of modernity something has gotten lost with the disconnect from physical and soul needs.

The head mind is preoccupied with the distractions of the 10,000 things of short-term gratification, and emphasis on youthful vigor and performance-driven culture. It is the breeding ground for greed and egocentric behavior, the results of which we can see in the destruction of natural ecosystems, irrespective of the consequences for future generations.

The heart-mind is timeless and rooted within a multi-dimensional perspective of unity between the physical and the spiritual. It is restorative rather than exploitative. There is mindful awareness of life within a complex matrix of interdependency.

Leaving Siena and looking back the skyline is still dominated by the Cathedral on the hill. The walk itself takes the pilgrim through open, expansive countryside with unlimited views, especially of the old walled barn complex in La Grancia di Cuna, one of the most impressive agricultural buildings in the Tuscany landscape. From the 12th century it offered pilgrims and merchants on the Via Francigena accommodation and food.

The entire installation is walled with two towers facing the southern entrance. The main entrance leads to an L-shaped square from where mule packs could reach the upper floors of the barn.

Reino Gevers – Author. Mentor. Speaker

One more thing…

You might want to check out my new book “Deep Walking for Body, Mind and Soul” released as a paperback by Morgan James Publishing on August 11, 2020. It has some valuable tips on creating happiness and boosting your vibrational energy on many levels. You can order it at all major outlets such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble or in my own store.  Check out the latest five-star reviews on Goodreads.

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“A breathtaking, captivating, transformative walk,” – Tom Dutta, Canada

“The book reminded me of my own journey in life I am walking and how bringing stillness to my busy life and mind is essential.” – Karin, France

“The book compresses on its slim 190 pages an extreme density of life wisdom.” Christina Germany

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Walking in medieval lands

Day  5 on the Via Francigena – from Monteriggioni to Siena

The 20 kilometer walk from the hilltop town of Monteriggioni to the city of Siena is fairly easy, continuing on ancient tracks, bypassing medieval castles, fortress towers and Romanesque chapels.

At the Ponte Rosso we cross a humpback bridge common during the Middle Ages because of a wide span that were perfect for supporting pack mules of the time.

A pile of stones on a humpback bridge

Several stone pires have been left on the bridge by previous pilgrims. I love the tradition of placing gratitude stones or prayer stones along the way. It is common on the Camino de Santiago but it was the first time I saw them here on the Via Francigena.

Today I placed a pile of stones in memory and gratitude of my ancestors. We carry within us the collective memory of those that went before us. It is the reason why ancient cultures celebrate the connection in ritual and religion.

Placing stones for your ancestors at the side of the road and asking them for protection is a tradition I know very well from the Zulu culture in South Africa. I also like the thought of our ancestors guiding and protecting us with angel wings from another dimension.

Shortly before reaching Siena the trail takes the pilgrim through a forest with nature speaking through the aroma of fresh earth, walnut and fig trees.

The architectural marvels of Siena

The last stretch of a stage is often the hardest with a climb up a hill and a long walk through the dreary modern outskirts of town before reaching the old city of Siena through a 15th century gateway.

It is a city that needs more than a day to explore. The medieval center is a UNESCO world heritage site. There are numerous architectural marvels such as the central square, Piazza del Campo, the 14th century Torre del Mangia tower, the Palazzo Salimbeni, The Palazzo Publico and the Loggia della Mercanzia to name just a few.

Reino Gevers – Author. Mentor. Speaker

One more thing…

You might want to check out my new book “Deep Walking for Body, Mind and Soul” released as a paperback by Morgan James Publishing on August 11, 2020. It has some valuable tips on creating happiness and boosting your vibrational energy on many levels. You can order it at all major outlets such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble or in my own store.  Check out the latest five-star reviews on Goodreads.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is bookcovers_sideview.jpg

“A breathtaking, captivating, transformative walk,” – Tom Dutta, Canada

“The book reminded me of my own journey in life I am walking and how bringing stillness to my busy life and mind is essential.” – Karin, France

“The book compresses on its slim 190 pages an extreme density of life wisdom.” Christina Germany

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On ancient tracks

Day  4 on the Via Francigena – from Colle di Val d’Elsa to Monteriggioni

There are so many  happiness moments on a pilgrimage walk. Although the Via Francigena is not as famous as the Camino de Santiago in Spain it is by no means less spectacular with its architectural marvels, cultural heritage and natural beauty.

On the fourth day of our walk we took the alternative route from Colle di Val d’Elsa along the River Elsa. For centuries the local inhabitants have revered the river as a source of life and livelihood. The  turquoise water comes in different hues and shades, contrasting with the luscious green surrounding forest.   Sunlight reflects from the fish swimming against the current from the waterfalls.

A pathway snakes through dense forest, taking  the hiker to the left and right of the river over natural stone pathways through shallow parts of the waters.

After rejoining the main route to Monteriggioni a friendly farmer In his SUV stopped to say hello proudly showing his pet in the passenger seat – a pigeon perched on a little wooden ladder, apparently looking very comfortable being taken for a drive.

A well marked route – cyclists have a separate path

For many sections the Via Francigena offers complete solitude with very few pilgrims on the path. It is well signposted and there are separate paths for cyclists who at times can be of particular annoyance to slow-walking pilgrims on the Camino Frances in Spain.

Walking on medieval mule tracks

The Via Francigena in parts follows the medieval mule tracks used by traders, wayfarers and pilgrims that was part of the network of roads between the most important Christian strongholds of Jerusalem, Rome and Santiago de Compostela.

A visit to the abbey at  Abbadia Isola Ostella offers a glimpse of these times. The abbey was founded around 1001 by the noblewoman Ava of the Lambardi di Staggia family, and for many centuries offered respite for pilgrims. The Romanesque church with three naves and three apses is surrounded by a small hamlet with the remains of the medieval fortifications.  Among the precious works of art in the church is the polyptych of the main altar created in the 15th century by the Siena born artist Sano di Pietro..  

From there the walk is up a steep hill to the largely still intact medieval fortification surrounding the village of Monteriggioni.

It is a great privilege to do this walk. This walk is dedicated to the many pilgrims, especially those coming from afar such as the United States, Australia, New Zealand and South Africa, who have had to cancel their plans this year due to the Covid-19  travel restrictions.

Only a few countries in Europe are currently still open for travel with the likelihood of more restrictions coming in the wake of a further spike in Covid-19 infections.

So many pilgrims, who are unable to travel this year, are reliving their past walks, going through their journals and picture albums. Memories from deep walking experiences stay for a lifetime.

Reino Gevers – Author. Mentor. Speaker

One more thing…

You might want to check out my new book “Deep Walking for Body, Mind and Soul” released as a paperback by Morgan James Publishing on August 11, 2020. It has some valuable tips on creating happiness and boosting your vibrational energy on many levels. You can order it at all major outlets such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble or in my own store.  Check out the latest five-star reviews on Goodreads.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is bookcovers_sideview.jpg

“A breathtaking, captivating, transformative walk,” – Tom Dutta, Canada

“The book reminded me of my own journey in life I am walking and how bringing stillness to my busy life and mind is essential.” – Karin, France

“The book compresses on its slim 190 pages an extreme density of life wisdom.” Christina Germany

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Two wolves and a choice

Day 3: Via Francigena – San Gimignano to Colle di Val d’Elsa

We decided today to take the alternative route to Monteriggioni via Colle di Val di’ Elsa also known as the “crystal city” because of its high-quality glass ware.

Also simply known as Colle the town has for centuries been frequented by pilgrims on the Via Francigena. On a little hill opposite the castle in the medieval town is the 13th century convent of San Francesco where the saint’s followers would assemble for prayer.

On the walk through the shady forests and hilltops kissing the clouds I was reminded of the story of how St. Francis tamed a wolf that was terrorising the population of the Umbrian town of Gubbio.

The tale of the wolf and emotions running wild

The story goes that the wolf waited outside the city gates waiting to feast on anyone foolish enough to venture outside. Francis, who had lived in the city at the time, then announced that he himself would visit the wolf in its lair. With the wolf charging at Francis he made the sign of the Cross and commanded the wolf to cease its attacks in the name of God, at which point the wolf trotted up to him docilely and lay at his feet, putting its head in his hands.

The symbolism of the story is telling. There is a similar tale of an old Indian chieftain telling his grandson the story of two wolves constantly struggling in the heart of the human:

“There is the wolf of darkness, who is full of envy, desperation, fear and anger. The other is the wolf of light. It is the wolf of love, generosity, compassion, kindness and joy.”

The grandson asks, “And which of the two wolves is going to win?”

Sighing, the old chieftain replies, “The wolf you choose to feed.”

The story from Zen Buddhism on the taming of the bull has similar connotations. It says much about maintaining control of emotions. Uncontrolled outbursts of anger have destroyed countless marriages, long friendships, and destroyed careers and business deals.

The wolf has a voracious appetite and the warning from St. Francis and the Indian chieftain is clear. We have the freedom of choice. The wolf could be tamed because St. Francis had made him aware that a life in fear, hunger and being constantly on the run was one of suffering. In the The Fioretti di San Francesco that describes the life of St. Francis, the wolf is described as bowing its head and submitting completely at his mercy.

“As thou art willing to make this peace, I promise thee that thou shalt be fed every day by the inhabitants of this land so long as thou shalt live among them; thou shalt no longer suffer hunger, as it is hunger which has made thee do so much evil; but if I obtain all this for thee, thou must promise, on thy side, never again to attack any animal or any human being; dost thou make this promise?”

Reino Gevers – Author. Mentor. Speaker

One more thing…

You might want to check out my new book “Deep Walking for Body, Mind and Soul” released as a paperback by Morgan James Publishing on August 11, 2020. It has some valuable tips on creating happiness and boosting your vibrational energy on many levels. You can order it at all major outlets such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble or in my own store.  Check out the latest five-star reviews on Goodreads.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is bookcovers_sideview.jpg

“A breathtaking, captivating, transformative walk,” – Tom Dutta, Canada

“The book reminded me of my own journey in life I am walking and how bringing stillness to my busy life and mind is essential.” – Karin, France

“The book compresses on its slim 190 pages an extreme density of life wisdom.” Christina Germany

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Food for thought

„Walk as if you are kissing the Earth with your feet.” – Thich Nath Hanh

Day  2 on the Via Francigena – Gambassi Terme to San Gimignano

On a hilltop between the medieval Tuscan towns of Gambassi Terme and San Gimignano the pilgrim enters the village of Pancole famous for the 15th century painting by Pier Francesco Fiorentino of the “Virgin feeding her Son.”

The original sanctuary was built in 1668 on the site where the sacred image originally stood along a country road where it had been abandoned and covered by undergrowth. Several miracles were attributed to the Madonna.

One of the miracles is the survival of the painting itself after the Nazis destroyed the original sanctuary in an act of indiscriminate vandalism in a bid to destroy the very soul and ancestral roots of a nation.

The sanctuary was reconstructed in 1949 and along with the nearby Monastero di Bose offer wonderful spaces for quiet  contemplation.

Landscapes that inspired poets and artists throughout the ages

It is no surprise that spectacular landscapes and the quiet pathways throughout the centuries inspired poets, musicians and religious orders

Spending hours in the heart of nature after only a few days of walking opens the heart and mind to the whispers from the universe.

You are forced to go slow up the steep inclines and then you begin to notice the small creatures on the ground such as the lizards, beetles, ants, and butterflies.  When in a hurry it is easy to mindlessly trample on these small creatures who are all fighting for survival when perceiving the heavy boots of an oncoming pilgrim.

St. Francis – the original ecologist

There are numerous stories of St. Francis, the patron saint of the animals, communicating and preaching to the animals as fellow creatures of God.  The saint was well known to walk long distances to spread his message and there are no numerous shrines on the Camino in Spain and along the Via Francigena dedicated to him.

St. Francis can be described as the original ecologist and his central message of social justice and greed causing harm to both the victim and the perpetrator ringing more true than ever.

Spending time in nature creates awareness on how complex the interaction of plant, insect, bird and mammal are intertwined and co-dependent on each other.  Nature starts tilting into imbalance when one species gains dominance and threatens the livelihood of all others. It is offers much food for thought.

Reino Gevers – Author. Mentor. Speaker

One more thing…

You might want to check out my new book “Deep Walking for Body, Mind and Soul” released as a paperback by Morgan James Publishing on August 11, 2020. It has some valuable tips on creating happiness and boosting your vibrational energy on many levels. You can order it at all major outlets such as Amazon, Barnes and Noble or in my own store.  Check out the latest five-star reviews on Goodreads.

This image has an empty alt attribute; its file name is bookcovers_sideview.jpg

“A breathtaking, captivating, transformative walk,” – Tom Dutta, Canada

“The book reminded me of my own journey in life I am walking and how bringing stillness to my busy life and mind is essential.” – Karin, France

“The book compresses on its slim 190 pages an extreme density of life wisdom.” Christina Germany

Leave a comment

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Walking your walk

Faith in the biblical sense can truly move mountains. Theresa decides to walk the Camino in an act of defiance after her doctor tells her that the cancer in her body will reduce her lifespan to six months at the most and that she should settle her affairs.

She walks the Camino with soft feet, sending her backpack ahead to the next town with a taxi. She completes her walk and returns home a different woman.

“That was five years ago,” she tells me as we drink our café con leche in one of the many bars dotting the Camino. This time she is walking the Camino the second time.

We are only in the infancy of discovering the true connection between body and mind. So many fellow pilgrims I’ve met on the Camino were told by family, friends, and associates that they would never be able to walk almost 800 kilometers over five weeks. We are capable of so much more than we think possible.

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Photo by Stephen Leonardi on Unsplash

The Austrian-born Jewish psychiatrist Victor Frankl (1905-1997) is renowned for his breakthrough research on the power of meaning. In his book Nevertheless, Say “Yes” to Life: A Psychologist Experiences the Concentration Camp, also known under the bestselling title Man’s Search for Meaning, he narrates several observations in the Nazi death camps.

While incarcerated in Auschwitz, Frankl counseled fellow prisoners with his philosophy that a striving for meaning, even in the most harrowing of circumstances, is what keeps us alive.

Inmates who gave themselves up became suicidal and died, while those who saw some meaning, like telling the world about the Holocaust after liberation, survived.

It was the “will to meaning” that looked to the future, and not to the traumatic events of the past, that sustained people.

Despite losing his wife and nearly all his family in the holocaust, Frankl refused to dwell on the past.

Even in the worst possible situation, man still has freedom of choice and the ability to seek meaning in whatever situation he finds himself in, he argued.

“Everything can be taken from a man but one thing: the last of the human freedoms—to choose one’s attitude in any given set of circumstances, to choose one’s own way,” he wrote.

It’s a simple but profound truth. It all begins in the mind.

It is why a cancer patient will very often give up when told of the diagnosis. The word itself is so loaded with fear and mortality that the patient sees no hope. The shocked reaction of family and friends is often not conducive to the healing process either when the patient is asked on a daily basis how “the cancer treatment is going.”

We also know from research that patients who overload their friends and family on a daily basis with all the details of their illness do much worse than those who refuse to mention by name the illness, merely telling everyone that they are in a healing process.

Most fitness and weight-loss programs fail because of a negative mindset.

After an initial loss of weight or a couple of exercise sessions, most people give up and return to old habits because they haven’t found the real reason in their mind why they want to reduce weight or get fit. Some people even end up being more obese because they have subconsciously tricked their mind into putting on more weight. “I don’t want to be fat. I don’t want to be in debt,” are a double-negative with opposite the intended effect.

Reformulating that wish into a realistic feeling that is actually felt as emotion and pictured as an ideal outcome really works.

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor, and Consultant

https://www.reinogevers.com

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2020: Our biggest challenge

In the northern hemisphere, the time between Christmas and New Year is characterized as the time of the “rough nights” with cold winds and snow battering the shutters. I like to use the time for reflecting on the blessings of the past year and working on my vision board for the year ahead.

church

One of the great highlights of my year were the unforgettable conversations with the wonderful people I met while serving as a volunteer in a pilgrims hostel on the Camino in the village of Najera, northwestern Spain.

What are you doing with the rest of the days of your life?

People from numerous different age groups countries, cultures, religions and traditions are walking the Camino with burning questions such as: What do I need to do with the rest of the days of my life?  What are the ingredients of a happy, fulfilled and contented life of bliss? What can I do to make the world a better place for my children and grandchildren? Who am I on a deep soul level beyond what the world outside there is trying to tell me who I am and what I need to believe, consume and do?

I have delved into some of these questions and lessons learned on the Camino with my new book Deep Walking for Body, Mind and Soul.

Taking time-out for reflection and alignment

The idea and purpose is to inspire readers on how valuable our time on earth really is. We need a time-out every day to perceive our inner world and one of the best ways of doing so is taking a walk in nature. It is the start of healing self and when we heal self we can start healing the world outside. The state of our world is a reflection of our inner consciousness and state of mind.

Much of the western world has lost its spiritual compass with the over-emphasis on external gratification. “Things” can never compensate for the yearnings of the heart and soul. There is a reason why depression and other mental illnesses have become a scourge of our time. We no longer know who we are? It is not surprising when we are bombarded almost non-stop with information overload, and confused by professional deceivers on social media. On the threshold to a new decade, we are faced with possibly the biggest challenge of our time:

Moving to a restorative, sustainable mindset

We need to move from the exploitative, consumerist mindset that is rapidly destroying our ecosystems and foundation of life to one of sustainability and restoration.  The firestorms and unprecedented heatwaves in many parts of the world in the past year, the tornado winds and flooding have come much earlier than the climate scientists predicted. We don’t have much time left to make the turnaround and Nature is trying to tell us something.

We need to change how we are transporting ourselves, what we are eating and what we are consuming.

The Western diet of junk and processed foods is not only ruining our individual well-being and health. Mass agriculture and animal feed production is the single largest contributor to greenhouse gas emissions. We need to eat less meat and we need to eat what comes from the local farmer.

The next decade is going to be defining in many ways. We are either going to make it or break it. Already the battle lines are drawn between raised human consciousness and the pushback from the fossil fuel-based industries and the exploitative mindset of the past.

The delusion the deceivers are putting out there is that the new consciousness wants to push us back into a poverty-stricken hunter and gatherer lifestyle.  The opposite is true. Imagine a much better carbon-free world in 2030 with cutting edge clean-energy transportation, clean air and rivers, oceans, lakes, and forests teeming with life, and foods that keep us healthy and fit.

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor, and Consultant

https://www.reinogevers.com

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After the walk, the real journey begins

Limiting beliefs planted from early childhood can have a powerful hold far into adulthood preventing the fulfillment of a purpose-filled life and the expansion of soul consciousness.

So many fellow pilgrims on the Camino, especially women, told me of the huge pushback they faced from husbands, parents, siblings, friends and even children who tried to dissuade them from going on a pilgrimage.

The pushback often comes from close friends and family

Very often those people closest to you pull you down when they hear you talk of an “outlandish” business idea, or going on that trip you have dreamed about taking for so long.

When you move to a higher energy frequency and start becoming strong, you will awaken demons with some of the people you surround yourself with. These are people stuck in their own fears and uncertainty who feel threatened when a member of their tribe breaks out.

If you take time out to walk the Camino in Spain for a four- or five-week period, you will come back a changed person, and this is sensed by the people around you.

Many pilgrims find it very difficult to fall back into the same old rhythm they left prior to walking the Camino. It is like going back to a different world.

waymarker      img_1002

The real pilgrimage begins after the pilgrimage

“I was hardly back home when I broke down. Everything seemed so strange. Everyone was going about their business and I just couldn’t find my place anymore,” a German pilgrim said after her return. After the pilgrimage, another pilgrimage begins- the pilgrimage of reflecting on and integrating all the experiences made on the path.

We have many associates but when it comes down to it, we have very few real friends who truly understand us and are supportive of our soul growth process.

Be careful who you open up to 

Fellow pilgrims, who shared the deep spiritual experiences after returning from the Camino, were sometimes ridiculed by friends or family members. My advice, therefore: Be careful who you open up to. Few people are genuinely interested. Most people are just curious or have hidden motives. Probably the only people who will really understand you are those people with whom you shared the same experience on the Camino.

And, sometimes it is better to keep the deepest spiritual experience to yourself because words only limit what has been felt on a soul level.

We often stay too long in relationships that have long outlived their purpose. Some people are givers and some are takers. The question that needs to be asked is: Do I feel comfortable, uplifted and energized when I’m in the company of that person? Or do I feel emotionally drained, exhausted and in a bad mood after spending time with him or her?

Getting support from those who give rather than take

A partner, family member or friend who really is focused on your well being will resonate with your enthusiasm, see the opportunity rather than the danger and offer unconditional support while you are on the path.

What is the main reference group that influences you on many levels?  Every so often it might be necessary to reflect on this.

It’s not that you want to hurt and exclude some people from your life. But the time might have come just to spend much less time with them and to spend more time with those people who really uplift you.

A good exercise is: Who are the five people you would choose to live with on a lonely island? Who are the people you would only want to spend a weekend with? Who are the three-minute people you want to remain polite with but keep at a clear distance?

A good guideline is the content of your conversations. Are you sharing uplifting ideas and thoughts or are you spending your time gossiping about other people and wallowing in negative things that happened in the past?

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor, and Consultant

https://www.reinogevers.com

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Who are you letting into your home?

Business person looking at wall with light tunnel opening

There is a saying that it takes a village to raise a child. “Ubuntu” is an ancient African term meaning  ‘humanity to others’ because it is those “others” who have made you into that individual who you are.

It means the persons you surround yourself with make you into the person who you are. The village, the individual and the tribe are ONE. So it is worth reflecting on who those five people are who you are letting into your “house.”

Who is supporting and uplifting you?

It will determine how upbeat, optimistic, healthy and successful you are. Are you surrounded by people who are supportive of you on your soul path or do you have people around you who use every opportunity to pull you down?

It is worth reflecting every now and then on those five people who really appreciate and serve you. As you disassociate and realign yourself you will inevitably be confronted by push back.

Is your guest trampling all over your carpet?

So how do I determine who is good for me and who isn’t?  How do I know that the person I let into my home is not going to “trample over my clean white carpet with dirty feet?”

And, it’s basically quite simple:

  • Do you constantly feel drained and emotionally exhausted after spending time with a particular person or a group of people?
  • Have you had this feeling for some time that a relationship is one-sided?
  • Are your conversations with that person or persons centered mainly around negative issues?

If so, it is high time to start disassociating yourself and to move on.

Surround people who emanate kindness and good energy

Open yourself to those people, who, when entering a room, emanate an aura of good energy. I admit those people are few and far between. Most of us are so preoccupied with our own baggage and issues that we no longer notice the true nature of the people around us. True, we cannot always be upbeat. That is not what life is about. Its how we deal on a day to day basis with our ups and downs in the knowledge that nothing stays permanent.

Life is impermanent

All great teachers of Mysticism will tell you that the art of happiness is the ability and wisdom to accept life’s preciousness in the here and now. Impermanence is one of life’s great lessons. Ask anyone who has suddenly lost a loved one, gone through a traumatic divorce or been confronted with a life-changing situation, like losing all one’s savings on the stock market.

The only truth is that life is a constant flow of yin and yang, birth and death, light and shadow, good and evil, expansion and withdrawal. Sorrow, grief, and despair are as much part of life as happiness, joy and exultation or loss and abundance. The discipline of the inner mind and thought process by means of meditation, the body arts or other rituals will help us deal with this ebb and flow.

What we can control is the practice of mind-setting, the choice of the people we surround ourselves with and who we invite into “our holy chambers.”

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor, and Consultant

(Read more on this topic in my new book “Deep Walking for Body Mind and Soul” Ebook scheduled for publication by Morgan James in New York on May 5th, 2020. Printed edition scheduled for the major outlets in August 2020)

https://www.reinogevers.com

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Walking into authenticity

A pilgrimage walk is so much more than an ordinary hike, working on many subtle levels, that may trigger a changed perspective and a complete realignment of emotional, physical and spiritual needs.

Walking the Camino is a walk into authenticity when the whispers from the inner voice gradually become heard as with every step more distance is created from the pull of the external distractions of the daily treadmill.

Moving to a higher energy level

From my own observations, I would say that most people are living lives in which they suffer in a quiet misery of unhappy jobs, dysfunctional relationships and other unfulfilled needs that come when the mind is focused too much on external rather than internal needs.

A combination of a daily dosage of junk foods, a mind fed with negative gossip and emotional drama, a sedentary lifestyle, an imbalanced stress, and recuperation cycle, inevitably lead to a downward energy spiral.

Finding that momentum to change an unhappy situation

Over the years it then becomes that much more difficult to find enough energy for the momentum to change an unhappy situation, especially when it comes to taking that first step in changing bad food habits, doing a regular exercise routine or morning ritual.

When you are on a pilgrimage walk, you simply have to keep going. Once you are on the path the pull to complete it is very strong. Other pilgrims will give you that extra bit of encouragement when you are having a down moment.

Walking off old emotional baggage

Especially during the early stages of the walk, there will be mornings when every muscle in the body is aching and feet are blistered.  You may be asking: “Why am I doing this?” But gradually the walk becomes easier, the load from a backpack less heavy, and the motivation to reach the destination that much bigger.

Camino_Portuguez

It is a huge reward when you actually start feeling so much better, physically and emotionally.  It is part of the detox, the walking off of old emotional baggage, that is part of the Camino experience.

By the time you have walked three or four weeks on your pilgrimage retreat, your energy frequency inevitably rises. This becomes noticeable in the resonance with people that have a positive mindset.  You might find stray dogs or cats following you, a bird singing at you from a breakfast table or complete strangers greeting you and starting a conversation. You will also become more aware of the beauty of your surroundings.

Taking time out for realignment

Over the years I’ve tried fitting in a pilgrimage retreat into my schedule every year. It has been life-changing. Modern lives have become exceedingly stressful with the emotions of pain and fear dictating the daily narrative. The uncertainty that comes with exceptional economic and social changes is making many people ill.

More than ever, therefore, we need those time out retreats for inner realignment for those age-old questions seeking answers: Where do I come from? Where am I going? Am I leaving a positive footprint for future generations? The sense of purpose reveals itself in the authentic self.

Reino Gevers – Author, Mentor, and Consultant

https://www.reinogevers.com

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Filed under Camino de Santiago, connection, happiness, lifestyle management, meditation, mental-health, Pilgrimage, psychology, self-development, spirituality, Uncategorized