Two of my favorite movies are The Way and Walking The Camino, and one of my favorite books Rebirth by Kamal Ravikant, are set on the Camino de Santiago Compostela. The Camino, as it is often called, is a 500 mile pilgrimage through Spain to the tomb of St. James. Often beginning in France the pilgrimage takes about 30-35 days.
I think I relate to the Camino because in my late preteen and teen years I took long walks contemplating life, people or God. Those walks almost always left me with a complete sense of peace. Like the walks of my youth the pilgrimage of the Camino is said to return the pilgrim to harmony. The outer struggle of the trek brings to surface the inner struggle where it can be seen, faced, and resolved or accepted with grace. The Camino restores the pilgrim to harmony with life allowing for a deeper happiness.
As a traditional Hawaiian healer I perform a healing ceremony called ho’oponopono. Ho’oponopono is formally described as the act of setting things right. Less formally it reestablishes harmony within and between people. On one level the process is psychological. Participants speak and hear grievances and concerns in a safe place. On another level it is a spiritual practice where prayer plays a significant role in setting an intention or calling on a higher power to influence the mana or life force energy of all involved to aid in setting things right. The higher power need not be an ancestor or a god. A higher power may simply be harmony or homeostasis relative to disharmony. Ho’oponopono can be a long process taking many hours, or even days. I have come to see it as a pilgrimage.
The Camino is a perfect balance of the inner and the outer, of yin and yang. You walk through nature to see inside yourself. Jesus said heaven is within and at hand, so when we walk the Camino we walk on earth to touch heaven. Qi, pronounced chee, is the subtle life force energy acupuncturist manipulate to improve health. Qigong is an exercise designed to circulate and gather qi exchanging personal and environmental qi. It is similar to the way breath and blood circulate oxygen through the body. In my qigong practice I strive to be conscious of my qi as it dances with the qi all around and within me.
The ability to play with qi is not a gift some have and some don’t. We just haven’t been taught to pay attention and learn how to use it. It is similar to the way we have to learn good exercise and diet habits. It is easy for humans to forget we are a apart of and composed of nature, and that all matter is formed from energy. Most people primarily obtain qi through breath and food. Qigong allows you to pull qi directly from the environment and circulate it through your body. Qigong is similar to life force detox. After a qigong session I feel relaxed, energized, light, and harmonious inside and out.
I’ve been writing a book. Well actually three books. Until recently I could not find my voice. I also did not want to write simply to express myself or worse, as a marketing tool that has no real value. As a healer many of the experiences I’ve had and witnessed leave lessons that are applicable over a broad range of problems. I don’t claim to have discovered anything new. I have learned that every grand idea I thought I discovered had already been discovered hundreds or thousands of years ago. The ability to offer the fruits of experience simply with respect and usefulness has turned out to be more daunting than expected. In this way writing is a pilgrimage. Writing a book is not the only way writing is a pilgrimage; writing a journal or diary also fit the bill. Books too take you on a restorative journey; such books are also pilgrimages.
What’s your pilgrimage? I posted the question and one friend said being a parent was his pilgrimage. Being a father of three I have to agree. The journey with a child or children can be a pilgrimage; one that doesn’t end when they leave home. Marriage is a pilgrimage. Divorce is a pilgrimage. Sickness and caring for the sick are pilgrimages. Obtaining a degree is a pilgrimage. What’s your pilgrimage? Write me, or better yet, write a blog or social media post. #WhatsMyPilgrimage so we can share our pilgrimages with each other. Bon Voyage!