Pomegranates by Chanan Mazal

Pomegranates by Chanan Mazal

Saturday, 19 March 2016

My Easter Season Discipline



Some people have asked me about the word camino that I have used on the blog.  Camino is a term that refers to a path or journey one travels (either alone or as a group) that has a spiritual significance.

Some may have heard of the movie called The Way.  The movie tells the story of a man in personal crisis who walks the famous Camino De Santiago also known as the Way of St. James. This is where people gather to travel the pilgrim route to the church of the apostle St. James the Great.

Some walk the trail to hear from God.  Others may come to seek healing, direction or to discover their own faith and beliefs.  

Walking is nothing new.  It is an ancient practice of the Christian faith.  In Scripture, families and communities would travel together to celebrate seasonal spiritual festivals.  

A couple of years ago I had the privilege of hearing Canadian author and teacher, Arthur Paul Boers speak on this topic of the spiritual significance of the camino. 
     



Boers described how the spiritual discipline of walking enabled him to make a shift away from distractions and disconnection toward a more engaged and communal way of living.

I was hooked.  After the talk I was ready to pack up and set out to Europe on my first trail! 

Unfortunately, the reality of this thing called work and financial responsibility set in.  (This is one of those moments where I kick myself for being far too responsible!)  

Despite the lack of finances I had to find a way to explore this ancient spiritual and physical discipline.

I decided to follow Mr. Boers idea of beginning a camino experience on Ontario's own beautiful Bruce Trail.

So on Easter weekend a couple of years ago Kenneth and I set out for our first leg of the journey. 

I thought I would share some of the lessons I have learned from my experience along the camino...

Preparation Is Key
Before we headed out we did our homework...

We familiarized ourselves with the website that offers fabulous trail maps and tips.  http://brucetrail.org/  - check

We brought our handy GPS - check

Layers of clothing, including hiking socks - check

Comfortable walking shoes- check

We also packed water in the car - check

Then we were ready to set out.

However, a couple of hours in we noticed that in our enthusiasm we completely forgot the water in the car!

Needless to say about five hours later we were extremely parched and weary.  Due to dehydration I became physically very ill and had to prolong our next phase of the trail.  Lesson learned!

Helpful practical tip #1:

Bring what you prepare with you!  (I know... seems obvious!)


The Power of Silence
As we walked along, Ken and I would share things we noticed on the trail, but mostly we would embrace the quiet.

Words were not necessary as nature and beauty filled the space.

I learned a valuable lesson that day, that words tend to use unnecessary energy.
  
Something I should practice even when I'm not hiking!

In order to be truly present to what is going on around and in us we need times to enter into silence and learn to listen.

I can't imagine how much I have missed in life, because I was too busy talking!


Nature Restores The Soul
As we walked along I was particularly humbled as I stepped over these massive tree trunks.  I imagined them taking root and settling in the earth long before I was even born.

My ears also became tuned to the repertoire of the birds while hidden in the shelter of the covering of branches above.  These winged creatures were clearly part of this journey with us as they called out to one another in conversation along the trail.

I quickly gained a new appreciation for the large rocks and moss on the trunks that lined the ground as they became welcomed rest stations for novice hikers like ourselves.

On the trail we became one with nature.  Creation was no longer something we looked at from an outside perspective.

The wooded trail was space we were collectively sharing together.  This understanding gave me a deeper reverence and gratitude for God's beauty and creation. 

I also noticed on the trail that my stress seemed to dissipate as I walked along.  

My mind and body was fixated on breathing and where I was headed on the trail instead of being stuck on where I was.  

The physical movement seemed to silence the barrage of anxious thoughts that tend to fill my head.

There was something undeniably sacred taking place.

As I walked attentive to God's beauty this enabled my soul to receive needed restoration.

God used the physical discipline of walking to nourish and replenish my interior castle.

This discipline has opened my eyes to the connection of the physical and spiritual.  They are interwoven, one impacting the other.



We're On The Journey Together!
As we were a couple of hours into our second hike (by the way we did remember the water this time) we ran into some other sojourners on the trail.

There was a family taking a break eating some fresh strawberries in the midst of the woods.  They kindly extended an invitation for us to join them and share in their brunch!

This small act of generosity reminded me of the importance to share with others along the path.  There is joy not only in giving, but in receiving from a complete stranger.

Life is meant to be communal and not just with those we know and are comfortable with.



There are definite joys and hardships when walking the Camino.  However, a pilgrimage provides a unique space to meet with God.  To walk with and in Christ.

If you have ever walked a camino of sorts of your own - please share some of your personal stories and insights... I would love to hear them!

I encourage you to take time to go for a walk during this Easter season.  Watch for His beauty and listen for His voice along the trail.  Allow Him to restore your soul.

Thank you for joining me here on this camino at arils and castles as we learn to live awake bursting with the fullness of Christ. 







5 comments:

  1. I am inspired to go out into nature and walk after reading your post! There is so much to soak in, with all of our senses, and it's too good to waste. May your Holy week be blessed.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much Belinda - your comments are always such a timely blessing and encouragement to me. May God bless you and your family and may he reveal himself afresh to you this easter season.

      Delete
  2. I am inspired to go out into nature and walk after reading your post! There is so much to soak in, with all of our senses, and it's too good to waste. May your Holy week be blessed.

    ReplyDelete
  3. Ahh Nicole! Your writing is a breath of fresh air--thank you for the reminder of the blessing that it is to carve out time to walk in nature & be silent!!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Mary Lou - I am so grateful that you take the time not only to read, but to share your comments. I can't tell you what a personal, timely encouragement receiving your comment was to me. I really needed to hear that - Thank you so much.

      Delete

Rocks Of Remembrance

"When the whole nation had finished crossing the Jordan, the Lord said to Joshua,   “Choose twelve men from among the people, one fr...