Mel's Healing Pilgrimage 2016

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Sunday, October 1, 2017

Camino 10-1 Mental Fitness

It's October! Whaaaat?

At breakfast a nice couple from Australia chatted me up. They've walked various Caminos and now to celebrate his 70th birthday they're spending time at their favorite places that they had walked through in the past. I mentioned that a few months ago was my first visit to their country where I was entirely on holiday and didn't have to work, a nice mental break but a physically taxing one since Australia is vast. I hope my fond memories of various Caminos will allow me to go back like they are, and return to some of these places some day.

The day started cool as I crossed into Spain and explored Tui. It seems confusing to me that two otherwise twin cities should be fortified so thoroughly, along such a lovely stretch of river, against each other.

After I left Tui, I glanced down and realized that with the time zone change, I was going to be leaving later than expected. Spain is an hour ahead of Portugal so the cross over meant that I lost an hour.

I reminded myself that this lost hour was just an accounting trick. I still needed to walk a long distance to make the day and yet for some reason I felt confused and preoccupied by the shifted schedule. 

Two German women from Düsseldorf helped me as I walked past a small arrow and was about to get lost. A couple and their two preteen kids were walking the Camino. An elderly couple who spent much time with their cameras smiled at me as I walked past. 

Then for awhile I walked alone. That's not unusual. But soon I came across the family again. Then the elderly couple. Then the two women. What's going on here?

I sort of felt really confused. Was it the heat? The only explanation I can think of is that somehow I followed a set of detour arrows that take you to an albergue or village. I did pass unusual bars and albergues. Perhaps I took the detours and while on the detour they passed me up.

Things settled down to something approaching normal in O Porriño. They were having a street celebration of some sort. It felt like everyone in town was out having a fiesta. As it turns out they were celebrating some local harvest day. The festivities totally made you want to stay.

Eventually, I made it to Rebadela though but my feet were killing me. My mind needed relief from forcing myself to say "I think I can, I think I can" for the past few hours. It was like the Meseta on the Camino Frances. There are times when you have to resist your exhaustion, you frustration, to resist throwing in the towel.

Fortunately In Rebodela one could watch the many families with their kids out on a Sunday night in the parks. It was lovely really. Some played soccer with their kids, others just shopped, others sat at cafes. It was so absolutely social and just opposite of the long mental journey I had to just make. 


And it felt like a good antidote to the weary brain and feet, watching kids play. It restored me and made me feel less alone. It's sort of why sharing the journey, praying with others, and walking in spirit or in person makes any journey bearable. We can be there for each other.

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