Camino Français

Broken body, broken mind, healed through Spirit and integrated with Soul…

For more than 1000 years, pilgrims have been walking the 785 km long way between the French village Saint-Jean-Pied-de-Port by the Pyrenees to Santiago de Compostella in Spain, close to the Atlantic Ocean. Have they all got answers to their prayers, redemption or burden lifted from their shoulders? Who knows, but surprisingly enough, so many people do get some kind of answer to their search. Now always what they were hoping for, but something…

Many of us are able to walk for 30 km one day with not too much training. But to do this, day. in and day out for days in a row, that is a different story, and with a 15 kg back pack on top of it, then something happens to you. Your knees start to hurt, you get blisters, a truly painful experience. It seems to be unavoidable for all pilgrims, a broken body…

After a third of the distance, you get to the Meseta, a vast plateau in the northern parts of Spain. Gone are the beautiful mountains of the Pyrenees and you see nothing but a road disappearing in the distance. Mentally challenging considering that you have such a long distance still to go. You start to wonder what you have getting yourself into. For me, and for many others, mentally challenging and as a result, broken mind…

But then, depending how fast you are, after a couple of weeks, you reach the Cruz de Ferro, the mountain top where you have a small iron cross on top of a tall wooden pole on a hill full of cobble stones. Here, so many pilgrims have left a stone from their home villages as a symbol for the burden, the pain they have been carrying. Leaving it there behind, hoping for salvation or answers to their prayers and questions. Leaving this place behind, you start to feel hope, something fills you, starts a healing process within. And as you walk into Santiago de Compostella, participating in the pilgrim’s mass, you realize you are a slightly different person and you have a new perspective of your troubles and life. In a way, you feel more whole and content, as if your are integrated into a whole new being of body, mind and soul…