Camino Reflections: Lesson #2 – Find Your Rhythm

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In Pamplona this evening, staying at the Jesú y María Albegue, which is a large albergue near the Cathedral.  We walked about 14 miles today, and my feet are feeling it, but overall, so far so good.

Today, we (Carl and I) lost Bill and Larry. We lost Bill because he walks fast, Larry because he walks slow. By the time Carl and I got to Pamplona, Bill had already been there, and wasn’t able to find a place for all of us to stay, so he moved on. Larry didn’t get to Pamplona until late, so Carl and I decided to go ahead and get our beds in the albergue. It’s definitely a Camino experience!

May 16, 2015 – Zubiri to Pamplona, Spain

Map of the Caminos de Santiago (produced in El Escribir, León, Spain)

It became obvious after only a few days on the Camino, that the 4 of us (Bill, Carl, Larry and myself), had different walking paces, and it was difficult to stay together while walking each day. Bill was the fast-paced jackrabbit, Larry was the slow but steady tortoise, and Carl and I were somewhere in between. Not that this was necessarily bad, but it did create challenges for the group in staying together night after night, over the 5 weeks of walking the Camino.

Catedral de Santa María, Pamplona

The first night that our group spent apart was when we were planning to stay in Pamplona, which was only our fourth day on the Camino.  Our staying apart happened sort of by accident, but was the result of our differences in walking speeds, how many breaks we took during the day, how many times we stopped to sightsee, etc. In other words, it was a result of our individual, but different rhythms. Pamplona would not be the last night on the Camino when our group of 4 peregrinos would spend apart; in fact, there would be stretches of days at a time when we were not all together. That worked out OK for us in the end, because we all had different physical, emotional, and spiritual needs while on the Camino, and needed the time and space to meet those needs.

Camino de Santiago – Version 2
Credencial, required for peregrinos to stay in albergues on the Camino de Santiago

I actually discovered my own personal walking rhythm for the Camino during one of my training walks in the month or so prior to starting our pilgrimage. I was out hiking one of the local trails in Nashville, TN, and just came to the realization that my walking had become easy, and it felt like I could keep it up all day. It felt great, and was the first time that I became convinced that I would be able to complete the Camino, at least the physical walking part of it.  It was an important breakthrough for me personally, one that sustained me during some long days.

Just as in walking, our everyday lives take on different rhythms, and it’s quite easy to get out of sync with our natural rhythms. It’s important to recognize when that’s occurring, and even more important to take corrective actions. For me, that usually means that I need to slow down a little, spend time in daily prayer, exercise my body, and get outside.

So, find your rhythm, and live life accordingly. You’ll be happier, and you’ll find life much more harmonious.

Speaking of rhythm, here’s a video of folk dancing from Pamplona, Spain. Hope you enjoy!

Monumento al Incierro, Pamplona (photo by Larry Stewart)

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