After taking A Million Steps on the Camino de Santiago, the most common question I receive is a simple three letter word….”why?’ I adore Annie Lennox but here is my attempt to answer.
Routines play an incredible part is all of our lives. During my Camino presentations I often say, “If you want to know what is going to happen in the next 30 days, fire the fortuneteller. All you really need to do is take an inventory of what happened during the previous 30. It is likely to repeat over and over.” As creatures of habit, our days are so structured that most people tend to eat the same type and quantity of food every month. Strike a chord?? We become zombies trudging through life on autopilot.
The best way to shatter routines is to increase your vulnerabilities by placing yourself is a place or situation where everything is outside of your comfort zones. My adventure is a good example. I was alone, in a foreign country, hiking (not my sport), sleeping in bunks, and disconnected from the electronic world. Like water, the journey cracked my shell and sprouted new perspectives. Most people do not have the time, energy or resources to take this type of trip. All people are capable of taking a jackhammer to daily norms. Strive to do something new every day like taking a new route to work, have sex in your kitchen, enroll in a French class at the local university, or buy a cookbook and make page 48 for dinner.
Most people have between 60,000 to 80,000 thoughts per day. The high end of that range translates to over 29,000,000 per year. Like a river traveling through the mountains, these ideas begin to take the path of least resistance. The grooves become fertile ground for your entrenched thoughts to grow roots. Unplugging your life and taking a Camino is like a spring cleaning for the head. Pull a few weeds, till the dirt, add some sun, and be thoughtful of the new seeds that enter the soul.
As Annie sings:
This is the book I never read
These are the words I never said
This is the path I’ll never tread
These are the dreams I’ll dream instead
This is the joy that’s seldom spread
Grab the yoke and fly the plane……