I had no idea what I had gotten myself into the first time I walked Camino de Santiago. And yet there I was, alone at the age of 55. With a heavy pack on my back, sleeping in dormitory accommodations, and walking all day every day. Making my way to Santiago de Compostela.
Having gone through a divorce and living years alone working to pay a mortgage, I decided I was not living at all. My home sold quickly, I gave away most of my possessions and embarked on a solo round world travel adventure, with no return date.
Mostly, I learnt the only way to my truth was to have the courage to trust my Intuition and follow my heart. Then new doors to life effortlessly opened.
My heart was full as I returned home to become a Nanna. I settled back down and embarked on a new adventure of study. Enrolling myself into an Advanced Diploma in Transpersonal Art Therapy, then dived into an intensive Shamanic course and completed a Cert 4 in training and assessment. Setting up a business running women’s groups and offering 1-1 Art Therapy Sessions. Everything was going to plan.
A culmination of events then led me to Camino de Santiago. Years prior I had seen a movie about walking a Pilgrimage, yet it was not on my radar. My mind was nagging at me to be practical, be sensible, be a Mother, Nanna and Daughter and stay home. I listened to my Intuition, set a Camino intention and off I went.
Walking Camino was such a unique and powerful healing experience. I dealt with long-held personal demons around being a woman in this world. The Art Therapist in me dreamt up the idea of supporting other women on Camino de Santiago. Not only physically travelling and walking, but also mentally, emotionally, and spiritually.
Innately I have always been an advocate for women’s empowerment. Personally, and professionally I would inevitably find myself supporting women to see the strength and courage within themselves. Encouraging them to rise above expectations of society, religion, culture, family, and business. The weight women have carried for thousands of years.
Walking a Pilgrimage gives you the space and time for you to see and feel who you are. On a practical level, I quickly realised that I did not need to have weight on my back, I was already carrying enough! Sleepless nights in shared dormitories were not serving me at all. There was no need to torture myself to feel the spirit of Camino. Personally, I embodied the truth that I am in control of my life. The choices I make are mine and the noise in my head is from everyone else. Most importantly, the realisation settled within me that all those years ago when I felt deep loneliness, despite all the spoils of life…
“A woman who is starved for her real soul-life may look ‘cleaned up and combed’ on the outside, but on the inside, she is filled with dozens of pleading hands and empty mouths.”
– Clarissa Pinkola Estes
If you are wondering if you are ready to walk Camino de Santiago then #hercamino may just be for you.
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