Walking the Camino for Forgiveness

May 29, 2017
Camino Pilgrims land in Madrid
Camino Pilgrims land in Madrid

Camino Pilgrims land in Madrid

The “Camino Happens After the Camino”

As many of you know, a group of twenty walked many kilometers of the camino in Northern Spain in late April. It was a journey of forgiveness and at the end of the walk, all petitions of mistakes and more were released in a healing ritual held in the St James Cathedral in Santiago. The light that surrounded and filled us still leaves me in awe of God’s love.

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So many paths to find God

A Powerful Moment

Choosing love and forgiveness allows you to reclaim your power and own the real you, diminishes the self absorption necessary to haunt yourself with past mistakes and wipes the slate clean to end the stories of self recrimination that demand punishment. This powerful moment happens any time you choose forgiveness over self-punishment and allows you to move forward with an unburdened heart ready to hear the call of Spirit.

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Pastoral countryside in Spain

A Higher Purpose

Walking the beautiful countryside with outdoor dining and gentle inner reflection was an adventure. Our lives are the result of many decisions made each day. Each moment is an opportunity to choose differently, to choose a higher vibration, to seek guidance and even ask for help to become a better version of who we were yesterday.

Perservering for a higher purpose, even those with some of the largest and most painful blisters on determined feet I’ve ever seen, (and that’s coming from an ER/trauma nurse), not only finished the walk, but even walked many extra kilometers to help another.

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Healing requires a contract

Our journey began…

with each walker committing to honor themselves and allow forgiveness to enter their hearts and minds. From there, angelic signs greeted us repeatedly, intuitive knowings became more clear and walkers made life-altering decisions that would shape their futures. Such a reminder that healing requires a contract; we can’t simply ask for help or healing or forgiveness, we must also be willing to receive it.

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Journey of Forgiveness

Buon Camino!

Each day we explored the nooks and crannies of the route to gather more stamps for our Compostela, or the Pilgrim’s Passport. Small churches tucked away behind a sheep pasture seemed to be routine, and pastoral paths led us to meet supportive townspeople, and other walkers from around the globe. The universal greeting to fellow pilgrims “buon camino,” rang out amidst the forests, the towns, the small chapels and yes, the small taverns that greeted sore feet and thirsty travelers.


The Camino Path brought many surprises

Sleeping with Gratitude

Walking the Camino was a gentle opportunity to be braver, kinder and happier. Asking for help, being open to miraculous happenings, expressing gratitude and paying attention to the signs around you, can transform your day. Try approaching your day with graciousness, patience and kindness, rather than something different and less enjoyable. It’s always your choice.

The ten hour days on the trail may sound like a lot, but they were lightened with mystical happenings, angelic signs, new friends, determination, a focus and care for others and tons of humor. It was a choice to support and help one another, and to seek out the light in each situation. And at the end of the day there was still laughter, love, and intimate conversation, and THEN, the pilgrims slept!

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Ready for Guidance

A Personal Decision

Walking the Camino is clearly an individual and very personal decision. For me, it started with a moment of guidance to carry petitions for forgiveness from around the globe. The message was clear: we cannot continue to put ourselves down or hold on to our past mistakes because these actions stop us from being whole. These actions keep us centered around ourselves and not others, and these actions stand in the way of us answering a call to action by God.

Consider getting guidance to help out a neighbor, but your past missteps remind you that you are not worthy or good enough to be a helper of one in need; in fact you actually feel like a fraud imitating a good and caring person. Forgiveness allows us to shift our focus from ourselves to others. What a great way to be of service in the world, if only to extend kindness and a smile.

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The smile? Priceless!

Healing Power of Love

This journey was filled with so much kindness and care for each other as we walked that the healing power of love was clearly evident. But more than the miles was the emotional and spiritual journey that played out for each person; it is clear that walking the Camino brings out what is inside of you in a clear and distinct way. If one is judgmental that ugliness is exaggerated, but if one is kind and generous, those acts seem to take on greater meaning and effect.

For those willing to let go of self judgements, criticisms or berating thoughts, the personal transformations were miraculous. No one can forget the picture of the shaft of beatific light radiating to the center of a group of walkers gathering for a photograph, a divine confirmation of the importance of this journey for each of them.

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Fun does not require permission!

Inspiration, Resilience and Love

I have to share one more story because I am as proud as a peacock!

One student walked despite an injury to his achilles, inspiring us all with his courage and determination. I had intuitively seen that he needed to walk the Camino five years prior in a workshop on the East Coast, knowing it would transform him and indeed it did. But what he brought to the group was equally amazing; his grit and resilience lifted us all. He walked with an injury but without complaint; he walked with a smile and watched out for the needs of others. I hope that one day you get to meet this special person.

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St. James Cathedral, Santiago Spain

There are so many amazing stories from the walk. But there are even more stories from after the walk. Miraculous moments, fantastic new self-knowledge and awareness, mystical happenings and angelic signs continue to occur after returning home.

That’s why they say, “the Camino happens after the Camino.”

Bravo, to all who walked this journey. You have given a beautiful gift of healing. I’ve received so many emails from people who can feel the forgiveness and love and are no longer haunted by their past mistakes; their thoughts are turned to the present and toward others, rather than being self-absorbed with their past.

And a big thank you to all who prayed for us; I know your prayers kept spirits high and laughter in abundance. –Christel