Yesterday I shared a table with a group of hikers in their fifties. A man more curious than the others asked me lot of questions “Where did you start?” “Where are you going ?” “Why do you go til the end?” “Is the way helping you in your reflexion?” This question inhabited me for the rest of the afternoon. Is the way helping me? Since I left, I am floating on the ocean of encounters, discussions, experiences and reading of books & magazines borrowed for an evening in the halt. And thinking of it, yes I believe it is nourishing my reflexion. No need to focus on my objectives and to think of it days and nights to reach it. I have it clear in my head but on the way it is like in life: everything comes at the right time, and sometimes not in the order I would imagine. As I spend my days outside and speaking with people (when I am not walking on my own), I now reached a new state of being: the pilgrim state.
The pilgrim state is about the body as much as the spirit and the heart.
First of all there is the body. This body which carry a bag and walk in average 20km per day. This body is under new pressures and soon start to scream: for me it has been the Achilles’ tendon, for others it has been blisters or shoulders pain. Once the 10 first days are passed, my body became used to the rhythm. At that point I realised I had lost the notion of time : I don’t use my watch anymore, I don’t know which day of the week we are. I eat when I am hungry, I do breaks when I feel pain or tiredness. And I sleep and wake up when my body ask for it. It might sound like holidays-luxury-mode but it is actually a great learning. Indeed, it happen that all the books or magazines I found on my way in the last few halt were all about this topic: the language of our body. Our body express many things and if we listen to those signs it becomes easier to live, to interact with others and even to make choices! My body is wise and on the way there is the space and the time to learn more its language. It is sometimes more difficult to accept to rest for a day or to understand that the pain is not necessary related to physical effort but to something bothering me since a day or two. In any case, it is a great lesson, a universal lesson in the pilgrim’s universe.
And there is also the spirit and the heart. I did this experience few times since Le Puy: to share to someone I met few hours before, something I would usually share only to a very close friend. It is part of the magic of the way: everyone is walking there for a very specific reason, I meet people who live miles away from my home, totally detached from my friends and family circles. Therefore I know the confidence will remain secret and won’t impact further my life. It becomes more easy to share thoughts and questions, It has a liberating effect and the discussion often help to move forward. It is comfortable and make me realise once again that often exchanging few words can lead me further on my way.
Et voila! This is the pilgrim state of being: listening to the body and clearing the heart and the spirit. I highly recommend the experience, it feel and taste good!