What to do when you have no map.

A client of mine walked the whole the Camino de Santiago It has been a Christina pilgrimage for 100’s of years.

It has become even more popular over the last few decades I believe in part due to the popularity of people wanting to ‘find themselves’, movies like The Way and the BBC Pilgrimage series which features the journey.

My client is a true pilgrim. She’s a Christian and for her this was a challenge that she was wanting to do for her and her faith.

We had lunch when she returned and she shared many amazing stories. Stories that had obviously had an impact on her, but on in particular had an impact on me and has changed my life, even though I was not on the walk with her.

Control is an issue for most people. For some it’s really obvious. Others don’t think they need or want control until it’s challenged. The need for control can take many forms;

The need to control our environment – organisation of, cleanliness, order.

The need to control others – have them follow our rules, do things our way.

The need to control our bodies – how they grow and change with age.

The need to control the outcome of travel – in life, direction and a journey.

It’s something I know “personally” and am still looking at all it’s facets and complexities.

Whenever I notice the thinking mind is needing to control or know an outcome I remember Suzanne’s story.

She took on the Camino alone. At least she set off on her own. But as most stories share, you meet others along the way, and share parts of the day or walk together. Sometimes she would arrange to continue with them in the morning and other times set off alone.

One particular morning she packed and left her hostel expecting to walk alone, only to be leaving at the same time as a priest. He had been part of the previous evenings dinner group, where stories of their Camino experiences had been shared.

The phrase ‘the Camino provides’ was commonly used as people talked about needing something and it ‘magically appearing’ For example, new boots but not having the money to buy them. Only to meet a fellow traveller completing their leg of the journey, who hands over their boots, which are exactly the size needed. Or people arriving in towns only to find the hostels full and no where to stay, then a passing local would open up their home. The stories were plentiful. “Magic happens’ and ‘The Camino provides’

Suzanne and the priest set off together, heading out of the town for another day of walking. They chatted as they negotiated the alleys, streets and squares. Not sure if they were heading in the right direction Suzanne asked the priest. Who laughed and said he didn’t have a map he thought she knew where she was going.

“I’ve lost mine” she said. “I was following you.”

Laughing they were looking for the usual shell signs that denote the Camino route. But couldn’t see any.

I used to have quite a strong fear of being lost and even when the story was being told, I could hear the panic being created by the thinking mind. Even though I was sat in a cosy cafe in York! Suzanne however was beaming and slightly giggling.

“Honestly you couldn’t make up what happened next up. We were debating which way to go when a gust of wind blew a sheet of paper down the street and it landed at our feet. He picked it up and laughing said “the Camino provides’ It was a map!

I hadn’t heard a story like that first hand. Usually it came from a friend of a friend. But this was direct. And all these years later it still impacts my life.

We talked about the impact a challenge/pilgrimage can have and so many things had changed in her life due to this walk. But the one phrase that she took from it is that the Camino provides or as she was now seeing in everyday life, that it was true here too and that ‘life provides’

And in challenging times, when I am not where I thought I would be, or am in an unknown place (aka lost) I remind myself that ‘life provides’ and do you know what…it always does!