Camino Mystic is journey of 4 family members and a friend who are embarking on this exciting journey in August of 2014. Each one of us will be documenting and sharing our thoughts with family and friend over the next 2 months.
We hope that you join us in this journey and as we travel the 500 miles from France to Spain. We begin our journey from St Jean Pied-de-Port on August 14, 2014.
What is the Camino?
Some of you may be familiar with the Camino and can skip this portion; If you are new to this term, welcome to a quick explanation.
Camino is a Spanish word which means path. Camino de Santiago is the the way of St. James, commonly know as the “El Camino de Santiago” in Spanish. It is the name of any of the many pilgrimage routes to the to the shrine of St. James the Great in the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in northern Spain. The most common of the paths is know as the Camino Frances and starts at the border town of St Jean Pied-de-Port in the French Pyrenees and ends in Santiago, Spain, some 800 KM (approximately 500 miles) away.
The path has been used for about a 1,000 years by many people for many reasons. There are numerous articles and sources that go into details about this path. Here is the link to the definition in the wikipedia if you wish to learn more about the Camino.
Let’s get into my definition of a Mystic:
One of my great teachers defined”mystic” this way: Take a look at the picture of this glass. A pessimist sees this glass as half empty. An optimist sees this glass as half full. A mystic sees the glass as always full. In this case the glass is half full with water and half full with air. I have been working in the corporate world all my life, and as an executive I have tried to find the middle path where I live in a material world and yet carry the essence and balance of what I call the life of a corporate mystic. There I only see fullness of life in every moment. All life”s ups and downs are simple waves in the ocean that are sometimes up and sometime down but always with purpose and teaching. I intend to take this same mindset onto the journey, or the path, called the camino, and hence this corporate mystic is about to become a camino mystic. For the next 2 months I will live a life of simplicity where I carry all I need in a simple backpack and walk the beautiful country of France and Spain and learn to live a simple existence and try to be in the moment as I go through the trials and tribulations as well as joys and ecstasy of a simple and austere life as a seeker of enlightenment.
In essence a mystic is someone who lives in the world but is not caught up in its negativity or its traps–someone who is willing to take life as it is, living fully but yet not be tainted by its joys and sorrows. Life is a series of events. It is our judgment that makes an event good or bad. If inspected under an open mind where we do not give an event any meaning, we transcend the joy and sorrows and learn to live in the moment.
Why the Camino?
In November of 2012 after a long days work, as I was relaxing in my room, I stumbled across the movie “The Way” which describes the journey of a father across the Camino Frances. As soon as the movie was finished, I googled the terms “the way” and “Camino Frances,” and my eyes were opened to an adventure of a lifetime. The seed was planted for my journey. That weekend when I returned home from my business trip and I shared this with my wonderful wife Pat, she shared my enthusiasm. In February of 2013 I bought a fitbit (pedometer) to begin to see how many steps and miles I was walking. Within a week I had set my goal of averaging 10,000 steps a day. In the last 17 months I have walked over 3,000 miles and found a way to enjoy walking while I still work and travel almost every week. In June, 2013, as I was re-negotiating my new role in the work organization, I was able to negotiate a two-month vacation beginning August 11 of 2014 so that I could embark on this journey.
This only deals with “why Camino,” in order to fully understand why someone will think this fun and exciting you have to get to know who I am and what makes me tick. You will get ample opportunity at this website to get to know who I am and what makes me tick. i have over the years written columns (a sampling of the articles that I have written over the years are under the title page “Joy and the City”. You can listen to my lecture on work-life balance under the title page “Life Balance”. By nature I am an explorer of life and like to live in the moment. Every now and then I will take on a challenge in life that forces me to continue to grow. I remember as a kid watching the 1964 Tokyo Olympic summer games where I saw Abi be Bakila win the Olympic Gold medal as a barefoot athlete in the marathon. In 1989 I trained for my first marathon and ran the 1990 LA marathon as Mohammed Ali was at the starting gate cheering us on. Since then I completed two more marathons. In 1999, I caught the cycling bug and did “Courage Classic”, a 150 miles bike ride through the Colorado Rockies over 3 days 2000, In 2010 I had an opportunity to join couple of friends on a 525 mile bike ride from San Francisco to LA along the scenic Pacific Coast Highway.
How could I pass up this Camino opportunity to celebrate my 60th birthday completing such a challenge. They say that this long and arduous walk can be divided into 3 stages. The first stage is about conquering the body (learning to deal with the pain of walking for 12 to 15 miles a day for over a month). The second stage is about taming the mind as you walk through miles and miles of path in front of you with nothing much to distract you except your thoughts. The third and final stage is about going beyond the body and mind and discovering and living in the spiritual realm as you transcend your body and mind. I have over the years through my various adventures and practices of balanced life always ventured into this state of evolution and ecstasy. Now I have an opportunity to go to a path that has a habit of creating major transformation in one’s life and allowing one to evolve as a human being. How can I pass that up?
Since my decision to walk the Camino, a few of my family and friends have decided to join me in this journey. You are invited to join us in this journey as we traverse the beautiful countryside and cities of France and Spain.