When you have walked the Camino there comes a point when you will think, And now what? What’s next? The days of walking and learning from your path are over and suddenly you come to those crossroads, where you need to make a choice. Which way will you go from here? Going back to your old life, picking up where you left off or are you choosing a new road and change your life. I know you will feel the second one more, but how can you make sure you integrate your Camino after coming home. Here are the best tips to integrate your Camino experience.
Change begins with a choice
The first thing that you need when you start your New Beginning after your Camino is to make that decision. Make a clear statement that from this day forward you are going to say goodbye to your old life and start to do things differently. You may even do this when you literally are at the end of your Camino at a special place like the Lighthouse in Finisterre.
This is my End of the World Prayer, that I recorded at the end of my Camino in 2017:
“I promise myself to always feel enough, to feel worthy of love, worthy to speak my truth. To never bite my tongue again. To share my wisdom. To be truly who I am. To always be connected and never ever be alone again. Thank you, Universe for granting my wishes and for always being by my side. Thank you, thank you, thank you. It will be done.”
You will notice that after you have walked the Camino, you will be so much more in touch with your feelings, with your life lessons and with the choices you ought to make to change your life. So listen closely to your heart and make a choice.
Clear out the old
Then after you have come home you will see, hear and feel your old life. It will be all around you, waiting for you to come back to your old life. But as you decided that is not what you want anymore. So, see the things that bother you, the clutter, the colours that bring you down, the constant nagging voices in your head and start to Clear them out! One by one, clear the clutter, remove what no longer is in alignment with your new truth, with the choice you have made.
Behind all that clutter are the memories of the past. Say goodbye to those situations. Make space for the New Beginning that you are about to start.
Start your new routines
When you want to integrate your Camino lessons it is vital that you train your mind and your actions first. Neurologically we are wired in a certain way, so making changes cost time and effort. It is proven that when you repeat something for 30 days, you make a new neurological pathway, which makes it easier to follow through with your new habits and minimize the risk of falling back into old patterns.
Make a plan for the next 30 days which will help you integrate your new choice into your life.
Have you made the choice to eat more healthy or exercise daily, make a plan and create a new routine.
Have you made the choice to speak your truth and never bite your tongue again, make a plan where you share your truth every day for the next 30 days, so it will become natural to you.
Have you made the choice to never be alone again and always have the spiritual connection as you had on your camino, start a spiritual practice that you integrate into your life for the next 30 days.
Keep a journal
To keep yourself accountable and remind yourself of doing the work I recommend that you keep a journal. Probably that is something you did when you were walking your Camino too. So I suggest that you keep on doing that. Write about your experiences in your day, about the signs you see in your daily life, about the challenges you face and how you would like to overcome them.
Coach yourself through this new challenge that is called: Integrate my Camino in my daily life.
There is nothing wrong with seeing the next phase of your life also like a Camino, 30 days of integrating your new habits into your life. The questions that pop up. the doubts about ‘can I do this’, ‘should I continue?’ Remind yourself at those times that you have a Destination to get to: Your New Life! And when you are not there yet, remind yourself of all the efforts you took to get here. Are you willing to give that up? You have already come so far…
In the changing process, the first week is probably the easiest, because you feel motivated and your adrenaline is still high. But in week 2 and 3 the challenges start. The self doubt, the boredom, the lack of motivation, the voice of the ego, the comfort of your old life. There will be all kinds of voices and challenges trying to hold you back in your ‘old life’. This resistance and doubts are signs of growth and a way of the Universe, asking you: Is this really what you want?
Remind yourself of the hard days at your Camino and how you got through those. Remember WHY you made this choice to change your life in the first place. And tell yourself, there is no way back. Let’s just move forward.
Life is Camino
After reading this you probably will see that Life is Camino. There might be no yellow arrows on your new path, but there will be signs. And there will be challenges, mentally, physically, emotionally. But you have the power and the willingness to get through these challenges, to arrive at your desired destination. There is no way back. You have made the decision to live more authentically, more healthy and you have set a new goal. It’s up to you to take the steps every day and walk yourself Home.
Like the magic on Camino: Don’t forget to ask for what you need.
When you needed a break, water, some food or company, the Camino provided it for you. So keep on working with the spirits around you and ask for what you need. The guidance and the signs will be there, if you are willing to see them.
Please share in the comments about how you experienced your own coming home from Camino. Are there any challenges you faced that in the light of ‘camino’ got a whole different meaning? I will be delighted to hear from you.