When what’s needed is what’s needed

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What do I have to spare and what do I really need?

Answering this question will help us move forward on our path in a more effective and conscious way.

Overloading our mental backpack, in its metaphorical sense, hinders our decision-making. This process in order to reduce our ‘just in case’ through which we try to support our actions by avoiding so-called failure.


Although the phrase “the Way of Saint James of Compostela, or simply the Way -as we pilgrims usually know it- is a true school of life” is very widespread, it contains a great truth.

Once the search for the experience of the Way of Saint James becomes a reality, we open ourselves to surprise, something that requires listening in order to take action. This will allow us to clarify and orient ourselves to our purposes.

Our proposal is to accompany you to read and integrate the experiences and teachings that you live during the Way.  

Lessons on the Camino

A first lesson announced from the beginning of the French Way: “pilgrim, leave what you have to spare, take what you need 

A short slogan that can become a valuable lesson. As time goes by and the experiences we live, we fill our backpacks with “just in case” and other limitations that hinder us on the way to our goal.

Often it is the uncertainty, fear and lack of security that advises us to take to our journey a surprising load of gadgets and gizmos designed to light, guide, hold, help, comb, warm, cool, iron, hydrate … the person who wishes to start this journey. On other occasions it is precisely the opposite; an excess of confidence, of knowledge acquired about wildlife and survival in hostile territory, which fills our backpacks with two or three external batteries for the mobile phone; all kinds of pants with zippers; thermal, breathable, dual-use t-shirts, pills for purifying water, lighting fires, recovering glucose, sleeping, waking up; and maybe a life jacket in case the greenhouse effect accelerates in the thirty-something days we’re going to be on the Camino, and the water from the melting of the poles reaches Palencia. We don’t want anything to surprise us on the Camino. We are more than just cautious and careful people. 

And the truth is that, once we are on the Jacobean route, this table full of precious objects – and we are on the second stage, we must not forget – tells us something obvious: that all those things we carry when we plan our Way because it seemed to us to be an indispensable gadget, a great idea to face the dangers of the journey, are in fact a heavy burden and a perfect hindrance that prevent us from reaching our goal in an efficient way or at an acceptable cost.

If we think about it, when we make decisions for our company, our family, or our life, when we are faced with a situation of uncertainty or directly of fear, our answer is usually to load our mental backpack with all the imaginable ‘shades’ as a vaccine against possible failure.

And if it is very good to take precautions, study the situation we face, gather information and articulate plans that allow us to foresee possible contingencies, it is also true that on many occasions, far from achieving the operability and effectiveness we are seeking, we are burdened with weights that we should not carry. We put on the table factors which, however closely linked to the problem we are trying to address, do not belong to the Gordian knot and, therefore, should not be taken into account when formalising the decision. In fact, it is precisely bearing them in mind that ends up making us slow and overloaded; that takes away our freshness and agility; that makes our decisions clumsy or, at best, predictable.


With each lesson a reflection

At this point, it is clear that the difficult thing is to know what is preventing us from progressing at the desired pace. What is holding me back? Answering this question can be quite complicated, especially if we are facing a new scenario in which we do not control all the variables or how they influence the processes. When we are faced with a new scenario, such as starting out on the Camino de Santiago de Compostela, it is normal for us to have fears, for a multitude of unknowns to arise, for us to make thousands of conjectures and for us to gather as much information as possible in order to have a pleasant and happy experience. It is perfectly human.

But beyond the speculations, the more or less interested information that we can gather about what the Way is, it will be our day to day, our own experience and learning, the real thermometer that will allow us to make a continuous evaluation of the reality and value

And now…

If, once we have finished our Path, we have assimilated this lesson, we will have already taken a great step. For the moment, it begins with a small step. The question we are asking you is: what is strictly necessary to achieve what I want?

Think about it and then decide.  

Next Post
Coaching at El Camino

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