2013-11-29 / Sports

Jen’s Fitness Forum

The Way of Saint James, Conclusion: Lessons Learned
By Jen Font de Bon

On the Way of Saint James, lessons learned along the pilgrims’ path. On the Way of Saint James, lessons learned along the pilgrims’ path. Whether the initial motive to embark is driven by religion, spirituality, health, a search for meaning, adventure, or tourism, all pilgrims on the Way are there to learn a lesson.

The Way brings people together and at the same time connects us to our personal roots and to those of our environment. We advance in a parallel metaphor for life that is simpler, with less distraction from society, materialism and technology.

We see ourselves more clearly and understand specific personal traits that are harder to pick out in day-to-day life. Why do I do certain things? Why do I have a particular feeling? Why do I act like that? The teachings along the Way are many, yet most have one thing in common: listening.

During my journey, I spoke to many people at different stages about what they were getting from the pilgrimage. Listed below are five of the important lessons learned by fellow pilgrims:

#1 It’s important to hear out the ideas and opinions of others, but ultimately what each individual believes should come from inside of him or herself. The massive overload of information that surrounds us can easily cause confusion. We must take extra time to separate our true beliefs and feelings, from those we’ve acquired from outside sources.

#2 Disconnect to stay connected. Internet was created to share information and unite us. But the way in which many individuals use it today actually goes against its original purpose. Often I see people sitting in a group, each one completely absorbed in his or her smartphone. So what’s the point of being together? We have to learn to live in the moment we’re in.

#3 Addictions fill emptiness, but they also make us prisoners. We find balance, harmony and true happiness by leading our own lives; not by letting something or someone else control it. We feel whole by including a variety of things in our lives that bring satisfaction.

#4 We must observe our surrounding to find our necessities. On the Way, whatever we needed could be obtained in nature. Whether it was food, tools, shelter or a bathroom, all we had to do was look and we would find. The same holds true in any situation in life. Many times the answer is closer than we think, and if we open our senses, we will discover it.

#5 Everything has a use. It’s easy to take things for granted when what we need or want is so readily available. Instead of throwing out and buying again, we must learn to maximize our resources by using the elements that we have. Doing this helps boost creativity, makes things more special and is a way to take care of the environment.

All of the teachings above touched me, but my most important lessons involve not putting so much pressure on myself and trusting the situation I’m in. I’ve learned that my positivity and proactivity will bring the best of every situation. I’ve also learned to be more honest with myself. Letting go of worry and forgetting about what other people might think has helped me to have more fun with everything I do. Since the Way, life has become more of a game. I feel good to say that over a month later, the lessons have stuck.

One more thing: It’s true that silence helps us find our true selves.

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