Recently, I have been reading and writing a bit about the importance of self-knowledge as part of the spiritual journey. Getting to know myself has been an an extremely significant aspect of my spiritual life. Learning to accept who I am, with all the joys and struggles that holds, has been valuable and formative. So, after being on this path for some time now, what have I learnt?
1. Learning and new experiences are near the top of my priority list. I am a perpetual student, which has its advantages, but also locks me inside my head at times.
2. I have to be really attentive to what my body is telling me. Listening to my 'gut' and slowing down and looking after myself don't come naturally.
3. I can be very in tune with the emotions of others, but when it comes to my own I am quick to retreat to my bubble. Being vulnerable is something I have to practice.
My list could go on and on. But the reason I am sharing this is I have figured out a way to trick myself into looking after myself a little better - I hope.
In the past, I have tried being self-disciplined, creating some program of exercise in order to live a healthier life. Each time I have centred my goals around weight loss or particular fitness goals. None of these have been successful beyond a few months. I pondered, what would motivate me to get outside and start walking? My immediate reaction - if someone invited me to walk the Camino de Santiago, I would make sure I was fit enough and ready. A new experience! A spiritual pilgrimage! Travel and learning about a new place! Perfect!
But then, there's COVID, and money, and time, and family, and study, and...
So, I have found the perfect solution. Today I begin a virtual walk of the Camino. It's cost me $50. I don't have to leave home for weeks and weeks. And I can do it over a longer period of time. I'm giving myself 6 months. Sure, it's not quite the same as being there (maybe one day), but the app I have chosen shows
me where I am on the map, sends me postcards telling me about the different stops and sends me a medal at the end (not so fussed about the medal). It is the perfect way to trick myself into self-care. This is not a weight loss program or a get fit for Summer goal. This is a spiritual pilgrimage - a new experience that is the best I can do anyway in these non-travelling times.
And the final part of my cunning plan - I have now put it out in public. Another thing I know about myself is I hate to look incapable. So, if you happen to see me, hold me accountable. I won't be sharing how many KGs I've lost, but I might share about the wonderful places I've been.