Wow it’s Kindness Week! I LOVE this week – and wouldn’t it be great to be kind EVERY week? Pilgrimage is all about kindness and humility. Pilgrims are humble, and tend to be kind to each other, and the locals are kind to the pilgrims.
Kindness is abundant on the Camino de Santiago. Here are a few examples:
donativo rest stops
Every once in a while, we stopped at some place where someone had set up a rest stop for the pilgrims. These are not ‘for profit’ – rather they invite you take what you need, and if you can, to leave a donation. When considering a donation, it is important to keep in mind that someone is still purchasing the food that you are eating. A few of these were very memorable.
The one in the photo above was lovely, much of the food they supplied was homemade, but you can see cans of pop as well. I remember when my daughter Rachel was looking at all the food, the fellow loaded up her plate and insisted she eat.
This is like a ministry for some, they are doing a service. For the pilgrims, it feels like an act of God, to be on the receiving end of such kindness. And they often seem to appear just when you need one the most.
At another stop, the set up included a geodesic dome bathroom, a panini-press sandwich maker, and a cute little dog. Yet another offered massages and a glass of wine!
kindness is everywhere on pilgrimage
Other locals are just friendly and show kindness in other ways. One foggy morning we walked for a bit with a local man who said he just liked to walk and talk with the pilgrims, and practice his English (which was excellent). He told us about the history of the area, and gave us advice on which path to take when the Camino split into two.
And in the albergues (the pilgrim hostels), you see even more examples of kindness. Like the singing nuns of Santa Maria in Carrion de los Condes. They greeted us with warm sweet tea as we arrived, then invited us to attend Vespers with them, followed by a sing-along!
And in some albergues, they even wash your clothes for you! Yes, there is a charge for this, but it is such a treat. One kind lady returned our clothes all neatly folded.
Of course, the pilgrims are kind to each other as well. As one woman said: ‘if you have two of something, share one of them with someone else.’ Yes, kind and generous. I have heard so many stories of pilgrims sharing money, food, clothing, just about anything!
kindness on the master key experience pilgrimage
I find the MKE ‘pilgrims’ are just as generous as any on the Camino. I was fortunate enough to meet some in person when I attended the Live Event retreat in 2019. And then have been Masterminding with an amazing group of them on Marco Polo. I believe I could ask almost anything of these people and be greeted with kindness and generosity.
Here’s a quote from Mark about kindness, in his book Standing Tall:
The riches of kindness help all of us believe the world is good, evolving and getting better. With this belief, our world within grows great things effortlessly.
Your kindness is your legacy, make it remarkable by forgetting self and thinking of others. It will return to you ten-fold and as it does, it will train your world within that the world with truly is perfect and all it will take to complete its perfection are random acts of kindness delivered in copious quantities. Take joy in doing yours everyday. Mark Januszkewski, Standing Tall
kindness every day
So Mark talked about Kindness. Let’s start a Kindness Pandemic! That would be better than a Covid pandemic, right?
Be kind. Pick up garbage. Pay for the coffee of the person behind you in the drive-through at Tim Horton’s (Canadian). Give everyone you meet an authentic compliment. Help someone. Smile.
Be kind to yourself. Get enough sleep. Exercise. Read positive literature. Use the Law of Substitution to replace any negative thoughts with positive ones, and the Law of Growth to find even more kindness! Smile!
Whatever type of pilgrim you may be, see the kindness, share the kindness, and spread the love!