At this time of year I like to look through my Camino photobook and read my notes from ‘this day in history,’ now three years ago. While doing so, I came across some more lessons from my pilgrimage in Spain. Here are a few of them.
- Build relationships – this is one of the treasures of the Camino. I believe I have spoken before of the Camino family that you tend to gather as you walk. It was so special to keep seeing the same folks on and off during our walk. Some I have connected with since the Camino, others I don’t even know their name – but I will never forget them! Life is like that as well. We gather people around us in our family, our work, our hobbies, our studies. I have a Master Key family also – mostly people I have met at the Live Event 2 years ago, or through Marco Polo and Zoom. Just like the Camino, it is so cool to have friends from around the world. This is definitely a huge blessing, one that I am extremely grateful for!
- Honour those who have come before you. Learn from mistakes and successes and know that if they succeeded, so can you. The Camino de Santiago has been welcoming pilgrims for over a thousand years! It is easy to imagine those original pilgrims as you walk, and to think they aren’t so different from you. Sure, we have fancier equipment, but we are still just taking one step at a time, covering the same ground that they did. This is perhaps most evident when you come to the ancient bridges, or the Roman roads and ruins. And you certainly feel it in the many churches along the Way. Again, Master Key is not so different. Charles Haanel wrote the Master Key System about a hundred years ago, and that was based on wisdom from many who came before him. With the Master Key Experience, each new student is assigned a Guide who has been through it before, and each student is part of a Tribe. The support is amazing!
- By making steady progress almost every day, you can come a long way. Can you imagine walking 800 km (500 miles) across a country? Can you imagine learning a new language, or running a marathon, or graduating from University, or building a successful business? All those things take time and energy. But, just like eating an elephant, you take it one step or one bite at a time, and you can do almost anything! On the Camino we would break down the huge goal into daily goals, and the daily goals into smaller chunks, with stops for cafe con leche, or tortilla espanol, or freshly squeezed orange juice. Those things are a mini-reward, and keep us motivated to keep walking. The Master Key Experience is a big accomplishment, made up of small daily habits. And what does Og Mandino say about habits? “If I must be a slave to habit, let me be a slave to good habits.”
- Stop the world. Get off. Discover the right path for you. This is literally how I felt on the Camino, like I stepped off the world, and let it spin without me for about 5 weeks. It was amazing. Refreshing. Affirming. Peaceful. Invigorating. You can truly take the time you need to think. Or not to think, and just be. I heard a pilgrim say that for any challenge you are having, just walk a Camino, and it will be sorted out. With the Master Key Experience, you have the ‘Sit‘ which feels like a mini break from reality. When I told Mark I had walked the Camino, he said he had heard of it, and figured it would be like a month long ‘Sit‘ – he’s right!
- Manure and hard work both stink, but the results are worth it. Being a farm girl, I am pretty familiar with manure. Yes, it stinks, as does mucking out the barn – but put that manure on the garden and you are sure to have a bumper crop! Put the effort into any worthwhile endeavour and you almost certainly reap great results. On the Camino, hard work is a walk in the park (or on the path). The journey itself is the reward! With the Master Key Experience, the hard work is mental effort, as Haanel says. Keep working toward being the best YOU that you can be!
- Everyone walks their own Camino. Everyone’s journey is different. Don’t judge, let them do it their way. On the Camino that can mean how fast one walks, how many kilometres per day, or how many km overall, or whether they carry their own pack or choose to have it sent ahead, whether they sleep in albergues or hotels, or even if they want to take a bus or train once in a while. Some people judge those who don’t do it the ‘hard’ way as not being true pilgrims. But no one can really know what is in someone’s heart; and that, I believe, is where the true definition of pilgrim lies. In life and in the Master Key Experience, this translates to setting and working toward your own goals, not goals that someone else sets for you. It means finding your own way to live!
I’m pretty sure I had some more lessons, but will leave it here for now. I have had fun comparing the Master Key Experience to the Camino – two different types of pilgrimages, yet so similar in many ways.
Buen Camino! Ultreia!