Before any significant undertaking, it is important to properly prepare. A pilgrimage is no different. Today I will explore preparing for both a physical pilgrimage, and a Master Key Experience pilgrimage.
If you remember from my last blog entry, I am comparing the Master Key Experience to the pilgrimage of El Camino de Santiago de Compostela. There are 4 aspects of preparation that I want to cover: logistics, physical, mental, and spiritual.
Logistics can be straightforward, but can include a lot of planning. Basically, it is getting all your ducks in a row. Setting dates on a calendar, booking flights, making any necessary reservations. When we went to Europe we booked the first couple of nights before we left; after that we found accommodations as we went. Allow extra time as a buffer if you can.
I also set up all my bill payments in advance. One of the joys of the Camino is taking a break from the ‘real world’ – unplugging from roles and responsibilities. However, you don’t want to arrive back home with a financial nightmare to untangle because of overdue and missed payments.
Planning financially for the journey is also important. When I went (pre-covid) the Camino was a cash economy. So you need to carry enough cash. However, you can make withdrawals from bank machines in the larger towns. Having the money saved up for that purpose is responsible.
And what about the MKE pilgrimage? Sure, it only cost you a dollar to start, but there will be a PIF (Pay It Forward) payment coming up, unless your class decides not to pay it forward. So planning ahead financially is smart. Other logistics? Planning the time to do your readings and habits, having a comfortable place to do your ‘sit.’ And of course gathering the necessary binders, index cards, crayons, notebooks, etc!
There are two dimensions to physical preparation – internal and external. When planning your Camino, you need to prepare physically so you are able to walk about 20 km (12 miles) every day (or more). With a loaded back pack. Up and down hills. How do you prepare? Plenty of walking.
That’s the internal, your body preparation. The external is what you bring with you. That loaded backpack should fit you well, shouldn’t be over-loaded, but should carry the items you will need for your allotted time on the Way. Proper fitting shoes and socks are crucial. For everything else – a pair and a spare – one set of clothes to wear, one to sleep in and wear the next day. Minimal everything else. There are stores in Spain – you can buy what you need.
Now, back to the Master Key pilgrimage. Physical is important here as well. Whether or not your PPN’s (Personal Pivotal Needs) include True Health – you need to take care of your body: get enough sleep, eat healthy, exercise regularly. These measures will keep you sharp and in peak condition, ready for that transformation that is coming!
This could be the most important part of preparing. So much of doing something new is believing that you CAN! Stay positive! Thinking of walking 800 km (500 miles) is like thinking of 6 months to a new and improved YOU! Kind of overwhelming.
Think of past successes you have had. Know that if you did that, you can surely take steps now to make a change. And look around you – if you see others who have done it – you can too! I joined a local Pilgrim group – it was an invaluable source of information and a confidence boost to meet other pilgrims. Just like joining a tribe in MKE and getting to know other MKE pilgrims on Marco Polo!
Then, break things down into small steps. If 800 km is too much to consider, just think about the 20 km you plan to walk tomorrow. If that is even too much, just think about the 5 km to the next town where you can stop for a cafe con leche. You can always end your day there if you choose!
With MKE, think about the habits and readings you plan to do TODAY. If that is too much, just think about reading your DMP. Then think about reading the Master Key lesson. Then think about the Greatest Salesman. And so on. Know that you CAN and WILL do it!
The Camino de Santiago is a religious pilgrimage for many, but you don’t have to be religious to do it. I think for almost everyone there is some degree of spirituality, whether you believe in God, Buddha, or simply a Higher Power or Infinite Intelligence. Same goes for MKE.
Walk with an open mind and an open heart, and you will almost certainly experience something magical. Yes, now I am talking about BOTH the Camino and the Master Key Experience!