Walking the Camino – How to Prepare

The Camino de Santiago is an 800 km or 500 mile walk through France and Spain. It is a pilgrimage walk that has been around for thousands of years that has many trails originating around Europe. It was said that you could step outside your door and begin the pilgrimage from anywhere in Europe. During the time of occupation by the Ottomans in Jerusalem the Way of St James became a safer pilgrimage and acceptable in the eyes of the church for pilgrimage absolution.

St James was supposedly buried there after having floated there from Jerusalem on a ruder-less boat. I don’t know about that. There are many beliefs surrounding the pilgrimage that many believe or don’t believe but there is one binding factor with nearly all pilgrims who we encountered or spoke to had one thing in common: the sense of being called to walk The Way!

Many including myself when they find out about the Camino Way have a strong sense that not only would they like to do the long walk but there is a strong feeling of “having” to do the walk.

For me it started after I watched the movie, “The Way”, written and directed by Emilio Esteves and starring his father Martin Sheen.  It is the story of a father who completes the trek after his son dies on the Way getting caught in bad weather: something that is a common occurrence as seen by the memorial headstones dotted along the pathways.

Once I saw the film I knew I had to do it. But at the time I was pretty much chair bound with illness and pain. However, within a couple of years I set the date to make the journey.

It was 2 years down the track, the year we celebrated 40 years of marriage and Paul turned 60. Also, it would give me time to gain my health back, while starting to train for the walk.

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In training in the Philippines. Early hours of the morning because past sun rise, the heat was too much.

One of the first thing I did was buy a pair of comfy training shoes. They were light, a size larger then I needed (to help with blisters), and didn’t confine my feet and cause pain. The first pair of shoes that didn’t cause me pain!

I walked in rain, in the cold, the heat, the day, the dark, by myself, and with others. The time rolled by as the miles did.

So here are some of the preparations myself and Paul underwent to prepare for the Camino.

  1. Set a date – Setting a date  brings the goal into focus and plans will begin to take shape.
  2. Train – Set up a training program and stick to it. I tried to do at least 6-8 kilometers a day more on others in any kind of weather, wet, cold, hot, everything except for thunderstorms – They were a no go!  I would also recommend stretches to build strength. The one I didn’t do enough of was to door more hill climbs.
  3. Carry a pack – The more I started to walk I would add weights to a pack to increase my ability to carry a pack. I even used coral rock in the Philippines to get used to the added weight.
  4. Study – Increase your knowledge of the paths you will follow. Understanding the terrain and what is ahead in terms of weather, and accommodation. Also understanding how diet and water affects walking.
  5. Purchase the correct equipment –

       –  Pack – We changed Paul’s pack right at the end. It has to have a waist band to                 take the weight and not pull on the shoulders.

–  Rainwear  – A good rain coat is important. We will probably go with the Atalaa next time. Our ponchos were ok but not great. They needed to be longer although they were light weight – always a consideration. The Atalaa people seemed to just cruise by unscathed by the weather on themselves or their packs.

Footwear – Of course it goes without saying – correct footwear is a must. I was told to go a size bigger and it worked. Two pairs of socks fill the gaps. Duct tape is a must. Prevents blistering!

Underwear. We opted mainly for bamboo socks and jocks. I would hope for a better fitting pair next time that dried quicker. Also undergarments that wick moisture away from your body too.

 – Poles – this is not last for any reason but they definitely were our definite bring along. Some did walk without them – good luck to them. I would never think of it! They were invaluable. Spring loaded were good but not particularly necessary. We didn’t go very expensive due to financial constraints and it really didn’t seem to make a difference, except the tips do wear out after 40 days of pounding. They can be purchased along the way.

6. Stay the course – There may be  road blocks or at least detours so persevere. Keep focused. Don’t give up!

 

 

 

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Posted in Christian living, energy, Goal setting, health and wellness, Life, Marriage, Uncategorized

10 Points on How to Burn Out

Burn out is defined as – worn-out; exhausted. 

Burn out was a catch cry from the 90’s and 2000’s and having experienced 2 of them, I somehow wish I could warn everyone about how not to burn out. It is no fun being carried out of a building because you can’t stop crying and lying in fetal position unable to communicate just what is happening as you cry for days on end. Or watching as your husband literally wastes away in front of your eyes and can’t walk 6 paces due to burn out and physical exhaustion. They used to call it a “breakdown” and it is a fair analysis of what happens when your body, soul or spirit revolt and say enough.

Many in the 21st Century are so consumed with achieving or keeping on that they neglect to take the time to consider their life’s journey and how they are actually functioning until the wheels usually fall off or a major health scare forces them to reassess their life style.

Hear are 10 points to follow if you want to burn out!

  1. Over work, unfulfilled and exhausted – Any job that is taking more than 60 hours is too much. You need a balanced time for work, eating, resting, exercise, and relationships. Unbalance will cause you to burn out. Taking on tasks out of your expertise or responsibility will also cause excessive stress and anxiety – all rushing you towards a burn out.
  2. Have only a few hours sleep each night. Sleep is needed to re-rejuvenate the body. It also helps us to lose weight. I was impressed when I went to the headquarters of Huffington Post not long ago and saw sleep pods! The previous owner Ariana Huffington discovered that sleep isn’t overrated and that she shouldn’t wait until she dies to sleep. She brought sleep pods into the office discovering napping can increase productivity. Solid, sweet sleep is a gift from God!
  3. Don’t exercise regularly. Regular exercise can not be overemphasized. It doesn’t have to be ridiculous amounts but must be enough to get the heart rate up and blood flowing. Stretching exercises are gentle and help build strength as well. Fresh air also brings about sanity in this sedentary and craze filled world.
  4. Don’t eat healthily. High carbs, high sugar and high fat diet will see the body experience high highs and low lows. Change to a lot more water than coffee and sugar drinks – even juices. Go for it…fill up on those but don’t be surprised when your finally tuned machine starts to react to improper fuel.
  5. Neglect relationships. When you lose touch in your relationships you find yourself alone and lacking in emotional support and well being. We need each other. 10 hugs a day are essential for emotional well being and growth. Start counting today and be surprised how little you actually touch another human being during the course of the day. Don’t make this one creepy though..use wisdom!
  6. Don’t put devices down or multitask. Having a device in your hand constantly and multitasking with them all the time, means we are never free from pressures or interruptions. The brain can never shut down or fully concentrate on the present again separating you from relationships.
  7. Give out to too many or don’t give to any others. Again the issue with only being focused on self or too much on others means you become unbalanced like a wheel of a bike with a bulge in the tire. You can still keep peddling but it will be an unbalanced ride. Set yourself healthy boundaries!
  8. Stay in chaos. When you are overworked, overtired, over-pressurized, over extended, the last thing you feel you have time to do is get organized. However, starting to bring order out of chaos will certainly alleviate stress. Use whatever form of list-making that feels best for you, electronic or a diary. I remember when I was going through my burn outs, part of my recovery was taking control of what I could take control of – my kitchen and house! Start small if you  have to, including your work space. One lady called the Fly lady started to control her sink. I heard an officer from the Corps recently say if you want to overcome in your life start by making your bed! All good advice and a key to starting to climb out of chaos in your life.
  9. Don’t say No to anyone who asks anything of you. Learning to say no brings health on many levels. It helps you to build strong boundaries as well as keeps your work load under your control.
  10. Neglect your spiritual life  You are a spiritual being and when you only focus on the body and soul or mind you are again like the bicycle with the gammy wheel. Prayer and meditating on the Word of God brings healing and health to your body,   mind and spirit. Taking time to just sit and contemplate is nearly a lost art. When was the last time you lay on the ground and watched the clouds roll over head – without glancing at your phone in between? Or sat and listened to the birds around you instead of the ear plugs blasting music or even motivational speakers in to your ear?Life is too short!

Do the above for long enough and you are sure to find a time in your life when the brakes will suddenly go on and you won’t have a choice but to stop. Better to chose now and take time to readjust the speed and direction of your life.

Blessings

Until next time Narelle

Drop me a line and tell me how you have made a change this week to slow the pace down or readjust your settings.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Posted in Christian living, communication, energy, Goal setting, health and wellness, Life, Uncategorized, weight loss

Staying the Healthy Course

IMG_24332014 was a massive year for myself and my family. It was the year of transformation for me from unhealthy to healthy: from overweight to slimmer; from near death to alive; from mind numbing work to fulfillment. So many changes, challenges, and victories! I saw these not only in myself but in my family as well.

In terms of weight loss I was able to shed nearly 40 lbs or 20 kilos. The change was so dramatic to my body, on a trip home after a few weeks away, in the dead of night Paul could not work out who was sleeping with him and freaked out!

Fast forward 4 years and many overseas trips and challenging dietary situations and I have still managed to maintain the weight loss give or take a few kilos. It has not been easy!

Less and More

One of the mind changes I had in 2014 was that this was no diet experience. This was a life-style change. From now on my life had to consist of less– less stress, less of amounts of food, less of fats and sugars,  and less of those foods that cause me pain – night shade plants. It also consisted of more – More regular exercise, more regular sleep, more regular examination of where I am at with calories and step counters, more fun paths, more laughter, more peace and joy, more of those things that bring me joy.

When we focus on the less so much we can gain a mindset of lack rather than abundance. We feel deprived and that in turn will cause us to falter and feel somehow we are missing out. With that sense of deprivation it may not be long before we find ourselves breaking out!

I also don’t beat myself up. If I find I have had more rather than less of or less rather than more, I get up and start again. I love that His mercies are new every morning! Every day when the sun comes up I have a clean slate to start again regardless of the day before.

Today is a new day and I will rejoice and be glad in it.

Stay the course. Keep going. You are unstoppable if you don’t stop!

Until next time

Blessings Narelle

 

Posted in Christian living, Goal setting, health and wellness, Life, Uncategorized

Goals for the Year

The clock hits the 12 and the cheers go up! It is a new year! After the cheers go up the reflections for the new year start. Now it is February and those well thought out or emotionally charged goals are starting to hurt or are requiring effort. Some may have even fallen by the wayside already!

Goals – the desire to achieve a plan. We all would love to lose those extra pounds, get more dollars, find that new partner, or achieve those things we have wanted for a long time. We all have dreams, desires but seeing them come to pass is different to just wishing to see them come to pass.

Sometimes the goal is to complete the goals that we reset from the year before, that were set the year before that!!!! Hands up if that is you!! It is definitely me!

I once heard it said that the only difference between a millionaire and a billionaire is the billionaire looks at his goals twice a day and not just once. I love how we set goals and then don’t look at them for the rest of the year or if we do it’s with a slight glance not a deep longing!

Like everyone else, I have made goals, failed at achieving goals, achieved goals, and reinvented goals, and still continue to make them.  This year I wasn’t going to make any! I was going to sail into the new year on the boat of disillusionment and frustration .

But I succumbed! It took me about a week in to the new year. Paul and I were praying and each year we like to name our year prophetically. This year Paul called it – “Fulfillment.” We are in the process of a few projects and this thought started to resonate with me.

Eventually I started to set and refresh some goals and do the reset of the reset and start to believe that we will see them come to pass.

reset button

Some are so big they really are dreams! One year Paul and I sat down with brown paper and wrote and dreamed of what we would do if we had 100 million dollars. I found it last year and all of a sudden I am starting to dream again! One first goal is to keep looking at the goals!

I also am dreaming and planning of ways to see those 100 million dollar dreams come to pass. The 100 million is not for ourselves. Recently we were listening to sermons and reading about Joseph who had a dream. The purpose for his life was not just about him – it was to save the nations. That is our ultimate dream: To see nations saved!

Goal Setting

There is a curve, called the Sigmoid Curve, or S curve. It is like the ascending half of the bell curve, which shows that once you reach the pinnacle of anything, what follows then is  a descent. The theory in terms of goal setting is that once you are half way up the curve, you need to set a new goal in order to keep moving upwards and not start the decline down the other side.

Sigmoid-CurveWhen I first learned of this curve it made a lot of sense to me and something I introduced in to my life.

To explain how it works think of an Olympian. They work for years for their 4 minute event. They win! Now where do they go from here. They have conquered their goal. They have made it! If they have no new goal set already they often slip into decline in terms of depression, substance abuse, etc etc.

The Bible puts it beautifully in Proverbs 29:18 Without a progressive vision, people dwell carelessly – or another translation says they cast of restraint. Goals keep us restrained and focused.

Turning 60 this year means I have a whole new set that I am looking at on my dream board but I also still have others to see eventuate.  Yes I have a dream board as my screen back ground!  I will not stop dreaming until I dream my last!

What about you? Next time I will talk about planning. This is the why and how of goal setting. It’s how we see them accomplished.

Until next time

Don’t stop dreaming!

Narelle