Exactly ten years ago, I was at the halfway point in the Camino de Santiago, a pilgrimage route of about 500 miles that stretches from the edge of France all the way across northern Spain. I had spent weeks planning for the journey, carefully selecting socks and band-aids and a hiking pole, determined to pack with mindfulness and minimalism.
Despite my one smallish pack, within the first few hours my legs were aching and my shoulders were sore and it was clear I’d brought too much. I left a pair of sandals by the roadside, along with a sleeping mat. Proud that I was now truly down to the barest of essentials, I walked on.
By the midway point, I had developed huge blisters that covered the bottoms of my feet, making every step excruciating. One night I spread out all of the contents of my pack, and realized I was still carrying plenty of excess. I left a sleeping bag, an extra change of clothes, and some first aid supplies in a hostel, and continued on. Gradually, my blisters started to shrink and my pace started to quicken. By the day that I woke before dawn to enter Santiago de Compostela, my pack was light and my legs were strong.
Dear ones, we spend a lot of time accumulating all we might need for our journeys, and this is often time well spent. But when we prepare with intention, it’s even harder than usual to consider what can be released. The carrying cost is double – our own loads are weighty, and others are missing what might be shared.
Friends, what are the lovely, useful things that are weighing us down?
What might we release?