Embracing Self-Care through Walking the Camino de Santiago

by Sep 30, 2019Nature, Reflective Practice0 comments

I just returned from a goal I have been working toward over the past 30 years, that of walking the ancient pilgrim path across the north of Spain known as the Camino de Santiago. Many have traveled what is now the UNESCO World Heritage Site routes of St. James for all sorts of reasons, with mine being primarily the opportunity to pause from my daily work, commitments, activities, and life in general, in order to take a fresh look at who I am, what I am about, and where I hope to go next.

I believe we all have hopes, dreams, and intentions that we try to work with alongside the many demands of our daily lives, yet I found I was not able to explore those big issues in a meaningful way without taking time away. I am not really one for silent meditative retreats or yoga holidays, so needed something a bit more active.

Active, yes, though like EMDR or a metronome, I found the walking — akin to marching to a beat — to be therapeutic.

I have heard people say that it is not so much what is learned through walking the Camino, but what is learned upon reflecting on the experience while walking. Given this, the one thing that jumps to the top of my mind is the need for quiet, for focus, for time to myself that allows me to silence the monkey mind and see what else comes up when given the opportunity.

This is a theme I hope to explore, as I see implications for it in my teaching, consulting, and coaching work.


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About Me

Jeffrey M. Keefer, Ph.D., is an educational consultant, institutional researcher and accreditation officer in higher education, professor of research methodology, nonprofit capacity building and strategic planning consultant, talent development coach, spiritual life advisor (chaplain) at New York University, spiritual director, and Wikipedian.