Moving with kindness and grace on your spiritual journey, even as you travel alongside groups of souls who are not, or have not been, on such intensive internal courses.
When our group entered the last stages of the trail, many elements of our day-to-day life were now second nature to us, and we were thrilled to be so close to the end of our pilgrimage. One of the elements that we were not prepared for was the massive increase of people on the trail. One trail fact is that at the end of the pilgrimage most pilgrims go to the cathedral in Santiago to receive a compostela. This document establishes that you have walked the trail. It has religious significance for many. In order to get this certificate, you must walk at least the last 100km/60 miles of the trail. Hence many people only walk the last 100km.
Around the 100km marker in the region of Galicia, the trail became clogged with teens in shiny gold sneakers, backpacks slung over their shoulders and cans of soda as trail drinks. This was a jarring shock to all of us who had traveled from France and beyond. Before this point, when I came across people on the trail, they were like fellow warriors. There was a bond that might have been acknowledged with a simple nod or a lengthy talk, but always the bond was one of camaraderie. Now we pushed through crowds of chatty teens who barely noticed our passing or groups of couples that walked with only a water bottle since their bags had been bused ahead to their next destination. These crowds were new elements, and it took patience and centering to stay connected to the arc of our journey in the face of these changes.
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