Our services and benefits of Pilgrimage

 
What is it about walking the steps of a pilgrimage that makes it effective therapy? How does it work?

 

1. The recovery guide and the participant are doing something together through the steps of the Camino, paralleling the process of 12 step programs. They are moving in the same direction. They are looking in the same direction. Anxiety/blocked thoughts give way as the adrenaline and sustenance, transformed through walking.

2. Pilgrimage: The dialogue while walking with a guide is important, but also while the participant is walking alone or with others. The pilgrimage experience of two people going for a walk and discussing/talking about personal issues in recovery (experience, strength and hope) is the core of this experience. The experience of doing something that is non-threatening and vitally engaging brings about total involvement of mind, body and spirit.

3. The physical experience of exercise, exertion and discomfort are part of the journey. This process teases out the obstructions to align the center, allow the body’s energy/chi/holy spirit to flow freely.  Pace, breathing and even posture may reveal emotional cues to discuss further.

4. The use of the environment to enhance or reinforce a point: being in touch with our senses. We practice making the environment congruent with where we are, in the present moment: i.e. noticing the crackle of the gravel, sticks tapping, lengthening shadows of the afternoon, awareness of small changes within. On the Caminio de Santiago, this includes talking next to the vastness of the ocean, hearing its power, knowing it has been there for millions of years, the metaphor of the waves like breath or feelings: they come and they go. Pilgrimage brings people into the present as one becomes a part of nature or one in a sea of walking humans and not just a passive observer.

5. The recovery guide/sobriety coach is not doing something to you. He’s not fixing you or treating you. He is sharing time and space. He is sharing an experience. We are both sharing in the altering of personal perspectives, perceptions. Choosing to see life differently. Experience thoughts through a different filter, a different view, or the same view but from a different vantage point. Recovery Caminos do this.

6. The recovery guide/sobriety coach is simply a facilitator sharing experience, strength and hope and listening to yours. He/She gets the participant into the frame of the Camino, thru the 12-Steps back into life, back into relationships, back into experiencing the present, back into observing and quieting the mind using all tools available to us. Guides are trained in retreat facilitation and counseling or nursing techniques, respectfully.

 

BASIC PHYSICAL BENEFITS (Preparing for a pilgrimage)

•Reduced heart rate & resting blood pressure  

• Increased blood flow to organs (and brain)

• Increased sense of vigor and accomplishment from dedicated preparation

 

AND PSYCHOLOGICAL BENEFITS (It’s ALL ABOUT change)

  • Camino is “the way” into something else, building a willingness to change

    • Allowing a new perspective to enter

  • Be “part of” a team with same goals in Recovery Camino

  • Open, then broaden your current perspective

  • Walk and talk with international Pilgrims, build global perspective

  •       A chance to change habits and thinking

  • Reduced depression/anxiety/tension

    • Increased feelings of well-being and gratitude

  • Gain spiritual insight and resolve through pilgrimage

  • Transformative-before during and after our journey.

  • Lowers our defenses enough to accept & “let go”

  • Finding REMEDY – power greater than self