The Way of St. James – El Camino de Santiago
“The Way of St. James (in Spanish “El Camino de Santiago”) is the pilgrimage to the Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela in Galicia in north western Spain, where tradition states that the remains of the apostle Saint James are buried.
It has been used as a religious pilgrimage for more than one thousand years, now it is also considered a touristic route, a cultural route, an adventure, an artistic route, a joyful experience, a sport challenge, a spiritual experience, etc. Concluding it is a place of self-growth and self-discovery (Gallegos et al, 2005).
The main goal of sharing this personal experience is to reveal a possible and effective self-coaching experience – it has been stated that often pilgrims evoke life changes due to the pilgrimage experience that go along with the ICF coaching definition; a “thought-provoking and creative process that inspires them to maximize personal and professional potential”.
On the bibliographic research all authors are unanimous in saying that the pilgrimage to Santiago changes the life process in different ways.
The St James Pilgrimage – “Camino de Santiago” – becomes an alternative for “de-routinization”, where most of us pilgrims seek, through experience, the reunion with ourselves and our own roots. This search is performed by us as compensation to the urban lifestyle.
Pilgrims feel particularly motivated by these reasons, especially those that cross the route on foot. By participating in this pilgrimage, they not only evoke the traditional route of the pilgrims of the past, but also recover the forgotten pleasure of slowness, of the slow consciousness, with the main focus on their own body and on their own mind.
As a pilgrim and a coach willing to explore one-self I found that the following areas were of strong impact to me:
- Clarifying life mission
- Establishing a deeper connection with the inner-self
2. Life it-self:
- Raising awareness level
- Self-discovery – Finding the authentic self
- Facing fears, building self-esteem
- Reflect upon personal relationships, career, health, etc.
- Practicing a healthy and enjoyable out-door physical activity
3. Leadership and social skills
- Living empowering group experiences (sharing, talking, helping, laughing, supporting, coaching and being coached, listening, learning)
- Practicing Altruism and considering the other
- Potentiating team work
- Re-discovering skills and self-potential
- Establishing strategies for building leadership
As you can see it’s a high potential transforming experience that everyone should experience at least once in a life-time.