PC #85 – Are we self-obsessed?

It occurred to me that I might be selfish, and self-obsessed.

This whole Camino thing.

Leaving my wife at home while I went off to Spain to do a pilgrimage?

When the last time I went to church was to take wedding photos for a relative…

Months before leaving for the Camino, all I could talk about was the walk, my backpack weight, my boots, whether I'd get blisters. Yak yak yak.

The Camino was all I could talk about.

Now I'm back and I'm still blogging, and I've started a forum too, and soon I'll be leading a Camino tour.

And of course there's the book. Each day writing about the Camino.

Is this fair on my wife?

This obsession?

Am I being selfish, in the pursuit of greater self-awareness?



39 thoughts on “PC #85 – Are we self-obsessed?

  1. Bill, it was the most glorious, well deserved, selfish thing I ever did for myself. The fall out, has been nothing short of a miracle.



  2. It was the same for me. In fact it still is!

    As you well know, I’ve got the Camino Virus, I’ve been bitten. The fact that makes my situation different from yours is I am single and only have to be concerned with Arlene.

    I feel the Camino in my case, is a better obsession than many other things I could be obsessed with.



  3. Bill, there is selfish as in always putting your wants and need before everyone elses no matter the situation.
    Then there is selfish as in taking care of yourself physically, spiritually and mentally so you can be a better man and offer more to the world.
    You have done the second option, here. I see growth, kindness –and all kinds of other good things in you that weren’t there before, or, if they were, they were down deep. If you’re still not sure of the answer, ask Jennifer which kind of man you are now.


    • hmmm, yes Sister, you might be right.

      Jennifer says there is a Before Camino Bill and an After Camino Bill.

      Even so, she is very tolerant.



    • There needs to be a ‘like’ button on Wordpresd so I can ‘like’ Sisters comment.

      The honesty is within. Despite Jennifer’s tolerance I believe she would be honest with you too.

      I think even if you were selfish before now you are giving to so many other people you can’t possibly be considered selfish now.




  4. I think that anything you do which promotes serious self-reflection, and positive growth or change is a gift not only to yourself, but a gift to those who love you as well. I think discussing it with Jennifer will lead to additional insight for you both. My two cents worth! Might be worth less than two cents in Australian currency! Julie


    • haha – yes Julie, in Aussie currency your two-point-eight cents worth!

      I think if I hadn’t come back from the Camino a changed person, Jennifer would have been less tolerant.

      Now I don’t yell at people in the cinema if they talk through the movie.

      That’s a distinct change!



  5. When a person spends a significant amount of time in catering for the needs of others, caring for relatives, bringing about social change, educating and selflessly focusing on the greater good, there comes a time when the bucket of ‘giving’ needs to be replenished. If the Camino is a way of doing that, it is not a selfish obsession at all. In fact, the renewal of spirit enables one to give even more.
    Selfishness? I think not.
    Looking forward to meeting the post-Camino Anne.



    • Anne, I couldn’t agree with you more. Anyone who gives their all to others has to stop from time to time and give to themselves.While its true that the more we give, the more we have left to give (what I think of as God’s, or spiritual economy),there comes a time when we have to replenish our heart and loving spirit. We have a minimum of two mandatory retreats each year, and without them, none of my Brothers and Sisters would be able to keep on doing what we do! Its never selfish to restore and refill the Source. Its a necessity!!


      • Thankyou Sister. I don’t feel guilty about leaving for a month and refocusing on what is important. I think we can sometimes lose sight of the BIG issues and focus on the trivia. I have been suggesting we have a Sabbath week each term at my college, so we can have no meetings and extras and have time to refocus. This requires a large cultural shift as well as the practicalities, but also sends a strong message about who we are. Still working on it.


        • Anne –

          the basic precepts of PGS are:


          Stopping is the most important part of spiritual development, I believe.

          By the way, while waiting for the money for the film of PGS, I am now thinking of writing the book…



          • Well, the thing about writing the Camino book is that I realise that with lots of small steps, that is, writing something each day, I can at the end of three months end up with a completed book.

            Is the same as walking the Camino. You start off, up think the goal is impossible, and fraught with so many difficulties, but each day up walk – sometimes only a short distance – but after a period of time doing that day after day, you walk into the square at Santiago.

            So I’m now giving some thought to writing the book on PGS.



          • I agree with you completely. My problem is that when I think I want to write a book, I can’t tell where to start and I don’t know where I am going. I had a starting point and and end point on the Camino. But, you on the other hand, know where you are heading with the pgs book. Bravo.


          • Well, Rhonda Byrne’s book, THE SECRET was only 35,000 words.

            These books don’t need to be that long. (My Camino book has come in at 71,000 words)

            But it would require a fair bit of research etc. so I suspect it would take me about six months minimum.



        • That’s such a good idea! Good luck with getting it approved. I’ll add the cause to our prayer list.


  6. It sounds to me, through reading these blogs for the last few months, that you and Jennifer have such a strong relationship, that I’ve no doubt she’d let you know if you went so overboard with your Camino ‘obsession’ that it significantly changed that relationship. Surely, in a strong and loving relationship, there’s always give and take and spread over more than 30 years, I figure it’d even itself out 🙂 Also, it must be interesting for Jennifer to see how you’re changing and how that potentially changes your perception of your relationship with her and vice versa. Again, as Arlene says, I guess it makes a difference that I’m looking from a perspective of being single (again … thank goodness!) and weighing my comments up against my life experiences, but surely tolerance on all sorts of levels has to have a large part in long-term relationships?


    • Britta, you’re right.

      And yes, during 30 years + of a marriage you learn the gentle art of give and take. I think it was Ingrid Bergman who was once asked what did she put her long marriage down to, and she said “a bad memory!”

      Jennifer is integral to what I do. She makes me look better than I am. A better filmmaker, a better writer, a better person.


  7. People have tip-toed around this question and you sort of answered it above….but I didn’t see it asked/answered directly….does Jennifer think you are being selfish with this life-path?


    • Here is Jennifer’s reply –

      Bill’s obsessions have always been very odd –

      Twenty years ago when he was writing crime movies he was obsessed with killing people in ghastly and inventive ways, which he would discuss with all the family around the dinner table – this when my children were tiny babies.

      Then he was obsessed with getting a Black Amex card, and to achieve that he had to spend and make huge sums of money which seemed very fitting for those times in the expansive 90s.

      His obsession with road movies meant that on every holiday, he would have to drive us all everywhere, all over the world, going very fast and not stopping to look at anything – you should see all the maps we have.

      This is not the first pilgrimage he’s been on – he’s been on many – dragging myself and his children through France and Italy hunting down the delicacies of the Perigord, or Piemonte hunting white truffles for lunch. Or through India eating the most disgusting road-side stall food you could find – food that would have hospitalised anyone else.

      His saddest pilgrimage was to Evian, where he wanted to go to the toilet, and flush it with Evian water. This is true. This is what I have lived with.

      So the Camino obsession, in comparison, is a relief. At last it shows deep and meaningful growth.

      And as with each obsessive phase, he discovers what he’s always known.



  8. I have a poster in my kitchen that says “Sometimes the heart should do things without the brain’s permission.” Just thought I would throw that out there………


    • Oh, I like that, Julie! And its so true!We should be taught from childhood that you have to take care of your spirit, too. It seems obvious, but so many people really don’t know that.


      • Here’s a secret for you all………I bought that poster when we redid our kitchen a couple of years ago. Frankly, I was tired of agonizing over every single decision we had to make in counters, floors, appliances, and even whether to redo the cabinets or not. When it came time for choosing the fabric for curtains and paint for the walls, I just went for it. Bold browns, reds, and oranges. Then I found the poster which was also in the colors. It reminds me every day to trust my heart and not over think each and every nuance of my life. I also secretly think of myself as the “heart” and my husband as the “brain” in this case, but that is a story for another day. 😉


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