Brendan, whose user name is SimplyB, sent this to me by private message on the Forum. I thought it was so well articulated that I asked if I could post it as a guest blog here, for you all to discuss. He gave me his permission.
I was delighted, because as you’ll see, Brendan approaches the question: How did the Camino change you? with a fearsome intellect. There’s plenty to discuss!
You asked what the Camino did to transform us, and in what way if any.
I have read the other posts and see a lot of similarities and am therefore loathe to chime in with a “me, too”. There is no question that some degree of universality of experience is to be expected though unpredictable in any particular case.
While I in no way presume the following is unique to me, it is a simple laundry list of what has changed.
Full disclosure up front. A portrait just a year back would have had me as an extreme “Type A”, absolutely confident in what I was doing at all times and a complete and utter jerk. In fact, I have to believe that this is often what clients wished from me – a relentless pursuit of achieving objectives and, if some feelings got hurt… too bad.
On the good side, I never exploited people and gave up any engagement that would have required unethical behavior. A social being, not so much. “I would never belong to any club that would have me as a member.” (Thanks, Groucho!)
Faith was something very cerebral but very firmly held – – Mathematics exist so therefore also does God. (The proof is beyond scope of this note!) In self-discovery mode post-Camino, my Myers-Briggs record (pulled from past training records) would have me as an INTJ. (You can check out what that means here:
So, what’s changed?
Mr. Type A is dead. Not quite sure what is going to replace him as that seems to be under construction even at this late date.
“J” (in INTJ types) is for “judging”. That particular trait died of neglect. I believe the demise started around Castrillo de los Polvazares, for no particular reason except that I am a slow learner. There was no formal obituary or even reading of words but maybe the death rattle happened past SdC at Olveiroa.
So, as one can surmise there is a big gap in operating attitudes between past and present. Adjustments are still being made.
Yes, I care about deadlines but work like the dickens to soft-sell an objective. More carrot, less stick. (For the dog-lover “Wag more, bark less.”) This transition is a bit difficult and has caused some alienation.
In family to a minor extent, more pronounced in external relations where I perceive that my utility may have been adjudged as “diminished”. (I might agree.)
While never very materialistic, it appears hard for me to even budge the needle on that dial any more. The Camino-induced simplicity is too great a lesson to ignore. This also has introduced tension into relationships.
Though I will not actively sever old relationships, neither can I adopt the “goods-based” worldview to measure success. I do not preach this. It is not a pre-condition for people to agree with my decision in order to be my friend. But it is a change in my attitude that has been detected and found to be wanting.
(BTW, there is precious little glamour in “living poor”. It takes time, a lot of it. It requires flexibility and resourcefulness to be developed to a high degree. And it requires not having things that maybe you, or family, might like to have. I am not recommending it as a desirable pursuit. Like the Camino, the call has to find you… or so I believe.)
I’m still not very social (“I” is for Introverted) but am more at ease when there is no recourse but to engage. I appreciate people more even if I find their behavior loathsome. (Please note that I brightly demarcate between a person and their behavior.)
Even so, I now never miss an opportunity to shut up unless called upon to defend what I know and can prove to be true. And whenever an opinion must be proffered, the triple dictum of Aristotle serves as an effective filter for whatever response is to be made. “Is it true? Is it useful? Is it beautiful?” Talk about dampening one’s output of words!
About Faith…. It now extends well beyond the cerebrum or all of the foregoing would have proved impossible to absorb.
I’ll apologize in advance to anyone who has yet to walk the Camino and finds this report off-putting. I am asked “Should I walk the Camino?” My constant response is this: “Advising anyone to walk the Camino is way above my pay grade. However, if you are feeling called then you should prayerfully consider whether that call can be ignored.”
That about sums it up for me, Bill.