Not another book…..

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You know that feeling when you feel you are researched out, read enough and just need to get going.  Well – when another book landed up in my space this is pretty much how I was feeling and actually did not want to read the book.  The book lay on the side table next to my bed for weeks and every time I looked at the book I kept thinking of how this book landed up there – my youngest daughters friend’s mother had got the book from her bosses boss who sent it to me to read.  The book was from a stranger to a stranger, with this tickling my mind constantly thinking it must have been for some good reason and based on this I eventually decided to read the book. Once I started reading The Way of Stars and Stones, I was captivated. In fact, the book was written by a South African who now lives in France, namely Wilna Wilkinson!!

The book is about her EL CAMINO, her spiritual journey that she walked alone, in the heart of winter.   Her experience resonated so much with me that for the first time it “hit” home that on both a physical and mental level this is going to be a demanding challenge.  I kinda knew that but did not KNOW that (if that makes any sense at all)!! The book offers practical advice and information about walking the Camino. In addition there are spiritual reflections; an overlap of history and personal observation, of perception and of reality, of deep thought and light humor.  Wilna candidly introduces you to many of her fellow pilgrims and travellers, she pulls you into their conversations, invites you to eavesdrop on their confessions, and to listen to their myriad points of view. I shed a tear about the inspirational stories and laughed about the humor that fills the refuge dormitories. I ENJOYED THE BOOK AND WAS SO VERY GRATEFUL THAT IT LANDED UP ON THE SIDE TABLE NEXT TO MY BED!!

A little about who Wilna is:-

Wilkinson, a 58-year-old mother of three, moved with her family to London from South Africa a few years ago. But her children are all grown-up now and she has moved to France where she runs her own little guest house, something she loves with her whole heart.  Her world was turned upside down when a very close friend was diagnosed with cancer. Not knowing how to battle someone else’s pain or how to help her friend, she decided to make the pilgrimage in her honor.

“It’s a journey on which you have to look after yourself, make it work for you,” she says.

“It’s about finding the resources to complete what you started out to do – both mentally and physically.

“From the moment you wake up in the morning until the time the sun goes down, you have to put one foot in front of another.”

Everyone takes on this journey for different reasons. Many hope to find the answers to all their questions, others hope it will be a life-changing experience. “And not many realise that you probably have everything inside you that you’re looking for,” says the wise soul who walked more than a month to find her own way.

She was not the kind of person anyone would have expected to do the pilgrimage. Spiritual rather than religious, she wasn’t driven by any fervour and she’s not really the physical type. It was also the first time she had committed to something that took her out of her sphere of competence.

In London she had become quite a powerful motivational speaker. At present her life is about running a luxury guest house. Neither of these would have prepared her for the arduous journey ahead.

That is what makes this such an intriguing book. It could be any of us taking that impossible walk in the freezing cold with no way out.

 “It’s all about how you approach it,” she believes.

She describes the pilgrimage as an incredibly empowering experience. Having walked the walk, she believes she can do anything.  She didn’t get blisters, but she developed tendonitis, which became very painful. This taught her about the power of the mind, the importance of breathing and of being in the here and now every step of the way.

“It’s not the most amazing people who make it,” she says. “I did it.” This, she believes, is because of the mind and not the body.

When you’re climbing that mountain, don’t look up. Stop and look back to see what you have already done.

Wilkinson feels lucky that she had a reasonably “easy” time. The effect it’s had on her life is that she no longer has time for nonsense.  She views walking the Camino as the most selfish thing she has done, giving herself 50 days of freedom to do the pilgrimage.

 “It’s a long time away from all your responsibilities. But once there, selfishness disappears. It’s about reaching out and different talents being used to make things easier for others en route.”

Finally, the most valuable lessons were picked up along the way. “It wasn’t about the final destination, it was about every day.”

Enough about Wilna – however a good read for those who would like to understand more about this journey.

It is said every pilgrim carries some burden, and the Camino provides the ideal environment to find the answers within one’s own heart and soul.  Soon it will be time for me to face my burdens and accept the answers within my heart and soul!  ……. 26 days to go!!

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Showing 16 comments
  • Hilde

    If anything can inspire you to do this, then Wilna’s book will…….loved every letter in it!! Good luck Sparksie, will be following you and encouraging you along the way – and well done on accepting this challenge! xox

    • sparkalot

      Hilde – my dear friend you will be in my thoughts along the way and I will blog as often as I can to keep you amused with this challenge! xxxxx

  • kimsj24

    I think you may have to write your own book…its all so inspiring!

    • sparkalot

      Hi Kim – lets see what transpires from this adventure, who knows – maybe a motivational speaker too (bwahahaha)!!

      • William

        No joke, you will make an excellent speaker!

      • Robster

        Not a bad idea Sparks, you would be good at it!

  • William

    Michelle, my heart is with you. I know, my turn is lying in wait…
    My eyes will be glued to the screen for updates!
    Love & Light on your path

    • sparkalot

      William THANKS – I look forward to your encouragement along the way!!

  • alan stock

    Hi michelle, to me this jorney was meant to be, from the first time you told me, to picking up this book, this is your time. Really looking forward to your blog. alan

    • sparkalot

      Hello Alan – I am so so so happy you are following the blog – I am hoping to post another update this weekend. Love to Maisie

  • Mike

    You are a star for who you are. You will not be alone on your “journey”. We all will be travelling with you. Love and light

    • sparkalot

      Will you carry my back pack every now and again

  • Bernadine Neveling

    My friend, I am so happy that you have finally realised this dream to do the walk. I am equally happy that we will see you a week before you leave. We miss and love you, Cass and Tanika.
    Much love Berni and kyle xoxo

    • sparkalot

      Hi Biscuit – we are equally excited xxx

  • Kay

    Wow, very impressive my friend. Love your blog! Can’t wait for the next one! xxx

    • sparkalot

      Hopefully the next post will be up this weekend xxx

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