I was thinking this morning how The Camino really offered a great opportunity for people to brood. 500 miles of self -pity.
But from my experience with myself and, I think, those around me - most everyone simply reflected and planned.
Many people I met were divorced, divorcing or widowed. Everyone mentioned their familial status and also, very candidly discussed the joys or pains of arriving there. (Ironically, job fields were also mentioned but job titles or roles were never discussed). They also used the time to sort out what they "really wanted" next.
Personally, I "studied" all my friends, family members and ex's, spending time praying for them, reflecting on our bonds and qualities, thinking about bettering a current relationship or learning from the past and in some cases mentally "letting go". There was not a second of bitterness or anger present. Trust me, there were days of contemplation about individuals.
What I found to be deeply moving was that with this raw candidness, many of us formed a bond unlike any other I've ever experienced. Because The Camino is so physically and emotionally rigorous and the pairing of souls became so profound, I believe it is fair to say we all fell a little bit in love. We have collected soulmates from around the globe.
Back in the "real world", with the rest of the world not knowing The Camino world exists, this benevolent filter becomes thinned and is sometimes difficult to activate. For the most part though, I came back with a new perspective and opportunity to look at all things and people in a different and more peaceful way. And too, I have wonderful new friends with whom I can converse and slip back onto the Camino and again restore my soul when needed.