Finding Their Way/A Personal Pilgrimage

sea shell

Blessed, thankful and truly grateful to have had these three lovely ladies, Lynne Bakalyan, Debbie Long and Laura Wesselhoff, at November’s Super Soul open their hearts and share their insightful pilgrimage hiking the Camino de Santiago/The Way of St. James in Spain this past summer.

They revealed the why and why nots, their personal heartaches, triumphs, breakthroughs and takeaways.

pic of ladies1

Walking Sticks represent that we all need support in life whether it is an actual walking stick, a shoulder to lean on or as Laura found out, capturing her heart with her camera.


By no means is this a full on summary just a quick highlight. I would, however, invite you to reach out to any of these three ladies and invite them for coffee and let them share their own personal account of their trip with you.  It will change your life.


We are each a pilgrim and a part of this world community.

A pilgrimage is an intentional journey into the unknowing.  A call to deep listening, patience, and an awakening to our inner self that arises in the midst of discomfort and seeing again with a fresh set of eyes.

What is the Camino de Santiago?

It is a large network of ancient pilgrim routes stretching across Europe and coming together at the tomb of St. James, the first apostle of Jesus, where tradition has it that the remains of the saint are buried. Many follow its routes as a form of spiritual growth.

The Whys

  • Needed to do this for myself
  • Saying yes to the unknown
  • Finding out “Am I still in there”.
  • Owning a decision for myself
  • Finding HER again
  • Removing the labels from life
  • “Went to meet myself – I forgot who I was.”
  • “Wasn’t about discovering myself, I went to sit with myself, marinate in HER.”

Debbie described it as a “heart” decision.  “I did not just want to do this, I needed to do this.”

Lynne described her decision as a “Runaway Bride” quote – What kind of eggs do you like?  I don’t know was the answer and that opened up a discovery journey of figuring out what SHE likes in life.  Surviving a catastrophic accident, assured her that there was a purpose for her life being spared. Only 5 weeks out from the accident and this hike, the only thing she could physically do was walk.  She realized that she “was not broken”.  She just had to slow down, enjoy the journey and remove judgment and meet people in the place they are in.

Laura knew firmly who she was going into this and wanted to sit with “her”.

pic of ladies.jpgThe Preparation

They learned “you don’t have to carry everything.”  That goes for the physical and most importantly, all that resides inside of us.  We found out what was important to each of us.

The book, The Soul of a Pilgrim by Christine Valters Paintner, was a wonderful inner guide for this pilgrimage as well as the movie, “The Way”.

the way

Find your inner compass.  Our paths each lead to the same place.

Each Finding Their Way – The Lessons

  • Slow Down – A wise gentleman shared “If you walk the Camino like you walk in life, what is the point.”
  • Don’t Judge
  • Be With Myself.  Do You Like You?  Learning to Like Your Own Companionship
  • Wander Within
  • Learning to Leave Things Behind
  • Learning to loosen grip on plans and certainties
  • Learning to rely on our inner compass
  • Take a risk at friendship in life/”Pick up Your Chicks”/Seek Deeper Connection
  • There is no perfect time to do something big like this.
  • It is worth investing in your life.
  • Empowerment and Pride
  • Getting to the “Thin Place” – the place you go where many have gone before.
  • Connection
  • Let the lessons you learn/the way markers help you find the way.
  • Story of redemption and going where you need to go.

The Take Aways 

New friendships, adventure and new beginnings are possible at any age.

Every one of us is on our own pilgrimage.  We don’t have to go across the world.  It’s inside each of us.

Reflect on your own pilgrimage thus far in life.  It’s not right nor wrong.  How have you grown, what have you learned, where do you seek to go?

We are all called to grow in some way in our lives – beyond our own imagination and lives.  These ladies just so happened to be brave enough to share their personal journeys with all of us.  Be open to growing.

Remember this evening when you begin to sow seeds in your own life (you never know when the fruit will come).

Never look at a seashell the same again.  Let the lines on it remind you that we all are on our own journeys but in the end, all our of paths meet in the same place.

Bless the path you are on.

Offer a blessing each time you leave home, no matter the errand or distance.  Give thanks to your path.

“Buen Camino” – Have a good way.

Much Love,




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