Today is the day we walk the Camino de Santiago de Compostella. This pilgrim’s route is nearly 800 years old, some experts suggest that it may even be a 1000 years old. Thousands of people walk it every year and many of them say afterwards that it was a life-changing experience.
As you will be doing a fair amount of walking today already, we skip our usual early morning walk. This has an additional benefit, it allows you a bit of extra time to sleep in, on this, the very first day of your mindfulness and meditation workshop.
Talking about mindfulness, we have added the Camino walk to the workshop as an exercise in mindfulness. Every day, except on Wednesdays, your morning will be taken up by a mindfulness exercise and the afternoon by a meditation session.
“Mindfulness is the aware, balanced acceptance of the present experience. It isn’t more complicated than that. It is opening to or receiving the present moment, pleasant or unpleasant, just as it is, without either clinging to it or rejecting it.” Sylvia Boorstein
More Quotes about Mindfulness
There are a couple of things you need to do before you come down for breakfast at 10h00:
- To get the maximum benefit from this unforgettable experience, I suggest you read the chapter about Mindfulness in your Mindfulness and Meditation in the south of France e-book, or review it if you have done so already, before we set off this morning.
- Also in your e-book, read the chapter about VAK interpretational preferences and take the VAK quiz, either the one in the book or via the link on the VAK website. We encourage our workshop participants to use all five their senses when they practice mindfulness. Knowing your own personal preference will help you get more from this morning’s field trip. In essence, this is our Kinesthetic Field Trip and we would like you to be especially mindful of your movement while you walk the Camino.
To do the walk, you will need a pair of well-worn walking boots, a water bottle, sunglasses, suntan lotion and a sunhat. You will also need to take your mobile phone with you so that you can phone us when you would like to be picked up and so that you can follow the route with an online map that you can access here: https://www.google.com/maps/d/embed?mid=1mkVyT7-SeNTyvHkTSohqICFROLE
Pack all the above in your rucksack and bring it to breakfast as you will be given a scrumptious picnic lunch to take with you. This means you can walk at your own pace and stop at any time during the day to have lunch, wherever you find a spot that particularly appeals to you.
Our farm is located 10 minutes’ drive from Nogaro, so it makes sense for our guests to walk stage 23, from Nogaro to Aire-sur-Adour:
NOGARO to AIRE SUR ADOUR. The full walk is 28 km or 17.4 miles long, a fairly flat walk of 7+ hours. Nogaro is at 100m above sea level and Aire is at 80m above sea level. The path passes by several ancient farmhouses, along the vineyards towards Lanne-Soubiran and the onwards towards Barcellone-du-Gers, a small town adjacent to Aire. From Barcellone the scenery changes, the vineyards give way to trees: oaks, pines and chestnuts until one finally arrives in the beautiful town of Aire-sur-Adour, on the mighty Adour river. Some of our guests prefer not to walk the full 30km walk. This is perfectly acceptable. You can choose to start at Lanne-Soubiran, a neighbouring village, which will make this a walk of round 5 hours. Or you can start at Nogaro and phone us to come and pick you up at any of the villages along the trial.
The walk is not particularly strenuous. There are no steep hills to clamber up nor deep valleys to scale down, but a certain level of fitness is essential to be able to walk for several hours a day. The route is very well indicated by to yellow lines that appear on whatever is to hand: tree, posts, house wall etc. You can follow your progress on your phone, there really is no chance that you can get lost. If anything should go wrong, help is just a phone call away.
When you get back to the farm, we invite you to take a dip in the lake and then relax on the decking, until the late afternoon meditation. There is fresh spring water in the fridge in the kitchen of the guest wing and you are very welcome to make yourself a cup of tea/coffee whenever you feel the need. We have a large selection of herbal and fruit teas to choose from.
This afternoon, you will be formally introduced to each of the horses in turn. You can read each of their bios here. After the introductions have been made, we will all gather together, depending on the weather, either in the barn, in the sand school or in the horses’ small paddock for an equine-guided meditation.
As always when we work with the horses, you need to wear shoes that will protect your toes if a horse should accidently tread on your foot.
To get the most from this session, you can prepare by:
- Reading the chapter about meditation in your Mindfulness and Meditation in the south of France e-book and by
- Reading the chapter about Equine-guided Meditation in the same e-book and by
- Reading and watching the video’s on the Equine-guided Meditation webpage on this website.
NB. This is not a guided meditation, a human voice word interfere will the horses’ guidance, so it important that you read the above so that you will have a basic understanding of how to meditate, know what to do and now what to expect during this meditation. If you want, you can read the loving-kindness meditation on the Scripts page while you do this meditation, so download this meditation to your phone/tablet and bring your phone/tablet with you. (Wifi access is limited to the house and guest wing.)
Dinner will be ready from 19h30 onwards and will be served in Merlin’s shade, the 200+-year-old oak tree in the front garden.
You have the rest of the evening free to recuperate from the day’s exertions and if you have any energy left, to prepare for tomorrow’s activities. I highly recommend the e-book “The Little Book of Mindfulness” that you can download from our Workshop Participants’ Resources Page. CLICK HERE to access our Resources Page. You can also watch one of these excellent TED talks about mindfulness to find out more about it.