Walking the Camino
This September I will be walking 791 kilometres along an ancient pilgrimage called the “The Camino de Santiago” to raise funds for Lyme Disease Action and the Mindfulness in Schools Project.
The walk will take me from St Jean Pied de Port in France across the Pyrenees to Santiago de Compostela in Spain. Right now that seems like a really long way!!
After my 20’s were somewhat decimated by Lyme Disease, I have felt for some time that I would like to raise awareness about the disease. It has taken me a long time to be able to talk about my experience but I feel it is important to share my story, and how mindfulness helped me cope with the devastating impact of the disease on my life. Now as a mindfulness teacher, I am passionate about spreading the word and getting mindfulness out into the community. By teaching our children mindfulness we are equipping them for life and resourcing them to cope with life’s up’s and downs.
Having spent many years unable to walk more than a few steps, walking the Camino (one of the longest trails in the world), felt like the ultimate challenge. Walking is a beautiful way of reconnecting with the present moment. It is available to almost all of us and I wanted this challenge to convey that message.
Lyme Disease is a tick-borne disease which can be extremely debilitating. When, as in my case, the disease goes undiagnosed for a long time it can advance to involve the central nervous system and cognitive function. For me the impact of this was that I spent five years completely confined to my bed, unable to read, write or even listen to music.
HOW mindfulness helped Me
When life was looking very bleak I had very little external stimulus apart from the incessant chatter of my mind. My mind would either go into the past (and I would be filled with a sense of loss), or my mind would go into the future (and I would feel anxious about what was going to happen next). Neither of these thought patterns were helpful and only deepened my sense of despair. When I learnt mindfulness I was able to bring my mind back from its past and future wanderings to the present moment. Whilst the present moment was far from perfect I found a sense of peace in this place that enabled me to accept what had happened and take each moment as it came.
Lyme Disease Action (LDA) is a charity that is raising awareness about Lymes and funding research into its treatment. The Mindfulness in Schools Project (MiSP) is a national, not-for-profit charity for young people and schools. Their aim is to improve the lives of a generation of children and young people by making a genuine, positive difference to their mental health and wellbeing.
Would you be prepared to sponsor me?!
I’m hoping to raise £4000 in total for both charities. If you’re able to make a small donation I’d be hugely grateful for your support!