Preparing for Camino


By Larry Duggins

I lead pilgrimage all the time. The Missional Wisdom Foundation has led eleven pilgrimages—ten to Iona and one to Taizé—and I have had the privilege of walking with 172 pilgrims in those places. I have watched the pilgrimage process transform people by helping them to encounter God in a new or different way. I was transformed myself by my early pilgrimage experiences, learning to feel the presence of the Spirit in a new way. Each time I lead a pilgrimage, I am refreshed and renewed by the Spirit and by the community of pilgrims I am with.

This October, I am walking the Camino with Alexander Shaia and a small group of pilgrims. For 28 days, I will walk and reflect and encounter without being responsible for anyone other than myself. All the rooms are taken care of, all the logistics are handled, and I can remind my Enneagram 8 self that I do not always need to be in charge. Not sure how I am going to handle that, but I am getting ready.

The Camino is a long walk, so I am focusing on getting ready physically. I am ramping up my daily walking, and Wally the dog really likes that. I am going to one of those stretching places so that I can learn ways to better maintain myself. Got trips to the chiropractor and the doc planned just to be fully ready to roll. I feel like I am taking the car to the shop before a long road trip.

I am also thinking about handing off my duties at the Missional Wisdom Foundation while I am away. I am very blessed to be surrounded by a team of excellent leaders and talented coworkers, so that is quite comforting. Frankly, my biggest issue on the work front is feeling a little guilty for asking people who are already busy to watch all my stuff too. Because we lead as a team, there is not a lot of instruction required— they know how to do everything I do—but asking for their help and accepting their gift of time and energy is not easy for me. It’s that fourth quadrant in Simple Harmony—humbly receiving the gifts of others.

I am still working on my spiritual preparation. As I am walking in the mornings now, I am listening to a wonderful podcast called Typology that Denise Crane told me about. It is an interesting series of discussions about the practical implications of Enneagram work, and it is feeding some of my own internal work. Wendi Bernau recently got some really interesting Enneagram training and took me through the best Enneagram “testing” I have encountered. I am really chewing on the results, looking into myself and out into the world. I have a feeling that this might be part of my Camino, but I am not sure. I am praying about guidance from the Spirit, which I am certain will come. I am trying to make space just to listen. I am also sure that I will read some of the very good books Alexander has recommended, but not yet. Right now, I am working with what I have.

So, I find myself in an interesting liminal space. I am getting ready for something that is very familiar, yet completely unknown. I am working with mind, body, and spirit in my preparation, letting go of important things and being reminded that I am simply a part of the whole. That tie into community—into the body of Christ—reminds me that as I walk alone, I will not be alone.