What is a goal? This thought moved through my head as I walked. Is it an exact point on a line? If so which direction is the line pointing us to go? What type of line is it? (Dotted, straight, dashed?) Who places that point on that line? Is that point permanent? Ok so maybe not a line but a place we strive to go… a place with a process. Just right over there is the place– or is it over there? But maybe even still right behind over there…
I have always prided myself on my ability to set and achieve goals. (I even teach a class on goal setting) To me goals were tangible achievements that I decided I wanted to achieve for whatever reason. (Pretty exacting huh!) These goals would be set by me (so I thought) for a result which happened sometime in the future. Once they were set – it was quite a simple process – I would do what was needed to get “there”.
The Camino has no real starting point (some people just open their doors and walk the Camino to Santiago). It also has no real finish line (some just keep walking to Rome or other places). Although the Camino de Frances is a path it´s not the only path, in fact there are several camino paths- each one starting in a different place but yet all leading to Santiago.
While in Santiago I found at the end of the Camino old roman symbols of the omega and alpha. (End and beginning- in that order). Curious thought… is the journey to the end – Santiago- just the beginning. Is the goal to get there just another place, not the end? So with all of that I think – how in the world could I have set a goal for my walking the Camino from the comfort of 40 days from the walk and from the comfort of my own home? How could I even begin to imagine the experience, challenges and opportunities that the Camino would offer? How could I set a tangible obtainable goal to something that only begins when it ends? I know, I know I started in a place and will end in a place- but is the walk really over? Do I continue to learn and grow from this?
But my goal did not end up matching what happened. So the real question becomes – which is better- the goal or the experience? We all know it´s the experience. But so often I have in my head “the way it should be” “the way it will end”. But that is a flat picture in my head. No color or depth no reality. So the thought enters…. can I live my life without goals? Can I really focus only on the experience of the now knowing I am always going where I am going: Knowing that going all by itself is enough? I am very goal oriented person, can I really live like that? Just the thought of thinking about it blows my mind. Truthfully I don´t know if I can, but I really want to try. SO what was the real goal of my Camino ? To change my life! Well that it has done… done indeed!
Bonnie was inducted into the Order of the Sword & Shield National Honor Society at St. John’s University, New York City for her work in Business Resilience.
Bonnie is Past Chair of the Association of Contingency Planners where she served for 6 years.
She is a proud native of New Orleans and has experienced what she calls, “The Katrina, Rita, Ike, Gustav, and BP Oil Spill” disasters first hand. She has had to learn how being resilience leaders and businesses to increased performance, achieve stronger relationships, and build mental toughness that we all need in today’s ever increasing busy world.
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