“This book is not facebook: you can put everything in here”

Halfway along the route is a beautiful chapel. Not the most beautiful part of the route, but that chapel works wonders. You can take shelter from the rain and from the sun. You can eat your sandwich or drink your own coffee or tea.

There is also a booklet in which you can write something. There are touching pieces in it. People walking with a loved one who has passed away. People who write a story to Mother Mary. People who enjoy and come into the now. Pilgrims giving other advice, poems and drawings.

It touches me how many compliments we get about the route: that makes us feel good!

After I had read through two books that have now ended up in my home, the word enjoyment started to catch my eye. A lot of pilgrims write that they enjoy it so much. Enjoyment: is that a pilgrimage? Can you enjoy walking all day? Am I perhaps secretly jealous that people only walk around the route enjoying themselves? Is the route so beautiful that you can only enjoy it? Or maybe it’s facebook language that prevails here?

But what exactly is enjoyment? I read in the books: being one with nature, silence, catching up with friends, connection. Can you keep that up all day? If you don’t get tired, your feet don’t hurt, you might be at odds together. Have you already gone wrong a few times, have you forgotten to go shopping? How do you relate to the unpleasant things?

In my opinion, enjoyment is often what we want. We have prepared for the week and want it to be beautiful. To what extent does thought determine our experience? To what extent are we fleeing the shadows? Or do we not want to share our shadow?

Everything has its dark side: if one is there, the other is also there – I recently learned from a kabbalist. What is the dark side of enjoyment, being unhappy? If you are unhappy, happiness is also there, only you don’t see it for a while.

The art of being unhappy is very important, says Flemish psychiatrist Dirk de Wachter. If your goal is to be happy, it causes a lot of “unpleasantness“. Being able to live with difficulties is the art of living, according to De Wachter. According to him, when we share our troubles with others and we make ourselves vulnerable, love comes into play. We need to meet love and we do that when we are vulnerable and open to connection.

What is difficult is that the cohesion of our society is falling apart and we cannot easily turn to the other person with our sincere grief. I don’t mean the mantra of complaining, but opening up and showing your sadness in all your vulnerability.

I think there’s a lot of wisdom in this. We have become grandmasters to fill a difficult feeling or event with our phone, videos, etc. Avoid looking at less beautiful feelings.

Let’s share with each other when things are not going well for us and write it down in the booklet that is in the chapel when you are going through it. You will see, if you dare to write it down, it can help and support you. But of course you can also enjoy yourself. “This book is not facebook: you can put everything in here”.

Kind regards,