booklady's Reviews > Walk in a Relaxed Manner: Life Lessons from the Camino

Walk in a Relaxed Manner by Joyce Rupp
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's review
Oct 05, 2008

liked it
bookshelves: travel, nature, autobiography, non-fiction, hagiography, food, adventure, 2007, poetry, prayer, religion
Recommended to booklady by: My Aunt Jeanne recommended this author.
Recommended for: any adult
Read in December, 2007

Excellent to read before, during or after walking the Camino, especially if you are walking it for spiritual purposes. But the book is also highly instructive whether you go on pilgrimage or not, each chapter being devoted to a specific spiritual task or lesson.

Walk in a Relaxed Manner is the type of book you read in small bites. I recommend reading one chapter at a time—which is what I finally did the last time I started it, the time I finally finished it.

It was my dear aunt who first suggested I read something by the author Joyce Rupp. Although I’d never heard of her before then, soon I began seeing Sr. Rupp’s books everywhere, especially on the shelves of my favorite religious bookstore. But which of the many books written by this prolific author to begin with? In the end, it was the cover which drew me to the book—the picture of a woman backpacker hiking in the mountains among the sheep. And perhaps the subtitle also had something to do with my selection, Life Lessons From the Camino.

I did a European pilgrimage last fall. One of the stops was Santiago de Compostela, the destination of all pilgrims along the Camino. The author, Sr. Joyce Rupp hiked the Camino in 2003 with Fr. Tom Pfeffer, now deceased. This book is a collection of short essays or reflections she wrote on the lessons she learned while hiking the Camino. In fact, each chapter is given over to one succinct lesson, e.g., go prepared, live in the now, return a positive for a negative, travel lightly, look for unannounced angels and keep a strong network of prayer to name but a few from the list of twenty-five. Oh! And, there is a chapter specifically devoted to walking in relaxed manner.

In retrospect, even though I did not hike the Camino, this would have been an invaluable book to have read, savored and prayed before I left on my pilgrimage. I regret not having done so! And yet, I did finish it very soon after my trip. Was I able to relate to the author’s mistakes so easily because I had recently returned from my own trip and I recognized myself and my own errors in the author's self-deprecating stories? I wonder. Would I have derived the same benefit from the book if I'd read it before leaving? I like to think so. There’s no way of knowing of course. However, if you do plan on hiking the Camino—especially if it’s for spiritual reasons—I cannot recommend this book too highly.

And as a beautiful spiritual guide, this book is wonderful, uplifting and insightful.

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