I'd always been curious about the Camino walk. There is nothing I love more than walking, meeting new people and trying new food. As a child and through my adult life, I was always drawn to journey tales, from The Odyssey and Chaucer's Canterbury Tales, through to Hemmingway's The Sun Also Rises and Jack Kerouac’s On, the Road. I always loved the romance, mystery and awe of journeying towards self-discovery and fancied the idea of a personal epic adventure of my own.
When I began my counsellor training, it transpired others on the course were too. In fact, one course peer had already done it years ago. After talking a bit about it between ourselves, I felt more inclined to make it a reality and when I told Bonita, my colleague and fellow counsellor in training, that some of us were interested to do it post training, she was right on board.
In time, the numbers dropped but Bonita and I decided to keep on and given our lack of time for much preparation, we decided why not use what we've just been training in and do this the Gestalt way?
What's the Gestalt way?
We have spent the last 2 years training in Gestalt counselling. Gestalt is a humanistic integrative model of counselling which focuses on here and now awareness between client and counsellor. One deals entirely with what comes up in the room (what becomes figural out of the ground), taking into account the client's holistic experience of thoughts (middle zone) feelings, body sensations (inner zone) and their pattern of relating. The counsellor tracks themselves and the client phenomenologically as well as engaging in a dialogic relationship with the overall aim of raising a client’s awareness of self.
Anyway, that's the theory out of the way but how does that translate to our walk? Well, the principle philosophy underpinning Gestalt is on the here and now present, taking responsibility for oneself as life comes up. Bonita and I will simply deal with what emerges as it arises and we will use Gestalt theory to make sense of our experiences. We will track ourselves phenomenologically using experimental Gestalt techniques to deal with any blips along the way.
We'll essentially walk the Camino remaining as far as we possibly can in fully raised awareness of our holistic experience. In other words, we will be living as fully in the present moment in heightened self-awareness throughout so that we are truly living it. And given the Camino is a highly spiritually charged experience for most anyway, we hope this to be as spiritual and heightened as we can get. It's just us, our bodies, and a sense of curiosity leading the way......joined by various friends and acquaintances as they wish to join us.
If you'd like to follow Katerina and Bonita on their journey you can find them at caminothegestaltway.wordpress.com