To live in a painful order or to let yourself to the peaceful power …

To my wife, to whom I owe the greatest gift in my life – our son!


The discussion on the new project has ended. The employees went back to their work places. You looked at your watch. It was already late. In fifty minutes you had to be in front of your son’s school. You have fifteen minutes to get to your car. At this time the traffic was intense and it was not good to risk it. You looked around your desk. You put away your laptop, notes, project folder. You saw the magazine. It wasn’t yours. Somebody must have forgotten it at the desk. Probably they used it as a padding when writing. You got curious what your employees were reading. The page was turned at an article about a holiday. You started reading … “Camino de Santiago”… You abruptly got up. You’re late. The article got you intrigued, but you didn’t have time to read it. Didn’t think much. You put the magazine in your bag and left. You’ll return it tomorrow.


There were three people in front of the entrance. There were around seven or eight more people inside. You didn’t expect that so many people would want to travel these almost five hundred miles. One thing was clear. You will not be alone on the road. You looked at them with curiosity. Right across from the one of the receptionists there was an elderly couple sitting. They were probably over sixty five years old. They were dressed in sports slacks and jackets, with heavy mountain shoes and supporting two not very big backpacks. They were obviously not talking to the receptionist in their native language. There was a man in his mid thirties sitting in front of the nearby desk. Not very tall, with his head shaved. He was signing a booklet given to him by the receptionist with one hand while the other one was holding a travel guide. He opened it and showed something to the receptionist. He was taking his time. The expression on his face was calm and of a man who is ready for the challenges life throws at us. To his left two young girls were waiting for their turn and talking quietly. They were smiling. Their enthusiasm was clearly uncontrollable. They were dressed in colorful wide skirts and loose sweathers. They took their seats in front of the receptionist.  There was not much waiting. The organization was clearly very good. Here people were receiving the booklets on which they would collect stamps from the places where they have slept, stopped for a rest or visited along the road. They were receiving instructions and started looking for a place where they would sleep before leaving on the long road to Santiago de Compostela.

Your turn came. The receptionist validated your booklet and did not fail to advise you to take a hat. Here the sun shines intensely and you will need it high in the mountains. In case you do not have a place to sleep for the night, then down the street, seventy feet to the left there is the albergue. Of course it is for pilgrims only. “Buen camino” you heard them wishing you for the first time. You did not know what it meant and did not know you are going to hear it endless times on the road. You thanked and went out looking for the albergue in question.

In ten minutes they checked you in and a man in his fifties took you to your bed. He showed you where the bathroom was and wished you “Buen camino”. Everything was unfamiliar to you. You try to accept, to let this new reality closer to you. For the first time in your life you are going to sleep in the same room with so many people. All of them strangers. Women and men were together and separately. Everyone was busy with their needs, habits, and rules. For most of these people this was a new experience. In one thing, however, they were all the same. They were all expecting this new reality impatiently. What was unbelievable for you was that you felt the same emotion inside as they did. You have read that article in the magazine at the office. Yes, everything was as they described it in the article. It got you so intrigued that the next day you scanned it before you returned the magazine. You read it at least four times. You found much more information on the internet of course, but this article harbored some incredible impact. The magazine remained at your desk for a very long time. You were curious to see who is going to look for it and take it. It disappeared just as mysteriously as it had appeared. When once during the lunch break you jokingly asked whom it belonged to, nobody reacted or seemed to know anything about it.

It was rustling coming from the bed nearby that woke you up. You looked at your watch. It was 5.35 am.  Almost everybody was preparing to leave. The few people who were still in bed were also visibly awake. Nobody was talking. Some were getting dressed, others were packing their backpacks. There were some who were already with their shoes on and ready for the road. It was still dark outside. It took you forty minutes to get ready. Washing up, getting dressed, packing the backpack and you were ready. Your backpack was lucky. You have not stuffed it with anything unnecessary. Exactly 18 pounds. Only 2 pounds over the rule of 10 per cent of one’s own weight. Alright, it was 3 pounds more. Each item inside was carefully thought out. How many times will it be used? Is it possible to replace or be replaced? Can it be purchased on the road? Is it possible the need for it to be ignored? How much does it weight and if this is its lightest option? Everything was carefully thought out and calculated. Like everything in your life.

The sun came out in an hour. The road was going upwards. Today was the highest climbing. Something like an exam. If you are able to pass, you are able to go on. It was only going to happen once more, but by then there will be more experience. The body will be prepared, thoughts will be tamed, the experience will be controlled. However, it is not like this today. The day is going to be hot. For all these people on the road, it promises to be a long day.

A group of seven visibly enthusiastic people bypasses you. They bypass the young couple, that you walk after for almost twenty minutes. A little while ago you bypassed two women taking a rest sitting on a fallen tree. There was no shortage of passengers. Couple of times you exchanged the greeting “Buen camino”. Day 1. You were getting familiarized. You were never going to see some of these people again. They were going to get up very early the next morning and hurry on the road because they were able to or just because they were in a rush… to go somewhere. You will catch up with or bypass as well.

Half the day had already passed. It was getting steeper and the highest part of the road was still ahead of you. The landscape was unique. You want to take a 360 degree shot. Fatigue is in you, but you don’t stop. You are ready to accept it, but to have this reality around you every day. Perhaps this is the last climbing? Perhaps. You ask yourself this question many times and every time there is a new steep coming. Until the descend begins. And you realize that descending is more difficult. You are alone. Did you get lost? This is not possible. The marking is clear and you follow it. Where are the people? Ahead of you. Not a problem. No matter how long this descend will be, it will surely have an end. You try not to think. Follow the road in silence. It is already 6 pm when you see the albergue.  You wondered whether you could have walked some more? Probably. You know a man is capable of much more than they expect of themselves. You experienced it in reality today. You feel your little success as a victory. You notice you are not last. There are more people coming after you. They all feel like victors. Fatigue is forgotten and they are all smiling. They are sharing.

The day has ended. Everybody was sleeping. There were many more unknown tests ahead.

It has been six days. The path was again leading towards the ridge. There weren’t any people around you today. The Irishmen, with whom you had dinner the last two evenings, were leaving early. You will probably catch up with them in the next albergue. I am walking along more than an hour. Only the tall man with the big steps has bypassed you. It was not the first time you were meeting him. He wasn’t talking to anybody. He was always looking ahead and bypassing everybody with a steady, but fast pace. He was definitely a man with a clear plan. Poor guy. What would happen if he happens to forget his plan? Imagine him, at one point his memory cheats on him and he stops. Left in the hands of the chance. No direction, no goal, no plan, nothing. Standing still staring in front of him. No movement. The only movement showing he is still alive is his breathing. Time passes. His mind is probably frantically searching for the plan. Hours pass. As time passes he starts drying out and shrinking exposed to the intense sunlight. He shrinks and thins. Evaporates and dries out. He has become so frail that the afternoon wind crushes him and blows him away like dust. He should have printed out his plan!

Nonsense. What is going on with you. Apparently this solitude each day starts scaring you. You are the one with the schedule. You planned to take the whole trip for twenty eight days. You are going to stay in Santiago for 2 days. Then you will need 2 days to get to Finisterre by bus and afterwards the trip back follows. The bus ticket was already purchased. The plane ticket as well. The hotel in Madrid booked. You knew what you would get your son. Everything to the very last detail was planned. You are the one who has lost her plan. You are the one standing still and staring into the distance. You seek answers… Trying to arrange the daily life to the tiniest detail. It takes you time. Time that you can use for… a smile. You plan your time, your day. You plan the employees’ time. You arrange your closest ones’ day too. You think you are caring, helpful. You try to control in detail what and when. Waking up, breakfast, dressing up, groceries, lessons, dinner… But where is the life? Where is the feeling of life? Where does understanding of the dissidents lie. Do you ever think how they, with their dissidence, manage to arrange their lifes. You notice that they can feel it. They “live” it and you go through it making plans instead. How much more? Snap out of it…

You shivered. It was getting cold. Without realizing you have to travelled most of the route scheduled for today. You went into a small village  with around twenty houses on both sides of the road. There was a cafeteria. There were three locals sitting and greeting the passing people. You stopped. You can afford it. There were two miles until the final point left for today. You ordered coffee with milk. You sat on a table nearby the entrance.

There were a man and a woman approaching on the road. They were talking with enthusiasm. They looked at the cafeteria and decided to sit down as well. They ordered two glasses of beer. The man was visibly defending his thesis and was gesturing. They were talking in English. You listened to the conversation.

“Are you saying it is right to leave to the chance the life of your children? What do children know about life? How can they distinguish where games are over and dependencies start? Leaving them to the chance is irresponsible. Children do not have the necessary information to make independent decisions about life. The parent has the responsibility to show the correct choice of school, occupation, contacts. Control and guidance are needed. Things should be required of them, goals should be set. It is all good in children’s eyes. They need to be shown what is meaningful and what is a waste of time. Being an artist does not mean a good life. You may have painted the most beautiful painting, but it doesn’t mean anything if you have not managed to sell it well. Creativity is a good thing, but it does not feed. There has never been any artist on whom something had depended.

Life is ruthless. If you are not with the powerful people of today, you remain audience. You remain dependent and subordinate. There are plenty of people like that. Careless, driving their jalopies and spending their wages on insignificant things. They can spend more time on a hobby or meaningless conversations. People for whom there is no upgrading. Probably they define themselves as happy, but this is because they lack ambition or their ambitions only goes as far as paying their mortgages. It is crucial for a person to always be first, and to be first you need to have the right education and to know the right people. It matters who you communicate with and which truth you defend. This gives you security and power. This is important for me and my children. This is the path to happiness.”

“You are miserable! You have accepted the ambition of being “the best” as your only goal in life, but you are dependent. You are of the people who only live to be noticed and “important”. Of the people who want the same for their children as well and are miserable if they are not able to turn them into “gods”. But you are wrong. The meaning of life is to create something different, unique. To leave something behind. Not simply to show off. It is important that your inner “me” lives in peace with your daily life. It is important that everything that you do charges you with energy. This is happiness. Let children alone discover themselves. Do you want to make an engineer out of someone born to be a musician or a doctor out of a carpenter. This would only ruin their lives. Do not take away the freedom of choice just because you are dissatisfied with your life!”

“But I am happy with my life. My office is one of the most successful. I play golf with the most powerful people in the city. Your day, even your future depend on them as well…”

“No! My future depends on me alone. I determine how my day will be and am independent in my decisions about my life. I am happy. You are wrong about yourself. You are the one who is miserable. I know very well the sadness in your eyes when you look at the ocean because your father did not allow you to become a sea captain. I am the one who fulfills her dreams. I am happy!”

“Do you want to tell me you are going to let your children determine their future by themselves. Think about what the probability of them making a mistake would be. Of not being successful in life?”

“Happy! I am saying that my children will make their own decisions in life and will do whatever makes them happy. This is the only way they will learn to be accountable to themselves.”

“You don’t know…”

The man and the woman had drunk their beers and left. You were not able to understand if this conversation had an end. It intrigued you. You sat for a little while and left for the albergue too. You did not meet them again. They probably walked faster than you. Or they may have separated. You were thinking about your son. Do you manage to give him a choice? Do you want to already plan all his days, months, years? This will kill his feelings. He won’t know that there is laughter and carefree. Will he feel satisfaction from what he accomplishes? You require of him to know more and more. New lessons, more knowledge, always excellent grades. You believe the grade people around give is the key to a happy life. You are missing something. You are missing much. You are wasting precious time of life. Of your life and his life. You are taking away his right to be happy. Think…

You arrived late. Struggled with the fatigue. Two hours later you deeply fell asleep.

Days passed. Stages became much easier. The initial pressure on the body was gone. Today you left a little later. It was the eleventh day. You sat in the first village along the road to have a coffee. An elderly German couple greeted you. You have been meeting them almost every day in the past four days. After thirty minutes you left again. Today the road was going through vineyards. Zigzagging. About 2 miles away from the cafeteria you noticed a man in his fifties. He was walking very slowly. You caught up with him quickly.

“Do you need help?” The man smiled, but his face was expressing pain. You started talking to him. Suddenly he had felt pain in his leg. He had not been able to walk. They had agreed with his wife that she should continue on the road and secure two beds in the next albergue. He will arrive when he can. There was nothing to worry about. Life has put him to bigger tests. Worrying and  fear have never helped him. He asked what you do for a living.

You told him about yourself, your job, your family. You shared things you never thought you would say. You walked slowly. The distance to the final destination for the day was about 4 miles. You offered to carry some of his luggage. The man refused. He told you not to worry about him. “One should not worry about anything. Uneasiness, inconvenience, hurry, and worrying are the most harmful emotions one fights. You have to learn to control them. Only then you will have the time and desire to know yourself. The better you get to know yourself, the more meaningful your life will be.”

“But it is a race and not always one has a choice. If you don’t correctly identify your goals and ideals, you can forever be stuck in one place. Achieving goals brings you confidence and peace…”

“Young lady, do you think you can predict and plan every moment of your life? If this is so, it means you live in a delusion. Look around. People are not calm because something made them happy, but because they have accepted the facts calmly. They have mastered the Peaceful Power. The fact that they don’t know what, how, and when in no way prevents them from being calm. They have experienced many defeats, but they are still happy because they had had time for themselves. They have missed successes, greetings, labels, but they have also won, they have quietly shared joys and victories with a friend. The peaceful power is an ability of being above things, an ability of finding solutions for every unexpected moment in life. Calm people can win and lose, accept facts because they know that life is short and it is in no way worth idealizing. They feel it.”

“You mean one should let life guide them. You say it is silly to plan the future?  But this makes no sense. One should have plans and goals. One needs victories!”

“I am not saying goals are harmful. I am just saying that goals have to be desired intrinsically and one needs to feel that not achieving the goal makes them happy, but the experience itself along the way to the goal gives them the feeling of fulfillment in life. When one feels this fulfillment, this means the Peaceful power is mastered. This means the person is in the right place in their life. The Peaceful power provides harmony between the soul and the everyday life. You feel happiness.”

Both of you arrived too late. The good news was that there were still available beds in the albergue. His sife was waiting for him in front of the albergue. He introduced her to you. She was a serene, cheerful woman. They invited you to have dinner together. It was an evening full of energy. When the time came for you to go to bed, you felt that these two people have succeeded to convey to you the ability to recognize the Peaceful power.

In the morning next to your backpack you found a card. It was handwritten. It was not signed, but you knew very well from whom it was. You opened it and started reading.


 “Happy new day!

You are in need of smiles. Draw your life on a sheet of paper and you will see that it is not worth getting angry about the small failures and mistakes. We wish you smiles!

We wish from this day on, today, to find the Peaceful power! If you don’t think it exists…. Just believe!

We wish you to be a successful Employer! One, who successfully “passes” the work on to their employees and knows how to direct them.

We wish you to be yourself! The pleasure of surprising yourself! To “raise the adrenaline” …

We wish you these things the same way we have wished them to ourselves.

Be healthy! Be peaceful! J


You have never again met this family. They have probably stopped somewhere for a day or two. Probably. It did not matter. What will happen today was the important thing. What will make you happy today. You packed your backpack and left. The road to Santiago de Compostela varied. The second most difficult stage was coming. There were easy segments down in the valley, villages hidden in the mountain, steeps and descends. Sometimes you were following riverbeds or climbing high in the mountains. Big cities were rare, but they offered a pleasant experience. Sitting on tapas and wine. Sharing your thoughts with strangers. You liked relaxing in the cafeterias. Watching the other passengers with curiosity and getting to know them. There were desires for a close contact as well. Nothing bad. You were making friends. Your notepad was getting filled little by little. Email addresses, phone numbers, notes…

Your road to Santiago was towards its end. The next days were filled with pleasant emotions. You were getting to know more and more people and it was nice to share impressions. Approaching the final destination threatened to put an end to the magical world of “camino”.

There was no shortage of tests. You will not forget the heat, the flies, the mosquitoes in the evening, the heavy backpack, the blisters on your feet, the thirst when the water was done, and there was no village in sight, the chapped lips, the muscle fatigue and bending of the feet. You will not forget the dozens of conversations with people from different parts of the world. You shared a lot. Many people shared with you. They shared thoughts, feelings, sorrows, happiness… You will leave here feeling different. Having mastered your life.

You took your place by the window. The plane was full and there were no empty seats. You were regretting the pre-booked ticket. You are leaving the road hoping to come back here some day. And you know that you will do it. You feel the favourable circumstances will happen. Good bye, Camino!


It was all happening by itself. Your son’s birthday was going wonderfully. The braver mothers were secretly coming to ask you how come you managed to be such a happy person? You were answering that it was a secret. And that everyone can find it. It is important to look around and learn to accept the facts. “Search for the Peaceful power!”

Porto, 15.9.2016