Our Camino Real

The-Camino-Shirley-MacLaineWhile digging through some of my volumes of sales statistics that span a number of years, I happened upon a book that evidently found its way in that file cabinet. It’s a paperback I read some years ago which decided to keep and likely re-read when I had more time, but as we all discover, our roads to Hell are paved with many good intentions. The book is called “The Camino” and written by Shirley MacLaine. It’s her diary in book form, of her personal journey on foot along The Camino de Santiago; also known in its English form as The Way of Saint James. I remember quite a bit about the book and would encourage everyone to read it because of her style in sharing some of her most personal thoughts and experiences while traveling a similar way which thousands of pilgrims have traversed over the centuries. I know some don’t particularly like Shirley, but I consider her one who tells it as it is whether people like it or not. I respect people who aren’t afraid of speaking their minds in fear of being politically incorrect.

In finding this book after being hidden for a number of years, I began thinking about the paths taken by people I personally know, and considered how much of a plan they really had in traveling from point A to B in their lives. Some have their lives all planned out and pretty much follow those guidelines always without considering the long term negative effects they created on people in their own communities. Selfishness and greedy struggles for power are dark plans of some, while others really don’t consider themselves worthy of living on this planet unless they’re giving back as much or more than they received. I know of a number of charitable trusts that were set up over the years by people who were successful and considered it only right to give back in a most generous way. I heard not long ago about a man’s death whom I was passingly acquainted and one of his relatives mentioned that he left absolutely nothing from his vast estate which included suitcases full of cash to not even the church he so piously attended. It all went to one of his close relatives who is of a similar mindset. How sad to see that like even attracts like in selfish behaviors even when circling the drain of death. His life was nothing more than a path of accumulations leading to a dead end.

Stephen Hawking mentioned in an interview most recently that if the human race doesn’t become more empathetic towards others, we will likely end up destroying ourselves. Sounds pretty scary coming from one of the most revered men of science. I hope this becomes a wake up call for society in general and create mental infusions which will inspire people to simply not follow selfish paths for themselves and their families, but create roads toward the betterment of mankind in selfless ways. Yes, it certainly becomes harder to incorporate society in general while planning our journeys, but I believe if we simply stop and consider if we are taking the highroad where everyone benefits, or a lone path of self-gratification. I think I’m going to have a wall plaque created for myself as a daily reminder of my life’s path. It will be in Spanish and read “Camino Real”, which translates as High Road. Taking the high roads always affords the more pleasant views. I wish for you all rewarding journeys on your new highroads.

Joe Chodur

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