It’s a funny thing about stones – I love the sound of them under my boots.
On my first day on the Camino, leaving Pamplona, I stopped in a field outside the town.
It was pretty windy, the birds were singing, but those stones, while I moved, that beautiful crackling and crunching noise are just the most pleasing natural sound for me.
But this isn’t about the stones underfoot and that rhythmic sound that makes beautiful music in my ears; this is about the symbolism of stones and their role in our gratitude practices, as well as how we can use them to anchor in the good stuff!
cruz de ferro
When I set off on that bright sunny but cold morning, I had plans to arrive at the Cruz de Ferro in around a month.
You know what they say about “well-laid plans.”
It wasn’t to be, but I did have in the safety of my jacket pocket a little stone that represented at that time, only a stone.
I was hoping that I would discover why I was there along the journey.
Also, a little note in my pocket, a prayer that all pilgrims who reach the Cruz de Ferro – the Iron Cross – say on their arrival.
“Lord, may this stone,
a symbol of my efforts on the pilgrimage
that I lay at the foot of the cross of the Saviour,
one day weigh the balance in favour of my good deeds
when the deeds of my life are judged.”
That was the version I had with me.
I had read and re-read this little prayer and read on the history of the pilgrimage, but at that moment, as I set off, I had very little understanding and self-awareness about what might happen.
As it happens, I never reached the Cross because my pilgrimage was cut short due to injury, and when I did go back to finish, this sacred place was not in my plan.
my journey is sacred
As I reflect, there is no regret inside of me about missing this spiritual place on the Camino, because what I did discover when I got home, was that there was still most certainly a spiritual awakening.
My little stone that I had carried there with the purpose of placing it at the cross, had travelled back with me and is now a reminder of all things that I am grateful for.
My physical journey on the Camino really has turned into a sacred one for me, and my stone reminds me of this every day.
This little stone anchors me firmly in my dreams too, and those dreams are fast becoming short term goals.
And that is the powering of anchoring.
stones are seen all over the camino – i held myself accountable to the stones
On my way from O’Cebreiro to Santiago de Compostela on my second leg of my journey, I noticed stones all over the place.
In graveyards, stones were placed on top of tombstones; they were placed on top of waymarkers and I picked up a few that travelled a few days with me, and then where placed at albergues along the way.
When I think of it now, it was an accountability practice for me.
That I would listen to my heart and when I got the message I would leave the stone at that evening’s stop.
It was almost akin to the Stoic’s method of setting intentions for the day, and then assessing at the end of the day what worked and what didn’t.
There is a little stone pushed deeply into the wall in the plaza outside the Cathedral, that marked the end of my (physical) journey.
I wonder if I will find it when next I visit?
stones are firmly fixed into my lifestory
The other night while I was helping my godson get into his pajamas – actually he was adamant he was going to do it by himself !
We were recounting the activities in his day.
He and his older brother have started a new school so the conversation is very exploratory to see how both of them are doing in their new environment.
Young Deshen proudly started to tell me that his teacher had given him a pebble. You can imagine my excitement at this wonderful new activity.
In his enthusiastic and fantastic way, Deshy proudly told me that he had got one as a reward for him being kind in class and saying thank you to his teacher.
He really is very well-mannered!
He then went on to tell me that they get placed into their own jars and at the end of the week, there is class reward.
In this simple but powerful process, Deshen is now very focused on the pebble practice.
How wonderful it will be for him to graduate to a gratitude stone that he can keep forever, and anchor in all of his good memories to keep him moving forward in thankfulness.
Because from this mindset of thankfullness, we are best placed to take on our daily lifes challenges.
stones can anchor us down or give spiritual upliftment
Isn’t it fascinating how the Cruz de Ferro, and the placing of the stone offers the pilgrim a way to redemption?
The stone can also symbolize habits or things that the pilgrim wants to let go of – and in leaving it at the foot of the cross it is a physical release, or giving away of that thing that anchors them in an unresourceful way.
Undoubtedly there must be spiritual comfort that comes from that practice.
I know when I have picked up stones and burrowed them in secret places and left them along walking trails, it has always been to signify that I am ready to release something and that I am grateful for having the lesson.
I have thrown stones into the sea and the waves for very similar reasons.
stones are part of the earth as we are
So, isn’t just incredible how these very natural pieces of the earth, can provide such a powerful tool for us.
It makes sense when you think how stones, and humans are intrinsically linked to the planet.
When next you walk past a stone, think about it’s own history and how your journey and it have now crossed paths – and anchor yourself to it, with good and powerful memories to ensure that you are progressing along your journey with your best foot forward.
If you are interested in learning about the powerful technique of “anchoring” – reach out to me here:
I will be honoured to share this amazing limiting belief shifter!