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Rebecca Gallo :
54 article(s)

In the spring of 2012, Rebecca Gallo spent six weeks walking the Camino to Santiago. Rebecca writes about putting into practice the lessons she learned on that journey. She's continuing her spiritual journey -- looking for deeper meaning, asking questions of all she's believed before, and finding answers in the people she meets and the experiences she has along the way.
June 19th, 2013

I swung my legs off the top bunk, but as soon as I put weight on my left foot to climb down the ladder, a pain shot up my heel into the back of my leg. Holy crap. What was that? I got down another rung and there is was again. Oh, this is not good.
It was my fifth day on the Camino de Santiago — a 500-mile pilgrimage trail through Spain. What if I can’t walk? I’ll have to stay in this tiny town all day. What will I do? How am I going to get help in a country whose language I don’t speak?…
I completed my descent and looked around the room. Fourteen people slept there last night. Now, only Antoine and I were left.
“J’ai une probleme,” I told the young Frenchman I’d met just three days

June 12th, 2013

As a Resident Assistant at the University of Scranton, one of my jobs was to promote activities being held in our building. This usually involved making signs that were eye-catching and would get students interested.
One month the psychology graduate students were tasked with doing a program in our building and my fellow RA’s and I were tasked with getting students to attend. Our posters said things like, “You do it 600 times a day. Want to know what it is? Come to the lounge on Wednesday at 7″ and “You do it 50 times before you get to your first class. Sometimes you do it with other people, sometimes you do it all alone. Do you know what ‘it’ is? Come to lounge on Wednesday at 7 to…

June 5th, 2013

The thought had been percolating in my mind for a few months. Taking a year off from working seemed — at first — a little too far-fetched and perhaps a wee bit improbable. But as often happens, the universe listens to our whispered dreams and sends us just what we need.
New Year’s Day 2011, the universe sent me Nina Yau’s audio book Minimalist Freedom.… I first heard of Nina when she decided to wear the same outfit to her corporate-America job for seven straight weeks to see if anyone would notice. Only one person did. Shortly thereafter she left her corporate job to live out her dream of being a writer.
My dream was to travel. For a year. Visit friends. Talk to strangers. Do a work-exchange.

May 29th, 2013

It’s a very tiny book. It’s so small, in fact, that twice I went to the library to check it out, twice the library computers said it was there, and twice neither I nor the librarians could find it. ”It’s a small book,” they told me. ”This has happened before…”
On the third try I did indeed get myself a copy. A small book, with a small title. Three words, one syllable each: Help, Thanks, Wow. Author Anne Lamott subtitles it “The Three Essential Prayers.”
“This is a good one,” the librarian told me. “You’ll be reading it and then something just hits you.” I took her word for it and slipped the thin book into my purse.…

May 8th, 2013

“Make sure you stop in the church at O Cebreiro and read the prayer there,” Rick’s e-mail told me. He had gotten ahead of me on the Camino, but would send me daily updates on his progress and things not to miss. I didn’t see this particular e-mail before I arrived in O Cebriero. But I found the Prayer of La Faba easily enough, and knew it was something special. Having been on the Camino for a month now, the words resonated with my experience, and that of most any pilgrim who has walked The Way.
Seven months later, I read that prayer to end one of the meetings of our local chapter of American Pilgrims on the Camino.
Although I may have travelled all the roads,
crossed mountains and valleys from East to…

April 24th, 2013

I have a confession to make: I don’t go to church on Sundays. Nor any other day for that matter.
I know many who read this site are dedicated followers of Catholicism. I, however, am not. I’ve been going through a years-long process of discernment — trying to figure out if I still want to be part of a religion that no longer seems to fit with my beliefs.
Since I walked out of Mass in Santiago almost a year ago, I have been to a Catholic Mass just three times — all at the invitation of others.
It was during the first that I realized I was no longer sitting there angry: at the stance the Church chooses to take on gay marriage, on women in the priesthood, on celibacy. I was no longer trying to fit into a place…

April 18th, 2013
Weighing in on the Busted Halo Office Clean-Up Challenge with some tips for Fr. Dave, Fr. Steve, and everyone joining in at home

It’s spring! Well, on the calendar at least. No matter the temperature, many are feeling their spirits lighten. We’re waking up from winter hibernation. We’re stretching tall, rubbing our eyes and looking around to see: a big mess.
What are all those papers piled around the room? What’s all that stuff sticking out of the drawers? We’d like to open the closet to pull out our spring clothes, but are scared to open the door for fear of what might fall out. The feeling of lightness starts to fade. The weight of having too much stuff pushes down on us.
But have no fear. There are people out there who actually take great joy in helping others in just this situation. Lucky for you, I’m one of them. And lucky for all of…

April 10th, 2013
Longing for a simpler, less cluttered life? The Camino taught me a few tricks for making "simple living" a reality.

Our new pope decided he preferred a two-room suite to the 12-room apartment his predecessors have occupied since the early 1900s. He cited reasons of simplicity and community. Simplicity is making news, but it’s not a new concept. Jesus inspired his followers to leave everything behind and, “Come, follow me.” But I don’t think Peter walked away from a 4,000-square-foot home with full closets. Are you inspired by Pope Francis’ choice? Or just looking for a way to bring a little more simplicity to your life?
Americans are living in a time of great abundance. “Oh! But look at the economy!” some say. I don’t mean financially. I mean when it comes to buying material goods. Anything we think we may…

April 3rd, 2013

Along the Camino, yellow arrows point the way. A pilgrim sees them painted on trees, on buildings, on boulders and sidewalks. No maps are necessary. Just follow the yellow arrows.
In college a friend posted the following on his office door: ”This life is a test — it is only a test. If it had been an actual life, you would have received further instructions on where to go and what to do.” I might modify this and say, “You would have received yellow arrows to point the way.”
When trying to decide to go to Taize or stay in the other night, I wished for an arrow to appear — either pointing to the door or to my couch. As I wondered if I really needed to buy the new pair of jeans I’d…

March 20th, 2013

There he was again, up ahead of me on the trail, walking his bicycle, his backpack fastened to its seat. I had seen him a few times over the last week but never once did I see him actually riding that bicycle.

March 13th, 2013

Not too long after I returned from walking the 500-mile Camino to Santiago my mother said, “Your brother-in-law is very impressed.”
“Really?”
“Yeah. He gave you three days.”
“Three days? He didn’t think I’d make it past three days?”
“Your sister Liz gave you a week.”
I laughed and realized they had every reason to be skeptical. I was not a hiker, nor did I consider myself athletic in any sense of the word. The last time I attempted anything even remotely close to this was when I walked to the bottom of the Grand Canyon 10 years earlier. By the time I came back out, my boyfriend was carrying both of our packs and I was in tears.
So if you…

March 7th, 2013

“How were you able to take so much time off from work to hike the Camino?” a reader asked a few weeks ago.
The short answer is this: I resigned. However, you don’t have to leave your job behind in order to walk the Camino. If you’ve been thinking you’d like to take the journey to Spain to walk The Way, but are not sure you can take six weeks off, here are a few suggestions:

Ask. …I met a young Canadian woman who decided to walk the Camino after watching the movie “The Way.” She was a hairdresser and wondered how she could get the time off, but she was determined she was going. She first told her employer about the movie, saying, “I’d really love to do it.” 

February 27th, 2013

The kitchen had no stove, but that wasn’t going to stop us. “We can just make a big salad,” Philipp said. We all agreed and off we went to the only market in town. Besides the lettuce, tomatoes, and onion we bought white asparagus, zucchini, and olives – things I had never put on salads back home. But I wasn’t home. I was in Spain, walking the Camino to Santiago and preparing dinner with people I’d met less than two weeks earlier — some of whom I’d spoken with for hours, others with whom I had not shared more than a smile.
The kitchen at our albergue… had just one knife but we were all still able to help with the preparations. Those with pocket knives lent them to those

February 20th, 2013

The other day, as I helped a client organize her office, we got to talking about the difference between scarcity thinking and abundance thinking.
“Scarcity thinkers believe things are in short supply. They hold on to what they have and acquire more when they have a chance — whether they need …it or not.” I picked up yet another bag filled with office supplies and added them to her growing stockpile.
“Abundance thinkers, however, believe theirs is a world of plenty — whatever they need will come to them when they need it. Or, in this day and age, can be bought 24/7 online and delivered to their door. These are the folks who only buy what they need when they need it.”
“I’m

February 15th, 2013

Imagine a life without hearing the words, “Is that for here or to go?” No coffee to go. No drive-thrus. No take-out containers.
Imagine walking into a coffee shop where no one is staring at a piece of technology. Instead everyone is either engaged in conversation or silently taking in the scene around them.
Impossible? Maybe in this country. But such was my life along the Camino. For 37 days my only option was to sit down and enjoy… my beverage or my meal. Instead of assuming I wanted everything in a disposable container “to go,” it was assumed I was sticking around and thus everything was served on real plates with utensils made from something other than plastic. Takeout was not even an

February 7th, 2013

“I feel like my week is off somehow if I don’t come,” I said to Chris as we left the coffee shop. I used to have that feeling about church. Now, I have that feeling about a Tuesday morning gathering — a gathering of returned Camino pilgrims.

January 30th, 2013

What do I miss most about the Camino? If I had to choose just one thing, I’d say, “The simplicity of it all.” More specifically, the fact that there was just one item on my to-do list most days: walk.
“How far did you walk each day?” people ask.
“Twelve to 15 miles in the beginning, but sometimes I did up to 18.”
They are left speechless — a blank stare on their face. “But it’s all I had to do each day,” I tell them. “If you had all day to walk, you could walk that far, too.”
I was reminded of that sentiment last fall when I saw a painting of blue and green mountains. Across the top it read, “Everywhere is within walking distance if you…

January 16th, 2013

“So how far are you planning to walk today?” was a question often heard on the Camino.
In the early days of my walk to Santiago, I knew the answer. I had an Excel spreadsheet that listed all the towns in which I planned to stop and the distances between them — in both miles and kilometers. I printed it on purple paper before I left home so I could easily find it, usually stuffed in the middle of my guidebook. “It’s just a rough idea,” I told fellow pilgrims who saw it.
My plan was to ease into long distances. I did five miles on my first day into the Pyrenees. I crossed into Spain on my second day — walking 10 miles. My goal for the third day: 13 miles. But I didn’t follow my plan.…

January 10th, 2013

“It’s hard for men to be friends with attractive women,” he said. I wondered if I qualified as “attractive.” In that moment, sitting across from him at a cafe, I decided to let go of my high school beliefs and declare myself as such. Now I could personally relate to what he was saying.
He continued on explaining that when a man is “just friends” with an attractive woman people — himself included — wonder why he wouldn’t want something more with her. And there it was again. The age-old debate (well, for single thirty-somethings) of “Can men and women be friends?”
Up until nine months ago, the answer to that question was a definitive “No”…

December 27th, 2012

Why would a woman with serious doubts about her Catholic faith embark on a 480-mile pilgrimage trail across northern Spain? Maybe I’ll know by the time I finish. For now, the answer to that question is this: I just know it’s something I’m supposed to do. My gut, my intuition, my heart, my God (I use them all interchangeably) has never steered me wrong. From the moment I decided to take this journey, everything has fallen into place — as it usually does when you trust in God.
I will fully admit, however, that I had my doubts — and still do. Doubts not only about my ability to complete this pilgrimage, but also doubts about my faith — or perhaps, more accurately, the religion into which…

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