Dreamwork as Spiritual Practice

Just Walk

A big dream of mine has become a reality. The book that I’ve been dreaming and writing for the past couple of years is now a living being, made of actual paper and ink: Just Walk: Following the Camino All the Way Home. When I walked the Camino de Santiago in 2016, this book was stirring deep underground, breathing beneath my feet at every step. And when I returned home and found myself grappling with some serious health issues, the pilgrimage continued in my everyday life and the dream of telling its story began to emerge—first in fragmentary whispers on the edge of sleep, then flowing slowly into wholeness.

For me, the Camino pilgrimage was an experience of immediacy. I couldn’t reflect on the changes as they were happening; it was all I could do to “just walk.” The process of integration happened gradually, as I stepped through the mirror to follow the Camino again in reflection, discovering dynamic soul connections between that journey and my life’s journey, between past and present, grief and love, stillness and movement, courage and vulnerability, solitude and community, wellness and illness. Although those connections were intimate, they were not merely personal—they were beyond me. I needed to make something out of them that could be shared. Thus, the book.

Because of my work with the world of dreams, where the dynamics of the imagination are truly real, I know that this book is not only a real physical object, but actually alive: it is tender, funny, contrary, painful, joyous. And right now, as I’m recovering from a life-changing surgery (multi-level spinal fusion) that literally took me apart and put me back together again differently, I’m also watching how this book, this reflection of my lived experience, has fundamentally changed me, and how it has the potential to change others who may read it. The book itself will change, too, becoming richer as it is read.

If you read it, the book will be yours, and it will whisper to you like a walking-prayer, accompanying you on your path. I hope you will read it.

[to find the book, click on the photo]


  1. Reg Spittle

    Congratulations, both on your Camino and your book, which I put on my reading list. As a fellow author, I appreciate your effort to tell your story. The Camino also moved me to write my first book and keep my shoes warmed up for other European treks. I wish you and your book great success!

  2. Royce Fitts

    YAY! The birthing of story and healing is emerging…Thank you Kirsten, for the walk, always…present.

    • kirstenbackstrom

      Thank you, Royce, for your presence—and your own story, your own walking.

  3. Nancy F Warfield

    Dear Kirsten,
    Congratulations on your dream come true! I have already purchased your book , Just Walk …… Like all dreams, it seems to have been written and published at just the perfect time. You have been able to maximize your learning and your thorough digestion of both of your journeys, Walking The Camino and your courageous health journey. Having been following your posts for some time now, I so deeply appreciate your work. At the very least, you have shown each of us all a path for acknowledging intense pain and fear, yet, continuing to take the next step toward our own health and healing. I am certain you are correct, that the book will inspire and give us all strength on our own pilgrimage journeys.
    You are in my heart and in my prayers every step you take.
    May all be well!
    With gratitude and love,

    • Mary Tiwari

      Kirsten, I can’t wait to read your book! May I include you in my Distant Reiki Circle on Thursdays at 9pm PDT? It requires only that you intend to receive the Divine Energy…nothing else.

      • kirstenbackstrom

        Many thanks, Mary! Yes, I would love to be included in your Reiki circle—I know that will help with the healing. It is so kind of you to offer.

    • kirstenbackstrom

      Your prayers and blessings are something I can feel in my own heart, Nancy—I’m so grateful! Thank you for your generous awareness of this shared journey. Gratitude and love to you, too!

  4. Nancy Pyburn

    Kirsten, I’m so excited for you. I know the journey (s) have not been easy and I’m so impressed by your courage and determination for meaning. I look forward to reading your book. I will be holding you in prayer for your surgery. It is huge and you will face and go through this like you faced the Camino, with courage and determination beyond what most of us will never experience. Love you my friend!!

    • kirstenbackstrom

      Love to you, too, Nancy. And thank you! Your insight into this journey reflects the fact that you have a similar kind of wisdom about your own journey: “courage and determination for meaning” seems to be part of your path as well. And wisdom, and grace. Sending love and blessings your way…

  5. mythicsouldreamwork

    I seriously can’t wait to read! I keep getting more excited with every post I see you put out!

    • kirstenbackstrom

      Thank you so much! It’s exciting to think that you’ll be reading it!

  6. silverdell

    Congratulations, Kirsten! Great to hear that you published a book and best wishes for your surgery!

    • kirstenbackstrom

      Many thanks for the good wishes and kind words!

  7. Anne Richardson

    Congratulations!!! And yay for paper edition. Something to hold in our hands. A double gift. ❤️

    • kirstenbackstrom

      Thank you, Anne! Yes, I love a good, solid, real book, too! It really is especially nice to get to hold it in my hands. You know, those of us who work with our heads and hearts need to make something tangible and substantial once in a while.

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