Rebirth is the a novel about a young man’s journey along the Camino de Santiago, a pilgrimage route that stretches along northern Spain. The Camino de Santiago has a long history, though many pilgrims (the individuals who travel the route) do so for spiritual or religious reasons of various natures. Some seek clarity, some celebrate life, and some are trying to leave something behind.
Reminiscent of The Alchemist, Rebirth is a physical and spiritual journey in which the main character Amit comes to terms with his father’s death, the pain he has experience, and ultimately, what path his future will take. It’s a timely journey, particularly for twenty-somethings who are experiencing a sense of confusion and insecurity.
I thoroughly enjoyed the book, especially because I visited northern Spain last year. Amit’s story is told in diary-like entries, sometimes skipping days and focusing little on the details of the trail and more on how the people and situations he encounters affects his thought process and healing. Here are four life lessons I took away from the story:
1. “It is not your wound that makes you special. If is the light that shines through that does.”
In the part of the story that precedes this, the individual Amit is talking to says, “To think you hurt is special is nonsense. You have pain, I have pain. The world has stories of pain.”
This reminds me of “be kind for everyone you meet is fighting a hard battle.” The truth is, we all have pain. We’ve all experienced loss or have been let down or have let others down. We can’t let this pain be our defining feature. What we do with our pain, how we live beyond it, is what makes all the difference in the world.
2. “What matters is the life we’ve lived, the people we have loved, those who loved us, the simple everyday moments.”
In a world where we get caught up trying to constantly improve ourselves and be on top of our game, remembering this simple lesson becomes more and more difficult. The end of our lives and death seem impossibly far off right now, but time passes whether we are aware of it or not.
Sometimes we get too caught up in things. I’m guilty of it, and I’m sure you are too. We put off calling our families because of this or that. We don’t say “I love you” because it seems cheesy to say that to your friends. We spend time trying to impress people we don’t really like. We don’t savor our favorite moments of our daily lives because we’re in too much of a rush.
Take time to really enjoy your life and the people in it. Do what you love doing. Invest in your time and self into what really brings you joy and happiness. Don’t be afraid to walk away from things that don’t.
3. “It’s our vulnerabilities that move us forward, not our strengths.”
“Convention says: be strong. Especially for a man: be strong, don’t show emotion. Poppycock! My greatest strength is my vulnerability.
I cannot tell you how much this speaks to me. I try to share a vulnerable piece of myself with everyone I meet and encourage others to do the same. Strengths are great, of course, but in vulnerability we find connection. Going back to lesson number one, sharing your pain is a way to be vulnerable. Strength comes from living beyond your pain and being brave enough to share it with others.
4. “Just when you think you’re alone, you start to understand that you’re not.”
At one point in the story, Amit begins to recognize the contributions that it takes (and has taken) to make the Camino de Santiago possible. Over the years, volunteers have painted arrows directing the pilgrims, men and women provide a place for the pilgrims to stay, and direct them where to go.
The same sentiment translates to real life; You may be one your journey alone, but you are not alone on your journey. We are all interconnected and helping each other out constantly. Reach out to others and allow them to reach out to you. You may feel lonely at times, but you are not alone.
Overall, I did enjoy the book. It was full of valuable lessons and eye-opening moments. It’s not a typical self-help book, though it has some similarities to the genre.
Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️ (3.5 stars, rounded up to 4)
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We received a pre-release copy of this book in exchange for an honest review. Links are affiliate links.