By Thomas M. Loarie

BOOK REVIEW: Camino de Santiago: The Dark Night of the Soul & Emptying Oneself to Move Forward

June 2, 2015
Column: CEO Learnings

In the course of six weeks, author Sonia Choquette’s father and brother died unexpectedly, then she concluded she did not like her husband of 30 years. What was happening?

In the course of six weeks, author Sonia Choquette’s father and brother died unexpectedly, then she concluded she did not like her husband of 30 years. What was happening? As a self-described intuitive coach, guide and spiritual mentor for most of her life, she writes that her “gift and passion in life has been to lift people up, show them the way out of problems, and guide them towards solutions.” She never allowed “a thing to stop her, slow her down, get in her way, or trap her into a corner”…until now.

Choquette’s world had fallen apart. She could no longer help others and needed to confront her own pain and unhappiness, going back to her childhood. She did not want to be an unhappy person and realized she did not like herself or her life.

Life as she knew it was over.

She was moved to prayer and asked for a divine intervention. Her answer came, with the direction that she needed to follow an age-old practice of pilgrimage and set out to walk the legendary Camino de Santiago (The Way of St. James).  Not an easy task.  The Camino de Santiago is a 500-mile trek over the Pyrenees and across northern Spain, ending at the legendary tomb of St. James. Walking Home is Choquette’s story of her 34day journey on the Camino de Santiago, a journey of forgiveness, compassion and healing.

Walking Home: A Pilgrimage from Humbled to Healed provides a daily account of the physical, emotional and spiritual struggles faced and overcome by Choquette. She characterizes “the journey to Santiago as a metaphor for her inner journey back to the heart and soul of her spirit, letting go of old attachments, old stories, releasing wounds, while being restored by nature as she walked into her pure and sweet essence.”

This was her journey and she traveled alone. In her aloneness, she was able to reflect on her life and see how she had become out of touch with herself. She had made choices that left her overworked, over-traveled and taking on the responsibilities for so many. She was driven by accomplishment and by feeling “super human” as she drove away those who loved her so she could wallow in the pain of not feeling loved.  Something she mistakenly had felt since childhood. 

This was her pattern. And now the Way of St. James gave her a chance to empty herself and a second chance at a life, defined by her.

Walking Home is as provocative as it is educational.

Most will gain insights into their own lives and areas of healing as Choquette bares her soul for all to see. Readers will also learn of the history and romantic legends of the Camino, the Knights Templar, as well as the many medieval towns and churches that dot  “The Way,” by which this Camino is often referred.  I learned that this pilgrimage is not for the faint of heart, it requires physical conditioning and the choice of good hiking gear.

The Camino was all about moving forward, a lesson for all.

It is not only the path of forgiveness, but also a “path of great intention.” One has to have great faith to make this journey. It is physically, emotionally, and spiritually demanding.

I found this to be a very well-written and entertaining book. Choquette provides plenty of emotional depth for reflection as she moves from the dark night of the soul to the light.




Thomas M. Loarie is the CEO of BryoLogyx, a rotating host of THE MENTORS RADIO SHOW, and a senior editorial advisor and columnist for Catholic Business Journal. He may be reached at [email protected]



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