A Pilgrimage of sorts…
Over the recent dark winter, a group of us gathered in contemplative space, to reflect on the journey within. We engaged with eight practices for pilgrimage
We began with ‘Hearing the Call and Responding.’ Pilgrimage is as an intentional journey in the service of transformation, whether a physical voyage or an inner journey. How do you hear call? What helps you to listen and respond?
'Packing Lightly’: when travelling, it is so much easier not to carry a heavy bulky suitcase. So too, for life. What do we carry that weighs us down? What might we leave behind in order to grow?
‘Crossing the Threshold’: sometimes we teeter on the edge of a decision – to commit ourselves to more disciplined prayer, undertake a journey or make a life commitment. A journey begins with a single step! What step needs to be taken?
‘The way is made by walking’: a pilgrim journey asks us to join its rhythm and to put aside our desire for control. A radical surrender is demanded of us, leaving behind maps and guide books, to trust and follow our longings, and where they will lead us.
Have you ever had a sense of being drawn onwards?
Pilgrimage calls us into places of dis-ease, to be a stranger or an alien. Being present to edges of discomfort or insecurity can be demanding, but we grow in and through them. This is the ‘Practice of being Uncomfortable.’ How do you respond when out of your comfort one? Are you able to offer a tender hospitality to your discomfort?
Journeys are often exciting when they are new and fresh, but part way through we may find ourselves restless, bored or falling away. St Benedict reminds us of the wisdom that we are always beginners, that every day has potential to recommit and try again. Does this ring true for you? Do you judge yourself harshly in such times? Try for compassion and humility, and the ‘Practice of Beginning Again.’
‘The Practice of Embracing the Unknown’: our tendency towards the familiar, to taming life or God, is challenged in experiences of disruption or grief, in moments that break us open. Mostly we don’t welcome these… but what if we could embrace the unknown as sacred wisdom for the unfolding of our lives?
At the end of a journey, we return home, changed by our experience. We return with gifts or a new perspective, a different view of where we came from. While we come home, we also journey on. What do you need for the ongoing pilgrimage of life? What support, what practices, what companions?
As your pilgrim journey continues, a blessing on that path:
May the road rise up to meet you.
May the wind be always at your back;
May the sun shine warm upon your face;
The rains fall soft upon your fields and until we meet again,
May God hold you in the palm of his hand.
~ The series was based on a book, The Soul of a Pilgrim, by Christine Valters-Paintner.