The Soul Knows

sculptures

“His search exemplifies the force that can well up from below, from the soul, over a period of time, the desire to move toward the wellspring that will rejuvenate us.” Written about John Borton, in The Art of Pilgrimage, page 193.

This interior pilgrimage is rejuvenating me. It is giving me a focus, an intention, a reason to stop, check in, and pay deeper attention to the detail of my life, and I have found that to be tremendously rejuvenating.

It is inviting me to listen for the constant whispers of my soul, as it speaks through quiet inspiration.

It is calling me to walk “lightheartedly and with a joyful spirit,” and that way of being in the world is a wellspring that rejuvenates me.

What is the wellspring that you are moving towards, that will rejuvenate you? Your soul knows.

The Freedom of Release

Cizur Menor

 

Today, I am feeling the freedom of release.

I’m consciously breathing deeply and sensing the fullness of anticipation in the air, the crispness of the wind, the surprises that await me in the colors of the day.

I’m simply allowing myself to feel the freedom of just walking. Of just being present in this moment. Of knowing that all is well right now, and that I will be given what I need as I go along.

This feeling, I notice, is available to me always, as I release my pre-formed expectations of how my day ought to play out.

And this release isn’t a tipping point, or a permanent thing. Rather, it is a practice that I commit to, every day, as I get up and walk.

Why I Walk

Guendulain

 

“True pilgrimage changes lives, whether we go halfway around the world or in our own backyards.” The Art of Pilgrimage, page 88

This is why I walk. The presence required in the act of walking changes me.

It changes my quality of attention, to my experience and to my life.

It changes my willingness, and my readiness, and my commitment to pay attention.

It makes me aware of my intentions.

It awakens my senses.

It enlivens and energizes me.

It demands a fuller level of engagement from me.

Any journey, consciously taken, changes us, whether or not we realize it when we begin. It’s an opportunity to come alive.

The Same Day

Long View

 

In many of the memoirs I’m reading, there is some point for the pilgrim that they acutely feel the monotony of the walk. Every day, they get up and walk. And walk. And walk.

This is something that I really don’t face in the same way on my virtual pilgrimage.

However, it occurs to me that all of us have aspects of repetition in our lives, and I don’t know about you, but that is a point where can tend to go to sleep in my life.

We travel the same route to work every day. We have the same routine when we arise every day. We generally follow a repetitive pattern at night, after work, or when we are preparing meals.

Routines and habits are tremendously useful in our lives, except when they aren’t. 🙂

I can get in a sort of a trance state as I go through these repetitive motions of every day.  And I stop noticing. I stop tuning into my senses. I go to sleep to my life.

I stop noticing that the leaves on the trees look different today than they did yesterday. Or that the quality of the sky is incredibly different today. Or the toothpaste tastes different to me this morning. It isn’t the same day today, even in the routines.

It’s a slippery slope. When I go to sleep in any aspect of my life, I can miss so many opportunities to really engage with the miracles, of my life, through all of my senses.

I can miss the life of my life.

I never know when there will be a miracle, and, in one sense, it’s all a miracle.

I don’t want to miss it.

The Appreciation Buffet

Pamplona Gate

“There are a multitude of ways you can cultivate a sense of gratitude.” The Art of Pilgrimage, page 205

This is the gate to the city of Pamplona, Spain.

In the memoirs I have been reading about the Camino, all pilgrims seem to mention the immense sense of gratitude that they feel upon reaching the gate of a city, or the outskirts of a city that is their destination for the day. This special threshold heralds the upcoming proximity of the albergue, or pilgrimage hostel, their shelter and respite for the night.

I spoke of Waking Up in my last blog post, and I realized that one of my favorite ways to Wake Up to my life is what I call the Appreciation Buffet.

I carve out 10 or 15 minutes in my day to sit down and reflect on all the things that immediately come to mind, in that moment, that I appreciate.

These are things that are really easy to appreciate, and the key for me is that I can easily feel (italics) a strong feeling of appreciation when I focus on them.

Things on my list: my dog Cinnamon making snow angels or how the light shining through my stained glass panels enlivens them.

I don’t just create a list. It doesn’t matter if there are only one or two things on the list. It matters that these are powerful things for me, and that they evoke that full, wonderful feeling of great and deep appreciation.

Visiting the Appreciation Buffet wakes me up the abundance that is my life.

The Art of Waking Up

Puente Pamplona

 

“One of the functions of a pilgrimage is to wake us from our slumber.” The Art of Pilgrimage, page 181

My pilgrimage has been a huge gift in so many ways, but perhaps the greatest is that it is waking me from my slumber.

It is waking me from my slumber of going through the motions, through my days, especially in the repetition of tasks: washing dishes, taking the dogs out, brushing my teeth.

It is waking me up to my full senses, to color and form and miracles.

It is waking me up to my lightheartedness and my joyful spirit.

It is waking me up to the fullness of my life.

Feeling the Presence of Place

View fr Camino

“He said he wanted to feel the presence of the place.” Art of Pilgrimage, page 183
So many Camino memoirs speak to feeling the presence of the place. This level of engagement seems to be an essential and universal experience of pilgrimage.

I had a palpable feeling of the presence of place the first time I set foot on the five acres that I now call my home. It was the first time I remember feeling that presence of a place.

Now, this is a commitment of mine: I want to sense the presence of a place. It is what connects me to it. It is what makes me share in the aliveness and vitality of the place.

This is particularly important to me on my pilgrimage, and since this is a virtual pilgrimage, the way that I am trying to tune into the presence of the Camino is by reading memoirs and especially by drawing the place, from photographs. This helps me tune into the feeling of the presence of this powerful place and to share in the energy of its power.

Altering Time

Bridge Arre

 

“Her antidote to boredom or the terror of lost time is to do things that alter time.” The Art of Pilgrimage, page 103, about Hannah Hinchman.

I was very curious about this quote when I came across it in The Art of Pilgrimage. So I am playing with it today. What does it mean to alter time, and why would we want to do it?
Meditation alters time, because I really cannot accurately sense the passage of time when I am meditating. I am lost in an oasis of contentment and harmony.

The thing that most alters time for me is drawing. It’s my intention to do some drawing each day on my pilgrimage, because I enjoy doing it, and it connects me to a sense of the Camino.I realize now that it also alters time.

I draw what I love. When I see something that captures my attention and imagination, I want to draw it. For me, drawing is not art, but it is making marks of what I see. And to do that, I really need to look at it. And when I really look at it, I lose all sense of time.

To me, drawing is a complete immersion in aliveness, and, in that immersion, time becomes irrelevant for just a few minutes.

Seeing the Miracles

trail posts

 

“In sacred travel, every experience is uncanny. No encounter is without meaning.” The Art of Pilgrimage, page 97

I’m practicing this ancient knowledge about pilgrimages, working it into my bones as I walk. It’s one thing to get it intellectually, and a whole different thing to really understand what it means.

As I practice it, I’m noticing things that I used to let pass by, unnoticed, or unacknowledged. The tiny rainbows in the water droplets that collect on blades of grass after a rainfall, noticeable to me because I was appreciating the variety of colors in the landscape. The red-tailed hawk that flew by, right at eye level, just as I was thinking about what it would be like to fly.

What would it be like if we came to our lives this way, assuming that there is meaning in all of it? Personal meaning, just for us.

Grateful Days

Bridge Iroz

Handing It Over and Shedding Plans and Expectations makes room for a playful, childlike wonder, a refreshing attitude of gratefulness that enlivens and fills me.

I am grateful for the simplest of things. The wispy orange/yellow clouds in the sky just before the sun rises. The joyful wagging of my dog’s tail as he greets me when I return home. The smile that lights up the clerk’s face in the market.

I am grateful for all of it, because all of these simple, “ordinary” things been given to me as part of my being alive. Today, I feel spacious and free.

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