Become a Pilgrim
“A pilgrim is a seeker for answers she can’t find at home.” Anonymous
Here I go again, buckled into my seat on a small turbo-prop jet that will take me to Newark where I will catch my transatlantic flight. As the engines roar and the plane races down the runway, a sense of calmness overtakes me. I am AWAY, already out of cell phone contact, in my own space, just BEING, no longer tied to the agenda of others, the responsibility of home and the daily routine of job and community. For now I am free to be as I please, to lean my head back and give over to others—the pilot, flight attendant, even the weather—cheering my loss of control as well as my failed attempt to change those I’ve left behind. Time to focus only on changing myself. I am rendered vulnerable, a rare but important quality of being.
Still, an hour later I must navigate one more crazy world—an international terminal where I follow signs, dodge other travelers, deal with security, navigate moving staircases, all anxiety provoking inventions of modern day life—but with several hours to spare I remind myself that there is no need to rush. I remain in my bubble and feel as though I am gliding above all the commotion.
I’m reminded of a time when I had cut it too close and inevitably missed a flight, cursing my failure until my traveling companion reminded me to “be kind to myself.” That phrase is with me now, and will be the mantra for my trip. I have been kind to many recently—putting their needs in front of mine—perhaps accruing points that would entitle me to be truly selfish on this journey.
I am traveling halfway around the world to be unattached and it feels divine.
No more pushing against the current. Instead I intend to go with the flow. For I believe that under the frozen surface of my being, I will soon begin to experience a thaw, a renewed consciousness, indeed, even a new set of intentions.
As it is almost Thanksgiving, my thoughts drift to the Pilgrims—that small band of dreamers who desired religious freedom, and were courageous enough to find a means to their end regardless of the risk. How many of us have stopped ourselves from such hopes and dreams and for myriad reasons lack the spirit, means, and ideas, stopping our process and therefore stopping us from living in the way we were intended. As I said in a Year by the Sea, the habit of deference can grow like a cancer on the soul of a woman until what she becomes is out of her hands. No more deferring! It is time for us all to give into the journey and all the new possibilities that await us.
Questions to Ponder:
What could you do for adventure (remember adventure comes from the word advent…to begin again)? How could you let go of a job, relationship, duty, or event? How would that alleviate some of the chaos in your life? What is stopping you from being your own pilgrim? It is said that a pilgrimage is a way to prove your faith in self and find answers to your deepest questions. You might begin by an exercise of praise, thanksgiving, and petition—something I do on my daily walk. What in your life deserves praise, what are you thankful for, and then what do you need and desire—those qualities, experiences, and situations that will make you whole?