What am I looking for? Experience, really. I wander for the experience of discovery by happenstance. Though I don't believe in coincidence, I do believe that when we put ourselves "out there", we align our bodies with our intentions and with the things in life we're meant to find or accomplish. Sometimes we run into people who become life-long friends or we may exchange words with someone briefly, words that solidify a decision we've been ruminating.
I'm a homebody by nature. Though I love to travel, I also love to be at home, ensconced in my cottage of books and ideas. I love the clink of my own tea cups and the sound of my own coffee pot percolating in the corner next to the back door. This comes from my battle with chronic illness and the need to hoard energy for the days I go into work. Were I to work at home, I'd be more inclined to venture out of doors and into the great wide world that surrounds me. Perhaps that's an excuse; it is, however, the truth.
Perhaps one can take a pilgrimage without leaving home. Perhaps one doesn't have to don leather sandals, book a ticket to Spain and hostel with a thousand other searching souls. Yes, there are still religious pilgrims, but I believe that we also need pilgrimages in our day to day lives; journeys of intent towards something that holds meaning for us. It could be a place, a grave site; a record store carrying a vintage album you lost once in a move and would love to have back. It could be a bookstore, a coffee shop, a hidden beach or lost woodland path. How? Easy. It all depends on what you're looking for.
A bookstore in itself can be a holy site, true. A shrine of silence and intelligence passed down between pages through time. But don't step out and drive to the nearest B&N; stop a minute and ask yourself WHY. WHY do I feel drawn to leave in the first place? When I get there, what will I look for?
It's a practice, you see. An exercise in wandering with intent. Our own personal Camino de Santiago.
The next time you've got a day off, think about something you want for yourself, your family, someone you love. It sounds selfish but I suggest you start with yourself. When we take care of ourselves, we're better able to take care of those we love. What are you after? Not a thing, mind you. Something internal, external, something that can build you up, resurrect those buried dreams?
Don't be afraid of sounding silly. If you want to go back to school, think of what you'd study then pilgrim to the library for a little research. If you want to lose weight buy a bag of carrots and eat them whenever you think of chocolate (perhaps this is more purgatory than pilgrimage but you get my drift...).
The point is to start, to leave the comfort of your armchair and go: across the street, across the Internet, into the library, the cafe, the admissions office. One step is all it takes to set off an entire journey.
Choose your first step wisely. You never know where it might take you!
Happy Monday, Dear Readers. Where are YOU headed this week?
"It's a dangerous business, Frodo, going out of your door," he used to say. "You step into the Road, and if you don't keep your feet, there is no knowing where you might be swept off to." ~ J.R.R. Tolkien
"The journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step." ~ Lao Tzu