Reverendmother gives us a pilgrimage theme for Friday Five after her trip to the isle of Iona. In need of a good distraction after the sad events of this week in the Twin Cities, I'm ready to pack up and go!
1. Have you ever been on a pilgrimage? (however you choose to define the term) Share a bit about it. If not, what's your reaction to the idea of pilgrimage? I can't help thinking about the Pilgrims Progress and "all of life is a journey" kind of motif here. So in that sense, yes, I have been and continue to be on one continuing pilgrimage. I can't remember where it is, but there is some holy place where the pilgrims take a spiraling walk around a mountain. That spiral is a good metaphor for me....seeing the same things but at a different level (deeper I hope) as I come around again. But as for a travel sort...not in a formal sense, though "plain old trips" have turned into pilgrimages in unexpected ways for me sometimes. I keep getting called back to the Badlands (a thin place for me) and so that's sort of a pilgrim place, my four trips to the yoga retreat in Mexico have had life changing impact, moving here certainly was a pilgrim journey. Stories for another day! I think any journey can be a pilgrimage if you travel expectantly.
2. Share a place you've always wanted to visit on pilgrimage. Back to my roots for sure. Ireland. I want to see the monasteries and the wild thin places. I wouldn't mind England, Scotland and Wales either if it worked out. That whole part of the world fascinates me, and is part of my Anglican roots as well.
3. What would you make sure to pack in your suitcase or backpack to make the pilgrimage more meaningful? Or does "stuff" just distract from the experience? As little as possible. Walking shoes, good camera, my journal and a sweatshirt (I'm always cold!)
4. If you could make a pilgrimage with someone (living, dead or fictional) as your guide, who would it be? (I'm about this close to saying "Besides Jesus." Yes, we all know he was indispensable to those chaps heading to Emmaus, but it's too easy an answer) My first inclination is to say I'd go alone, big old introvert that I am, but then I'm thinking maybe it would be good to have a guide or two along the way. So, ok....I would take my three Tuesday Bible study gals and my SD, they would be the PERFECT tour group...spiritual, well-read, practical, and hysterically funny!
5. Eventually the pilgrim must return home, but can you suggest any strategies for keeping that deep "mountaintop" perspective in the midst of everyday life? (don't mind me, I'll be over here taking notes) I don't think we can keep it. And when we try we are apt to lose it. What happens on the mountain stays on the mountain. However, having said that, we can bring with you what we take into ourselves from it, because it, like everything that happens to us becomes part of us. And I think we can enhance that becoming by doing some things like having "transitional objects," things to look at to remind us, doing lots of journaling while in the experience and then re-reading, and doing what my yoga teacher called, "changing states of consciousness gently." She advised gradual re-entry after a retreat or intense experience rather than a plunge right back into daily routine. Good advice!