Art of the Pilgrimage

This is actually the title to a book that changed my life and my perspective. I hold this book in high regard. This book is my bible to this journey, this adventure, this pilgrimage. I was reminded of that today and I was reminded of how I lost my way.

El Camino de Santiago

I started this journey to address a feeling, an angst, a continual disruption to my peace; to calm the beast. I sought a way to live honoring my deepest and truest self. I took a coaching course from a friend (message me if you want details) as I knew I was stuck and whatever I had tried was not fucking working. I was not happy, I was frustrated, I felt trapped and I felt like I was not living my truest life. I was lost, adrift and I could not, had not, and did not find the answer. The coaching program provided the push I needed to really dive into the quagmire and sort it all out. It worked and here I am, over two months on the road, sans house, real address, most of my previous belongings. Here I am, over two months of being homeless and basically unemployed. Here I am, again, losing my way.

I am entering a period of my journey where I had scheduled work in exchange for something like attending an event or lodging, and even picked up some actual paid work. So far, I have been in WA and OR only. I am getting really, really antsy to get the hell out of here and really see some new stuff. Mind you, I have been in new parts of both states and I have seen new things and had new experiences. I have used this time to figure out what this new way of life is and will be all about. I have given away items, added one or two, saved and spent money. I have been in the wind and the rain and the cold and the heat. I am sure there is more to come on all fronts. I have visited my storage unit once, and will again soon. I have come awake in the middle of the night and forgot where I was and I have opened my eyes with the glorious shine of the morning sun. I have heard an elk bugle from miles away and shook in my bed as a train passed by. I have learned and learned some more and continue to learn and find ways to make this undertaking work for me.

I have also lost my way. It is so easy to get caught up in the details of having this journey that I forget to actually LIVE the journey and RECEIVE the gifts offered. After a lifetime of managing multiple demands and responsibilities, doing the right thing for the wrong reasons, it is really easy to fall back into old patterns. It is easy to become distracted by the business of living and forget to actually live. I recently received the gift of this reminder and I plan to heed the message. A friend of mine is on a retreat to a place she loves. She is also in the process of arranging her life so that she can pilgrimage. Not just travel or live out of her car or van or what the hell ever, but actually pilgrimage. Becoming a pilgrim is a different thing, has a different purpose, and takes us on a particular purpose and intention. 

I lost my way because I got distracted with responsibilities. I got side tracked by conventional life. I was blinded by those very things that led me here in the first place. In fact, I am still and currently distracted by responsibilities. I got caught up in the business of having and getting, buy the shiny things, the gear and the equipment, the “have” and the “have not”. I got sucked back into the vortex of the life I left. Didn’t see that coming. 

I am in the process of making my way back. I am working to reconnect with that which led me to ditch it all and hit the road. I am working to get my fingers back on the pulse of that which moves me, soothes me, sparks my soul. I spent some time this morning while drinking my morning tea to look up and watch the leaves of the trees that provide me with glorious shade in an arid part of the country. I watched a bird take apart the bark of the tree so it can get to the coveted bug that lives underneath. I watched the leaves turn in the wind and listened to their rustle. I got out my PILGRIMAGE book and read what I had previously marked. I was reminded why I am here, why I chose this path. I was reminded that I am not living a conventional life, I am not living like anyone else I have met or know. I am living my life and I was reminded that is OK. My life is my life and I have to answer to no other human. I do not have to justify or explain or defend my choice to anyone. Ever.

I was reminded, as I flipped through the pages of this life altering text, that I have chosen an alternative. I look different, I act different, I dress different and I live different. I also have to remember that I spent nearly an entire year preparing, arranging, taking steps to make this change. I went to great lengths to have this experience and do these things and live this way and be this person. I have been distracted from this purpose. I let convention pull me away from that which I chose to that which has been most familiar. I got waylaid.

I feel like I am coming back. I feel like I am regrouping, reconnecting, and rediscovering that which lead me here, that which feeds me, sustains me, brings me unparalleled joy and contentment and peace. I am working to relocate the pulse of the life I chose, the life I worked so hard to get, the life that is mine and mine alone. I am turning my energies in and not out; to me and not away from me. I have been reminded why I left the job I hated, the mountain of responsibilities that ate away at my time and money, the community that threw up walls, the routine that sucked my energy. No matter what I do in a day I am reminded that I am NOT doing something I loathe, in a place I do not belong or fit in or am unwelcome. No matter how bad it gets out here, it is not there. I have to remember what this is NOT, no matter what it IS. I must remember that I am now in and of the world, not just looking at it from some distant vantage point. This is what I wanted, this is what I craved, this is what I chose. 

I still feel so very new to all of this and I am not surprised that I have had challenges. I have had missteps and mishaps and fuckups. I have had situations I alone created, and those that were imposed upon me by the Gods of the Universe. I am not shocked that I am changing and modifying and rethinking my gear. I fact, as we speak a tailgate table and cell phone holder are on their way! A couple months feels like nothing, and then it feels like everything. I feel so very new to all of this, yet I feel like I have found a groove. I have found and then lost my way.  

I am entering a period of giving to others. I will be housesitting for friends, volunteering for the US Forest Service, then working for an event management company. My time will not be my own. I will forgo the freedom of my journey to help another, explore a future career option, and feed my always hungry coffers. I will not truly be on my own until early September. I made these commitments, I intentionally signed up, I made these choices. I need not let that sway me from my over arching purpose, intent or goal. I can and will do all of these things with the mindset of a pilgrim. I will watch and listen and learn and observe and welcome the gifts that will come from each of these offerings. I will work hard to stay on my pilgrimage, to stay in that place of welcome, that place of observation, that vibrational space of the divine. I will read my book again and again, confer with my sister women who support me and carry me to and in this space. I will hike until I collapse, work until I can’t see straight, and stay the course of this life. I will forgive myself for my indiscretions and get my wheels back on the track should they again fall.

I will dig deeper, listen closer, and pay attention. Stay the course, live my life, have no regrets. 

Cheers to the Amen to that!

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