A dear friend is walking the Camino de Santiago this summer. If I am remembering correctly, it is a 500-mile journey across parts of Spain and France. Since we are both on sabbatical, I can't help but ponder her pilgrimage, and my own contrasting need for stillness."Real love is a pilgrimage. It happens when there is no strategy, but it is very rare because most people are strategists."
- Anita Brookner
Naturally, each of us will seek the Holy in our own way and, no matter how interesting and adventurous another's life may seem, one's transformation cannot be experienced on any path but our own. I can't even begin to speculate the details of my friend's unfolding. I can only say how much I admire her will and determination to keep moving her feet, placing one in front of the other, till she reaches her goal. I find myself wondering if, in certain moments, she must tell herself "I can" when she feels like she can't.
My "I can" is different. I've been asking myself questions like, "can I be still and quiet" and "can I put down the phone, leave the computer, ignore the books and my addiction to filling myself with more information ....and do no thing?" To say I am challenged by this is an understatement that I am pretty sure will only truly be understood by some of my "Type A" colleagues.
Each day I spend an hour or more sitting on my front porch - which is shady and beautiful...and a great place from which to watch the world go by. My body is slowing down, as a result, and I am feeling more relaxed. Yet, it is my observation that, within minutes of sinking into my anti-gravity deck chair, my mind begins to whirl away, chattering incessantly about all the things I could be doing, or will do, when my sabbatical is over. Again and again, I catch myself planning ahead instead of being in the now.
Why is it that being feels like such a waste of time? When did I decide that my worth is proportionate to my doing?
In my wise-heart, I am so deeply aware that my greatest insights are almost effortlessly revealed when I am still and centered. Hidden under self-imposed layers of mortal-world identity as wife, mother, minister, daughter, sister, and make-the-world-a-better-place-heroine-of-my-own-story,... is my interconnected soul, and the key to this journey.
In Unity, we call it the "I AM" Presence. My mother would call it "the spark of God inside every person." No matter the name, it is a state of being the Divine Being we are born to express. If I simply "am," - then all the labels that I use to prove my worth and value in this world fall away and the sacred blossoms forth. When that happens, there is nothing but now - and now is full of gratitude and joy.
It is the authentic soul-self I am seeking. The journey to "I AM" is the pilgrimage... I wonder how many steps there are between here and now....