Let the journey begin...

“The trouble is that we live far from ourselves and have but little wish to get any nearer to ourselves. Indeed we are running away all the time to avoid coming face to face with our real selves, and we barter the truth for trifles.” ― Anonymous, The Way of a Pilgrim

Pilgrims, what an honour it is to stand at the beginning of this journey that we’re on together. I can’t tell you how grateful I am for you joining me in this process, for supporting my work and choosing to live lives awoken to the wonder within all things.

I’m fascinated with the stories of Pilgrimages of old. I recently read “The Way of the Pilgrim” which tells the story of a Russian Pilgrim in the 19th Century. He begins his arduous treck with one unrelenting, unwavering pursuit; to master the practice of ceaseless inner prayer as communion with God. His journey takes him through the toilsome terrains of Ukraine, Russia, and Siberia and all the while, the rugged footpaths, poverty and dependency on strangers bears witness to the hardness and healing of his soul. Stunning.

Pilgrimage, my friends, is the acceptance that what is out there often stands as a sign post for what’s happening in here.

How often we dismiss external signposts, that in humble and unassuming ways inhabit the power to help us heal and travel further upon our paths. For example, a few days ago I began packing for a trip, having noticed I’d run out of socks (yes that happens, no one knows where they go or how it happens…but it does) I ran out to restock. Hoping this wouldn’t take any time, I wasn’t pleased when, having seized the goods, I found myself in an outstretched line that wound its way towards multiple checkouts … with no one at the tills. As I stood in the que, restless and impatient, frustrated that there wasn’t more being done to accommodate the serious needs of a customer such as my self, I was reminded of the sign posts.

Here was an opportunity to do it differently. To take a frustratingly mundane moment, (antagonised and impatient as I was) and recognise the Pilgrimage at work. It went something like this…

“Breath in, breath out. Breath in, breath out. Your impatient right now and you don’t have to be. What’s happening within you that has disturbed the peace? There is money is your pocket to buy socks that will warm your feet and fill your shoes, there is a home to go back to and an adventure waiting to begin. You are surrounded by gifts. You have time now, before you pay for these socks, to recenter your soul and reclaim order in chaos.

I am learning (very slowly) but I am learning, the Pilgrimage is as real as I allow it to be. There are fires burning all around, divine words being spoken through the most mundane moments of our lives. Words that can wake us up, heal our wounds and fill our hearts with joy. It us up to us, dear Pilgrims to walk in a manner that recognises the holiness of the ground we’re on and in response, take off our shoes. The pilgrim isn’t waiting for a spectacularmoment to validate their journey, they know the dusty roads, tiresome as they can be, are the significant passage ways that transform the soul and lift the head. As I heard it said recently, “we’re not waiting for the mountain peak, we’ve got enough material where we are”.

May we walk these roads and passageways

With eyes awake and hearts ablaze,

May we see what hides behind the veil

So all that’s good and true prevails.

Joshua Luke SmithComment