Thursday, June 7, 2012
Complacency and routine seem to be the kiss of death to a fully present life. Pilgrimage has taught me this. Rather than focusing the life force on fear and the fruits of fear (having enough, having the things everyone thinks everyone needs to have, seeking comfort as the first order of life…) it has taught me to focus on what to do next to grow, what to look for, to savor beauty, and to expand.
I think such a routine-busting focus makes amazing things occur, so much so that the frightening things that forced a person into complacency and routine in the first place are no longer an issue; a person learns to be ever at the ready for the next step, the next unexpected adventure, the next cosmic gift that wants nothing better than to give itself to her or him.
A pilgrimage teaches this magic by example, by giving the walker-seeker a gift each day as soon as his or her focus shifts to the growth side of life.
Each step becomes a step into the unknown and into real magic.
My most recent encounter with this constant lesson was on a recent pilgrimage I made to Vezèlay, one of the four major pilgrim starting points in France along the Way of Saint James to Santiago de Compostela in Galicia, Spain. I wanted to arrive at this sacred site on foot, from a point east. I wanted to feel what it was like to see the enchanted hilltop village with its basilica dedicated to Mary Magdalene appear on the horizon at the walking pace.