Faith is not the clinging to a shrine but an endless pilgrimage of the heart.
~ Abraham Joshua Heschel
I went out for a walk this morning. It wasn’t my usual type of walk. This was more of a pilgrimage, for lack of a better way to put it.
It has been a goal of mine to someday walk the Camino de Santiago. When I first got the idea in my head, I came across all kinds of information about it, as well as bloggers who had walked or were walking the Camino. The timing wasn’t right and I filed the information away. I met some lovely bloggers that I still follow, or would if they were still posting (some no longer blog, one has died).
As I walked this morning, I thought about change and goals and things I want to do in life. I’ll be 56 years old next month. Not so old (they say 50 is the new 30), but still old enough to be thinking about the path I want to follow, or the path I want to make, and the things I would like to see and do. I might not ever get to France and Spain or walk the Camino, but that doesn’t mean I can’t begin a pilgrimage.
Pilgrimages can be related to religion and involve a specific place. In my case, my desire to walk the Camino is spiritual rather than religious (because I am not at all religious, not even in some of my habits). All I really have to do is walk. It doesn’t matter where or when or even how many miles although I suspect long walks might lead to places other than where my feet take me in this physical world.
I live in a place where the walking is good. There is little or no traffic. While I walked this morning, I heard leaves rustling in the light breeze, birds chattering and chirping, a dog somewhere off in the distance barking occasionally, and Fay the Mail Carrier delivering two packages to someone down the road (it’s so flat and quiet around here and sound carries well enough that I can tell you the woman was not only expecting the packages but was looking forward to one because it is a book she wants to read).
It was a beautiful morning for a walk, and I started by repeating a mantra in my head because I’ve found that mantras work well for me when it comes to slowing down the ever moving, ever somersaulting and cartwheeling monkey brain. Oh, the thoughts don’t go away completely, and that’s okay. I just bring my focus back to the mantra when that happens. Eventually my thoughts do slow down a bit and open up space for some clarity.
I walked and inwardly chanted. I dropped the mantra after a while. Or it dropped itself. For some reason, “be the change” echoed around in my mind after that, and led me to thinking about the health and lifestyle changes I keep trying, and failing, to make. The Gurus of Change preach about how you’ll make the change when you really want it. You have to desire change. You have embrace it with all your body, heart, mind, soul, and passion. You have to be Ready.
But what if wanting and desiring and readiness are not the key to change at all? What if the key is trust and faith in yourself? What if the reason I struggle is not a lack of desire, or even a lack of need, but a lack of trust that I can move beyond the first steps and become the change itself? Isn’t that what we ask of ourselves when we set out to change something in our lives? Or at least should be asking?
So that’s what I asked myself. Do I want to be the change I want to see in my world?
The surprising answer is yes. Yes, I do.
Thank you for visiting today, and joining me on another walk. I didn’t take the camera with me on my “pilgrimage” walk this morning. Today’s images are from a walk I took yesterday, exploring behind the pond. M and I don’t go back that way often. It’s too buggy in the summer months, and it becomes quite overgrown. A machete is required to get through some spots. The old trees, the guardian trees, live back in the woods behind the pond. It’s nice to be able to visit them once in a while.
Be good, be kind, be loving. Just Be. 🙂
Today’s joys: A clear, warm, sunny day; walking meditation; a brief but wonderful inner feeling of being home, that home is more of an inside thing than an outside thing; shiitake mushrooms in a delicious soup I had for lunch; spending time in the garden cleaning up after our first frost; thinking about my word for the year (“faith”) in a new way.