Posted in Autumn, Beginnings, Change, Earth, Eastern Shore, Exploring, Faith, Fire, Gifts, Goals, Gratitude, Maryland, Meditation, Mindfulness, Nature, Photography, Portals & Pathways, Spirit, Walking & Wandering

A walk and thought or two

November 2014C 087a
On the beaten path.

Faith is not the clinging to a shrine but an endless pilgrimage of the heart.

~ Abraham Joshua Heschel

The path is not always obvious.
The path is not always obvious.

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.

Just through here.
Just through here.

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).

Seeing what's up.
Seeing what’s up.

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.

Sometimes there are obstacles blocking the path.
Sometimes there are obstacles blocking the path.

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.

In the canopy.
In the canopy.

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).

Down to earth.
Down to earth.

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.

A place to stop and rest.
A place to stop and rest.

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.

Others have been here.
Others have been here.

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?

The place without a path.
The place without a path.

So that’s what I asked myself.  Do I want to be the change I want to see in my world?

An opening.
An opening on the other side.

The surprising answer is yes.  Yes, I do.

A halo moment.
A halo around the sun moment.

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.

Last night's rainbow sunset.
Last night’s rainbow sunset.

Be good, be kind, be loving.  Just Be.  🙂

Just before darkness falls.
Just before darkness falls.

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.

Author:

Robin is... too many things to list, but here is a start: an artist and writer; a photographer and saunterer; a daughter and sister and granddaughter; a friend, a partner, a wife, a mother, and a grandmother; a gardener, a great and imaginative cook, and the creator of wonderful sandwiches.

20 thoughts on “A walk and thought or two

  1. It is so enriching visiting with you. ‘Be the change you want to see in the world’ has been one of my main mantras for the past three years or so – it has worked wonders within me, slowly but surely. Interestingly it will form part of a talk I will be giving in a few nights time so I am thinking a lot about how and where it can work within our habitual responses to life. Keep walking!

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      1. It did indeed Robin, thank you. I read the accompanying article also. I did not know that the Gandhi quote was an abbreviated version of something else he said. I knew about the Marianne Williamson / Nelson Mandela quote because I was reading her book when that quote first started doing the rounds. That was an odd experience at the time!

        I like the abbreviated quote because it makes us think about where and how often we point our fingers and blame and expect ‘them’ to change things in our favour. Taking responsibility is key to finding personal joy I think. I shall make sure I give the original quote from this point on!

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  2. What a beautiful post, Robin. A much loved friend made the pilgrimage from France to Spain two summers ago, successfully, and came back glowing. It is a difficult trek, and she overcame some health challenges to even get to the beginning point. I hope you find the perfect pilgrimage for you. I hope that your health challenges are finding resolution. I recently purchased a CD of mantras dedicated to Kuan Yin, and keep it playing in my car as I make my own pilgrimage to visit my parents each week now. It helps me enormously to remain peaceful, compassionate, and positive. Another useful practice: remember to always ask for the “most benevolent outcome” to whatever situation presents itself. That is a blessing in itself. Hugs, WG

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    1. Thank you, WG. That is a wonderful suggestion. It reminds me of “be careful what you wish for.” “The most benevolent outcome” is a good thing to wish for. 🙂

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      1. The practice has carried me through many difficult situations, and always brings peace when I’m in turmoil. What we wish for, or pray for, often is not the “best” or “most benevolent” in the long run. We can’t know all of the variables from our limited perspective. So asking simply for “the most benevolent outcome;” and asking for our own and others’ greatest happiness, is often the best we can do…. please take good care of yourself, WG

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  3. Not only beautiful photos but a beautiful pilgrimage. I loved walking with you today. I loved hearing the words and the thoughts going through you mind. Thank you for taking me along with you.

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  4. I love how you share your thinking as you walk. I wonder what a blog post of my rambling brain would look like sometimes, surely not as nicely flowing as this post! I do think desire and motivation are huge parts of making a change, but you definitely have a point about being that change. I think maybe the choice to “be” perhaps comes after you’ve spent the time consciously changing or trying to. You’ve got me thinking now because the 1 year anniversary of my conscious decision to change my body is upcoming, and I continue to desire to keep the changes coming – maybe it is because, as you’ve said, I want to “be” my change now.
    Gorgeous sunset. We had a beauty in the making here last night, but as I often lament, I have no clear view from my home.

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    1. Thank you, Karma. 🙂 I had to laugh because my thoughts really don’t flow that coherently when I’m walking. They tend to flit around from place to place, and it’s a wonder I remember anything at all when I get home and sit down to write up a blog post about it. If I’m lucky, just enough sticks that I can build on it.

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Comments are delightful and always appreciated. I will respond when I can (life is keeping me busy!), and/or come around to visit you at your place soon. Thank you!

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