the old pilgrims never returned to their own land and homestead without having lost a prejudice and gained a new idea instead. This is an attitude of life which constantly seeks new enlightenment, carries with it new won experiences and allows life to be influenced by it. (Pilgrimages Past and Present. Arne Bakken p19)
I have just returned from a wonderful week in Colorado where I renewed old friendships, made new ones and breathed in the beauty of God’s glorious creation. Along the way I conducted a couple of seminars, walked several labyrinths and enjoyed rich fellowship with my fellow travellers. It was a richly enlightening adventure, a pilgrimage that helped me to shed a little more of my cultural and religious prejudices and sent me home with new perceptions and understandings of life, faith and the world around me.
What made it a pilgrimage rather than an ordinary plane trip you may ask? My perceptions. On this trip I was looking for new insights and understanding. The transitions I am going through as I release my leadership position in Mustard Seed Associates challenge me to reevaluate every area of my life. What are my goals for the next five years? Where have I allowed non essentials to clutter my life and weigh me down on God’s journey? What are the new things God is speaking to me about that I have not noticed because I am bound by routines and habits that have become inflexible?
Every time we step out of our homes, or move away from our comfort zones we have the potential to embark on a pilgrimage, an experience that can transform our lives if only we will walk slowly, look around intently and listen closely to all we see and everyone we meet.
Pilgrimage is an attitude of life rather than a special journey as the quote above explains, though special journeys to holy sites often propel us into that mode of living in which we constantly seek the enlightenment we need to be transformed.
What is Your Response?
Have you ever been on pilgrimage? It is an experience that many of us long for but feel we don’t have time, energy or resource to embark on. Yet pilgrimage is indeed no more than a change of attitude that opens us up to new ideas and perceptions. Take time today to sit and think about your own life journey. Watch the video below and think of your own long journey to find out who you are.
Are there prejudices you need to let go of? Are there new ideas God is prompting you to accept? Are there new perceptions you have been slow to embrace?
As part of my meditation each morning I was reading through the prayer cards we created a couple of years ago. Today’s prayer is adapted from one of these cards and continue to mull over the question on the back and thought you might like to as well: Where today have you struck out of the familiar and found new friends, or a new perspective on the world?
You might also like to check out some previous posts on pilgrimage: