pilgrim’s end (pilgrimage fourteen)

21 pilgrimage 14

At the end of all her journeying, the pilgrim* finds herself at the centre of her “soul,” knowing herself for the first time** – soul at least meaning the absolute entirety of everything she is.

After all the travelling of pilgrimage this is where we come to: the discovery that the things we were searching for are more in here than they are out there.   Perhaps this is the place we are most fearful of looking.^  How often do we believe the thing we seek is found in some new experience or circumstance or job or relationship or possession?  But so often it is the desire to know and contribute my whole heart to something?

Towards this, here’s a summary of the pilgrimage which brings me back to the beginning:^^

The pilgrim passes through a portal from what is known into what is not known: to know more of the world, others, and the future Self.

On the other side of the portal we must choose a path of aliveness which may not exist; we may travel this with others or have to walk it alone, but every path is ultimately about bringing aliveness to others.

Pilgrims are movement-people, seeking to bring their greatest aliveness to each day.

We are becoming people of permission, encouraging people to explore the future.

Pilgrims struggle with their monsters within as they journey.

We also avoid shamming – telling ourselves lies about our lives.

Pilgrims know they must live with responsibility towards their world, to others, and to their future Self.

We use playfulness and gamefulness as means of opening up serious matters, and because we want to enjoy the journey together.

Pilgrims are open to be changed by the very best people and ideas – and they guard against the trivial.

We understand we have a contribution to make to the great conversation or story.

Pilgrims keep moving on their path-which-does-not-exist, no matter what.

We know we must keep identifying the things which are most important to us, because there are so many possibilities to distract.

(*I use pilgrim and pilgrimage in a Human sense, that we are all travellers from something, to something, and we use outward experiences to enable inner transformation.)
(**Humans are creatures of endless depth and development, so, perhaps there’s an endless number of these first times.)
(^We can be afraid to look within because we often experience ourselves in isolation – including how we are different to others, rather than like ourselves – but solitude is different to isolation, and means it is possible to be very happy in who we are and know we have something beautiful to contribute.)
(^^Apologies for all the mistakes – these pilgrimage blogs were written quickly on phone or iPad with poor internet.  They are now tidied and re-presented.)

surprising (pilgrimage thirteen)

20 pilgrimage 13

Pilgrimage provides surprising heroes, through whom the future emerges.

They are the ones who have done the hard and hidden work which makes them servants of the future, and of you and I.

This work is focused around a person’s preferences, as Karl Jung pointed as being necessary to develop as a Human; Erich Fromm suggests, ‘the art of living, is to will one thing.’

What is your one thing, your path which leads you to surprise?

the continuing path (pilgrimage twelve)

19 pilgrimage 12

As I write, my wife and I are preparing to return home.  The pilgrimage is coming to an end and I have to ponder all the things which have emerged.

There’s often lots more information, ideas, and possibilities than you and I can pursue when we make a pilgrimage or journey with purpose, so we must identify the things which are most important to us.  There are many things which are interesting but what we want to identify are the things which are drivers for us – the things we must pursue.

These are the things which show us the path which does not exist and we must make.

One of the things which had come out again from my own days of pilgrimage is to make possible for others what I’ve been writing about.*

(*Get in touch to find out more.)


the never-ending story (pilgrimage ten)

17 pilgrimage 10

The Human story began when people asked questions about life and formed their questions into stories which could be shaped and re-shaped as they explored.  Perhaps, when written down, first by hand and then by print, it appeared the story was coming to a conclusion, that we finally knew how to answer some of our greatest questions.

This story, though, continues, gathering all expressions of Human life, seeking to make sense of them.  The greatest Human players in the story lived lives which asked more questions, even when they seemed to be offering answers.

Pilgrims enter into these stories within the Human story, respectful of the past and those who have gone before, open to those they travel with, but knowing they have a contribution to make which is unique, never to be repeated.

The story welcomes you and what you have to bring.

good companions (pilgrimage nine)

 16 pilgrimage 9

I’ve just completed a day with great people who have become an important part of my pilgrimage.

We’ve been able to share important things from our lives which are helpful to one another – the result of being part of a conversation with purpose towards the future.

Erich Fromm has it that every encounter with another Human changes us this way or that.  What is imperceptible in the single encounter would be more clear to us if repeated many times.  This idea connects with the mirror response we find in Humans, whereby we mimic others in order to connect – we are a connecting species.

Pilgrimage also brings us into contact with ideas and places which also change us this way or that.

There are creative and generous people, ideas, and places, we can be open to and changed by.

There are also trivial and wasteful people, ideas, and places we are careful to influence with creativity and generosity.

And there are all kinds of people in-between.*

In your pilgrimages, be open to as many of the first kind of people as you are able to, and be as wisely generous as possible with all the others.

(*Paulo Coelho’s ‘The Alchemist’ makes a great pilgrimage read.)



serious playfulness (pilgrimage eight)

15 pilgrimage 8

There are some things which can only emerge through playfulness, even fun.  This oughtn’t surprise us as these are very important to what it is to be Human.

Pilgrimages* are not trivial things but that doesn’t mean they are all serious; there can be a lightness and playfulness found within our exploration with others.

Erich Fromm (The Art of Being) suspects that triviality is an expression of loneliness, but those on pilgrimage together use playfulness towards a deeper inquiry within their conversation.  They know extended triviality closes down their exploration, whilst playfulness is a way of exploring greater connection to others, their world, and to their future Self.

(*For these posts, pilgrimage is an outward experience allowing for inner transformation.)

great responsibility (pilgrimage seven)

14 pilgrimage 7

I’ve just had the joy and privilege of visiting the Kennedy Space Centre where I encountered many stories of people who might be called pilgrims in space.

Many of these people journeying into space, to the moon, living in space on the spacelab, and now contemplating travelling deeper into space, have looked on the amazing planet we live on and speak of the responsibility we have to live together and care for this world.

We don’t have to have an out of this world pilgrimage – although it seems to help – to understand that to be Human is a powerful thing which comes with great responsibility … not to hold back but to press on into greater creativity and generosity.

shamming (pilgrimage six)

13 pilgrimage 6

The guy serving me in Dunkin Donuts this morning (I had porridge) told me I sounded like Bear Grylls.  Even if I do sound like him – and I don’t – that would be where any resemblance ends.  Even if I spent all my time in nature and tried to live off roots and fly droppings, it would still be nothing more than a sham.

A sham is trying to say this is that.  We sometimes do this to ourselves – when we believe the delusion, when we’re blind to this is this and that is that.

This is the part of our pilgrimage when we check we’re not shamming ourselves, trying to be someone we are not.

When we experience integrity – real connection to our world, others, and our true Self, we can’t sham.*

(*I have to do neck exercises with some arthritis at the top of my spine and I can use these as an outward expression of my inquiring of things to ensure they are not sham.  I have to pull my chin into my chest, which reminds me to be humble; then I have to pull my head down to each shoulder in turn, which tells me I need to deal with my stiff-neckedness; then I have to swivel my head to look over each shoulder, and I remember I always need to see more;  and finally, whilst my hands are by my side I have to alternately invert the palms to face away and lift my arms at a right-angle and swivel my head to face each one, which reminds me it’s all about serving others.  Got anything you can use as a habit to avoid shamming?)


freeing (pilgrimage five)

12 pilgrimage 5

If you’re reading this, it’s likely you live in a country in which there is a lot of outer freedom, but there are two kinds of freedom: inner and outer.

I realise my pilgrimage is more about my inner freedom, though Erich Fromm rightly reminds me both are necessary for what he names radical or  revolutionary Humanism.

Fromm names greed and illusions as the things which shackle Humans; Henri Nouwen points to aloneness, hostility, and illusion as those things which hinder us from becoming who we potentially can be.  Otto Scharmer identifies a closed mind, closed heart, and closed will as the things which prevent us from becoming future Humans.  I often find myself thinking on pride, greed, and foolishness as being my monsters within.  All of these, and more, provide us with rich ways and means for focusing on where we need to struggle for our inner freedom.