I love this photo. How strange to be in the middle of a 500 mile walk, in what appears to be nowhere, trail on the right, and what do you see but a big red coke machine. Yes this really is what we saw, not a photoshopped picture. And it seems to go right along with the title of this blog, life as pilgrimage.

I put my shoes on along with my 15 lb backpack 7 years ago. I cant believe it has been that long ago. We stepped outside and started the 500 mile trek which took 38 days. Lots of wondering ”What the hell was I thinking?” Along with much connecting to my breath and Creation. But please, a coke machine? Yep, life is just that interesting.

So now, 7 years later it has finally sunk in that life truly is a pilgrimage. I get to choose each day, each moment, each breath, whether I walk the Holy walk, or whether I get lost in my limited beliefs. Can there really be a coke machine out here? Yes there really can. Can each breath, step, word be Sacred? Yes it really can. Did this trail change me at depth? Oh, yes it truly did.

So, as I now listen ever closer to that still small inner voice, I am guided to ask myself this question “Can I really say that?” And what does that even mean, or what could it have to do with Life as Pilgrimage?

I’ve always been a talker, from the time I was young, neighbors would bet me a quarter I couldn’t be quiet for fifteen minutes. I never won. But, as I grew since I didn’t say what was really true for me, I would speak things that was shock value, or just silly. Not a lot with any real content and definitely not my authentic self. I actually was a broken little girl even as an adult trying to be heard. The story about the Betrayer is in my book, “Are You the Christ?”

Not sure if you have this type of story, but there is certainly something in most of us crying out to be heard. The real us. Knowing we have things that need to be shared if not for ourselves than for others. So, after 500 miles and some really deep changes, not only did I write a book, about forgiveness, but I realized Life is a pilgrimage. This to me means an opportunity to notice, to be in a state of intention, recognizing each step I take in whatever direction is meaningful, it is not just some random step. Can you believe that for yourself? Can you recognize that your life and that means each step is a Holy act? What does that really mean? How could that thing called life really have any meaning? Could every step, every word actually have meaning? All things, really?

So, how does pilgrimage connect to “Can I really say that?”. If we choose to pay attention to our lives, they really do go hand in hand. Pilgrimage walking, moving forward, climbing mountains, sliding down dirt and rock-strewn hills. If we think about the conversations we have with friends, family, and strangers they are very similar with the climbing and the pitfalls of hiking. One step one word can change the trajectory of our lives and those of others.

I’ve come to know that we are most of us wanting to speak our truth, whether it is about a situation of importance or recognizing our own worthiness. So a short story about speaking our truth. A very dear friend who is a nurse and knows her body, needed to have blood drawn for lab work. She knows that there are only one or two places to get that done on her body. It has been a lifelong issue. So off to the lab and she mentioned to the tech the best spot, and yet the tech in her infinite power wanted to try another spot. My friend knew this would not work but did not speak up. As you can imagine first stick did not work and the tech had to go to the original spot suggested. Ok just a story right, well not exactly.

A conversation, but mostly a practice called the Peace Process was shared. It is used to release emotions from long held faulty beliefs. Beliefs like “Can I really say that?” It might hurt their feelings, or they are the ones in charge or who am I to say that, or who am I to know and speak my truth.

So back to the story, and back to the lab. Surprisingly or not the same lab tech, but this time an entirely different outcome. The pilgrimage of self-discovery, of discovering her worthiness and the recognition of Yes, I can say that, I am worthy to speak my truth, saved her an unnecessary needle stick and gave her the knowing that this was and is the beginning of walking life in a very different way.

I hope you know that you too are Holy and next step and word is a pilgrimage of epic proportions, and that each day you have a choice to choose Yes I can say that, or silence.

Buen Camino

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