Monday, November 28, 2011


How's my mental health today?

I'm not monitoring that very vigilantly. My mind is occupied with so many other ideas, concerns, thoughts and reflections.

This past Friday evening we joined 7 friends to see the movie, The Way. At the center of the story is the Camino de Santiago, a pilgrimage journey through southern France and northern Spain. The storyline and the walk were of added interest to Heidi and myself because we personally know someone that walked the Camino de Santiago 5 or 6 years ago.

After the movie we went out for 'coffee' and a great discussion. We went around the circle responding to the question, 'what would I walk 800 km for?'

I've been reflecting on that discussion since then and questions have come up for me.

What is a pilgrimage and why would I go on one?

An online  dictionary provided this:
     pilgrimage [ˈpɪlgrɪmɪdʒ]
     1. a journey to a shrine or other sacred place
     2. a journey or long search made for exalted or sentimental reasons

That explains what - now why?

Why would I journey to a shrine or sacred place? Would I benefit from it? Would I experience personal growth? Spiritual growth?

I've made journeys for many reasons. When I was 15 my sister and I travelled to Germany, where we met aunts, uncles, and cousins for the first time. We saw places and heard stories that were part of our heritage. I continued that exploration in 3 subsequent trips to Germany. There were certainly a lot of sentimental connections. Were those pilgrimages?

In the mid 1970's I hitchhiked through western Canada for 3 months, spending a lot of time in areas like Vancouver's lower east side. It was something I had thought about doing for a while and when I needed to get away - I went. Was that a pilgrimage? 

I'm blogging to develop my writing skills and discipline. It's been a journey of discovery and hopefully a little growth so far. Is that a pilgrimage?

Is my life a pilgrimage?

Where will this journey take me?

The Road goes ever on and on
Down from the door where it began.
Now far ahead the Road has gone,
And I must follow, if I can,
Pursuing it with eager feet,
Until it joins some larger way
Where many paths and errands meet.
And whither then? I cannot say.
- J.R.R. Tolkien (Lord of the Rings)

1 comment: