I would have been going on pilgrimage next week. I was so looking forward to it. Last year, I spent three days on my own walking from Rochester to Canterbury. This year, two friends were going to join me to walk for four days along part of the Cornish Saints Path, finishing at St Michael’s Mount, sleeping in cliff-top youth hostels, and spending our days walking up and down the coves.
Needless to say, that won’t be happening this month, or likely for many to come. But I did want to do something to mark these days that would have been set aside for connection – connected with the land, connection with myself, and connection with God.
I am going to do that in a few ways – walking a neighbourhood pilgrimage, creating a prayer labyrinth, and finding time to spend in imaginative prayer in my soul landscape.
I’d like to invite you to come with me. While most of us are spending our days in our homes, it might feel counter-intuitive to be thinking of pilgrimage, but the reason I first began walking was because pilgrimage was already a rich and deep life-metaphor for me.
Pilgrimage is about becoming deeply present to the here-and-now, to what is right in front of you.
As you ease into the rhythm of the walk, you start to see more, hear more, smell more! It’s a spiritual practice that is deeply embodied – you are walking outwardly even as you take an internal walk to the truest places within you. And it’s a practice that allows us to start to see the sacred in the ordinary – a phrase that has become one of the key touchstones of my life.
The poet, Hafiz, has an extraordinary poem, which begins, “Now is the time to know / That all that you do is sacred.” What might out lives look like if we lived as if that were true?
Would you like to journey with me? When you sign up at the link below, you’ll receive four emails – one for each of the days I was meant to be on pilgrimage – beginning on 19th May.
Each email will contain a short introduction to a practice connected with pilgrimage, and then some ways you can do it that day. Two of those emails will include a guided meditation – one that you can use to do a mini-pilgrimage of your own neighbourhood, and one to help you journey inward into your own soul landscape.
“Many believe a pilgrimage is about going away but it isn’t; it is about coming home. Those who choose to go on pilgrimage have already ventured away from themselves; and now set out in a longing to journey back to who they are.”– L.M. Browning
If this sounds like something you would value, I’d love for you to sign up below. I am sad not to be walking the Cornish pilgrim paths, but I know pilgrimage still has something meaningful to give us in this lockdown season too.
UPDATE: the sign up for this Lockdown Pilgrimage is now closed, but if you were hoping to take part and just heard about it a little late, please sign up to my mailing list – if there is enough interest, I might run it again this summer, or I may find another way to share the content with you. Thank you so much for your interest!