Greeting precious friends,
Time is moving in such a strange paradoxical way. If we consider the outrageous flow of information, especially misinformation, and the constant breaking news, and the tsunami waves of panic and fear, then time appears to be moving at a whole new speed.
And it doesn’t feel like the speed of love. It feels like the speed of fear. And this speed does not feel good.
And yet, at the exact same time, as we sit in our houses, for many, time seems to be moving very very slowly. Interminable waiting. Endless questions: when can I go out, when can I go back to work, when will things go back to normal? And there are no answers, so for many, waiting doesn’t feel good either.
I’m somewhere else, somewhere in another time frame. I’m not wracked with fear. And I’m quite content with waiting at home.
Sure, my plans, like yours, all went kerflooey. Move to New York? That’s not going to happen this year. Travel to Scotland in September? That’s probably not going to happen. Go to my son’s law school graduation? Nope. Invite friends in to see my renovated house. Nope. Continue with Sunday yoga in my living room. Nope. Celebrate my 72nd birthday at the festival Clark Strand and Perdita Finn create every June in Woodstock New York. Nope.
Lots of things are being erased off my calendar. And I’m totally at peace with that.
In part, because I am a pure introvert. It’s easy for me to be alone in my house reading and journaling and writing and teaching. This is my normal. So maybe in part that’s why I’m not suffering so much. But I sense it’s much deeper than just being an introvert.
Although the things I planned aren’t going to happen, something is. Something that is much bigger than anything I could have planned. Something more meaningful. And more sacred.
That something is a pilgrimage.
Mind you, this wasn’t my idea. As so often happens with me, the Divine Feminine bypasses my conscious waking hours when my mind might refute or refuse or confuse Her message. Instead, when She really wants to get something across, She wakes me gently in the night and whispers in my left ear.
You’ve heard me tell the story of hearing “prayer artist” in 2018. I’ve heard the names of my shows, titles of books, important teachings…
I pay attention to whatever comes through in the night. And it’s always something I could never have come up with on my own.
So ten days ago, I heard “it’s a pilgrimage.”
There are just a few problems with this announcement.
First, I’ve never been on a pilgrimage.
In fact, truth be told, I’ve been a tad jealous of people who’ve walked the Camino in Spain or traveled to Glastonbury or Mary Magdalene’s cave in France or trekked across Italy visiting Black Madonnas. But I told myself I never had the time or money.
Second, I don’t really know what it takes to do a pilgrimage. Or even what a pilgrimage is.
Sure, I know the general definition: travel with a sacred intention to a sacred spot. But I don’t really know how one knows where they want to go, or how to prepare, or what to bring, or what to expect. Or how they’ll feel when they return.
And so, given that I haven’t gone on a pilgrimage and haven’t a clue how to prepare for one, how in the world am I to create one when we’re all in quarantine in our homes?
And so, She woke me up three nights in a row with instructions. Each night a wee bit more. I guess She knew this was way beyond my current understanding, so She’s spoon feeding me and waking me up with resources.
For example. I woke one night remembering Estelle Frankel whose book, The Wisdom of Not Knowing was the only book I took with me when I evacuated for hurricane Irma September of 2017. That book was a balm for my soul.
Because the answer to every question anyone could ask was: I don’t know. And becoming friends with “I don’t know” is grace itself.
I immediately contacted Estelle and she will be my guest on Episode 27 on Praying at the Speed of Love coming April 16.
Then, two days ago, I was awakened with the memory that I had interviewed Phil Cousineau in 2013 on my first show, The Soul-Directed Life, for his book, The Art of Pilgrimage. I went straight to my bookshelves and there it was, waiting for me to remember.
I started rereading it, and, well, it is perfect—simply perfect—for a pilgrimage not to a sacred place on the planet but to an even more sacred home in the heart.
Then, last night I got my instructions for how to begin.
The first thing I heard in the dark surprised me: It takes stamina and rhythm to walk a pilgrimage.
But think about it. If you decided to walk the Camino, you’d be walking for 500 miles. My goddess, how much stamina would that take?
And to maintain that pace, you’d have to find a new rhythm to your days. Everything would be different from your life at home. New time and way to rise. Pack. Eat. Pray. Walk. Rest. Walk some more. Rest some more. New time to stop and new place to sleep. After a few days this new rhythm would be your normal. And when the pilgrimage was over, returning to your “normal” life back home would feel very strange indeed.
So OK, we need stamina and a new rhythm of life.
Well. Do you see? We are already in a new normal.
A normal that the epidemiologists are indicating will last a minimum of 16 weeks. No one really knows, of course, but the head of the local medical school in Tampa was on the front page of the paper this week explaining that it will take that long for a sufficient number of people to build antibodies. And if we can find out who those people are, they can then go back to work.
Can you stay home for 16 weeks? Through the end of July?
That’s going to take stamina.
- Stamina to sit with what is.
- Emotional and psychological stamina to allow this new way of living to become your new normal.
- Stamina to sit with not knowing.
How are you going to do that? By following your body into a new rhythm of life. No more alarm clock shoving you out the door to race to work.
Unless you are in healthcare or any of the essential businesses.
And if that’s you, please know that every single one of us honors your brave willingness to work right now. Like the people in Italy who applaud the healthcare workers every evening at 8pm, we applaud you not just once a day but all day long. Every single one of us is holding you in our prayers. May you be guided and held and loved.
- But for the rest of us, the rush at the beginning of the day can stop.
- The endless to-do list can be put down.
- The packed calendar can be erased.
- The relentless performance goals can be ignored.
So now what?
Well, it just so happens I’ve been here before.
When my divorce turned violent and I stayed home with the blinds shut so I wouldn’t be the victim of a drive-by shooting, and my clients disappeared, and my savings disappeared, and most of my “friends” disappeared, and I was left alone in my house with no clients, no projects, no income, and no goals, just my son and me. I discovered deep soul writing.
And with nowhere to go and nothing to do, I picked up a pen every day. Every single day. And poured out my heart. Page after page after page. And I received exactly the guidance I needed in the moment. Step by step. Day by day. Month by month. Right into a whole new writing and teaching career that still makes my heart sing every day.
I didn’t recognize the painfully empty space of my divorce as a pilgrimage at the time. But I do now.
So, maybe I do know a thing or two about how to structure a pilgrimage.
And—surprise—I didn’t know it, but the pilgrimage has already started.
It began in January when I received the name of the first prayer intensive of the year:
The Radical Path of Love Hidden in Your Brainwaves.
Those words, radical path, have continued to show up in the title of every intensive this year:
The Radical Path of Love Hidden in Your Brainwaves—January
The Radical Path of the Divine Feminine Hidden in the Rosary—March
The Radical Path of Shechinah Revealed in the Tree of Life—coming in May
“Radical Path” sure sounds like our quarantine-pilgrimage, don't you think.
So, I contacted some radical mystics and we are putting together prayer intensives between now and the end of July to help us all walk this radical internal path of at-home-pilgrimage.
- Emma Kupu Mitchell and I are meeting this week to plan: The Radical Path of Healing with Chiron Your Inner Shaman—coming as fast as we can produce it!
- I talked to Kahu Lahela in Hawaii yesterday and she’s on fire to create: The Radical Path of Forgiveness in Ho’oponopono in June.
- Meghan Don who led us in two profound intensives last year with Mary Magdalene is now living in Ireland and we're working together on her writing calendar to find a spot to bring The Magdalene into our pilgrimage.
- And just today in the shower, I received a sweet nudge to record short segments reading Writing Down Your Soul on video. You’ve always wanted me to record it, well…. here I am with time to create it.
And so the pilgrimage has begun.
I invite you to look at this time of quarantine, this time of sheltering at home, not as a problem to solve, but as a sacred invitation to walk the pilgrimage you’ve always wanted to take.
The internal sacred pilgrimage into your own heart to hear and embrace and embody the truth you are here to discover and express.
to walking the most sacred pilgrimage of all--the pilgrimage into our holy hearts,
PS: Our time of pilgrimage got off to an incredible start with Dr Christine Page as she taught us how to enter our bodies to connect with Divine Feminine energy and wisdom. That's where the healing lives. The pilgrimage truly is within. You can still register and I'll send you the recordings immediately.