“One and one-half wandering Jews, free to wander wherever they choose. Are traveling together in the Sangre de Christo, The Blood of Christ Mountains, of New Mexico. On the last leg of a journey they started a long time ago. The arc of a love affair. Rainbows in the high desert air. Mountain passes slipping into stone. Hearts and bones. Hearts and bones.” ~ Paul Simon – “Hearts and Bones”
Pilgrimage is an important part of the spiritual life. Pilgrimage is a voyage into trust and letting go. It’s a hope to meet God in a new way. To be present to each step of the way because each step is new. In Celtic spirituality there is a tradition of peregrinatio – “wandering for the love of God.” Peregrinatio is different than a pilgrimage because it is a journey into the unknown without plans or destination.
On Thursday I fly out to New Mexico in answer to a call I have felt for years. My trip is part pilgrimage, part peregrinatio. I have a destination and a few places I’d like to visit and things I’d like to do – the Georgia O’Keefe Museum and the church with the unsupported spiral staircase in Santa Fe, and the mass ascension of hot air balloons at the festival in Taos. I tried to book a horseback riding trip but the season is closed. I signed up for a float down the Rio Grande but it may be too cold. So for a few days I have no set plans.
As someone who likes a little bit of planning, this makes me nervous.
In her book, Soul of a Pilgrim, Christine Valters Paintner writes, “The spiritual journey calls us out into the wild places where God is not tamed and domesticated. We are asked to release our agendas and discover the holy direction for our lives.”
I’m bringing some paper and a travel set of watercolors. My journal and favorite pen are coming along too. And my computer in case I’m inspired to write. Part of this call is creative. I know the Sangre De Christo mountains and surrounding mesas play an important role in my next novel, but I’m not sure how. In my wandering, I will listen and feel and drink in whatever the spirit of the land has to show me.
Two weeks ago I filed for divorce. Now, as I continue to re-create my life, I’m answering this pilgrim call to head out into the wild, untamed yearnings of my soul and listen for the voice of God in a new way. To hear it in my heart and in my bones.
To help honor this journey I will take next week off from the blog. You’ll hear from me again in November. In the meantime, enjoy Autumn, listen for what is calling to you in your own life, and give yourself the gift of response.
Go in Peace.