Category Archives: Curiosity

Pilgrimage: From the Comfort of Your Cozy Armchair

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Perhaps you find yourself in circumstances that don’t allow you to go anywhere for a pilgrimage.

No worries! You can enjoy one from the comfort of your cozy armchair!

Your library or favorite bookstore is loaded with memoirs with the theme of “A Year of…” These are a few that I’ve enjoyed:

Year of Yes by Shonda Rhimes
My Year with Eleanor by Noelle Hancock,
365 Thank Yous by John Kralik
Thrive by Arianna Huffington
Confessions of a Secular Jesus Follower by Tom Krattenmaker
Holy Rover by Lori Erickson

The Internet is filled with images of Holy Sites, Shrines, as well as photos and videos of the wonders of the natural world. Here are a few websites to check out:

American Religious Sites

Huffington Post’s suggestions 

BBC’s suggestions

National Park Foundation

National Parks in the USA 

 

Also, you can refresh yourself with an afternoon of surfing sites related to activities and hobbies you enjoy. Here is one I’ve enjoyed surfing:

YouTube.com

Let me know the interesting pilgrimages you’ve taken from the comfort of your favorite cozy armchair! Thanks!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,
Lauren

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Pilgrimage: Why?

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Why make a pilgrimage either secular, religious, or spiritual?

Because of the following reasons:

Healing

Discovery

Connecting

Re-connecting

Closure

Letting Go

New Direction

Inward Focus

Fulfillment

Refocusing

Uncluttering

Simplifying

Groundedness

Remembering

Seeking

Finding

Community

Solitude

Encounters

Opening

Embracing

Wisdom

Self

Others

Endings

Beginnings

Limits

Limitless

Revitalize

Rejuvenate

Just Because

You Have No Idea Why…

 

The motivations are as varied, as individual, and as unique as you. There is no right or wrong explanation just as there is no right or wrong way to “do” or to “have” a pilgrimage. What ever, where ever, and how ever is meaningful–even sacred–to YOU is all that matters.

What are intentions for a pilgrimage that appeal to you? Feel free to share in the comments below. Thanks!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren

Pilgrimage: What Is It?

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When we say or hear the word pilgrimage we think of some sort of religious or spiritual journey. We may think of Chaucer’s Canterbury Tales or the medieval practice of visiting Camino de Santiago de Compostela and other Holy Shrines, or we may have images of people of today crawling on their knees up steep hills and along sheer cliffs as they follow in the footsteps of their prophets, sages, and holy people. Also, the word pilgrimage may conjure images of travel to Israel, India, Asia, or other distant lands.

As I alluded to in yesterday’s post, going on a pilgrimage does not have to be religious and you don’t have to travel anywhere, either domestically or to foreign lands. Your pilgrimage can take place in the midst of your every day life. In fact, there are websites dedicated to digital pilgrimages.

I also think that you don’t have to prepare for your pilgrimage–there is no elaborate practice or ceremony or blessing required.

To me, a pilgrimage–whether you stay where you are or if you travel to a far-flung place or if you visit a Holy Site–is all about the inner journey and how it opens your mind, spirit, heart, and soul to discovering and connecting with and honoring the Divine within. And, in so doing, you discover, connect with, and honor the Divine within all creation.

In other words, you can start right here, right now, right where you are. I encourage you to do this now.

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren

Self Care: Pilgrimages

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Think of the act of self caring as making a pilgrimage to feed and nurture that part of you–those parts of you–that gets dismissed and trampled by every day Life.

The pilgrimage doesn’t have to be traveling to a Holy Site, a basilica in a far-off country complete with a centuries-dead saint’s relics; the pilgrimage only has to be holy to you. This is what elevates self-indulgence to an act of self-care.

A pilgrimage of self-care is a form of honoring, connecting with, and even consecrating the place within you that is deep, rich, and eternal.  

Sometimes I need to sit on my deck at night or in the early morning and gaze at the stars in astonished wonder at the exquisite magnificence of the heavens. Other times I need the camaraderie of my family or my very good friends. At another time, I may need the nurturing comfort of a bowl of soup that I’ve made from scratch or the sustenance of a freshly baked batch of cookies made from a recipe handed down from my mother.

Then there are times when all I need is to take a breather by gazing out my window and daydreaming, or pulling out my bottle of bubbles and filling the air with shimmering, iridescent bubbles.

My pilgrimage of self-care morphs and shifts to what I need in the moment. It’s all good!

For instance, my pilgrimage today is reading. I’m reading a book about an autistic person’s experience and fascination with language, and another book on a person’s spiritual journey.

Of course there are those who would say that nothing good will come of this reading: these aren’t books to choose if you’re looking for entertainment; they aren’t books that I can somehow use to further my career by making my skills and knowledge more marketable.

But they’re feeding me and nurturing that part of me that’s feeling pushed to the side and overlooked.

They make me see the world from another’s point of view. My mind considers ideas I wouldn’t have had on my own. As I go about my other tasks today, I ponder a sentence, a phrase, or a whole thought from each of the books. I know I’ll continue to do this in the weeks and months to come. I know this pondering and considering will lead to insights that will smooth some of the rough spots on my path or show me beauty and goodness I would have otherwise been blind to.

So, if eating gourmet chocolate while sipping a fine wine is an activity that restores calm, peace, and balance in your life; if it fills you with hope and reinforces your belief that beauty, love, and goodness in all forms out-weigh the negative in the world, then I say you’re on the right track.

What self-care pilgrimage are you currently on? Feel free to share in the comments below. Thanks!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren

Spirituality: What I’ve Discovered

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I came across a the summary of the most recent Pew Research Survey on Religion and Spirituality in America. What the researchers discovered is something I’ve noticed in my own corner of the world: my friends, my family, and my own views. The report states that religiosity is declining in America but spirituality is increasing.

This is something I’ve found to be true in my own sphere. While my friends and family have developed–and are continuing to deepen–a reverence for life and they accept that there is a spark of the divine in all of us, they are not regularly attending Worship Services of any kind.

My friends’ interest in reading Holy Books, inspired writings, and of attending centering prayer circles and the like has increased. And, my friends are much more apt to talk about feelings of awe, wonder, and gratitude from a spiritual perspective–one that accepts there is some sort of Consciousness that supports and nurtures us all.

An interesting note to the research is that the people who claim affiliation with a religious belief system is stable. The reason there is a decrease in religiosity and increase is spirituality is not because of people leaving organized religion but rather that as the older generation, who make up the majority of people claiming affiliation, pass away, the younger generations, who generally are the unaffiliated, are not stepping into those now vacant positions.

Whether it’s because of the strong views of the affiliated or the growing spiritualism, I’ve observed in my corner of the world that, overall, people are becoming more respectful of others’ belief systems and more accepting of the idea that there’s more than one path to the Divine. And that’s a good thing!

What have you noticed regarding the spirituality and/or religiosity of your friends and family over the years? Whether you live in the United States or not, I’m interested to know if you’ve noticed the same trends in your country or region of the United States.

Thanks for sharing in the comments below!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren

Home Stretch 2017: Four Inspiring Poems

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Today, as we end September and leave the third quarter of 2017, let’s enjoy four poems that remind us about what’s truly important in life.

 

KEEP TO THE RIGHT

Keep to the right, within and without,

With stranger and pilgrim and friend;

Keep to the right and you need have no doubt

That all will be well in the end.

Keep to the right in whatever you do,

Nor claim but your own on the way;

Keep to the right, and hold on to the true,

From the morn to the close of life’s day!

~Unkown

 

I RESOLVE

To keep my health;

To do my work;

To live;

To see to it that I grow and gain and give;

Never to look behind me for an hour;

To wait in meekness, and to walk in power;

But always fronting onward, to the light,

Always and always facing toward the right.

Robbed, starved, defeated, fallen, wide-astray—

On, with what strength I have—

Back to the way.

—Charlotte Perkins Stetson.

 

IN MYSELF

I do not ask for any crown

But that which all may win;

Nor try to conquer any world

Except the one within.

Be thou my guide until I find

Led by a tender hand,

The happy kingdom in myself

And dare to take command.

—Louisa May Alcott.

 

WAS IT YOU?

Somebody did a golden deed;

Somebody proved a friend in need;

Somebody sang a beautiful song;

Somebody smiled the whole daylong;

Somebody thought, “‘Tis sweet to live.”

Somebody said, “I’m glad to give”;

Somebody fought a valiant fight;

Somebody lived to shield the right;

Was it you?

~Unknown

 

Enjoy the day!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren

 

Home Stretch 2017: How Will You Keep Yourself Motivated?

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After our discussions so far this week, you’re probably excited about achieving at least one of your goals by the end of this year.

What will you do, though, when you hit the inevitable rough patches?

For instance:

~Not having as much time as you thought:

Remember, several holiday celebrations are coming in the next few months and your time might get swallowed up in preparations as well as the many parties that you’re invited to;

 

~Feeling discouraged or sad about the slowness of your progress:

As December approaches, you may find that you haven’t made as much progress as you thought and you are at serious risk of not achieving the goal you selected this week;

 

~Worry

This is turning out to be harder than you thought and you may be wondering if it’s all too much for you;

 

~Frustration:

Perhaps you keep running into roadblocks, challenges, and setbacks….

 

When you find yourself in a rough patch, naturally you’ll turn to the tools we devised this week: your visualizations, your affirmations, and your habits and routines. You may find that you’ve been a little slack in one of these areas–not taking full advantage of these tools–and with a little tweaking, you can get yourself through the rough patch.

What if that doesn’t work–or if it works only a little. What do you do then?

Today, make a list of the things you can do, the resources available, that you can turn to.

For instance, for technical help–help related to your goal you’re working on–you can turn to a mentor, a colleague who has more experience than you; you can read books, magazines, and reliable information online. You can go to your local library and also the library of a college or university or community college nearest you and ask the reference librarian for assistance in finding help….

For personal help–resources that can help you cope with the emotions and feelings during this time–you can call a trusted friend or loved one for encouragement; you can read inspiring books and biographies; you can meditate; you can listen to uplifting music; taking a nap; going for a walk….

Make this list today while you aren’t in crisis and you can think clearly. Jot down everything you think will help. Keep this list handy and refer to it when the going gets tough.

Help yourself stay motivated! Help yourself to take one more step…!

You can do it!

Your Friend and Pep Pal,

Lauren