When walking a spiritual path, it can be easy to think you are really good at being in the present moment, letting go of attachment, and all of that holier than thou garbage.
I even wrote about being in the present moment in my last blog! And it’s true that presence is a great antidote to fear of the unknown, something I’ve been working with on this pilgrimage in Italy.
But the ego is clever and cunning. How quickly I adjusted to navigating in an unknown land, and began the process of consuming extraordinary experiences. One. Right. After. The. Other.
While it’s easy for me to judge those who seek to acquire status symbols of material value, my drug of choice is seeking new lands, new sights, new experiences.
So after a week of heart-opening, soul-expanding connection with Pathwork friends on the charming southern coast of Italy, I have driven the spectacular Amalfi Coast, gazed in amazement at the unbelievable view from the top of the island of Capri, walked through the 2000 year old ruins of Pompeii, contemplated the sanctity and inevitability of death in the human bone covered walls of the Crypts of Rome, and survived walking for ten hours on a full day tour through the galleries of the Vatican, the Sistine Chapel, St. Peter’s Basilica, AND the Colosseum, Roman Forum, and Palatine Hill. It has all been amazing.
And I woke up EXHAUSTED today. I wonder why?
From my point of view, vacation is about relaxing. Travel is about learning and discovering. And Pilgrimage is about allowing the journey to transform you from the inside out. And that requires some time to be still, to contemplate, to integrate the experience. So the exhaustion was a pretty good message that I needed to cancel today’s planned activities and do just that. Aside from resting, reading, and journaling, I spent some time walking around a two block radius of my hotel, slowing down to take in the non-touristy, ordinary neighborhood around my hotel.
And to my delight the ordinary became extraordinary!
Isn’t life like that? Isn’t it so easy to stay busy with the have tos, the ought tos, the want tos, that life becomes like a movie on fast forward, devoid of flavor, depth, and richness? Isn’t it tempting to seek the mountaintop experiences, and miss the beauty of the valleys?
For me, there was so much flavor, depth, and richness that it was more than I could take in. I needed to slow down, relax, reflect, and savor the past two weeks. I needed to take time to let the journey imprint its treasure in my heart, instead of accumulating and consuming experiences like trophies.
When we slow down and take in the fullness of each precious moment, we realize there are works of art in our own living room. We can find masterpieces of creation in our own backyard. We can delight in the rich diversity and culture of our own community. We discover beauty in our own hearts, and in connection with those we love.
I invite you to excavate the extraordinary in your life today!
~ Take a contemplative walk around your neighborhood.
~ Make time to play with your children or your pets.
~ Thank someone who has made a difference in your life.
~ Share a cup of coffee and catch up with a friend.
~ Make that new recipe you’ve been wanting to try.
~ Enjoy the sunset with someone you love.
Even in the midst of difficult times (and especially then), there is always treasure to be uncovered, right where you are now. Sometimes it’s a little harder to find than other times, but it is always there, waiting for you. In fact, you ARE that treasure. But you may need to slow down to recognize that truth, to see that it is not only all around you but in every fiber of your being.
I hope you’ll continue to share my pilgrimage of discovery in Italy…who knows what will be unearthed next?
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