“The world as pure object is something that is not there. It is not a reality outside us for which we exist. . . . It is a living and self-creating mystery of which I am myself a part, to which I am myself, my own unique door.” Thomas Merton, from Contemplation in a World of Action
Tomorrow I leave on pilgrimage. I’m going to Dr. Clarissa Pinkola Estes’ training on Original Voice, Storytelling: “Rowing Songs for the Night-Sea Journey”. Dr. Estes, author of Women Who Run with the Wolves, is my beloved mentor, and this is a writing intensive which will focus on retrieving our archetypal and ancestral stories. Sounds intense, and I’m properly awed, respectful, and in preparation.
The intensive starts Thursday and ends next Tuesday, in Colorado, but I must travel in stages. Tomorrow a dear friend will drive me to Great Falls, Montana where I will catch a plane to Denver on the following day, Wednesday. I’ll spend the night in Boulder, CO, then on Thursday make my way to the event venue. On the way home I’ll again spend an extra night in Colorado, then fly back to Great Falls and drive home (3 hours) after that. All of this travel is certainly an ordeal, but doing it this way makes it possible for me to go. It’s physically just too much for me to try to do all the traveling in one day. As is, I’ll need lots of motion sickness pills plus extra pain meds. (I’ve been to other trainings with Dr. Estes at the same venue, so I know of which I speak!)
So why do I do it? It’s worth it. In addition to whatever knowledge and wisdom I may get through the event, the entire process is a pilgrimage within to my deepest self, where I will hopefully be able to define anew how and why I choose to live as I do, within the responsibilities and limitations that are the givens in my life. While there is much out of my control, I know that how I frame the story of my life, where I define my priorities and subsequently choose my intention that will suffuse all my actions, creates — at least partially — my experience. This is one way I make meaning, and make soul.
Lately I’ve been caught up in writing educational program plans, doing far too many errands, and trying too hard to use all my 40% off coupons for Michael’s. (With painting and art journaling, there’s always something else I think I need!) The internet has swallowed too many hours of my life, and I’m not quite living the contemplative life that I know will allow me to thrive.
Sometimes you have to go away in order to find yourself at home again. How do you find your self’s door into this living and self-creating mystery that Merton speaks of?
Note: I won’t be posting next week. I’ll be home on September 26 and I’ll connect with you after that.
Blessings to all of you in ways that you most need and can most recognize,