What’s a Pilgrimage?

The meaning of a pilgrimage through the eyes of a pilgrim:

The journey takes many forms, there can be a religious aspect to it however it is not a requirement. For me, it has more to do with a personal journey and growth. I don’t subscribe to any particular creed. Be happy, be honest, and be kind. That is my mantra. Finding your true soul is a journey that starts inside of you, therefore any one person’s pilgrimage will not match any other. It starts when you allow it to.

Although the Camino De Santiago is largely rooted in a catholic background, the pilgrims on the route of Saint James are of various backgrounds. Any pilgrimage begins when you allow it to, traditionally from your front door. However the traditional route of St. James starts in St. Jean Pied de Port, France and ends in Santiago, Spain. Spending, on average, thirty days walking from France through to the tip of Spain is not an easy feat for anyone. Especially not when you stick to the true path of a pilgrim, relying on the way to support you through your travels. Breaking down both your physical and mental being and building you up again – much like daily life.

You see, a pilgrimage does not have to be some set trail that has been walked for centuries. A pilgrimage can be you getting up from your chair, going out your back door, and walking to another town or through the woods. It may not have much significance to an outsider however on said walk through the woods you may have reached a personal ‘aha!’ moment that alters the way you view your life forever.

I can’t wait to have a pilgrimage of my own, to travel and reach a true transcendental state must be absolute bliss. Although I’m not so sure I can wait until I find my way back to Europe to complete the Camino. That goal will never leave my mind but I think that some preparation is required. Some cultures and religions believe in yearly pilgrimages; so why can’t I take multiple pilgrimages throughout my life? I can and I will!

I want to call myself a citizen of the world and travel across our earth however when looking at my list (I keep a list of places I have been before) I realize that my focus has always been out of the Americas and I never took the time available to explore the land on which I was born. The land that my parents fell in love in and travelled across both together and alone. I need to experience the Appalachian Mountains and the Continental Divide. I need to see what the Rockies look like and the West Coast. I need to know what it is like to breathe in higher altitude, to truly be cold in the winter, and to see Redwood trees that I can’t wrap my arms around. I wish to hike and camp and build fires in as many states as I can. I want to simulate parts of the Oregon Trail and try to understand what the Gold Rush was like. Stand on old battlefields and put myself in the shoes of the people who fought there.

I am a firm advocate that seeing is believing and believing leads to true understanding. Emerson said, “All life is an experiment. The more experiments you make the better.” I feel that he uses the term experiment precisely because they are meant to be learned from. Scientists create a hypothesis and then conduct experiments to prove their hypothesis is correct or debunk it. But no matter what, any good scientist will always try the experiment.

xxx
Sam

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Meditation is a thing, get with it.

I realize that there are people in the world who think meditation is only for monks and old men. I’m here today to tell you that I am a twenty-four year old woman in America who loves to meditate. The feeling that comes over me when I finish my meditation is like none other. I feel as if I can take on the world and all will be well. It is important to learn to be still with yourself, nature, and the vibrations of the world. Open up your mind and you will open up your world, there is so much out there to discover.

When I first started meditating I was really self-conscious about how I looked or sounded during that fifteen minutes to an hour. Looking back, I can’t help but chuckle. There was never anyone around and even if they were, it is an irrelevant matter. There was a time where I would get so angry with myself when my mind would wander to other things when I told it to be still.  I don’t mind sacrificing a little humility to reach clarity of mind and an appreciation for the life I am fortunate enough to live.

 

So I’ve learned to push my belly out when I breathe, and I’m not concerned with whether I look fat. I hum a little and make bizarre sounds. I’m not afraid to let my mind wander, I’ve learned that it is a natural part of the meditation process. The trick is to simply return my focus on my intended subject and keep on trucking (much like many things in life). I’m positive that if I possess the courage to practice meditation consistently, I will find the effects seeping into all areas of my life.

This friday there is a Global Peace Meditation at Noon EST (see this CONVERTER for your time zone), people all around the world will be simultaneously meditating for peace. What a beautiful, idyllic concept it is to create peace by mind power. It may be cheesy and have tree hugger plastered all over it, but I dig it. I’m trying to get a group of people to meet up in a local park and create a meditation circle to symbolize to peace and unity that we are striving for all around our globe.

Recently, I have reintroduced meditation into my daily routine and I am challenging myself to 100 days of meditation to see if I can tap into my third eye and get back in touch with my path in life. Does anyone want to be my accountability partner and join me in the challenge? It is always nice to know you aren’t the only human left in the world. We all make our slip ups but it is important to continue learning from them and to have a strong base to encourage you and support your endeavor.

Do you meditate? How often? How does it make you feel? What are the benefits that you find? Will you be participating in Friday’s Festivities?

For more myths about meditation check out this post by Bhanu Narasimhan.

xxx Sam

All The World’s A Stage So Live While You Can

 **Italic words are links to more information**

If all the world is a stage then why not live in every corner? Stage left, stage right, center stage. Each section of our world has something new to offer. Tomorrow is not guaranteed to anybody, so why waste such a beautiful day? The sun is up (or maybe it isn’t) and the sky is blue (or gray) it’s beautiful and so are you. No matter what the day holds you can control the way you perceive it. So open your eyes with an attitude of gratitude and take advantage of the beauty hidden in plain sight. You have already conquered so much by greeting the day.

This year has been a rebuild thus far. I’ve been in a strange place for the last couple of years that I think everybody probably goes through. You know, when you are questioning everything and the meaning of life. When wrong becomes right and right becomes… a little of both? Nothing makes sense and everything is clear all at once then you flip it on its head and drastically change everything around you.

I’ve learned how to appreciate everything the universe has brought into my life and to let everything else go. Sometimes you have to accept that some anchors are meant to be cut and it doesn’t make you a bad person, life is a not a simple journey. So far I have learned to appreciate mornings, coffee, organic fruits & veggies, gardening,  weekly beach trips, and sunshine. Writing has come more freely and less forced. Ideas are flowing left and right.

I’m having a strong yearning to explore Africa. For a few months now I have been dreaming day and night about the continent and all that is going on that I can physically help with. Relax, I don’t plan on going all Machine Gun Preacher and getting too involved in the gun slinging. Although my heart breaks for the children of Africa, I feel that my calling is with something a little more peaceful.

I want to help create sustainable resources for the people of Africa to have clean drinking water in an obtainable, natural way. I want to get involved with bringing clean, solar energy to villages that have never had these things before. My goal is to find a way to contribute my skills as a writer, filmmaker, and ability to get my hands dirty to unify and connect the one earth family that I believe in.

When you care for others you will be cared for. I want to make a lasting difference not just in people’s lives but in communities. I can not only be an open mind and pair of willing hands, but I can document and tell the world of the struggles our brothers and sisters face. The time is coming to be a part of the rejuvenation of our world.

The last time I was on Fort Myers Beach, we went on a tour of the Mound House and I learned about a plant that is an african native called the Moringa Tree. The seeds of the Moringa Tree can be used to purify water by crushing them down in bowl and adding the powdery substance to a gallon of water. One seed per gallon, let it sit for twenty four hours. Thats it. This tree is native to a land that is in desperate need of clean water, which leads me to believe the answer lies within. We need to educate the people about the tree and find alternative ways to collect water. These seeds are also a possible source of biodiesel which could be a profitable export for Africa. Another beautiful thing about these trees is that you can harvest them without damaging the tree. So we could plant fields of Moringa Trees and seasonally harvest them without having to replant the trees again. They won’t die.

I’m sure I’m not the first person to think like this, but I don’t want to just be a dreamer; I want to take action as well.  When I was in London, I went to a Michael Franti & Spearhead concert at KOKO. I was so inspired by their song, Hello Bonjour:

I dont need a passport to walk on this earth

Anywhere I go ’cause I was made of this earth

I’m born of this earth, I breathe of this earth 

And even with the pain I believe in this earth

If you watch footage from satellites orbiting the earth, you will be able to see the difference between land and sea – you will even see lights clustered around cities. You won’t see any borders though. We weren’t meant to live so divided. If we are all born of this earth then we are all meant to take care of the earth and other creatures in it. We shouldn’t need a passport to walk through the earth. Why do we need to classify people into little boxes? I understand protection, but protection at the cost of unity and education? that seems preposterous to me.

Until next time.

xxx Sam

 **Italic words are links to more information**