Speaking Point: As humans are creatures of habit, it’s easy to fall into a rut. In these ruts you can feel discontent that your options are limited, or that life suddenly seems harder than it used to. The longer you remain in the repetitive cycle of your daily routine, the more deeply wedged into the rut you get. Especially during these times, taking a pilgrimage can transform your outlook and bring energy into your life.
Speaking Point: Many people are familiar with the idea of a sabbatical, an extended time away from work to refocus and gain clarity on professional issues. A sabbatical often lasts up to a year and may involve spending time abroad or in a remote part of the country. While similar to a sabbatical, a pilgrimage is more of a personal inner journey for a shorter time span, one to two weeks at most. It’s also a low-budget trip that you can do anywhere. You could use a pilgrimage to get inspired and discover (or rediscover) what you really want to do with your life.
Speaking Point: When you embark on a pilgrimage, you’re going back to ground zero, finding your soul’s calling and understanding what will make you happy. For example, if you’ve always had the desire to paint but never acknowledged it or taken it seriously, take an art pilgrimage! This pilgrimage is the perfect time to take an art class or simply set up a studio in your garage and start painting without distractions.
Speaking Point: Any successful pilgrimage requires a little planning. Whenever people take some time off, whether it’s for a vacation, a sabbatical, or a pilgrimage, one of the most challenging things is letting go and making the most of the time off. Have you ever been on a vacation where you “wasted” the first few days because you didn’t know how to disconnect from your job and leave your cares behind? You’re not alone. Don’t let this same thing happen on your pilgrimage. Disconnect from your worries or challenges and focus on your inner soul, your creativity, and your passion.
Speaking Point: While going away to another location is preferable for a pilgrimage, you can stay in your hometown (and even your own home) and still have a successful experience. To go back to the painting example, you could decide to clear out a space in your home and set up your easel and paint supplies. Then every day during your pilgrimage, you would paint. Yes, it takes discipline to successfully pull yourself away from your work and daily routine, but it is doable.
Speaking Point: Do a meditation every morning and set your intention for each day to benefit the most from your pilgrimage. For example, day one’s intention could be to let your body and mind completely relax while on day two it’s to feed your creativity, etc. When you set a clear intention for your day, you’re more likely to accomplish it.
Speaking Point: Journal writing is another great way to tap into your deepest thoughts and bring them to the surface. When keeping a journal, don’t pressure yourself. This will only stifle your creativity and thoughts. Instead, write down a sentence every three hours. After each sentence, feel and become aware of what’s going on in your mind, body, and soul. Wait a few moments. If nothing else comes, then don’t write any more than that one sentence. On the other hand, if thoughts start flooding your brain, write it all out. Use your journal writing as a way of taking inventory of your thoughts, your feelings, and your life.
Speaking Point: Whatever you do, don’t waste your pilgrimage experience and insights by going back to your regular life and resuming where you left off, as if nothing had happened. Keep the momentum going. Reread the journal you kept and look for those “a-ha” moments—those insights that speak to your soul. Ask yourself, “What can I do with this to bring it back to my life?”
Speaking Point: Then, set up a calendar of how you want your life to look. For example, perhaps you discovered that painting, being in nature, or music is what moves your soul and feeds your creativity and passion. Block out time in your calendar so that you’re painting, gardening, or playing piano on certain days. Yes, you schedule it in just as you would an important business meeting. Being in touch with yourself is just as important as anything else you would book in your calendar.
Speaking Point: Use the time you invested in yourself to make long-term changes that positively impact your life. This process is about recognizing how you can alter your consciousness and break out of your habits for a dramatic transformation. You can make that sorely needed shift by investing time and money into that pilgrimage that will change your life.