I finished reading the book, A Sense of Direction, by Gideon-Lewis-Kraus, a memoir of the author’s pilgrimage of Camino de Compostela from France to Spain. Added is his solo pilgrimage to the 88 temples in the Japanese island of Shikoku and his religious pilgrimage to Uman with his father and brother.
A friend asked the author to accompany him to do the Camino. On his own the author decided to do the 88 temples and third one he asked his father and brother to go with him.
I found a lot of what Virginia Woolf calls “illuminations”. He writes about seeking forgiveness and forgiving. He cited certain books that he had read that relate to his experiences. What I liked with the book is the author did all 3 pilgrimages for different reasons and circumstances and learned from them and shared them. For me most of all he stayed and finished the pilgrimages. He understood Nietzsche’s “sense of confident resignation” and Camus when he wrote to imagine Sisyphus happy.
“But a life cannot be lived, at least by most people, walking up and down the Camino, walking the circuit of Shikoku until. The real trick, then, to find some ways to recall these feelings of grace and coherence and meaning and forgiveness-for what we gain with this coherence is the ability to forgive, ourselves and others-when the as if has run its course, when Santiago is achieved and you returned to a world where all is conflict and nothing makes itself plain to us, where there is no hope for miraculous intercession, and the people you love most will hurt and disappoint you and you, in turn, will hurt and disappoint them”. For others he writes the memories are there, “perhaps more important, there is the memory of Camino. These are brief encounters with radical acceptance that we do our best to secretly save up in our hearts.” ( from: A Sense of Direction)
Now I have more time for “Behind the Beautiful Forevers” by Katherine Boo.
A young pilgrim met the author and told him, after walking the hardest parts pilgrimage of the Eighty-Eight Temples of Shikoku, what he thought about the rest of the walk “was going to be easy and I didn’t think I’d get any more out of walking.”
The author answered, “Right, but that’s precisely when it gets hardest! Right when you feel like it’s no longer hard, because the hard parts kept it from being truly hard, you know? That’s what so much of this was about for me, at least in the end: continuing to walk when both the discomfort and the novelty have passed. Like, I don’t know, a long term relationship.”
Coaches know about this insight. And others?
Quotations are from: A Sense of Direction by Gideon Lewis-Kraus
photos: from a friend’s yard
“(The) capacity for interior silence is a legacy that all human beings share, not just those who consider themselves religious in the modern world. It is needless reduction of the human spirit to think that one must be a monk with robes and shaved head to access this domain of our human nature. All the better when our immense hunger for an inner spaciousness can be met and heard by the silence emanating from the natural world.”
Kurt Hoelting cited acoustic ecologist Gordon Hempton who tried “to record endangered American soundscapes and the thoughts of ordinary Americans about the importance of quiet in their lives” and published them in his book, One Square Inch of Silence. Hempton “tracked the last strongholds of silence to the Hoh Rain Forest in Olympic National Park” in Washington.
excerpts from Circumference of Home, One Man’s Yearlong Quest For A Radically Local Life, by Kurt Hoelting. I’m half way in the book.
for more photos link to: At Home With Books
Saturday Snapshot is hosted by Alyce of At Home With Books
photo: of Black Canyon (Colorado) taken by Mrs. Abstract on our way to Santa Fe, New Mexico
photo: on our way to the Black Canyon ( I took this one).
“If you came this way,
Taking the route you would be likely to take
From the place you would be likely to come from,
If you came this way in may time, you would find the hedges White again, in May, with voluptuary sweetness.”
-from Little Gidding
photo: an intersection, somewhere in Napa Valley,CA
Reading A Sense of Direction, Pilgrimage for the Restless and the Hopeful by Gideon Lewis-Kraus, led me to Victor Turner, a Scottish anthropologist, and liminality.
“…Turner’s idea was that pilgrimage was possibly the one place in modern life where one had the opportunity to tear oneself away from one’s familiar environments and its tribal divisions. The pilgrim could step outside of all roles and just be a person, someone without responsibilities or expectations or any constraint besides continuous forward movement to a distant goal.” -from the A Sense of Direction by Gideon Lewis-Kraus.
I have read a third of the book and hope to finish it in 2 weeks.
photos: Way of the Cross (Via Dolorosa) to or from the Holy Sepulchre in Jerusalem taken in 2010.
Death is inevitable and a mystery.
Today I attended a funeral service of one of our parishioners. I was touched by the words spoken by the son and the pastor. One of the songs sang was: The Lord is My Shepherd (And I Want to Follow).
The Lord is My Shepherd (And I Want to Follow)
The Lord is my Shepherd, and I want to follow,
wherever he leads me, wherever he goes.
Over the mountains, the waters and by-ways,
valleys and highways he’s waiting for me.
I want to go to meet him there, to lay myself down in his love.
The Lord is my shepherd, and I want to follow,
wherever he leads me, wherever he goes.
And while on the journey to where we are going,
he promised to be there to help us along.
And over the mountains we’ll walk on together,
to know all the wonders he’s given to me
I looked up for the lyrics, music and vocals. Below are links:
“But true emptiness is that which transcends all things and immanent in all…The character of emptiness, at least for a Christian contemplative, is pure love, pure freedom. Love that is free of everything, not determined by anything, or held down by any relationship…It is the sharing, through the Holy Spirit, in the infinite charity of God…This purity, freedom and indeterminateness of love is the very essence of Christianity.”
from: Contemplative Prayer, Thomas Merton