Tuesday, October 6, 2009

Sacred Sites









Chartes Cathedral, Notre Dame, Iona, Glendalough. I have several friends, both on the blogosphere and in real life, who are beginning a journey of pilgrimage to these sacred sites. There is certainly a part of me that thrills to the notion of visiting these sites myself some day, but for now, I am called just to contemplate the idea of pilgrimage and how I might experience it without ever leaving home.

I have quoted, many times, the definition of pilgrim that Macrina Weiderkehr wrote in one of her books. She said that to be a pilgrim in this world means living in the tension between who I am and who I really want to be. In this image I am always on the journey, at times being pulled back to old behaviors and thought patterns, but inexplicably and continually drawn forward.

I also recall what Hafiz said about pilgrimage…

I felt the need for

A great pilgrimage.

So I sat still for three days

And God came to me.

And I think, three days!? In this next few weeks of my life there is not opportunity for three days of stillness. But I am very sure that I have 30 minutes and possibly even three hours of stillness that I could schedule for myself. Would God come to me in 30 minutes? In three hours?

The dictionary says that a pilgrim is one who journeys to a sacred place. But does that place need to be a geographical or material place? Or could I possibly journey to a place that is within me? Like an ancient and beautiful cathedral there is a sacred place in me that holds and nurtures my most important relationships. Three of those relationships are calling for my deepest love and attention right now. This is the place to which I will make my pilgrimage. Over these next few weeks as my friends attend to beautiful sights and enlivening energy, I will be turning into myself, sitting still, waiting for God to come to me.

What feels sacred inside you right now? How will you lovingly attend to it?

10 comments:

Tess said...

God once came to me in the first few seconds of a meditation. And I spent the remaining 29 minutes trying to recapture the experience rather than just allowing it to BE. There's something in this allowing that's really important, I think.

Great post.

Suz said...

My sacred place is Paha Sapa, the Black Hills of South Dakota, the Sioux Indian sacred place. I am from South Dakota and lived and worked at a residential treatment in the Black Hills for ten years. I always felt the power there but I also felt there was something sacred in the Hills that helped cure our children.

Creating is sacred in me right now. I am spending time each day working on art and craft projects, some just for me, some as gifts. In this way I am able to gift both myself and others.

Thank you, Rebecca, for your letting me know about your site. I still intend to read your other one. It sounds like a VERY important trip!



Suz

Macrina said...

Oh yes Rebecca! I salute the pilgrim within and the sacred site within. I believe there are many such pilgrims out there in the hearts of the multitudes unaware of their inner sacred sites--yet longing for the Mystery.

Rebecca Johnson said...

Hi Tess, I really do know (and I am very sure that our friend Hafiz knew this as well) that God doesn't come to me, since God is always present. It is I who must "come" to me and therefore to God. That happens in the stillness and the allowing. Thank you.

Rebecca Johnson said...

Suz, Imagining your sacred place gave me chills. Really, goose bumps rose up on my arms and tears came to my eyes as my spirit somehow experienced your sacred space along with you. A tiny bit of it was imparted to me. And thank you for reminding us that every time we sit down to give our full attention to creating, we are on holy ground. Love...

Rebecca Johnson said...

Macrina, I hope that I didn't butcher your quote too badly. Can you remind me which book that it was in? Was it A Tree Full of Angels? And yes, my prayers are with all of those who are looking for the sacred sites inside of themselves. I know that longing that they carry and also the joy and peace in beginning to come home to myself. Love....

Nichol said...

I really enjoyed this blog but I must say that the line...''Three days!'' still has me smiling. I can totally hear you saying that...LOL

Rebecca Johnson said...

Nichol, I enjoyed my three hour pilgrimage so much today that I really, really want to make it 3 days next time!

lucy said...

what a beautiful and blessed post. for me the word pilgrimage seems to be everywhere these days. thank you for the wonderful quotes and adding a depth to my ongoing understanding (and journey).

wishing you moments, hours, days and a lifetime of space for god to come.

Rebecca Johnson said...

Lucy,

And may all of your sacred "sights" be blessed. Pilgrimage is such a spacious word. Can't wait to hear what it comes to mean for you.