Why pilgrim, why indeed?

Over the last week, I’ve read Phil Cousineau’s “The Art of Pilgrimage.” Tomorrow we commence our pilgrimage. Does the book clarify how best to approach the five-week walk? Well, it turns out Cousineau is mainly airy words that mean little to me but I do extract his essence: a pilgrimage equals some hardship or privation or slog, plus an inner quest. The unifying notion of a holy spot at the end, well, I don’t need that, I can just espouse to stride towards and reach the end.
Cousineau also offers his own recipes for pilgrimaging, and I quite liked them: “Pilgrims are persons in motion – passing through territories not their own – seeking something we might call completion, or perhaps the word clarity will do as well, a goal to which only the spirit’s compass points the way. . . . If it’s impractical to carry a walking stick on your journey, an alternative is to remember to walk barefoot at least once a day. . . . On my journeys, I choose a theme. One of my favorite subjects is roads . . . Try taking a day to brood. . . . If there is a trick to soulful travel, it is learning to see for yourself. The difference between pilgrim and tourist is the intention of attention, the quality of the curiosity.” All well and good but nothing speaks to me.
But I do need some process. All I have is a vague desire to view the pilgrim stamps as my passage to a deeper chapter of meaning, which in practice means sorting out big years, writing goals, etc.; perhaps moving to a deeper understanding of my life with family and friends. I also wish to fully celebrate time on and off track with dear ones. Some notion of curiosity, quite foreign to me these days in tourist mode, lurks as well. Let’s see what transpires.

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