Saturday, 4 September 2010
What A Journey - Or Perhaps A Pilgrimage?
"The map is not the territory" is one of those phrases I've found to be very useful over the years - although I must confess to not totally understanding it at times! The map? Or the phrase? Well, both to be honest. For now, though, my personal take on it is this. You can trace a journey, you can plan a route - but it rarely turns out to be anything like the actual experience!
For the past few weeks, you see, I've had a grin on my face that matches the warmth I now feel in my heart, in my body and in my soul - through and through. Nourishing. Comforting. Safe, secure and happy in my own skin. That elusive 'something' I seem to have spent my whole lifetime searching for is finally mine. For keeps. No matter what happens any more.
Those who know me will vouch for the fact that I've long since dreamed of completing the Camino Trail Pilgrimage - through France and on to Spain - after being inspired years ago by Shirley Maclaine's book The Camino. Raw and honest, it charts her own pilgrimage on that very trail, and it's held a huge fascination for me ever since. The place I live in France is very close to the trail, and is filled with history, mystery and magic, for it's a place where the Templar Knights once had a strong hold. I hadn't realised this at the time we moved here, of course, but it does make some sense to me now in explaining the instant 'pull' I felt for the place that since that moment has been my home for over seven years!
Today I decided to look back over some of my earlier blogs, and it's blatantly obvious to me now that I've already completed my own personal Camino Trail right here - without even leaving my home. For the journey I've taken, the trials and challenges I've overcome along the way, have surely led me to this sense of peace that I now know was always my birthright - and I also believe to be the birthright of each and every one of us.
I used to believe that if I ever found true happiness then it was time to die - for what else could there be? Why else would we continue to live - to search, to journey - once we'd found the Holy Grail? But I was wrong. And to be fair, how on earth could I have known how it would be until I experienced it for myself? Yet in searching for it, I'm now certain I was also subconsciously holding myself back. The irony doesn't escape me.
Since that incredible Saturday afternoon at the festival, that moment when I received the gift of love, I have changed. And there's no going back. I've felt it in my soul - yes, I've chosen to fight the feeling on a few occasions since then, but no more. Peace is now my natural way of being - and it feels amazing! Since then, when I've spoken to people on the phone, or seen them face to face, my friends have all confirmed what I already knew to be true - that I've transformed. That I'm now calm. No more Tigger-like bouncing. No more manic enthusiasm. Just peace. Calm. And gentleness. Don't get me wrong, the enthusiasm has by no means diminished - no, far from it. My optimism and positivity have grown beyond my wildest dreams. It's just that now I've just somehow managed to let it all in properly - to finally be it. To accept it and allow it to nourish me - in the way that nature intended.
"You sound very different!" were some of the first words my wise friend Kathy said to me during a telephone conversation just last week. "Your voice has totally changed!" exclaimed Audrey, who normally expects me to greet her calls with bounce and energy. "You look different - kind of shiny!" was a comment from Gillian when I saw her a couple of weeks ago. And I know it to be true. I feel that I'm radiating peace and happiness now. I know that I'm finally in the place I've always wanted to be - but I don't 'want' any more - because now at last I 'have' it. Does that make sense?
The journey has been rough. I've been to the darkest recesses of my soul. I've faced my demons - emotional and physical. And yes, it's true, there have been times when I thought I'd never come through. Times when I feared I would succumb to insanity - or worse. But now I've reached this place of peace, I can look back over whatever got me here, hold my hand on my heart and give thanks to every single one of the challenges that I've met along the way. Thank each and every body-blow. Thank each time I've been knocked off my feet, winded, wounded and wailing from the pain. Because now I've found salvation. I don't wish to sound all evangelical here, but I truly do believe I've found the light. And now so many of the ancient texts make perfect sense to me - no longer just as a 'theory' or a 'story' but as an absolute truth. Because now I feel it for myself.
Now I feel cleansed. I know that nothing now can harm me. I am safe. I am secure. And I am absolutely determined to share my experiences with fellow travellers - and aid them along their own pathway in every way I possibly can. This is my life's purpose - it's taken over 45 years for me to find my own peace. Let's hope my experiences can help others to achieve their goal in a shorter time.
I've started now, and I'm absolutely poised. Ready, willing and able to do whatever is required of me - because something bigger than me now flows through my soul and is already radiating in my life. Relationships are reaching new depths - friends, family, and of course my connection with Stuart, my own Templar Knight. Brand new projects are coming my way - exciting and meaningful projects I would not have dreamed of being possible just a few short months ago. I feel very blessed. Very lucky. And everywhere I look I know I am very, very loved.
Bless you and thank you - to every single person who's accompanied me along my pilgrimage. You all know who you are, and you all have a very special place in my heart - for ever.