The Invisible Path of my Pilgrimage 2016 is coming into vague view, in glimpses, through the fog. I am beginning to see the first steps of the journey. I am also beginning to see some points along the route.
You might ask, “What is she talking about? Why doesn’t she just decide where she will go and be done with it?” And that would be a very good question. A very logical question.
Because, alas…I’m an Explorer. I’m a Discoverer. As a (mostly) right-brainer, I know there is a bigger meaning and I trust the process. I am into the revealing and the AHA. I like not knowing and then knowing. The Cosmic Game of Peek-a-Boo.
(It looks like) I will be starting in Paris, the site of cultural and spiritual experiences I must undergo; as Paris is the City of Love, I’ve invited my Beloved to go with me for my first week in Europe.
And then…into the wilds of my Invisible Path, traveling on my own for a possible total of 10 weeks. I say Invisible because I have information about points on the map to move towards, but nothing else. I say possible because I don’t know if I can last that long away from my sweetie and the comforts of home.
As an artist, I’m familiar with the process of dancing/dialoguing with the Unknown. The Unknown is my constant companion and bedfellow, so I am not concerned about the fact that I am being led by the larger intelligence about where to go, what I’m doing, who I will meet.
My fear is more in line with letting go of my identities as “mother” or “the woman who gave her life to her constituents.” It’s been great and what I was supposed to do, so I have no regrets, whatsoever. But the creative part of me that has been running my life these last 24 years is pretty entrenched, having developed patterns and habits to get through being there for others. The things I will be dropping onto the ground as I walk are these habits.
It’s a funny thing about identities…we can think of them as things we create, but after awhile, they prop us up as much as we prop them up. An identity can become so familiar that we forget we were ever anything other than IT. We inhabit the identity and it becomes a shell which we fill with our life force. But the essence of who we are remains the truth…identities are temporary.
When we feel the prompt to release an identity, it can be anxiety-inducing, even terrifying. Our beliefs about ourselves have become enmeshed with the persona/identity we’ve created, and to have it challenged can feel like the ground under our very feet is shaking. For me, the identity of Mother has so permeated my being that the slipping out of that skin sounds like being truly naked.
Shoring is the process of supporting a building, vessel, structure, or trench with shores (props) when in danger of collapse or during repairs or alterations. Shoring is also used on board a ship when damage has been caused to a vessel’s integrity, and to hold leak-stopping devices in place to reduce or stop incoming water. (Wikipedia)
The idea came to me that identities, habits and patterns are like props or shores, the things we put in place to hold us up. Shores are typically needed when something is in process and needs stabilizing. Sometimes it’s because the integrity of the structure is compromised (it has cracked or sprung a leak, for example). Sometimes, the shores are holding a form that is being built from scratch, like a new retaining wall or a boat. All new things need support as they come into being.
Removal of the shores has to be done carefully…a thorough inspection must be made to determine if the structure can hold itself up without the aid of props. Remove the shores too soon, and the structure collapses; it’s physics. The internal “glue” that holds the structure together has to be set; there must be a certain degree of solidness, or resilience. Safe removal of the shores implies a successful structure.
So how does this apply to a woman who has devoted her life to service to her children (and others,) and created and become comfortable with this identity? I wonder if she is ready to put the ship out to sail under her own power, without the support of “shores” of habits and patterns and props? What happens when she has to stand on her own, for herself? Removing the “props” that have been shoring me up is a frightening prospect. What are my “shores?”
Perhaps, the fact that I am being led to make this pilgrimage to myself implies that the ‘structure‘ is ready to hold herself up. I’m curious who will I be without the aid of my comforts, identities and habits…to learn what I am made of. This is what I hope to find out.
UPCOMING POST: Part of my proposed route is the Camino de Santiago. starting in Le Puy, France. But if the past is any indication, this is could be a way of making me feel comfortable that there is “A Plan”, and could change at any minute. Stay tuned. (UPDATE: As predicted, the route will be revealed to me as I am walking it. HA! Travel with me by subscribing here on my website.)