When we focus on destination we often feel late, behind schedule, or lost. When focus on journey we more often feel a sense of discovery.
I was hiking in Bryce Canyon when another hiker stopped beside me to enjoy the amazing views. Other hikers were passing us by and we realized we were taking this hike very slowly. She said, “You know there are two kinds of hikers–destination hikers and journey hikers.” It was like a lightbulb moment. “Yes,” I said, “I use to be a destination hiker. I would enter the trail and then see how fast I could get to the top, never stopping to look at the beauty that surrounded me.” We were definitely journey hikers at Bryce Canyon–stopping in awe of the hoodoos and spirals. Taking our time to take photos and enjoy the beauty.
As I’ve aged, I’ve become more of a journeyer in all parts of my life. I definitely have to have some destinations to get tasks done, yet I find myself meandering more often enjoying the present moment.
I have a dear friend who leaves next week to hike the entire El Camino de Santiago. She plans to saunter on the trail. The dictionary defines saunter as “To walk in a slow relaxed manner, without hurry or effort.” Preparing for this journey, she has sauntered our city with backpack on her back to build endurance. She says sauntering the city’s neighborhoods, has allowed her to see more of our city than ever before.
How do you move through your day? Is your day filled with destinations, or do you give yourself time to journey? Are you engaged in the present moment or fast forwarding to the next task? As I journey, I discover more about me as well as my environment.
The Dalia Lama answered five questions at the turn of the century. As I reread this today I find it to be even more relevant than in 2000. We are at the end of the second decade of the 21st century and these words soothe me and inform my behavior.
The Dalai Lama was asked five questions.
1. How do we address the widening gap between rich and poor?
2. How do we protect the earth?
3. How do we educate our children?
4. How do we help Tibet and other oppressed countries and peoples of the world?
5. How do we bring spirituality (deep caring for one another) through all disciplines of life.
The Dalai Lama said all five questions fall under the last one. If we have true compassion in our hearts, our children will be educated wisely, we will care for the earth, those who “have not” will be cared for. He was asked, “Do you think loving on the planet is increasing or staying the same?” His response, “My experience leads me to believe that love is increasing.”
He shared a simple practice that will increase loving and compassion in the world. He asked everyone to share it with as many people as they can.
Spend five minutes at the beginning of each day remembering we all want the same things (to be happy and be loved) and we are all connected to one another.
Spend five minutes–breathing in–cherishing yourself, and breathing out–cherishing others. If you think about people you have difficulty cherishing, extend your cherishing to them anyway.
During the day extend that attitude to everyone you meet. Practice cherishing each person you meet as well as your family. A simple smile can bring light to another.
Continue this practice no matter what happens or what anyone does to you. These thoughts are very simple, inspiring and helpful. The practice of cherishing can be taken very deep if done wordlessly, allowing yourself to feel the love and appreciation that already exists in your heart.
May we all take time each day to cherish all the beauty that surrounds us and all the people that bring love and joy to our lives, including ourselves.
The mystic within us is the one moved to radical amazement by the awe of things. Awe is the beginning of wisdom? Abraham Heschel
I am moved to radical amazement when standing still I am able to sense the awe and wonder of life. My life today is lived in gratitude. It started out as a conscious practice and now is a part of my daily life. I find myself saying thank you throughout the day. Grateful for all the abundance surrounding me. Grateful for the sun filling me with life-giving energy, and the birdsongs I hear every morning. Joy and depression can’t reside in the same space. When I am grateful for an act of kindness or a reminder of nature’s beauty it brings me moments of joy. Joy sparks radical amazement.
My life is slower and definitely more sane today. As I slow down I find joy in daily moments of presence. The time and space I have created gives me openness to see all the blessings in my life. I continue to be moved to radical amazement.
In today’s world of violence and uncertainty , it is easy to wrap ourselves up in a protective layer of worry and fear. Rilke’s poem below speaks to me of living my life fully, and not letting my fears stop me from saying YES to life.
God speaks to each of us as he makes us, then walks with us silently out of the night.
You, sent out beyond your recall, go to the limits of your longing. Embody me.
Flare up like flame and make big shadows I can move in.
Let everything happen to you: beauty and terror. Just keep going. No feeling is final. Don’t let yourself lose me.
Nearby is the country they call life. You will know it by its seriousness.
Give me your hand.
Riener Maria Rilke Rilke’s Book of Hours, by Anita Barrows and Joanna Macy
May we all leave the country of seriousness and flare up like flame, living the lives we were meant to live.