Know Your Pilgrimage

Arnie owns this one. A watercolor from days past.

Arnie owns this one. A watercolor from days past.

I keep notes and short phrases to spark thoughts for future posts. The notes are scattered everywhere: scribbled in margins of my notebooks, written on Post-it notes stuck to the wall or in a helter-skelter line running the length of the table, or cryptic messages typed at the bottom of other documents. This morning I caught sight of this prompt:

Pilgrimages are supposed to be arduous.

During facilitations I used to tell groups that people without challenges create challenges. These created challenges are called hobbies. Or, really bored people create drama: drama is a unique challenge otherwise known as gossip.

People thrive when challenged. People grow when challenged. When I was a teacher I used to love the skateboarders. They’d dedicate hours and hours of repetition, broken wrists and ankles to master a move. Every athlete and artist knows the journey to their personal Everest is fraught with challenge and impossibility. That is why they do what they do. One of the people I admire most on this planet is John Kirschenbaum. He is a master woodworker. His criteria for taking on a project: it has to include something that he does not know how to do.

The idea that a good life is safe and easy is a marketing idea meant to sell you a suburban house in a gated community that includes a hot tub. It is also a recipe for boredom and frustration. It is also a lie. A good life is not without obstacles just as a good story is driven by challenges. A good life is not safe or easy. A good life is passionate. A life well-lived has a bliss-center that is focused on fields of potential and not fears of failure. A life well-lived does not avoid challenges; it embraces them. It courts them. It celebrates them.

Pilgrimages are meant to challenge you. They make your feet ache while they open your eyes and heart. They are meant to help you recognize what matters and what does not.

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One Response

  1. Not sure how I feel about you making public one of the prizes of my art collection! It gives me joy every morning as I descend the stairs from our bedroom to our living area. It is the first piece of art I see in the morning and the last in the evening. It reminds me of my 25 year old (new) friendship with you. It lifts my spirit. The message that goes with the watercolor today is also prescient for me.

    Hugs,

    Arnie

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