What would being a pilgrim mean to you? What is a pilgrim anyway?

Well, what I can say is that the pilgrim I am talking about is not the came-over-on-the-Mayflower-with-a-large-hat variety. Nor it is a self-flagellating, miserable sinner who is unhappy and searching for rescue.

We are talking about a 21st-century pilgrim.

In my experience, working and talking with modern-day pilgrims in Austin and abroad, here’s what I have discovered. They are reflective, perhaps spiritual, with a yearning to be part of something bigger than themselves, the aim to change their lives and maybe even their surrounding world.

Modern-day pilgrims seek to re-boot their lives and shake up the status quo.

And there are six regular actions of the modern-day pilgrim I invite you to test out.

We are launching an International & Stay-at-home version of pilgrimage on July 3 – 16.

Join us here!

These dates coincide with a pilgrimage I’ll be leading on the Camino de Santiago, an ancient and transformative path that has been walked by people from all over the world, for more than a thousand years.

REALIZING CONNECTION’S Definition of Pilgrimage:

A sustained endeavor taken with the purpose to re-center and re-boot your life.

We are integrating six modern-day pilgrim actions into our 2-week pilgrimage experiment.

Why don’t you test them out?

1. Pursue the feeling of awe.

Our mind, body and spirit thrive in the space of awe. Often we can access the feeling of awe in nature. Talking with people we don’t know, going to new places, taking new routes to the places we often go, open us up to the feeling of wonder, possibility. These feelings are both healing and productive for the concept of pilgrimage.

2. Actively and daily pursue the question “Who do I want to become?”

If you are looking for some version of a re-boot for the way you carry yourself in life, asking “Who do I want to become?” is a great first step. You are not asking, “What do I want to do?” or “Which job should I take?” “Should I stay in college or take that great paying job?” or “How much money do I want to make?”. In a similar way to choosing awe, you are consciously choosing to expand the possibility of who you are in the world. Releasing limits and seeing what happens. Powerful.

3. Walk at least 30 minutes each day in a natural setting.

Try to walk in nature, the more wild your surroundings, the better. Articles, like this New York Times piece, are part of a growing trend highlighting the transformative power of walking for both the body and the mind. When you walk, engage all the senses. Listen, smell, touch, see, and even taste things that spark your imagination and curiosity. Yes, you can still listen to music when you walk, but instead of cranking it up, instead drop one earbud and turn the music down. It might be uncomfortable at first, but stay with it. Once you are comfortable with one earbud, try just listening the your world on your walk. It’s totally worth it to feel engaged In what’s happening around you.

4. Make time and space each day to be still, listen to your heart and connect.

Turn off the phone, television, and computer for at least 15 minutes a day. Close the door to the world and make this your time. You could practice yoga or meditation, write music, journal, doodle, create artwork, and/or take a quiet bath. The goal is to offer the part of you that feels harried, pressured and disconnected, a dedicated moment of time to BE YOU separate from all the forces on and responsibilities in your life. It’s a kind of connection, with your Self.

5. Enlist support.

If you decide to be a pilgrim, it can be tough to do it on your own. Tell your family, friends, and/or roommates that you are taking this time for yourself. Ask them to help you honor this commitment to re-boot your life. Heck, maybe they’d like to join you! Share this link to invite them http://tinyurl.com/hdqn7r2

6. Share your experiences.

We integrate experience more deeply when we share it. Find ways to reach out and share what is going on with you. Isolation does not bring mental or physical well-being. Join our Facebook group where a lot of the action will happen.

JOIN our REALIZING CONNECTION Virtual Pilgrimage and try all of this out in a supportive and fun community.

We think the group that forms will be diverse and spectacular. We can’t wait to share the experience with folks all over the world!

Reach out in the comments section below and share how all this pilgrimage talk is sitting with you. It’s a great way to step toward REALIZING CONNECTION internally and externally.

Let’s see what happens next! I can’t wait!

Showing 4 comments
  • Kjord

    Thank you for sharing this.

    • Jennie Benjamin

      My sincere pleasure, dear Kjord.

  • Jean Eldridge

    I am intrigued by thinking about what I want to become. At 71, in two days, I feel like I have been so many things…a focus on what might be next will be an interesting challenge. Maybe not as difficult as finding a way to enjoy 30 minutes outdoors with the Texas mosquitos, but a challenge none the less.

    • Jennie Benjamin

      Yes! I’m intrigued too! So many possibilities! The outdoor thing might be tricky with mosquitoes. That being said, you are one of the most creative humans I know!

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