It’s already the end of August – can you believe it? Which means for many of us the end of summer is near. It’s been a long and full summer for my husband Kyle and me, beginning with our extended trip to Seattle in June. While there, we watched a dear friend become an Iron(wo)man and many others close to our hearts graduate from The Seattle School with their Master’s degrees in Counseling Psychology, Theology and Culture, Divinity, and some might argue the art of journeying through life with intention and guiding others to do the same.
Many in the graduating class were a part of my cohort when I began studying at The Seattle School in the fall of 2010, and as we began to celebrate their achievements as final papers were turned in, capstone presentations were given, and family rolled into town, I realized that I had something to celebrate as well.
Just a year ago I was the one turning in final papers (mine were for philosophy – eek!), with my own family driving out to Seattle to see me address my fellow graduates and walk across the stage, receiving a degree that was never a part of my life plan five years ago. This summer, as I stood watching friends give their own presentations, sharing both where their time at The Seattle School has brought them and what it calls them toward in the future, I couldn’t help but remember my own. It had been one year since I shared my research, my message, my passion – one year since I first introduced A Sacred Journey, inviting people to follow along on my journey and more intentionally invest in their own. And it hasn’t always been easy.
To continually bring myself to this work, stretching toward my edges and mining the caverns of my soul for words to describe what I feel can be difficult. And to do that alongside building a website, learning about marketing, analytics, conversions, SEO (what?), and figuring out how to monetize these intuitive senses about pilgrimage (that I’m still trying to put into words) in order to make a living? For a recovering approval addict like me, at times it can be excruciating.
And yet, alongside this struggle, this vocational path that I’ve chosen has continued to reward me in unexpected ways over the past year. To gather together a community of seekers around the practice of pilgrimage and exploration of the journeys in life has been a great gift. As A Sacred Journey continues to grow in contributors and readers, so do my visions for what the future holds. And just as much as the site has been shaped by me as founder and curator, it is also shaped by you all as readers – through your comments, questions, insight, encouragement, and support. Thank you, thank you for joining me here.
In fact, over the past year – from its introduction last June to its launch this past January – I’ve come to discover that creating and cultivating A Sacred Journey is an organic process and a journey within itself. It’s ironic, isn’t it? A site about journeys has itself become a vocational journey for me – one that has only just begun and will forever be. However, I’m starting to think that meaningful work shouldn’t be any other way.
What I’m really getting at is this: As much as I spent my summer struggling with whatever inevitably comes with entrepreneurship, building an online presence, and pushing my edges, attempting to translate passion and intuition onto the page, I’ve also been able to celebrate. It’s now been over a year since I turned in my last paper, gave my capstone presentation, addressed my peers and walked across that stage, and I’m doing it. One year later I’m still following my passion, committed to the journey. In the end, despite the trials and uncertainty, that’s what matters most.
MY NEXT JOURNEY
This next year brings even more uncertainty and surprises, continuing to shape my journey in ways I never could have imagined. My uncle and his partner live in San Diego and have invited us to come live in a vacation home they’ve just bought next door for the next six months or so as we help them to renovate it. Since Kyle and I both work online, nothing was holding us back (I’ll take the complexities of SEO any day for that), and we jumped at the opportunity. To live in a house a few minutes’ walk from the beach with an ocean view? And to spend winter in the sunshine wearing no more than light layers? Alright, alright. You’ve convinced me.
Since this is a finite and unique opportunity for us, we’ve decided to view it as an opportunity to commit to new practices and be intentional in ways that are sometimes difficult in everyday life. We’re considering this an opportunity for a walkabout – a journey brought about in life by surprise – and we’re treating it as such. This is especially significant because we don’t really know what’s next for us, and we hope to get a little guidance on that during our time in San Diego.
One thing we do know we want to do after our time in San Diego, though, is walk the Camino de Santiago de Compostela in Spain (tune in during the month of October for a Pilgrim in Residence series on the subject!). That’s why one of the practices we’re committing to do while in San Diego is learning Spanish. I’ve always wanted to become fluent in a language and spent a few years in high school and college taking both Spanish and French, but in order to fully commit I feel like I needed to fully immerse myself and never took the opportunity to do so. Now the only foreign language I can claim is a combination of basic Spanish and French, which really means nothing at all. What better place and time to finally commit to learning Spanish than six months near the border of Mexico as our pilgrimage to walk the Camino draws near?
And get this – as I began to research options for learning Spanish in San Diego, I learned where San Diego gets its name: San Diego > Sant Iago > Santiago. That’s right – both San Diego and Santiago get their names from St. James. The very place we will be preparing for the Camino shares the name of the ancient pilgrimage’s destination! That’s synchronicity at its finest, my friends, and I can’t shake its significance.
As we prepare for the Camino and commit to engage this season of walkabout with intention, here are two other practices I’m beginning once we reach the west coast: leaving TV behind and writing Morning Pages once more. There are a handful of shows I follow faithfully and they’ll be missed, but I’d rather miss them than miss daily walks on the beach or evenings spent watching the sun set, listening to the sound of the waves. However, I know that at the end of a busy day I’m often tempted to escape into a story that’s not my own, and so to avoid this temptation altogether during my walkabout I’m cutting TV out and adding presence in. At times it will be hard, but living near the beach is an opportunity of a lifetime, and I know I won’t regret giving up TV one bit.
And then there’s writing Morning Pages. The concept of Morning Pages comes from Julia Cameron’s well-known book The Artist’s Way, and I did them for a term in graduate school when taking a class of the same name. Morning Pages are meant to help you bring anything and everything to the page, and it’s my hope that writing these three pages a day while in San Diego will be another way to help me to remain present during my walkabout and teach me about parts of myself that often are neglected or unknown in everyday life. I’ve got three beautiful journals waiting for equally worthy thoughts, questions, struggles, and realizations, and I’m excited to see what’s birthed out of this practice.
We’ll be packing up over the next month and leaving Springfield for San Diego in late September and I’ll be sure to keep you updated along the way. Until then, I’d love to hear about your journeys in the comments below.
What journeys are you on – or find yourself invited to take – in your own life? Where are you facing your edges? What’s worth celebrating in your journey?