Diving into the first chapter, I become a pilgrim. I’m on a journey to places unknown but when I get there I’ll be home. I am born with the tools I need. One is my sacred compass, a piece of my soul that is calibrated to my creator’s plan. Sometimes I need to pause to check in, to see if I am still on course. Brent Bill says to wait until the compass needle stops wobbling. This is something I haven’t always been good at doing. Mostly I seem to check in when I realize I’m way off course.
In this chapter I realize I’m never alone. I have a direct link through my compass. In the still silence, I find its counsel. The first exercise is to think about my favorite authors. How do they influence me? Who do I look to for companionship on my journey? Who are my fellow pilgrims? Some of mine are Thich Nhat Hanh, Don Miguel Ruiz, Sarah Ban Breathnach, and Wayne Dyer. In their words I find insight in navigating this world full of emotions, distractions and obligations. I find my rhythm and catch my breath with them.
But really contemplating this, I find I most often find inspiration in the stories that don’t have personal growth as the endgame. The down on your luck stories, the underdog stories, the stories where someone is pushed to their limit and makes bad choices. The best stories find redemption but they don’t always end that way.
In these stories I see from another perspective. I’m thrown into a situation with a character and recognize myself in them. I become aware of the commonalities I share with a murderer, a thief, a person gone insane. I realize how easy it is to go astray when life is too heavy, when hope feels foreign. I find common emotions, common reactions, common struggles, common ground. In these stories I sometimes find my deepest lessons. I remember we are all on our own journeys, doing the best we can. In these stories I find compassion. And in this I understand, everyone is a fellow pilgrim.