Consecutive Days Riding: 19 Consecutive Days Blogging: 20
Today’s Mileage: 11 Total Trip Mileage: 192
I mount my bike today with mixed feelings. I am approaching the milestone of three weeks riding, feeling physically stronger but mentally adrift. I believe I’ve let the focus of this journey wander over the past week. Due to computer problems I was unable to get my map posted, causing me to ride but without any sense of where I was heading. Identifying new pilgrimage sites has proven to be more of a challenge then I had anticipated. Even with the internet it is difficult to separate serious and worthy sites from simple roadside attractions and tourist traps. In addition, I am trying to be open and pluralistic about what constitutes a sacred site. At the same time I do not want the definition to be too broad. When I’m faced with such confusion I often respond by doing the physical thing and just ride.
One of my favorite sayings is “Be certain, but humble!” I often tell my students that it is important to understand and explore your belief system so that you can be certain what it is you believe and what principles guide your behavior. I believe this same process of exploration should lead us to be humble as we realize that we are not that different from other people, with respect to desires and struggles, and that our personal belief system may not fit for anyone but ourselves. I realize this represents my pluralistic belief: There are many paths to the peak (goal) and all have truth (get you there). The critical question is not which one has the exclusive truth, but which one fits for you.
Of this I am certain, I am meant to be on this journey, on the stationary bike, seeking out pilgrimage sites and sharing it with others. I am humbled by the fact that I have wandered aimlessly for a short time perhaps leaving my readers wondering where I was taking them. I feel this wandering represents a danger of any pilgrimage, you get distracted, by external beauty and/or internal doubts, and you leave the path without recognizing the fact. It’s humbling that no matter how much education, knowledge or experience one has, no matter how much certainty you start a trip with, at some point anyone can suddenly realize they have exited the road they intended to stay on. It’s clear to me that it is time to shift out of mountain dirt bike mode and return to the highway.
Here’s what will happen in the next several days. I’ll return to posting a daily map and will include more thumbnail photos of what we would see on the ride. I want us to have at least a passing perception of the places we would be traveling through as if we were actually on the road. Rather than being selective about the Pilgrimage Sites at this point we will just visit places along the way and decide on specific criterion for future sites as we go. As I am procuring a number of books that maybe helpful, I hope there will come a time when people from the locale we are visiting will provide some assistance with site identification.
On a more personal note I have been preoccupied with the suffering and struggles of a number of family, friends and strangers. As often happens, even when you are a trained therapist, you come to realize that there is little you can do to help them. At times like these all you can do is offer a prayer for their safety and guidance and hold them in your daily thoughts. For this reason I will be adding an additional page to the Blog. It will be called the Pilgrim’s Prayer flag and will be a page where anyone can go and leave a prayer request for themselves, for others, and/or a prayer of praise and thanks. I will post a Blog on the topic of prayer and explain the Prayer flag concept later this week. This feature should help me stay focused on the journey while at the same time acknowledging those people in my life and world who I am concerned for and carry in my thoughts. I hope visitors to the site will take advantage of this feature to share their concerns and needs and “lighten their loads!”
Remains a mystery
What in the world!
A strange creature
Dashed in front of
The metal monster
I propelled down the road.
Was it a skinny rabbit?
Or a tailless squirrel?
It ducked into the bushes
Before I could tell.
Hope you enjoy the poem I wrote this morning as I pulled onto campus. Thank you for visiting the site today and I hope you will “stick with me” as our Pilgrimage journey unfolds!