New Mileage: 12 Total Trip Mileage: 865
In my last posting I noted that my blog journey/pilgrimage had reached several significant milestones. It’s been a little over four months since we started and I have posted along the way over one hundred times! Those of you who have been following me for some time may remember that I started blogging on a daily basis. About a month ago I decided I needed to take a break to get the new semester under way. Things have fallen together nicely and I’ve decided as of today to resume the daily postings and to return to following our journey’s progress on a map. People can once again follow my virtual bike ride as we snaked across Florida and beyond.
I was telling my partner Susan that part of a “healthy process” toward life is to at times step back and take stock of your journey, your destination, progress and goals. Such “breaks” in our routine, like going on a retreat, gives us a chance to take a look at the “bigger picture.” Reverting to a three times a week blog schedule afforded me the opportunity to do just that. I’ve come to the realization that for me a daily blog has benefits that outweighed the negative aspects and demands associated with such an effort! In particular, a daily blog is time consuming as it demands that one: identify daily topics, researching the topics, identify and research possible pilgrimage sites, make time to dictate and edit the posting, and dealing with admin duties of maintaining a blog like responding to comments. However, I find that having the daily blogging ritual provides a great deal of structured focus on to my day. I often ponder and ruminate over issues and events occurring both in the news and in my personal life. I most often think them through like I would a blog posting. In the past I would often call any of a number of “coffee buddies” to share my thoughts on the topic. So I am already doing much of the mental work, why not share it with a larger audience?
In addition, as with any good spiritual routine (e.g., daily prayer, meditation, yoga, and a regular mindful walk) once it’s under way it tends to produces benefits far greater than the simple acts. The routine can provide a unifying connection with the spiritual dimension of our life. The daily blog serves a kind of focusing function for me.
I’ve had considerable success in identifying retreat and pilgrimage sites, throughout Florida and beyond. It is my renewed goal to make more site visits; we have four such site visits in the coming week! I am also going to try to keep my postings somewhat briefer. My friends and students know that I am NOT a “man of few words!” However, the effort to be more succinct and keep the topics simpler is a worthy challenge. I am reminded of the scene from the movie “A River Runs Through It” when the father would continually send his son back to the editing process to cut the number of words he used to express a written opinion. This is a worthy challenge, and of course I have my “Editor-in-Chief” (Susan) to help me meet the goal!
I set off on this blog pilgrimage journey with a joyful mindset and a sense of excitement. I have marveled at the variety of people and experiences that have enfolded before me. I feel that I’ve recently gotten caught up with current events that tend to pull people into the “my side versus your side” and “right versus wrong” dichotomous arguments. I often found myself responding to or using words like demagogue, hypocrite, atheists and true believer which lead to circular arguments that end with everyone retreating to their corner. While these discussions can be valuable in helping to understand other positions they seem to “pollute the well” of civil discourse. It seems to me the airways (talk radio, and TV talking heads) and now the Internet is dominate by too much of this win-lose struggle that pushes people into extreme positions.
My journey through life, whether on the personal or social level, has always been about finding and exploring the middle ground. My Circle of friends and fellow pilgrims expands every day with new voices, new faces, new people spread around the globe! I welcome one and all and I hope my journey and my word offerings will at times bring a smile to your face, will at times warm your heart, will at times make you go “I hadn’t thought of that,” and will at times give you a sense of not being alone! I hope that by sharing my journey I might somehow help you on your journey. I believe the most important and lasting gifts in life are those that lift us up towards the light, towards wisdom, towards the experience called “the divine.”
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