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Soul of a Pilgrim Video Podcast Day 2


Blessing for Packing Lightly*

Winnowing God,
you ask us to release, let go,
surrender, and yield all that we can
in service of making space for what is most essential.
The more we set aside
that which burdens us and takes up too much space
the more room opens within us
for wonder and gratitude to flourish,
the more we find the freedom
to see the world as enchanted.
Sustain us on the path of simplifying our lives
and traveling on this Earth more lightly
so that we no longer live beyond what can be sustained.
As we continue on the pilgrim’s path,
unencumbered by so many things,
may you open our hearts
to delight in the simple beauty of the world.

Dearest monks and artists,

Today we share with you the Day 2 video podcasts for our Soul of a Pilgrim prayer cycle. The theme for Morning and Evening prayer is The Practice of Packing Lightly. When we say yes to the journey, we then have to decide what to carry with us and what to leave behind. What we release are not just physical items but old ideas as well. 

Here are a few suggestions from my book Soul of a Pilgrim

Letting go of things

Consider what are the things in your life you could do without? If there are things in your home that are never used, might they go to a good home? There is such freedom in clearing out space.

Letting go of commitments

Consider also the commitments of time you make that no longer enliven you. Perhaps you are part of a committee and it is time to let someone else take on the responsibilities. Look through your calendar and see if there are things that are not essential that could free up more space for you to breathe deeply and sit in stillness.

Letting go of relationships

This invitation is trickier and requires more care and consideration. Are there people in your life who drain you of energy? Maybe you have discovered your doctor or dentist aren’t a good fit for you anymore, so you might try seeking out someone new. Or perhaps there is someone in your life you get together with purely out of a sense of obligation. Or an old friend who complains and criticizes all the time. Consider how you might free yourself a bit from this sense of responsibility to allow yourself more space and time for what is essential.

Letting go of beliefs and ideas

What are the beliefs and expectations you hold about the world that could be released? Perhaps it is a sense of cynicism about people’s motivations, or a sense of your own limitations based on old wounds. This is perhaps the most challenging of the calls, because they are more subtle, more deeply ingrained. But the other layers of letting go eventually bring you to deeper awareness of how much baggage you are still carrying in other ways.

Consider What to Carry With You

One traditional symbol for the pilgrim’s journey is the scallop shell.  The grooves on the shell represent the different journeys we take as pilgrims, all meeting at the same place.  Ultimately the journey of pilgrimage is about returning home with new awareness and new insight, or discovering what home really means.  The shell is also carried in the sea by the waves to shore, much like we are carried on our journeys.  It also served as a practical tool for drinking water or a makeshift bowl.  So consider if you might be able to find a scallop shell to keep as a symbol for this time.

Another symbol pilgrims carried with them is the pilgrim’s staff, a walking stick offers support for the journey.  You might already have a walking stick you could set beside your prayer chair, or you might look for a large stick in the woods. 

What other things feel essential to pack for your journey? 

We are offering a discount on our Soul of a Pilgrim self-study retreat which is a companion to my book. It is a wonderful resource to deepen into the pilgrimage of daily life. Use coupon code PILGRIM20 for 20% off. 

With great and growing love,

Christine

Christine Valters Paintner, PhD, REACE

*Blessing for Packing Lightly is by Christine Valters Paintner and can be found in the Soul of a Pilgrim prayer cycle. 

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