Pilgrimage to Beauty Sessions
Are you losing your f***ing mind these days too?
Are you so on edge that one sound can take a bite out of your whole week? Ok. Month? Year?
You might find yourself in any of a dozen camps these days. And what we all seem to share at the moment is that we feel like we’re losing our minds. We’re teetering on the edge of our sanity. Maybe that’s a good thing. A needed thing. Outside circumstances are more stressful than they’ve been in most of our lifetimes.
We’ve scared each other up into the trees like cats and (like cats) it’s hard to encourage people down and maybe we don’t even wanna because we feel scared and cornered. We’re hiding. Feeling under siege. It’s a fair response. Mind-losing is a reasonable response to that.
All this got me thinking. (And over-thinking. Gah!) What if we leave all judgements and camps and opinion-as-fact to one side. Then what? I mean, I love a good judgmental opinion. I do. I can really dig into that sh**. But, it eats away at my heart and soul if I let it run the show. So. I take Pilgrimages to Beauty. Leave the show-running to nature, to soul, to art, to the guides who show up.
So . . . can we turn down the heat and start shaking hands again . . . ? Can we just stop̣? Stop. For a moment. Take a breath. Lay down the weapons and the words. Can you, yourself, take a step in the direction you actually want to go, to live a life you want to live? Maybe I can start to talk you out of your tree? Maybe not, but at least you’ll have company. Wanna walk out on pilgrimage with me? (Actually or metaphorically.) I’m offering sessions now.
I had a Shakespeare professor who would dramatically announce that we must all leave our ‘tragic flaw ideas at the door’. That is, the notion that Macbeth, for example, was fundamentally a good person, and had one inherent character flaw that tragically led him to murder and madness. My prof didn’t believe such an analysis was warranted. I dunno about that, but I do know that we all need a place where we can leave our camps and reactions at the door. There are lots of places to sound your bites if you want. But on a Pilgrimage to Beauty there will be so much room for your seeds of wellness, healing, kindness, diversity, welcoming, listening and, well, beauty. To paraphrase Thich Nhat Hanh – If you’re trying to water the seeds of kindness, find the seeds of kindness and water them. Or beauty, or peace or . . . you get it. Then, when the crap comes-a-callin’—and it will—I’ll do my best with the tools I have to help you transform that.
By this point you’re probably wondering, um, what tools? Fair!
Seems I’ve accumulated a wide variety of tools and methodologies over the past 35 years. I’m flexible. If we find that we’re a fit, we will work together to find a common language and way forward. I love pilgrimage-type walking as it feed two birds with one seed: attention on the interior world and its relationship with the outer one and physical exercise. Here are some examples of what I do: Eriksonian Hypnosis, Timeline Therapyä, NLP, life-as-pilgrimage, reading tea leaves and ‘bones’, practical life coaching, liaising between indigenous and western cosmologies/ perspectives, working with present and passed allies, lgbtqia2s+ safe space, noticing stuff outside the material realm, B.A. in English and French, sewing, crocheting, cooking, gardening . . . ok, you probably don’t care about those last few! The point is: I'm a synthesist. I weave together all the teachings that I have been given the responsibility to carry by Elders and Guides across cultures and perspectives. I ground them in my own culture and ancestry. You and I will work with whatever shows up, and is a fit, for you. There’s more about me and my own teachers here if you are interested in reading more. http://www.nicolemoen.ca/missionbio-teachersinfluences.html Note: That while you may experience healing and things that are therapeutic, I am not a clinical counsellor, psychologist or therapist.
This is your invitation to have me join you on your Pilgrimage to Beauty into your own self, your own life. From your own world-view. Within your own ancestral lines. Accompanied by your own allies.
I’m told I should have a back end for booking. I tell them that my back end can book it just fine thank you, but they don’t seem to think that’s funny. Ha. I might get a computerized booking thingy. I might not. Honestly, if I could, I’d use a paper planner, a pen, a phone, and I’d ditch my website, social media and data. For now, please just call, text, email, message me or send me a note in the mail and we’ll book you a time and decide if we’ll walk together, walk on the phone in different places or via video call somehow. $120-150/hr. (Less for youth - contact me.)
MORE INFORMATION ABOUT PILGRIMAGE BELOW
Pilgrimage: Moving from seer-of-sites to seer from our own souls--able to see what is around us and within us.
It's critically important to get lost. It's the place from which we find our way. We've become so dependent on Google for information, Google Maps for where we are in the world and drugs to quell our pain that we're no longer turning to the ways we can build capacities within ourselves and our communities to know things from places in our own hearts, bodies and souls; to find our way by feel and calling; to face our pain and move through to the other side using all the tools available.
Pilgrimage is a way in. To you. It’s a way to get to your essential self. It’s a spiritual yet practical journey. It takes you to regeneration. It’s a moving meditation. It’s a contemplative practice. It gets you to silence. It's way-finding.
Through this lens, I work one-to-one work with people who want their lives to be held in living connection to themselves and others, but who fear that technology and other synthetic influences are taking over.
WHAT we will do: talk on the phone, Zoom, Skype or in-person. If you feel you would prefer to go outside or get exercise we can walk and talk on the phone or in-person.
Interested in more? Read on!
Pilgrimage – Any conscious intention to move toward a sacred place whether that place is an internal place as in the sacred place in our own heart, or an external place like the park around the corner, your favourite coffee shop, the bones of St. James (Santiago) on the Camino de Santiago di Compostella or Stone Henge or Mecca, the local beach or your childhood home. It is the intention to move toward the sacred that is pilgrimage. You may or may not arrive at the intended destination, so, as the cliché goes, it is the journey, not the goal, that is the point.
Pilgrimage is a way to bring you closer to love, truth, wholeness, connection and unity both within, and for, yourself, as well as with and for the people and places around you. There, emerges a relationship that opens both inner and outer facets of life and integrates them as you respond to the environment more deeply and it responds to you.
I know in my heart of hearts that in order for humanity to shift forward to be sustainable and resilient we need to honour what calls us! Not knowing where you are going, could be the most important opening. Go ahead! Get Lost!
As I’ve heard Tenneson Woolf say, “Start somewhere, follow it everywhere.”
Here’s the cool bit – you can 'walk' from your chair or on your feet for 10 minutes, a hour or a couple hours and that may be enough. Or at least it may be a start, the first step on a path to allowing that break through.
As the urge to “just go” comes over you it might feel like wanting to escape. It might feel like irritation. It might feel calm. It might be scary. It might feel exciting. It might feel like your body screaming for your attention and saying, “Let’s take a walk so I can tell you something important!” You will be able to hear that “something important” if you are able to stay with that feeling and move: walk, bicycle, drive, scooter, roll your chair, skip, surf or dance. “Walking” can be a fast track to opening up enough to hear what is calling. Approaching walking as pilgrimage offers the challenge you are having space to be what it is instead of what you think it might be. Typically many of us sit and think, and then spin endlessly on those thoughts and THAT can keep you stuck. So go ahead! Get Lost!
It’s an important urge. It may well be that the greater the urge, the more uncomfortable it feels, the more likely something important to you is trying to break through. And it may be that it’s having trouble breaking through because of routines or other ways in our lives we get stuck. Walking, movement, can help you to relax in the midst of the discomfort.
And further to that, the urge may be part of greater spiritual yearning, a calling that we need to sit up and pay attention to – stand up, walk out, walk on, pay attention to, get lost, and then, come home!
There is no happiness for him who does not travel, Rohita! Thus we have heard. Living in the society of men, the best man becomes a sinner; therefore, wander! The feet of the wanderer are like the flower, his soul is growing and reaping the fruit; and all his sins are destroyed by his fatigues in wandering; therefore, wander! The fortune of him who is sitting, sits; it rises when he rises; it sleeps when he sleeps; it moves when he moves. Therefore, wander Rohita! ~ extract from a sacred Indian text
“I’ve come to the conclusion that it’s very silly not to do some form of pilgrimage. It would be the slowest possible way to get through a break through or something you are trying to change! Any break through: job, career, money, self-love, relationship, creativity, emotional upset, confusion, illness, self-image, . . . . One of the best ways to nourish, fuel, or bring about a big breakthrough, is pilgrimage."
~ Alex Baisley
And here’s the thing. You don’t get to enlightenment by paying your $10,000 for a weekend workshop that promises that by Sunday at 5:00 pm “You will have arrived! Halleluia!”. WISH that it were so easy! Wow, I would do that in a heartbeat!
But there are steps. Sometimes the steps are obvious, sometimes they are mysterious, but there are most certainly steps. It’s just like any project, you can’t get to the endpoint of a kitchen renovation without laying a solid foundation to start with and then working on it step by step until you get to the finished glowing new kitchen. Same with pilgrimage. The practice is your foundation. The journey IS the goal.
With pilgrimage, the cool thing is that the steps can be literal or internal; physical or metaphorical. Sometimes, the physical action of walking relaxes and opens up other aspects of themselves – emotional, intellectual, spiritual, heart, social – and that can speed up the journey.
I’ve been on a few major pilgrimages over the years. They have profoundly helped me along my way in. I was realizing that I wasn’t going to be able to go on another one for quite some time. That was disappointing and so I was musing over that with a friend when it hit me, wham, I didn’t have to GO anywhere – I could just walk out my front door. Walking around the block could be as much of a pilgrimage as anything! Didn’t I already say that ‘my life’ was pilgrimage? It was so obvious and close that I missed it.
I want people to know that pilgrimage is attainable regardless of time, responsibilities, available cash or any other limitation.
One way to look at this is that life, LIFE is a big “P” Pilgrimage. If we take that as a starting point, then the shorter than life-long Pilgrimages are small “p” pilgrimages that feed our big “P” Pilgrimage life. OK. I’m looping myself down into a bit of a rabbit hole here, but you get the picture. Small pilgrimages feed life. And since life, aliveness, manifests as YOU, then pilgrimage nourishes you.
For me all pilgrimages are pilgrimages home. Home, ultimately is inside of each of us. So it’s a physical place, just not necessarily with a roof and walls as we might usually envision. Thich Nhat Hanh says: “I have arrived – I am home – My destination is in each step.”
Have you ever gone on an Accidental Pilgrimage?
Say one day you walk to the grocery store – or the local park or drive to a week long get-away to the beach – and returned changed, more centered because of an event that happened there. That's what I call an accidental pilgrimage.
For example, one day I was standing in line at the local grocery with my then very young daughter. The woman behind me was in a scooter and had an assistance dog with her. For some reason I overheard her conversation with the teller. Perhaps I heard it because the tone of the conversation was strained. She didn’t have enough money for the groceries she had chosen and was in the process of deciding which of the items she would leave behind. I didn’t have much money myself at the time, but I had enough to pay for the other woman’s groceries so I turned around and offered to pay for them, and she accepted. The relief and gratitude in the air was palpable. She thanked me and I haven’t seen her since. On our walk home my daughter said, “Mommy, that was a good thing you did.” I replied, ”Yes perhaps, but it really feels like she gave me the gift because I’m feeling very good.”
That’s what I mean, for me, in retrospect, that wee voyage on foot with my daughter to get a few things to eat became an event that changed me. I’m not a saint, but somehow that spur-of the-moment gesture to pay for the woman’s groceries opened ME up. It was an unanticipated, accidental pilgrimage. Using pilgrimage as a frame can bring those accidents into a more common occurrence, into consciousness, into the main stream of your living.
Stay Tuned and soon I'll have these short ebooks available for you here!
. . . . in process :)
10 Minute Pilgrimage
Put Some SPWING in Your Step: Support, Presence, Intention, Wholeness, Noticing and Ground ~ 6 Facets of Pilgrimage
Hiking - "I don't like either the word or the thing. People ought to saunter in the mountains - not hike! Do you know the origin of that word 'saunter?' It's a beautiful word. Away back in the Middle Ages people used to go on pilgrimages to the Holy Land, and when people in the villages through which they passed asked where they were going, they would reply, 'A la sainte terre,' 'To the Holy Land.' And so they became known as sainte-terre-ers or saunterers. Now these mountains are our Holy Land, and we ought to saunter through them reverently, not 'hike' through them." - John Muir