This is Dorothy! As promised last month, I now share highlights of my June pilgrimage to the west coast of Ireland, to give you a 'taste' of the experience. It was a trip I was meant to make, despite the 'Voice' in MY head that did its best to dissuade me for 'practical' reasons. When I finally made the commitment (and was the last person to book) I surrendered concerns and 'what if's', trusting the reason for going would present itself... and it did!
The pilgrimage was with the Sacred Art of Living and included visiting some of the most sacred sites in Celtic history, led by its founder, Richard Groves, and knowledgeable Irish guides with a passion and pride in their heritage. Over the top, for me, were rituals we shared, one-on-one conversations with other 'pilgrims' and local village shop owners. Each one had a message that I needed to hear - REALLY hear - to take me on the next step of my journey. Here are just a few of the significant ones:
Oh, yes, I did visit numerous pubs, drank 'medicinal' Guinness, poured my own pint, laughed a lot, lived in a thatched cottage, and drank Irish Whisky while sitting beside a peat fire. An equally precious experience was having three days at the end of our pilgrimage with a long-time friend and her husband from Belfast, and staying at an amazing B&B - previously a convent. Also, a reminder of the swiftness of time, as we met in our mid-teens when starting our careers.
Let me end by urging you to REALLY listen to the inner Voice that speaks to you. At significant times in my life I have heard it and (eventually) heeded it... like when It said, "You will become a minister", and my instant response was "Not me God, go pick on someone else"!! When ready to bale from final ministry studies, awakening to the word "Surrender" - do my part, surrender and trust the outcome.
I believe we are each here by Divine Appointment, that we all need at times a hand to hold and a listening ear, and I was privileged to experience both on my journey. At our final sacred ritual we sang an Enya song, Pilgrim, reminding us that we can't change what's over, but only where we go. If I can support and mentor you on where you are going, I hope you'll call. Happy Canada Day and a special Independence Day to my fellow pilgrims. Until next time, this is Dorothy. Namasté.
Rev. Dorothy Blandford, Ph.D
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Surrey, BC, V4A 6E1, Canada