Bruce Feiler in The New Allure of Sacred Pilgrimages:
[…] (A) growing number of Americans (are) joining the worldwide boom in spiritual travel. This growth comes at a time when organized religion around the world is feeling threatened…Pilgrimage, meanwhile, is more popular than ever…the United Nations released a study finding that of every three tourists worldwide, one is a pilgrim, a total of 330 million people a year.
Last year I went on six of these pilgrimages to explore what this new phenomenon says about the future of faith. In addition to the trip to Lourdes, I bathed in the Ganges River along with 100 million people during the 55-day Kumbh Mela, trekked on a 700-mile Buddhist path in Japan, walked in the footsteps of prophets in Saudi Arabia and Jerusalem, and traveled with African-Americans to reclaim their roots in Nigeria. What I found is that pilgrimage is not merely ancillary to the modern spiritual existence. In an age of doubt and shifting beliefs, people are no longer willing to blindly accept the beliefs of their ancestors. They are insisting instead on choosing their own beliefs. A pilgrimage can be a central part of this effort.
…The most popular thing you hear in faith circles these days is, “I’m not religious — I’m spiritual.” Everyone is on a journey.
…It’s that feeling of taking control over one’s life that most affected the pilgrims I met. So much of religion as it’s been practiced for centuries has been largely passive. People receive a faith from their parents; they are herded into institutions they have no role in choosing; they spend much of their spiritual lives sitting inactively in buildings being lectured at from on high.
A pilgrimage reverses all of that. At its core, it’s a gesture of action. In a world in which more and more things are artificial and ephemeral, a sacred journey gives the pilgrim the chance to experience something both physical and real. And it provides seekers with an opportunity they may never have had: to confront their doubts and decide for themselves what they really believe.
As appealing as that destination may be, there’s only one way to achieve it. Get up off your sofa and go.
Read Bruce Feiler’s entire essay at The New Allure of Sacred Pilgrimages
Image Credit: Wayne Emde @ Pilgrimroads.com (shikoku 88 temple pilgrimage)
By the toe of my boot,
a pebble of quartz,
one drop of the earth’s milk,
dirty and cold.
I held it to the light
and could almost see through it
into the grand explanation.
Put it back, something told me,
put it back and keep walking.
~ Ted Kooser, “On the Road.” Delights & Shadows
SMWI*= Saturday Morning Work-Out Inspiration. Source: Moneygoround
SMWI*: Saturday Morning Work-Out Inspiration. Source: memeguy.com
Steps for Longevity: A recent study has found that running for just five minutes a day, even at a slow pace, has similar health benefits to running for longer periods.
“We loved the evocative nature of ‘Godspeed You’ and wanted to create something beautiful and atmospheric to compliment the themes of the track. We particularly focused on the idea that we are part of something that is greater than us all. We decided on a simple narrative that follows a girl’s journey back into nature, watching as she is gradually dwarfed by the dramatic landscapes surrounding her, until she is finally enveloped into the earth – only to rise again as part of the natural landscape. Finally, she is cleansed and returns to the world as a woman reborn.”
~ Jack Pirie & Alex Hylands, Directors
- SMWI* = Saturday morning workout inspiration.
- Francesco Rossi joins forces together with MTV Europe’s Belgian Artist of the Year Ozark Henry to deliver his new single “Godspeed You.” Francesco Rossi, 39, is from Tuscany, Italy and is a DJ and Producer. Piet Goddaer, 44, is a Belgian Musician, better known by his stage name Ozark Henry.
- The video is filmed in the Lake District, a mountainous region in North West England. A popular holiday destination, it is famous not only for its lakes, forests and mountains (or fells), but also for its associations with the early 19th century poetry and writings of William Wordsworth and the other Lake Poets.
Frank Bruni, NY Times: A Quiet Cheer For Solitude:
- …Take more time away. Spend more time alone. Trade the speechifying for solitude, which no longer gets anything close to the veneration it’s due, not just in politics but across many walks of life.
- It’s in solitude that much of the sharpest thinking is done and many of the best ideas are hatched. We know this intuitively and from experience, yet solitude is often cast as an archaic luxury and indulgent oddity, inferior to a spirited discussion and certainly to a leadership conference…”
- The calendar of a senior executive or public official is defined by meeting after meeting upon meeting. There’s no comparable premium on solitary pauses, on impregnable periods for contemplation, and a person who insists on them attracts a derogatory vocabulary: loner, loafer, recluse, aloof, eccentric, withdrawn.
- “We live in the new groupthink — there’s a shared belief that creativity and productivity must be a collaborative experience, and solitude has fallen out of fashion,” Susan Cain, the author of the 2012 best seller “Quiet,” told me. But, she added, “There’s so much research that flies in the face of this.”
- Cain’s book focuses on introverts, making the case that they have a kind of intellectual advantage. And their edge stems largely from greater amounts of solitude, from the degree to which they’ve swapped motion for stillness, chatter for calm. They’ve carved out space for reflection that’s sustained and deep.
- This isn’t necessarily a matter of being unplugged, of ditching the hyper-connectedness of our digital lives. It’s a matter of ditching and silencing the crowd…
Read Bruni’s worthy full article here: A Quiet Cheer For Solitude:
Wednesday: 2 am. A knife stabbing the muscle in the right calf. I’m gripping the iron railing on the headboard. And pointing my toes. (Susan’s remedy. I’ve always thought it was Bullsh*t, yet here I am pointing my toes.) I’m writhing in pain. Cramp. Zeke awakens, rolls over and starts licking my face, I’ll save you Dad! Dog mung-mouth-sleep-breath — I’m snorting ammonia. The bed is rolling like a stormy sea – yet, Susan is not moved. She stirs, but doesn’t wake. The entire team carries Lebron off the floor with his leg-cramps, and I don’t even get a: “Are you ok?” Where’s the empathy here people?
Thursday: 3 pm. Work meeting. Same leg. Same calf. Pitch fork stab. Cramp. I’m gripping the arms of the chair. Eyes are gushing water. I drop my head to take notes to avoid eye contact. Meeting ends. I walk up the stairs alone, limping, and heaving. Hydration? Vitamin deficiency? Sleep deprivation? Hunger?
Saturday: 4 am. Feelin’ large. I step on the scale. NO! Just.Can’t.Be. NFW! I strip off t-shirt and underwear – – I might be carrying extra poundage in my shorts. I get back on the scale – it wobbles – and falls 0.2 lbs. Pathetic! I move to the mirror. I see a six-inch scratch from the belly button to the jelly roll part, with a puff of dried blood accumulation on the handle. A tattoo from my wrestling match with Zeke. Or another sign? I check my notes. April 19th, is the last time I ran. 49 days ago. Can that even be possible? I check my weight tracker:
SMWI*: Saturday Morning Work-Out Inspiration
Source: Thank you Carol
New time of day.
A mid-day oasis.
A sabbatical from the morning crush.
No scramble to find a seat.
Tourists staring out the window.
Day visitors chattering.
Students with headphones bobbing their heads.
And a smattering of Suits.
The Sun beams through the windows overheating the railcars.
The train clacks Se détendre. Se détendre. Relax.
We pull into Grand Central at 3:51 pm, 10 minutes late.
The crowd meanders out of the car.
I zig zag around them.
I have a 4pm call and need to get out of the tunnels to get a cell signal.
The escalator to the Exit is out of order. I look up the stairs. Way up. And groan.
I take them. One at a time.
Counting them off.
I look up. Dear God. I’m only about half way there. Where the h*ll is the Oasis now.
Heaving now. Gasping for air. Middle age wheels are coming off.
I steal a peak at my watch. 3:58 pm. 2 minutes until the start of my call.
Pay attention. A toe stub would be a calamity, serious mellon damage.
A backward tumble is unimaginable.
3 steps left.
76.77.78. Could this be what a heart attack feels like?
I dig into my bag. And pair my bluetooth ear piece to my phone.
“Good afternoon everyone. I’m going to put my phone on mute. Please take the lead.”
Wow, I managed to get that out.
Superman leans against the sign post on Madison and 46th.
The chattering continues in his right ear
as he watches the yellow cabs flying by.
The delivery trucks.
All a symphony. An orchestra.
He waits for the Walk signal pondering the antidote to his Kryptonite.
And there it is.
Image Credit. Thanks Lorne.
Žydrūnas Savickas, 38, is a Lithuanian powerlifter and professional strongman. He is widely considered to be one of the greatest strongman competitors of all time. He is the only modern strongman competitor to have won every major strongman competition, most notably the World’s Strongest Man in 2009, 2010, & 2012. He is 6 ft 3 in tall and competes at 385 lb. Savickas is often referred to by his nickname, “Big Z”. (Source: Wiki)
This month, Savickas broke the Guinness world record for the most cars pulled by one man when he hauled 12 Nissan Cars (28,530 pounds) for five meters in Druskininkai, Lithuania. See video here.
What is your diet like during heavy training?
I eat about 6,000 calories a day, plus I drink four or five litres of water and three protein shakes with milk or water. I eat four times a day, mainly cottage cheese, eggs, chicken, beef, fish, rice, potatoes, vegetables and fruit juices. My favourite food is Steak and Potatoes. I monitor my body weight. If I just need power for a competition then I eat fried food. But if I also need speed or endurance, such as in the World’s Strongest Man competition, I eat more healthily. I’m very careful with alcohol: I have a glass of white wine perhaps two or three times a year. (Source: Men’s Fitness)
SMWI* = Saturday Morning Workout Inspiration
*SMWI = Saturday Morning Workout Inspiration
SMWI* = Saturday Morning Workout Inspiration
Creator: Sarah Anderson, Doodle Time
*SMWI = Saturday Morning Workout Inspiration
“This inner silence which accompanies me is born of the slow stride which leads from one day to another. What more can I long for than this room opening out on to the plain, with its antique furniture and its crocheted lace? I have the whole sky on my face, and feel that I could follow these slow, turning days forever, spinning motionlessly with them. I breathe in the only happiness I can attain—an attentive and friendly awareness.
I spend the whole day walking about: from the hill, I go down to Vicenza or else farther into the country. Every person I meet, every scent on this street, is a pretext for my measureless love … all are props for the person who can no longer be alone. But the tender and bitter piping of the grasshoppers, the perfume of water and stars that you meet in the September nights, the scented paths among the lentisks and rose bushes, all are signs of love for the person forced to be alone. Thus the days pass. After the dazzling glare of the sun-filled days, evening comes, in the splendid décor offered by the gold of the setting sun and the black of the cypress-trees. I then walk along the road, toward the crickets that can be heard far away. As I advance, they begin one by one to sing more softly, and then fall silent. I walk slowly forward, weighed down by so much ardent beauty.”
—Albert Camus, from “Lyrical and Critical,” Betwixt and Between (1937)
“Two hikers with separate agendas and hiking solo, unaware of the other, set out to break the record for fastest time in completing the Pacific Crest Trail, a grueling, 2,650-mile test for thru-hikers…”
“Heather “Anish” Anderson, a previously overweight high school student who dreamed of one day setting some sort of athletic record, and Josh Garrett, a dedicated vegan raising awareness for Mercy For Animals, both succeeded in their quests, and did so within a day of each other.”
“I carried all of my gear the entire way. I did not have a crew of people meeting me. When I needed supplies, I walked into and out of towns, which added about 30 miles total to my hike…”
“I cry when I think about all the things I have overcome to get here, both on this hike and off. It makes me ever so grateful to that chubby girl who dared to dream big, audacious dreams. I am even more thankful that she grew up to be a woman courageous enough to make those dreams reality.”
“Her dreams came true…reaching the Canadian border by averaging nearly 44 miles a day.”
Same. Time up each day.
Same. I-95 route to work.
Same. Desk. Chair. Computer.
Same. Head down. Back to back. 12 hours.
Same. 1-95 Route home.
Same. Time to bed.
Try. Take a different route to work.
Try. Take a walk. Leave phone behind.
Try. Call a friend. Catch up.
Try. Find a space. A moment. A breath.
Image Credit: Telegraph.co.uk – Photo of Footprints are carved into the floorboards by monk who has prayed at the same spot for 20 years
Related Posts: Driving Series
Athletes from Kenya have won more Olympic medals in middle and long distances than any other country…how do they do it?…no coaches are necessary…they thrive on teamwork and competition…genetic theories of dominance are rubbish…you can’t find any other place in the world like this…you have to be here to feel it…the mind is as important as physical talent…so what makes Kenyans the best? Perhaps it is the magic of these mountains.
*SMSI: Saturday Morning Workout Inspiration
You read. Articles. Books. Magazines. Posts.
Much of it blows in one ear and out the other.
Not this one. This article is from The Monthly and is titled Fat City. It has stuck with me since last weekend. It’s long but captivating. Seared in long term memory.
Karen Hitchcock is an Australian author and medical doctor.
A few excerpts:
- Barring the gravely ill and a couple of men, everyone I know wants to lose weight.
- As a doctor, I no longer know what to do about the obese.
- people quit smoking, cut down on their drinking and sometimes lose weight. But usually counselling people to lose weight is hopeless.
- and obesity seems simple: more in than out
- love reading articles with titles like ‘How I Lost 25 Kilos’, even though the answer is always the same: I ate less.
- Who wants to eat less – of anything – when food is so good and plentiful?
- It’s hard to say no to something that is right in our faces, promising a bit of easy pleasure.
- It is especially hard to say no when the consequences of overeating come about in such a distant, gradual and mysterious way.
- I find it difficult to believe that an extra scoop of ice-cream will end up as fat somewhere on my body
- If you make a fat person thin, you are sentencing them to a lifetime of hunger. [Read more…]
- SMWI*: Saturday Morning Workout Inspiration
- Source: TheMeta Picture
So bizarre…yet I couldn’t stop watching and laughing. (Family said I was all alone in liking this one.) And, have no idea what the ending signifies. Exhaustion?
5:50 am. I’m off. 100-year old men running marathons and I’ve been filling the couch. Now there’s inspiration.
45F according to Weather Channel. Walk outside. Feels like 60F. Strip off running jacket. Fat man goin’ to fly.
Feeling HEAVY. Thanks to my enabler friend Lori. She sent a can’t miss recipe after last week’s Spaghetti Bolognese post. Zeke (dog) and I were sniffing around like crack addicts for 10 hours while the bolognese simmered in the slow cooker…with the aroma from the meat sauce oozing into every pore of the house. When the 6pm dinner bell rang, I was at the table with fork, salt shaker, large plate. Salad? NO. Bread? NO. Vegetables? NO. Keep all distractions out of the way. I told Zeke to stand back, I needed room to feed. Four plates later (at least I stopped counting at 4), I was licking my plate…and telling myself, maybe it’s time to stop. Bliss. Peace. 10 years from today, new FDA research will find that eating Spaghetti Bolognese extends life. And you’re going to think back and say that crazy man was right. You read it here first.
Back to the run. So, here we are. The day after. A DIRIGIBLE. LARGE AND BLOATED. On the road again trying to knock out some lbs. 100-year old running man drifting in an out. I’m half his age and can’t get the pistons firing. Wonder if he lied about his age. (That’s not nice. But something seems off. He looks better than 100. Hell, he looks better than I do.)
On February 23, 2013, 101 year-old Fauja Singh finished the Hong Kong 10km (6.25 mile) event in one hour, 32 minutes and 28 seconds. (That’s it! I’m going to kick his a** today. I’m sick of being embarrassed by 100 year old men. It’s sad. Really it is.) [Read more…]
6 am. I’m off. No slackin’ today.
32F. Feels like 27F according to Weather Channel.
Snarky Man is on the move.
Black wind breaker. Blue sweat pants. Red shoes. Black Chargers Tuk.
(How do you spell C-L-A-S-H?)
Reach for draw string to synch up sweats. Only find one end. The other end is buried in hole about an inch back. Are you kidding me? Paused for 1 second – – no chance I’m going back to change. Veer way wide of the Man today. He going gangster. Let his sweatpants hang off his a**.
It all started yesterday. 3 am.
Morning ritual of stepping on the scale. Followed by Morning Delusion. LED flashing. Flashing. Flashing. (Think 10 pm on Christmas Eve as a Child .)
And then BAM.
Followed by SHOCK.
The scale reports a new 5-year high.
“Hope has two beautiful daughters. Their names are anger and courage; anger at the way things are, and courage to see that they do not remain the way they are.” — Augustine of Hippo
I don’t know who Mr. Augustine is. But I’m looking like a Hippo. I have one daughter and not two. And her name is Anger.
I get off the scale. Inhale. Exhale.
Technology! Has to be that I jumped on the scale too quickly. It didn’t find its equilibrium. It needs to set itself.
I gently step back on. (Like, if I treat it more kindly, I might get a better outcome.)
Flashing. Flashing. Flashing. Flashing. Flashing.
Enough. We enter Day 1 of my new weight reduction program.
And as I reach Post Road on my run this morning, I recall my first day…
I’m off. 35F. Feeling good.
It’s the day after Good Friday.
The title of LaDona’s post banging around in my head like a 50 Cent Rap song – – the tricked up Chevy heaving up and down to the beat:
This Place Was Made By God.
This Place Was Made By God.
This Place Was Made By God.
I look around. Trees reflecting on the still waters of the Long Island Sound. Sun’s up in its full magnificence. Sky is a brilliant blue. Who else could have made this?
She goes on. This place was made by God, a priceless sacrament; it is without reproach.
(She’s so d*mn sure.)
And on. The most sacred day in the Christian calendar, and indeed, in Christianity itself. Inspiration for stunning, poignant music across the centuries. Even if you don’t believe, or if you do and God seems far away, the music speaks. And touches. And heals.
(I’m right there with you Sister on the far away part. And right there with you that the music speaks, touches and heals)
Then the mind, faster than a switchback on a BC mountain highway, turns to a conversation with a colleague on Thursday: [Read more…]
I share exercise inspirations on Saturday mornings to get me off the couch and out the door. This share by Steve Layman may be the most powerful story and research that I’ve read on this topic. A few excerpts…
The story starts with a Phil Bruno “super-sizing again…He was only a mile from his house, where his wife, Susan, was cooking the usual big Italian dinner for their family of five, but he was hungry now. The urge was automatic…Ten minutes later, with a bag of burgers steaming on the seat beside him, he pulled into a McDonald’s and ordered a Double Quarter Pounder with Cheese, an apple pie, and a chocolate shake to wash it all down…Phil had always loved food, which was part of the fabric of his tight-knit Sicilian-American family: Grandma and her lasagna were right down the street. But he’d been athletic in his youth, playing high school football and carrying a robust but reasonable 215 pounds on a six-foot-three-inch frame. Then, in his mid-twenties, he’d stopped working out, as many of us do when life starts to chew up our time. Over the years, his regular meals and high-calorie bingeing had turned him into a physical and emotional wreck. His joints ached whenever he used the stairs, his heart hammered, and he was possessed by a strange, burning thirst that no amount of ice water could quench. “I was 47 years old,” he says, “but I felt like I was 80.” [Read more…]
Late (LATE) start. Galileo’s Sun is up. I look up and bask in its warmth. I start my run into a cold headwind. Fingertips tingling. My eyes, fill with water. Like mist on cold air over warm waters. This will clear.
Run by the corner of Noroton and Post Roads. Church Corner. Ascension Episcopal. Noroton Presbyterian. Christ Scientist. Churchgoers are filing in. Man cradling baby in a papoose. Families striding briskly, holding hands with their children. Lady holding kerchief in place from wind gusts. Elderly couple shifts right to let me pass. Community. Peace be with you too.
I usually run too early to see churchgoers. Not today. Guilt washes over me. Eric joined his friends in attending a eulogy yesterday. “Weird,” he described it. “Awkward not having been to church in years.” He lights my fuse using less than 10 words. Jung scolds: “Everything that irritates us about others can lead us to an understanding of ourselves.” Then Robert Fulghum piles on: “Don’t worry that children never listen to you; worry that they are always watching you.” How quickly this has escalated. Yes, “my” Son – – he’s been watching. And now I’m irritated, here on Galileo’s beautiful Sunday. NO, gentlemen. Not today. You won’t get under my skin today. No sir.
Some clips need no introduction…
Late start. (LATE) Aspirational intentions at 5:23 a.m. not converted into action until late morning. Chopping through a mountain of Emails. Tumbling. Reading. Cat videos. (How many of these can I watch?) Find myself in workmanlike mode. Stress notched up a few clicks. And racing again – like mid-day on a workday treadmill at the office.
And then, I come across Terry’s post and Yellow lights are flashing…
I’m in a hurry to get things done
Oh I rush and rush until life’s no fun
All I really gotta do is live and die
But I’m in a hurry and don’t know why
~Alabama, I’m in a hurry
Oddly enough, my immediate concern is not why I am in such a rush on a Saturday morning. But, synchronicity. Why is Country Music around every turn. (Now Country music, this is something to be concerned about. Then the mind goes back to HURRY. What’s the Rush?) [Read more…]
Here’s my Wolf Pack. Our Zeke on the left. Anya, the neighbor’s dog on the right. Zeke, a pure bred Hungarian bird hunting Vizsla. Anya, a rescue mix with herding in her DNA.
Zeke was acquired five years ago for hundreds (many) of dollars. (The King’s list of demands in dog selection included a sporting/running breed. It didn’t include acquiring someone else’s problems.) Anya was acquired from a shelter with no cash outlay. (*Hold this thought on dog profile differences.)
Trail running (and all running outside) has largely been suspended this winter season. Weekend exercise has taken the form of intermittent stabs on the elliptical machine in the attic…remote control in the right cup holder and water bottle in the left. Air temperature constant at 67F. No snow. No slush. No uneven surfaces. (And No Running Posts. Zero inspiration running on an elliptical.)
Weather warming this weekend. It was time to GET OUTSIDE. So, I prep. Ugg’s on. Strap Garmin on wrist. Grab iPhone. Earphones. Doggie treats. Two Dog leashes. Dog tags. Poop bags. Car keys. And stuff it all into a fanny pack. (Black manly style fanny pack.) Put on down coat. Pull on hat. (38F. Hat not needed but run will be arduous. No need to display thinning/receding and matted hair.) Jam running gloves in pocket. Grab Driver’s license and wallet and head out the door. (With the exception of dry food, ropes, crampons and ice axes, I’d be ready for climb up McKinley. Heavy load for a trail run in snow. Pulse quickens and I haven’t even left the car.) [Read more…]
This is a cross between my customary Saturday morning work-out inspiration clips, a poetry reading and a nature walk – all shackled together into one captivating production. Charlotte Davies is the poet and narrator. Her voice, both soothing and haunting, rhythmically pulls you along the beautiful cinematography. As one commenter stated: No words. Just one. Ikaragarria! Good Saturday morning.
- I find myself, probably like many of you, spending way too much time in front of my computer.
- As we work, we sit more than we do anything else. We’re averaging 9.3 hours a day, compared to 7.7 hours of sleeping.
- Sitting is so prevalent and so pervasive that we don’t even question how much we’re doing it. I’ve come to see that sitting is the smoking of our generation. [Read more…]