A Pilgrimage

Today I went on a pilgrimage. My husband took the kids and I headed up my favorite mountain. It’s been a while since I have been alone. All alone with my thoughts.

This mountain is the place that for many years I would hike during summer rain, ice, snow, and every other weather condition to help
with severe anxiety. I lived down the mountain and for years it was my daily commune with God. The higher I trekked the easier I felt the Divine. I released so much of my old life up there.

This was the place I broke several ribs, sprained my chest cavity falling on ice and ended up in the ER. Another time it was where I fractured my tailbone. I can’t remember the many times I sprained my ankles. The trail and I had many battles. Sometimes I won. Other times I was well defeated and I learned some powerful lessons. It was the mystical place I stargazed at night and played with my kids during hard times when I had very little money. I had many galactic experiences up there. Bearwallow Mountain pushed me to begin writing with openness about myself and nature. It was the place I took my husband on our second date and where, on Christmas Day nine months later, I asked him if he would ever consider marrying me to which he answered, “Sure, why not?”

And years passed before we married and during that time those hikes helped me heal so much of an old self that was strangling me. I hiked in order not to run. I hiked because while I was climbing that mountain I was living in the present. I was grounding myself in order not to hurt myself.

The terrain up there pulls me. The vast space on top of the mountain calls my soul. The smell of cow manure is like coming home to comfort. The decomposing of the earth is intoxicating. In a bizarre way all my senses are heightened and I come alive like no other place. Today I needed to go home alone. And while I was up there I realized that on this day ten years ago I came to these mountains for the first time. Two months later I would be calling them my home.

So I sat on my favorite boulder and spoke to God. I cried while feeling the world’s grief. The beauty was breathtaking. I began asking for the best possible outcome for my kiddos. I felt the cool wind go through me with assurance. A baby calf came up real close while I was meditating. We startled each other when I moved quickly. And I giggled like a little girl. It was pure joy to feel the simple ease of the moment.

Up there I felt my soul open up again like it had years ago. Memories flooded since it’s been a while I had been there. I found many heart shaped rocks to add to my collection. There is magic and connection there and I was reminded to not wait so long for another return. It’s free therapy that enlightens my spirit.

The mountain always offers me a sacred journey inward. It holds intimacy and rawness. Today it supported me once again. And it reinforced what I always believe: it is compassion and gratitude that bring us to ourselves. It is release and forgiveness that allow our return to spirit. And, it is love that makes us, creates us and embodies us at all times…all this through the earth. Nature heals us. We become aware of our small presence in this world. Nature is our connection to the Divine and to each other. The divine is the love that we are and continue to learn from.

10 thoughts on “A Pilgrimage

  1. It’s difficult to believe you’ve been living in NC for nearly ten years already! And I’ve been retired for about that same amount of time. Time flies!

    Amazing, isn’t it, how just being outside – whether it be in the mountains or here in Greenville, or anywhere else in nature – can enlighten one’s spirit (as you say) or simply revive it (as I say)? I love being in our backyard in the mornings (before it gets too hot or humid), watching Ducky chase the squirrels or the birdies taking a bath.

  2. Gabrielle

    Wow 10 years!!! Love those mountains!!!!
    Gotta be there!!! Please do this more for yourself!!!!
    Beautiful!!!!

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