pilgrimage

It has been a few months since this blog has received my attention, a combination of a “tween” home on summer break, working on new projects for my business, and enjoying the summer once it showed up in late July. Gratitude for your patience with my summer slow-down….

For the past few summers, I have longed to make pilgrimage to northern Michigan, more my home while growing up than the many towns and houses we lived in. Both my parents were born and raised in this little town of Cheboygan, land of birch forests and crystal clear lakes. Once our family stopped moving to a new town every year, we rented a cottage for the summer on the large inland lake next to Cheboygan. My teenage summers were spent in imitation of a mermaid’s life, my hours spent in the lake offering me retreat and respite from my duties as the oldest of 7 children.

Life lately has taught me the fallacy of putting off through logic what time will bring back as regret. I began to plan for my longed-for road trip to northern Michigan where I could say hello and goodbye to my elderly relatives, make some peace with ghosts of times past, and swim once again in the embrace of my beloved lake. And while my tween dutifully made her objections to being tortured by the hours of being in the car with her mother, I knew the life-wisdom of bringing her to her larger family and history at this teen-age and stage of her life. Grace brought to my computer search a lakeside cottage on my beloved lake, offering my childhood bliss of being in the water for hours and hours at a time. Even the weather, which had been not so summer-like, was turning sunny and hot, the perfect weather in which to swim in water cold from the ice which does not leave the lake until May…. grace was greasing the wheels of my pilgrimage.

And yet, I realized I was hedging on fully committing to my pilgrimage “up north”. Gently inquiring within, I understood that this road trip was a commitment to re-claiming my trust in my life, trust that had become rather tattered after the betrayal of a husband of many years along with the betrayal by the spiritual community I had loved and and helped grow. …trust that my car with many miles would not break down, trust that the money I was spending on renting a cottage would be replenished in the fall, and trust that the lake of my childhood would still as magical as it was in my memories. There was realization that my reasons for not embarking on this journey of my soul’s longing-dressed up as logical-were simply excuses to live a little less, feel a little less, and reach for a little less. OK as long as I was willing to tell myself the truth of my choice to live a smaller life due to dented trust in life, not the pseudo-reasons of work, finances, and time….often used as excuses for not leaning into life with trust and faith.

And so, not wanting to surrender to living “less than” my glorious precious life, I chose to embrace my life scars not as damage, but rather, as victories in fully engaging with life. The result? One of the best experiences of my life with my tween even offering that she would like to do this trip again next summer! The lake’s embrace was as magical and nurturing as I have remembered it, the relatives grateful and generous in their love and sharing of family history, and the break from all things electronic-even my computer, oh my!-simply priceless beyond words. The cottage was perfect in it’s cottage-ness of knotty pine walls and birch tree vista of lake and vast sky. My morning meditations and journaling on the deck just 10 feet from the shoreline, were shared by multitudes of hummingbirds and the sparkling of the rising sun upon the water. My daughter made good friends with a baby duck family of 7 plus mom, exchanging leftover corn chips for the stroking of their downy backs. It was as good as it gets for each of us…

Lying in the waves, watching the sunshine sparkle, I remembered again how embracing the sensual feeds my soul, nurturing a strength and clarity that logic alone simply does not grant me. My body and it’s wisdom about the soul it contains and has partnered with, knew what treasures lay in a pilgramage to my lake most holy….simply I needed to choose again my trust in both the soft knowing of my body and in the strength of my life’s grace.