My journey started this morning with a train and a bus. When I got off the bus, I decided to walk the extra miles and forgo the next bus (a better idea this morning than it felt mid-afternoon!). The bus dropped me off right outside of Target. So being a good consumer, I went in to buy snacks. I was worried I wouldn’t have food the whole way and as it turns out, that was a good move.
I began my first steps of my pilgrimage in the Target parking lot. Weird. But in a lot of ways real. I walked away from a store and towards the beach. What I didn’t expect was to pass by lots of high-end shops and restaurants along the way. And all I thought about for the first hour or so was how I could find a nice pair of shorts in that store, and this place would have good lattes. I wanted the burger I smelled and the donut I saw. I wanted a new dress and comfy shoes. I was surprised at how easily I focused on what I wanted. None of which I needed.
As my walk progressed through late morning and into early afternoon, I began to feel fatigued—muscles and joints were achy and I was less steady on my feet. I got out my hiking poles to help me along and walked on the dirt and grass rather than the sidewalk to give more cushion for my body. And I became really tired and hungry but there was no food. Luckily I had snacks!
Another hour went by and all the food possibilities along the beach walkway were closed. It is February, after all, and not the height of beach tourist season! I checked the map and food would be in 45 minutes. I was slowing down and feeling a little wobbly. I stopped at the first restaurant I saw and gobbled up a great meal! Even got to sit at a booth where the wall opened out to a view of the beach! Stunning.
When I got up to leave I realized how much better I felt. I had needed rest and food. Gone were the thoughts of my morning consumer desires. They were replaced with what I needed. Food and rest. Refreshment and nourishment.
Pilgrimage gave me the opportunity to leave behind wants and focus on needs. I value the lesson to refresh and nourish.