two months after the pilgrimage

The journey of integration and taking our reflections out to the world continues for each of us.

Margaret has been busy writing more posts on her website.  She says she may write a book about the experience – and perhaps it’s already begun.  Terry has written an article for Dogwood Initiative, and a four-part series for Sierra Club BC: part 1, part 2, part 3, part 4.   Lucy has given a public presentation to the worship community at the Medical Mission Sisters Center in Philadelphia.  Margaret has been busy with several public presentations in the Milwaukee area and beyond.  As volunteer for Sierra Club BC, Terry offered a public talk in Esquimalt, BC.  And I have given presentations on Gabriola Island for the Save Our Shores (S.O.S.) Town Hall,  then as a longer non-sponsored public event, and most recently as an invited speaker at a SOS-initiated public rally that was part of the November 16th nationwide protest ‘Defend Our Communities, Defend Our Climate.’

At this rally on Saturday, I found myself weaving in aspects of the direct experience of the pilgrimage.  Over 100 listened in such an attentive, present way.  I also chose to focus on several attributes of sacred activism as inspired by the writings of Andrew Harvey and the teachings of Joanna Macy.  Though we hadn’t shared this on any earlier post, on Day 14 of our pilgrimage we were tremendously blessed with the presence of Joanna Macy with us via Skype.  Joanna has been a teacher and mentor to a few of us at previous trainings in her Work that Reconnects (WTR).  Some of us had hoped that we could do some WTR exercises on our return trip to help us integrate and share from our deepest selves – about our love and gratitude, grief and pain, hope and empowerment.  It was sheer grace that Joanna could be with us from her home in CA.  She had read our blog postings and first offered us her gratitude and then some beautifully inspiring words.  Then she guided us to offer our own deep reflections through a fourfold spiral process: 1. gratitude 2. honouring our pain 3. ‘seeing’ with new eyes 4. going forth.  It was such a sacred time for us of going within – in silence – then listening to each other as we shared, and listening to ourselves.  Some folks at the Nov 16th rally told me that they appreciated learning about this integrating process and about the various aspects of sacred activism.

And it’s not only the rallies, the presentations and writings that help us to make our pilgrimage public.  It’s all the ways we are communicating the depth of this experience with friends, community, family, neighbours and so forth.  We were 6, but the rippling effects of our experience may have reached 600 by now, or perhaps 6000!  Who’s to know?  Throughout these days ‘the river’ inside of us meets the river of curiosity or longing-to-know in others, and the river of consciousness grows and spreads.

The spacious time on the pilgrimage, given to walking, standing, sitting, resting, praying, meditating and gazing beside the protected waters of the Athabasca River and in the boreal woods, contrasted with witnessing the river’s perilous travail through the tar sands, the strip-mining of boreal and muskeg, the toxic air, the chemical tailings lakes and massive lunar landscape left behind, and the devastating effects on the traditional ways of First Nation communities, continues to transform this pilgrim … as it also continues to invite the contemplative way within me to hold the hugeness of it all.

About the author: Maureen Wild, SC, M.Ed. is an international speaker, educator and retreat guide. Her focus is on Sacred Ecology – the weaving of spirituality, justice, ethics and Christianity with insights from new cosmology, ecology and contemporary theology.

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