What does the word Journey evoke in your soul and spirit?  For me it is rich with associations.  I can feel excitement, anticipation, a sense of opportunity, adventure, challenge, freedom.  Maybe there is a little bit of fear in there as well.  This adds spice to the mix, and can also serve to increase alertness and awareness …

Musings on journeys:  they can be short or long, complete in a moment, or take up a lifetime.  They can lead us inward or outward.  Henry Miller writes, “There is only one great adventure, and that is inwards towards the self.” And the ancient Chinese teacher, Lau Tzu, suggests “Without leaving home, you can know the whole universe.”   Soul searching, self-reflection, indeed deep personal growth can occur without our moving an inch from the spot.

Many glorious journeys can indeed happen close to home — memorable images, feelings, sensations, that bring us into the present moment. I recall when I first really  notices these dancing tulips, right in our front garden, that lifted my spirit a few months ago. I stopped short, and just paid attention.

A walk around the block, even a glance out a window, can be the journey that invites our ‘Real Work’ in the sense Wendell Berry suggests in his poem by that title:

It may be that when we no longer know what to do
we have come to our real work,

and that when we no longer know which way to go

we have come to our real journey.

The mind that is not baffled is not employed.

The impeded stream is the one that sings. 

Just being still, maybe in awe, maybe bafflled, open, vulnerable, not knowing — real work.  Sometimes scary, sometimes blissful, sometimes both, and more…  

One reflective journey that Mike and I take often in the summer is roller blading and cycling on the Sea Wall around the Stanley Park on a summer evening or at dawn.  We just went this morning. Some of the fruits of the journey are  gratitude — for beauty, light, wheels!; challenges — keeping my balance; freedom of spirit — the flow of movement, and the moment to moment presence that I feel connecting with the trees, the ocean, the sky, other people…

Do you have a ‘journey’ close to home that lifts your spirit, that invites presence and reflection? Take a moment to feel into the quality of that experience.  What is its residue in your soul?  What do you notice and learn, or see and smell?

And then, of course, we can also take trips afar… far from home, into foreign lands and languages, unfamiliar landscapes.  Marcel Proust counsels us, though, that “the real voyage of discovery consists  of not in seeking new landscapes but in having new eyes.”   Good reminder.  No need to go anywhere if we don’t bring new eyes and a fresh mind.

Well, Mike and I are about to embark on one of those far away journeys.  We will take our new eyes and old bodies on a long cycling trip — starting in Montreal, Quebec. With some luck and perseverance, we hope to get to Asheville, North Carolina to visit family there, returning to Vancouver late October.  The next several blog posts will probably be from en route!

Rest your eyes on a Vancouver sunset, out our window two days ago — wow, eh?

 May your remaining summer days be filled with joy and well-being, dusky delights, dancing at dawn. 🙂

Jill Schroder is the author of BECOMING: Journeying Toward Authenticity.  BECOMING is an invitation for self-reflection, and to mine our memorable moments for insights, meaning, and growth.  Check the website for a sample chapter, or see the reviews to get a flavor for the volume.  Your feedback is most welcome.

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