Definition of pilgrimage? (part one)
“A disciple…can never imitate his guide’s steps. You have your own way of living your life, of dealing with problems, and of winning. Teaching is only demonstrating that it is possible. Learning is making it possible for yourself.” Paulo Coehlo
(Merriam Webster Dictionary defines the world pilgrimage as 1- a journey of a pilgrim especially one to a shrine or a sacred place – and 2- the course of life on earth.)
Five days have passed since the official ending of the project I have been working for almost a year now. It is strange to say but it got me melancholic for all this time, for this place I call home, for the children I got to know better than I ever did before, for the beautiful people I met on the way…
It was the longest project and my longest stay – at one place alone. I became comfortable with this lifestyle and playfulness was the word that would rule my days – as I was learning how to get to that place of encounter with the kids, as I would try my best to be better, more patient, more creative and fun. And as much as I would like to keep that fresh in my heart, I know that I have to internalize it, learn my lessons, keep my eyes wide opened and above all be grateful for this huge opportunity that I was offered.
I did not come here to visit a shrine or a sacred place – that is true- I came here in order to put my heart into something, to give my time to those that were in need, to explore their universe and to give a grip of mine. Like two travellers that meet on the path, walking in different directions. Pilgrimage for me is more than a visit, it is an actual course, it is a state of mind. It is the awareness itself, its probably also the fact that you know, way before you even started on that path, that things are not forever, that everything has an ending, but that there is much more to come after that.
A cycle started and that cycle ended now, leaving place for another new one to take its place. One year ago, I was a bit sceptical about living in one place for so long, I was a bit worried about what it could inflict on my future projects, as I never saw myself in a place, but always around, moving from one place to the other. However, not after long I have understood that yes, it is good to welcome routine, stability and normality in your life. It is good to taste a bit of it before you refuse it altogether, same as everything else! It is good to try something new for a change, in many aspects.
You know a cycle has finished when you feel that you need some time to reflect when you feel enriched and eager for more as well as when you are melancholic and maybe even a bit disoriented. So what do you do with that disorientation? Well, you refocus and redirect that intention, your higher purpose. I have to admit I have faced this empty moment before as well, after finishing university, after quitting my job, and even after other projects I was so into – that I would eventually find myself next day on my way home without really acknowledging what has happened with me.
All was difficult till I have created my little heart box – it is basically the place where I keep all the beautiful moments, people and experiences lived – but most of all – there is a special place only for kids and their joyful little faces. Will always be a child at heart – and will always look up at children as the real teachers. After all, what else is a man’s life if not a series of cycles of growth? And what else to do with them if not cherish and learn from them as you best see fit?
The end of a cycle should never stop us from dreaming, from that urge to become better, the curiosity and the passion for life. Remember always to take that next small step. It will lead your way, and by the time you know it, you will understand.
I shall give a huge thanks from the heart to Il Cesto ( literary means ‘the nest’) that slowly became my family and accommodated me among many others – and of course, provided the instruments and helped me fulfil this cycle. Will surely find a place for you guys in my heart box!!!