You can’t cross the sea merely by standing and staring at the water. -Rabindranath Tagore
Tomorrow I leave for a 12 day buddhist pilgrimage on the small Japanese island of Shikoku.
I have no earthly idea how I was led to do this, how I’m going to get around on an island of non-english speakers (and my small knowledge of Japanese language…..other than that which I owe to 80s music ….case in point:
Thanks, guys….wait…I mean domo arigato😉 )
Add to that a forest of pit vipers, wild boars, signs I may not be able to read to get to my next village and poisonous centipedes…and I’m kind of feeling like Indiana Jones, but the indiana jones that didn’t like snakes and found himself in interesting situations:
But man…I am pumped!
Yes, maybe at times I’ve worried about trying to figure out how to use the japanese baths (luckily I found this jewel):
And I was worried about what to pack ( but found out I’ll be sporting this amazing and symbolic ohenro-san apparel….where every item has a very deep and spiritual meaning. “It is said that white is worn because long ago some pilgrims would collapse from the physical exertion and die during the pilgrimage, and the white robes could serve as their burial clothes”….two birds, one stone…respect):
I’ve had the great gift and capability of being able to travel to many places and this will be my second pilgrimage (with the first being the Camino de Santiago I did at the one year mark of Michael’s passing) and if there was anything that I learned that time around, it was that everything would be okay if I trusted the path. That was very difficult one year after Michael died, as it was hard to believe that anything happened for a reason, but nine years later, years into trusting my “path”, I look forward to challenging myself even more….mentally, spiritually and physically. As it’s been said about the Henro:
What is important is not the destination,
but the act of getting there.
The Path itself is the goal.
Buddhism has also played a role in my life after loss and I love the idea that On the way of the 88 Temples, anyone that you meet, anyone that you hear, anyone that you see; they are all manifestations of Buddha. Learn from their strengths and reform your own shortcomings.….so listen and learn and honor them…..I think that’s a goal to embody in everyday life.
There are many “seas” in this inner world we each hold within…and I have stood upon many shores looking out at what seemed like an endless abyss..
An abyss that your mind tells you you can not survive and that tries to freak you out (like these signs on the Henro Pilgrimage: )
…but I have crossed them, because my heart always said it would be worth it…and it wasn’t lying.(What the heart forgot to mention is once you cross that first ocean, you open the door to looking through the binoculars to see there are many more seas out there waiting for you if you are willing to look deeper…not on the beach, but in the current, the unknown, life.)
So yes, I am a bit nervous and have no clue that will come my way,but THAT IS LIFE and and I’m ready to keep on living’ it!
Lots of love- Taryn