Parkour Pilgrim

I am intrigued how one thing leads to another. I have never bothered much with straight lines, instead I’ve been happy with curved edges, leap frogging over old ways to innovations and skidding across ledges to get to a new place.

The inner journey is never a straight line, it is more like parkour – traversing soul territory in leaps and bounds. The gurus, saints and mystics perhaps are superstar soul parkour practitioners? Overcoming obstacles in their spiritual landscapes using the body, mind and soul in dialogue with their environments to propel themselves forward, using the momentum, the traction from their moves to arrive to their next place safely. Not constrained by their physical surroundings or traditional physical forms they are willing to land on all fours, leverage off inanimate objects and travel on something else that might be moving – the spiritual masters are parkour pilgrims!

The obstacle courses we find ourselves in, or even perhaps create for ourselves, are an invitation to develop our parkour practice. The objects or hurdles in our way are also wonderful invitations to leverage off our own giftedness.

I recently learnt that a practitioner of Parkour is often called a traceur (masculine) or traceuse (feminine) and these terms are from the French verb tracer, which normally means “to trace”, as in “tracing a path”. In extending this idea of the pilgrim as a parkour practitioner, the pilgrim is one who is tracing a path. You are tracing your own path, and while the steps you take might be your own, many follow those who have gone before such as those who walk the Camino, or those who follow a specific prescribed spiritual path. Maybe there are a set of exercises or disciplines that keep you on your path? Or perhaps you use your landscapes to make the path for you, tracing the edges and ledges to make your own map?

What gets in your way, may well be the step up we need to take the next leap. Hildegard I think of you as a spiritual parkour practitioner – making good use of all the inner and outer offers in your landscape. And I’ve been wondering if, maybe, Paul Kelly was singing about Parkour in Leaps and Bounds?

I’m high on the hill
Looking over the bridge
To the M.C.G.
And way up on high
The clock on the silo
Says eleven degrees
I remember I remember
I’m breathing today
The month of May
All the burning leaves
I’m not hearing a sound
My feet don’t even
Touch the ground
I remember I remember
I go leaps and bounds
Down past the river
And across the playing fields
The fields all empty
Only for the burning leaves
I remember I remember
I go leaps and bounds
I remember everything

It is in the re-membering us pilgrims go in leaps and bounds and sometimes your feet don’t even touch the ground! I have had such a week! So many twists and turns and using each one to leverage to drive me further deeper and higher, into a more expansive spiritual landscape that speaks a single word – a uni-verse yet sung by a chorus of animate and inanimate obstacles that are stepping stones for the pilgrimage. Perhaps this is what you had in mind Hildegard with your vision where the universe was revealed to you as “round and shadowy … pointed at the top, like and egg … its outermost layer of a bright fire” (Scivias).

There is certainly a value in being more eggy than spermy as Martha Beck and Lissa Rankin have popularized. So if you are right Hildegard, about the universe as an egg, then perhaps as an aspiring parkour pilgrim, then I might invoke a discipline to trust the universe to come to me. And when it comes to be ready to go along for the ride knowing it might well be in leaps and bounds and not in a straight line.

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