Tag Archives: Ennis

Thank You and 2014

Dear Hildegard,

Thank you for your companionship in 2013.

Yesterday I put out an invitation to friends on Facebook to see if I there were a group of people from a range of ages and backgrounds who would volunteer to read by letters to you over this past year.  Their mission is to choose 10 -12 posts that they find inspiring, helpful, worthy of being read by others and to let me know why they have made those choices.  I was delighted at the range of people who accepted the invitation.  People from Australia, Canada, Indonesia, from a wide range of faith traditions and personal journeys – all pilgrims in their own way.

Once I have their feedback I am going to make a final choice of posts and re-work them a little and see if there is a publisher out there interested! Why not?  It will be a kind of epistolary.

It has been a wonderful journey with you in 2013.  I am deeply grateful for your friendship, inspiration and challenges I have encountered in writing to you each week.  Your songs have often floated past as I have written to you, your images have evoked memories and led me to new thoughts.  Thank you.

As 2013 draws to a close I want to maintain the discipline of a weekly reflection and begin with a new woman to write to.

I have been ‘shortlisting” who I will write to in 2014 and on that list are some amazing women:

Biddy Early who I met in County Clare in Ireland this year – an early 19th Century woman who was also known for her healing powers like you Hildegard, and who was not afraid of relationships and love – she had three husbands in her life.

Juana Ines de la Cruz a 17th Century Mexican, a nun like you Hildegard. I was introduced to this year by one of my children – a musician, poet and scholar.

Mirabai a 16th Century Hindu mystic whose spirituality became famous around all the lands just as you too Hildegard was famous in your region.

I have been finding it hard to make a decision, each would give me wonderful companionship, challenge my thinking and take me to a new place in my reflective pilgrimage.  I have seen the land of Biddy Early, as I had seen your homeland Hildegard, and so that element has helped me make a final decision. In 2014 my letters will be to Biddy.  And a thank you to Jane O’Brien for introducing me to Biddy this year while I was walking the streets of Ennis.

I hope you will follow Biddy and I in 2014.

Image

New Shoes

10 days ago

Any self respecting pilgrim would have left their shoes at the end of their journey. I left mine in Ennis, County Clare. I first put them on when I started going to the gym, almost five years ago, intent on keeping fit enough so that I would be able to be physically and mentally prepared for mid-life and beyond.  The shoes served me well and were obviously good value for money!  They took me to the gym three or four times a week, to the Willunga Farmers Market most Saturday mornings, to countless short trips to familiar places, to far off lands and to the shores of oceans and streams.

After being on The Burren I knew I was going to say goodbye to them in Clare. And with that goodbye,  I would but some new ones in the new world of Dubai on the way home. And that is what I did.

This new journey warrants new shoes.  Ironically the ones I left behind were designed for walking and the label on this new shoe box says they  are designed for running!  I wonder if the shoes are being prophetic?

I thanked the shoes for carrying me this far and explained to them they had done a great job and their wear and tear was evidence of that. The right shoe had lost all its stitching on the toe perhaps channelling the number of times I have wanted to kick someone or something in or out of my way.
My new shoes were bought at one of the many temples to mammon in Dubai during Ramadan – an oxymoron to this reluctant shopper. Dubai is as far as any one could get from Patrick McCormack and the farmers in Clare.
The shoes will need to be broken in and I will reluctantly be back at the gym in a few days  and maintain my original intention and if the shoes are prophetic I will need to be ready.
I come to the end of these 30 days home and rested with the sounds of the pigeons in the distance, hearing The Ashes and with soup bubbling on the stove to comfort and reassure that I am indeed home in body and soul and ready with my new shoes for the next steps on this pilgrimage.
Today
Dear Hildegard, I have just read what I wrote ten days ago; and it has taken me until today to put on my new shoes. Yesterday there was the most glorious of sunrises and Brother Sun was telling me very clearly it is time to start again!
I think my procrastination is about not wanting the old journey or my holiday to end. But this day has come and on they went. One foot in front of the other the only way to walk – baby steps first.  I am remembering the instruction of The Burren, carefully watching where I am going; being mindful to the hidden holes; enjoying the flat land as a moment to relax vigilance and to test the rock for movement first before completely committing to the stride.  The Burren is a challenging spiritual director.  My new shoes will carry me to new territories and help me through familiar ones as well. They will need to be prepared for times when my reluctance will need to be met with patience.  They will need to be ready for times of both safari and pilgrimage.
When the time comes for these shoes to be rested I will have taken them to who knows where and whatever paths I find myself on with them I hope they serve me as well as the old ones.  So in the spirit of John O’Donohue who, it is claimed, could bless a carburettor and bring divinity to the moment, I have been self indulgent and written a little blessing for myself and my new shoes.
Blessing for the Pilgrim’s New Shoes
May the left shoe lead you to clear horizons.
May the right shoe follow in even time.
May they both hold you firmly
May they help you walk; and climb.
May they cup your feet so you feel grounded.
May they hold your ankles so you do not trip.
May they take you near and far
May they help you run; and skip.
May you always know to thank them,
For accompanying you along the way;
And may you let them bring you home safely,
At the end of every night and day.
Morning 25 July 2013

Morning over Willunga 25 July 2013