With the recent release of the movie Eat, Pray, Love, about one woman’s spiritual quest after a bitter divorce, we’ve been thinking about the ways each of us seeks renewal, specifically in times of crisis. And while author Elizabeth Gilbert’s journey led her on an extended pilgrimage far from her home in NYC, we couldn’t help but wonder: How do you seek spiritual renewal when you can’t leave your family, your job, your mortgage payment?
We reached out to some of our favorite bloggers to share their wisdom, and as usual, their responses were lovely; personal, poignant and inspiring in their practicality. Read the responses here. Christine Valters Paintner of Abbey of the Arts posted a reflection on her blog after the piece went live, which we share here with her permission.
When you can’t drop everything for a year-long spiritual pilgrimage, how/where do you seek spiritual renewal in times of personal crisis?
I felt in need of a great pilgrimage
so I sat still for three
and God came
Sit in your cell and your cell will teach you everything.
-Sayings of the Desert Mothers & Fathers
I love the horizon-broadening adventure of travel and the invitation of pilgrimage to go to unexplored places within me. The purpose of these voyages, however, is always to return home again carrying the new insight back to everyday life. The Desert Mothers and Fathers remind me that my monk’s cell – which is really a metaphor for the inner cell of my heart – is the place I am called to sit day after day and be present to the mystery of myself and of God I discover there. What greater adventure is there than plunging into our own depths and uncovering what the mystics have told us for centuries – the heart of God beating within our own? This is also a perilous journey, for I encounter my own shadow and resistance, my small and hurting places. But when I kneel down at the altar before them and surrender into the arms of the Holy One, when I can sustain this inner gaze, these places are transformed into wisdom and grace. Each moment I am called to awaken to this journey within. No passport is necessary.
See the rest of the reflections on the question here. Thanks to Christine and all of our bloggers who shared such personal responses with us.
What about you? How do you find spiritual renewal in the midst of a crisis? We invite you to leave your comment here.