Thursday, August 15, 2013

Stepping Over or DIving Into the Abyss...Your Choice

It is by going down into the abyss that we recover the treasures of life. 
Where you stumble, there lies your treasure. - Joseph Campbell

   It is such a foreboding word...abyss.  It conjures up dread and apprehension in most of us.  A place to most definitely avoid.  Finding Joseph Campbell's quote got me think of the abyss in a whole new way.

   Even an eight year old will tell you that treasure is buried, usually by a swashbuckling pirate.  But for some reason, as we grow up we imagine that it is simply lying on the surface, ready for us to pick up whenever we feel like it.

   No, treasure hunting is hard work and the most important treasures - self awareness, deep and abiding peace and spiritual connection - are buried beneath layers of ego and denial.  Sometimes it takes a pickax to break through.  Breaking through won't occur if we simply go through our lives stepping over, avoiding, the abyss.  We need to get down on our bellies and stare into it.

   On the Burren in County Clare, Ireland the limestone pavings are separated by gaps.  Some are just inches deep, others can go down several feet.  You must be very careful as you walk the pavings, a wrong step could mean a broken ankle.  But the most amazing things grow in those gaps in the stone.  It is why the Burren is also called The Land of the Fertile Rock - you can see a wonderful video of it by clicking on the link.   Next May I will return to this magical landscape to see it in its full bloom  when it reveals its most precious treasure, the amazing wildflowers and orchids that bloom for a very short time during May and early June.  I've never been able to be there at that time so it will be part of a three leg pilgrimage to my cherished "thin places" in Ireland and Scotland.  You will be hearing much more in the months to come as I begin to "pack my scrip" in preparation for what I am calling my Threshold Pilgrimage.  You can check out my series, Traveling with a Pilgrim's Heart here...

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