Tag Archives: pilgrimage

Arrival

4 May

Arrival. I arrived from Israel a little over 48 hours ago. My last week in Israel was filled with amazing memories with two of my best-friends, nursing my very tired and somewhat wounded feet back to health, trying to make sense of the fact that I was no longer on the shvil, trying to stay in touch with my Walk About Love group, and of course soaking up every ounce of Israel I could (even though I return in just a few short weeks with my congregation’s 9th grade class.)

I don’t think that I cried this much leaving Israel since my first trip when I was 16 years old. I cried when I was saying goodbye to my Walk About Love friends on WhatsApp. I cried after I hugged my dear friend Nancy Lewitt good-bye in Jerusalem. I cried on the airplane and I cried at JFK. Oh, and then I cried when I got home because my amazing partner Michelle filled our apartment with my pictures from the shvil and then put up shvil signs in the apartment leading me to her.

My tears, I believe are an emotional expression of closure to this amazing journey. I am not upset to be home, rather I think arriving home is like coming down from a beautiful viewpoint. I can’t stay up there forever. Every ascent is not complete without the descent. All journeys require an arrival “home.” The question I sit with now is, “How will I remember to remember all that the shvil taught me?”

There are certain lessons that I think might be engrained in me…my new love of trees and their ability to speak, heal, and offer comfort, my connection with my body and an increased confidence in it’s ability and resilience, and a lot more knowledge about the geography, topography, and the nature of the land of Israel.

Perhaps though, it is some of the deeper lessons…the soul lessons that I hope to keep close. Lessons of gratitude, of compassion, of generosity, of fearlessness, of strength, of self-reflection, of confidence, and of creativity and imagination.

My first day and a half back in Brooklyn I definitely lounged more than I have in about 8 weeks. I’ve been drinking Turkish coffee with hell (a staple on the shvil), Aroma now makes Nespresso pods so I’ve had some of those, I recreated some of my favorite Israeli food, and I’ve been listening to Israeli radio. Today though I realized I needed to reignite some parts of me that were really alive in Israel. So I went to yoga, and took a long walk in Prospect park, I started working on a photo book of my journey, and now I am writing this reflection…

When my sabbatical began I starting reading the book “The Art of Pilgrimage: The Seeker’s Guide to Making Travel Sacred” by Phil Cousineau. He writes in the last section of his book about coming home, “The art of pilgrimage is the craft of taking time seriously elegantly. What every traveler confronts sooner or later is that the way we spend each day of our travel…is the way we spend our lives.” I took these words to mean that my journey and my home life overlap. One experience doesn’t live a part from the other. All are integrated. All can be integrated. I look forward to sharing that integration with my congregation when I return very shortly from sabbatical and I am blessed that my friends, my family, and my amazing partner has already made space for that integration to happen.

Shabbat shalom and much love from another type of promised land…Brooklyn!

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