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  • Writer's pictureSally

Pilgrimage | Texture & Transition

"Change is situational. Transition, on the other hand, is psychological. It is not those events, but rather the inner reorientation and self-definition that you have to go through in order to incorporate any of those changes into your life. Without a transition, a change is just a rearrangement of furniture. Unless transition happens, the change won’t work because it doesn’t 'take.'" — Transitions: Making Sense of Life’s Changes, by William Bridges

Today's Map: Vienne
Today's Map: Vienne

Today we walked through Vienne, one of the oldest cities in France, founded by the Romans as a wine port. The “ruins” were actually in better shape than I expected. You could even see the deep grooves in granite from centuries of commerce and passageway. I also listened to the side stories about the fate of the Knights Templar, sentenced to death by the judges in the Cathedral, now called the Cathedral St. Maurice, and a similar fate of the Beguines who were a group of women who lived holy lives, separate from the conventions of their time.

Vineyards seen cruising the Rhone, Vienne
Vineyards seen cruising the Rhone, Vienne

The contemplative photography assignment today is to explore texture. Texture was everywhere-the roughness of the ruins, the various metal tiles in deepening states of decay, the skin of the largest cauliflower we’ve ever seen in Saturday’s market. When traveling in other countries, even the ordinary takes on a different sheen.

Mike and me
Mike and me

Today’s step on the compass takes us outside of the mariner star to the idea of TRANSITION, which I liken to the weather in our life’s journey. The winds of change often disrupt the best of plans. The city of Vienne is proof that even the most armored—or the most devout—were not able to survive amidst the rising tide of the first pope in Avignon.

A wise pilgrim accepts that disruption is part of the journey, and even brings gifts along as token offerings to those who can assist when help is needed. Whether you are in the midst of a drought or you feel lost in a storm, transformation beckons to look for deeper patterns at work in your being and doing.

When I was anxious about starting my EMDR therapy to heal my abuse, a guide said to me, “Deep change sometimes requires great risk.” A few days later, I met JC in evening meditation. We walked along the beach to a beautiful tapestry hanging from a tree. It had a few threads hanging loose on an end. He brought the edge forward, showing me a thread and said: “You are taking apart this thread. It’s a deep pattern that’s been there a long time. This is necessary work.”When I began to unspool the thread, he handed me a stick from a fire that appeared behind us. He wanted me to light a fire to the tapestry and when I looked back at the rug, it was molded and wrapped around the entire island. The message was clear: A purging was coming and it would require purification. The walls around the island of my heart were about to burn away.

Change is about moving around the game pieces upon a board. Transition is questioning whether playing the game still serves you. When you think about the texture of your life, what feels too rough? What is so comfortable that it seems to have outgrown you?


1. What’s the weather like in your life?

2. Are you reaching an “ending” that is calling you to consider a new pathway?


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