What is a Pilgrimage?

I’ve been back for 21 days and can’t tell you how great it has been. I’m happy, I’m not depressed! To explain,  I have suffered from depression for almost 47 years, with only the last 11 years being my reprieve.  As a child I had an un-diagnosed thyroid condition that I had mentioned in an earlier blog and S.A.D. (Seasonal Affective Disorder) from the lack of Vitamin D and sunshine which both directly contributed to my being very depressed. But, I didn’t know any of this and instead feared that I was just a really sick person since no one else in my family seemed to be affected. I had also been sexual abused as a child but had no memories of it until I was 37 years old which I’m certain you would agree would make one depressed. So, after finally learning how to love myself from the inside out through the love,  support and encouragement from Steve, I have begun to experience joy and true happiness for the first time in my life.  I know how to have fun and how to share my love just for the sake of sharing it, not for anyone’s approval which is a very new concept for someone like me.  In fact having fun wasn’t in my repertoire for the last 20 years but of course have had pockets of fun here and there but mostly felt depressed and felt like I did not really belong anywhere.  But getting involved in the gay community here in Palm Springs has fed my need to belong, to give and to be a part of something bigger than myself and to play. I am part of a big family now and I feel loved and cared for on a very deep level. I have so much fun in Palm Springs that I am known for my happiness, which is really quite amazing!

I don’t want to diss my Family of Origin but all of my siblings agree that none of us ever felt close or safe with each other and feel like we each grew up alone,  much like an only child. We also do not have any memories of having fun as a family which is so incredibly sad.  So, I think if you don’t see fun, its hard to re-create fun!   Leaving “my Palm Springs Family”,  who were so much behind me regarding this trip was incredibly difficult.  I felt like I had a lot riding on it and really expected it to be hard, but at the same time, fun. After being away from home for 6 weeks I am constantly being asked “How was your trip, I’ll bet you had so much fun!” To which one would most likely answer, “Yes, I sure did!” but in this case I had to stop myself from agreeing and in that moment of hesitation would honestly say, “No, not really!” which of course always got a strange look. At first I didn’t really understand my reply until I started to really analyze why I was saying “no” versus “yes”. I mean I did have some very pleasant times both with and without other Pilgrims and I met some lovely people and saw some amazing sights, but truthfully, I didn’t have fun. What I have come to grips with is that I wasn’t really on a vacation, but instead was on a Pilgrimage or a Crusade of sorts. So, you know me by now, I went to Wikipedia to see what they had to say about the word Pilgrimage which is what I was on. And here’s what I found:

pilgrimage is a journey or search of moral or spiritual significance. A pilgrimage, in religion and spirituality, is a long journey or search of great moral significance, it is a journey to a shrine or other location of importance to a person’s beliefs and faith, although sometimes it can be a metaphorical journey into someone’s own beliefs. A person who makes such a journey is called a pilgrim. In the early 21st century the numbers of people of all faiths making pilgrimages has continued to rise, with 39 of the most popular sites alone receiving an estimated 200 million visitors every year.[3]

The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela is the...

The Cathedral of Santiago de Compostela is the destination of the pilgrimage. (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

I also found that there are five books, eight songs and two movies named Pilgrimage, which I now want to find out more about to see how they portray the experience of being on one. But, no where was I reading that the experience was supposed to be fun. The Camino is now teaching me again that  “there is no right or wrong way to experience growth in our life.” However, by having a more sobering/sombering  experience, I came back to more joy and happiness that I can remember in a very long time so as far as I can tell, my Pilgrimage to the Camino de Santiago was perfect for me! And that my friends, feels really good.

Now the next part of this is to ask myself if I can continue to experience these lessons right here in Palm Springs, because the truth be told, I’m not really sure that I ever had to leave home to be on a Camino! What do you think of that??

Hmmmm?? Food for thought…………..xoxo

About jill611

Born on the Summer Solstice in Buffalo, New York in 1955, I will turn 58 this June 21. I was born during Mercury Retrograde and am only now understanding exactly what that means in my life. I've been an R.N., who studied at Emory University in Georgia and then specialized in Psychiatric Nursing of Chemically Dependent Pregnant Women and their newborns in Chicago, Illinois. I also worked for the Visiting Nurse Association of Chicago as well. In 1991 I stepped away from Nursing to become a Stylist and Window Dresser for a boutique in Santa, Fe, New Mexico. There, in 1994, with a partner, opened the Folk Arts of Poland, buying and selling religious artifacts from Eastern Europe. In 2000, I began competing in Body Building and have won 21 trophies in 9 competitions. I became a Personal Trainer in 2003 and am currently working as a Trainer in Palm Springs, CA.
Aside | This entry was posted in Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

4 Responses to What is a Pilgrimage?

  1. stevelangham says:

    I had fun……..physically and emotionally draining many days, but nontheless, I had fun. Steve

  2. Devon says:

    When you share some of the things about being depressed and sick me knowing you would never guess this as you are always so loving and bubbly and sweet and always seem very HAPPY when I have seen you. I know Steve loves you very much and has taught you so much as he has also taught ME so much Great MAN Your a lovely woman

    • jill611 says:

      Thank you Devon, I know and that is really why I am sharing all of this, because there are so many different sides to us that I think if people know that I too struggle with some very deep and personal issues, they may feel safer in talking about their own weaknesses and upsets/ Getting it out in the open allows us to find freedom, love and joy or at least did so for me. You are right, since you have known me you have seen the happy Jill, not the one that I hope that I have finally shed. So it open the dialogue up. Also, I believe that it shows that we can all work on our issues and still enjoy life. Love you honey……..oxo

  3. jill611 says:

    You are a better man than Me! I have to have music along to make me happy and I need not ever forget that again!! xoxo

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s