In the past couple of weeks, we have been emptying our house, which is scheduled to close on December 29, in preparation for the start of our six-month pilgrimage. We have packed up 900 books from our library shelves at home and taken them to either the Keene Public Library or Homestead Used Books in nearby Marlboro. The experience with the books is a metaphor for this time in our lives when we are learning how to travel lighter and with intention toward the absolutely essential. Let me elaborate.
Each book had its own story, joining our lives at various times and all of those stories were grounded in the past. The books were important, contributing to in some way to the people we are today, And now it is time to let them go. Hard to do? Absolutely, for people like us who can’t travel for a weekend with fewer than 3 books and newspapers and a magazine or two and then acquiring one or two more along the way.
But now that we have created our stories about each of these books, they have more relationships to build, with new people not known to us. Stephen King wrote (and I paraphrase here) that the written word crossed all time zones. Think about that. When each page was written, it was done in the author’s present time which from our vantage point now, was some time in the past but the reader is encountering those same words in what is now present time.
Present time, and staying there has been one of the great instructions from the book packing, indeed from the entire experience of moving because we are learning that in the present moment we receive all the help we need. There is no room for the regrets of the past or the anxiety about the future. It is simply right there.
There is something completely right about launching this pilgrimage at this time of the year.