Pilgrimpace's Blog


The excellent Solitary Walker Blog has recently asked What are you reading?

I would like to ask the same.  I have a pile of books in front of me.  I intend to read some of these over the summer – which is a time when there is a bit more space for reading.


These include a collection of Neruda’s poems – I want to see what comes of reading The Ascent of Machu Pichu alongside John of the Cross; Andre Louf’s The Cistercian Way will give insight into Cistercian life and spirituality before I walk the Welsh Cistercian Way; similarly, Sacred Britain by Martin and Nigel Palmer will help me reflect on landscape and pilgrimage; Rita Nakashima Brock’s Journeys by Heart will help me think further on some of the things suggested about transformation and energy by Teresa of Avila.  Solea is an excellent European detective novel.

What are you reading?  I would love to know.

advent journey – in the mind
December 16, 2015, 12:33 pm
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There are those lines of poetry that stick in the deep in the mind and heart and bob to the surface from time to time for more enjoyment and reflection.

One of those for me is from the poem Camino Fever by Robert Wilkinson who writes the excellent The Solitary Walker blog.

How dark the soul in the dead of night! But how bright the morning sun!

This is so true of pilgrimage, and – as is so often the case – speaks from pilgrimage to the rest of life.

It speaks to me of the immersion in so much human suffering at the moment

of how the truths of Christmas do not shy away from this, but enter into it

of Advent and winter

of journeys

of longings and desires.

I did not have a chance to write a post on Monday in honour of John of the Cross’ Day, but I hear echoes of purgation and union, of nada and fullness, of the journey of love.IMGP0564

You can read the whole poem here

thank you
November 19, 2013, 3:03 pm
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My blogging comrade Robert at the Solitary Walker has come up with a wonderful idea which I am shamelessly pinching:

As part of a brilliantly life-enhancing practice of mindfulness, awareness, and thankfulness, he suggests we write a list of ten simple pleasures.  It should be done quickly and without thinking about it.  The joy then comes in reflecting on the list, giving thanks for the things, reading other people’s.  You can read Robert’s post here along with some others.  Here’s mine – I’d love to read your list.

1. the smell of grass after rain
2. a strong cup of tea after a long walk
3. followed by a pint of good bitter
4. picking up an egg that is still warm
5. a fishfinger sandwich
6. being up early when the house is quiet
7. a surprise packet in the post
8. Hail Smiling Morn
9. rubbing Grangers Wax into my boots
10. waiting to listen to the Ashes on Radio Four

the camino and the via negativa
August 12, 2013, 8:48 am
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There’s an excellent post by The Solitary Walker here on the Camino and the Via Negativa.

October 26, 2012, 4:03 pm
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Robert of The Passionate Transitory and The Solitary Walker is publishing quick interviews (and it’s quicker to type his wonderful term ‘quinterview’!) with the poets published in the first issue.  My enormous ego demands you read mine here but please read the others.  I love the playful seriousness in them – and there are some good insights to be gleaned into the workings of p0etic minds.

the passionate transitory

Robert at The Solitary Walker and Turnstone is launching this new online poetry journal: poems about life, landscape, travel and pilgrimage.  I am full of anticipation and will submit some poems.


dizzying distance / difficult solitude

The Solitary Walker has an outstanding post with this title here.  It brings back to me all the toughness of those solo, often lonely, miles on the Levante, but the harsh, rewarding beauty and depth of it at the same time.  I’m not sure I would enjoy a busy route like the Camino Frances, although I did enjoy the company of Jose Carlos, Michael, Belinda and the few other pilgrims walking beyond Zamora.  But there’s something about being, day after day, in the middle of a flat open landscape on your own.  You are so deeply exposed.  It is walking deep into self, deep into God, deep into nada.

the solitary walker on walking
December 30, 2010, 10:34 am
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I have a number of favourite blogs which inspire, challenge and feed me, most of which you can access to the left of this post on the blogroll.  The incomparable Solitary Walker is currently giving us an excellent series of meditations on walking in all its aspects.

December 7, 2010, 11:42 am
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There are two very good posts on The Solitary Walker’s blog (here) about the climate change talks taking place in Cancun at the moment.  One thing (among many) that disturbs me at the moment is how the environment has disappeared from political discourse and consciousness here.  It is as vital as everything else.  Do what you can to get it back on the political agenda.

silence and interiority

Another response to the Comments on Into Santiago:

Almost twenty years ago I went to India for the first time as part of an exchange between the British and Indian Student Christian Movements.  It was an extremely powerful and formative three weeks, allowing a humbling glimpse into the lives of many people in South India, and particularly into attempts to make social and economic change in that country of extremes.

One of the things that has stayed most in my memory was an overnight visit to Saccidananda Ashram at Shantivanum in Tamil Nadu.  This Camaldolese Monastery is perhaps best known as the home of Fr Bede Griffiths for many years, but to my mind its importance is perhaps most to be sought in its foundation by Dom Henri Le Saux, the French monk who became Abhishiktanada, and who lived and wrote some of the very deepest, most painful, and most real things in Christian – Hindu dialogue.  (Click here and here for a couple of book recommendations).

Away from the bustle and lack of space of urban India, Saccidanada was a haven of peace and tranquility (although a place where justice and peace are seen as essential elements of prayer).  Talking to the monks, I asked a question about the dissonance between the noise and lack of personal space I had been experiencing, and was told a simple truth: The heart of India is silence and interiority.

This was perhaps in the back of my mind when I was writing ‘Into Santiago’ , reflecting particularly on the contrast between the quietness and often silence of the walking with the noise and bustle of Santiago Cathedral and particularly the Pilgrim Mass.

I am really interested in how Robert has noticed the noise of the rain and the runners – I had originally seen them as being barriers to arriving in time for Mass, but – of course – they were noise as well, and are all a part with the noisy Mass and the quiet of prayer.

I will have one more response this has triggered, based on Kiwi Nomad’s wonderful blog of photos and reflections.  Perhaps tomorrow – hasta luego!