Your journey doesn’t have to be frenetic. Choose a different way! Here’s how to connect with the sense of profound presence no matter where you go

Part 1-France

Have you ever wondered about bringing the Divine with you as you travel? Often this is key to changing what can be a frenetic experience. 

The difference may be simple yet profound, such as noticing the smells in the air when you arrive. When I left the small airport on Pico island in the Azores, the air smelled like flowers! Or stopping to see, really see, the sunset about to happen before you. Certainly, appreciating the food you taste in a new city or country is a feast for our senses. Yet, so much more is possible.

For me, I start with visualizing the trip in its entirety and send joy, love and protection to all aspects of the journey. This would especially include the transitions from one place to the next. The protection is supported by those spiritual beings I have connected with through the years, such as Mother Mary, the Hindu goddess Durga or Archangel Michael.

Connect to presence

Each step of the way we can offer invitations to Divine presence. When I board a plane, I take a few moments to sit in quiet prayer and connect with a sense about the plane and the pilots. I follow this with a mental sweep of the plane, dispensing the energy of the prayer. This minimizes or mitigates any challenges the travel ahead will pose. 

Connect to what’s possible

As I prepare for travel, I contemplate what’s possible for bringing the Divine into the journey. That might take the form of planning a pilgrimage to Monserrat, something I did in April 2019. [link to blog post about that?]Or it may be simply being present with what is available in that moment. I always try to remember that an unplanned detour due to construction can reveal gems around the bend. When I’m flexible and I have the right attitude, I bring joy to the most ordinary moments. 

Connect to the adventure

I love spontaneity because that adds to the adventure. And it is an opportunity for the Divine to join in the fun. When my sister suggested we climb to a castle ruin near Hunawhir, my mother’s hometown in France, I experienced an adventure that I otherwise would not have experienced. Our hike was in the springtime, and the mountain was filled with blue flowers through an ancient forest. We paused at one point to listen to the forest when the trail was more isolated, and this calmed my senses. I felt the forest cooling down as we stood in the shade. In that moment, I was struck with the wisdom of nature surrounding me. I felt both humbled and soothed. 

This land in Alsace is right next to the German border. The land changed from being German occupied to French occupied. During World War 2, it was under German occupation. Her family stayed on but had very few men to work the vineyards. One of my mom’s favorite memories was when the American troops came and freed their town. All the children received chocolate from the soldiers. What all happened then, and how had it impacted this mountain trail? The beauty and sacredness of nature around me had hidden the scars, but I knew they must still be there.  

On that same trip to France, I became appreciative of the Hunawihr church in my mother’s village. It is no longer in use, yet it’s clear that the long history of care, both from the Catholics and the Protestants who have shared this hallowed building, still lives. This touched me deeply. Many of my family members have lived and been buried here. The many gravestones have both my maternal and paternal family names, including both of my maternal grandparents and my favorite first cousin, Christian and his mother, Elizabeth. Standing in the churchyard, I sensed the reverence for the sanctuary as well as the surrounding graveyard. My sister and I wandered through the quiet church, and I took a few moments to be present with the sacred. 

Sacredness exists all around us. So does the profane. Remembering the sacredness along with the profane allows for us to be more present and available for the full experience that travel can bring to us. It deepens our connection with the land we are visiting and our own sacred nature, and we can travel with that everywhere we go. 

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