Patient Worthy...



As you all know, I did an interview with Patient Worthy in the Fall. I spoke at length about being a Rare Mom, a good chunk of the interview was held back for Mother's Day.

We all have struggles, some are big and some small but, they are ours. It is my hope that the videos help support you and the ones you love on your journey.

In addition I wrote a blog post for them too...

Here are the links, and I would love your thoughts...

My Mother's Day post: http://patientworthy.com/...Mother's Day reflection/

My video: http://patientworthy.com/...on-being-a-rare-mom/

Another video: http://patientworthy.com/...advice-to-other-rare-moms/

Much love to all of you and Happy Mother's Day.

xo
Kathryn
PilgrimageGal


The Lessons of our Pilgrimage...

I have always wanted to be that girl who traveled the world, to visit the holy sites of the major faiths. For twenty years I have longed to walk the "El Camino de Santiago" in Spain. In English it is known as the "Way of St. James". A holy pilgrimage that dates back to the Middle Ages where thousands walk through Spain to the Cathedral Santiago de Compostela.

Pilgrims walk on multiple routes to the cathedral. Along the way they pass through villages and stay in small hotels or inns. They travel in groups or alone looking for spiritual enlightenment. When on a pilgrimage you may travel for many different reasons, but at the end you are looking for answers, enlightenment and peace.

Along the Camino, pilgrims have taken to wearing or carrying scallop shells. The tradition of the shell dates back to the legend of St. James the Apostle. There are several stories that involve St. James and the scallop shell that have become part of the tradition. One is, that the grooves in the shell, which come together at a single point, represent the various routes pilgrims traveled, all ending at the same destination. The journey is epic, filled with mountain views and concludes with ocean vistas. You crisscross through towns and villages along the way, meeting new friends and also have time for self-reflection and exploration.

I loved the idea that you walk and meet fellow pilgrims and at the end of the day you find yourself in a small village drinking wine and making relationships to support you on this magnificent journey. You could make life long friendships. Imagine ancient villages with Spain's beautiful topography, the comfort of a meal, resting your tired feet, and knowing you were walking the same path that St. James had walked thousands of years before.

At the end, pilgrims discuss the physical and emotional challenges they encountered and overcame along the way. Many offering tales of life affirming and spiritual change.

I wanted to take that transformative journey.

But, I lacked two things, the financial ability to go for two months and more honestly, I don't have the physical strength to tackle such a journey. I don't have a nanny, a driver, a house manager, and I don't have a private jet. Listen if you do, God bless you, please invite me on vacation. I mean a private jet...seriously let's go! Don't get me wrong, I'm a girl with first world problems; honestly, I'm a princess and I know it.

This is a journey that wasn't going to happen for me.

I made peace with that revelation.

I realized that if I wanted that transformative experience, I was going to have to create my own. I would create my journey, listen to the pilgrims at the quiet rest stops the Divine put on my path. My path would not be in Spain, it would be in the coffee shops in my own town, the people I meet when I do public speaking, and the individuals I meet on my daily journey through this life of mine.

I would share the lessons learned openly and honestly. With the hope that my fellow Pilgrims would do the same. We would share this journey, the truth and our encounters with the Divine.

That my fellow Pilgrims is how PilgrimageGal was born. And in that process, I would create my own transformative journey.

I have always been transparent when the blog first began; I was worried about my mortality, that I wouldn't live to see my Beauties grow into adulthood. The blog was and is for them, but it's more than just a record, it's a journal of my life lessons as I transform. I won't lie and say those thoughts of my mortality don't still cross my mind deep in the darkness of night; but it's not my focus. My focus remains learning, growing in my faith and running down the path to see what the next mile marker will teach me about love. It is in that transformation that all of my fellow

Pilgrims

(that's you) help me grow and deepen the lessons of this journey.

The beauty of transformation is that you have no idea how you will be on the other side. That is why this journey is so meaningful, I'm learning in real time. Sure there are many things I know for-sure and I share them. But more than that, I lean that each mile marker my faith strengthens, my love expands, and I'm growing to love more deeply that person that I see in the mirror. That expanding love, makes me a better mom, lover, friend and better Kathryn walking in the world.

We all have struggles. Sometimes it's your broken down jet, other times it's laundry, crazy bosses, relationship issues, parenting troubles, your ex, money worries, dealing with doctors, stupid insurance companies and raising loving and healthy children. I don't know too many of us who have the luxury and I mean luxury to drop out of our daily life to achieve this transformation. That is why PilgrimageGal is here. We are on this sacred pilgrimage together, we bring our problems, our joys, our successes and failures on the journey. We do all of this while caring for our aging parents, our children, while we carpool, work and make Wednesday night dinner. 

We are

Pilgrims

in the trenches! We are familiar with the messy and the foolishness of life. That is why we are walking and laughing together, sharing our truth, our love and light, and waiting for the next mile marker for a bite to eat, a delicious glass of wine, and some time for reflection.

That is what I'm offering to you... So lace up your shoes and meet me here. When your life leads you to a mile marker on your journey. We will sort it out together and keep moving forward.

I've gotta run, the laundry basket is overflowing... 

Till we meet again.

Namaste... The Divine in me bows and honors the Divine in you always.

Much love always,

Kathryn the PilgrimageGal

PS. I love to hear from you, so don't hesitate to send me a note with an update of your journey.  You can leave a comment, or friend me on

Facebook

or

Instagram

 or send me an email using the form on the right. Only my eyes will see the email, so please reach out and share your truth. I will do my best to get back in touch. 

photo credit:

Scallop Shell

via

photopin

(license)

Tips for Friendships with Chronic Disease...

My life is different from everyone in my inner circle. My closest friends and my family don't have the medical struggles that I face. I won the medical lottery, I have been diagnosed with multiple severe and at times life-threatening rare diseases. In addition to managing other conditions that have sprung up as a result. Having a rare disease means my life and that of my family is never predictable. Which could make maintaining lasting relationships difficult. But, that has not been my experience.

Over the years, I have learned how to educate my friends and family so they know all about my health.  While I never get a day off from management of my health; I don't want my relationships to be about my health.  You have to find the balance between sharing your truth and still living life. It's a fine line, I want friends and family to understand why I may not be at my best without them feeling sorry for me.  At times, I have tried to make light of some of my struggles with humor to put people at ease. I also work diligently to explain how hard it is to live in a body that has betrayed me and share that truth with honesty and love.

In October of 2014, my husband Jeffrey and I uprooted our family of four from the suburbs of Washington, DC and moved west to Santa Barbara, CA. I grew up in the DC area, my life, my family, my doctors, and my best girlfriends in the entire world live there. While moving from your support network is hard for any reason; it is especially difficult when you have developed networks of individuals that understand and love you with all of your health issues.

The move was the best decision for my immediate family. My health is better on the West Coast, more even temperatures. No more horrible cold winters and hot humid summers. Santa Barbara has less people, less traffic and a relaxed slower lifestyle which all agree with our family. The move came with sacrifices, leaving my support system and having to forge new ones. I have found that when you are honest from the start about your health it makes relationships a little easier. Everyone in this world has struggles, finding and maintaining friends will be so much easier when you up front share yours.

At a certain point, Jeffrey and I realized that we would have to tolerate the intolerable, and manage my health. I would likely 

never have remission

and never be cured. What was essential was within this space, I needed to find tools to live the best life in my body, to make peace with this life.  I needed to strengthen the relationships with the people who could understand this. The ones that loved me at my core, not the girl who "used to" do activities with them.

I found that my "true" friends are the friends who wanted to "be with me" not "do things with me". The two are quite different.  We often forget that underneath the label of chronic illness we are still ourselves.  Each of us is still funny, smart, charming and the life of the party. Often just the party location may need to change. My life is filled with a circle of love, the best girlfriends one could ever dream. I still listen, laugh and be the best friend ever... It just means I'm on the sofa or on the phone, not drinking martinis at midnight. (I'll just add that most "healthy" mothers of two aren't doing that either!)

Here are my tips for sustaining lasting friendships while struggling with severe chronic illness.

My chronic disease is like having a perpetual toddler so plan ahead and have a back up plan

. My husband and I like to joke that we have three children, our two real kids and the perpetual toddler that is my chronic disease. Everyone has seen a toddler lose it in a public place; well some mornings I wake up and realize that is exactly what my body is doing to me. For no reason my body has decided that it is not going to behave today, that means it's going to be a bad day. We all love toddlers; but we all know they can be a hot mess. You never know when she is going to have a meltdown (i.e. a "flare") and toddlers are amazing in that they are fantastically unpredictable. Toddlers have personalities, charming, delightful but one wrong look, twenty minutes overdue for a nap and you are going to pay the price. My body does the same to me, too long in the hot sun, too long on my feet when I should be resting. My body will shut down and I can be in bed for days. So be flexible, be ready to change plans and know that you will need to cancel some activities on short notice.

How about a wine and cheese party in bed

: When was the last time you had your best girlfriends over for a glass of wine? When I have been in bed too long thanks to my health, I know I need to see my girls. The ones who make me laugh and will talk to me about the normal stuff--let's be honest the life gossip!  One of my favorites is when I had a cocktail party in my bedroom. You got it. We had snacks and wine on my bed. They grab the glasses, they know where to find my wine, and carry it all upstairs. My girlfriends come over climb up on my king size bed. I sipped on some tea and they have wine (always in my Waterford crystal glasses) and eat cheese and fruit.  We laughed and giggled for a couple of hours, they went home at seven happy to have been with me and I was sound asleep at 8.  Jeff may have slept on a bed with a bunch of crumbs that night, but I slept perfectly, with a smile on my face for days.

I'm the queen of text parties

. How often does it happen that I feel great only to have my children come down with the dreaded stomach flu the one night in three months I'm ready to go out. My solution, text parties during movie award season. My besties and I send group texts discussing who wore what and who shouldn't have! It's the best. I have had one of my girls over and we are texting the one girl who was home with a husband traveling or a sick kiddo. It reminds us that no matter a friend's schedule or health, we can all still enjoy an evening together. You will also be shocked how often you laugh out loud when reading texts.

I still love lunch dates with my best girlfriends.

How about take-out lunch on your sofa. Who needs to sit in a restaurant all dressed up when your biggest accomplishment for the day is brushing your teeth and showering. I have a favorite Thai place that has the most amazing take-out. It also tastes just as amazing on my sofa in my sweats.

Movie night, coffee or brunch, what about yoga in your home?

My sister gave me a world class meditation class in the sunlight of my living room floor. Just the two of us, her voice and the best meditation warmed by the sun's healing rays. My living room has also been home to therapy sessions, impromptu yoga class and the best prayer group meetings.

Being a good friend also means being able to step outside your illness.  

Being sent to bed is very different from choosing to spend the day in bed. I've lost track of how many times I have been sent to bed by my doctors. 

Everyone has struggles in their life. Everyone. When you live with chronic disease it sometimes is easy to get caught up in your world of doctors and treatments and forget that your closest friends lives are still spinning too. I've been in bed countless times and taken some serious phone calls talking my friends through crisis. Sometimes you have to remind yourself that it's not always about you.

As the world's biggest type A, I love to have my make-up on, and my house perfect, but what I have learned is that no one really cares, when your best friends haven't seen you for however long. They really don't care... They really just want to be with you, to laugh, see you and to know that you are one day closer to being back up and running the world.  You don't have to leave your home when you aren't at your best.  No, you sometimes just need to make sure the key is under the door mat.

As always, the Divine in me bows to the Divine in you.--Namaste

If this post resonated with you, then I think you'll like; 

Chronic disease is like a bad boyfriend

.

I love to hear from you, please friend me on

Facebook

 or 

Instagram

. Or send me an email using the form on the right.  Only my eyes will see the email, so please reach out and share your truth. I will do my best to get back in touch. I love updates from all of you, so don't hesitate to send me a note with an update of your journey.

XO

Kathryn

PilgrimageGal

Photo Credit:

pixabay

Happy 3rd Birthday Pilgrimage Gal...

I started my little blog on June 1, 2012. I then spent days looking at a blank screen wondering what to say.

Pilgrimage Gal has evolved in three years. I have grown in confidence, witnessing my health dramatically improve and along the way I found my voice. This space began with the support of my Jeffrey and my dear friend Jessica; both encouraging me to share my truth. What began as a sick and frightened women's journal, changed into a place to find hope, courage and little faith. Back in the beginning, I wasn't scared of sharing my truth, I was scared of

dying

.  In my heart, I felt death chasing me and it was terrifying. The blog became a place to share the fear that filled my heart in the darkness of night.  The worries that didn't go away when I woke. I needed my Beauties to know their mom. So as adults they would have my truth of their childhood. The blog would allow them to see in my own words that I loved them with everything that I had. That I fought everyday for their Dad and them.

When I left this world, they would still hear my voice.

A record for the Beauties of what my life, our life was all about.

Total truth.

I never honestly expected to be here to celebrate this blog turning 3. While I was making peace with my death, the Divine was creating my way to life. Each doctor at every turn was a tiny grain of sand to wellness. You never see the beach when you are focused on individual grains of sand, you can't find the ocean--you can only see the grains.

No one has had access to better doctors. No one. I have fought, challenged, cajoled, and laid out a few. I have listened, cried and screamed when I needed to, I did what I was told, and I never stopped fighting. Never given up. Have I had dark moments? Good Lord, yes.  I looked at my Jeffrey and my Beauties and knew NO ONE would ever love them the way I do. No one possibly could. They are as much part of my soul as I am theirs.

I have meet brilliant minds, doctors who love me more than they should. I have given too many of them sleepless nights. My husband who never once has said it's too much. A doctor, Harvard, who stood next to my hospital bed in the darkest moments and who wound't give up on his most unique patient.  I know no person on earth that has more loving friends, soul sisters, more perfect Beauties and my mother who drops everything to support me.

My riches are too vast to imagine. I may never win the power-ball, but I have won more than my share of grace and love.

So as I step back and give thanks for medical interventions that keep me stable. Teachers who love my children as their own, friends no matter my geography that have my back, a husband that loves all of me, every broken part and every super power.

I know one thing that is true, that none of this is possible without my faith. A faith that humbles me. That in all of my abundance, I have been able to walk with LOVE. My greatest gift in all of this is faith that is built on love.  I have a faith that never falters. That faith has enabled me to see love hidden, love flourishing, and how to find it, keep it and make it grow.

It's all of these gifts that make Pilgrimage Gal my safe place as I hope it is yours too. The Divine gave me the love of all of you. My Pilgrims near and far. Thanks to technology, I have virtual tea dates around the globe. Someday the Divine will connect all of us, in London and in Finland and too many of you to mention in Canada and the States. Each and every one of you take a moment out of your busy daily life to walk with me. To share your truth, to give me insight in your life. You share your Beauties, your dreams, your faith and struggles. Thank you, for walking with me; sharing your exquisite every day moments. My life is richer with your love.

Jeffrey surprised me with a huge Pilgrimage Gal birthday cake, chocolate with salted caramel, no words for the yummiest cake ever. The cake was from the talented cafe and my newest Santa Barbara friend Gillian of

Lilac Patisserie

. I washed the cake down with a toast and small sip of champagne (I'm on crummy antibiotics) toasting each and everyone of you. Without you I would just be some lonely girl jotting musings in her diary.

Your loves, your likes, your comments, your shares, and your amens have made me productive, open, more honest and the best version of myself.

I'm beyond humbled by my life and look forward to celebrating all of our joys, celebrations and struggles for years to come.

Cheers, to you all! To Jess and Jeffrey, I love you both with all that I have, thank you for encouraging me in the darkness. You both give me more than I ever give you!

Peace be with you all.

The Divine in me bows to the Divine in each and everyone of you.

Happy Birthday from the Pilgrimage Gal and our journey continues.

xo,

Kathryn

Photo Credit: Mr. Pilgrimage Gal

Tool Four: Wrapping Up Love and the Hidden Tool...

Wrapping Up Love...
Can I just say, I'm delighted that you have made the stop on week four of our journey to resilience. This week, we are mixing things up a bit! I have created an activity, it's part meditation and part reflection.  Like everything we do together, it's easy and approachable.  I have even done this exercise with my Beauties, who didn't even complain. That is a miracle in my house!  I will call on you to use your imagination; then I will tie the exercise into the fourth tool and show you how it fits into the tool box.

Let's begin with the exercise:

You need to create a few mental images. I think we will call it, "day dreaming for adults!" Easypeasy. To begin, image yourself alone in a quiet and beautiful space. This should be a place you feel peaceful, safe and loved.

Where are you?  The beach?, or maybe it's simply your living room? Or a mountain top in Hawaii? A tulip garden in Holland? A quiet lavender field in France? For some it may be a place of religious significance.

The key is that it should be the most sacred and calming place that you can imagine, the place you feel most peaceful and connected with yourself.

Got it?... Good!

Next, I want you to imagine your LOVE. All the love that you have in your being. Do you have it? Good. Scoop it all up into your arms. You need to imagine it in an inanimate physical form. Maybe it's a heart, maybe its the word love carved in a stone, or just scrabble letters of L-O-V-E , or a piece of red paper cut into a heart, a charm from a necklace, or a vessel of some kind that can hold all your love. Just get a physical image.  I imagine love as the word. The letters carved in little rocks that I can fit into my hand.  Now place that object, your "love" in a box. Let's be clear, you are not losing love, you are for lack of a better description, cloning it.  A strange idea, I know.

My LOVE, I put into a beautiful square box. The box is cream and I have some airy cream ribbon to make a beautiful bow.

So imagine yourself, holding your box of love. You are sitting in this beautiful space you have created. In this place you are positively beaming, you never have been more relaxed, happy, safe, secure, practically giddy, just you and your box. I would have a glass of champagne, because well it's a celebration of me and my big O' box of love.

Now, turn and look around. You have company. You are not alone. Next to you is the Divine.  Yep, the Divine...

How great is that. Right?!

So let's talk about your image of the Divine. Who do you see?

Do you see George Burns from the 70's movies?  Do you see an old wise fatherly figure?  Or Morgan Freeman?  Some will see Jesus, others will see a woman. Some may see some sort of super angel. I'm fine with whatever physical form you use to meet the Divine.  I feel strongly that the Divine comes to all of us a little differently, so what you imagine is perfect.

Keep in mind, that you are not nervous, you are at peace sitting with your Creator.  The Creator that knows you intimately, that created you in the image and likeness of the Divine. So bask in the attention. You are home.  It's the BEST.

Great.  Now hand over that beautiful box O' love to the Divine.

So you give this gift of love to God.  Now what--right? Hang tight for a second.

Why are we doing this exercise?  I know for sure that God is in all of us--each and everyone of us. Sadly, sometimes we tune God out.  If we agree that love is how we connect to one another and to the Divine, then it may be worth considering how we use love.  Should we use it a little bit more? Do others need to stop treating love as a toy?

Recently, I have needed to remind myself that there are three of us in every relationship; you, me and the Divine.  I can't claim to have a relationship with the Divine and not acknowledge that you do too. So the folks who push my ever loving last button; they are in the same relationship with the Divine that I claim to have.

Imagine you just gave the Divine your box O' love and said, "Could you help me with this love business?" Would your relationships look different? If you let the Divine direct you a little bit, how would the Divine use your LOVE with others?  Would the Divine steer you away from some relationships, and shine you in a new direction?  Would the Divine, push you out toward some folks, and give you great insights into others?

This my fellow Pilgrims is the very definition of our fourth tool: Vulnerability.  The definition is simple: It's the ability to give and receive love in its most honest form.  Vulnerability is a two way street. In order to share where you are on your journey, you have to be willing to let others share with you.  As I like to say, love is messy.  Being vulnerable means you are saying, "yes" to the messy. You peel back that protective layer that we all like to keep covered.  Will others think my messy is too much?  Will they discover that I'm a hot mess or too broken?

All fair worries.

You are risking that someone you have given your trust to, may hurt you.

Is it a risk?

Yes.

Will you be hurt?

Perhaps.  But I have found that for all of my hurt in this life, the true members of my tribe far outweigh the few trolls who have hurt me on my journey.

Honestly, I have found that the better I use the tools, the more likely I am to find someone who is a perfect fit for my tribe, not an imposter!

So how does vulnerability allow you to be resilient?

Being vulnerable allows us to walk away from unhealthy relationships and toward healthy ones; which is a key component of resilience.  Choosing what is best for ourselves and our spirit. Vulnerability allows us to find others who "get-it," who will ultimately make up our tribe.  As you continue to build your tribe, your ability to use the tools improve.  The tribe members hold you accountable and you them. You create a safe-haven of trust, where you share and grow, you learn, listen and you get stronger in your own truth. When you peel back that layer; you create a space for vulnerability.  It's only when we are in this place (of vulnerability) that we connect on the deepest level and it's then that we see the Divine in each other.

If you are using your tools as keys to resilience; you can look with a loving eye at all your relationships.  You may find that perhaps the healthiest place for you is in fact not with the person you have chosen.  If you are in love with someone who has over time turned the Divine out; you may need to love yourself more and let go. Loving yourself means that you recognize that the Divine created you as a most precious beloved gift.  Love doesn't mean that you are trampled; love means you are treasured.

Which brings me to this question for you: How well are you using your love?  How well is your loved received? How much of your love do you share? How willing are you are to trust and be vulnerable?  Do you give your love away haphazardly?

Here is the kicker: Would the Divine use your love the same way?

O'my, right?

Really think about this: Take a few minutes to really consider it. We know that no one is better at loving than the Divine. So how would the Divine use your love in your life?

Please carry that question around this week. Own it, consider what that means to you and where you are meeting not only your tribe, but the Divine on this portion of the Pilgrimage.

So that is the exercise, everyday you and the Divine, sitting in your special place reviewing your day. Having a snack, or a cup of tea, or maybe even a cocktail.  A chance to look at your day with the Divine, one on one. It's the opportunity to check-in and see how your love meter is working. How you are managing the love around you. It can also be your first step into meditation. At the end of each day to sit in silence, creating the room for you and the Divine and listening to the reflection. If you and the Divine have time to meet up in the morning, even better...

So tool number four is vulnerability, check. You are doing great, really. And I love you!

Can't wait to hear how it works for you this week.

xo
Kathryn
PilgrimageGal

I love hearing from you, and I miss it when you don't reach out! So leave comments below, connect with me on instagram at PilgrimageGal or on facebook at PilgrimageGal or send me a private email by sending me a note in the form in the sidebar.

photo credit: PixaBay/blickpixel

Tool Three: Community and Tribe...

Well done.  I love you more...

Week three of our Pilgrimage on the road to Resilience. We have covered Humor, and Love, and today we will spend some time on Community and Tribe.  Community for me is your larger world, your acquaintances and friends. Your tribe is your close and core group.  People can move in and out of these circles over time.

If you accept the concept that living well is a direct correlation to how well you love. Then those who you love best and most authentically will organically become your community and tribe. The size of your circle is a direct result of how open, vulnerable and truthful you are about yourself. I hear often from folks that they aren't good at making relationships.  If you find your circle lacking, you need to ask yourself some tough questions.  Since it's almost Spring and we are working through Lent, perhaps it is time for a Spring cleaning of your emotional house.

Here are some questions to ask yourself. Some days we are better at these than others. I guess the real question is; in the last month can you feel good about more of these answers than not?

How free are you to love?  Are you positive in your world view? (ie: The world is filled with more good people than bad?)  Are you tolerant of differences of opinion?  Do you judge first or love first? Do you enjoy the company of people who have a different worldview than you do?  Are you willing to try new things?  How willing are you to sacrifice your wants for someone else?  Are your actions more thoughtful?  How easily do you let go of other people's failings?  Do you expect perfection in others?  Do you forgive?  Do you listen?  Do the rules apply to everyone, but you?

A sobering set of questions... I know.  None of us are perfect and I certainly know this list of questions makes me acknowledge that I'm a work in progress.  The questions are designed to make us stop and think.

Real relationships require balance; and the better your balance; the better your tribe.

Relationships that matter may require work; there is always some heavy lifting.  Often in this world of instant gratification we forget how to be thoughtful and kind. Simple kindness of a note in the mail (something I stink at doing) makes people's day. For the record, basic thoughtfulness goes a long way.

If I had a dinner party of the twenty most influential women in my life (and it would be tough to limit it to 20), the table would be very eclectic. The table would include grade school friends, teachers, high school girls, some family, several soul sisters, folks met while working, some girls battle tested by my health foolishness. My tribe is diverse; some share my catholic faith, others don't.  I have friends that aren't so sure about this God business, too.  I love that my female tribe members are all over the political spectrum and the world. Are they different? O'my, yes. Beautiful, honest, funny, battle tested, willing to call me on my foolishness, each one has a special spark that stops me in my tracks. Each and every one makes me better, pushes me to be a better version of myself.

I'm thinking I need to have this dinner party!

What I know about my tribe, is that you need one quality to join. Only one.  You have to be able to share your truth with me. I need to know who you are; who you really are; not who you want to be, not who you think I want you to be; you need to be yourself. And everything else will fall into place. Every woman at the table could tell you my truth, as I can there's. I hope that each one would say that they always know that they are loved completely by me and they love me likewise in return.

Everytime I end a call with someone in my tribe, I say the same thing, "I LOVE YOU."

Because I always want them to know, that they are loved.  I never want that to be in doubt.

To some, my circle of friends seems to be random. I make friends easily. True. Why? I think partly because I'm interested in other people's stories. Who are you, where are you on your journey?  I'm drawn to people who are honest, who are willing to not give up, who have that titanium inner core, who see the world as beautiful and full of promise. My tribe gift is simple, I don't forget your truth. I carry it always, I know your soul and you know mine.

So your tribe may be wider than you think. Your circle may involve more facebook or long distant chats then you know. I thought the move would be devastating in my relationships. I was worried about the lack of daily contact. But what I'm learning is that the depths of my love for my nearest and dearest is likely even stronger. I carry them with me in the grocery store and when I make dinner. I look at my watch and know where they are, I pray more directly for these loved ones than ever before. And that is what your tribe is, the ability to connect in the world with love for the ones who make you stronger, wiser, deeper in your faith, whatever your tradition. What we need to ask ourselves is why we don't extend our arms as wide as we can? To love more, to love with more intention, to speak our truth to every ear. Why do we skirt the tough conversations instead of saying what is really in our hearts? You can have the difficult conversation if you do one thing, put others first. It's not about you, it's about them.

What is the one quality that you need in your tribe? Once you know that quality, that truth, your tribe will blossom and bloom. Just like you...

Life is better when you have someone (or a whole tribe) to walk on your pilgrimage with you.

So how does this help you become resilient? It's simple.

You are never alone when you have your tribe. Your tribe dusts you off, helps to pick you up, sometimes they carry you. Your tribe helps you get back on the path when you make a wrong turn. Your tribe holds you accountable along the journey, loving you and wanting only the best for you. But best of all, your tribe is there to celebrate the joyous moments, the happiness of the journey, the triumphs of this life.

To drink the champagne with you. To hold their glass high, toast and say, "Well done. We love you."

And to my tribe, you know who you are... I love each one of you, more than any words on this page today or ever could say.  Thanks for walking with me, always.

I raise my glass to you and say, "Well done. I love you more!"

Till next week my Pilgrims, make your tribe a little stronger this week. Spread some of that love around.

Kathryn
PilgrimageGal

Photo credit: http://pixabay.com/en/users/Holgi-5825/

Tool Two: Humor



"You can laugh or you can cry; choose to laugh."

I love and hate that expression, likely because it's one I hear constantly out of the mouth of my dashing husband. It probably should be part of our family motto; but as I'm want to do, ugggh, yet again, I have to give him props. Because he is right, AGAIN!

As we begin to examine tool number two in our resilient tool box, you may be surprised that I would include humor.  For me, humor is a daily tool, it provides stress relief. I find it is also a vehicle for vulnerability (another tool we will discuss down the road.)

Humor can be an escape from the difficulties of daily life, a place for teaching and an opportunity to connect with the Divine.

Yep, I said the Divine, will get back to that in a minute.

Humor is a "go-to" in our house.  If you can't be a little self-deprecating, can't take a joke or even make a joke about the absurdity of some of your daily struggles; well you're missing out on some good living. Humor takes the edge off the really hard and gives you a safe and joyful place to let off a little steam.

I'm very self-deprecating, I can make a joke about my health, who could possibly be allergic to cold, to sweat, to water?  My life is positively ridiculous, how can you not occasionally joke about the absurdity of it all... But, as always, that is where my journey has landed me.  I see the world with a glass overflowing; even in the dark times it is always more full than empty. Humor works hand in hand with creating that positive attitude, and life that is positive is the way we roll.

We make jokes about health issues, anxiety, perfectionism, and my beloved's control freak ways!  I want to be clear, our jokes aren't hurtful--ever, and if they miss the mark, someone is always quick with an "OUCH" and the comments are quickly re-framed.  We are about light and fun, not negativity.

As with all the tools, it's about muscle memory, using the tools during the good times, makes it a whole lot easier to pull them out when the going gets tough. When you inject humor in the right spots, it allows others to relax and enter into your space with less trepidation.

I often say that the Divine has a wicked sense of humor. How is it possible no one tells you before you have children that you will get to raise yourself in so many unusual ways! Jeffrey and I look at each other daily and point fingers, "THAT'S YOU!" or "Excellent use of your DNA" because our Beauties constantly allow us to see ourselves, providing opportunities for reflection and growth.  And let me be clear its not gender specific, as Ian gets older more and more of the Kathryness of it all shows up in my Irish Prince! Another opportunity to laugh at ourselves and God's fantastic sense of humor.

Additionally, how is it you can laugh with your friends, lovers and children, but not laugh with God? My couples group in DC would call it, "hammer moments," when for the billionth time you see something as if it was for the first and it hits you so hard it's, well like a hammer.  The Divine uses humor constantly with me to teach that message, that hammer moment, it's not coincidence.

I often think God looks at our world, wondering why we take everything so seriously!  I don't think it's wrong to remind ourselves that our spiritual role models were human!  Did they tell jokes... eek maybe even some dirty ones?  Or was one a practical joker, always hiding your shoes, or your pillow?  Each of our faith traditions have some great insights and tools to draw us closer to the Divine. The Jesuit order has the Ignatian Contemplation, or as some explain it, the Prayer of Imagination. The idea is simple and wonderful; take a scriptural reading and then imagine yourself in the midst.  You just beamed in, you are reporter or a director with your imaginary movie camera. What is going on around you?  What is the weather?  What are the main characters doing?  What can you see?  What do you hear?  The Ignatians like to use this prayer with the Gospels, but any number of spiritual passages could work too.  I love this type of meditation for families, because the young ones have the best imaginations!  After dinner, read a small Gospel passage and talk to your Beauties. Throw out some crazy questions, like; who do you think is funny or the clown?  The prankster? Which apostle did Jesus have to remind to pay attention?  Was Jesus funny or was Mary?  What were they like as normal folks?  Did Mary remind Jesus to take his elbow off the table or use soap to wash-up before dinner?  It's a simple, approachable way to talk about the readings and perhaps give each of us a chance to deepen our faith in a new light. Tonight after dinner we will be re-visiting the Transfiguration from today's Gospel from Mark 9:2-10.  My Beauties will have some interesting insights on what is happening on top of that mountain!

So tool two is a little humor.  Work on making it your super power this week! Please contact me and let me know if you have any other ideas on how to use the first two tools. I would love to add your ideas and suggestions to my summary at the end of the series.

Till next Monday. Peace be with you, and may you feel the warm glow of my Irish love on you today and always.

K



photo credit: Lenten Mission via photopin (license)