I’ve met a pilgrim. Not everyone has the chance to live such a moment. Somewhat this might explain how proud I am to let you know that I’ve met a pilgrim.
This was not a chancy meeting. A heavy mist was all around him, making his journey a bit more complicated and bewildering… He was really tired, actually, he was exhausted. Even so, he taught me a lot about life and the art of pilgrimage. He showed me the relevance of strategy in many aspects of life, and, furthermore, he taught me how to see beauty all over: in landscapes, buildings, people, in the tiny details that may go unnoticed with inattentive eyes.
He taught me that anyone can dismantle fear with coherent sentences and attitudes: once he was on the beach and fear came to haunt him, telling him things that were left way behind in the past and also puzzling him with vivid imagination (fear can be very creative although not always original!). So the pilgrim looked at the landscape and at the beauty that surrounded him at that moment. The fear did not give up and threatened him with death (Oh! Tragic and mean strategy of Fear..). Right there and then, the pilgrim looked deep inside Fear’s eyes and said in confidently: “Well, at least Death will find me admiring a great view!”. Fear was weakened. He deconstructed Fear’s blackmail and learned a way to take his life from Fear grip and back into his own hands: “give my life back to me! You’re not able to take care of it – I can do better!”
But, as I was saying, when I met him, he was exhausted. His pilgrimage had been very long: he had travelled all continents of the planet and almost every country that humanity had been able to create by building invisible (and some quite visible!) borders. His journey had been long and challenging! And it had started very early in his life...I could even say that his first cry at the hospital upon being born marked the birth of the pilgrim; that his first steps responded to the certainty that walking was necessary; and that his search for beauty was born from the lack of it in the eyes of those who looked (or should look) after him. Under pressure since an early age, the pilgrim forged his soul and built his inner fortress. He found virtues that have guided him as a compass – honesty, friendship, strategy, determination, goal, beauty, and persistence, among many others – and virtues that have been more than nice words – respect, care, love, family, affection…
An inner force drives him ahead as an inner mantra: “Move ahead, Go face it!”. And so he did: he went ahead, facing many challenges and resting in many places. Being a Pilgrim, he looked for answers. He walked miles and miles and got to this point in his journey the pilgrims know only too well: the moment to listen to his heart. Not to be guided by logic nor by the instinct to go ahead, but to be able to listen to his heart.
It was at this moment that I met the pilgrim. His heart was screaming “out loud”, crying hard, willing to be heard. He used to tell me stories of a time long gone, and of uncertain futures dreams. He showed me the scars – and they still hurt! He pointed at Fear with skepticism. Fear: this unfortunate parasite that insisted on walking alongside and the pilgrim was often lagging behind.
Would the pilgrim be able to deal with so many things at the same time? He didn’t know it himself. But once born a pilgrim, his spirit is free and his soul has many horizons. Soon he got better, heard his inner voice, healed his wounds, garnered his strength, and protected his heart. He also left behind all the stories that were a burden to him, and took only those which were essential – the light and simple ones. He was renewed, reborn. He was still a pilgrim, but in a new stage of his life: a pilgrim that knows how to listen to his heart. A pilgrim who has learned how to balance action and emotion. Now he could go on his journey.
And, as the mist lifted, his path was clear ahead once more. He said good bye to the ones he loved. He threw away useless things. He shrouded himself in lightness and projects. And he moved forward.
Will I ever see him again? Only time will tell…For now, I am grateful to life that has given me the chance to meet a pilgrim – and learn with him. And, filled with gratitude, I look forward to his writing – and living – his own story as he has always done: with ethics and aesthetics.
This text was written honouring a pilgrim friend: Flávio Correa. Hope he'll continue sharing the beauty he sees all over!