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Community Voices: Sacred Lessons of Time and Place

by Christine DeSadeleer Jan 29, 2010
Here’s a quick look at some of the best spiritual travel pieces from the Matador Community.

SOMETIMES, YOU GUYS just say it better than we do.

OK, I would go so far as to say you “often” say it better than us, because your voice is completely authentic when writing on your Matador blog. Your experiences aren’t edited for content, length, or need to get a certain point across. You are just speaking your truth.

In the spirit (ha ha) of celebrating this authenticity, we’ve (specifically, the extraordinary Eileen Smith and Julie Schwietert) been searching through the community blogs for the most poignant writing and expression. Trust us, there is a lot of great content there, so the job isn’t easy. And this will not be the only time we put together a collection.

But for now, check out these five fantastic pieces that exemplify the search for the sacred and profound:

1. Looking for the Sacred, Finding the Profane, David Defranza

Sometimes, we believe we are searching for something intangible and beyond words, and instead we find that which is normal or everyday. Interestingly enough, as David Defranza points out, memories of “the smell of snow and of people, dirty blankets and hot tea” of Mount Kailash in the Himalayas is where true beauty is found.

2. What it means: Jerusalem in 100 words, Alyssa C. Martino

How are we awakened (or reawakened) by place? And does it always happen in the moment, or does it sometimes take years before we fully feel the impact? Alyssa C. Martino ponders the meaning of her trip to the Wailing Wall:

Me, I can’t even recall what I wrote on that note in the crevice; I wish I could reclaim that prayer, make it count, make it matter, rewrite it like this history of stubbornness.

3. I Just Need to Get Out, C-Sunshine

Many of us at Matador carry the “dream” to take off and leave it all behind, minus a backpack, a good utility knife, and enough pesos to make it to unchartered territory.

C-Sunshine writes of her sorrow over her mother’s death when she was only 15, and how the only time she has felt alive since is when she is traveling.

She desperately seeks to leave her world that includes a great job, wonderful roommates and loving boyfriend, in order to take on the wildness of freedom:

I wake up everyday go to work, school, and make love to my boyfriend, but I can’t wait to go home and fall asleep making a wish that I won’t have to wake up and do it again the next day…I dream of leaving, every moment.

4. An Incredibly Deep Translation Error, Jgbrandt

What is the power found in a simple language mistake? It might make you think about who you are in relationship with others. During a writing exercise in a class he taught abroad, Jgbrandt’s student wrote, “My friend and I were fighting this week because we don’t understand ourselves.” True, he probably meant to write “don’t understand each other”, but the lesson of his mistake is that we fight based more on our own misunderstood feelings than what others do.

As Jgbrandt notes, “that’s the nice thing about travel. It helps you understand yourself, and your world around you, a bit more truthfully.”

5. Life at Vimutti Buddhist Monastery, Turner Wright

Behold the meditative power of the run. Beyond caretaking duties at a Buddhist monastery in New Zealand, Turner Wright connects spiritualism to exercise, weeding to living in the present, and understanding how Monks can live and practice the Middle Way. Here’s a moving thought that also serves as a nice little reminder:

Mindfulness can be achieved by focusing on anything in the present: the sound of your breath moving in and out of the lungs, the chirping of birds in the distance, even the subtle development of painful tension in those reliable legs.

What are some of your favorite spiritual pieces from the Community? Share them below!

Community Connection

Interested in adding your own voice? Then go set up a blog in the Matador Community! If you are hoping to develop your skills further or make travel writing your profession, look no further than the cutting edge curriculum at MatadorU.

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