A Spirit of Openness – 9 quotes from Christine Valters Paintner’s book – The Soul of a Pilgrim: Eight Practices for the Journey Within  

by Mark Votava

516Zn1dJC5L._SX331_BO1,204,203,200_1. You can’t arrive at this discovery overnight

“There is a mystery here because you can’t arrive at this discovery overnight. We must journey for a lifetime to discover our deepest and most mysterious talents. However, there is a paradox that comes with these realizations. While we must venture far to find our ‘true self,’ it is also always with us. We must continue to learn how to let go of what is false in our lives. We must throw out what keeps us from offering our own healing balm to the world. The more we live from this awareness the more our gifts can bring peace and joy to others.”

2. Fasting from ideas that keep us from truly living

“We might consider, as part of this pilgrimage, fasting from ideas that keep us from truly living or thoughts that don’t nourish us in spirit. We hold onto ideas about ourselves that keep us limited from everything we can be in our lives.”

3. As our path unfolds

“On a true pilgrimage, we soon discover that the journey has its own rhythm and momentum. We realize, if our hearts are listening, that there are secret destinations that reveal themselves as our path unfolds.”

4. A spirit of openness

“Humility demands that we always come to our journey with a spirit of openness, knowing that there is always more to learn. Conversely, when we think we’ve fallen away too far to return, we are also doomed to never try at all. The path of humility is about holding these two dimensions in balance. We need to discover more and begin again when we stumble. When we reject both of these, we have lost our way completely.”

5. See God through risk

“Hospitality calls us to see God through risk. It shows us that God doesn’t just appear in familiar faces, people who make me feel comfortable and safe… When we invite others into our lives, it changes our view on how things should work.”

6. To be an outcast

“To be an outcast means that we don’t align ourselves with the dominant way of thinking. It means we live on the lush and fertile edges of life (which paradoxically is also right at the heart and center of things).”

7. Thresholds require that we be vulnerable

“Thresholds require that we be vulnerable, that we acknowledge that we simply do not know what is to come. They call us to surrender to something much bigger and more meaningful, even as it calls us away from familiar patterns that are loved.”

8. Stay with difficult experiences

“On a deeper level, the call is to not run away when things become challenging. Stability demands that we stay with difficult experiences and stay present to the discomfort they create in us.”

9. Stay committed to awakening each moment

“This is being a pilgrim: to stay committed to awakening each moment to the truth of life’s generosity. I’m to give myself over to the immense love beating through me…”

Have you entered into a spirit of openness in everyday life?

My new book The Mystical Imagination: Seeing the Sacredness of All of Life (2015) is finally done! It is available on kindle and paperback!

“Our crowded, overly-consumed, hyper-active, digitally-addicted lifestyle is draining the life out of us. We are desperate to transcend the chaos and find a better way to live. We need a mystical imagination. Get ready to be transported into the depths of meaning as Votava breaks open the contemplative path and shows you how to live your life to the fullest.” Phileena Heuertz, author of Pilgrimage of a Soul: Contemplative Spirituality for the Active Life and founding partner, Gravity, a Center for Contemplative Activism

My first book The Communal Imagination: Finding a Way to Share Life Together (2014) is available on kindle and paperback also!

“Inside everyone there is a longing for community, to love and be loved. We are made in the image of a communal God. But in our hyper-mobile, individualistic, cluttered world… community is an endangered thing. And community is like working out – it takes work, sweat, discipline…  without that our muscles atrophy. Everybody wants to be fit, but not too many people want to do the work to get there. Mark’s book is sort of a workout manual, helping you rediscover your communal muscles and start building them up slowly. It is an invitation to live deep in a shallow world.”  Shane Claiborne, author and activist