Gifts from Pilgrimage

I am back home after being on my first-ever spiritual pilgrimage. Actually I don’t feel I’ve come ‘back’ I feel as if my whole life has moved forward – spiritually, intuitively, emotionally, even physically. Yes, this is the house where I lived before I went on pilgrimage, and I am serving as I had been, but just below the surface of that my world has greatly changed.

There is an ancient Eastern saying, “Do not build your house on the bridge.” Over the years I’ve taken this to mean that life is a bridge, and our Path is the way we take to cross that bridge toward self-realization. That we wouldn’t want to stop and build a house only part of the way over, that we need to keep going. Not relentlessly or in a driven way, but actively and calmly – joyfully!

On pilgrimage my ‘house’ changed every few days – a monastery in Rome, a small old-world hotel in Florence, a shared apartment in the Ananda Assisi community, a tiny room at La Verna the seclusion retreat of St. Francis, and finally a stunning contemporary hotel on the ocean in Rome. With each step across the bridge I would take just a little time to unpack my few things and then I would be off to walk, explore, gaze up at basilica domes, weep in front of art and statues, and meditate in chapels or in front of tombs.

Living on the Path entails movement not just physically but spiritually. This grace-filled movement helps to extinguish attachment. Less attachment makes room for Light to come in and shine on the Path ahead.


Lalaan Hickey serves as the Director of Communication for The Expanding Light retreat. In October she went on the Italian Pilgrimage sponsored by The Expanding Light. It changed her life.

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