Category Archives: Pilgrimage Places

Tea and Toast

Fasting has never held much fascination for me, but then again, I don’t think much about food. Still, I understand that fasting is a key spiritual discipline that remains significant for many individuals and central in many traditions. Each year, I watch my husband suffer through Yom Kippur, which is precisely the point for observant Jews – affliction and atonement, as my father-in-law would say. I see my husband watch the hands of the clock tick toward the evening hour, and I know he is agonizing over every minute, because my husband thinks about food a lot.

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Who’s Your Guru?

Like a considerable number of women in my demographic, I’m certified as a yoga instructor, and like a portion of them, I completed my teacher training in an actual ashram. My plan was to eventually teach classes in a church basement someplace. The first yoga classes I ever took were held in St. Mark’s for a nominal fee and having such easy access to them undoubtedly changed my life for the better. Out of gratitude and a kind of evangelical zeal, I wanted to get out the word about yoga to precisely those types who would give the Hare Krishna singers a wide berth in the airport. Continue reading

Praying for Good Weather

Recently, I spent the weekend at a remote retreat center in the Jersey Pine Barrens, where a small convocation was holding its annual meeting. The accommodations were fairly rustic, but hardly anyone grumbled since the weather there was so great. Because the weather is a nice place to start any conversation, I commented on how lovely it was to the center director.

“Isn’t it gorgeous?” she said. “You know, I prayed for good weather!”

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Underwater Cathedral

Although I come from a long line of beachy people, I am not a beachy person myself. I burn too easily to worship the sun. Instead, I wear broad-brimmed hats and scurry to the shady spots along the shore. Because I grew up bouncing in the waves, though, I am a watery sort, especially where the water is warm. Every year or so, my husband and I try to head to points southerly where the seas are clear and the fish are friendly, and we join them there. We are not deep-sea divers; we are humble snorkelers. Continue reading