The meaning of pilgrimage is a journey that we undertake as a devotion and as a way to meet ourselves in the deepest of levels.
A pilgrimage is a rite of passage. There are few rites of passage for us to meet our erotic selves. For us to learn about our body and its connection to our pleasure and our soul. You have to make a choice in your life when you consider making a pilgrimage. And sometimes the opportunity only happens in midlife. That's when we wake up.
It come down to this: Are you willing to change? Are you willing to take a risk? Are you willing to take an unknown journey? Are you willing to move everything around in your life to connect to this strange thing called "Pleasure," "Eroticism" and your "Body"? Are you hungry to meet your erotic soul?
HOW DO YOU KNOW IF YOU ARE READY TO TAKE A PLEASURE PILGRIMAGE?
1. You are restless on the deepest level of your erotic soul. It's like having "restless leg syndrome" of the heart.
2. Are you willing to choose a life of pleasure and sexual wholeness instead of inheriting your legacy of sensual pleasure handed to you from your family? Are you willing to detach from that?
3. A pilgrimage implies being open to life. Are you open to leaving home even for a little while and trying something new? A person who takes on a pilgrimage is rarely "ready." It requires a certain fierce determination and a willingness to be defiant to expectations that you have in place already in your life.
4. People who go on a Pleasure Pilgrimage can be feeling numb, detached, addicted, bored, curious, hungry, or restless. Somehow they know that they need to move in their body. They are not willing to go into numbness or stay there. They are willing to accept contradictions and are willing to change even if it requires fearlessness. They are willing to invest in the mystery and the unknown quantity of something that they simply don't know, but have heard of. They have witnessed others living their personal legend of self discovery and have no idea if they can have this "feeling" too. But they are willing to pack their bags and go. They dare.
5. When you go on a Pleasure Pilgrimage you are willing to ask the questions; "Who am I?", "What do I want?" and "What is getting in the way?" and then acting on the answers.
6. A Pleasure Pilgrimage opens us up to magic. The bridge that allows us to cross our physical selves to our energetic selves. The experience of pleasure in our bodies is sometimes something that we cannot name. It's a personal experience in our body. When given the right kind of magic -- we can go on our own invisible and visible journey. This is something that is out of your head; it is something that is felt in the body. It is personal to you -- and only you can experience it. Others can support you to have it -- but it is uniquely yours. It doesn't have to have an explanation. You can simply enjoy pleasure.
7. The Pleasure Pilgrimage is a journey to love. It's a way of learning how to manifest love in the deepest way through self compassion and empathy -- and using those muscles for others.
8. A Pleasure Pilgrimage is a contradiction in what we are taught. We are taught to just give and self sacrifice and self deny -- and that this is what is honored. What if we could change the story and that you could find pleasure in giving -- instead of self denial? And we are never taught to receive. The contradiction in the pleasure journey to learn the pleasure in giving and pleasure in receiving. Pleasure becomes a virtue.
9. The Pleasure Pilgrimage is a changing journey. We must leave behind who we are for who we can become. The Pilgrimage to Pleasure can be a journey of re-organization and re-construction. It does not have to be a journey of destruction.
10. The Pleasure Pilgrimage can feed into our personal legend. There is a redemptive power to making a choice around pleasure rather than feeling that we are the effect of the pleasure choices and denials that are around us. What could happen if you took charge of your pleasure?
11. The Pleasure Pilgrimage is a journey that only you can create. People who go on this journey are those who have decided to move the obstacles. They are committed to the possibility of a different life with their own bodies and in their relationships.
12. The Pleasure Pilgrimage is a journey of a dream. It's something that you want to do. That gives you joy. Pleasure can be a part of your "Personal Legend." It's the life of joy that you want to live. And something that can be against the plans of your community, your religion, your husband or wife, your lover -- and your family. You can live the life that you are given. The life that you are taught to have. Or you can go on the Pilgrimage and find the life that you dream of. Life is generous. You can take the journey or you can numb out and forget it. Or do your best to forget it. I believe you will become unhappy and self destructive if you are not on the path to fulfilling your dream. The Pilgrimage may be difficult -- but the outcome will be joy.
The Pleasure Pilgrimage is a mystery for all of us. It's a journey into ourselves. Honor the pilgrimage. Take the journey. Honor the journey.
I hope there is something here for you.
Pamela Madsen runs retreats around the world to help women re-connect to their bodies and sensuous nature. You might call them "Pleasure Pilgrimages". (Back to The Body: Sensuous Retreat For Women) and is author of the memoir which tells the funny, unlikely story of her own mid life "Pleasure Pilgrimage" "Shameless: How I Ditched The Diet, Got Naked, Found True Pleasure and Somehow Got Home in Time to Cook Dinner" (Rodale 2011).