PILGRIMAGE INSIDE:  My passion is supporting people in the cultivation of love, kindness and compassion for their human experience through practices that explore the sacredness of their inner landscape. I believe that intimately knowing ourselves has the power the transform the world.

MY PILGRIMAGE: For years I was in a race to get some place. Some place far in the distance. A calling. An overwhelming feeling to move. But with each push out into the world my path pulled me back to me. It was frustrating at times. I wanted a bigger experience in life but what I got was a bigger experience of me. It wasn’t until I was left to pick up the pieces after two failed relationships, three years of fatigue, a miscarriage and a cesarean birth that I found my way back home. Waking up I could see that I had been living life on the outer edges of my inner landscape. Running fast toward life at the cost of not living fully inside of myself. I began a practice of radical acceptance and complete responsibility. Radically accepting every moment of my life as it appeared and taking complete responsibility for my feelings, discomfort, reactions and responses. This practice required me to go deep inside and create an intimate relationship with myself. It offered me an opportunity to experience the discomfort in life without blaming or projecting onto others or getting stuck. It brought me peace and an empowering, uplifting way to move through the world. It was an act of personal devotion that gave me more access to me and therefore more access to the world around me. 

PHOTO: This is me, Stacy Hirsch, Pilgrimage Inside founder on a 19-day, 150 mile trek on the Annapurna Circuit in Nepal. The photo was taken by my traveling companion at Thorung La Pass, 17,769 ft above sea level (I’m cheering because I just climbed 5,000 ft to the summit). This life-changing experience continues to inspire many aspects of my path, including this website and future PI events. When I first started sharing my idea for Pilgrimage Inside with friends I described wanting to create deeply moving, physically demanding mindfulness events for people, similar to my experience in Nepal. I loved how the trek was physically exhausting yet beautiful and inspiring. One moment you didn’t know if you could go on and the next minute you were overflowing with gratitude.

 

Another aspect of the trek that was so fulfilling was that we were supported. We trekked alone but at the end of each day we stayed in guest houses where the food was prepared for us (my favorite was the garlic soup) and we might even be able to grab a cold shower. I think I took it for granted at the time but the support we received was essential. Historically, in many religions adherents were supported by lay people so that they could focus exclusively on spiritual development. What if we could create a version of this in the modern world for all people who want a deeper experience of life? How would it feel to be supported in all aspects of your growth? What might you discover? Who might you become?