Every year thousands make the spiritual pilgrimage to the Scottish isle of Iona in search of some greater spiritual Truth. The ancient Celts believed this island was one of the “thin places” where one could peek through the Veil that separates the heavens from the earth and gaze upon the Divine.
Before leaving the island, the pilgrims are instructed to choose two stones from the island’s rocky shore.
The first stone represents something in one’s life that they must let go of if they are to continue on their journey. It could be a relationship that diminishes the soul, an ancient resentment or regret that has battered and bruised one’s insides for long enough, the need for control, a belief or philosophy that dulls one’s spiritual intelligence, or maybe its a fear that has one by the heel and keeps them stuck in place. In a grand gesture, the pilgrim casts the first stone back into the sea (or down the hill, into a New York City pot hole, the green recycle bin, or the creek behind one’s yard!)
It requires courage to remove the blindfold and take a serious look at the chinks in our armor. It reminds me of a hot air ballon that was meant to soar, but remains staked to the ground. We must listen to the intuition of our souls and cut the rope, toss the stone into the sea, and intentionally let go of that which no longer serves the vitality of our souls.
The second stone represents something that we will take with us on the journey. This is where we are asked to dream. What is it that your soul yearns for? The time is now to have the chutzpah to welcome a new energy into our lives. Place the second stone at the center of your life (mine is perched on my bookshelf at the front door!) so that every time you pass it you are held accountable.
Maybe your stone symbolizes a pledge to say “Yes” to life. No longer will you play it safe and comfortable. Toss the stone of fear and instead open yourself up to whatever the cosmos has in store for you (Both the difficult and the joyous). Maybe this year you pledge to no longer be controlled by your appearance, your health, your finances, but instead by the quality of your time, your relationships, and your capacity to dream. Or maybe you are running on fumes. The “busy” life has taken a toll on your spirit and it’s time to take back your life. Starting right now, you designate certain hours during the week that cannot be scheduled in your diary. It’s called upping the peace quotient in your life! Maybe you finally realize that the judgment of family members, colleagues and friends is like a noose around your soul. Going forward you will adopt a new strategy. Not only will you accept them for who they are, but you will greet them with kindness. Maybe this is the year that you assume the posture of archeologist and start digging deep to uncover the mysterious presence of the Divine that dwells within you.
For me, “Two Stones” was a revelatory spiritual discipline. My first stone was control. This is a hard one to let go. The second stone—-Trust. This year I’m going to see what it feels like to rely less on myself and more on God.
Two stones. One life transformed.
Live in Hope,