Take an inner vacation

“The call, I am certain, is to stop reaching, forcing, and trying to make the experience into something. I need to recognize that it already is something. My willingness to be here and follow the quiet voice is enough. The angels of grace know my intention is true.”
– Christine Valters Paintner

Do you have any trips planned for this summer?

Author Christine Valters Paintner (an online American abbess currently living in Ireland) wants to take you on an inside one.

I’m on it. 

I read Paintner’s The Soul of a Pilgrim to do a review, but now I’m going back to live it.

While my daughter Jenna is on her outer pilgrimage to Guatemala this summer, I’m walking through an inner one, one chapter per week. (It’s already taking some curious turns here and here).

If you’re interested in taking a trip, too, learn more about the book and author here.


Here’s what you’ll find. You’ll be invited to . . .

  • hear the call
  • pack lightly
  • cross the threshold
  • walk it out
  • be uncomfortable
  • begin again
  • embrace the unknown
  • then finally, come home again.

Within each chapter you read introductory thoughts, reflect on a biblical story, practice lectio divina, participate in visio divina (she suggests photography on a walk but you can make it what you want), write midrash, and receive a blessing.

I’m also creating a vade mecum (Latin for “go with me”) for my journey, a small guidebook of my thoughts, prayers, and photos from each week’s theme.



Here’s an excerpt that hit me hard, being the book lover that I am, from Chapter 2, “The Practice of Packing Lightly,” under the section, “The Monastic Practice of Simplicity.”

“Pilgrimage demands preparation. There is much letting go that needs to happen. Packing bags means we need to discern what to carry with us and what to leave behind. This is one of the great gifts of pilgrimage; an invitation to discern what is essential.

~ * ~

I learned to check in with myself: Do I really need this book? Am I avoiding embracing my own wisdom by relying on the words of others? This is a delicate balance because I believe that books open up new worlds and the ideas of others do help me grow.

~ * ~

Books can have a shadow side. They might lead us to believe that we need more information so we can feel complete. Sometimes we buy more books as a surrogate for living because we believe those books contain life. We need to examine whether we’re being fully present to ourselves and understanding our hunger for knowledge.

~ * ~

We must practice this kind of letting go each day. Learn to apply it to possessions as you seek to consume less. Give more to those in need. Let go of your compulsive thoughts and release expectations. All of these prepare us for the bigger moments of letting go.

Yes, it’s that kind of book. For that kind of journey.

* * *

Read my book review at Patheos.
Read an excerpt from The Soul of a Pilgrim.

16 thoughts on “Take an inner vacation

  1. Susan Shipe

    Your photos are beautiful. I love the pack lightly – truly, our treasures should be stored up in heaven and not in a u-haul trailer! Lovely post. I’m your neighbor #61 at Jennifer’s today, I’m glad I am!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Great verse to bring in to this, Susan—our treasures definitely aren’t to be stockpiled here. We all see with our own eyes what happens to those. Too vulnerable. The only lasting things are the invisible spiritual ones.

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      The book is even better the second time around. 🙂 I actually got to listen in on a webinar that the author did a few weeks ago about the book. It was good too!

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      It has been enlightening already to watch how God likes to play along with us through these practices. 🙂 I’m so grateful that he has both a sense of purpose for us as well as a sense of humor.

  2. Jean Wise

    I am really enjoying this book and am taking with me on retreat next week. I like how she invites us to create a seven word prayer of intention which I did for both the book and my retreat. Good practice

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      I loved reading your 7-word prayer on your blog this morning (and the other prayers too). The one I wrote for the beginning of this journey for me is:
      “Together in this right here, right now.”

    1. LisaNotes Post author

      Thanks, Sarah. Yes, it’s one of those books that you get as much or as little out of it as you put in. I rarely put this much into a book, but this one has my full attention as God walks me through it.

  3. Jen

    Hi, Lisa! I’m stopping by from Tell His Story tonight. I like the lessons you pulled from this book – including the one about examining why we hang onto the things that we do. 🙂
    Jen @ Being Confident of This

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *