February 2010: What’s in a Symbol?
My musings upon the peregrinatio nature of counselling and life itself as a journey has coincided with my choice of icon, image, or symbol: the daisy.
Even though it was chosen more upon personal appeal than careful thought, it so happens that this image is quite appropriate for my perception of the counselling experience as intertwined with the path or journey metaphor.
Again, I am reliant upon the words of Esther de Waal, from her book The Celtic Way of Prayer (1997), adding the concept of ‘home’ to the understanding of the journey of the peregrini (or pilgrim):
For to be earthed and grounded in the reality of being at home in one’s own self and in the world around touches on something that is essential, necessary, if my journey is to have a form and shape. The apparent freedom and abandonment of the early Celtic world could give a misleading impression if it were ever to be mistaken for restless wandering. (p. 8 )
Being at home with oneself—and in the world. Easier said than done—making it part of that journey of discovery—the journey with ups and downs, twists and turns. How does one survive the chaos? The following quote provides a clue.
Peace. It does not mean to be in a place where there is no noise, trouble, or hard work. It means to be in the midst of those things and still be calm in your heart. –author unknown
This thread of order-within-confusion can be picked up again in the concept of peregrinatio. In contrasting the way of the peregrini with aimless wandering, de Waal notes that “the openness of the peregrinatio should never tempt me to forget that without the still center, the journey, whether inner or outer, is impossible.” (p. 9)
This reminds me of the symbolism of the daisy as it provides an image of a centre point from which we can venture forth and circle back over and over again. Being at home with ourselves, finding peace amidst the inner (and outer) chaos, grounding ourselves in our centre point—this is crucial to a successful life journey.
At times in my own inner journey, it feels as if I am working my way up the stem as I search for that centre point: that place of safety and sureness from which I can venture forth and to which I can return. I, too, am on a journey of becoming at home with myself and within the world.
Where are you upon your own inner peregrinatio? Have you found your centre? Are you traveling up the stem? Maybe you are exploring outwards and are about to circle back, excited to share your stories of the journey.