Excerpted from Spirituality & Health--The Soul/Body Connection


What an exciting time to be alive! As the millennium unfolds, we find ourselves moving from being a culture that knows to one that discovers. This focus on the eternal journey has deep roots in the world's great wisdom traditions, from Jesus' call to enter the kingdom of heaven as a child to the Buddhist concept of beginner's mind.

These ideas for spiritual adventures come from our readers, advisors, friends, and editors, describing experiences they've had, or yearn to have. Some are grand, others are bold in their everydayness. We hope they'll inspire your own journey into the year 2000--and beyond.

1. Make a pilgrimage

In honor of our mother's 70th year, in June 2001 our family will walk, bike, and/or bus the 850-kilometer pilgrimage from the town of Roncesvalles through the Pyrenees to Santiago de Compostela, Spain, where legend has it that the remains of the apostle James are buried. In the Middle Ages this was the most notable pilgrimage after Jerusalem and Rome. Today's pilgrims experience not just spectacular scenery but some of the best medieval architecture (and the best food) in the world. Then, as now, those who complete the walk earn a scallop shell.

- Steve Kiesling, Ashland, OR

2. Locate yourself in the cosmos

Embark on a year-round adventure to learn the stars and their positions. Imagine cold, crisp evenings in winter as you find a moment of peace by looking to the sky for a friendly formation. Imagine warm summer nights sitting quietly and studying the heavens. You can enjoy this adventure throughout the year in any location or climate, and you could share it with others.

-- Barbara Landis, Lititz, PA

3. Feel the power of nature

Don't just look at a waterfall, sit in it. Feel its power to wash away whatever you need to let go of.

-- Don Wright, Woodstock, NY

4. Write love letters

I plan to write all the people I love: my husband, children, parents, and friends. These letters will include my feelings of love and gratitude along with some of the things I find special about them.

-- Ramona Richardson, Ringgold, VA

5. Take up acting

Don't worry about being good, just about showing up. Deal with ego, fear, desire for attention, fear of failure, working with others, and taking direction. Discover your playful, theatrical side. Learn about your own emotions and to respect what others do. Feel the benefits of getting involved in something you and others care about deeply.

-- Bob Scott, Warwick, NY

6. Find your holy space

A few months ago, as a tour leader I traveled to different cities of my country, Iran. I went to many mosques, mostly historical. They had this wonderful effect on me. There is a mosque in Naiin, nearIsfahan, which has a basement used for meditation and prayer. It's a wonderful place. It makes you think about your whole being--who you are, where you came from, your purpose in life. It's a perfect place for soul-searching.

-- Hedieh Azad, Tehran, Iran

7. Coach someone

In college, a bunch of the other athletes and I had a "leadership coach" who helped us in all kinds of ways: from advice, to meals, to money for books or, in some cases, tuition. The condition? We had to promise to provide the same kind of help to someone else.

-- Steve Kiesling, Ashland, OR

8. Build your dream

Ours began as a received opportunity: a small piece of land on a lake in rural western Mexico. We embarked on building a small shelter. Traditional adobe construction, was a given. It was also a given that we would build it with our own hands and the help of village compadres, godchildren, and friends.

Construction has reached the time to top out and put on the roof. We expect to finish this stage of our journey at the beginning of the new millennium. The next leg: dwelling.

-- Jim & Marilyn Davis, San Juan Evangelista, Mexico