What does it mean to leave what you know? On spiritual pilgrimages, this is a choice we make. We leave the known world with special preparations to let go of what is familiar. We wish to enter a place in body and spirit, which is different, often slower and simpler, than our normal existence. One name for this is the Liminal (or in between) world. This space can be in the forest as on a Vision Quest, or in an ashram, or any place that can be experienced as a retreat. It is an exterior place in which we open ourselves to information that informs our interior spirit. For us, it is this trip to India. The third stage of a pilgrimage or retreat is the reincorporation. We return to the known world. We re-enter with preparations as careful as the ones we made to leave. This is done in order to honor and hold the (often subtle) shifts in awareness that has occurred on the retreat. For example, as we prepare to leave, we ask, with what “new” eyes will we see this place that we call home, when we return? This question has been active in our minds as we prepare to leave. What do we need to let go of? What do we need to take with us? Who will take care of things for us in our absence so that we can relax and not worry? For us, these preparations took weeks to set up! As Ned and I sorted through our possessions and clutter, did our taxes, packed, eliminated and repacked, & said goodbyes, we realized that we were welcoming ourselves home in advance. That is the difference between a vacation and a retreat/pilgrimage!