14 Comments
Oct 15, 2022Liked by Finn Schubert

I look forward to your email every Saturday! Thank you!

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Thank you for reading! I look forward to writing these each week, and it would truly be no fun without thoughtful and kind readers like you!

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💕 Beautifully composed.

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Thank you, dear friend! I feel like there is much more to explore with this topic.

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I am reminded of an obituary I read. A young woman died after "a journey with cancer". Most often we read something like "a battle with cancer", so the wording was quite surprising to me. I later realized she was the daughter of someone I had worked with for many years and that she was quite religious. Your essay made me think about "destination" - was it a journey because it led her to (her belief in) heaven? It is an interesting idea.

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Thank you for these thoughts. It was just now pointed out to me in a discussion of this essay over on Facebook that some folks engage with the idea of a journey differently, where the destination is not so important and the process is nonlinear. Although I had thought of journey as sort of the hero's journey archetype, where one sets out to do a particular thing, I realize that perhaps for some people, journey might open up more of a metaphor of having a particular experience, perhaps a rich or unusual learning experience, but without a predefined endpoint.

On a slight tangent, I always like to look words up in the 1913 Websters dictionary ( https://www.websters1913.com/ ). I read something online that said that this dictionary version simply put in more effort than more modern dictionaries, and therefore it's invaluable for writers. I have found this to be the case.

When I looked at "journey" in 1913 Websters, I learned that the root of the word has to do with "day": the travel or work of a day. I'm not quite sure how this fits in but I found it interesting. I also appreciated the care that this dictionary took to explain the differences between the similar words tour, excursion, and pilgrimage.

https://www.websters1913.com/words/Journey

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And you are exploring so well.

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Your affirmation means so much to me, dear friend.

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As always your writing sends me in 10,000 unexpected directions ... on a journey ... or perhaps a swivel, a turnaround, new perspectives. What is the difference between a pilgrimage and a journey? A labyrinth and a journey? A dance d add be a journey? So much to think about

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Oh, thank you for this comment, the comment itself reads like a dance, a labyrinth, a riddle!

No answers here, but each of these essays have "outtakes" -- quotes or ideas that are fascinating and relevant but just didn't end up in the final version.

Here are a few, in case you want a little more to think about (or dance with):

1. Paul Monette on the subject of pilgrimage: “So what is a pilgrimage anyway? I suppose it has to do with the baggage you carry and the baggage you manage to shed. Almost by definition, the reality is the opposite of your expectations—or why go at all?” (I chose this quote to open my essay collection, Even the Cemeteries Have Space Here.)

2. According to the 1913 Websters dictionary, here is the difference between a pilgrimage and a journey: "The word journey suggests the idea of a somewhat prolonged traveling for a specific object, leading a person to pass directly from one point to another. In a tour, we take a roundabout course from place to place, more commonly for pleasure, though sometimes on business. An excursion is usually a brief tour or trip for pleasure, health, etc. In a pilgrimage we travel to a place hallowed by our religions affections, or by some train of sacred or tender associations. A journey on important business; the tour of Europe; an excursion to the lakes; a pilgrimage to the Holy Land."

(Of course, quoting from this dictionary opens up the question of what is relevant or helpful to engage for our purposes in dictionary definitions, particularly ones from over a hundred years ago. Still, I found it interesting!)

https://www.websters1913.com/words/Journey

3. In an old essay in the previous iteration of this newsletter, when it was an essay series about moving out of NYC and grieving my infertility, I quoted the following Zen koan about pilgrimage:

Dizang asked Fayan, “Where are you going?”

Fayan said, “Around on pilgrimage.”

Dizang said, “What is the purpose of pilgrimage?”

Fayan said, “I don’t know.”

Dizang said, “Not knowing is most intimate.”

https://finnschubert.substack.com/p/the-menstruant

No answers, only more avenues to explore!

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"Are there other ways to acknowledge you really want something and set out to align your actions with your desire?" WHAT A QUESTION. Thank you for this gem ✨

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Thank YOU for all of your explorations into desire and alignment in your newsletter and tarot as questions series!

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You are a truly gifted writer! So glad I found your Substack! I am, without a doubt, older than you and I can tell you something that helped me tremendously, was a game changer, was reframing the ways I view, manage, and process the concepts of failure and struggle. As a Buddhist I’m sure you know all too well how these two concepts impact our emotional well-being. Cheers to you and I’m looking forward to hearing all your older essays and to updates about your baby experience and musings on trans life and life in general.

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Thanks for reading and sharing your thoughts! I agree -- shifting the frame even a little bit on how we view and process the concepts of failure and struggle can lead to so many different changes and new possibilities.

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