The Inspiring Legacy of Peace Pilgrim

I will remain a wanderer until mankind has learned the way of peace, walking until given shelter and fasting until given food.

Peace Pilgrim

It is a source of wonder that a remarkable silver-haired 72-year-old woman I never met has had such a profound impact on my life and that of countless thousands of others.

Peace Pilgrim Web

Peace Pilgrim walked for 28 years with her messages of love and peace

Known simply as Peace Pilgrim, she walked tirelessly for 28 years throughout the United States and Canada on a personal pilgrimage for peace.

"A pilgrim's job is to rouse people from apathy and to make them think," she said, insisting: "Love is the greatest power on Earth. It conquers all things."

Penniless and walking without any organisational backing, she touched the lives of countless thousands who were inspired by her message of achieving peace between nations, individuals and that all important inner peace that is the vital starting point. "One little person, giving all of her time to peace, can make news," she said. "Many people, giving some of their time, can make history."

Thirty-three years ago today she died instantly in a car accident while being driven to a talk. A day earlier she had confided in a radio interview: "Death is a liberation into a freer life."

I'd first heard about her from another legendary pilgrim, spiritual and ecological activist Satish Kumar, the 77-year-old editor of Resurgence & Ecologist magazine and presenter of BBC2's Earth Pilgrim programme, who as a young man walked on a peace mission from India to the nuclear capitals of Moscow, Paris, London and Washington.

Satish Landscape Web

Satish Kumar walked from India to the nuclear capitals of the world

He sees life as a sacred journey and the Earth as our sacred home.

Meetings with him at Findhorn during 2010, and especially a workshop about Exploring Inner and Outer Landscapes, were to be life-changing; a spark of an idea catching flame and powering my transition from Petrolhead to Pilgrim.

"Tourists value the Earth and all her natural riches only in terms of their usefulness to themselves," he said, "while pilgrims perceive the planet as sacred and recognise the intrinsic value of all life.

As a pilgrim I discover the mystery, the magic, the meaning and the magnificence of life in every step I take, in every sound I hear and in every sight I see.

Esalen Institute Farm and Garden

Findhorn PR Geoff Dalglish has walked more than 15,000km as an ambassador for the Earth

New ideas about my life purpose crystallised during informal chats with Satish and were reinforced by the messages in his books No Destination and Earth Pilgrim.

On 7 July 2011 – exactly three decades after the passing of Peace Pilgrim from this earthly life – I took my first steps on the Isle of Iona on a walk of more than 9,400 miles (15,000km) that brought me to the Spanish medieval city of Salamanca in October last year. I'd walked with messages about treading more lightly and lovingly on the Earth, the last few months as an ambassador for WILD10, the 10th World Wilderness Congress.

I salute Peace Pilgrim, Satish and so many other brave souls who walk their talk.

Geoff Dalglish

Geoff also writes for Odyssey Magazine as their Earth Pilgrim At Large.

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