Release–letting go–is a vital part of the pilgrimage experience. It doesn’t happen “once and for all.” Pilgrims practice releasing over and over.
Here is a ritual that many have found helps them to unload the burdens they are carrying.
Upon entering the cathedral through any of the doors (west, south or north), find a stone in the floor that you would like to stand on. The sizes and shapes vary; keep looking until you find one that is right for you.
Plant your feet as if nothing could move you.
Close your eyes. Take three deep breaths, emphasizing the exhalations.
Ask yourself one of these questions:
“What am I ready to let go of?”
“What do I want to release?”
“Who am I going to forgive?”
Be as specific as possible.
Once you are clear, imagine placing whatever it is in your palms.
Close your fingers around “it.” Tense your fingers, making clenched fists. Sense how much you have held on.
When you are ready, open your hands, symbolically letting go of whatever you no longer need or want.
Pay attention to how your body is reacting and what it is communicating.
When it feels as if the release is as complete for now, take three deep breaths.
When you are ready, open your eyes and reorient yourself in the cathedral.
Then, move on.