Judy Arpana on Life, Death & Pilgrimage

Monk putting up prayer flags near Tso Pema in northern India. Copyright Annie Stirling 2010
Monk putting up prayer flags near Tso Pema in northern India. Copyright Annie Stirling 2010

“A pilgrimage is a transformational journey. Through the exploration of outer landscapes we uncover deeper inner meanings. Blessings are received and healing takes place. With intention, the outer action of our journey can be filled with inner meaning. On return from pilgrimage life is seen with different eyes. Nothing will ever be quite the same again. With the right attitude any journey to a sacred place becomes a pilgrimage.”– Macrina Wiederkehr, ‘Behold your Life’

That was a quote that Judy Arpana – a Spiritual Care Consultant and Educator specialising in grief and loss counseling – shared with me when I met with her in Byron Bay in early 2015.

As a student of Buddhism for more than 40 years, she brings enormous compassion and depth of experience from both her study and her palliative care work to support those in the process of dying. With her natural humour and warmth, she allows people to develop a deeper appreciation of life – especially during the most challenging of times. For the past 20 years, Judy has also worked as a tour guide leading pilgrims to India.

I caught up with Judy near her home in Northern NSW, Australia to talk about life, death and pilgrimage.




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