Posted by: Dr Churchill | January 10, 2017

Accidental Pilgrim Redux

Walking about gives you fresh ideas and as it often happens, I get to share some of these with you…

This time I am thinking of an inner meditation of happiness.

Trust yourself is what I have to say to you.

And Love yourself, beyond measure.

Have Mercy for yourself, and above all else have Hope.

Share that hope with all your friends, and with the whole world.

Yes all is well and all will be well going forward.

Trust that everything will be alright.

Couple that with the acceptance of whatever happens as the best example of your success and you are set to go forward Happy and Whole.

It is also very important to know, that you are just happy from what is internal and integral to you. Keep looking inwards.

Look inside for your fulfillment, because when you attach your happiness to external things — you invariably get disappointed. , depressed and despondent.

The rat race never ends. There is always more bling that you can get…

Your external society enforced goals, cultural success, financial success, relationship success, etc — are sure to give you a headache.

You will surely set yourself up for maximum disappointment.

Even when things work out well enough for you in all of these areas — keep in mind that everything cycles, like the weather and the seasons.

The happiness you feel will change into something else. The sadness is also fleeting, the new home, the new car, the new partner — all get old, get dinged, dented and even worse, they lose their shine and the fresh new car smell…

Life is transient, and so are you.

So when those external societal competition goals break down, the external pain immediately gets reflected into our internal bodies. Our emotions break down. We feel sad, we feel disappointed, and we end up in pain. We cling to the past happiness, or our hoped for goals, that now have to change, and it kills us. It often feels like your arm is being torn off your body, when you fail to achieve your place in the PC rat race of keeping up with your neighbors.

Because trying to hold it all together to be fair to everyone within the family and within and without the Company, the Startup, the Organization, from the employees, to the investors, and from the customers, to the clients, is like hanging on to the rockcliff from the skin of your nails. It is akin to clinging to the past glories, to the future dreams, to everything and everyone, except to your own happiness in the moment of your present existence. Doing this is mightily draining and sickness causing. It is such a negative experience that people fall into this sad space and opt to medicate themselves through constant drug abuse, alcoholism, and depression medication, trying to live inside their constant anger and unhappiness with themselves and their station in life.


Why do we have to be that way?

All that hassle and pain — why ?

Is it because we choose competition to achieve goals that nobody in their right mind should care for?

Is it not obvious that this style of living causes sickness to the emotional body that can’t handle this insane competition anymore. T

Is it not obvious that when the emotional arms and legs get torn, then the physical body breaks?

I know it is and so do you.

I know because I’ve seen Founders completely broken down, and I have to help them check themselves into the hospital. And I’ve noticed how they drop out of touch for a few months and I don’t get to seen them in awhile, an d that what I call the symptom of going “submarine” It’s a condition and a well recognized syndrome. “Going Submarine” is a real thing amongst Founders of Startups, when things go South…

I ask… “What’s going on?”

“I’m sick,” is the usual Founders’ reply, or no reply at all but a third party calls to tell us they had an accident… Another keyword for emotional horror, acute depression, or worse — a suicide.

A suicide, is when they drop out completely.

Hopefully right before that is when we have to pick on the signals and intervene to help them stop sliding down and get them on the path of starting to get better.

And we have an intervention routine already established and we start by calling regularly and visiting them regularly with supplies of food and medicine and chicken soup for the soul and friendship, and trained psychological support along with professional Therapists and treatments from Medical Doctors.

We do the whole intervention as a Big Bang effort to cause Change in their mindset and to help them gain perspective. And we start this perspective positioning path by resetting their internal GPS to a point that we can start telling them that what’s going on in their lives and in their heads and in their heart is quite normal.

We talk and talk, and offer talk therapy, often times once a day in a way that we boost their confidence by giving them a strong shoulder to lean on.

We start by commenting again and again on the things to be Grateful for and the amazing things that we accomplished, and just by interacting with them directly as well as through the great community we have, we get friends to help out until we hear that our ailing Startup Founder is alive and well and on the road to mend all over again.

Then we help them get back up on the saddle but were never ever replace them at that point in time. We need to get them reassured and if they think that they don’t want to do this hard thing anymore they are sure to let us know, because now we have established an open transparent and honest communication procedure.

That is the winsome combination of Support and Strategy for the Future, and it’s called Company Founder Triage.

To offer you an assessment for your potential use, here is the key takeaway: We always offer the simple debrief, and we share with them both the learnings and the remedies that have worked well in the past with other Founders and we ask them for what is their choice of pill and what is their threshold for pain…

And thus at the end of an intervention like that I always ask “How’d you get better?” “What happened?” and “What are your Plans Now For Going Forward?”

And then I invite them to go for a long walk with me, and we start these unusual journeys like I now had to have with a NoCal Founder of one of my Companies…

And the conversation evolved into a friendship through this long walk and he said: I’ll tell you the secret he said, “I thought I was going to die. I was just lying in bed and couldn’t move, I had a high fever, and was in too much pain. I really thought I was going to die. Finally, I just started saying over and over again, “I love myself.”

He paused and started saying it right then as if still in the cure. “I love myself. I love myself. I love myself. I would repeat it all day. “

Love Yourself.

That’s the way to get better.

When I say that — my body starts healing faster.

My state of mind grows lighter.

But the thing is, life gets better.

But not just better, things happen that are usually way out of my reach.

This I couldn’t have dreamed of […] I found myself using the word ‘magic’ to describe what was happening. And through it all I kept repeating to myself, “I love myself. I love myself. I love myself.”

Think about it — when someone is in love, they almost magically look better. I needed to be in love with myself to feel better. So much of what had happened had weighed on me until I collapsed. Now I needed to love myself. It became a mantra for me.

As someone explained to me the other day, the word “mantra” has two parts (in Sanskrit) “man” – thoughtfulness with zeal, and “tra” – to protect. So by saying “I love myself” over and over again, we are protecting the thought of Self Love, we are nourishing it, and the love is nourishing the rest of our body, our emotions, our mind, and our spirit.

If a painful memory arises, don’t fight it or try to push it away – you’re in quicksand. Struggle reinforces pain. Instead, go to love. Love for yourself. Feel it. If you have to fake it, fine. It’ll become real eventually Feel the love for yourself as the memory ebbs and flows. That will take the power away.

And even more importantly, it will shift the wiring of the memory. Do it again and again. Love. Re-wire. Love. Re-wire. It’s your mind. You can do whatever you want.

The results are worth it.

I wish that for you.

And so I took him for a journey. And he liked it so  much that he said “Now I want a pilgrimage in my life right now” and I couldn’t agree more…

And we started a new journey: A pilgrimage… Walking about on a pilgrimage is the result of many Quests, and when done thoughtfully, it indeed has several outcomes:

People do this when seeking answers to Life’s dilemmas…

Something happened. Something confusing. Something that wasn’t in the plan.

You have to get off the regular path. Try a new one. Try one that takes a bit of courage and discipline. Make it a journey with the objective of meeting strangers all along the way and conversing with them.

Any walking pilgrimage worth it’s name does take significant time and effort in meeting others.

I believe that you have to go to a far location, and you do have to go to a  real spiritual departure from your ordinary life, but you can do your pilgrimage each and every day in your neighborhood walk — provided that you change your mental outlook and focus on that.

If you have the intention to walk about thoughtfully, do this by taking the time for yourself, or during lunchtime, a few times each week, or even each and every day and walk around the lake, or to do something you’ve never done before. Walk about and think about things you never thought about before.

Find the places in your life that you never looked before. They are there every day. The pilgrimage awaits.

Do a dare you never would have dared to before.

So whenever you struggle with Life, go for a walk….

Maybe some people find life easy. I don’t.

Life is filled with worries about threats, attacks, terror, management, work, commitments, promises, conveyances, community, leadership, conflict, Love & Hate, family, religion, politics, money, relationships, kids, about decisions, about the people who hate you, who annoy you, who scare you. Anxieties, regrets.

Every pilgrimage begins with the struggle. And every journey is a struggle.

The struggle doesn’t stop. It just changes. It changes into one where you are lost to one where you have vision.

Where the struggle is not being trapped in the vision of others but for the unique impact that you want to create.

But here are the real clear benefits of a pilgrimage, and that is how you can reap these benefits for yourself…

You can finally see more clearly: Everything you see on a pilgrimage is different from “normal life”. Enjoy them. Learn from it. Even a single day, a single meeting, can be a pilgrimage. What is your takeaway from it.
You meet people. I like to pretend everyone has a fortune cookie to give me. A little bit stale, a little bit crunchy, with a folded message inside. Read it.
There’s an end. We’ve made pilgrimages too easy. We can go to a museum and see 2000 works of art.
It used to be that people would travel a 1000 miles to see one painting hanging up in a chapel. Then you can really appreciate what you see.

The more you appreciate the people, the things, the emotions around you, the more you are a pilgrim.

Come back changed. A pilgrim doesn’t just fly a plane from point A to point B. A pilgrim travels the ancient pathways. And that’s how a pilgrimage changes you, because of the very journey and the ancient earth pathways that you traverse, and the people you meet and talk along the way. You do that by using your senses: You listen more, you see more, you taste more, you observe more.

You end up being one with the landscape and the local people, and you use their time and rhythm of being. That is the reason why the conveniences of modern society and modern travel in a bubble of AC and PC come at a price. Traveling around the world in air conditioned airplanes, and settling in fancy air conditioned hotels amongst politically correct first world folks is easy, but not very educational. As a matter of fact it’s not even worth doing. You’ll be stuck with the same folks you travel at home with.

But that’s what most people do and still they regard this as traveling, or as going to a pilgrimage to follow the footsteps of millions of people ahead of us, same as so many folks do when they follow the steps of Jesus or Buddha, or of the Apostles, or the hajj in Meccah and Medina…


Indeed today is difficult to be a simple itinerant traveler ,or a humble pilgrim roaming and gadding about on this earth, because everything is two clicks away on your smartphone.  You are always two taps away from civilization.

But that’s not real. Real free. Live the smartphone behind. Or forget to get a local SIM card and get to be off the grid for a while.

That’s the living. That’s the True you that you can discover by being disconnected.

You’ve got to do this sometime. Drop the phone in the sea and be free for a while. There is an “otherness” to being disconnected for a bit.

There is wisdom in your search.

There is conquest of the mighty Self when you wander.

There is sanity in the whispers of silence.

There is certainty in the places where you get lost.

There is trust in people living afar from your home.

And finally, there is power and riches to be had when you give up looking.

The kingly gifts however, only come to those who surrender to the results, and accept whatever outcome with equanimity.

It’s freeing to give up, even for a few minutes, everything you ever knew.

It’s incredibly enriching to become a Wanderer.

To look around and see everything as if it were new.

Writing the “Accidental Pilgrim” got me thinking about these things.

He went on his pilgrimage. He met people. He went on an adventure, a journey, and writing this book showed me how.

I need to leave.

I need to struggle.

I need to find an answer.

And then I need to completely give up all hope of ever finding one.

It is my time to find again the beauty of being completely lost.

If I get lost enough, maybe…

I can find something worth looking for.

And this is how To Find Something Worth Doing…

And maybe to find Something Worth Looking For…

That’s how Leaders are made. In the lonely pathways of Life walking foot in front of foot and word in front of each other.

In the beginning was the “Word” and that word was “Creation” and that is what we do when we journey forward: We Create.

We love, we observe, we imagine, we create, and therefore we lead.

That the way of Imagination, living in the Age of Inspiration.



Dr Pano Churchill


Recently I walked up to the Redwoods forest starting from Tamalpais and the Muir Woods and all the way to Salinas.

It was an epic journey because of the incredible California floods…

In Northern California everybody has gone nuts proclaiming the coming of Sahara and the desertification of all of California due to the 500 year drought or rather the longest drought in the last 500 years and now we have a deluge of Biblical proportions.

People drowning in their homes, and bridges washed aways and I walked…

It’s good to remember that when we complain too much.

Just wait and the weather will change.

Life is similarly changeable with seasons following seasons, and eras following eras.

Yet the only thing that remains constant is Love towards oneself, because all other Love changes too….

So buddy, chuck it all and start Loving Yourself.

That’s Leadership.




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