Walker and pilgrim
I am an experienced walker… I like to walk and I walk a lot, sometimes alone, but usually with another person or in a small group. I organise walks myself at home and abroad and lead small-scale group walks.
I am also an experienced pilgrim. In 2014 I walked in two months from Maarn to Czestochowa (Poland). In 1998 I made a pilgrimage from Utrecht to Rome and Assisi. These were enriching experiences. On the road as a pilgrim you abandon certainties, you surrender to the road. You are dependent on the elements and on the people who cross your path. I have experienced much goodness on the road. This goodness, the experiences in nature and the confrontations with myself made the deepest impression on me. These experiences made my everyday worries, and certainly the material ones, seem relative. These journeys had a profound effect on me, so that now I view life differently. Walking allows my soul to speak! In the context of my training as a spiritual guide I interviewed twenty-six pilgrims about how walking allowed their soul to speak.
Moreover, during my second pilgrimage I experienced at first hand how walking brought me back into contact with my life force and life energy.
As well as being a walker and a pilgrim I am a (walking) spiritual guide. What does a spiritual guide do? I accompany you along your spiritual road, the road that every person takes in the search for meaning, towards what he or she calls “God”.
You are at the centre. It is about your spiritual road, your road in life. I accompany you along part of it and listen. I am not being prescriptive or seeking to solve your problems, but simply… accompanying you on your unique road and seeking to be your travelling companion. Seeking for depth. Serious, but occasionally also – using the healing power of – humour.
My roots lie in the Christian tradition and I make no mystery of this. But let me repeat, the emphasis is on you and it is a matter of finding your road in life. I look at life with an open mind and respect all religious convictions and philosophies of life that start from the fundamental equality of all people. For me this fundamental equality consists of accepting and respecting the uniqueness/the individuality of each person irrespective of their religion, philosophy of life, political affiliation, race, gender or sexual orientation.
Let me be absolutely clear: I am no psychologist or psychiatrist (and nor do I want to be one).
Marijn van Zon
I feel myself bound up with Creation. Being in nature has a meditative effect on me. Saints Francis and Clare of Assisi have touched me in my soul and still do so. Franciscan spirituality inspires me. I have been a Franciscan Friar Minor for four years. My soul is a pilgrim’s soul.
My life’s pilgrimage began in 1963. I was born on a farm on the little River Dommel in the province of North Brabant.
I worked in government as an administrator for a number of years, both as a financial and economic policy assistant and as a manager. In addition I did voluntary work, caring for the elderly and providing a refuge for people planning or contemplating suicide.
I work as an administrator, financial and legal adviser for a number of contemplative religious houses. In addition I have my own practice as a spiritual guide and I work as a spiritual guide in the framework of the Huis van de Roeping.
When I am not on the road, I feel at home in the province of Utrecht: I live with Marijke and “Mr. Biggs” in wooded Maarn on the edge of the Nationaal Park Utrechtse Heuvelrug.
Training, professional associations and code of conduct
I followed the three-year training course for spiritual guide at the Titus Brandsma Instituut (TBI) in Nijmegen. I graduated on 24 January 2005. For more information about the TBI and the spiritual guide course contact: Titus Brandsma Instituut.
I wholeheartedly subscribe to the codes of conduct of Gaandeweg and Spiritual Directors International.