Sarah York is a nitarian Universalist minister and author of Remembering Well: Rituals for Celebrating Life and Mourning Death. In her invigorating new book, she tutors us in the spiritual arts of long looking and listening. York demonstrates the sturdy value of an open and receptive heart especially in the face of the unfamiliar and the unexpected.
The author ponders the many meanings and epiphanies garnered from a sabbitical year in 1998 when she went to the Buddhist and Hindu lands of Thailand and Nepal and then to the island of Iona, Scotland, where Celtic spirituality thrives. York outlines the four stages of pilgrimage: separation, crossing the threshold, transformation, and reincorporation and then notes: "The paradox of pilgrimage is that you have to leave your comfort zone in order to explore the spiritual growing edges that take you into a deeper level of comfort. You have to be willing to let go of the security of your physical home in order to open yourself to your spirit's home."
York reveals the importance of intent for any pilgrim. Travel to Thailand and Nepal was physically taxing for her as she squared off with her fears and discovered inner resources she had never noticed before. These experiences gave her a fresh feeling of closeness to God, her body, and shadow elements of herself. Returning home, York found herself eating more consciously and giving away unused possessions. When you finish this heartfelt work, you'll agree with York that "the goal of any sacred journey, physical or metaphorical, is to feel more at home at home."