Marilyn Barnicke Belleghem takes us on a unique journey through England, Wales and Ireland. This is her travel journal with a group of strangers. In her journey she will take you to historical and spiritual sights documenting what she sees, feels and learns. It is an adventure with many high, low and mundane points.
In the 26 chapters, we will walk with Marilyn as she decides to quest then meeting her travel companions and each stop on the tour. As you walk Salisburg Cathedral or Stonehedge you will feel as if you are actually seeing and experience these sights with Marilyn.
Being a master storyteller is a gift few possess. Marilyn has this gift. Her journey through England, Wales, and Ireland are rich in detail and emotion. As I began reading I was pleasantly surprised by how her written word captivated my imagination. I had no idea what to expect and what I found was a genuine treat.
Marilyn begins with inviting us to tour with her while she explores her personal questing goal of finding herself. An interesting and challenging concept for both the author and reader. As I was traveling with Marilyn on her Quest I found her honesty refreshing and brave. I related to many of her struggles while on her journey.
However, I did find it difficult to identify with Marilyn on numerous occasions, as our beliefs are opposing. Her journey to discover her ‘Self' while still trying to hold onto a belief that there is some force greater than herself never finishes. She desires to be part of what she calls the ‘universal flow of energy' that makes the world go around. Much of the story revolves around rituals and exercises intended to promote freedom, when in fact they bring death. In her quest to be free, Marilyn is finding a never ending struggle to change in her own strength. A moment of truth comes in this one sentence, ‘I want to learn to be more accepting and loving of myself and others. Yet I am so very quickly falling back into my old ways of allowing the belief system from my rigid past to influence me.' There is a battle going on inside each of our hearts, and Marilyn is giving us a glimpse of these doubts, questions and emotions. Her quest shows the ups and downs that come with the belief that ‘we' have the ability to change completely and fully, but is that belief true?
While at Glastonbury Abbey she is reminded of what makes a place a place of worship. She believes that she has found the secret. By connecting her past with her present she can alter the future. She can make her own reality from a situation, and if it is different from someone's else's it will not diminish hers. As I read her words, I hear her saying how exciting and free she feels. What I sense is loneliness and emptiness. Creating our own reality is not giving us a purpose to live, it is giving us a justification to continue striving toward Self. No sooner does Marilyn grasp the illusive freedom she is questing toward that she stumbles and falls. The way she polishes her Self, the way she recreates her Self each day, is her job. This polishing can be painful. It can also be joyful. This new reality of truth causes her to ask, ‘How do I want to create my Self? What must I do to make the new Me?' Does she not understand that Self wants no one else. Self is very selfish, demanding and cruel. Self is ultimately death and loneliness.
The tour Marilyn has chosen is a diversity of beliefs. One day it is all metaphysical, then spiritual, then self healing and then what they see as Christian. They celebrate Ascension Day. Sally, their guide, speaks of transforming ourselves as Christ transformed from God to Man to Spirit and equates this to our transforming from children to adults to ??. Truth tells us that God did not transform into man then into spirit. God is one. Jesus was the Christ, the Messiah, God incarnate. Jesus said very simply, ‘The Father and I are One' and ‘No one comes to the Father except through me.' There is no transforming. He is the same today, yesterday and forever.
Ending her quest, she realizes that it must be taken alone. She finds she does not want to erase her Self. She does not want to be rescued. She is going to be truly and purely selfish. Her holy grail is her ability to be the vessel for her Self, in touch with the spirit of her soul and the firm belief that she is part of the universal energy.
I struggled with writing this review. On one hand I thoroughly enjoyed reading her book and her style of writing, but on the other hand I cannot recommend her belief system she is showing the reader. I firmly believe that when she finds Truth her writing will be a blessing of life and hope to everyone who read her words. She is on a Quest, but she has not reached her goal. There is a promise found in Jeremiah 29:11. God simply says, ‘ I know the plans I have for you. Plans to give you a future and a hope. When you seek Me with a whole heart, I will be found.'