HEAL: SACRED ISLE OF IONA
CUSTOM ITINERARY BY REQUEST
Recommended Solo Spiritual Journey
WHY IONA NOW?
Imagine being in Edinburgh, Scotland (an amazing journey in itself) and wanting to explore the Highlands, but not doing so because you're too terrified to drive on the other side of the road! Then imagine overcoming this fear and actually experiencing the most empowering moment of your trip!
That's what happened to me. After days of hemming and hawing, I finally mustered my courage, rented a car, and headed North. It's true that learning to drive on the "other side" is easier if you start in a city where you can follow traffic flow. The highways aren't so bad either (once you stop freaking out)! But nowhere was I more at peace than when I hit the remote Highlands, where I was confronted with the most civilized way of travel: the single track road, with passing places. Here, there's just one lane, and just enough room for one car. Sounds dangerous! But at about every 100 feet, there was a small place to pull over to let another pass. Who pulled over depended largely on civility, but also on who was closest to the passing place on their side of the road. It was a dance of mutual respect. But for me, those passing places served also as "little safe havens" on my solo journey. When in awe of the landscape or just overwhelmed with life's challenges, I could just pull over and let it all pass. It's a wonderful metaphor for dealing with everyday life!
In the Highlands, I journeyed to some of the most remote islands in the Inner Hebrides, jumping on random ferries, often not knowing where I would land. At one point, I arrived at the end of the island of Mull to take the last ferry of the day to the isle of Iona, only to discover that I could not take my rental car. This set me in a complete panic. It was getting dark and there were no hotels on this side of the island. In fact, I had made no eye contact with anyone for hours, outside of a Mull eagle perched on a roadside stump, when I had pulled over to let someone pass.
"What do I do?" I implored the ferry operator, who to my surprise was a woman .
"Park your car over there by the boats. I'll have the fishermen keep an eye on it for you. Now go! You only have a minute!"
I backed the car up the hill and threw it in park. The ferry woman was waving her hand in the air, urging me to make a run for it! I could hear the water churning as the ferry began to reverse.
I called to her, "But what about my bag?"
"Leave it," she said.
And with that, I shrugged ,leaving it all behind. I took a giant leap, and the woman pulled me on board.
We both laughed.
"I don't even have a toothbrush," I said.
"You can get one there," she said. "Trust me. It's worth it."
As I headed to the upper deck, I turned back to thank this woman who had just encouraged me to do something I wouldn't otherwise have done.
"Hey, what's your name, anyway?"
"Faith," she said.
Call it a leap of faith, but my short time on the Isle of Iona turned out to be one of the most spiritually rewarding of my life. I had planned to only stay one night, but stayed three. I wore the same clothes. I walked the hills. I sat on ancient rock. I meditated. I prayed. And under the most jaw-dropping starry night of my life, the Northern Lights appeared too. And yes, the B&B owner gave me a toothbrush.
… and all this because I had the courage to venture out of my comfort zone.
Because it's inherently spiritual, geologically fascinating, and one of the most welcoming places I've ever stumbled upon. Imagine ... there are only 70 homes on this three-mile-long island and no one locks their doors.
Unbeknownst to me, this is the ancient land of the Druids. The Celtic Christians came here too, most notably St. Columba, who brought Christianity to Scotland. It's a magical place of incredible natural beauty, castles, chapels and Celtic spirituality. Christians and other spiritual seekers have been flocking here for centuries to experience the sacred energies. Together with the stunning landscape and mountains, I too found myself immersed in the most remarkable healing energy.
I have a friend who describes me as, "the woman on a spiritual journey who doesn't know she's on one."
This makes me laugh! Never did it feel so true as on the Isle of Iona.