Book Review: My Year of Living Spiritually by Anne Bokma

This summer I’ve read more than I have during any summer previous. One of my favourite books I have enjoyed so far this season has been My Year of Living Spiritually: From Woo-Woo to Wonderful–One Woman’s Secular Quest for a More Soulful Life, by Anne Bokma – a Hamilton-based author. 

As the title suggests, this book follows Bokma for a year of her life as she attempts to live more spiritually. I’ve had the pleasure of meeting and speaking with Anne a few times over the past few years and to say I was excited about her book is an understatement.

Photo is from GoodReads.

I was ecstatic and was not let down. I thoroughly enjoyed this book and finished it in about a week (which is a big deal for me because I am a very slow reader). My Year of Living Spiritually left me feeling sad Anne at times but also very excited for her for the self-discoveries she made throughout. One observation I had while reading the book is that Anne was incredibly self-aware during her whole year of exploration. There were times where she questioned whether some of the spirituality practices she was exploring fell more on the side of cultural appreciation or appropriation and thus took a step back. There are many cases in the book where Anne’s strength and moral knowledge that she’s in the right really shine. There are also parts where she openly admits that she perhaps is in the wrong and realizes how she needs to improve.

Maybe part of why I also enjoyed the book so much is because I have also been having slightly similar thoughts as Anne has at the beginning of the book – how can I live a more soulful life, how can I live a more purposeful but simple life?

I found a lot of these answers, and more, whilst reading this book. Overall, I would highly recommend this book to anyone interested in spirituality and exploring their own spirituality. Not only will you learn a lot reading My Year of Living Spiritually but in general, it is just an exceptional book – a complete page-turner.

From GoodReads:

In 2017, Anne Bokma embarked on a quest to become a more spiritual person. After leaving the fundamentalist religion of her youth, she became one of the eighty million North Americans who consider themselves spiritual-but-not-religious, the fastest growing “faith” category.

In mid-life she found herself addicted to busyness, drinking too much, hooked on social media, dreading the empty nest and still struggling with alienation from her ultra-religious family. In response, she set out on a year-long whirlwind adventure to immerse herself in a variety of sacred practices—each of which proved to be illuminating in unexpected ways—to try to develop her own definition of what it means to be spiritual.

In My Year of Living Spiritually, Bokma documents a diverse range of soulful first-person experiences—from taking a dip in Thoreau’s Walden Pond, to trying magic mushrooms for the first time, booking herself into a remote treehouse as an experiment in solitude, singing in a deathbed choir and enrolling in a week-long witch camp—in an entertaining and enlightening way that will compel readers (non-believers and believers alike) to try a few spiritual practices of their own. Along the way, she reconsiders key relationships in her life and begins to experience the greater depth of meaning, connection, gratitude, simplicity and inner peace that we all long for. Readers will find it an inspiring roadmap for their own spiritual journeys.”


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