Deeply affected by the pain of a personal crisis, Voysey chose to undertake an actual on foot pilgrimage. He was joined by DJ, another Australian friend now resident in rural Scotland.
The pilgrimage they undertook was inspired by Cuthbert, a 7th century monk. Inspirational in life, after death monks covered a thousand miles of primitive terrain pushing a cart carrying Cuthbert’s coffin.
Undertaken in Autumn, their UK pilgrimage began in the holy island of Lindisfarne and ended in Durham. Their shared academia, philosophical perception plus a spiritual awareness adds an ethereal yet earthy depth to the dialogue exchanged between the pilgrims.
The narrative is an eloquent, evocative reflection upon spiritual essence and mortal flaws and trials. When crucial aspects of personal identity collapsed, the pilgrimage was a pursuance of new purpose. In the contemplative mindset of the monks, they simplified their physical requirements and sought spiritual focus and guidance.
As the landscape of the terrain traversed altered, they became more aware of contrasts on various levels. Constructions such as castles and churches varied between remaining grand and intact or ruinous. They applied these images to a contemplation of life choices and inequality of power and opportunities. They weighed ambitious pursuit against the regrets of non pursuits.
Voysey compared his current life in Oxford to his previous dingy student existence in Kangaroo Point, Brisbane amidst an oddity of tenants. He concluded that: “Confrontation with personal adversity may shape positive significance in adverse events.”
Their reflection also pondered the controlled perception of the medieval artists compelled to please those in authority who commissioned their skills. “Perhaps at its heart, all art is pilgrimage- a trek to a sacred somewhere through a frame or page,” he writes.
The book contains a reflection guide and pages for journaling.
The Making Of Us: Who We Can Become When Life Doesn’t Go As Planned by Sheridan Voysey is published by W Publishing, an imprint of Thomas Nelson and is available at all leading book retailers including Booktopia.
Image: The Making Of Us: Who We Can Become When Life Doesn’t Go As Planned
Review: Michele-Rose Boylan