Alone: A 4,000 Mile Search for Belonging

Alone: A 4,000 Mile Search for Belonging

by Brian Heron


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In 2011, propelled by a growing sense of dread, Brian Heron embarked on an epic 4,000 mile bicycle adventure through some of America's most challenging terrain. A series of personal and professional losses left him feeling that his world was crumbling at an alarming rate. His wife of twenty five years had suddenly left one night. Eighteen months later his mother-in-law, with whom we was especially close, died after a four year struggle with dementia. A year after that his stepmother died unexpectedly during a routine, but risky open heart surgery. If that wasn't enough, he was leading a church through a process of closing and putting in place their legacy in the community. He was working himself out of a job. In a short period of four years both his personal and professional life were disintegrating like a sand castle facing high tide.

Replacing Forrest Gump's running shoes for a bike he felt compelled to set off. Searching for a feeling of belonging he decided to return to the towns, to the people and the places that had shaped him. He would return to the town of his birth, Bozeman, Montana, where his parents had divorced and his mother disappeared from his life. He would spend a few days in the town of his childhood, Loveland, Colorado, that was the source of his most formative years and painful memories. He would ride through his old college campus where his life most made sense, if only for a few years. And he would return to Northern California where most of his adult life took shape with family, theological education, friends, and serving the community in various capacities.

Along the way he would pedal across the rugged Rocky Mountains of Colorado, survive the lonely and desolate desert of Nevada in the heat of August, and negotiate his way through the jungle of California freeways. He would find himself in the belly of the whale in a drug-infested, paint peeling, shitty motel feeling completely alone and abandoned by the world and God. He would battle thunder and lightning storms, 100 degree heat, cars and semis, an especially bold buffalo, and his own personal demons. He would face the truth of his life, the reality of his dissolving profession, and the losses that life had thrown onto his path.

New York Times bestselling author of the William Shakespeare's Star Wars Series, Ian Doescher, writes of Brian's book, "Alone is a compelling journey of personal discovery, religious questioning and spiritual awakening. At times deep, at times sad, at times funny, Heron invites the reader to ride along each day of this remarkable adventure. When it's over, you'll feel each of the 4,000 miles in your own soul."

Join Brian as he follows the pilgrim path on an adventure of personal healing, the renewal of strength and hope, and the rediscovery of his unique place in the world. Take the journey with Brian, look into the pages of your own life, and learn to honor the wounds and the delights of your own yearning soul.

Product Details

ISBN-13: 9781943190058
Publisher: Wild Ginger Press
Publication date: 02/15/2016
Pages: 332
Product dimensions: 6.00(w) x 9.00(h) x 0.69(d)

About the Author

Brian is an author, speaker, pastor, overly-ambitious cyclist, community organizer and spiritual pilgrim. He flirts between the two worlds of traditional religion and emerging forms of spirituality. He loves much about the Church-it's seasonal rhythms, the birth to death rituals and care, and the thirst for a connection to the Sacred in Her various forms. But his spirituality comes alive even more so when he is pushing the pedals over a mountain pass or cycling through a bucolic rural landscape of crops and vineyards, rivers and lakes. His search for truth has taken him into the worlds of mythology and religious mysticism. His spiritual practice includes regular yoga, readings from a variety of spiritual literature, exploring the deeper narrative world of movies, and the enjoyment of food, nature, friends and family, and spirited and honest conversation.

His love of cycling started early when his mother routinely refused to drive him around town saying, "You've got a bike and two legs!" By the time he finished high school he was cycling in the foothills of Colorado alongside more experienced racers. The Olympic bug bit him in college and he put his studies aside to race bicycles reaching the national championships twice before returning to college. Since then he has traded in his racing bike for a touring bike. He has completed this 4,000 mile pilgrimage around the western United States and another seven-week pilgrimage beginning at the Vatican in Rome and ending in Konya, Turkey, home to the Tomb of Rumi, the famous Sufi mystic, philosopher and poet.

Brian has an insatiable curiosity to discover the pulse of the world and the rich landscape of the soul. He works with non-profit agencies, religious organizations, and businesses seeking to rediscover the soul of their organizations to better thrive in an uncertain world where the language of pilgrimage provides a new blueprint for future viability and success.

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Alone: A 4,000 Mile Search for Belonging 5 out of 5 based on 0 ratings. 1 reviews.
DoranneLongPTMS More than 1 year ago
I enjoyed following Brian on his roller coaster ride, whether he was cycling over tall mountain passes or diving into the depths of his own emotions. He shares his own personal wounds and losses, along with laugh-out-loud humorous adventures. He also shares his views of our cultural shifting from "religion" to "spirituality" and the impact this has on churches in this country, and those who are trying to adjust to, or facilitate, these changes. Brian is a clever writer, as he is on his bicycle treks, he helps us to "shift gears" as we move into our futures.