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Body, Mind & Spirit Spiritualism

My Year of Living Spiritually

From Woo-Woo to Wonderful--One Woman’s Secular Quest for a More Soulful Life

by (author) Anne Bokma

Douglas & McIntyre
Initial publish date
Oct 2019
Spiritualism, Personal Memoirs, Spiritual
  • Paperback / softback

    Publish Date
    Oct 2019
    List Price

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Winner of two Hamilton Literary Awards!

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.


About the author

Anne Bokma is an internationally recognized award-winning freelance journalist who specializes in writing on spiritual topics. She’s the “Spiritual but Secular” columnist for Broadview (previously the United Church Observer) and her articles have appeared in many of Canada’s leading national magazines and newspapers, including the Toronto StarCanadian LivingBest HealthReader’s DigestToday’s ParentMoneySense and Chatelaine. She is a dynamic public speaker and the founder of the popular 6-Minute Memoir “speed storytelling for a cause,” a charitable series of events which brings together storytellers to share tales on a theme. She lives in Hamilton, ON.

Anne Bokma's profile page


  • Winner, HAMILTON ARTS COUNCIL LITERARY AWARDS: The Kerry Schooley Book Award

Editorial Reviews

"Perceptive, clever, and honest, this is a book for the time, and bridges the gap between faith and doubt, religion and secularism. A welcome addition to the contemporary discussion around spirituality."

Michael Coren, columnist and author of Reclaiming Faith

"Reading this book is a spiritual journey in itself...full of knowing laughs, tears, 'aha' moments and an invitation to a life more truly and deeply lived."

Kimberly Carroll, coach for Changemakers 

"…a candid, fearless odyssey of the heart and soul.”

Rona Maynard, author of My Mother's Daughter and former Editor of Chatelaine

"Grounded in a serious story of love and estrangement, My Year of Living Spiritually is compulsively readable, a gregarious account of one woman’s search for meaning."

Ann Dowsett Johnston, author of Drink: The Intimate Relationship Between Women and Alcohol

"...more wonderful than woo woo, you won’t want to put it down. A moving and inspiring read!”

Kelly Watt, author of Camino Meditations

"My Year of Living Spiritually is an engaging, entertaining, well-researched romp through the many variations of non-religious spiritual practice. Anyone who's curious about this growing trend in the Zeitgeist will find food for thought and a wealth of information here, along with Bokma's own intriguing story."

Martha Beck, New York Times Bestselling author of Finding Your Own North Star

"If you liked Eat, Pray, Love, you will go wild for My Year of Living Spiritually. Bokma’s adventures...will leave you enriched, enlightened and invigorated!"

Tracey Erin Smith, founder of SOULO Theatre

“What begins as a light-hearted quest becomes a tenderly beautiful and insightful search for connection in a fractured world."

Alison Wearing, author of Honeymoon in Purdah and Confessions of a Fairy's Daughter

“Anne Bokma’s tour through the garden of spiritual delights is earthy and entertaining, grounded and informative….It’s all about the journey, and it’s all good.”

John Terpstra, poet and author of Skin Boat: Acts of Faith and Other Navigations

"Bokma invites us along on her yearlong quest for truth, beauty and joy. Reading this book was like watching a flower opening. I learned from her journey."

Mary Pipher, author of New York Times Bestsellers Women Rowing North and Reviving Ophelia

"For everyone who has ever wanted to explore the many avenues to spirituality, Anne Bokma leads the way with empathy, wisdom, and an open heart and mind."

Diane Schoemperlen, author of This is Not My Life and Our Lady of the Lost and Found

"If seeking and questioning draws the soul to maturity, then we should all embark on the type of illuminating, and at times hilarious, journey that Bokma writes about so sensitively and honestly."

Jane Christmas, author of And Then There Were Nuns and What the Psychic Told the Pilgrim

"...a brave work that points to life’s inherent value, and our calling to connect with ourselves, each other and the world around us.”

Brent van Staalduinen, author of Boy and Saints, Unexpected

“…fearless and honest, never settling for easy answers. Bokma gives us a model for how to seek a more authentic and grounded spiritual life with curiosity, openness, and passion.”

Lori Erickson, author of Near the Exit: Travels with the Not-So-Grim Reaper

“...poignant and compelling.”  - Graham Rockingham, Hamilton Spectator, October 2019

Hamilton Spectator

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