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Reviews - Questing Marilyn

What People Say About Marilyn's Self-Help Memoir, Questing Marilyn.

icon1 A fascinating journey of mind and places, Marilyn's Quest takes us with her on a mission of discovery of inner happiness, something to which we all aspire. Reading each page and adventure, one gets to really know the author as she candidly writes from her open heart and soul. Bravo Marilyn.

Evy Wilson, Mount Nemo Lookout Bed & Breakfast Retreat, Burlington, Ontario Canada icon2

icon1 I really enjoyed reading Questing Marilyn, as Marilyn presents herself in a manner one can readily identify with.  As she determines to discover herself in a quest, she asks many questions – questions that ring true for busy people everywhere, so Marilyn's quest for identity can rapidly become the reader's personal quest as well.

I admire how she courageously assumes responsibility for her choices and takes the consequences that those choices result in.  Many people tend to regard elements of their situations as out of their control, and play the victim, rather believe it was their choices that brought them to this point. This is very insightful.

Also, Marilyn realizes that her expectations often lead to a misplaced source of frustration. In changing her expectations, she was able to change how she perceived her situation, which enabled her to dispense with a good deal of that frustration – what a marvelous response to challenging circumstances!

This book is an interesting read because of the questions that Marilyn asks of herself, the way she chooses to handle her choices, and how she changes her expectations.  In the questions she asks of herself, in the taking responsibility for her actions and in how she changes her expectations, Marilyn gives readers real grist for their own personal life quest. Good job Marilyn! 

Susan Brooks, Market Developer, Nerds On Site icon2

icon1 When I read Marilyn's first book, Questing Marilyn, I was expecting a travel book. To my delight what I found instead was a deeply personal account of Marilyn's journey. Her insight into herself, her challenges, her victories and her life spoke to me. It was a great read, profoundly moving.

Marcia Barhydt, Willowtree icon2

icon1 This is the first "self-help" book I have read that makes sense, takes you through all the feelings we have all had at one time or another and puts them into perspective. What made it exciting reading was the travel tales that came with it. What a bonus! I understood without learning. I loved the book and I am looking forward to reading the next one. Thank you Marilyn for so much insight.

Christine Bailey, Profile Coaching icon2

icon1 Questing Marilyn: In Search of My Holy Grail is thought provoking and worth reading for many reasons. The struggle between formalized religion and spiritualism mixed with therapeutic techniques was very interesting. As a traveler, Marilyn's descriptions brought back fond memories of the ancient sights in Great Britain that I also visited. I also approach travel as a time to rejuvenate myself and reflect. Your experience will be different, if you are on a quest and let it happen.

Bruce Oliver, host of the "Cruise with Bruce" Radio Show icon2

icon1 I have to admit that I really didn't want to pick up Questing Marilyn. My initial thought was; "a middle-aged therapist over analyzing her mid life disappointments on a trip."

Into the first chapter, I immediately identified with Marilyn- mother, wife, student, career woman and the challenges of meeting all of the demands of these sometimes-conflicting roles. I shared her frustrations at the role transition that modern women are attempting to play out. Although blazing ahead, we still have spouses and family that resent our independence and look down on our assertion for independence.

The launch into the trip grabbed my attention and I didn't stop until the end of the book. The group dynamics of close confinement in the van, rooming with a stranger, the conflicting power struggles and passivity of the traveling companions all kept my interest all through the book.

Jackie Ramler, CFP, MBA| Financial Advisor, author, ON Canada icon2

icon1 Marilyn has written a book that opens the world of real personal growth to people who know that they feel different when they return from a journey and yet they have no words to describe what this feeling means.

Questing Marilyn: In Search of My Holy Grail is a very personal (sometimes uncomfortably TOO personal) account of her journey. I have always believed that the privilege of travelling into another culture is a magical way to expand our own beliefs and horizons. As a fellow traveller, I am envious of some of the places and events that she has experienced.

The way Marilyn has created her book - the short and focused chapters allow her readers to stop along the road with her to reflect and look at our world through her eyes.

Susan Birkenshaw, Travelling Maverick, Toronto, Ontario Canada icon2

icon1 This is not a self-help book. It is the documentation of a personal journey starting in Canada, touring the British Isles and Ireland, and ending up back in Canada. I would recommend this book to anyone who perhaps can't take a journey far from home. The self-discovery that Marilyn experiences is inspiring and so very detailed that it seems the reader is experiencing the journey with her. She writes in such a way that I forgot that I was reading. It felt more like I was having a dialogue with Marilyn herself. I felt that her personality really came through in her writing; she is the type of person I would love to sit down and have a cup of coffee with just to hear her describe things. I was very impressed with this book, and I'm very glad I got the opportunity to review it because I don't know if I would have picked it up on my own. Marilyn has opened me up to whole new genera and for that I am grateful. This is a medium sized book, about 350 pages; it goes quickly, and I didn't want to put it down.

Joslyn Sherry, 12/01/04 Joslyn Sherry was the first place winner of the 2003 Fuller Fiction Awards and the third place winner of the Savage Poetry Awards at Bloomsburg University of Pennsylvania. She reviews for Women Writers icon2

icon1 After years of taking care of others, registered marriage and family therapist Marilyn Barnicke Belleghem found that she had somehow forgotten to take care of herself. Suddenly, a busy career, an active family and a full personal life could no longer distract her from the difficult realization that something was missing or, even worse, wrong.

Seeking a temporary respite from her everyday responsibilities, she embarked on a journey to England and Ireland in search of the legend and meaning of the Holy Grail, only to discover something greater. In 'Questing Marilyn: In Search of My Holy Grail,' Belleghem guides the reader through the complex physical and emotional journey that prompted her rediscovery of herself and her raison d'etre.

Pulling no punches...especially when evaluating herself - Belleghem's account is an insightful and honest look at the struggles all women face at a certain point in life. In particular, her experience is an excellent example of the largely overlooked potential of achieving personal growth through travel.

Perhaps most gratifying to realistic readers, 'Questing Marilyn,' does not attempt to offer a so-called solution to all of life's challenges, nor does it foster the misconception that any path to self-discovery is either easy or instantaneous. Rather, by sharing her personal growth experience and augmenting it with her professional insight, Belleghem inspires readers to go in search of their own holy grail.

Tori Van Orden Martínez, journalist, traveler icon2

icon1Questing Marilyn is a wonderfully written memoir which all mothers and wives can relate to. It is amazing at how well Marilyn strikes the common chord of the female psyche.

Marilyn does a wonderful job of keeping you turn the pages as she ventures to discover her personal Holy Grail.

So often, the modern woman suffers from self-neglect. When fulfilling our duties as wives and mothers, we soon forget about taking time for ourselves. It is considered selfish and after reading Marilyn's book, you will learn it is okay, if not necessary, to take the epic journey to find your own self.

We may not all be able to take a trip to Arthurian England, but there are plenty of places around the world where a woman can get away from her responsibilities and learn to fight the 'ghosts' of oppression and self-doubt. It was revealing to read how Marilyn struggled, like most of us do, with expectations; expectations that are often not met and frequently disappoint. The book offers uncanny revelations to common experiences and emotions.

I found it touching in Marilyn's discovery of fulfilling her own personal needs; it could also be very lonely. The process of finding your inner self can be an isolated place. But as Marilyn demonstrates in her book, it is a place that every one should attempt to visit.

After reading 'Questing' I felt as if I knew Marilyn; like she was a next door neighbor. It was an enjoyable personal read I would suggest to anyone searching for that something amiss in their lives.

Jessica Samons Kutz, freelance writer, author, teacher, wife, mother , Florida, USA icon2

icon1 Questing Marilyn is a multidimensional book about the author's travel experience to Britain and Ireland. The book begins as the stressed out author realizes that despite her overachiever attempts to have the perfect life (a loving family, a successful counselling career, and a sturdy religious foundation) that something is missing causing her to feel disconnected and ill content. In an attempt to reconnect and find herself, the author joins a group of colleagues and acquaintances on a tour of Britain and Ireland's sacred sites.

On this tour, the author is scheduled to visit sites such as Salisbury Cathedral, Stonehenge, Glastonbury Tor, Glastonbury Abbey, Avebury, Tintagel, Bath, Kilkenny Castle, and New Grange. Furthermore, as part of this organized expedition, group tours, hikes, and self-development rituals are to be undertaken at many of these locations.

This book relays detailed information on the mythological, historical, and spiritual significance of each stop of the tour while providing unique insight into the accommodations, dining, shopping, and sightseeing opportunities are available near these sites. As much of the author's tour is specially organized, this information contains a good deal of insight not commonly found in most tour guides of Britain and Ireland.

Another important aspect of this book is that the author candidly discusses the pros and cons of group tours by detailing her experiences during this vacation. The reader can then use this information to decide if he or she would be more suited to directed group travel or more flexible individualized travel.

The most important message of this book, however, is the introduction of travel as a tool towards self-exploration and self-acceptance. Often, due to the busyness and chaos of daily life, individuals don't have the luxury or time to truly understand who they are and what they want from life. However, during a vacation, normal routines and responsibilities can be temporarily forgotten. Thus, vacation time is the perfect time to reflect on these very personalized aspects of one's life, how he or she feels about that life, and what they need to do to make his or herself happy. Moreover, this analysis need not take place in Britain or Ireland. In fact, where the reader's quest starts and ends is completely unique to that individual.

Questing Marilyn: In Search of My Holy Grail, Personal Growth Through Travel is a great book for both those individuals interested in visiting the sacred sites of the United Kingdom and those individuals searching for self-exploration and self-acceptance. This book will make an excellent gift to yourself, to your best friend, to your sister, to your daughter, or to your mother.

Tami Brady M.A., Co-Dean of the School of Religion and Spirituality, archaeological consultant, freelance writer Calgary Alberta. icon2

icon1 Questing Marilyn is a memoir of one woman's journey to seek the ever-illusive "SELF." Marilyn shares her journey from Canada to England, Wales and Ireland as she visits known places of self discovery-Stonehenge, Chalice Well, Glastonbury Abbey and Tintagel. We move with her through her confusion, her anger and her realization that her life is not what it seems. We listen to her arguments in an effort to regain her composure based on years of training and discipline only to watch it crumble at her feet. Finally she emerges a stronger, wiser woman full of "Self."

The location descriptions are vivid giving the reader a true sense of being there. Armchair travelers will love the imaginary feeling of the drizzle settling on their faces as they gaze at thousand- year- old structures. The author mentions in one chapter that she would like to become a good storyteller as she listens to a local woman describe the beauty and superstition surrounding her hometown. This reviewer feels that she has achieved this and Questing Marilyn is an excellent example of her story telling skill.

Each one of us is on our own personal quest to find our life's purpose, our "soul", if you will. This book will give readers some insight into one person's search and the conclusions she draws. It will stimulate readers to look with earnest, travel farther and dig deeper to find their own "Holy Grail."

Recommended to anyone on a quest

Allbooks Reviews "Shirley Roe" (Canada) Literary Page icon2

icon1 Questing Marilyn was more like Questing Me! I am a singer-songwriter-actress, and so many personal issues and emotions of my own were addressed in her book. It was great to read about someone that experienced many of the same feelings I have had and also to realize that I was not the only one to be asking these questions. I can accept that I shouldn't understand the personal makeup of other people but why am I kept a secret from me? I have read many self help books and done a lot of work on myself, but this book answered so many of my questions. It also helped me see where things in my past fit into making me the person I am now. It was like getting a lot of personal counselling while I was totally engrossed in the exciting storyline. In fact, I kept holding off reading the last ten or so pages just because I didn't want the adventure to end. What courage it must take to allow readers into your personal life. I truly thank Marilyn for that because I found answers to some of my questions.

Debi Sander Walker, Mississauga, ON. Canada icon2

icon1 The spirit of the book is powerful. Readers will be captivated by the profound clarity and hard in-your-face questions that are at once alarming and growth-producing. The author presents a striking sense of Self that is unsettling, provocative and authentic.

Always relentless, sometimes painful and never absent is an undeniable yet implicit theme of being true to Self. A constant attempt at winning the clash between Self and the roles that threaten the Self's needs, beliefs and values makes navigating the clash the essence of the journey.

Questing Marilyn is an excellent resource for courses in Women's Studies. Indeed, the author lays claim on the general through a focus on the specific. Issues applicable to every woman are in plain view. Belleghem is to be congratulated for transporting the reader into her soul. Inviting, interesting and invaluable are qualities that make this work a rare gem. I encourage holding it up to the light of informed discussion.

Karen L. Westbrooks, Ph.D. author of Overcoming Dysfunction, Low-Income Families: Activating Strengths and co-author of Oral Histories of Non-Traditional Women Students: A Study of Unconventional Strengths icon2

icon1 All women over forty should read this book. It is frank and honest and I feel as if the author has allowed me to read the pages of her personal journal. Through this openness you share Marilyn's journey as she visits the sacred places of England and Ireland. As a woman this book makes you feel less alone because it brings with it the realization that no matter where we are in this world at some point after forty many of us go through the same soul searching of our lives.

Jill George from Strathmore, Alberta Canada Timefinders Coaching icon2

icon1 I enjoyed traveling along with Marilyn as she begins to understand her own pathway and develop the strength to follow it. It's a voyage of discovery. You may recognize the inner voices in your own life. I know I did.

Mary Jane Howie, White Oaks Area (Peel/Halton) Commissioner, Girl Guides of Canada, Athena Award Winner, Oakville, ON, CA 2004 icon2

icon1 I enjoyed an intimate walk with Marilyn. She steps out of her roles as wife, mother and healer, to explore meaning and purpose in her life. She traveled to many of the places I would love to visit. Everyone faces the dark night of their soul where they face their shadow side. Marilyn's Quest gives hope that within the darkness lies the light of the soul, which shines through the outer trappings, to give courage to others who face the same journey. Her reconnection with her Higher Self reaffirmed her ability to hold on to inner happiness.

Heather McKechnie, M.S.W., RSW RMFT, Past President of the Ontario Association for Marriage and Family Therapy, and the Registry of Marriage and Family Therapists in Canada, Inc. icon2

icon1 This is a very courageous piece of work. Marilyn has looked at herself and faced issues that she felt needed attention. Her courage in sharing this journey with her readers is indeed commendable and I personally found it helpful, interesting and most readable. I also enjoyed Marilyn's reflections on the countryside as she went around England. My husband Bern and myself have done a great deal of travelling and lead tours to many places on the globe. So this book not only is about an inward spiritual journey but also an outward geographical journey!
Thank you Marilyn.

Pauline Barrett M.S.W., RMFT, Approved Supervisor AAMFT, has practiced in Canada for four decades. icon2

icon1 I really enjoyed this book and had trouble putting it down.

So much of what Marilyn went through was a mirror image of my life. I was also brought up to please, to be the peacemaker and responsible for things going smoothly. Deep down I always felt something was wrong with this picture but until middle age was unable to see clearly.

Marilyn is a very strong and courageous lady and I admire her openness in allowing us to view the steps that led her to the point she is now. I learned a lot about myself from her book and suggest that any woman over 40 would garner a great deal from reading this wonderful autobiography.

Reviewer: Shirley Kossowski, Hypnosis Works, Burlington, ON icon2

icon1 When an author allows the reader to follow along with them and to really be able to experience what they experience, the best way for me to describe this is as an Honour. Marilyn allows the reader to travel along, through reading, on her personal Quest to reconnect with her Higher Self. Through her descriptive writing techniques, professional and personal insight, overwhelming honesty, and beautiful pictures, Marilyn helped me to look at myself in a different light. I have been inspired to continue to listen to my inner voice and never forget the things that make me happy to be me.

Debi Bruce from Newmarket, Ontario icon2

icon1 Wonderfully well thought out and well written reflection on the discoveries the author made about herself while travelling. Marilyn's transparency regarding fears and long held beliefs is freeing and her insights wise. Many of the excellent anecdotes and insights could be selected and shared at a retreat. I believe people would benefit from her personal experiences.

Writer's Digest Reviewer icon2

icon1 Questing Marilyn ~ An eBook Review

- by "amazedwithyou" on Bukisa icon2

icon1 Take a trip and find out more about you!

Who am I when I am free to be me, when I'm not so busy being busy?
By Brent Lawson, The Hamilton Spectator icon2

Your travels can be a passport to personal growth, says author and relationship guru Marilyn Barnicke Belleghem.

Many wander through life lacking a sense of adventure or purpose. But new experiences, places and people can provide a fresh perspective that may offer a first step.

The temporary freedom from responsibilities that travel offers can open up opportunities for contemplation and introspection that are hard to come by in our normal busy lives.

In her book, Questing Marilyn: In Search of My Holy Grail, a journey through England and Ireland is a metaphor for the process of change, and provides the opportunity to discover "who am I when I am free, who am I when I'm not so busy being busy."

The Burlington counselling and marriage therapist said a common response to the book is that "it's like going on a trip and having therapy sessions."

Others find themselves taking stock of their lives after reading the book and using it as a springboard for positive change.

"At the centre of a woman's life is the quest to discover, speak and live her own truths, to cease living a life dictated and defined by others -- that is, a life lived in another person's story."

Many women begin to search for deeper meaning as their children become more independent and no longer require all their time and energy.

"We make a nest and we nurture in that nest."

But once the main thrust of that responsibility passes, questions may arise about the meaning and purpose of life.

"A lot of women go through this, and a lot of marriages end at the 20- to 25-year mark."

In part, that occurs because while women are seeking more meaning, and their husbands are still busy climbing the career ladder.

But a life-altering event such as layoffs and downsizing can kick-start a similar process for males, as many are forced to reconsider what is lasting and important in their lives.

Travel can be a route to self-awareness and a way to confront our expectations in life.

Your journey may be geographical and spiritual; some parts will be rewarding, others disappointing. But Belleghem says often it is our expectations that are off-kilter.

A greater sense of self-awareness can help us to see life's events more clearly, and can also help to overcome our fear of change.

Her advice on how people should try to approach their lives?.

"With adventure."

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