A Note From A Reluctant Edge-Walker

z 20171023 reluctacnt edgewalker

Having disembarked from the ferry at the port on the windswept Isle of Iona, I left the small village and headed along a path, as instructed. I knew the journey would take about half an hour, and so with light failing and with a flashlight in hand, I set off. All that seems an age away, now.

I’m back, and for various reasons it looks as though I’m going to be in London for a few more weeks.  Behind me, metaphorically, is the pilgrimage to the isles of Iona and Skye, and now I’m’ here. London.

I’m back. It’s a shock. A sort of punch to the solar plexus. Winding.

I had such  great experiences on those islands. Profound. Deep. Ancestor-Connecting, Loving. Source-encountering. God-filled ‘Thin-place’ experiences. I didn’t want to leave, and yet I knew I had to. I had so easily ‘acclimatised’ to that island lifestyle – and do believe one reason for that is something we all share – we all ‘possess’ (or, perhaps it embraces us), an inner, ancient, ‘drum beat’ that continues, wherever we are.

And, that same ‘drum beat’ beating in my chest, seems at odds with the ‘world’ that I now inhabit in London. The pace is faster, it’s shallow, its priorities are different, it’s loud, far too loud, and yet….

This is where I should be for now. I know it.

And so, I’m becoming more of an edge-walker, again. An edge-walker, one who straddles both spheres of spiritual and physical encounter, holding them in balance, in ‘tension’, equally, and joyfully. Yes, that balance is returning. And, once again I’m getting used to that way of living. It’s probably not what I would want – those islands still call – but it is the way it is for now.

Someone once wrote about the desire to be in heaven and to enjoy all that that means, but tempered it with the realisation and desire to stay here for a while to do the work that they had been called to. One destination was far better, but this ‘destination’ was necessary and expedient. For now.

Over the next few weeks, I’d like to ‘unpack’ some of my experiences experienced on Iona and Skye – both wonderfully ‘thin-places’. There were some great encounters of the spiritual kind, and perhaps another example of the necessity of us being edge-walkers was my physical journey from the port on Iona to the place where I was to stay.

It was my first hour on the Island, as regards this pilgrimage, and as I was a little wet. A light rain was falling, it was getting darker, and I came to the first of three gated fields that I was to pass through. The field presented no problem, and though these fields gently undulated so you had slopes and dips to encounter, it was a pleasantly green field to behold, although less was being seen by the minute as the light faded.

Not so the second field. It had a sign on its gate: Beware of the bull. I had hoped this was a farmer’s sense of humour running riot, but no. As I moved through the field in a direct line, following the path, there he was. Suddenly, and I know you will be shocked by this, but suddenly the peaceful presence that had embraced me on this island seemed to ‘evaporate’ and the ‘angel of common-sense’ spoke. I looked to the ‘spaces’ either side of this field and they were not navigable, and it was getting darker, and there were some treacherous drops around.

My pulling back into the non-spiritual was competed only when I decided to walk through the field, but on the furthest side of the field, as far away from this lumbering, brown, wonderful-but-wild beast. Once again I was an edge-walker on a spiritual journey but having to deal with physical challenges – and isn’t that like your daily life and mine, usually?

‘It seems to me that we do live in two worlds… there is this physical one, which is coherent, and there is the spiritual one, which to the average man with his flashes of religious experience, is very often incoherent. This experience of having two worlds to live in all the time, or not all the time, is a vital one, and is what living is like.’ William Golding

You will be pleased to know that the bull, having turned his head slowly to look in my direction, slowly turned it away as though thoroughly disinterred in me, for which I was grateful. He had discovered three cows in the neighbouring field and had wandered off in their direction.

And, so I journey on, both physically and spiritually, thus confirming that we are all, indeed, edge-walkers, working our way through life in all its spiritual glories as well as driving along highways, catching trains and buses, and dealing with our taxes. That ancient ‘drum beat’, though, still beats within your chest and mine, too. Pause, and you may here it. Hear it, and you might want to respond, my dear edge-walking brother or sister.


7 thoughts on “A Note From A Reluctant Edge-Walker

  1. Oh, I hear it daily, as a fellow edge-walker, straddling the now and the not-yet…
    Bizarrely, this place of ‘tension’ seems to be where Peace dwells and where I feel the tension in my body release and dissolve.
    I’ve enjoyed sharing your pilgrimage over the last couple of weeks, thankyou 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Yes, I agree Claire. It’s a paradox: peace at the place of tension, perhaps even silence amidst the noise of twenty-first century living. I think these are the benefits that permeate ‘this way’ and so we benefit in the physical realm. I’m pleased you were with me in spirit on the pilgrimage. I was aware of you and many with me, on that ‘thin place’ island. Blessings, Tadhg.


  2. Thank you for your wisdom. I too have always felt that my position in life was on the edge. Here in Kernow the magnificent coastal region is an edge, as is the tide line. We are not alone in this. I found Martin Wallace had written about it in his Celtic Reflections. Our Celtic churches were built on the edge. I never felt comfortable or challenged when I ventured Spiritually into the centre. I look forward to reading your later medirations. Blessings to all.

    Liked by 1 person

    • You’re most welcome, fellow sojourner. I’m looking into Martin Wallace even as I type. Yes, the centre is a scary place to be. The edge is where is all takes place: challenge, change, growth, transformation, blessing. Thank you for your comments. Blessings, Tadhg.


  3. How many times has “I Wish” awakened you in the midst of daily routine. What is pulled your heart or your soul or your mind? The same God that has you wandering islands; has me seated at my computer in a town that has refineries that add their scent to the air and darken the sky with clouds of man-made “Stuff”. Seems like the edge can also be a church that as the pastor speaks, there are only a few to listen compared to the golden days of full pews. Perhaps we come to worship like “the days of wine and roses”, only to be greeted with the view of old suits and the smell of moth balls. Perhaps it is best stated that the “dance goes on” while we sit in our pews; eyes closed; waiting for the benediction; praying-“O Father let it be ” in the sweet by and by” and NOT “We will, We will, Rock YOU.” Amen


  4. wonderful, and i completely identify with the change of paradigm when you entered the bull field. i’ve experienced this near my home (rural mid northumberland) recently. i started running. so did they. i ran harder, and my cardiac pacemaker kicked in with fright and exertion (not at all comfortable, and frightening in itself). it all ended fine, but like you i had been in my spiritual mode and this experience brought me, suddenly and intensely, out of it and into survival mode!

    dashing now but look forward to reading your posts as you unpack and process your experiences. *annie*

    On Mon, Oct 23, 2017 at 10:21 AM, Tadhg Talks… wrote:

    > Tadhg posted: ” Having disembarked from the ferry at the port on the > windswept Isle of Iona, I left the small village and headed along a path, > as instructed. I knew the journey would take about half an hour, and so > with light failing and with a flashlight in hand, I se” >


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