Buffalo Street Books in Ithaca is very excited to host local author Alice McDowell for an evening of readings and conversation about her newest book, Dance of Life: Christian, Sufi, and Zen Wisdom for Today’s Spiritual SeekerQ&A to follow, led by Maureen O’Brien.

McDowell writes about the spiritual journey as a captivating dance. In a clear and compelling voice, McDowell guides the reader through the steps of the dance. Each chapter offers a rich description of one step to spiritual realization and ends with open-ended self-reflective questions for the reader. These steps include experiences of bewilderment, release, renewal, awakening, illumination, darkness, and finally divine union. Calling upon long-forgotten Christian mystics, McDowell situates them alongside contemporary approaches and the traditions of Sufism and Buddhism.

Whether beginner or advanced, readers will receive guidance on the dynamics of the spiritual journey, learn how to further develop their inner life, and find ways to move forward when unmotivated, stuck, or lost. Teachings of mystics across time and place will inspire readers to stay true to their calling. Instructive tales and humorous stories from each tradition add light and insight to the reader’s journey.

Alice McDowell, Ph.D., is an author, spiritual director, retreat guide, senior teacher, and founder of the Hidden Treasure Program—a three- year training in personal and spiritual growth. She co-founded Light on the Hill Retreat Center in 1991 where she continues to guide individuals and groups on their spiritual journeys. She is author of Hidden Treasure: How to Break Free of Five Patterns that Hide Your True Self (She Writes Press, 2017). As a professor of religious studies at Ithaca College for eighteen years, she taught courses in mysticism, world religions, depth psychology, and women’s studies, and received the Dana Fellow for Excellence in College Teaching. McDowell has a Ph.D. in theology from Fordham University and has trained with Sufi and Buddhist teachers, Christian contemplatives, and humanistic and transpersonal psychologists.

Maureen O’Brien is the author of the spiritual memoir What Was Lost: Seeking Refuge in the Psalms, published by Franciscan Media in 2021.  Her next book, Gather the Fragments: Finding Everyday Miracles and Abundance is forthcoming from Franciscan Media in January 2023.  She is a contributor to St. Anthony Messenger and the online site Pause and Pray. She has also published a novel, B-mother (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt) and The Other Cradling, a chapbook of poems (Finishing Line Press) Her award-winning short stories and poems have been published widely in magazines and anthologies. She lives in Connecticut where she taught creative writing to teenagers for twenty-five years.  She holds an M.A in Creative Writing from Trinity College and a B.A. in Philosophy and Religion from Ithaca College. The contrasts of life—sunrise and dusk, crying and laughter–never cease to amaze her. She can be found on Instagram at @maureen_obrien_writer.

Register for the virtual link HERE.

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