The Four Stages

I spoke in Georgia last month at January Adventure, and a participant wrote:

I just returned from a mountain top experience with you and Barbara Brown Taylor at January Adventure. Thank you for your gift of exploration. I wish I had a photographic memory in order to be able to recall all the powerful images, thoughts, insights the two of you provided me. I look forward to your new book Naked Spirituality. The four stages speak powerfully to me. As a person who desires to live in stage 4, realizing how easy it is to fall into the other stages, i look forward to the excitement of the journey.

It was my pleasure being there, and a special honor to work with Barbara. I think a lot of people will be helped by the idea of four stages in the upcoming book – but it’s important to remember the first three stages aren’t something a person can “fall into,” but rather indispensable growth periods we live into and, in the fullness of time, grow through. Like the inner rings of a tree, the first three stages are always with us, central to our soul-structure. We don’t erase them as we “add a new ring,” but embrace them into something bigger; we don’t leave them behind, but build upon them. Thank God for groups like January Adventure that encourage that process! And thank you so much for your encouraging note.