Back in 2007, lost in a dark wood at the mid-point of my life, I drove my ’96 Celica convertible from LA to the coast of NH–where I was raised–and back.

I was in mental, emotional, and spiritual anguish, to the point where I began suffering from gnarly skin ailments. The only thing I knew was to stay close to Christ. So I stayed in Motel 6s and Super 8s, and convents and monasteries, and I went to Mass every day.

I made it to the East Coast and back. I was eventually (though not right away) transformed. Here’s the thumbnail version the story.

The video is part of the  Virtual Summer Conference of the Portsmouth Institute, a kind of Catholic think tank (“Exploring Catholic Thought. Restoring Christian Culture”) headquartered at beautiful Portsmouth Abbey on the coast of RI. 

The Conference takes as its theme “Incline the Ear of Thy Heart: Rediscovering the Virtues and Practices of the Christian Life.”

You can also watch Fr. Augustine Wetta (on humility),  Sohrab Ahmari (on play), and John Garvey  (on study).

If the spirit moves, you can then register for live discussions with me and/or any of the other participants HERE

The live discussions take place on Saturday, June 20.

I’m on from 10:00 to 10:45 am EST.

Which means I’m gonna have to set my alarm out here on the West Coast, and get up very early to first choke down my full complement of my morning coffee. Hope to see some of you there!


  1. Pure Heather King; always from the heart, of the heart. Searching, illuminating. So today, the solemnity of the Sacred Heart.

    Thank you again, Heather !

    Lawrence M.

    1. HEATHER KING says: Reply

      Ha, bless you Lawrence! I shot myself on zoom in my combo bedroom/office/music conservatory, more or less extemporaneously–kind of fun! And there was SO MUCH MORE! Thanks as always for your kindness and support on this Solemnity of the Sacred Heart!

  2. Katie McAllister says: Reply

    Hello Heather: Thank you from the bottom of my shattered heart. Nodded my head and cried thru your video as I am going through excruciating emotional anguish due to the very same relational (but in reality, non-relational) situation. By day I’m a boring church bookkeeper, by night I determinedly pray the rosary, as I fall asleep, to focus myself on something other than my tears and unrequited longings. I’m ashamed to say that this anguish has gone on for over seven years. Is there such a thing as a seven year crucifixion? If not, I have invented it! I also just watched the video of your talk at St. Peter’s Parish in KC. I identified with the fear component. In this case, I have been paralyzed with fear at the thought of not having this man in my life (even tho he’s not in it except at work and there really is no relationship except in passing and in my intense attraction to him). I am between a rock and a hard place, as my Irish grandfather used to say. To top it off (now you’ll scream with laughter!), I am 68 years old. 😂 Sadly, I kid you not. I do not know how to extricate myself from this situation other than quit my job, which seems even more painful than staying in the painful situation. Like you, I am prayerful, years of spiritual healing workshops and retreats, daily Mass until Covid switched it up to live-streamed Mass, etc. I trust that the Lord has a plan, but I’m nearly comatose by this point. Thank God you’ve been there and done that as you will know how to pray for me. God bless you, Heather. … In Christ, Katie

    1. HEATHER KING says: Reply

      Katie, my sister! Good news/bad news: mine went on for more than 15…the seeming utter absurdity, the shattered heart, the BEWILDERMENT, and the 24/7 crucifixion ranging from humiliation to anguish at the incomprehensible demoralization of being unable to extricate oneself… in retrospect, I firmly believe this is a form of the Dark Night of the Soul…Gerald May, a kind of psycho-spiritual thinker on these matters, wrote a book on the phenomenon. Of course many Catholics have described it as well. Some of the earmarks are that in spite of the suffering, we are able to continue fulfilling our duties and obligations, that the state is actually not depression and not experienced as such (again, in spite of hideous suffering) and that in some obscure way the sufferer would not have it any other way. In other words on some level we sense that we’re undergoing a journey or transformation– the specifics, end and purpose of which however you remain completely in the dark…terrible suffering. At one long point, I thought God was MAD at me for being so (to my mind) spiritually immature, unformed, pathological…would go to Confession…we are just the same age by the way. For my part, I came to see the whole thing as bound up with the very heart of womanhood, motherhood, our essential Brideship, no matter our station, in Christ. On top of it, the thing is so insanely weird that even if you can overcome the shame long enough to try and share, the experience is essentially unable to be talked about. People who’ve never undergone such a phenomenon are simply bored, impatient and dismissive–they see it from a worldly pov–he’s just not that into you! Well duh! But to try to talk about it as the mystical phenomenon it really is…again, you end up sounding more or less insane and the other thing is…it is really private, between you and God. It’s a being overshadowed, like Mary was by the angel Gabriel–or is if we truly offer ourselves up for Him to do as He wills…anyway, I thought I would go to my grave with the thing but just for today I seem to have passed through it…and the gift from this end is I do feel more detached from various forms of worldly approval/validation type stuff and also ever much more willing as I said to be led…Anyway, in prayer and solidarity…you will survive, one breath at a time…and if your experience is anything like mine, it will eventually, blessedly, pass….

      1. Thank you Heather. It was comforting and validating to read your words. This is truly an enigmatic experience. You’re right when you say that there is a sense of death to self yet an acceptance of the cross and a yes to being led through this darkness. And too, that life, work, goes on despite the all too real periods of deep anguish and sorrow. I have often found myself praying (sobbing, screaming in my car): Lord, if this is Your will, yes! But please hang on to me; don’t let go. Heather, I can’t tell you how much it means to me to hear from you. To hear that I am not going insane. To hear that God is leading me and He knows what He is about, (even if I don’t). God bless you, kindly and dearly. 🌷Katie

        1. HEATHER KING says: Reply

          My pleasure, Katie. In solidarity and prayer!….


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