What inspired you to write your memoir?
In 2010, I completed a project called My 52 Weeks of Worship. I made a personal commitment to visit a different place of worship every week – whether that place of worship reflected my religious tradition or not. The project began as a way to deal with grief, personal loss, and disappointment—in the previous year, my father and grandmother died, and the most significant relationship of my life also ended (which is no small thing for a woman in her late 30s who was dreaming of marriage and family and all of that). I had to do something to rustle up some hope and optimism for my future, rather than dwelling on the pain, regrets, and sadness from my past, and/or looking for quick, ineffective, or self-destructive fixes to deal with my grief and loss. My 52 Weeks of Worship became a meaningful and life changing experience.
During my year-long spiritual journey, although I was based in Chicago, I visited 61 churches, temples, mosques, synagogues and gathering places in the US, Mexico, the UK, South Africa and Nigeria.
My book: My 52 Weeks of Worship: Lessons from A Global, Spiritual, Interfaith Journey is based on my experiences during the first 52 weeks of my project. It is a spiritual memoir – so it is a compilation of stories and experiences – each chapter talks about my time visiting a different worship community – how I felt when I entered, what I experienced, how it touched me as I moved through my grief journey, what I learned, who I met – their stories, and how it contributed to my 3 main needs – healing, connection, and remembrance.
My journey was a personal one, and I didn’t initially intend to write a book. But as the subtitle of the book states – I learned many lessons over the span of my global, spiritual, interfaith journey, and I wanted to share them – the lessons and the stories.
About your Book:
Suffering the loss of her father and grandmother, and dealing with the ending of a relationship left the author tired, bereft, disappointed, emotionally drained, and feeling like God had forgotten her. She wondered what she could do to heal from this holy triumvirate of personal pain.
She decided that spirituality would be the context from which she would make her journey back to herself. If she felt like God had forgotten her, then she would look for Him everywhere and in the eyes of everyone she met. She made a commitment to visit a different place of worship every week for a year, whether that place of worship reflected her Christian religious tradition or not. In total, she visited sixty-one churches, temples, mosques, synagogues, and gathering places in the United States, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Nigeria and South Africa.
My 52 Weeks of Worship is the story of one woman’s courageous journey. Read and see-will her journey lead her to deep, dark places in her soul or help her find peace and acceptance?
Pamay Bassey is the Chief Experience Officer of the “My 52 Weeks of Worship Project,” which started when she made a commitment to visit a different place of worship each week in 2010 – whether that place of worship reflected her personal religious tradition or not. As a result, in one year she visited 61 churches, temples, mosques, shuls, synagogues, covens, living rooms, and other places of worship in the USA, Mexico, the United Kingdom, Nigeria and South Africa.
She has written a book about her experiences, My 52 Weeks of Worship: Lessons from a Global, Spiritual, Interfaith Journey (Balboa Press, 2012). She also maintains a blog about her on-going experiences (www.my52wow.com.
Pamay is the president of The Pamay Group, an e-learning design and strategy company, and has over 18 years of experience in designing and developing online learning courses for K-12, community organizations, corporate and virtual universities, computer-based training, and day-in-the-life simulations. She has worked and consulted for such companies as Coca Cola USA, McDonald’s, Mabam! Entertainment, Accenture, and Sanofi. She has served as an educational researcher/consultant for projects at Northwestern University and the University of Michigan, and has also served as a faculty member for several online universities, including Cardean University, American Intercontinental University Online, and the Art Institute Online, where she has taught User Experience, Computer Applications, and Information Technology courses.
Pamay holds a Bachelor of Science degree in Symbolic Systems from Stanford University, a course of study that draws from computer science, philosophy, psychology, and linguistics, which she earned at the age of 20. Her concentration of study there was Artificial Intelligence. She also holds a Master of Science degree in Computer Science from Northwestern University. She received a Project Management Certification from the University of Illinois, Chicago, and a Master Online Teacher Certification from the University of Illinois, Springfield.
Pamay is also a graduate of the acclaimed Second City Conservatory program in Chicago, Illinois, which is an advanced study of improvisational comedy and theatre. She has performed as an improviser, comedian, actress and public speaker all over the United States and in West Africa.
Pamay was chosen as Today’s Chicago Woman’s “Woman to Watch” in 2001. She was selected as one of the “Top 40 Nigerians under 40 in the USA” in 2005, serves on the Chicago Board of the African Women’s Development Fund, and is a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. Ms. Bassey has also been professionally profiled in Afrique Magapaper, Essence Magazine, and the Chicago Tribune.
How did you decide how to publish your book and where is it published through:
I did some research into traditional publishing avenues, and talked to some agents. But I ultimately chose to self-publish through Balboa Publishing, the assisted publishing arm of Hay House publishing – a publisher that does a great deal in the area of spirituality and self-help books. I knew that eventually I would like to move forward as a professional speaker – sharing my story with as many audiences as possible, and building that career on the foundation of my book. So, time was of the essence, and self-publishing seemed to be a better approach.