Can’t even remember how I ended up with this book- somebody probably suggested it and I tossed it on my Paperback Swap wishlist. The Dani Shapiro book Devotion: A Memoir was such an interested read and an interesting time in my life. I”ll include the publishers summary, which is more in-depth and interesting than I could write.
Shapiro’s newest memoir, a mid-life exploration of spirituality begins with her son’s difficult questions-about God, mortality and the afterlife-and Shapiro’s realization that her answers are lacking, long-avoided in favor of everyday concerns. Determined to find a more satisfying set of answers, author Shapiro (Slow Motion) seeks out the help of a yogi, a Buddhist and a rabbi, and comes away with, if not the answers to life and what comes after, an insightful and penetrating memoir that readers will instantly identify with. Shapiro’s ambivalent relationship with her family, her Jewish heritage and her secularity are as universal as they are personal, and she exposes familiar but hard-to-discuss doubts to real effect: she’s neither showboating nor seeking pat answers, but using honest self-reflection to provoke herself and her readers into taking stock of their own spiritual inventory. Absorbing, intimate, direct and profound, Shapiro’s memoir is a satisfying journey that will touch fans and win her plenty of new ones.
Having spent a few months now practicing yoga & immersed in Pathfinder, a month long study course, this book struck on many of the same chords in my life. Just like Dani, I’m struggling with how meditation, prayers and faith all can coexist together in my life. What’s the point of rituals and traditions- which ones matter and which ones are just a waste? How are we connected to family and not become paralyzed by our fears? Lots of heavy topics in the book, but she manages to connect them all in an organic and meaningful way through her own funny and entertaining life-story.
The book moves through several years of her life, skipping around to important events, but she finally accepts that change is the only thing that is constant and guaranteed in life. Instead of spending tons of energy obsessing about the past or worried about the future, the best course is to be fully, intentionally present in the present. Much of her meditation and soul-searching focused on awareness and mindfulness, trying to fight the urge of her mind to constantly wander and worry about things that she has no control over. The book has no good answers or neatly packaged happy ending, but it’s more about her finding her way and learning to cultivate a life full of devotion. She seeks out clarity of thought, to bring clarity to speech, and which hopefully yield clarity of action. Life isn’t easy- not to live it, not to understand it. The best we can do it take some steps back or a timeout from the crazy chaos to reflect on who we are and what we want. Beyond that, I was encouraged to slow down my life, be more intentional about all my actions instead of multi-tasking and missing the significance and importance and beauty of everyday life.
GOOD NEWS OF THE DAY: Bought Garth Brooks tickets to see him in Vegas in December…been threatening to do this for a while & I’m so excited.