In her midforties and settled into the responsibilities and routines of adulthood, Dani Shapiro found herself with more questions than answers. Was this all life was - a hodgepodge of errands, dinner dates, e-mails, meetings, to-do lists? What did it all mean?
Having grown up in a deeply religious and traditional family, Shapiro had no personal sense of faith, despite repeated attempts to create a connection to something greater. Feeling as if she was plunging headlong into what Carl Jung termed "the afternoon of life," she wrestled with self-doubt and a searing disquietude that would awaken her in the middle of the night. Set adrift by loss - her father's early death; the life-threatening illness of her infant son; her troubled relationship with her mother - she had become edgy and uncertain. At the heart of this anxiety, she realized, was a challenge: What did she believe? Spurred on by the big questions her young son began to raise, Shapiro embarked upon a surprisingly joyful quest to find meaning in a constantly changing world. The result is Devotion: a literary excavation to the core of a life.
In this spiritual detective story, Shapiro explores the varieties of experience she has pursued - from the rituals of her black hat Orthodox Jewish relatives to yoga shalas and meditation retreats. A reckoning of the choices she has made and the knowledge she has gained, Devotion is the story of a woman whose search for meaning ultimately leads her home. Her journey is at once poignant and funny, intensely personal - and completely universal.
©2010 Dani Shapiro (P)2013 HarperCollins Publishers
Wow . . . I don't know how I stumbled onto this but sure glad I did. The author's POV and experiences resonated with me. This is not "easy" content . . . it is contemplative and honest and it hit home deep within me. Thank you, Dani.
I liked that Dani shared a lot about her experiences and tied it all in to the theme of her work. One might think on first glance this work might be some new age/wishy washy story, but Ms Shapiro is really a down to earth realist in this book who shares how she found a way that made sense to her for how to be a good person and be good to others for a reason. I am not Jewish or Buddhist or Atheist or Agnostic, which are all addressed in Devotion, but I still got a lot out of it, and I am thankful she read it to me too so I had time to take it in - great voice for rhythmic words!
Functional medicine doctor, yogini, wife, mom, seeker, knitter.
Piercing truthfulness. One of those books that I had to pull over on the side of the road 12 times to record ideas. Artful, deep, authentic.
How on earth did this get published?
Glum but well-off middle-aged mom frets that she's not a good Jew and is basically a total drag. Seriously. Zero humor, nil insight. Kind of like listening to the longest most boring self-absorbed therapy session ever.
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