Devotion: A Memoir A Memoir (Hardcover)
|Author: Dani Shapiro|
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|In her mid-forties 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.
In this stirring memoir, Dani Shapiro discusses how the combination of the haunting loss of her parents and her infant son's frightening illness led her to confront her spiritual apathy and seek fulfillment. Shapiro was raised in a devout Jewish household, but her faith was always more dutiful than genuine, and the death of her parents virtually severed her ties to her religion. Her son's brush with death reinvigorated her desire for spirituality, which she sought from various sources, including Buddhist teachers, her yoga instructors, and a rabbi. Shapiro superbly elucidates the personal dilemmas and enigmas she encountered during her search for answers, as she finds that fidelity to a single faith will not sufficiently satisfy her spiritual needs.