Sunday, February 6, 2011

A Look At Devotion

I was immediately drawn into Dani Shapiro's Devotion. Okay, I know it sounds like I'm immediately drawn into everything but I'm not. Shapiro got my attention with the first sentence.

A woman named Sandra was cradling my head in her hands. (1)
Shapiro goes to a Master Level energy worker but she was expecting something else.

Would she be insulted if I got up and left? I was twitchy, impatient. Disappointed, too. It was rare that I allowed myself such a self-indulgent, not to mention expensive, hour. (2)
Shapiro goes from rolling her eyes to crying by the time the session is over with.

I feel like I belong to the same tribe as Shapiro:

I wanted to be someone who not only bought flaxseed oil at the health food store, but actually ingested it. There was no end to my desire for self-improvement... (8)


Inside each joy was a hard kernel of sadness, as if I was always preparing myself for impending loss. (9-10)
Shapiro calls herself the blond sheep of her family since, during her childhood, she didn't have much to do with her father's family in large part because her mother couldn't stand her in-laws. After the death of Shapiro's father, she wants to spend as much time as possible with her Aunt Shirley, her father's younger sister who, at the time of the book, was in her mid 80's. During one visit to her aunt, she forgets about certain decorum:

I rang the bell. Shit. It was Shabbos. I had forgotten, for a second. I shouldn't have pressed a button, shouldn't have set off the chimes inside her darkened house. There was a brass knocker right there in front of my face. (78)
During a meeting with Steve Cope, director of Institute for Extraordinary Living at Kripalu, Shapiro questions her quest for meaning:

I wondered out loud whether this desire of mine for a little bit of this, a little bit of that, was spiritual and intellectual laziness. The smorgasbord approach to deeper meaning. (84)

As I think about other aspects Shapiro's book, I want to give it my own title -- perhaps Dani Shapiro's Search for Meaning or Get Out Of My Head Dani Shapiro. There were so many aspects of Shapiro's book that I related to whether she was talking about her son's infantile spasms or her Orthodox SWAT team of a family.

On another note, I kept thinking about this song while I was reading Devotion.

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