I love a good memoir, and Devotion by Dani Shapiro was exceptional. I borrowed it from the library, finished it in 2 days, took 3 pages of handwritten notes and still I can’t bring myself to return the book. Shapiro writes about attempting to reconcile the religion of her childhood with the spirituality of her adult life. So much of her story is my story; so much of her story isn’t my story. And it was exactly those points of convergence and divergence that kept me captivated.

“I knew from my yoga practice that insights are already fully formed – they’re literally inside our bodies, if only we know where to look. Yogis use a beautiful Sanskrit word, samskara, to describe the knots of energy that are locked in the hips, the heart, the jaw, the lungs. Each knot tells a story – a narrative rich with emotional detail. Release a samskara and you release that story. Release your stories, and suddenly there is more room to breathe, to feel, to experience the world.” – Dani Shapiro, Devotion

As I look toward the end of the year, releasing stories and making room to breathe are among my most sacred intentions. I have a lot on my to-do list and my calendar is filling up fast. Truth be told, there has not been much time spent at the art table where so many of my stories have been let go this year. But there has been walking – lots of walking. I’ve taken to scaling my neighbor’s cow pasture where the view (and the climb!) take my breath away. Pushing myself physically feels like what I need right now. Painting has expanded my soul. Reading always expands my mind. And despite my one lovely yoga experience this year, walking is the way I expand the space within my body.

Go gently. Be kind. At least that’s what I’m trying to tell myself. xoS



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