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Review by Diane Donovan
Everything is a Little Bit Alright
Shanti Arts Publishing
9781951651299, $17.95, Softcover
9781951651305, $5.95, Ebook
Everything Is a Little Bit Alright: Yoga, Meditation, and a Dog Named Roy is spiritual memoir writing at its best, blending a travelogue with a self-assessment that opens in an unexpected place: in Panama, where Daniel Hertz faces a confrontation with authorities.
Hertz's companion got them out of a potentially dangerous robbery and he attended a meditation session to try to recover from the event. These different approaches to recovering from "the canal event" set the tone for a survey which, more than most, links everyday life challenges and events to spiritual and psychological recovery techniques.
If Everything Is a Little Bit Alright sounds more wide-ranging than most similar-sounding life stories, that's because Hertz employs a unique voice while capturing these events and linking them to spiritual growth.
As his story evolves, readers are treated to a special approach that succinctly juxtaposes the practice of meditation with revised perspectives on life: "The robbery is still heavy in my mind and heart. When something like this happens, you feel violated and disappointed in humanity." I could feel myself holding back a tear. "No matter how long you study and practice, you are always a student with a lot to learn," I said. "At least now I have some techniques and strategies to use to deal with it. I don't feel quite as helpless to the whim of whatever the wind blows my way."
Perhaps this best captures the crux of the matter. As Hertz hones new techniques for addressing, viewing, and impacting his life and those around him, he shares these evolutionary processes with the reader. Because they also are well grounded in life events, adventures, and experiences, they assume a validity and solidity missing in too many spiritual or autobiographical memoirs.
Hertz isn't fixated on creating a self-help game plan others can follow so much as exploring what worked for him, and why. Given this perspective, readers can more easily absorb the basics of connections between meditation and mindful practices and their revised effects on reactions to life.
This is no casual exploration. Hertz delves deeply into meditation, journeying to its wellspring of information (India) to spend a month in a mountain shrine, where he meets a swami who arranges a marriage for him. This juxtaposes with over thirty years as a Minneapolis public school teacher, and nearly as many spent as a student and teacher at the Meditation Center in Minneapolis.
The result is an outstanding survey of healing, resolution, and a revised approach to life that holds many takeaways for readers also on the journey to explore and expand their possibilities. Everything Is a Little Bit Alright is highly recommended reading for those who would learn the approaches and impact of meditation on building a better life.
James A. Cox
Midwest Book Review
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Oregon, WI 53575-1129
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