Rucker-Smith recounts the ups and downs of her own journey of the spirit in this debut memoir.
The author, a high school English teacher and a single mother of three, felt intense grief after the death of her father in 2001. But after a chance viewing of the author Gary Zukav, discussing his 1989 book The Seat of the Soul on The Oprah Winfrey Show, she began a pilgrimage to find her own spiritual fulfillment. This quest ended up lasting 10 years, and it was filled with numerous turnarounds and “dead ends,” each of which, she says, was necessary for her to finally arrive at her destination. In this book, she records her journey of self-discovery in the form of self-described “rantings”: “the literary banging of my head against many dead ends.” In these, she discusses her decisions to leave teaching, which she felt was slowly killing her, and to stop running 10 miles every Sunday and instead go on a 30-day cleanse to remove toxins and addictions from her body. She records the indignities and dark moments that she faced along the way, from crying (“inside”) during meditation to wondering whether she could “divorce [her] children.” Ultimately, though, she shows how she was able to get to a place where her mind, body, and spirit were finally in sync. Rucker-Smith’s prose is frank and playful throughout, expressing her emotional states with colorful metaphors and allusions. For example, here’s how she describes one of her pop-culture role models: “As long as I didn’t cause any problems, I was left alone. In fact, [Star Trek’s Mr.] Spock was my Vulcan homeboy because he was the coolest cat around. He was brilliant, logical, and unemotional.” Much of the author’s evolution takes place internally, without a tremendous amount of external travel or upheaval, and this makes some parts of the book seem monotonous, particularly during later sections. However, the author does an excellent job of illustrating her early concerns: “Was I becoming enlightened, or was I going insane?”
A candid but not always compelling memoir of spiritual growth.