In this debut memoir, a former business executive shares her spiritual journey.
Two decades ago, Montella jettisoned a burgeoning career in travel technology to become an international educator, motivational speaker, and self-described “happiness expert.” She’d started attending breathing and meditation workshops, where she learned about Sri Sri Ravi Shankar, to whom the book is dedicated. The spiritual leader from India (not to be confused with the similarly named musician) became Montella’s inspiration and lifelong teacher. Indeed, the guru, who’s informally known as “Gurudev,” is a central character in this memoir. After participating in Shankar’s extensive program in India in 1998, she says, she was “all-in.” She quit her job, packed her suitcase, and traveled the world with Shankar. This catapulted her into what she calls a “Ph.D. program of spirituality.” In a poignant, compelling prose style, she shares her path to “becoming unshakable,” which she defines as the freedom of knowing that one can handle whatever life dishes out. She offers passages by Shankar that illustrate the underlying principles of this way of life. Still, Montella honestly reveals moments that made her doubt her commitment. Her experiences were wide-ranging; for example, she traveled the world to counsel Hurricane Katrina survivors and the families of victims of the 9/11 terror attacks. She says that when the president of Spain needed her for a consultation, she arrived within 24 hours. Along the way, she stayed in ashrams, fine hotels, and hovels. Other life coaches, most notably Tony Robbins, have written books in other contexts about being “unshakable,” but this one goes deeper. Readers experience the author’s journey right alongside her, and emerge with her clear, down-to-earth understanding of Eastern spiritualism. As such, the book might be useful as supplementary reading for university courses on relevant subjects.
An engaging read for both spiritual seekers and fans of travel memoirs.