As a follow-up to her popular novel, Downward Dog, Upward Fog, Integral Yoga teacher and award-winning writer Meryl Davids Landau again takes women on a spiritual journey that incorporates lessons in mindfulness, meditation and Yoga woven throughout a captivating narrative. In her new book, Warrior Won, the main character, Lorna Crawford, faces internal agony when she’s told her unborn baby could have a life-threatening illness. Throughout her personal struggle, Lorna calls upon the inspirational spiritual teachings to keep herself calm. The question is will her devotion to these teachings be enough to help her find inner peace? Lorna Crawford made her debut in Davids Landau’s novel Downward Dog, Upward Fog , named a fiction-book-of-the year finalist by Foreword Reviews, which wrote, “Lorna’s soul journey is the topic of Meryl Davids Landau’s first novel, an inspirational gem that will appeal t introspective, evolving women.” Yoga Journal’s Buzz Blog called the book “a lighthearted novel about a woman who just can’t seem to stay on the spiritual path, something most of us can relate to.” In Warrior Won (which can be read on its own), Lorna has an amazing husband, a new job, an adorable 2-year-old daughter, and another child on the way. But her ability to stay calm and hopeful is seriously challenged by this diagnosis threatening her unborn baby, nicknamed Deuxie. Lorna is helped along by her longtime eclectic spiritual practices, culled from the numerous contemporary teachers Lorna takes solace in. Lorna meditates, does Yoga, crystal-bowl relaxation, mindfulness, appreciation exercises and other techniques. But are all these spiritual practices enough to keep Lorna centered in the face of this serious life challenge?
Excerpt from Warrior Won
Janelle is sitting on my living room floor, legs crossed behind her head. She has finally mastered dwi pada sirsasana, the aptly named two-legs-behind-the-head pose.
“Your body doesn’t feel like it’s cracking?” I demand.
“Actually, it’s surprisingly calming to sit like this.” She brings her hands together in prayer position for emphasis. “Ommmm.”
“I wouldn’t call that sitting,” I say, even though her butt is solidly on the floor. It’s everything below it that’s unnaturally perched behind her body.
Two days ago I finally had the amnio. I’ve invited Janelle over because it’s been a challenge maintaining my inner peace as we wait for the results. Don and his work friend took Lilah out for Chinese food to give Janelle and me quiet time together.
Janelle initially suggested going to a juice bar that has live music at night, but I’m not up for going out. That’s when she proposed coming over for Yoga. We’re supposed to both be doing poses, but so far I haven’t been in the mood to move. I’m sprawled on the couch, while she’s taken the opportunity to break out her highlights reel—first scorpion and now this.
“How do your hips flex like that?” I ask. “Even if I weren’t pregnant I could never get mine to open that far.”
“Actually, I’ve heard hips get more flexible during pregnancy. Something about hormones loosening the ligaments, I think.”
“That’s probably true. Hormones are loosening the ligaments in my feet. They’ve grown to boat oars.” I point, and Janelle looks like she’s about to comment. “Don’t you dare say they’re cute, like all my pregnant parts,” I cut her off.
“No. I was going to agree they’re monsters,” she laughs.
“Nice. How long can you stay in that position?”
“I’m glad you asked.” She immediately lowers one leg and then the other back to terra firma. “My hips were officially spent, but I’ve been waiting till you invited me to exit.”
“You needed an invitation to take your feet off your neck?” I chuckle.
“I didn’t want you to think I can’t hold the pose.”
Janelle rises and pulls me off the couch. She walks us to the spot we’ve set up for chair yoga, which I’m supposed to do while she does comparable standing poses. I stare at the seat without lowering myself.
“Not doing so great, huh?” she asks.
“I hate to admit it. But no.” Tears well behind my eyes. I squeeze my lids to keep them from flowing.
“Don’t ‘hate to admit it,’” Janelle says softly. “It’s understandable you’re emotionally fragile.”
I step back to face her. “I should be doing better. I know how to stay in the moment and not project into the future. And anyway, there’s seventy-five percent odds he’s fine. More than that, even, if I believe I create my own reality, which I sort of do. Why am I letting my panic get ahead of the facts?”
“Because you’re human. Because it’s your baby you’re talking about. You’ve done a great job not being a hysterical, hovering mom to Lilah. But concern is baked into the motherhood creed. You know: ‘Mothers don’t sleep, they just worry with their eyes closed.’”
“I’ve heard that expression. And I swore I would never be that kind of mother.”
“And your spiritual practice tells you never to say never. Life throws curveballs. You react as best you can. And as authentically as you can, which right now means owning up to being afraid. You may create your reality, but your baby creates his too. So you can’t know for certain what’s in store.”
About the Author:
Meryl Davids Landau’s prior books include the novel Downward Dog, Upward Fog, a finalist in the Foreword Reviews fiction-book-of-the-year competition, and Enlightened Parenting, a book of essays. She has been published in O: The Oprah Magazine, Prevention, Parents, Vice, HuffPost, Medium, Glamour, Readers Digest, and many other publications. Meryl has won numerous writing awards, including a nomination for a prestigious National Magazine Award. She is a certified Integral Yoga teacher and a moderator of the Yoga Folks group on Goodreads. She blogs on spiritual and Yoga topics at Medium. For more information please visit: MerylDavidsLandau.com.
Purchase the book on Amazon.com.