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{March 17, 2014}   {Review} Dancing with Duality: Confessions of a Free Spirit by Stella Vance

Dancing With DualityFrom Goodreads: Betrayed at the age of 21 by the first love of her life, Stella Vance embarks on a life of fearless adventure. She travels the world, adding notches to her lipstick case with lovers from all over the world, and surviving harrowing experiences, including abuse, addiction, abortion, date rape, and cult involvement. Along the way, Stella undergoes a spiritual transformation. Once awakened to the reality of nonduality, she gradually realizes that life is just a game, that death is just another dimension, and that nothing “out there” can really hurt her. This inspiring page-turning memoir begins in the 1970s, with Stella as a Christian zealot. Subsequently questioning all religious dogma, Stella’s mystical quest leads her to delve deeply into the realms of dreams, psychic readings, astrology, tantric yoga, reincarnation and her own past lives, the entheogen ketamine, Indian holy men and women, revolving-door relationships, the seeker culture of southern California, and finally, the ultimate path of Advaita Vedanta. At the same time, she deals with anorexia and bulimia, addictions to cigarettes, marijuana, and alcohol, unwanted pregnancies, teaching in public schools, the death of several loved ones, foreclosure, and emigrating to South America. The life of Stella Vance embodies all the adventure, drama, romance, humor, and philosophy of a free spirit set loose in the ’70s and finding its way into the new millennium. Reading Dancing with Duality provides evidence that life is meant to provide entertainment, as well as to teach us how to be grateful, forgive, and heal from all its vagaries. In the end, Stella’s free spirit journey takes her on the path to the ultimate freedom: freedom from the mind with all its fears, judgments, limiting beliefs, and worries.

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Though Stella’s viewpoints on life are indeed vastly different from my own, this was a beautiful memoir full of enlightenment and truths, such as, “be careful when you judge someone; you may end up doing a similar thing.” This statement shows up time and time again, and it carries a very heavy weight not only within the story, but within all our lives. While we may not always agree with Stella’s choices, she shows readers that her own judgments came back to haunt her, and she did, indeed, end up doing similar things, even though she may have told herself “never in a million years.” It’s a very interesting look at like growing up in the 60s and 70s, and how free spirited she really was. Stella lays it all bare, discussing both trials and triumphs, and it’s such a conversational, beautiful tone that I was taken with her story from the get go. We have all made mistakes, but it takes an extremely strong individual to write a book about them and showcase it to the world. What Stella has done is shown how she has become a free spirit, and how her life decisions ultimately brought her to where she is now. It’s a great read, and even if you feel like you might not have the same mindset as Stella, I suggest you pick up this memoir, because it’s extremely enlightening and very interesting.  Beginning with her parents divorce, her onset of an eating disorder, her love of foreign men (who doesn’t!), and her time an University, Stella wraps the reader up tight in her life, gluing us to the pages until the very end. Four stars.

4 starsI received this memoir from the author in exchange for an honest review.

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Wow! I searched WordPress for blog posts related to “memoir” today, and yours was the first to pop up–and you’ve written about a book that sounds like it’s right up my alley. Going to Amazon to check it out now… Thanks!



You’re most welcome! I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!



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