Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
A Guru in the Guest Room Paperback – March 16, 2012
|New from||Used from|
Customers who bought this item also bought
About the Author
Vicki Woodyard received a B.S. degree, magna cum laude, from the University of Memphis. She makes her home in Atlanta, Georgia. Vicki’s first book is LIFE WTH A HOLE IN IT: That’s How The Light Gets In. Her website is www.vickiwoodyard.com
Author interviews, book reviews, editors picks, and more. Read it now
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
Few swimmers will ever stop to notice the deeps of true nature, content to splash around in the unreal. But sometimes life tosses us a cement life raft, a sinker that will drown us to save us. In that case, we get to plumb the love we are by sinking on the heavy weight sufferings of grief, anger and desolation. Vicki Woodyard, who lost a child and a husband to cancer, knows well that loss and loneliness not only break the heart, but also break it open.
In Guru in the Guest Room, Woodyard conjures an imaginary friend named Swami Z, who enters stage left because she "opened the door." A tough love teacher with a wacky sense of humor and a short, balding, bed-sheet wearing appearance, Swami-Z moves in and begins what will become a many-year love-hate relationship. As his fictional student and real life scriptwriter, Woodyard creates a character that is more than a narrative device. Over several chapters, as Swami Z bakes cookies and holds make-believe backyard satsangs to a host of colorful characters, we begin to see that this two dimensional creation is coming to embody multi-dimensional truth delivered in clever one-liners.
Indeed, the blurry line between what is real and unreal is the very lesson that ripens from this conjuring of a swami who exists in the imagination of our writer, yet who clearly knows more than the writer knows she knows. As Woodyard notes, "The mystery of Swami is he doesn't exist. No matter how hard I try, I cannot bring him to physical life. And yet he is a miracle worker. He has changed my life for the better and has taught me how to beg for self mercy until it hurts."
This is not a plot-driven read, but rather a meander through a sometimes funny, often wise and more often poignant teaching disguised as a story. There are lines to die for, like this one, "I never second guess love. That would be tantamount to breaking an egg before it is laid." Or this discourse, when Larry asks Swami, "'If god is here and now, why aren't we any different?" And Swami replies, "Because you are not here and now, you are here and then."
The seekers that populate these fictional satsangs reflect back the awkward, broken and eternally hopeful in all of us. There's Larry, who lives in a trailer and rides a stick pony named Ruin (a pony who is rumored to be the real guru). Rose is forever digging in her purse or blowing her nose. And polyester clad Jim asks all the annoying questions. Larry rubs Vicki the wrong way through out, sparking her jealousy that he gets all of Swami Z's attention to her conviction that this fellow with a greasy haired mullet and big pores is simply a loser.
Refreshingly, Woodyard writes her own character, Vicki, as 360 degree human, replete with a mean streak, a depressive side and brutal self doubt along side a relentless desire to love herself more and to surrender to inner peace. As Vicki confesses, "So Swami Z is nothing but a figment of my imagination and when I let Vicki be in the script I began to love her too. In fact that is the direct path to love for me. Loving the script and the characters."
Vicki has a question that has been growing in the back of her mind for years, that near the books end she finally brings to Swami. "Will there ever be an end to this longing for love, this fear of losing love, this hope of winning love as yet unseen?"
"Let me tell you something that may surprise you, said Swami Z deftly flipping a cobweb from the corner with his spatula. "When you can contain the whole world inside your heart, they will never forget you, impossible. They will be unable to not love you. You will not have to beg for the leavings of love. You will have the recipe for love itself."
Ultimately, this book's main spiritual discourse is about the unreal nature of self (I hope none of you are taking Swami literally, that is to miss the essence of the teachings, which is your unreality). But the strong subtext is about the frailty and resilience of the human heart, written from the depths of a writer who has loved deeply and lost profoundly. Her self-confessed abandonment fears come up again and again as she wonders if Swami Z will just leave her one day. And questions surface of how do we love wholeheartedly when inevitably we will be left alone. I'll let the characters answer that one.
I just finished reading your wonderful new book A Guru In the Guest Room. It is great! What a very joyful, funny and wise book! I love it! Just really magical and honest and alive---You have leaped out of the dogma and into the Living of It!
Good for you! This is a fun romp and you really have become the wide open spaces of Child Heart, I can clearly hear the song of liberation ringing a joyful melody all throughout your newest work.
And as William Samuel said "The final discipline involves the correct apprehension of Identity and passing that clear perception along to our world as quickly as we can." You are doing it from the honest Heart of the Child in that sweetly unpretentious way, which I think is really such a powerful way to pass this message of Truth along to our world.
I am always deligthed when I see someone put the message of Truth in words that are not bound to any "ism" but reach into the Love and Joy of Living the Total All of It-- You did it.
Yes, I think your book is full of riches and genuine treasure shared with laughter and open hearted fun; "Call it enlightenment, call it unconditional Love" -- It's all there.
Next time I email the Journal Notes to my William Samuel Friends group I will post a good mention about your new book. It is important to pass our Glimmers of Light along to others. Keep up the Good Work!
Much Love to you and congratulations. Thanks for including me in your circle of friends, I really appreciate it.
Sandy Jones is literary executor to all William Samuel books:
A Guide to Awareness and Tranquility
The Child Within Us Lives
The Awareness of Self-Discovery
It is balanced between transcendence and plain old, beautiful, ugly humanness. The story takes you through the trials and tribulations of awakening, the confusion, the doubt, the ego, and the egolessness. Don't be fooled by the fact that it's in story form. It contains page after page of delicious cookies of wisdom. Enjoy it! Books on enlightenment don't always get this real in order to show you the unreal. It ends with the deepest wisdom of all, wrapped up in such plain English that you may not know what hit you.
Most recent customer reviews
all love in our lives, encouraging, cajoling and infuriating by turns.Read more