By Sumangali Morhall
John Hunt Publishing, $22.95, 247 pages
Sumangali Morhall’s Auspicious Good Fortune details one woman’s spiritual awakening in beautiful, lyrical prose that sometimes reads like poetry. The rhythm and cadence of her voice is easy to fall into, easy to find peace in. This piece of writing is not merely a memoir or a spiritual journey or even an ode to a lost Guru and way of life that so few of us are able to find. Sumangali’s writing offers a unique window into the pacing and thinking of a person who has found a balance between her “interior world and the outer world” – giving her reader a visceral experience of that balance.
“I had entered a magical land where impossibility simply did not exist, where honour and goodness were placed above the premium of life itself, but where intense outer beauty and abundance played their own inseparable roles.”
The story she tells flows fluidly from the specifics of her physical reality to her own conscious interactions within herself. Sumangali’s adept use of language allows for such fluidity – allows for the reader to follow her implicitly as new connections are made. In one of my favorite sections of the text, Sumangali describes a moment in which, while painting her walls a bright mango, a delivery man asks her what she is doing: “It’s a living room,” I returned, “it wants to look alive.” This fluid moment, this insight into a new way of seeing our reality, is what captured me the most throughout her story. Everything about her new world became a balance of an interior truth and an outer reality. It is this very simple representation of thought that makes her writing to be very compelling.
This is going to go right next to the copy of Thich Nhat Hanh’s The Sun My Heart on my bookshelf, easily placed so that anytime I need a quick pick-me-up, or some comfort in my purse, I can easily grab for one. Both My Heart and Good Fortune are similar in that way – they are comfort food books. Yes, both are considered “spiritual” texts, but above all both do so on an intimate, personal level. Morhall’s spiritual journey is inspiring and hopeful and honest … but above all, her prose is intoxicating and raw. While reading, I felt many times as though I was receiving a bright, warm hug.