Book Review: Coyote Spirit
I have to say that I was intrigued by the email a few months back asking me to review Dave Mampel’s book Coyote Spirit: The Improbable Transformation from Minister to Clown.
Reviews take time; I don’t speed-read and my skimming skills are not very good because I get drawn into good stories. Plus, I figure anyone who pours his or her heart into writing a book, not to mention dealing with the technical details in today’s online publishing world, deserves my full attention.
So I don’t do many reviews, but as I said, this pitch intrigued me. I’m a sucker for a story about finding one’s passion because implicit in that story are the gritty details of shedding the skin of a former life. I know a little bit about doing just that five years ago.
An improbable transformation
I wanted to review Coyote Spirit during National Recovery Month because Dave is a person in long-term recovery, a fact that is only one of many similarities we share. Recovery is an underlying theme in Coyote Spirit; recovery from addiction as well as recovery from living life for someone else.
Dave’s story of discovering the reasons why he followed his father into the ministry caused me to ache with understanding. For those of us who grew up with dreams of being artists, musicians (Dave wanted to be a rock star.) or writers, when the cold reality of a childhood event or trauma occurs, we are forever changed and those dreams seem to die a little more each day.
When eight-year-old Dave’s father nearly died after an accident in 1969, Dave writes, “The silly, whimsical kid I once had been descended like Persephone into the underworld and gave way to a child who was serious, even brooding.”
At 14, when Dave started using drugs, he began a decades-long swivel between responsible caretaker and creative rebel. Oh how I relate to feeling like two different people living in the same body!
The courage to change
It’s one thing to hope and wish and long for your life to change. It’s quite another thing to make the change happen. In my case, I had to face the hurt feelings and anger around my decision to radically change my life. I had a lot of accusations thrown at me about my selfishness, how I was only thinking of myself.
I believe we’re given many opportunities in life to shift to an unexpected path, and yes, the shift can mean heartache to others. But we can’t possibly see the bigger picture; all we can do is trust that GUS (God-Universe-Spirit) intends happiness and blessings for all of us. What if my hurtful decision today opens a door to your future happiness?
We simply cannot live our lives for other people. Reverend Dave took a huge leap of faith with his transition to a 20-plus-year career as Daffy Dave the clown. His is a beautiful and tender story of what so many of us in recovery strive for: to thine own self be true.
As Dave writes, “All I had to do was made the fundamental decision inside myself to begin the journey, to pay attention to my best lights, ideas and hunches and to be fully aware of the blessings that came to me from heeding this authentic vocational path.”
To all the seekers out there, have fun with Dave’s book. For all those who enjoy a coming to life story, no matter your age, enjoy!
P.S. Dave has agreed to give away two copies of Coyote Spirit. To qualify to win, leave a comment on this page or on the B Here Today pinned Facebook post. The contest will remain open through the end of Recovery Month.
Photo courtesy of Sgarton