Author: Leza Lowitz
Publication: Stone Bridge Press (June 30, 2015)
Summary: At 30, Californian Leza Lowitz is single and traveling the world, which suits her just fine. Coming of age in Berkeley during the feminist revolution of the 1970s, she learned that marriage and family could wait. Or could they?
When Leza moves to Japan and falls in love with a Japanese man, her heart opens in ways she never thought possible. But she’s still an outsider, and home is far away. Rather than struggle to fit in, she opens a yoga studio and makes a home for others. Then, at 44, Leza and her Japanese husband seek to adopt—in a country where bloodlines are paramount and family ties are almost feudal in their cultural importance. She travels to India to work on herself and back to California to deal with her past. Something is still not complete until she learns that when you give a little love to a child, you get the whole world in return.
The author’s deep connection to yoga shows her that infertile does not mean inconceivable. By adapting and adopting, she transcends her struggles and embraces the joys of motherhood.
What I Think
I'm not massively into memoirs as I prefer fiction to non-fiction, but what appealed about Leza Lowitz's Here Comes the Sun: A Journey to Adoption in 8 Chakras was that it is set in Japan (and I always love reading about different people and cultures) and it is about a couple's journey to adoption, something which I know relatively little about but am very interested in.
"In Japan, there's a word for empty space, like the white around a haiku on the page, the blank canvas on the top of a scroll of calligraphy, or the void between rocks in the ocean where sacred rope is strung. It's called ma, written as the sun seen through a gate. It is also the universal name for Mother. Ma..."
I feel that this book encompasses three love stories. The first is with Shogo, a man who lets her be herself and quietly sweeps her off her feet.
The second love story is with yoga. "I fall in love with yoga as I fell in love with Shogo." Yoga is something I have tried in the past and failed at. My body is not flexible enough and my mind won't make my body keep trying. Lowitz, however, shows far more dedication and through yoga she tries to break down the walls she has built around herself. "I dive deeper into my yoga. I sweep my arms overhead, open my heart, and salute the sun. I imagine bringing in light, joy, contentment."
And the final love story is with her child. Leza Lowitz's account of her journey to adoption is brutally honest. "In my body," she writes, "the center was empty when it should have been full. [...] Everywhere I turn, I see pregnant women - mothers pushing strollers, shopping, talking absent-mindedly on their cell phones as their kids throw tantrums. What I wouldn't give for a screaming child, I think. I try not to wallow or judge, but I fail." I had no idea what level of commitment is needed to adopt a child, especially in Japan. When Shogo and Leza were finally successful, it brought tears to my eyes.
This woman's account of the ups and downs of her life will always stay with me and I hope that if you read it, it has a similar effect on you.
About the Author
Leza Lowitz’s memoir about her journey to motherhood over two oceans, two decades, and two thousand yoga poses, Here Comes the Sun: A Journey to Adoption in 8 Chakras, comes out soon.
Her books Yoga Poems: Lines to Unfold By, Sacred Sanskrit Words (w/Reema Datta) and Jet Black & The Ninja Wind (w/ Shogo Oketani) are amazon best-sellers. She’s written for The New York Times, Yoga Journal, Shambhala Sun, Best Buddhist Writing, The Huffington Post, and The Japan Times.
Her YA verse novel, Up from the Sea, is forthcoming from Crown/Penguin Random House.