Review: Kiss Me Swami: The Spiritual Education of a Beauty Queen
In Kiss Me Swami: The Spiritual Education of a Beauty Queen, Kathalynn Turner Davis candidly mindfully reflects on her life experiences while unearthing meaning and extracting lessons from them. Through her narrative, she not only offers a great deal of insight but also reassures others who often feel uncertain as to what is going on in their own lives. One of her takeaways is that her entire life began to make sense in two words, which were conveyed to her while in India by a Master guru in reply to a question she posed to him: “In this life, is there destiny, or do we have a choice.” The guru replied, “it depends.”
After she and the guru
both burst out into a fit of laughter, Kathalynn realized that her
life began to make sense in those two words. It really had consisted
of clusters of painful and blissful moments, and in fact, as she
states, all depended on sometimes her choices, as well as
occasionally on the force that placed her in the right places at the
You are probably wondering who Kathalynn Turner Davis is? In her bio that appears at the end of her book, she describes herself as a life coach, psychotherapist, certified Sedona Method coach, high-performance specialist and workshop leader, as well as an actress and writer. We also learn of her studies, both Eastern and Western philosophies and teachings.
Her travels have
brought her to such faraway places as India and Israel, and she has
met with many world-renowned teachers and swamis' avatars. In
addition to practising as a psychotherapist and coach, she has
appeared in film, television, and theater. In other words, she
certainly would make a fascinating guest at your dinner table, where
you can hear all about her many ventures and personal experiences.
However, if you can't have her over for dinner, her memoir serves an
excellent substitute, although after reading it, I would still like
to have her over for dinner and delve more deeply into her inner
thoughts and life reflections.
There is always a reluctance on the part of many of us who want to write our memoirs. Probably, what keeps us back is that we are fully aware that we will have to breach our own privacy and revisit some painful occurrences. Kathalynn tackles both of these with great aplomb without falling into the trap of boring her readers with minute detail.
one wants to read every aspect of what happened to the narrator, and
every word everyone uttered. She keeps away from meandering all over
the place with a multitude of themes that have very little in common
with each other. And what makes this memoir believable is that she
manages to work into your heart as being someone who is vulnerable
sharing some aspects of her life that many of us would prefer to hide
It is said that a good memoir is powerful when it
connects the reader's heart to a more profound truth and sometimes it
can even change lives, not just for the author, but also for the
reader. That is precisely what Kathalynn has accomplished as she
looks at who she was and who she has become.
Divided into six sections, the memoir recounts Kathalynn's life as a beauty pageant contestant, her acting career, her lost loves, her two marriages and divorces, her life in Hollywood, Greenwich, Connecticut and Manhattan, and some of her well-known celebrity friends including Leonard Bernstein, Gary Marshall, as well as others. She also describes the acting coaching lessons she received from the renowned Stella Adler and how acting has played an essential role in her self-awareness.
In the end, what we have is not just a narration about Kathalynn's life experiences, but moreover discovering morsels of her insights that connect readers to her life and perhaps even to her readers.