Reader's Group Guide for Downward Dog, Upward Fog


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Questions about the novel

 

1. Discuss the agitation Lorna feels at the novel’s beginning, and

why she can’t shake it.

 

2. Lorna’s girlfriends—old and new—can each be seen as

representing various aspects of Lorna, as well. Describe each

girlfriend and the qualities of Lorna you see in her.

 

3. Lorna pigeonholes people she meets based on their appearance,

even though she claims to know better. Discuss this and other

traits of Lorna’s that are less than admirable but that she has

trouble changing until her spiritual transformation.

 

4. Did you think early on that Lorna was exaggerating about her 

mother’s flaws? Do you think that Lorna’s expectations of her

mother’s behavior contributed to their failed relationship?

 

5. Lorna’s relationships at work also present challenges for her.

Yet she feels it’s particularly important to bring her budding

spirituality into the office. Why do you think that is, and how

does it work out for her?

 

6. Brad is obviously a wonderful guy and, as Lorna says, a

fabulous catch with whom she is clearly smitten. Discuss the pros

and cons of their relationship.

 

7. As Lorna begins to transform, it seems like she might have to

leave all her old friends behind. Why do you think she needs to

push away her girlfriends for a while? Why is she able to bring

them back into her life? Why is this harder to do with Brad?

 

8. Once Lorna faces her real-life crisis, she realizes that to

mentally survive she must stop dabbling in her spiritual pursuits

and seriously embrace their principles. How is she able to do this?

Were you surprised it transforms her as much as it did?

 

9. Do you think Lorna will be able to sustain the gains she has

made in her spiritual growth? What do you hope for her going

forward?

 

 

 

Questions about your personal spiritual development

 

1. Meryl Davids Landau admits that this book was written so

spiritually seeking women can have a women’s novel with a

protagonist whose life they can relate to. In what ways do Lorna’s

spiritual pursuits mirror yours?

 

2. Describe your own attempts over time to connect with your

higher self. Have you found it as hard to sustain this as Lorna

does throughout much of the novel? How can you expand your

soul connection going forward?

 

3. Do you practice yoga and meditation? What holds you back

from doing more? Consider “sujaling” for five minutes this

evening before going to bed, and trying the sun salutation with

the visualizations that Lorna finds so effective.

 

4. Is there a person in your own life like Carletta or Lorna’s

mother whom you find it difficult to love unconditionally? What

can you do to move in that direction? (Hint: waiting for that

person to change is not an option.)

 

5. Do you feel that you wear a “mask” at work or in other situations

that cover who you really are? Discuss ways this can be beneficial,

and ways in which it hides your true and beautiful light.

 

6. Lorna learns that “healing” others can happen in any job or

situation. How can you uplift the people who surround you in all

the various parts of your day?

 

7. Have you ever had a transformative spiritual epiphany the way

Lorna does? If so, how did it come about, and how did it change

you? Do you think it requires a crisis in your life to achieve this?

 

8. What do you think about the Law of Attraction? Do you believe

that positive expectations cause things you want to flow your way?

Test this law by expecting three specific good things to happen

(small items, where you don’t have psychological resistance, like

seeing a yellow rose) and observing if they materialize.

 

9. Although the novel ends with Lorna anticipating that

everything will go well for her forever, most of us find it hard

to stay permanently connected to our higher selves. When this

disconnection happens to you, what can you think or do to get

that connection back as quickly as possible?

 

 

Q & A with Meryl Davids Landau

 

Q: People often say that fiction is sometimes autobiographical. Is Lorna you?

A: From the standpoint that she is striving to connect with her higher self and not always succeeding, yes. But it was interesting how Lorna took on a life of her own as I got into the writing, and really became her own person. The specifics of Lorna’s life are very different from mine—I’m happily married and have two kids, don’t have a group of old friends like hers (although that seems like fun), and my mother is nothing like Lorna’s!

 

Q: What parts of your backgrounds are similar to Lorna’s?

A:  I’ve been to some of the places Lorna goes to: a silent yoga retreat, spiritual channelers, energy healers, women’s spiritual discussion groups. I found each to be illuminating and fascinating—although I will say some experiences struck me as strange. And of course I have read—and adore—all of the books that inspire Lorna.

 

Q: Where did you learn that activity Lorna and Janelle do with the water? Have you ever tried that?

A: Yes. I took a Reiki certification class (I am a certified level 2 practitioner) and the instructor started the class with that exercise, to show how energy works its magic even when you can’t see it. The other energy “trick” in the book, which the character credits to his elementary school classmates, was actually taught to me by mine!

 

Q: Are you planning a sequel?

A: As soon as I finished writing this book I started wondering what would happen to Lorna in the future. (I hope my readers are wondering that as well.) So yes, I am at work on the next installment of Lorna’s spiritual adventure, although I have no idea when it will be completed.

 

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