Friday, March 27, 2015

A Spacious Life by Narissa Doumani - Guest Blog and Giveaway

This post is part of a virtual book tour organized by Goddess Fish Promotions. Narissa will be awarding a $25 Amazon or B/N GC to a randomly drawn winner via rafflecopter during the tour. Click on the tour banner to see the other stops on the tour.

Five Things You Might Not Know About Narissa Doumani

1. As a child I played with Barbie dolls, but also with He-Man figurines and Matchbox cars. Some people tell me it’s because I’m a Gemini and like the balance of two sides to everything… but I think I was just lucky to have parents who did their best not to force gender stereotypes onto me.

2. I’m quite messy. Especially around my workspace. Especially when I’m getting creative. From the way I dress and speak, people tend to think I’m a neat and orderly person. But they haven’t seen my desk! I seem to thrive on finding a point of clarity through chaos. Perhaps my desk is a metaphor for my life in that way. My memoir is all about finding peace within, even when life feels like it doesn’t make sense and challenges get thrown at you from all directions.

3. Although I’ve worked as a model, I have a very low-maintenance beauty routine. It’s always felt like a waste of time to fuss about too much with my appearance. When I’m working, that’s another story; I could sit in the makeup artist’s chair for hours if I had to and it wouldn’t worry me in the slightest. And if I have to go to a wedding or some other significant event I’ll take longer, but in general I like to be done getting ready in ten minutes or so.

4. My friends all think I love baking. I’m known as the one who brings cookies and brownies and cake. While they’re not wrong, because I do love it when I bake for them, I never have the inclination to bake when there’s no one around to share it with. It’s not the baking itself that I adore, it’s more that I love making something others will enjoy; it feels like giving them a piece of my love, because I’ve put time and energy into creating it. I won’t lie, though—I do also enjoy the eating…

5. I consider myself a social introvert. What that means to me is that while I love and thrive on being socially connected, I also recognize the need for regular time to myself to recharge my batteries. In my experience, meditation is the ultimate battery supercharger (not only for introverts, though!), and my mindfulness practice keeps me balanced and grounded, even when I have to be very busy dealing with people all day.

‘Meditation and mindfulness are tools for working with the mind, but where they have led me is to a blossoming of the heart…’

What does a spiritual seeker look like? Could you pick one in a lineup? If you said yes, chances are you weren’t imagining this meditating model. Born in Sydney, Australia, Narissa Doumani grew up well loved, well educated, and (reasonably) well dressed, but for years grappled with what she admits is ‘the ultimate first world problem’: how to be truly, deeply happy in any lasting way. In this intimate memoir, she explores the creative process, traverses the heights of romantic love and the despair of self-doubt, and comes face to face with her own fragile mortality. But it’s in a cave in a Thai forest, where she meets the Buddhist yogi who will become her spiritual guide, that she learns to unravel the messy states of mind and heart that had kept her from living a spacious life—and thereby begins to uncover the happiness, meaning, and connection for which she always yearned.

A Spacious Life is a heart-warming, honest, and at times surprisingly humorous look into the quest for meaning beyond materialism—and its relevance as an essential condition for well-being and fulfilment within modern-day life.

Enjoy an excerpt:

I began to set aside specific times when being present was the only agenda. Every night before bed, I rolled out a yoga mat and stretched out. It was an offering to my body, a penance of sorts. I watched the feeling as my arms and legs lengthened. I watched the sensation of blood rushing to my head in inverted poses. I watched my breath. There was always my breath, pure and rhythmic.

I caught fleeting glimpses of stillness, and they were divine. Serenity flowed outward from the source, my place of inner calm, until it reached the tips of my fingers and my toes. As it flowed, I could feel my entire body being healed and nourished. I became strong and supple as I continued my practice each night. I stood with the sturdiness of a stone statue in Warrior Stance. In Tree Pose I embodied the very balance of nature, until my legs gave out.

I committed to a secret practice; I became an avid watcher of moments. Everything was an opportunity to be present within the present. In the classroom, I tried to focus my attention with my students instead of letting it wander off with stray thoughts. Sitting on the train, I did my best to resist letting my mind-stream carry me away. Old habits die hard, but day in and day out I kept practising.

Hundreds of times I failed, and caught myself wrapped up in a mental story; in those instances I simply started anew, calmly bringing my attention back to the present moment. The world could keep spinning its distractions, but my mind didn’t have to rush out to meet them; coming home to my body and my breath, I learned how to be the eye of the storm.

About the Author:
Narissa Doumani is the student of a reclusive Thai yogi, and a dedicated practitioner of mindfulness, meditation, and the Buddhist path. After graduating with a Bachelor of Science from the University of Melbourne, Narissa spent nearly a decade working as a model and presenter in the world of commercial advertising, using the circumstances of her everyday life to cultivate clarity and peace of mind. Born into a Thai-Lebanese-Australia family, she is a strong advocate for diversity, tolerance, and finding one's own authentic path. Her debut memoir, A Spacious Life, invites us all to do just that, and to live with meaning beyond the material.

Author Website:
Kirkus Review:

a Rafflecopter giveaway


  1. The beautiful cover is my favorite part of the post.

  2. Thanks for hosting my final tour stop today! I hope your readers enjoy this excerpt and the chance to get to know me a little better. Narissa :)

  3. Great excerpt, thanks for this giveaway!

  4. I enjoyed reading the Five Things.

  5. I enjoyed reading the excerpt

  6. A great excerpt ! Nice getting to know to you!


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