Dear Friend or Visitor,
While in the midst of a number of writing and publishing projects, this title, and the chapters that follow, simply brought themselves together.
I suspect that part of the reason is because it is the story of my life and work, and perhaps a story I've been overlooking (or neglecting) in favor of other "more important" work.
My general strategy is to release a chapter or section every other week (or so). Eventually, after editing and refining, I will publish it as both a print and audio book. Pre-ordering of the print version will be available once I'm nearly finished with the book.
I hope my words and voice inspire you to reflect on your own life and work, and awaken in you the recognition of its messy, yet elegant perfection.
Thank you for reading along!
When I was 7 years old, my paternal grandmother read me a story from the bible-- the one about the Tower of Babel. As she read the passage, one that she and I would re-read many more times, I recall feeling a sense of sadness and quiet desperation at the notion that these human beings were incapable of understanding one another. As a young child, I couldn’t fathom how that was even possible. I couldn’t fathom not understanding if someone was in pain or confused. I also couldn’t understand why people were at war-- why they were miserable and poor. Life, as told through that simple story, made absolutely no sense to me.
Four years later, I would find myself in a foreign land speaking a language that was not my own. I would also find myself experiencing the excruciating struggle to express myself and to be understood. It was a frustration unlike any other I ever felt, but one that I often related to that bible story-- where everyone is talking, but no one can tell that you’re in pain or confused, because they too were stunned and mesmerized by their own pain.
By age 12, the only safe or sane place to express myself was through journaling and writing. In my own form of Spanglish, a fusion of Puerto Rican Spanish and English, I wrote letters and poems, stories and accounts of my life as a young woman. It was in the pages of these journals, that I could easily discern the human being who had to play a role in society, from the one that was the witness to this vulnerable and misunderstood human. I called her the ‘real me.’
Still, knowing that there was a ‘soul’ there, did not shield me from feeling immense anger and utter frustration. Despite my beautiful and almost idyllic upbringing, I was angry at life for taking me away from ‘there’ and for being forced to contend with such harsh and inhospitable conditions as our move from the north shores of Puerto Rico to Stow, Ohio presented. This anger, my anger, was something I didn’t understand and would take many decades to fully decipher.
Many of us, especially women are not supposed to be ‘angry’. Nice girls are certainly not supposed to express anger. In the mid 70’s we were generally socialized to be accepting and go with the flow and the leadership of men-- our fathers, grandfathers, uncles, bosses, the President, the priest, etc. Lucky for me, I had early child-hood influences from a number of loving and powerful women including my mother, grandmothers, my incredible God-mother, my aunts, my older cousins, and a number of nuns and teachers who modeled what I now call spiritual solidarity; the deep, abiding awareness that life on Earth entailed more than what was visible to the naked eye, and that there was indeed a secret language; one that had no words, but was visibly expressed through tender acts and loving kindness.
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ESSENCE GLOSSARY™ and MINDFUL INQUIRIES™ are trademarks of Mayra Porrata & Kristie Pretti-Frontczak.