This was originally shared in a personal blog I created for our family at El Valor De Amar, and then remembered again and shared on my personal social media on February 22, 2015.
Today it came up again when I was recording my podcast and I recognized that I hadn’t shared it publicly on my blog and it needed a home here.
I hope you enjoy my experience and glimpse of my maternal grandmother.
I’m home again, from a breathtaking 80th birthday celebration for my Mami (grandmother). Thank you everyone for making her day so special.
I used to blog for our family @El Valor De Amar. In her honor and in celebration of her life and love here’s an old post. Enjoy and please share with her great (& great great) grandkids.
I had an opportunity to sit with mi Mami recently at the grand opening of my little sister’s business. Mami and I chit-chatted and then at one point she looked into my eyes and she shared some advice with me.
She was keenly aware either through conversation or by just looking at me that I’d been struggling emotionally.
She shared her own personal insight. Wisdom uncovered over the years of her life and lessons she’s learned first hand. I saw them as the personal practice’s that solve a bit of the puzzle we call life. I listened attentively as she began to share with me two basic truths.
The first was, “No platicar, rezar.” She cautioned me about the difference between honoring an emotion and indulging in it. She outlined that there are disadvantages to processing our pain and spewing our distaste. If you can imagine her she tilted her head a bit downward and waved her index finger slowly like a pendulum in front of her face.
“No platicar, rezar,” she repeated with a slight smile.
The second was a practical action. She spoke to me in Spanish in a steady voice. She described a jar, for this purpose I’ll call it your God Jar. A glass container that can be sealed with a lid. You speak your troubles into this jar and let them go. You give to God what you know is his to resolve and clear your mind of it. She mentioned that she would then go on with her job of caring for herself and her family and leave to God what was his. She knew that when she glanced at her troubles sealed in the jar on her alter they were being worked out, in God’s time and according to his will.
As I drove the several hours to make it back home I reveled literally amazed at her wisdom and insight. For your benefit, I’ll share how her insight matches or correlates with the wisdom of the broader world.
Leading neuroscientists of our time agree with mi Mami. Although she attributes her wisdom to a “buen celebro” given to her, no bestowed upon her by God and not a mere educational institution humbly stating that she isn’t educated. After all, she never learned to read, write or speak English very well.
Our concept of modern cognitive therapy is also based on the same model. Share openly, release, and let go, processing emotions into a safe container with a paid practitioner.
Mami’s God jar follows the precepts outlined by productivity experts. David Allen shares that any potentially meaningful thing within your psyche needs to be offloaded out of the psyche and put in front of you. For some that might be a written list. Mami doesn’t write so she did the best thing for her. She named it. What you don’t name owns you. Thought leaders also commonly state as fact that what you resist persists. When you fight with something in your mind you give it attention and therefore power over you. Allen refers to the practice as upward looping vs a downward spiral.
Native American wisdom also mirrors her insight. Many tribes won’t tell you a baby’s name because of the power it will give you over that person.
You name it, you own it.
You don’t name it, it owns you.
Pay attention to what has your attention so that it doesn’t hold you, hostage, that’s Mami’s simple advice. Life after all is much more important than our material world. Mami practices discipline in her thoughts. She found Godliness in the ordinariness of her living. Even though things were far from perfect for her, she engaged perfectly with where she was and what she was doing not going any further than that. It’s what many intellectuals and sages call living in the moment.
Mami is present-minded, attuned, and relaxed. In my audio, I shared with you that she gave birth to sixteen children beginning at the tender age of fourteen within a context that was let’s just say, less than easy.
A strong mind is developed, it is trained. Brain chemistry is an important concept to understand. Our happiness comes not from what happens to us but rather what we give as meaning to those experiences. She has the spiritual discernment to transcend her situation and focus on her locus of control and her relationship with God.
She is the difference between mere knowledge and true wisdom, putting what she knows into practice. Imagine the many things we all know, but don’t always do like eating a healthy and balanced diet or exercising, because we “know” it does the body good. Recent research studies say that 30 minutes of exercise three times a week has the same effect as Prozac and serves to prevent 80% of the dis *eases our fragile body can acquire.
This is a part of our families wisdom, one of our life teachers. May these words and her life serve you as a gentle touch of inspiration and an invitation to engage with the treasures that are right in front of you.
Mami, I hope I’ve done your truth justice and yes it’s in the book for all to see and share.
I love you.