“Life isn’t about waiting for the storm to pass;
it’s about learning to dance in the rain.”
As we approach the season of Thanksgiving, I’m internalizing some hearty lessons about loss, gratitude, resilience and transcendence.
The chasm between the nightly news and my own life closed the night that Hurricane Maria destroyed the town where my colleagues, Natural Awakenings Puerto Rico publishers Luis Mendez and Waleska Sallaberry, have built a vibrant, thriving holistic health community over the past 15 years.
That gap closed even tighter this week when I heard, my hand clutched to my chest, that New York-based Natural Awakenings publisher Kelly Martinsen (who happened to be hosting Waleska and her sons) had lost her home in a fire. Fortunately, no one was harmed.
As devastation happens all around us in places near and far, we are compelled to confront the unthinkable, awful realities of lives lost, injuries sustained, homes and valuables destroyed.
These realities force us to grapple with hard philosophical questions: What if it had happened to me? How would I “show up” during times of such duress? What would I do to maintain my center for myself, my family and my neighbors? What reservoirs would I be able to access, inside myself and through my relationships, when confronted with the most challenging life experiences? What is my role to play when the disastrous happens to those in my inner and peripheral circles?
Despite the disorienting shock and trauma of recent events, Kelly and Waleska have modeled incredible presence, leadership and gratitude—demonstrating that, particularly in times of struggle, strength and vulnerability are not oppositional but complementary qualities.
My fellow publishers are exquisite teachers, showing that when we live with the intention of being “woke” to gratitude and to cultivating a community of learning, love and light—like the one we create around our magazine—peace, joy and connection are accessible, even as our journey twists down the darkest paths.
In Waleska’s own words: “I’m grateful for new beginnings. I’m grateful for new adventures and opportunities. I’m grateful as the best is yet to come.”
The friends, families and colleagues of the Natural Awakenings publishers have already raised nearly $5,000 for Luis, Waleska and the holistic health community in PR. As I write this, Luis is still in PR, where over 80 percent of homes are without electricity and running water. You can learn more about our fundraising efforts in this issue. To read Luis and Waleska’s full story and make a donation, visit GoFundMe.com/NaturalAwakeningsPRfundraiser.
Together we are “Making the Awakening” in Bucks and Montgomery counties.
Karen G. Meshkov, Publisher