“Keep the poop in the loop”

Over the weekend, I watched a lovely and illuminating documentary on Netflix, Kiss the Ground. It highlighted well-known data on climate change, as well as some of the noble workers (aka regenerative ranchers and farmers) who are “walking the talk” and modeling, for each of us, what it takes to address our collective disconnection from our planet, from nature, and essentially from ourselves.

Because I work at the intersection of community health education and personal regeneration, I’m always looking up and downstream for the ways that individuals and groups are talking about complex topics.

Although I think and feel very deeply on human matters, I delight in simple messaging– and I literally laughed out loud when I heard “keep the poop in the loop”— and while I know that those who work at the macro-level of environmental health know exactly what this means, I wondered if we had ever pondered the micro or individual application; of how we can “take our shit” (our emotional baggage, our nonsense, our anger, etc.) and transmute it into rich, fertile soil for our lives– like collectively. I think we are ‘here’– well, I am definitely at this juncture in my life.

And so, after I watched this, my mind immediately flashed back to 2 key memories:

Kent State University professor/researcher Chris Blackwood stating (and educating me!) that “soil is life!”; and Thich Nhat Hanh’s beautiful reminder: “no mud, no lotus”

I don’t know if “emotional composting” is a thing, but clearly, it is yet another pathway to earth and human regeneration; emotionally healthy people make kind and loving decisions. To regenerate ourselves, by consciously NOT walking away from our “waste” (emotional and otherwise) and really looking deeply at it all, is the “heartbreak” that so many of us sense is the necessary catalyst for personal and global transformation.

To this end, I’m working on a couple of books and workbooks — that are helping me connect dots I had not fully connected, and to help me make the most loving, and therefore powerful, decisions going forward. Over the weekend, I also re-released Until it happens to you— a tiny biographical poetry collection that spans 20+ years of my life…..all to model personal regeneration and “keeping poop in the loop” (and yes, I’m laughing out loud right now!) — If that’s too gross or offensive, remember this message instead: no mud, no lotus.

Converting energy

Like most scientific-minded and curious people, I’ve had a life-long fascination with energy. Throughout my life, I’ve read, studied, and questioned the mysteries of it all; from how energy is converted and transmuted into new forms of matter, to how we can harness it (ala Tesla, 3-6-9).

For me, one of the most provocative quotes about energy came by way of Jesuit priest, scientist, and philosopher Pierre Teilhard de Jardin. The quote was this:

Someday, after mastering the winds, the waves, the tides and gravity, we shall harness for God the energies of love, and then, for a second time in the history of the world, man will have discovered fire.

Pierre Teilhard de Chardin

In recent years, and as communities face a number of converging crises, I’ve explored how, personally and collectively, we could harness energy to meet our working and living needs in a manner that doesn’t generate greed or exclusion, but greater ‘power’ and wealth for all.

Cracking this code for myself has been a life-long journey through struggle and suffering. I’ve written about this before, but before my father passed away in 2014 he made me promise that I would re-focus my work and writing on adults and work on love.Sure, Dad“– Thinking to myself “whatever the heck that means.”

For 50+ years, I’ve been led on a path to a singularity of sorts– the thing that would explain to me all the “whys” of my life and all the seeming failures of my journey. If you’re reading these words, perhaps you are on this journey, too.

If you’re brave enough to go into the whirlpool or the abyss, pick your metaphor, the abyss will inform you. My life-long question, spoken without words, was asked and the answer was given (although because I’m a little dense, it had to be given, analyzed seventeen times, verified, given again until it “took” in my heart).

For now, I can conclusively recommend to anyone reading this to “trust yourself”. I also offer this nugget of wisdom from a recent meditation and trust that it will serve to inspire and illuminate your own journey of personal discovery.

Fear is the fossil-fuel of humanity.
Love is the energy of the future.

Mayra Porrata

Soul Friend: a reprise

When my daughter Serena and I first released this book in 2010, it was met with both praise and criticism. Even then, though I lacked the words to fully explain ‘where’ I/we were coming from, I understood why some people ‘got it’ and some did not.

This past week, something was illuminated for me while I was writing; the awareness that ‘understanding often precedes language’ — in other words, we often ‘know things’ we don’t yet fully (fully) understand, or have the words to explain to others.

Although I’m in no way professing that I now have all the words to explain what Serena and I were attempting to convey way back then, I am a little closer to knowing that we were indeed on the right track.

So, aside from some minor editing, we stand by these words and its deeper message. We see that even those who “seemingly appeared” to be our enemies are indeed our soul friends, too….and in time, they too will come to know this truth.

This tiny “children’s book for everyone” is freely available (below). It is still our joy to share this simple message; that we are all here (on Earth) to learn and support one another– “through the good times, the in-between times, or when you’re feeling totally blue.”

Spiritual Solidarity: Chapter 1

Currents

In everyone’s life, there are countless experiences that can revolt, confound, or mesmerize.  As such, it’s easy to get lost in the characters, stories, and the metaphors themselves. That has certainly been true for me. I call these “the currents” of our lives; the high-tides, the low-tides, the deep waters, the rip-tides, the near-drownings, and even the still waters all leave an important imprint upon us.  

Another way to describe “currents” is simply the flow of your life; where we’re taken and how we float through it all.

Before we gain full emotional awareness or maturity, it’s very difficult to understand the reason or meaning for anyone or anything ‘happening to you’. What I do know is that it is generally for “good reason” and that reason is not for my drowning, but for my soul’s journey. My mom had an expression I often heard growing up: “Dios aprieta pero no ahoga” 

When we embrace the notion that things are ‘happening for us’ instead of ‘to us’, something inside us begins to shift. Naturally, habitual judgement is suspended and replaced with a deeper curiosity and question: ‘why?’ Throughout my life, I’ve visited this place many times and each time, when I follow the ‘why’ all the way back to its root, I am humbled to my knees.

As I look back on the key events, or currents that either confounded or liberated me, I see 4 general themes or categories for understanding the relevance of people and events to my spiritual journey; 

  • Supportive (the people or experiences modeled loving-kindness)
  • Antagonistic (the people or experiences provided contrast/pain)
  • Benign (the people or experience was redirecting my path)  
  • Awakener (the people or experience was a life-changer)

So, up to this point, if my life were ‘a play’, it could be told in 4 main acts. Think about your own life for a moment; the setting/location, the characters, the plots and plot-twists, the heart-breaks, the lessons and resolutions– and the punchline; what can be humbly and lovingly distilled from the seeming anguish of it all up to this point? 

The main ‘acts’ that informed my soul’s journey can then be further broken down into a number of ‘scenes’ or time-bound and/or specific points of experience that involved people, places, or experiences. Yours may be longer or shorter, have totally different categories or descriptors, so I offer this as just one example for how you/we can conceptualize our individual life experiences:  

ACT 1 

  • My parents (supportive)
  • My early years (supportive)
  • Our relocation (antagonistic-awakener)

ACT 2

  • Colonialism, Culture, and Confusion (antagonistic-awakener)
  • My formal education  (supportive-benign)
  • My conventional career (supportive-benign)
  • My conventional marriage (antagonistic-awakener)

ACT 3

  • Becoming a mother and going back to school (benign-awakener)
  • Becoming a caregiver and embracing community (benign-awakener)
  • My daughter’s passing (antagonistic-awakener)

ACT 4

  • Embracing my vocation (supportive-awakener)
  • Living coherently (supportive-awakener)

What follows is a brief synopsis of each of the ‘scenes’ from my life and the way they helped shape me and my understanding of our shared humanity.  

My parents

My life-story begins with my parents, Mari Fernandez and Santiago Porrata, both first generation Spaniards. I believe that our parents or parental figures are our first soul teachers on Earth. Whether to provide contrast or be supportive way-showers, our family of origin sets the stage for our human adventure. 

By the time my parents became parents, they had already stepped away from both the dogmatic and cultural programming of the Church. Because of this, my sister and I were raised with a unique world-view and understanding of life. I was raised to know about the many languages of God (religions of the world) from my Dad who was an ardent student of comparative religion. From my mom, I learned that being good or bad had nothing to do with education, skin color, politics, or beliefs, but with someone’s heart. For me, my parents are and will always be two of my best friends and two incredible souls who sincerely encouraged my spiritual formation through their own lived example. 

My father’s encouragement of my intellectual and critical thinking abilities, coupled with my mother’s nurturing of my heart and spiritual life, truly conspired to help me see that I was more than just ‘one thing’. Throughout their own lives, my parents modeled for me that to be fully-human meant to embrace change, grief, imperfection, and seeming ‘failures’ as an integral and even welcomed aspect of my life and life journey.    

My early years

My early life was as close to a living paradise as one can imagine. As a young girl, most of my time was spent outdoors and fully aware of the rhythms of nature. Although I had many friends, my favorite time was time spent alone by the sea observing everything the tides brought in and out of my shore; from the countless shades of blue my beautiful ocean displayed, to the diverse creatures that co-inhabited my living playground, I was deeply attuned to the interconnectedness of life from a very early age.

Aside from nature, my extended family (my Godmother, aunts, uncles, and cousins in particular) was instrumental to my spiritual formation and oriented me to the critical importance of family/community in times of joy and especially in times of crisis.    

Our relocation  

On November 3, 1976, my family relocated from the north shores of Puerto Rico to Munroe Falls, Ohio. As a Spanish-speaking 11 year-old, being thrust into a new climate, culture, and  language was severely jarring and disorienting. My first two winters in Ohio, the winters of 1976 and 1977, provided an introduction and orientation so traumatizing, it would take me nearly 30 years to understand and integrate the wisdom imbued in these early life-lessons. 

In contrast to the first 11 years of my life, my teenage years were painful and agonizing. Not having a strong command of the English language, I turned to writing as an outlet for connection and expression. My first friends from the island wrote to me almost weekly for a period of 2 years. The hundreds of letters I received were kept in a drawer and served as a testament of enduring friendship during a time when I felt deeply alone and isolated.

Then, in the summer of 1979, my three ‘new best friends’ were involved in a car accident as they were leaving my house.  That accident would not only bond us, but the gifts and the lessons from that incident would circle back many decades later. 

Colonialism, Culture, and Confusion (my teens and early 20’s)

Although I was born an American citizen, I have never, nor do I today identify as such. However, because so much of the success of acclimating to a new culture required going along, I did just that– well, just enough of it. 

In truth, I have always been a step off, or perhaps beating to the beat of my own little drum, with my head somewhere in outer space (in full disclosure, I’m an Aquarian!), and knowing, deep within, that the way I was being taught, was not always ‘truth’, nor good, nor beautiful! Still, quite true to my Spanish upbringing, I was infinitely polite.

During my early career I was often praised and rewarded for my ideas and ‘innovative thinking and problem-solving.’ It always confounded me that others didn’t see what I saw. I would often cite my upbringing as the reason for this: “island people see things differently because we know what it’s like to be vulnerable and connected, simultaneously!”

From an early age, I knew things I couldn’t explain. There was a layer of ‘knowing’ and knowledge — information I often couldn’t fully decipher or express because I had no words for it.  Sometimes, this put me at odds with others and so to compensate for this, I would negate my own intuition and voice. This is something we all do– we relegate our own knowing and needs to the back seat of life.

Still, my soul and life itself had other plans for me and true to my inherent nature, I followed every beautiful lead. Try as we might, we cannot escape our essential nature, our true selves.      

My formal education

For many years, I struggled to figure out what I wanted to do. As early as age five, I knew I wanted to ‘teach peace’, but there was no job like that in 1983, the year I graduated high school. Also, my childhood dreams of becoming an astronaut and a nun had already been thwarted by the realities of motion sickness and my unique fashion flair. 

For me, being both creative-spiritual and technical-intellectual, felt like a hardship I didn’t want or need. I just wanted to fit neatly and easily into a simple career box. My short-term goal was to move out west to become a graphic designer and wandering gypsy. My dad insisted I should study law or medicine. Instead,  I settled for a degree in business administration with concentrations in marketing and communication.

My conventional career

Although I’ve excelled in most professional environments, I always felt like an outsider and the odd person in every job and team I’ve ever been in…and they would probably say the same about me! 

From 1986 to 1998, I worked in retail operations and in banking, and then with a Fortune 50 company as a corporate trainer and project manager in operations, education, communications, and marketing. By age 30, I had worked in a number of high profile, multi-million dollar projects. I was earning a great salary and being groomed to become a future leader of this “great American company.” The only problem, however, was that I was terribly unfulfilled and unhappy.    

My conventional marriage

I met the father of my girls in January of 1995. We were married from 1996 to 2011. The marriage was difficult and painful. Its ending even more so. 

Through this relationship and the contrast it provided, I came to fully understand the true meaning of marriage and partnership. The most profound piece (and peace) for me was that I became a mother during this time.

Becoming a mother and going back to school

I left my corporate job when I was 4 months pregnant with my first daughter, Serena, and began graduate studies in community counseling that same year (1998). I was 33 years old. My second daughter (Camille) was born in 2002. Leaving a promising corporate career and going back to school was one of those things that made no sense to others, but I was honoring my Inner-guidance and a calling so deep within me, that I had no other choice. It felt as if my life depended on it.   

By far, becoming a mother is the single-most important and sacred thing I have ever or will ever do in this life. I could write an entire book on motherhood because it bears our attention and re-attunement as a society.  Homemaking, a term I once arrogantly and violently opposed because societal programming was pulling me otherwise, became my own life-saving practice and grace.

In the spring of 2006, in my second to last semester of graduate school, my daughter Serena was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis. She was 7 years-old. Although it had not been detected at birth due to newborn screening not being in effect in the state of Ohio at the time, she carried two of the most common and lethal mutations for this condition. In that moment, our family was given a ‘life-shortening’ diagnosis and sentence of sorts– one that would alter our course and change all our lives.

Being a single-mother and caregiver

By 2015, I was the custodial guardian of the girls. As my daughter Serena’s condition required, our lives consisted of frequent and prolonged hospital stays at Akron Children’s Hospital. From 2011 until 2018, the girls and I were ‘frequent flyers’, always with our hospital suitcases ready to go any time. 

During the 8 years that I was a single-mother and caregiver, and especially during the last 3 years of Serena’s life, I came to realize the importance and life-saving grace of community. Without community, we can easily wither. There are literally hundreds of people who intimately touched our lives all those years. I am humbled to my knees every time I think of all that was given to us— transportation, counsel, comfort, house-sitting, care, food — love in all its beautiful forms arrived with such regularity, I was transformed in the process — like gentle waves carving out hardened rock, I was literally reshaped by the loving-kindness of those who took care of us, our home, and pets. 

All those years spent in the hospital informed me in profound ways, too. I learned a great deal about chronic illness, the health insurance industry, our medical system and medicine in general as it is practiced today. Finally, becoming a single-mother and full-time caregiver illuminated the economic hardships that are so common for the nearly 40 million caregivers and many others in our country, too.  

My daughter’s passing

My daughter Serena passed away from complications of cystic fibrosis in 2018. She was 19 years-old. The particular flavor of grief experienced by parents who lose a child is unlike any other. It is all-engulfing, vast, and deep. My story with her is its own beautiful life-book; one not solely expressed in words, but in deeds. Suffice to say, Serena is and will always be one of my greatest teachers in this life.      

Embracing my vocation

Regardless of the setting or domain, fundamentally, I’ve always been a noticer and a writer. Although my writing can be clunky or clumsy, it is through my willingness to honor this calling, that the quality of my own writing and life has improved.

Although it’s not always obvious, if we take the time to gently look back, we can often see the connecting thread that runs through and weaves the tapestry of our lives and therefore, our vocational biography.  

It is my deepest sense that encouraging others to look through their lives with their own ‘magnifying glass of awareness’, can lessen their confusion and suffering. That is the basic reason for this book. Spiritual solidarity is not a belief, but the awareness and appreciation that until we look inside, we will continue to build and co-create the proverbial Tower of Babel.  

Living coherently

Living coherently is a practice– it is play! It is not about achievement, perfection, or what anyone deems as ‘success’. Only you can define success for yourself; only you, your soul, knows what that is.  

For me, this current work is an applied extension of this understanding and aligns with my own desire to grow and regenerate. Regeneration is not about more degrees, or books, or skills for success. Regeneration is an inside job.

As more of us choose to live from the ‘inside-out’, we naturally become kinder and patient. Because we are in-tune and in harmony with ourselves, our judgements and ‘othering’ naturally seizes. We’re no longer interested in debating ideas or being right. As we continue to mature, we naturally long to be with others who match our own harmony and frequency. Our daily-bread is given to us as we give, create, and co-create. Our work is an extension of our hearts.

Each of us comes to Earth with a purpose and even subtly, part of you already knows what that is. How can you really know what yours is? My gentle suggestion to anyone is that you tune into that which has been prescribed for you, not by cultural programming, but inscribed in your heart and Higher-mind, and revealed through the awareness of what you most cherish and love. Follow that. That is your calling. That is your soul calling you.

Spiritual Solidarity: Chapter 2 – Context

Spiritual Solidarity; a real-life story, book, and invitation

While in the midst of a number of writing and publishing projects, this title, Spiritual Solidarity, and the chapters and pages that will follow, simply brought themselves together. I sense the reason for this is because I’ve consistently placed other work ahead of it and my spirit finally said “enough– it’s time!” It is.

My general strategy will be to publish a chapter or section every week (or so)- both in print (here and at The Flourishing Way) and in audio (via Sound Cloud). Eventually, after editing and refining, I will publish it as both a print and audio book.

I hope my words and voice inspire you to reflect on your own life and work, and awaken in you the recognition of how ‘perfect’ (even through the very hard parts) each of our journeys is for each of us!

Thank you for reading and listening along!
Mayra

SPIRITUAL SOLIDARITY - Mayra Porrata - 5/5/2021

Introduction

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. 
Spiritual Solidarity, Mayra Porrata, Introduction
Copyright 2021 SEE, LLC & Mayra Porrata, LLC
All rights reserved.

READ CHAPTER 1 – The language that has no words

Becoming a ‘first-hand-thinker’

By simply paying attention to ‘you’— your emotions (living truth), your gut, your intuition, your energy level, your imagination, and your heart, you become a ‘first-hand-thinker’ versus an unaware recycler of others’ thoughts and opinions.

Remember: thoughts and opinions are like the wind, or clouds; they come and go because they are based on mental projections. Only words that arise from love are actually true– whether they hurt or not. Love is truth.

Don’t take my word for this!– Take what resonates from these simple words and throw the rest away– let it go like the wind that it is, because only you can feel, perceive, and know what is true and real for you.

Up with the birds

Once upon a time (not so long ago), hearing birds singing at 4:30 am meant that my night and sleep would soon be ending.

Given the realities of modern, interrupted sleep, it was definitely not a good feeling. I was resentful, even angry at the birds for being so darn loud! I wanted my night to go on– I wanted to shelter-in-place, in bed, and to drown out any external sounds with some sound sleep instead.

There are times, in all our lives, when we must retreat and drown out anything that is incoherent with out body’s state– of tiredness, of anxiety, of constant worry, of “fill-in-the-blank”. The human condition has many flavors and experiences that demand our undivided attention.

To rest our body and especially our minds are not luxuries, but necessities for living joyfully. Challenging times and their accompanying states of mind are always an invitation to listen, to learn, to integrate, and heal.

And then, there are times when hearing the birds at 4:30 am means that night is nearly over and your day and its playful discoveries will soon be starting. Effectively, it’s a wake-up call align with life and nature itself and to tune into its profoundly beautiful rhythm.

Whether you hear this at 4:30 am or at midnight, may this brief recording of my “morning birds” bring a gentle wave of sweetness to inspire your heart and remind you that you too are part of this beautiful song.

Morning Birds, Cuyahoga Falls, OH, April 2021

Emergency Inquiry

Chaos, rage, confusion, and fear are important and what we do with these energies, even more so.

While our default-setting is generally to ignore or attack that which is bringing us pain or discomfort, the evolved response or ‘advanced-setting’, if you will, requires our curiosity.

When we replace our habitual responses with curious inner-work we find that many times, our anger or fear is stemming from an unmet need– something which we are often unaware of.

Here are 8 helpful questions to explore when we’re ‘hit’ with sudden instability of any kind:

o What is this person, event, or situation requiring of me?

o What is attempting to emerge from this?

o Can I see the bigger grace in this seeming crisis?

o Can I envision the “other side”, or resolution of this crisis?

o How can I serve this situation or crisis without judging, criticizing, over-helping, or manipulating an outcome?

o How can I lend my unique gifts in order to help alleviate this crisis?

o How must I adapt or think differently in order to stop the perpetuation of this “crisis”?

o What would LOVE do?

For further study, a brief 1-HR-Course on anger is available here. (Note: from personal and professional experience my sense is that anger is rooted in unprocessed grief, and often times, we don’t realize that grief ‘energy’ is even there.)

The call to ‘creative action’

In 2007, roughly about a year after my first-born daughter Serena was diagnosed with cystic fibrosis, she and I co-wrote a book about a little girl with cystic fibrosis. We did so because at the time there were no books that approached a severe and life-shortening condition from a holistic perspective. We also wrote it to help us contend with the unimaginable grief of it all.

Our local newspaper did a story on us, and then a local television station produced a little piece about this work. Co-producer, videographer, and lovely human being Larry Baker posted our story here.

Years later, finding myself in the lecture halls of both Kent State and Case Western Reserve Universities, I spent a great deal of time talking about the ‘disconnection’ or perhaps the lack of emotional, spiritual, and energetic intelligence in our most important institutions. One of my last lectures came by way of colleague Chris Laszlo who invited me to be a guest-speaker in his class Quantum Leadership. The slide deck from that presentation is attached below.

Today, finding myself in a position of some degree of personal and professional insight, due to the devastation of losing a child, the economic abuse that is currently an inherent aspect of being a head-of-household and parent-caregiver, and the visible failures of our current policies and system of law, I have been called to creative action once again. Why? Because mothers and parent-caregivers need our support. Because leaders are hurting and need our support. And also, to help me, and us, contend with the grief of it all.

Writer and philosopher Charles Eisenstein, whose work and writing I love and follow, once said (I think it was an interview he did with Oprah Winfrey), that the reason we have so much injustice is because “our hearts have not been sufficiently broken-open.” Meaning, we have yet to realize our inter-connectedness to each other, but fundamentally, to our own selves.

Collectively, many are living ‘disembodied lives’, operating solely from their heads and reason that was reasoned well before ‘now’, and therefore cannot address the human needs of ‘now’, of today.

Leaders in our institutions and communities who operate from this narrow lens, are hurting and hurting others who see more because they are not only fully-feeling, but viewing life as it is— not through the veils of dogma, or fearful policy, but from the lens of the clear intelligence that occurs when our hearts have been ‘broken-open’ all the way.

So, to anyone reading this; to anyone who has been moved, shaken, or stirred by these simple words and observations, what can you do in your own life, right now, to help dissolve, evolve, or transmute an injustice of sorts? Whether it hit you personally, or it affected someone or a lot of ‘someones’ you love, what ‘creative action’ (not protest, nor hate-speech, nor violence of any kind) can you co-create and share with us that will help make your and our life better, more productive, and richer in every way? Our wholeness, your wholeness, is only a creative action away.

Quantum Leadership Presentation, Spring 2018,
Presented at: Case Western Reserve University, School of Design and Innovation,
Weatherhead School of Management (download below)

The Story of Soul Publishing Group

In looking back and reflecting on our precious publishing collective, one thing stands out; that it wasn’t about what we did, but who we became.

This publishing collective was convened out of both a personal and group need.  

A gnawing awareness that emerged in 2015, eventually led a number of us to come together to support each other’s writing and publishing work. That awareness was that ‘business-as-usual’ and the patriarchal structure that was and is still so prevalent in publishing and business in general, was not in harmony with the books we were attempting to bring into the world.

For a number of us, this realization was nothing new, but a reappearance of sentiments deeply felt during the 90’s and early 2000’s when we worked in corporate domains and witnessed, first-hand, the dark-side of both hierarchical structures and of capitalism itself.       

“Commodifying utilities and relationships”

As many of us on the ‘other side’ of extractive and exploitative capitalism know first-hand, to place money as the guiding principle for business decisions leads to a severe breach in human relationships and in the environment. When we place “money over people”, that may be a conscious or even unconscious choice, but that is not how nature operates– and human beings are part of nature. Nature is cooperative. Competition is a distortion of ecological principles.     

There is a subtle yet profound distinction between working with and using people— the difference is respect. If you’re a company founder/owner and split up your company evenly among other partners, that’s a sign of respect. Without this fundamental value in place, you may get far in the money department, but be prepared for the personal and human costs.

Many of us have been at the issuing or receiving end of this– that is how we come to see and learn this valuable life lesson. 

Although my professional training instructed me otherwise, I was raised to value respect and humanity above all else. My parents were not ‘crazy hippies’, yet they understood that reciprocity was essential to both nature and to human relationships– even business relationships. It is from this foundational stance that mutual growth, not entropy, occurs.  

“Reciprocity and mutuality are essential to both nature and to human relationships.”

Although this is changing and changing fast, people are so accustomed to being used and exploited that they go about their lives as if this was the only way to go about things. It is not. 

When a business attempts to disproportionately profit from the art, or labor of another, that is not mutuality but exploitation. However, without adequate emotional intelligence, this is difficult to see. Unless you’ve been personally taken-advantage off by a corporation you have no idea how unbalanced and incoherent that dynamic actually is. 

“Towards building coherent business models”  

Our desire to create something we desperately saw as lacking in the environment and for ourselves has led to individual and collective insights beyond our wildest imaginations. When one places “space” at the center of something, you can be certain that it is from that space and silence, that the most profound answers begin to emerge. 

Original Soul Publishing Group Logo (2016)

 

Co-creating a loose working group of sorts; a professional peer-support network where we would share our most important assets; our time, energy, and technical expertise, has indeed served the most important purpose for humans on earth; our personal and professional evolution.

“Where there is respect and trust, wealth, in all its forms, follows.”

As we have each moved well beyond mere publishing, and mere publishing was moved well beyond the creation of printed books, effective today, our working group and its associated social media pages will be renamed Soul Media Group. How and where that leads each of us, I do not know, but I sure look forward to my, ours, and its continued unfolding.

******From our original website (2016)******

Description
Soul Publishing Group™ is both a community of owners (educators, authors, facilitators, life coaches and trainers), as well as a publishing imprint. The logo/brand is considered a shared asset, as are the community members which comprise this collaborative.


Who created Soul Publishing Group?
Soul Publishing Group™ was founded by Mayra Porrata, who also serves as the community manager for this collaborative.

Purpose
To be a professional entity that serves its members through emotionally-intelligence technical support.

To unite conscious owners of soulful and humanity-enhancing work, in order to help amplify their individual work and mission, in the service of our shared humanity.

Mission
To uphold soulful work and the humans who are intentionally working on the front-lines of raising consciousness, in the service of humanity.

What are we practicing?
In short, to become better human beings through our work. Founding members are aligned with conscious leadership and conscious business practices. We are practicing how to do this, how to create intentionally versus unconsciously, and how to attend to ourselves, and each other when
we fail.

Community Values
Respect
Responsibility
Integrity (with one’s soul)
Shared humanity
Autonomy/Freedom
Love

What is meant by “owners”
This community and professional peer-support network has been established for the sole purpose of supporting individuals who are already, or are ready to become self-published and who have been called to align their personal lives, with their professional activities, in the service of humanity. They have become aware* that ‘business as usual’ no longer works for them.

Soul Publishing Group™ is not a fee-for-service publisher, nor a short-cut to meaning and success. It is a collaborative and asset-sharing ecosystem for those who understand that “the work”, and serving through this work, is the pathway to meaning and success.

*Stages of Consciousness Maturation, Mayra Porrata, 2016