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On the Way to Casa Lotus

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It’s hard to remember a memoir read recently that I enjoyed as much as this one – this book had me totally engrossed; scribbling and highlighting notes and phrases I wanted to remember; my heart vacillating between horror at what the author endured, rage at the flaws in a system that allowed it, and underneath it all, such a pure and clean lesson of hope, optimism and resilience that I literally felt “lifted” as I closed in on the last few pages, – those featuring the heartwarming (and heartbreaking) shots of the author and her family.

“There are moments that change everything, and there are moments that change our perception of everything.”

Lenora Junco is an artist, a mother, a wife and a member of a large and loving Mexican-American extended family. Life is blessed for the Juncos as they leave Mexico and settle in Austin, Texas. It’s clear that Lenora, vitally and compassionately entrenched in family life and her immersive art projects, has much to be grateful for.

All that changes, horrifically and suddenly, as Lenora battles mysterious health issues that escalate beyond a level any one of us should have to endure. Lenora’s journey to understanding – that is, the rational dawning of the reality of her physical situation, as it evolves (or, more accurately devolves) – is so hard to imagine as a reader; so appalling in it’s impact, and so terrifyingly close and possible to each of us, in our own lives.

What elevates this book to the extraordinary, however, is the inner emotional and spiritual journey we are also privy to; Lenora’s quest to “curate”, (to draw together and make whole), a renewed life and understanding “forged with intent”; a life that will allow her to accept, forgive, release, and build upon her deep-rooted optimism and resilience which, incredibly, has survived her ordeal and now awaits re-kindling.

“If you don’t have mud, the Lotus won’t manifest. You can’t grow Lotus flowers on marble”.

“This is the essence of enlightenment – understanding that perception is power”.

I read this book, as noted by the author, with love and gratitude. It’s a remarkable story and one that, once read, cannot help but make your life richer – in all the ways that really matter.

A great big thank you to NetGalley, the author and the publisher for an ARC of this book. All thoughts presented are my own.


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